Monday, May 12, 2014

Candle Bible Handbook...a review

I love the opportunity to review a book, especially one that could be used by children or adults.  I wasn't at all sure what to expect from a 'Bible handbook."  But I was impressed as soon as I opened it.

This book is a high quality book, a sturdy cardstock like cover that has tabs that could mark your place in the book, and the inside pages are a heavy high quality shiny paper.  So from the start it has a great look and feel.

This Bible handbook is an overview of all the books of the Bible.  Each book has an Outline, FAQ, Look out for, and Study Questions. There are also pictures throughout- some are real images and some are detailed and beautiful drawn illustrations, all have captions.

In addition there are also some solid overviews and timelines, that pull together some of the big concepts in the Bible. (like Jesus miracles, parables, the tabernacle, Jerusalem,...)  The appendix at the end shares some other helpful info like key Bible characters, key passages/promises, and key big ideas in the Bible.

I know other reviewers were puzzled as to the target or audience of this book, and I would say it is for a new Bible reader or a repeat Bible reader who wants support.  It's a nonfiction book that is meant to pull together the concepts, books, and people of the Bible together. In some ways it could be like a 'cliff notes', I think that when you start reading through the Bible, many people need support to build connections, summarize, and synthesize their reading.  Many people just give up when they read their Bible alone.  This book would definitely help bridge the gap for a lay person who wants support or guidance as he reads the Bible for the first time, or the tenth time, but with a new purpose in mind.  

This book would help you choose a theme or concept and see it across both the Old Testament and New Testament. Or if you wanted to read the Bible through in a year, it would help give you an overview and focus, even comprehension checks as you complete a book reading.

So many people who read the Bible lack formal Bible education and are afraid to seek support, or even choose a helpful study Bible. This book would fill in that gap, is a great visual resource, as well as a synthesis several layers of the Bible.  I believe it would be a helpful resource for children or adults who are reading through the Bible.

I believe that when I do a book study I will consult the overview in this book for my own personal study, and I know that when I teach Sunday School or children, this book will have helpful images, charts, and definitions as I prepare to lead a discussion.  I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

I was given this book as a part of Kregel's blog tour, all ideas and opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


We are thinking a lot about new at our house.  We have a new child living with us, and he is having a lot of firsts.... a new family (3 siblings, 2 parents, and 2 grandparents to eat dinner with every day!), a new school (and it's full day instead of half), a new bedtime (and it's earlier than ever before, but he has to be up earlier than ever before), a new routine, new doctor, new, new, new.... and all these 'new' experiences are really fun some of the day and really frustrating, especially at bedtime!

I'm recognizing how often new is fun, we have also have a new minivan. It's great. It's clean. It has all kind of fancy buttons/computerized stuff, a backup camera, and it even has a bluetooth phone connection... of course on the down side, I needed to watch my husband turn the car dvd player on and off, switch back to the front speaker cd player for 5 days straight before I could even feel equipped to turn it on, and I'm afraid I may never understand how to make the talk button computer control anything in the car! I'm on my second week of driving it, and I still push the wrong button to open or close the magic doors, and one day last week, I made my son climb over all the seats because I couldn't get open the magic door at school pick up time!  (the pressure of a new car is only pale in comparison to the pressure of a new cell phone!!)  I have known that 'new' can make me angry, frustrated and just plain grumpy when it's not one of my passions!

What I'm really realizing, especially as we  hit April 1st and enter into the "Easter Season." That new things are often celebrated, they are normally positive, fun, and make people happy.  But there are a lot of new things/events that aren't really the joyful celebration because they are new. New job, new marriage, new baby, new recipe.... all of those 'new' events actually require work, flexibility and sometimes time to really appreciate.  New life in Christ is fun to think about at Christmas when we reflect on Mary and her amazing sense of wonder as she's chosen to be Jesus mom, and at a new birth of a new baby in a new unique setting, that of a stable. But at Easter New comes with a cost, and it's one we shudder at and get emotional about, recognizing that Jesus was mocked, beaten, crowned with thorns, prayed with blood drops He was so passionate as He talked with God, and ultimately surrendered to death in the most tortureous ways, a cross. None of this part of the story, says turn me into a poster and count down til we remember the exact time of my death.  When we think about it, it says this was not fun, this was real obedience, real servanthood, real grief, and real death for a sinner such as me.  And we don't find it fun, we are speechless and in awe, that God would sacrifice His Son for me!  Thankfully, 3 days later, there is an empty tomb, there is great rejoicing, and their is a risen Savior.   Risen to offer hope that if we believe, we can have new life in Him.

Watching everything new in this 5 year old's life, and trying to experience all the new things, ideas, and events with him is a roller coaster ride. Some things like new lace up shoes that feel like skates bring great joy and celebration, but other things like a new routine are exhausting parts that even bring on meltdowns.   It's so much the same, an up and down journey with parts I wish I had recorded, and other moments that I pray I won't remember later.  

It makes me think about Easter in a whole new light! (another NEW!) We were reading some simple Easter books tonight, and they both talked about new life because of Christ, and how new life in Christ doesn't end.  
My new son, has an old stuffed caterpillar named Agatha, and when he's distraught, he wraps up in her. I, the ignorant mother figure, called it a worm tonight.  He said- not it's a caterpillar, and I like it because caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies.  This reminded me that we are like those beautiful butterflies. I love the verse 2 Corinithians 5:17 and the image of new life as a beautiful butterfly!

So as we embrace all things new, I'm also embracing Easter in a new way.  How can I make Easter something 'normal' for my new son, and also remind my other three children how their 'normal' might be new to someone else, and most importantly remind all of us that Easter is an old story, that if we remember will bring NEW hope, grace, joy, and peace to our hearts, minds, and souls if only we let it.

We'll see how much time I can gather to process in print, but I am eternally grateful in a whole NEW way, that while I'm on the NEW roller coaster ride with this new kiddo, I have a Holy Spirit who has fresh, new provisions ready for me each step of this emotionally charged journey.  

Praying that every step, every moment, I can show that joy and hope in my love and actions because it is with Christ's redemption that I am anything at all!  And I know that this NEW journey is one of redemption and sanctification for my whole household. And that it's all a chance to bring Glory to God! Praying that with the Lord's leading, we make this NEW way more about the fun, joy, and celebration, than the downside!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

No More Perfect Kids a pictures worth a 1,000 words and a few tweets for flavor...

If you want to hear how they introduce the book, you can read here...
If children learn to hide mistakes from their parents, they may run from God when they sin. @JillSavage @hearts_at_home #NoMorePerfectKids 

No More Perfect

quote: Kids ask a lot of questions—but not always with their words. 

No More Perfect

Today I'm committing to stop judging myself and to stop judging others. @JillSavage @hearts_at_home #NoMorePerfectMoms

No More Perfect

Children are unique gifts from God, created to contribute to this world in unique ways. @JillSavage @hearts_at_home #NoMorePerfectKids

No More Perfect

Are you comparing your insides to other moms' outsides? @JillSavage @hearts_at_home #NoMorePerfectMoms

If you buy the book by March 23rd, you get a whole bunch of amazing freebies!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch (overview)


Here's my more expanded review...

Do you struggle with perfection? Do you set high standards personally or have achievable hopes, dreams or expectations for your kids (self or husband)?  I think every one of us lack contentment with others or even yourself, and not being content steals our joy! As believers, we are made for joy, created and formed by an amazing God for more. This book helps us think through and choose to live with excellence as the goal, instead of perfection.

As a teacher, this book is full of the concepts I recognize as best practice.  It breaks down learning theory, styles and brain based concepts  into easy concepts, with real life stories/examples.  It teaches us what I've read and studied about reaching all kids where they are at for over 20 years. All in one book, and the authors added resources at the end to further equip us, as well as a website

As a parent, it's freeing to process how what we know about people, can help us be the best parents. And for me, it's just as needed to rethink, my own broken identity, goals, and ideals.  I am so thankful to have been raised by parents who said, they hoped for 'happy, average girls.' I was taught work ethic, service, family, and ministry were priorities, but always allowed to mess up or make mistakes.  I don't remember feeling the need to be anything other than me.  But yet, in my own adult life, when I'm doing something crazy late the night before, that awful perfection infection raises it's ugly head.  When I wake up and realize, it's me that is pushing the limit, and that ____ really isn't essential to the lesson tomorrow, the birthday party, or ____.  But this book really helped me process new ways to avoid this problem personally, and to be sure I don't push my children into the same awful pattern.

I really enjoyed No More Perfect Moms, and this book I hesitated to even read.  I wasn't sure that it would really enhance the cure's for the perfection infection I had already integrated into my life.  But I am so glad that I chose to review it.  It adds to that cure with ideas and techniques for the mom, dad, grandparent, teacher, and even just adults who love kids and hang out with them! I also am trying to decide if college students should be required to read it!! I believe in our review team, many adults found it self help theory personally as well as for their parenting.   Not many books reach that big an audience.
"Teach kids to change, Don't tell them to change" No More Perfect Kids (pg. 95)  Find the book on our website by clicking the image. Thank you!

I found that my fastest applications of the book's concepts were with my student teachers who want to be 'perfect' but lack experience.   It was so easy to use the concepts shared here to remind them that excellence is achievable over time, with lots of practice, and with lots of mistakes, but perfection is not!  I think this book is for parents, educators, and anyone who struggles with trying to be perfect instead of working towards excellence.

If you want a 'taste test' of the book's concepts sign up for the free 13 day email (that I may redo every few months as a reminder).  You can also visit for ideas, videos, and family activities.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Enjoying No More Perfect Kids? Connect with others...

Excerpt from No More Perfect Kids....

Why Do Kids Make Mistakes?
An excerpt from No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch

Does it ever feel like your child does more wrong than they do right? As a parent, we know our kids aren’t failures. They can fail a quiz here and there, not win a tournament, and not earn a raise during their first job review, but none of that makes them failures.

They will make mistakes, though, because they’re human! To best help our kids overcome their mistakes and not feel like failures, we need to understand why they make mistakes. When a parent understands, it increases their compassion and decreases their frustration. As you listen closely and observe intently for the “why” behind their mistakes, you can know how to best support them. Let’s explore eight reasons kids make mistakes.

1. They need more experience.
When kids complain that school is hard, remind them that if it were easy, they wouldn’t need to go. School—and much of life—is about trying new things. We must let our kids know they’re not stupid when they get things wrong. Mistakes are a part of life, and they often show up when we need more experience.

2. They need to be taught in order to be successful.
Mistakes can occur when content and tasks are new and teaching hasn’t yet occurred. Kids might enjoy trying things on their own, but then can get very frustrated when their independent approach doesn’t go well. Protect their self-esteem when you notice that the reason they did something wrong was simply because they need help or more instruction.

3. They need more time to learn something.
Errors occur because kids didn’t learn something well enough, although teaching has begun. These mistakes are a part of learning. They happen, and it’s no one’s fault. How did you learn to drive? By driving imperfectly for a while. How did you decide which barbeque sauce you prefer? By cooking with one and then another. Did you make a mistake? No. It was a “learn by doing” experience, not a “mistake by doing” experience. The language we use to discuss mistakes matters; this includes what we say to our kids and what we say inside our heads when thinking about them.

4. They need healthy motivation to do things well.
Sometimes kids make mistakes because they don’t want the additional pressure that comes with excellence. Maybe your son’s teacher keeps calling on him because he’s always attentive and right, but your son wants to take a break from that. Maybe your oldest is feeling like all your happiness is on her shoulders. That’s unhealthy motivation and creates a lot of pressure for any child.

5. They need our understanding and attention.
Kids will occasionally fail at something or make mistakes just to push our buttons. Let’s face it: They are smart little people even at a young age, and they learn the power of manipulation early.
In these cases, responding with understanding is important. When the time is right, and depending on their age, let them know you understand they’re angry or frustrated but you’d rather have them talk with you about their feelings than to act their feelings out.

6. They need more modeling and instruction related to character and obedience.
Sometimes mistakes are an issue of character. Kids might hurry through a task or assignment so they can get back to their video games. They can choose to not double-check their work because pride is in their way and they’re just convinced they haven’t made any mistakes. As parents, we need to discern whether our children are making occasional errors in judgment or if they’ve developed consistent character flaws that need to be addressed.

7. They need self-respect, self-control, and respect for others modeled for them and taught to them.
Sometimes kids’ strengths get them into trouble. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing! For example, word-smart kids might talk too much. Logic-smart kids with a heightened curiosity may ask questions to keep you distracted and to extend bedtime. We don’t want to paralyze their strengths by overreacting and being too critical, but we do need to teach the concepts of self-control and respecting others.

8. They need sleep, food, and/or emotional stability.
Do you sometimes underperform or make unhealthy decisions when you’re tired, hungry, or emotionally vulnerable? So do kids. You might discover your daughter should start her homework after having a snack. Your son may not be handling the long day of school well and may need to go to bed thirty minutes earlier than you originally thought. To track patterns, you can keep a written record of their misbehavior using a calendar or a list. After recording a few days of when mistakes and misbehavior occur, who was present, if it was near mealtime, or if they were fatigued, you can often identify possible strategies to decrease the misbehavior.

It’s okay, in the midst of mistakes, to verbalize that your child is not failing or a failure. Look for impressionable moments when kids need the reassurance that making mistakes is how people learn. You may not be happy with their choices, and discipline may be necessary, but also let them know they’re not stupid. In fact, letting our kids know they’re not mistakes even when they make mistakes is very important for us to communicate, especially in the hard days of parenting!

This excerpt is from No More Perfect Kids, a new Hearts at Home book by Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch!  Pick up your copy of the book between March 13-23 and you'll get over $100 in bonus resources!  Find out more at

No More Perfect Kids Launch Week

I had the privilege of reviewing No More Perfect Kids... a follow up to No More Perfect Moms book I reviewed last  year. I'm going to share more than one review but today I'm starting with the freebies you get if you buy it by March 23rd and my short review.

Here's my selfie with the book minutes after it arrived in the mail!!  It's a book I wanted a paper copy of so I could highlight, flip back and forth, and take notes more easily!!

Here's Dr. Kathy's link about them and a video of her talking about this book....

Here's what I said on my amazon, goodreads, and cbd review... short and sweet..

Do you struggle with perfection? Do you set too high of standards personally or have hopes, dreams or expectations for your kids (self or husband) that they may struggle to meet? I think every one of us lack contentment with others or even yourself, and not being content steals our joy! As believers, we are made for joy, created and formed by an amazing God for more. This book helps us think through and choose to live with excellence as the goal, instead of perfection. (and Jill and Dr. Kathy make it a step by step simple formula that I can't mess up.)

As a teacher, this book is full of the concepts I recognize as best practice. It breaks down learning theory, styles and brain based concepts into easy concepts, with real life stories/examples. It teaches us what I've read and studied about reaching all kids where they are at for over 20 years. All in one book, and the authors added resources at the end to further equip us, as well as a website to enhance the book with ideas for families and other resources.

As a parent, it's freeing to process how what we know about people, can help us be the best parents. And for me, it's just as needed to rethink, my own broken identity, goals, and ideals. I'll be blogging more about all the wonderful tidbits throughout the book. (as well as a network of bloggers) So google us if you want to more details, but simple and fast reviews are what I prefer at amazon. I was asked to review this book but I was not required to give a favorable review, and really expected it wouldn't expand much on Jill's first book, but I am so thankful I read it. I have found myself sharing these concepts over and over since I started it. I love the story telling and bulleted list style that makes the book easy to grasp and apply.

A favorite quote...