Words From The Hill

words from hill


A disruptive and surprising journey through the Beatitudes.
Most of the time, life doesn’t work out like we expect it will. We spend time and energy trying to climb some sort of spiritual ladder, oblivious to the fact that it is God who is moving toward us.

We want answers to our problems, yet what is offered is presence.

What if we were to become united with our brokenness rather than our victories? What if God moves closest to us in the absence, the ache, and the longing?

Words from the Hill turns each beatitude on its head to see the unexpected beneath the understood—diving into the story of a woman on death row to speak about mercy, personal stories from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to talk about peace, and much more. Stu Garrard has walked with these people in their stories, and he vulnerably offers his own as he unpacks the Good News of the Beatitudes.

God is on your side, and He is closer than you think.

Stu Garrard has written his first book. While writing isn’t foreign to him, since he has written many Christian songs, Word From The Hill is new territory for him.

I was excited to read this book because anything in the Beatitudes is always interesting to me. Stu did not disappoint. He walked the Beatitudes  and shared not only his personal stories but stories of others that have effected his life. I found this book full of personal examples of how God has worked in peoples’ lives.

That being said, I would not call this a Bible study or even a devotional. This is many experiences and journeys with Jesus. That is a good thing. They are testimonies. Examples of how God works in the simple ways and in the big ways.

Overall this book is just an excellent reminder of who we need to be looking for. Jesus.

Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: NavPress

ISBN: 1631465988
ISBN-13: 9781631465987

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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All These Wonders

moth stories


 All These Wonders….. WOW what a fun book. I mean I love people’s stories. I love stories period, but these short stories were so entertaining!

I don’t think there was a single story that I didn’t like. Some of them had twists and turns, others made you want to cry, and them some you were just laughing through because you could totally relate. You felt  whatever the person was feeling, well because these stories were real. The people transparent.

My favorite story was “Who Can You Trust?” While I won’t ruin anything all I have to say I NEVER saw that ending coming.

I really recommend this book. While it is just a book of personal memoirs there is just something about getting to know people’s stories that just bring them closer. It ties people together. There is something about authentic vulnerability that helps one another become friends….even family.

I had never read a Moth book or heard their podcasts, but now I may have to just find as much of their stuff as I can.

  • Series: The Moth Presents
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (March 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101904402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101904404

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Long Time Gone

long time gone


The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

Mary Connealy has written the second novel in the Cimarron Ranch series. Long Time Gone is definitely not a stand alone novel. If you haven’t read the first one you better get started before you read this book.

I honestly don’t know what I expected from this book. I know when you read Connealy she always follows a certain form in her writing. Two people meat, there are sparks, then trouble, last the devote themselves to each other and marriage.

While most of the time I enjoy Connealy’s simplistic plots this book just left me disappointed. For me there just wasn’t any chemistry. Angie just fell flat in so many ways for me. I also found Justin, almost obnoxious at times.

This kind of review is very rare for me. Normally I like Connealy’s books for a relaxing read. I really do hope Cole’s story in the third book is better.

Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 076421182X
ISBN-13: 9780764211829

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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When God Made You

when god made u



YOU; God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut.

From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. Knowing that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe is certain to help them spread their wings and fly.   
Written in playful, charming rhyme and brought to life with vivid, fantastical illustrations, young readers will be encouraged and excited to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin create for themselves.
’Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew
That the world needed someone exactly like you!


When God Made You is a visually stunning piece of art. This book illustrated by David Catrow is so gorgeous. The way each page just comes alive is remarkable. My youngest just loved looking at the pictures in this book.

The writing was whimsical and the whole book just flowed well with all the rhyming. That being said this book only focuses on God’s love for us. While that is not a bad thing, if your looking for a book about a relationship with God this is not it.  The book’s sole purpose is the description of God’s love for us.

Overall it is an good book. We need to know that God loves us. The simplicity of this message is rooted in the whole book: Love one another.



ISBN: 1601429185
ISBN-13: 9781601429186
Ages: 3-7

Number of Pages: 48
Vendor: WaterBrook


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review

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Quick Tips For Busy Families

busy families



Ingenious Parenting Shortcuts Every Mom and Dad Should Know

Parenting can be hard work, and our lives continue to get busier and busier. Is it possible to lighten the load but still raise great kids?

From his experiences as a dad as well as interacting with countless other parents, Jay Payleitner has gathered scores of secrets worth passing along–simple things veteran moms and dads have learned over the years. Things as simple as passing along truths during TV commercials. Or connecting with your children as you tuck them in at night. Or learning how to laugh over spilt milk.

Some of the ideas are old-school secrets that were passed from one generation to the next; others deal with issues that would have never crossed Grandma and Grandpa’s minds. All of them are easy to implement.

This book is designed for a quick, breezy reading experience, letting parents pick and choose those ideas that will make their lives easier, their kids happier, and their futures even brighter.

I think I have been trying to write this review for two weeks. Finding time to sit and write this review has been hard. I totally understand what it means to be a busy family. So when I saw Quick Tips For Busy Families by Jay Payleinter, I was like “give me please!!!”

This is a quick and easy read….thank goodness. It is broken down into 144 different tips ranging from astronomy, to how to explain 911, to camping trips, or even taking home leftovers that are offered.

Not all of these were tips, some were experiences he had with his own kids. While some of the tips were good, others left me scratching my head. Some I thought were just common sense like “Barge Into Their World” or “Explain 911”.

I think over all this book is ok. It may be for parents of younger kids as just to prepare them for some of the crazy that could happen. Not all scenarios will fit with every family. So read the book and take what you will what is good for your family.

Vendor: Bethany House

Publication Date: 2017

 ISBN: 9781441230928

ISBN-13: 9781441230928

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Your Magnificent Chooser




We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. The choices we make play a large part in forming who we grow to be as adults. For kids, those choices can include whether to be obedient or disobedient, to share or be selfish, to have a good attitude or not, and more. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.

As my kids have gotten older one of the things that I miss is reading children books to them. They still like me to read to them but instead of Dr. Seuss, John Lithgow, or some of mom’s other favorites….it’s now J.K. Rowling, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, or some crazy book on snakes.

So any time I get to review a children book I do because I LOVE them. A good children’s book can stay with a kid their whole lives. So then, what of Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg??

First, what a great topic. It is something that I discuss with my kids even as they get older. The power of a good choice. I was excited the Ortberg touched on this topic with the younger generation.

The book itself is beautiful. Robert Dunn did very well with the illustrations. I loved the rhyming and how it was written. Something that was really cool was my youngest snuggled up and we read it together and he was confused. He wanted to know what the whole book meant so we had a talk about what it means to make a God honoring choice.

This is a book that will make a permanent place on our book shelves.

Number of Pages: 32
Vendor: Tyndale Kids

ISBN: 1496417429
ISBN-13: 9781496417428

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Is The Bible Good For Women?

bible good for women


Many, both inside and outside the church, are concerned that an orthodox understanding of the Bible is threatening and even harmful to women. After all, the Bible has a number of passages regarding women that are deeply troubling and hard to read.

But is that assessment accurate?

In this fascinating look at God’s work of redemption from Creation to today, Wendy Alsup explores questions such as: 
* How does God view justice and equal rights for women?
* What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
* How have the centuries distorted our interpretation of how God views women?
* How did Jesus approach the Old Testament and how does that help us read difficult passages today?
* What is the difference between a modern view of feminism and the feminism that Scripture models?
* How does the Bible explain the Bible to us?

Using a Jesus-centered understanding to look at both God’s grand storyline and specific biblical passages, Alsup gives practical, accessible tools for understanding the noble ways God speaks to and about women in its pages and the dignity He places on His daughters.


So, Is The Bible Good For Women? This title intrigued me. But, when I pulled it out of the box and my daughter read the title (and proceeded to say what a dumb question that is ….of course the Bible is good!)… I couldn’t help but wonder what I was getting myself into by reading this book.

And now that I have read it, my feelings are all over the place about it. This is a book that I would like to have a group of women read together with our Bibles right beside us and dig into the word for the truth that Alsup seems to be looking for. Alsup does her best to sift through scripture to determine God’s design/purpose for women.

She does start her book off in the introduction with a discussion on her opinion on gender itself. Which was completely unexpected and let for some really strong discussion with Erik and I. I also had the impression that sometimes Alsup was afraid to stand firm in her opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of opinions in the book and Alsup did her best to express them. In my opinion though this book should be used as a group discussion and not just a read alone book. This book needs to be argued and debated, not just ingested.


  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (March 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601429002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429001


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Kingdom Family Devotional

kingdom family


This new devotional from Dr. Tony Evans and his son Jonathan Evans will provide both single and married parents with a resource tool to maximize those family devotional times, such as the dinner hour or bedtime. The family virtues–based devotional provides 52 separate topics, one for each week of the year, and five devotionals within each topic that will guide devotional times Monday through Friday. This is a wonderful way to build a spiritually strong family week by week, day after day—a perfect way to head into the weekend. Topics range from the basics of the faith—such as salvation, spiritual warfare, prayer, forgiveness, and discipleship—to essentials of living as followers of Christ: money, prayer, family, friends, and priorities. The subject matter is simplified so even young children can grasp important concepts. This is a perfect resource for busy families.

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting into the word of God everyday. Not just for myself, but for my family as well. How will my husband lead if he isn’t in God’s word. How will my children get the foundation they need or even know where to get their answers from if not shown?

That is why I like family devotionals. The new family devotional from Tony Evans Kingdom Family Devotional is right up my family’s alley.

First it is a 52 week devotional!! Yeah a whole year!! Second it is broken down into weekly themes and then daily devotionals from there. Can I just say how much I adore the weekly theme! Doing a theme for the week helps to reinforce what you are talking about day to day.

I liked how it was simple. There were activities for the family to do together. Like dancing, writing your own worship song, even writing your own sermon. I do believe thought that this devotional is geared toward older kids. My youngest is 8 and wont be writing his own sermon but he may just go and preach one! I do think that this is a good devotional overall for the whole family.

Number of Pages: 288

Vendor: Focus on the Family

ISBN: 1589978552

ISBN-13: 9781589978553

I received this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

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Mark of the King

mark of the king


Sweeping Historical Fiction Set at the Edge of the Continent

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

Sometimes there comes a book, when you least expect it, that just exceeds all your expectations. Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green blew me away.

This is the first time I have read a book by Green and I have already begun to see where I can acquire her other books. This is one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read.

Green’s superb writing skills brought her characters to life. Julianne was amazing. Her character from beginning to end……oh seriously I felt that women’s pain being poured right onto the pages.

All the supporting characters from Lissette, to Marc-Paul Girard, Lilly, and even Dupree. There story lines and how they intertwined in each others lives, just so well done.

I must say that historical content of this book made my heart leap. I don’t recall ever reading a historical fiction book based in this time period or area. Green did not shy away at all from the hardships that people faced. Be warned there are some difficult topics dealt with in this book. Death, rape, miscarriages, and murder.

Truly though this book was one of the best I have ever read. I was drawn in before I even started reading the first chapter. In the first few pages Green wrote “To all who feel marked by judgement. May your life be marked by the grace of Jesus instead.” I loved those words. Read this book, you will not be disappointed.

Number of Pages: 400

Vendor: Bethany House

ISBN: 0764219065

ISBN-13: 9780764219061

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

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The Women of Easter

women of Easter


About The Women of Easter

This Season of Grace,
Deepen Your Faith in God
Who So Loved the World
that He Gave Us His Son.

You’re about to meet three women named Mary, each of whom has a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Mary of Bethany prepares the way for the Lord’s burial when she anoints His feet and fills the air with her perfume. His mother, Mary of Nazareth, remains by His side from His first breath to His last, her loyalty unwavering. Mary Magdalene, delivered of seven demons, bravely supports her Teacher through His darkest hours, then proclaims the glorious news of His resurrection.
What a trio. What a Savior!
Your mind and emotions will be engaged and your faith strengthened as each scene unfolds, preparing your heart for a richer, deeper Easter experience. Liz Curtis Higgs, a seasoned Bible teacher and award-winning novelist, combines her storytelling skills with a thorough verse-by-verse study of Scripture as together you explore the remarkable lives of The Women of Easter.

One of my many bad habits is that I tend to shy away from the “women” Bible studies, because well…..I have never considered myself girly. I just wanted the meat of scripture not a lot of extras.

But I couldn’t help but be drawn to this book. These three women, their lives were so drastically changed by Jesus. And that my friends is what it is all about.

Liz Curtis Higgs gives us a deep look into what the lives may have looked like for these women. With scripture and easy to read explanations Higgs dove deep into these women’s lives and how Jesus turned their worlds around.

I really did like this book. It was a good read that wasn’t overwhelming or over my head. It spoke to me not at me. There were many different Bible translations used in the explanations (I will let you decide if you like that or not). But many times she was going line through line of scripture explaining things. That I loved.

I don’t think this is just an Easter book as Jesus can change your life at any time in the year. It is defintely a good book if you want to dig deeper into the lives of these three women.

Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Waterbrook Press

ISBN: 1601426828
ISBN-13: 9781601426826

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
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