Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway - Control Girl


Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.

Thankfully, there is a better way.

Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and
about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.


Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by "Family Fun," "MOMsense," "Focus on the Family Magazine," and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True and has blogged for several years at "Control Girl" is her first book.

Find out more about Shannon at


As I was reading this book, I felt like the author was inside my head. I never thought of myself as a control girl, but as I read the book, I realized I am! This book has helped me to let go of my controlling tendencies and, in the process, create less stress in my life!

There are nine sections to this book and each one focuses on a woman of the Bible...a woman who had her own control issues and how these issues controlled or changed her life. The sections are broken down into lessons that you can do each day or over several days. There is Scripture to meditate on (one of my favorite parts of the book!) and questions for us to think about or something to write out. I liked this part, too, because it helped me to figure out where I need to let go of control and give it to God. There were areas I had never thought about my control making things harder in my life and this helped me to figure out where I could change this control.

I love how honest and open Shannon is about her own control issues. There's no preaching at you feeling with this book - just a "been there, done that" quality and the feeling she's a friend who is going to help you let go of trying to control it all. A friend who wants to encourage us to make God a bigger part of our life so we can give our concerns to Him.

I like this book so much and I am definitely going to go through it again. It would make a wonderful small group study or a study to do with a friend. I have enjoyed doing it on my own and have gained so much from it. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my LitFuse Publicity Group


Click on the graphic below to enter the giveaway for this wonderful book!

Control Girl Shannon Popkin

Blessings - Julie

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway - Designed to Pray


Creative Ways to Engage With God - Designed to Pray is an eight-week adventure that will infuse passion and creativity into your communication with God. Kelly intends to help people who think prayer is an "exclusive language reserved for holy men and women clothed in velvet robes and large hats, intoning grand words in powerful voices." Her book is for anyone who is looking for a way to simmer on scripture and focus on prayer more creatively. Designed to Pray is a way to visualize the words of scripture through: praying, writing, drawing, and exploring.


I absolutely love this book!! It has made my prayer time and life so much more meaningful. As a creative person, I've so enjoyed doing the different activities that bring my God-given creative talents into my time of praying to Him.

This is an eight week book that will spark your creativity and your conversation with God. There is a small reading and activity for each day and each one builds on the previous. There isn't a lot of pressure with this book and that's what I loved about it. It's really about having a relationship with God through our prayers and creativity. I really love that the author emphasizes that there shouldn't be pressure when doing this.

This book has become my prayer journal and I've enjoyed doing the activities as well as focusing on my prayers in a new way. There are several areas where you can color in the already printed pictures and that has become a quiet time activity for me. I haven't finished picture in one setting but have used it as my activity to do when I am really focusing on my most heart-felt prayers about things that are bothering me most.

This book has brought new life into my prayer life and I have loved that I can take my time going through each day. I really love this book and I believe you will, too. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by BlogAbout


I have a copy of this wonderful book to give away! Please leave me a comment on this post to be entered into my giveaway and be a follower of my blog. I will pick a winner randomly next week. 

Blessings - Julie 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Review - The Dog Who Was There


He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.

Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.


Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, "Notes to an Actor," was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, "About Grief," has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare's sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV-from "Lost" to "West Wing" to "Entourage" to originating the role of Mr. Casper on "Freaks and Geeks"-and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie "Illusion," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on "Major Crimes." He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.

Find out more about Ron at


I thought this was so interesting and unusual. I really enjoyed reading it.

This book is unlike any other book I've read in that it's from the perspective of a sweet little dog named, Barley. His story is during the time of Jesus' ministry and we are given a totally different look at how Christ affected those around Him.

Little Barley has been through a lot. He has been loved well but he has also been mistreated. It's those parts of the book that really tugged at my heart and I had to actually put the book down for a bit. It was a realistic look at how animals were treated during that time and sometimes life can be difficult. That's the thing that I was so impressed with - like Barley, our lives can be difficult and yet there is hope in Jesus and that's what we see throughout this book.

I especially loved the major transformations we see when people accept Christ. The story comes full circle in that we are introduced to people in the beginning on the book and we see how their lives end up at the end.

To see Jesus through the eyes of this sweet little dog was so fun and Barley was almost child-like in how he viewed others around him and the faith he always had himself. I love that he still tries to see the good in people even though he has been mistreated. I absolutely love dogs and to have him as the center of this book was really a delight. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group

Blessings - Julie

Monday, February 6, 2017

Counting Our Blessings - LinkUp

Greetings, friends. I hope you're having more blessings than disappointments. Either way, remember that God is with you and loves you!

In case you're wondering, I start from 1 at the beginning of each new year but have way more blessings if I go back and add them all up! :)

I picked a random winner for my Bible study giveaway last week and my winner is Kathy Lynn. I have sent you an email, Kathy, and if you'll send me your shipping address, I will get these Bible studies out to you. Congratulations!

9.  I've been working on my faith journaling - specifically - my Documented Faith journal. I enjoy doing this so much and focusing on my faith and all God has promised me. Here are three pages that I finished recently.

I've used the art from my Adorn-it book and colored it in using my alcohol based markers. I also used favorite washi tapes and other little things that make me smile.

10.  I did another little cross stitch ornament finish. Here's my little kitty in her Christmas sock. I think she's just too adorable!

She's another little ornament from my British magazine, Enjoy Cross Stitch. I do so many of the patterns in these magazines - I definitely get my money's worth out of them! lol

11.  Here's the two sweet girls playing with their LambChop toy. You can see it lying on the floor with all the stuffing gone. I got them two new ones last time I went to the store. They continue to be their absolute favorite toys. These two just make me smile and bless me so much!

What are your blessings? Please share on the linky below!

Blessings - Julie

Monday, January 30, 2017

Women of Faith - Bible Study Review & Giveaway!


Giving God Your Future foreword from Thelma Wells. "It sure makes life a lot easier to handle when all the responsibility of planning your future is left up to the Master of the Future." - Thelma.

In this book you will explore what Scripture says about giving everything to God and surrendering to Him. Throughout the 12 lessons you will be able to pray your way to giving up control and give Him your future. This study looks at what the Bible says about trusting God enough to give Him our all and being able to say, "Not my will, but Yours be done."


When I saw these studies, I knew that I was going to love them all, but especially, the study by Thelma Wells called GIVING GOD YOUR FUTURE. I have loved the teaching of Thelma Wells for many years and this study title resonated very much for me.

Many of us worry about our futures and fret about what our futures hold. This study gives us the tools, through Scripture, to give our futures to God and entrust to Him the plans He has for us.

There are Twelve Chapters and each one has a series of questions whose answers are easily found by looking them up in your Bible. There are also very inspiring quotes on most pages from favorite Christian women teachers. At the end of each chapter there is a Ponder and Pray Section. In this, Thelma encourages and leads you how to pray over what you have learned. After this section, there is a Section called Trinkets to Treasure. This section gives you an object to think about that reminds you of God's promises for your future. I also like that there is a full page for making notes and prayer requests at the end of the chapters.

You can easily do a chapter per week, dividing the questions into two or three per day so you can really focus on them. I enjoyed doing it on my own, during my quiet time, however, is would be a great small group study.

This study helps you to dig deep into the Word of God and you have a much deeper understanding of Him and all that He holds for your future. I highly recommend this study and give it 5 out of 5 stars.


I was also given a copy of the studies BUILDING YOUR STRENGTHS by Patsy Clairmont and PRAYING WITH POWER by Patsy Clairmont. Both of these studies are written in the same format as the one that I read and reviewed. They are excellent studies, as well, and will draw you deeper into the Word of God

*These studies were provided to me for my honest review by the Blythe Daniel Agency



I was very generously given another set of the studies to give away!  The winner of this giveaway will win all three studies!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me which study sounds most exciting to you. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced next week.

Blessings - Julie