Monday, November 30, 2009

"God Gave Us..." Books by Lisa T. Bergren ~ A Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to review two awesome children's books by Lisa T. Bergren. She's written other "God Gave Us" books, like "God Gave Us You," "God Gave Us Two," and "God Gave Us Heaven." You may be familiar with them. If not, and you have young children (or grandchildren like me), you should really check these books out! They are wonderfully written and also beautifully illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. Since I often work in our church nursery, I brought them along with me on Sunday, to share with the little ones there.

I love the way the author has Mama Bear explains to her daughter, Little Cub, that God is so much more important than Santa...and that God gave us Christmas by sending His son to us...which of course, is the greatest gift ever given. She doesn't say there is no Santa, or put the tradition of him down in any way...she just points out that God is the one we should be seeking, instead of the jolly old elf, himself. That's a good reminder to all of us, this Christmas season. If you would like to read more about this book, you can check it out at

The latest book in Lisa's "God Gave Us" series is, "God Gave Us Love." Again, this is a very heartwarming story with a biblical principal that we could all use a reminder of from time to time. In this book, Grampa Bear illustrates to Little Cub, how we all need to love others, even when they're not being very those pesky otters who keep scaring the fish away while they're fishing...and even Little Cub's baby twin siblings at home, who can also be rather pesky and annoying at times. My grandson and the children I read these books to at church, really loved them. Do you have a young child or two on your Christmas list? I would highly recommend both books, and they would make excellent gifts for any child on your list. God Gave Us Love can be purchased from for $10.99.

These books were provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

In God Gave Us Love, Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, and the young polar bear begins to ask questions like why must we love others . . . even the seemingly unlovable? Why is it easier to love those we like? Where does love come from? And why does God love her so much? Grampa Bear patiently addresses each one of Little Cub’s curiosities by explaining the different kinds of love we can share: the love between friends, the love between families, the love between moms and dads, and the love for God.

He also assured Little Cub that because of the love God has given her through his Son, there’s nothing she can do to make God love her any more or any less. Through Grampa Bear’s encouraging Little Cub to love others with a “God-sized love,” children will be inspired to love others and to be patient, gentle and kind, so that in every way, they too can demonstrate God’s love.

In God Gave Us Christmas, as Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear has something on her mind: “Who 'vented Christmas?” she asks. “Is God more important than Santa?”
Her questions reflect the confusion of so many children during the holiday season. And this heartwarming story takes them on a wonderful journey of discovery—right to the heart of Christmas. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns that God loves her and everyone— polar bear, moose, or human—so much that he gave us Jesus, the very best gift of all.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave us Love follows in Lisa's classic tradition of the best-selling "God Gave Us You." She lives in Colorado with her husband Tim and their children, Olivia, Emma and Jack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure!

Yesterday, a couple of blogger friends and I had an awesome opportunity! We got to go to a sneak preview of "Hal and Holly Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure," at the Mall of America theaters. We were each allowed to bring one special guest. My friends each brought one of their preschool age children, and I brought my grandson CJ, who lives with me at the moment.

BURBANK, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2009) – ABC Family and Build-A-Bear Workshop® are coming together to create a little holiday “hoofla” this season as the network debuts an animated special that marks the first time in the retailer’s 12-year history that its plush animals are brought to life on television.

"Holly and Hal MooseTM: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure,” a one-hour feature movie, makes its nationwide premiere on ABC Family on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 PM ET/PT (with an encore presentation on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 10 AM ET/PT). The television special is based on a book and series of webisodes that introduced Holly and Hal Moose last year and captured their holiday antics, powerful imaginations and love of adventure.

We arrived at the Mall and had to find our way to the movie theater. When we got there, we were surprised to find Holly and Hal there (in person) to greet us, before the movie!

Here's Sassyfrazz's little girl, giving Holly a big hug.

Here's the movie stars, Hal and Holly.

They were super excited to be starring in their very first film!
I even got a couple of pics of the movie itself. The kids really enjoyed the show. The story was mostly about following your dreams, (Hal has always dreamed of flying with Santa's reindeer),
But there are other good elements to this tale as well, for example, when Holly, (the older sibling) is asked to watch her younger brother after school, she's forced to make the tough choice between going to her friend's party and doing as her mother as her mother'll have to tune into the movie on Tuesday to find out what she chose...but of course, just as every good children's Christmas story goes...our heroes, Hal and Holly ultimately end up saving the day, when "the storm of the century" threatens to cancel Christmas!

Don't forget to tune in to ABC Family, Tuesday 11/24 at 7pm Eastern, 6pm Central. There will also be an encore presentation on Saturday, 11/28 at 10am. For those of you who do not have access to ABC Family (we don't), this cute new holiday movie will also be available on DVD, starting on Wednesday, 11/25. I'm sure we'll have to go pick up a copy. CJ just came in and told me he wants to watch it again!

Here's my grandson, CJ and me.

And below, is Lisa (QTPies) and Sarah (Sassyfrazz) with their little ones. Did you know that Holly Moose actually has her own blog as well? You can go to Holly's blog to get more info and previews of this fun adventure!

The movie was a very fun treat...but wait...there's more! Courtesy of Build-A-Bear Workshops, we were also invited to their store after the show, to make our own Hal and Holly Moose pair to take home! They provided the animals, as compensation for our reviews, but any clothing or added items, like sounds or accessories were extra.

Our experience at Build-A-Bear Workshop was awesome! This nice lady led our group through the entire process. First, we had to bring our mooses (meese?) to the stuffing machine.

Each of the children took their turn stepping on a foot pump to make the machine work. Below, is Maddie stuffing her "Holly" while CJ and Sam look on.

CJ's turn to stuff his Hal.

Next, our helper tightens up the pre-sewn threads at the back of each moose. Just before this happened, we were all instructed to pick out a heart for each animal, because after all...everyone needs to have a heart, right? Also, if you choose to put a sound into your creation...this is the time to put that in, as well. I chose to put the song, "Jingle Bell Rock" in Molly's Holly.

The next step, is "fluffing" our new little buddies...CJ seemed to take this job quite seriously.

There is another foot pump here, which causes air to blow on the animal, while it is being brushed. Next, we picked out clothes for them. We all decided to dress them in their signature outfits from the movie, but they have quite a large selection of clothing available for purchase.

At the movie premiere, we had each received a Build-A-Bear backpack too, (gotta love swag) we put our new little buddies in the backpacks for the kiddos to carry around, it was so cute!

Here's our little threesome in front of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

I love this picture of one of the huge trees at the MOA, with the three little ones looking waaay up to the top. The tree was humongous, it was at least 3 stories tall!

We had to stop and take a picture of Nickelodeon Universe, on our way to the food court for lunch. Shortly after lunch, we had a bit of a scare. As Lisa was throwing our garbage away, 3 year-old Sam wandered a very crowded MOA food court at lunch time! This is an experience that many of us mothers/grandmas have had before, and we tried not to panic...but I think we all earned another gray hair or two at that moment. Thankfully, in probably less than a minute or two, mother and child were reunited! Whew!!

Here's CJ and his pal, Hal on the way home.

Molly was very excited to meet "Holly" and CJ has been carrying "Hal" around everywhere, ever since his good friend was made! He even attended church with us this morning. Thank you, thank you, Build-A-Bear!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Fall Fiction!

I haven't been feeling all that well lately, whether it was just your old fashioned, ordinary common cold, a flu virus, or perhaps even the dreaded "swine flu." I'm not really sure, but I was thankful to have a couple of good books, Provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah, for my reviewal, to read while I was resting and trying to get better.

The first one I read, was Melody Carlson's "Limelight." I found this book a little hard to get into, to begin with, but once I did, it was quite entertaining. Claudette Fiore' grew up in a small northern California town, with her sister, but eventually, she moved to Hollywood, and married a movie director. Because of that, she has known nothing but the finer things in life for the past 60 years, and has always had servants to do all the mundane daily tasks of life, such as, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping etc. Until...for reasons I won't go into here, she finds herself living back in her childhood home, having to figure out things for herself. It's quite comical, in an "I Love Lucy" sort of way... Limelight is available from

Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

The second one, was "Leaving Carolina" by Tamara Leigh. This was a surprisingly fun book to read. At first glance, I wasn't sure it was anything I'd be interested in, but I found the author's witty humor, exceptional. She was very good at conveying Piper's thoughts, and self-talk, that I'm pretty sure we all do, in the privacy of our own minds. It was a very entertaining read...but it also highlights a lot of biblical truths along the way. I'm looking forward to reading more about Piper "Wick" and her family. To check it out for yourself, click here.

Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s. Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shadow Government by Grant R. Jeffrey ~ Book Review

All I could say as I read this book was, WOW! This is incredible! If what the author is saying in it is actually true, then everyone in the U. S. should read it. According to this book, if you think you have any privacy left at ALL, you are sadly mistaken. It was a real eye-opener for me. It talks about two different types of "shadow government," one being the officials that are standing by even as you read this, to take over our country in the event that something catastrophic were to happen that would prevent the current government leaders from continuing in their positions of authority.
The author also, puts everything in perspective, as far as the biblical prophecies...the last days...the mark of the beast and so on. It really is a compelling, if somewhat scary book. If this is something you'd like to know more about, you can get your own copy at
Here is a summary of the book:
Security cameras, surveillance of private financial transactions, radio frequency spy chips hidden in consumer products, eavesdropping on e-mail correspondence and phone calls, and Internet tracking. No one is protected, and privacy is a thing of the past.
An ultra-secret global elite, functioning as a very real shadow government, controls technology, finance, international law, world trade, political power, and vast military capabilities. These unnamed, unrivaled leaders answer to no earthly authority, and they won’t stop until they control the world.
In Shadow Government, prophecy expert Grant Jeffrey removes the screen that, up to now, has hidden the work of these diabolical agents. Jeffrey reveals the biblical description of Satan’s global conquest and identifies the tools of technology that the Antichrist will use to rule the world.
Readers will have their eyes opened to the real power that is working behind the scenes to destroy America and merge it into the coming global government. Armed with this knowledge, readers will be equipped to face spiritual darkness with the light of prophetic truth.
About the Author:
Grant R. Jeffrey is the internationally known prophecy researcher, Mideast expert, and author of Countdown to the Apocalypse, The New Temple and the Second Coming, The Next World War, and twenty other best-selling books. He is also the editor of the Prophecy Study Bible. His popular television program, Bible Prophecy Revealed, airs weekly on TBN. Jeffrey earned his master’s and PhD degrees from Louisiana Baptist University. He and his wife, Kaye, live in Toronto.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wisdom Huner by Randall Arthur ~ Book Review

If you're looking for an exciting read, this book is for you! It was originally released in 1991, and became a best seller at that time. It was not a book that I likely would have chosen myself, but I enjoyed it. The main character in this novel is Pastor Jason Faircloth. He's been a pastor of the North Metro Church of Atlanta for 11 years, and has a master's degree in theology. However, he is very much caught up in legalism, and because he is so hard on his teenage daughter, she decides to run away from home. Pastor Jason prays fervently for her for over a year and a half, asking God to protect his daughter and bring her home. Meanwhile, we learn what is really going on with her in another part of the country...
Through losing almost everything this man has, and going through some very harrowing experiences, he comes to the knowledge that Christianity is not all about "religion", but that it has much more to do with having a personal relationship with Christ. I would recommend it to anyone who likes stories of suspense, but it also has a great message.
You can purchase your own copy from
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Pastor Jason Faircloth knows what he believes. His clear faith, in fact, is why he is one of the most prominent pastors in Atlanta. He relies on it to discipline his daughter, his wife, his church. He prays daily that others would come to see God's ways as he does. And it will cost him everything he has.
Groping for answers in the face of tragedy, Jason determines to find the one person left who might provide healing: the granddaughter kept hidden from him. His search takes him on an international adventure --and deep into his tormented soul.
A fast-paced suspense novel rich in spiritual depth, Wisdom Hunter explores what it means to break free of Christian legalism and discover how grace can make the difference between life and death.
Author Bio:
Randall Arthur is the bestselling author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He and his wife have served as missionaries to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken numerous missions teams from the United States on trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

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