Friday, May 24, 2013

Space Warriors Giveaway & Blog App

I have the opportunity to give away a Space Warriors Blu-ray Combo Pack below free for posting this information. All information and giveaway prizes are provided by Walden Family Theater and PartnersHub.

Walden Family Theater is proud to announce the Space Warriors Blog App & a chance to Win a Family Trip to Space Camp!

Watch Space Warriors on Hallmark Channel May 31st at 8/7C for your chance to win a trip for the whole family to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Space Camp! Keep an eye out for the secret keyword for a chance to go on location where Space Warriors was filmed and train like a real astronaut!

In Space Warriors, six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition but they don’t realize that they will be forced to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches.

Starring: Thomas Horn, Danny Glover, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino and Booboo Stewart.

Space Warriors is the second film in the Walden Family Theater original lineup featuring great family entertainment, airing Friday nights exclusively on Hallmark Channel. Walden Family Theater is creating films for the whole family to enjoy together, so make sure to mark your calendars and gather around the television to watch all the great upcoming films!

Past films include: "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, "Holes", "Nim's Island", "Charlotte's Web", and "Return to Nim's Island."

Official Space Warriors Website:
Official Space Warriors Trailer:

Announcing the Space Warriors Blog App from Walden Family Theater & a chance to Win a Family Trip to Space Camp!

Blog App:
  • Win a Family Trip to SPACE CAMP! - Tune in to Space Warriors on Hallmark Channel May 31 at 8/7c for the secret keyword to win a family trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp!
  • How Spacey Are You? QUIZ - Are you a Space Warrior? Do you use the stars to navigate your journeys instead of the map function on your smartphone? Take this quiz to find out whether you're destined to orbit the cosmos or whether you're happiest living here on this planet.
  • Prepare for Blast-off! Space Warriors Viewing Guide - Mark your calendars for May 31st and check off the boxes as you watch Space Warriors for the most spectacular, spaciest experience!
  • Get Social With It! Tweet with the #SpaceWarriors hashtag to get excited about tuning in on May 31st for the secret keyword and a chance to win a family trip to #SpaceCamp!

Prize: Space Warriors (Blu-ray + DVD + VUDU Digital Copy) (Walmart Exclusive).

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about the Space Warriors Blog App I am getting a Space Warriors Blu-ray Combo Pack free for my readers as a giveaway. Thanks to PartnersHub and Walden Family Theater for providing me this promotion information and free product. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this blog app and giveaway.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Katie's Choice by Amy Lillard FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

B&H Books (May 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Laurel Teague for sending me a review copy.***


Amy Lillard is an award-winning writer who loves reading romance novels from contemporary to Amish. These two genres met in her first book, 2012's Saving Gideon. Born and bred in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. To find out more about Amy and her books, please visit her online at


Katie Rose Fisher loved Samuel Beachy with an intensity that shook their Amish district. No one doubted they would one day marry, until Samuel turned his back on the church and joined the world of the English. Alone now in Clover Ridge, Katie Rose dedicates her life to God and the school children she teaches each day. Although she secretly longs for more, Katie knows God’s hand is at work, and she is happy. News correspondent Zane Carson never even knew Oklahoma had an Amish community until he got the chance to live among them and learn about their day-to-day activities. Their simple way of life is intriguing, but not half as much as the young teacher. Katie Rose is flattered over the attention she receives from Zane, but she has resolved to never marry. Even if she were to entertain the idea, it surely couldn’t be with an outsider like Zane. Never one prone to the restraints of organized religion, Zane finds a comfort in the rituals and blessings in the day to day righteous living of this small Amish community. He finds himself, God, and love with Katie Rose. But as Zane draws closer to Katie Rose, Samuel comes back to repent his ways and return to his place at her side. Can Zane convince Katie Rose that he is committed to adapting to her way of life, or will Samuel win her affections back for himself once again?

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433677539
ISBN-13: 978-1433677533


Are you ready to go back out on assignment?” The phone line crackled slightly on the last word, but he thought Jolene Davidson, senior editor for Around the World magazine, had said “assignment.”

Zane Carson sat up in a hurry. He’d been lounging on the couch watching reruns of Happy Days when he should have been at his physical therapy session. But he just wasn’t up to another round of incredibly boring exercises with the commando instructor. No sir, he just couldn’t do it again today. He’d been a little contemplative lately.

Okay, so he had been downright depressed. But who wouldn’t be? One bullet and his entire life had been put on hold. His entire life had changed. He’d been sent home, grounded, and for once he’d started to think about the future. His future. His and Monica’s.

“Of course I am,” he lied. But what better way to prove to everyone that he was ready to hit the red zone than jumping on the horse, so to speak?

“Are you sitting down?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” Jo was always one for drama. If she weren’t such a wordsmith, she could have been an actress instead. “Lay it on me.”

“Oklahoma Amish country.”

“Come again?” Surely he heard her wrong, because he thought she’d said—

“Oklahoma Amish country.”

He leaned forward. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about you . . . going to Oklahoma . . . and living among the Amish to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be part of such a community.”

“Jolene, I am a war correspondent. That means I cover wars.” He purposefully made his voice sound like he was talking to a four-year-old. When would they accept that he was ready to go back out into the field? Maybe ready was a bad word, but he needed to get back out there, if only to prove that he could.

“Now, Carson, this is an important assignment—”

“Jolene, there aren’t many wars in Oklahoma, and there certainly aren’t any in Amish territory.”


“Whatever.” He flopped back on the sofa, then grimaced as he jarred his healing shoulder. “Aren’t they conscientious objectors?”

“You’ve been calling every day asking for an assignment.”

He hadn’t called today and look where that got him.

“Now they want to give you one. You can’t turn it down if you ever want to get back into the red zone.”

She was right. But . . . “Did you say Oklahoma?” Did they even have an Amish community? Why not Pennsylvania? Everybody knew about Lancaster County.

“Everybody knows about Lancaster County. We’re looking for something different—smaller settlement, tighter surrounding community. Alternate worship right there in the buckle of the Bible Belt.”

Zane didn’t know if he would call their manner of religion “alternate,” but what did he know about such things? He’d never been to church. His parents had preferred to worship nature and his uncle hadn’t had time for that sort of thing.

“I need you to do this for me.” Those quietly spoken words held a wealth of information. “You do this and I’ll make sure you get the Juarez assignment.”

“I thought Douglas was in Mexico.”

“He’s ready to come home, but he’s willing to stay until we can find a suitable replacement.”

Juarez, Mexico. Where innocent people died for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was dangerous, very dangerous, this war on drugs. And exactly where Zane wanted to be. Jo knew that, and she used that information to her advantage.

He sighed. “When do you want me there?”

“Day after tomorrow.”

That didn’t give him much time. Zane pushed his fingers through his hair. It needed a cut, but it seemed like even that would have to wait. At least he was going back to work. Sort of. He really didn’t consider an assignment like this work. How challenging could it be? Amish. Right. But with Mexico dangling in front of him, what choice did he have?

“You’ll fly Chicago to Tulsa. There’s a driver who will pick you up and take you to Clover Ridge. And . . .” she paused for dramatic effect. “I’ve arranged for you to stay with a host family.”

“Wait. What? Hold on.” Zane ran his hands down the legs of his faded jeans and tried to get a handle on the information she just dumped on him. “A driver? Why do I need a driver? What about a car?”

Jolene sighed in an aren’t-you-just-the-silliest-thing kind of way that set his teeth on edge. “Zane, the Amish don’t drive cars.”

What had he gotten himself into?

“You’re going there to learn how to live like them, give the world an inside perspective. You certainly can’t do that if you’re zipping all over the place in a rental.”

That might be true, but he was sure he could get the feel for the lifestyle without being stranded in podunk Oklahoma with no means of transportation. But he knew better than to argue with Jo when she thought she was being brilliant. “Define ‘host family.’”

“Basically there’s a family, let me see here . . .” Zane could hear her shuffling papers. “The Fishers. You’re going to stay with them, and learn how to live like the Amish.”

“And what do they get out of the deal?”

She paused. “The satisfaction of helping their fellow man?”

He shook his head. “Helping their fellow man sell countless magazines and make lots of money. Isn’t that a little . . . un-Amish?” Even writers were sometimes at a loss for words. But someone once told him that the Amish weren’t interested in making money and getting ahead. They only earned what they needed to in order to care for their families. Or maybe he had read it in a magazine during one of his countless layovers.

“The mom has cancer. They’re hoping that the exposure will help bring more people into the community and thereby raise enough money to cover the medical costs.”

That seemed a little out of character too. But what he knew about the Amish could fit on the back of a postage stamp—with room to spare.

Host family usually meant an in-depth study, a series of articles, and quite a bit of time away from home. Zane glanced around his tiny apartment. He was so sick at looking at these walls. Maybe an assignment like this was worth getting out for. “How long are we talking about here?”

“Three months.”

“Are you insane? Three months?” He flipped the calendar to October. Three months would get him back to Chicago at the first of the year. “I’ll be gone during Christmas.”

Jolene snickered. “I thought you might like to spend the holidays with someone other than me.”

Truth was he’d never spent any personal time with Jo at the holidays, or any other time for that matter, but he was one of the few reporters at Around the World that had no family to speak of. No one would miss him if he were on assignment Christmas Day. Not even Monica. Well, she might miss him, but she would understand. Not that it mattered. It’d never been a big holiday for him before or after his parents died.

“And you’re sure it’s okay with them?” The Amish were a tight-knit group, and the last thing he wanted was to invade their inner sanctum. He’d been in war-torn countries with bullets whizzing past his head like fiery hail, he’d suffered discrimination of being the only white face in the jungles of Africa, but there was no way he’d overrun someone’s private time with their family. That was not a road he wanted to travel down.

“Are you worried, Zane?” She said this, but what she really meant was, Are you going soft on me?

“Not at all.”

“Good, then. They’ll be expecting you on Thursday. I’ll send over the specs on the angle we’d like to see. This is a serious assignment, Zane. We want it all—interviews, pictures, the works.”

“Got it.”

“In the meantime, it’s probably best to start your own research. You’d better get on it though. You only have a day and a half to learn how to live like the Amish.”


Soft music played in the dimly lit restaurant. Zane smoothed a hand down his tie, resisting the urge to loosen it. He was certain the maitre d’ would frown upon anything less than perfection from his diners. And the noose was for a good cause. He glanced at his dinner companion.

To call Monica Cartwright pretty was the understatement of the century. With her silky, black hair, flawless complexion, and petite frame, beautiful didn’t seem to cover it either. Gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking—those came close. Or maybe it was the way she carried herself, with a self-assurance that came from old money. Why she had set her sights on a footloose vagrant like him was beyond comprehension.

He wasn’t going to examine it too closely, though, but instead ride it for all it was worth. He absently fingered the little black box he’d tucked away in his suit coat. Tonight was a special night. And he had yet to tell her about his sojourn into the land of the backward.

That wasn’t fair. He was sure the Amish were good people, but he needed to be in the thick of things. That’s what made him tick, made him feel alive. What had Jo talked him into this time? Amish. She had better deliver on Mexico the minute he returned.


He lifted his gaze to Monica, only then aware he’d been staring at the menu without even reading it.

She shifted in her seat. “You’re a million miles away.” The immaculate navy blue cocktail dress hugged her like a second skin and matched her eyes to perfection.

“Sorry.” He smoothed his tie once again. She was probably sensing his unease. He’d have to tell her eventually about his assignment. She’d be disappointed, but she understood the business. Even if the magazine she worked for was owned by dear old Dad, Monica prided herself on working her way into her current position as staff editor of Talk of the Town magazine. Of course, she wrote about Chanel lipstick and Louboutin shoes, not the harsh realities of war. But she understood.

Of all the days to get an assignment.

“It’s all right.”

He was about to spill the news when the waiter came to take their order. One prime rib and one frou-frou salad later, he couldn’t hold it in any longer.

“I got an assignment today.”

“Oh.” Crestfallen was the only word he could think of to describe her expression. Of course, she thought he was going back to the Middle East.

“It’s an easy assignment.”

She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment, then gave him a sad, brave smile. “Where are you going?” For all her talk about accepting his job, he knew it wouldn’t be easy for her when he headed off to Mexico.


Her brows rose. “Are you joking?”

“I wish I was. It’s a crazy assignment, but if I want to get back out in the field, then I have to go.”

“I understand.” She looked down, seemingly captivated by the pattern on the ends of their flatware.

He hated the resigned slump of her shoulders. “It’s only for three months.”

“That’s not bad.” There was that brave smile again.

He shook his head. “There’s something else I want to talk to you about.”

She took a sip of water, watching him over the rim.

Zane’s hand started to tremble. Surely a natural reaction. After all, it wasn’t every day a man got engaged. He pulled the velvet box from his suit pocket and placed it on the table in front of him.

Her sapphire eyes grew wide. “Zane, I—”

He shook his head, effectively cutting off whatever she was about to say. “Just hear me out.” He took a deep breath, then flipped open the top of the ring box to expose the sparkling ruby and diamond engagement ring inside. Another breath. “Monica, I’ve always been something of a loner. I guess it’s in my genes, but getting shot made me stop and think about the future. That’s when I realized I didn’t have one. At least, not one that I was looking forward to.”

He cleared his throat and dropped down on one knee beside her. “Monica Cartwright, will you marry me?” His voice cracked on the last word, but she didn’t seem to notice.

She looked from the box on the table to the knot in his tie, but made no move toward the ring. “I don’t know what to say.” She didn’t meet his gaze.

“I believe this is where you’re supposed to say yes.”

“Oh, Zane.” Her voice was filled with anguish and indecision instead of the happy love that he’d been expecting. She tugged on his sleeve. “Stand up. Stand up.”

Zane rose, then sat in his chair, wondering where his proposal had gotten off track.

“What about your job?”

He shrugged, his shoulders stiff. Then he tried to laugh it off. “I’ll need to keep it, don’t you think? We’ll still have bills to pay.”

She dropped her gaze to her lap. “You’ll be gone most of the time.”

He reached across the table and took her hands into his own. “I was laying there in that hospital bed wondering if each sight was going to be my last and all I could think about was you. And the future. That’s how those soldiers do it, babe. They can go over there and fight because they know they have someone to come home to. I need you to be my someone.”

Tears filled her eyes, but she blinked them back. “I don’t know, Zane. I—I just don’t know.”

This was not the response he’d expected. In all fairness he was asking a lot. For her to wait on him, to wonder and worry, raise their family and never know if he’d return in one piece. But they weren’t the only couple facing the same prospects in this time of war. Others survived. They could too.

He picked up the ring box, snapped it shut, and pressed it into her hand. “You think about it while I’m gone, okay?”

She nodded and slipped the box into her evening bag. “It’s not that I don’t love you—”

“Shh. I know.” He pressed one finger to her lips. “We’ll talk about it when I get back.”


Engaged. He was engaged. Well, almost engaged. He’d taken Monica by surprise was all. And now this assignment. He was counting on the old absence makes the heart grow fonder thing to kick in while he was gone. She’d come around to his way of thinking. He was certain of it.

Engaged. It was a weird thought. There was someone waiting for him to return. Someone who counted on him to come back and continue their relationship without question. The idea was as foreign to Zane as the landscape whizzing past.

As promised, a driver named Bill had met Zane at the airport. Bill was more than willing to talk about the weather, the trees, and how the University of Oklahoma football team was playing this season, but Zane didn’t think it was the time to drill him for secrets into the culture he was entering. Bill wasn’t Amish.

“Mennonite,” he supplied with a smile and a glance in Zane’s direction.

“And what would you say the primary difference is?” Zane asked. “Besides driving.” He’d been a little surprised that the driver was also of the Anabaptist sect, though he wouldn’t have known it if the chatty Bill hadn’t volunteered the info.

“Well, now, there are quite a few differences. ’Course you got your Old Order Amish and your New Order Amish, they differ greatly as well.”

“And Clover Ridge?”

“Definitely Old Order.”

Zane nodded. Not that he understood any of what that meant. He wished he’d done a little more research. All he could remember about the Amish was the tragic shooting several years ago and that they seemed to be a loving and forgiving sort of people. He had been in Bosnia when it happened, so all his info had been filtered by the time it reached him.

“I thought Oklahoma was flat and dusty.” Zane gestured toward the green grass. The sky was colored a pristine blue, and the hills seemed to roll on forever into the distance. Sort of reminded him of Oregon and the commune where he grew up. At least how he remembered Oregon.

Bill laughed. “Not this part. You’re in what’s called Green Country. Out in western Oklahoma, it’s like that. Dry prairie. But neither side lives in teepees.”

Zane turned to face him, questions on the tip of his tongue.

Bill’s eyes twinkled.

Must be an inside joke, Zane thought, and leaned back in his seat.

The rest of the trip flew by in a blur of unexpected green. Bill pointed out a few more things along the way—mistletoe, the state flower, and the scissor-tailed flycatcher, the state bird. And in less time than it would have taken him to drive from his apartment to downtown, they were entering Clover Ridge.

The town was a mixed oddity of old and new. There was a McDonalds and a Walgreens, but somehow they had managed to keep the Walmart invasion at bay. A general store named Anderson’s sat next to the post office, then a lumberyard, and a Dairy Queen.

But most interesting of all were the buggies hitched to horses and tethered in front of all the stores. At least they weren’t in the drive-through line at Mickey D’s, he thought, hiding a smile.

In no time at all, they pulled into a long dirt drive lined with wooden fences on both sides. Across the road from the turn, a field had been left fallow, the rich, dark earth looking like no soil he had ever seen. A small wooden shanty stood at the edge of the field, seeming too new for the rest of the farm.

“Here we are.” Bill pulled the car to a stop in front of a rambling white house that looked like it had been added on to several times.

A big red barn stood opposite the haphazard structure, a pasture with no end spreading behind it. The yard itself teemed with life. Chickens, dogs, cats, geese, and even a duck strutted around pecking at bugs and giving the occasional cat a chase.

Bill didn’t even honk the horn. At the sound of the car’s engine, three people rushed from the house to the porch. Zane stepped from the car, looking from them to the stern-faced man coming from the barn, the obvious Amish patriarch.

Before he could utter one word of greeting, Bill raised his hand toward the elder man. “Abram Fisher. I’ve brought your new house guest.”

Abram raised his hand in return. “Bill Foster. It is good to see you.” The men shook hands and clapped each other on the back as Zane watched the group on the porch. A tall, slender woman stood in the center of the fray, most likely Abram’s wife. What had Jo said her name was? Ruth, yeah, Ruth.

“You’ll stay for natchess,” Abram said, not quite a question, but Bill nodded in return. “Wouldn’t miss Ruth’s cookin’ for nothin’ in the world.”

Abram shook his head. “Ruth’s restin’ more these days. It’s Gideon’s Annie who’ll be preparin’ your food for the evenin’. But a right fine cook she is at that.” Zane couldn’t help but notice the haunted look in his eyes at the mention of his wife’s name and once again he worried that his staying with them might turn out to be more of a hardship than a benefit.

He mentally shook himself. Maybe Jo was right. Maybe he was getting soft. Normally he wouldn’t care about such things. They had invited him here. They were getting something from the deal. He was just doing his job. And that’s all there was to it.

“What say you, Bill Foster?” Abram asked. “What else do we need to pay you for your services this evenin’?”

Zane stepped forward and reached for his wallet. “I’ve got this.” He pulled out two twenties and a ten, more than enough to cover the gas for the trip. He thought better of it and pulled out a couple more twenties. Surely that would pay for the man’s time.

Bill shook his head and made no move toward the money. “I’d rather not have money, if you’ve still got any of them pickles.”

Abram nodded. “That we do. A couple of jars of those, and I’ll say we’re even.”

Zane looked down at the cash he held in his hand. Pickles? Was he serious? The Amish man and the Mennonite shook hands. Evidently they were.

“But—” he started, not really knowing what to do and how to protest that Bill hadn’t taken his money in trade for services. Bill looked down at the bills in Zane’s hand.

“That’s mighty kind of you, son,” he said, plucking it from his fingers and handing it over to Abram. “Perhaps this would be better used in Ruth Ann’s fund.”

“Danki, Bill Foster,” Abram gave a nod of his head. “I’ll make sure Annie gets it.”

“Come on with you both.” Abram pointed to the bags Bill had pulled from the back of the car. The men grabbed the luggage and started toward the house.

“By the way, I’m Zane Carson.” He didn’t know why he felt compelled to say anything. It wasn’t like they had paid him the slightest attention, but he felt he should say something. Or maybe not. He adjusted the strap of his laptop bag and followed behind Bill and Abram.

“Ach,” Abram said with a shake of his head. “That you are.”

Zane didn’t have time to think about the lack of greeting. All at once they were standing at the foot of the porch.

“Annie, I hope you’ve prepared enough, we’ve got guests for supper.”

A petite woman with dark hair and unusual eyes nodded to Abram. “I have indeed. There is more than enough to go around.”

Her accent was different from the others’. Abram’s voice held the lilt of his German ancestors, but Annie sounded like a purebred Texan. And stranger still, Zane had a feeling he’d met her before.

“Abram,” the woman on the porch said, “introduce the family and guests.”

The eldest Fisher jerked his head. “Zane Carson,” he said with a motion back toward him. “This here’s my wife, Ruth Ann, and that’s Annie Hamilton, my son John Paul. Gideon will be along directly with our son, Gabe, and his boys.”

“And Lizzie,” Annie said. “I mean, Mary Elizabeth, will be here too.”

“Don’t forget Katie Rose,” John Paul added. “She’s my sister.”

Zane did a quick mental calculation and, depending on the number of boys that belonged to Gabe, there would be at least twelve people at this natchess, maybe more. He hadn’t survived in the Middle East without being quick, and he could only assume that natchess was the next meal.

Everyone bustled into the house, the inside much warmer than the greeting he’d received from Abram. Yet, there weren’t any of the vanity objects that dominated non-Amish housing. No pictures on the walls, no knickknacks scattered about. The floors were solid wood, covered only by a few homemade-looking rag rugs. There were no curtains on the windows, no cozy items strewn about. All in all he couldn’t figure out why it seemed so welcoming.

Maybe it was the family. Despite Abram, Ruth Ann and Annie seemed to welcome him into the house. Upon closer inspection, he could see the ravages of cancer treatment on the Fisher matriarch. She wore a black bonnet that he was pretty sure hid the last remains of her chemo-ravaged hair. Her skin held a gray tinge, her cheeks puffy from the steroids, her eyes sunken. Her dress hung on her frame, but those mossy green eyes sparkled with a light that even medical science couldn’t extinguish.

Annie was much younger and healthier, though Zane noticed she hovered close to Ruth as if to spot her in case she stumbled. Zane still couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew her somehow. They say everyone has a twin. Well, at some point in his life, he’d run across Annie’s.

“John Paul,” Ruth commanded, her voice strong despite her frail condition. “Take Zane Carson’s things upstairs and show him to his room.”

“Thank you, ma’am, but I can get it.”

Ruth shook her head. “John Paul will help.”

The young man stepped forward and for the first time Zane noticed he wore faded jeans to rival his own. His blue shirt looked impeccably tailored, and he’d rounded out his attire with a pair of dirty running shoes. Had he not had the distinctive chili-bowl hairstyle, John Paul Fisher would have looked like any other teenager in countless other small towns around the country.

Yet the women had both dressed the same: dresses covered in some sort of apron and shawl, hair pinned back and covered with a small, white cap. Why did John Paul dress differently? Zane made a mental note to find out the first chance he got.

John Paul picked up Zane’s suitcase and started toward the large set of stairs. “This way.”

Zane grabbed his computer and followed behind.

“You’ll be sharin’ a room with me, since Gideon’s Annie has the other.” He nodded his head to the closed door directly across the hall. He pushed open the opposite door and ducked inside.

Two neat beds sat side by side in a surprisingly large bedroom. Each bed was covered with a quilt of vivid colors—black, red, yellow, orange, and green. A rocking chair had a strange-looking floor lamp next to it, the neck of it protruding out of an old propane tank.

“This one’s the bed I usually sleep in.” John Paul pointed to the one on the right, and it wasn’t lost on Zane that he didn’t call the bed “mine.” “But I’m not here much.” He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “whatever.”

“Then I’ll take this one.” Zane hoisted his laptop bag into the center of the quilt. “Tell me again, Gideon’s Annie is who?”

“She’s the dark-haired girl downstairs. She’s intended to my older brother Gideon.”

“Why do they call her by his name too?”

“You see, there’s a lot of Annies, but she is—”

“Gideon’s. Got it.”

“Come next fall, they’ll be married. Well, once she joins the church.”

Zane sat down on the bed, briefly wondering if John Paul would mind if he opened his laptop and took notes while the young man talked. Probably. So he kept his expression blank as he asked, “She’s not a member of the church?”

“No, she just moved here.”

“From another community, you mean.”

“From Dallas.”

As in Texas? He wasn’t so far off the mark after all. He was pleased to know that six months stuck in his own apartment hadn’t dulled his instincts. “I wasn’t aware they had an Amish settlement in Dallas.”

John Paul shook his head. “Gideon’s Annie isn’t Amish. She’s an Englischer wantin’ to be Amish so she can marry my brother. She can’t do that until she joins the church. And she can’t join the church until she passes her lessons and proves that she’s committed to our ways.”

Now that sounded downright cultish, but Zane supposed love could do that to a person. “How did an Amish man meet a city girl from Texas?”

“Ach, man, now there’s a good story,” he said, sounding all the more like his father. “But it’s better voiced by Gideon or Annie. I can tell you, though, that Annie, she wrecked her car on a snowy night this past spring. Gideon rescued her from the car, and she . . . well, I suppose you could say that she rescued him from his grief. His wife and son died over a year ago. Gideon never quite recovered. Until Annie, that is.”

“I see.” In the shoes he wore right then, he couldn’t imagine how Gideon felt. How would he feel about the matter after Monica gave birth to his child?

John Paul sat down opposite him, and Zane nodded toward the young man’s jeans. “So the men are able to dress like they want and the women wear the . . .” He motioned toward his torso and head.

John Paul laughed. “No. All Amish men and women dress the same as each other, but I’m in rumspringa.”

“And that means . . . ?”

“I get a chance to go out and experience the world. I can wear what I want, drive a car, drink alcohol. Make sure I really want to join the church.”

“And if you decide not to join?”

John Paul shrugged. “Then I can leave the district and go to live with the Englisch.”

“Interesting.” More than, actually. He would have loved to question John Paul some more about the rum-whatever, but they had been gone long enough. Time to get back downstairs and meet back up with his host family. He made a mental note to find out more at the first available opportunity.

“Is there a place I can plug in my laptop?”

John Paul grinned. “No.”

“But the lamp?” He nodded toward the corner light.

“Runs off propane. Didn’t anybody tell you? There’s no electricity in Amish homes.”

He had heard something to that effect, but it just hadn’t sunk in. Or maybe it just didn’t seem possible. “They were serious about that?”

John Paul’s grin got a little bit wider. “Absolutely.”


Back downstairs, it seemed that the house would burst with all the people who had arrived for dinner. Gabriel, it turned out, had five sons ranging in age from four to thirteen with his daughter Mary Elizabeth topping the list at fifteen. From her, Zane learned that rumspringa started at sixteen and could last as long as five years. Soon Mary Elizabeth would be joining the run-around time. By the gleam in her eyes, she could barely stand the wait. Gideon also arrived, looking as much like Abram as Gabriel did. Both Fisher boys were bulky and solid, with coffee-dark hair. Their mossy-green eyes were identical to their mother’s, the one trait she seemed to have passed to her sons.

Zane couldn’t help but notice Gideon and his intended were not very affectionate—at least not outwardly. He did catch them staring longingly at each other when they thought no one was looking. Maybe that was part of the culture as well. He wished he’d thought to bring his notebook from his case, but then again, maybe it wasn’t kosher to take notes at the family dinner. Even if Bill the Mennonite driver was also attending. So Zane made do with mental notes, etching the questions into his brain so he could retrieve them later when he went to his room.

“Katie Rose,” Mary Elizabeth said, grabbing the arm of a woman he had yet to meet. With all the milling bodies, it was no wonder he hadn’t seen the Fisher daughter as she had arrived with her brothers.

She turned to face him, and Zane’s greeting died on his lips.

Tall and slim, she looked as much like her mother as the Fisher boys favored their father. Honey-blonde hair, pale green eyes, with the barest hint of color high on her cheekbones.

And she took his breath away.

She exuded an angelic quality that even surpassed the peace and love that shone in Ruth Fisher’s eyes. Wholesome. That was the first word to come to mind. She was what Monica would call a natural beauty. No makeup, no highlights, no artificial anything, and yet she was perhaps the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Was that his voice? He nodded to Katie Rose, still trying to get his bearings, as he reached out to shake her hand.

“And you as well. Welcome to Clover Ridge.” Katie Rose smiled as she shook his hand, and Zane’s breath stilled in his chest. Her fingers were warm in his, solid with just a few rough spots that told the tale of the life she lived. Monica would have been at the salon every day to have them removed, but they fit the natural beauty of Katie Rose Fisher.

He couldn’t pinpoint what it was about her that seemed to seep into his bones. She was not his type, but the man in him could appreciate her beauty. The engaged man in him, however, knew to keep his distance. Now was the time to show his professionalism.

“Katie Rose is our teacher,” Mary Elizabeth gushed. “Well, not mine anymore, but the other children’s. She’s wonderful.”

“I’m sure she is,” he said, realizing that he still held her hand in his.

Katie Rose pulled away, her smile unwavering. “I hope you enjoy your stay here.”

“I’m sure I will.” Zane did his best not to feel discarded as she nodded a “so long” and disappeared in the throng of her family.

Just when he thought the house couldn’t get any fuller, someone called out, “Go get Noni.”

From the back, John Paul brought in a stooped, elderly woman who couldn’t have been a day younger than ninety. Arthritis had gnarled her hands into near talons, but her eyes still held the sharp edge of intelligence. She had a walking cane and a long black dress, her iron-gray hair parted down the middle pulled back and covered just like the young women.

Once they were all seated around the two large wooden tables, everyone bowed their heads. Everyone, but Zane. He looked around at their bowed heads, his gaze stopping on one of Gabriel’s sons. Samuel? Or was it Simon? It didn’t matter. Only the buzzing silence that filled the room as everyone prayed. For what, he didn’t know. Zane had never been one to pray. At least not to a god . . . or the God. He just . . . never saw the point.

His gaze flitted from Simon to his aunt. Katie Rose had her head dutifully lowered, her eyes closed, and her hands folded neatly on the table. There was a peace about her that Zane couldn’t place, and he pushed back thoughts of his earlier reaction to her. Her beauty had taken him by surprise. Where he came from, women did everything from color their hair to inject their lips in order to gain the aura that Katie Rose held by the grace of nature.

Professional, he reminded himself. Be professional. He was a little out of practice at living with other cultures. Six weeks in Chicago had done that to him. Maybe Jo had a point: He needed this assignment more than he realized. He’d definitely be in trouble if he lost his edge in Juarez. Better to get back in the habit of adapting to the Amish before he had to survive in the wild world of Mexican drug lords.

He cleared his mind of personal thoughts of Katie Rose and inspected her with a journalist’s eyes. She, like the other women, wore a white kerchief-kind of hat perched on the back part of her head. Must be an Amish thing. He’d never thought about it until now, but in all the pictures he had seen of the Plain people, the women wore that same type of covering, or something similar. He made a mental note to ask John Paul about it.

Thankfully, Abram uttered “Aemen” and everyone raised their heads. Being at the table with so many people brought back memories of the cooperative where bowls of food were circulated and everyone served their plates before passing to the next person.

Someone burped. No one made mention of it, no one said excuse me or waited for another to do the honors. Another Amish thing? For so many people at the table, there wasn’t a great deal of talking. Even the children were strangely quiet. Granted, what he had seen of Amish children tonight led him to believe that they were better disciplined than kids on the outside. Still, he couldn’t help but believe that his presence at the table had something to do with it.

“How’s your natchess?”

Zane’s gaze jerked to Katie Rose. She smiled, and he realized her eyes were a lighter green than her mother’s. And sweetly smiling instead of tired, as she waited for him to answer.

He realized he wasn’t eating. Old habits and all. He’d never been a big eater. He was usually much more interested in what was around him than in food. But he had the next three months to absorb all he could of the Amish way of life. No sense in starving himself this early in the game.

“Oh, fine, fine,” he answered, taking a bite to add credit to his words. “Very good, in fact. My compliments to the chef.”

A few seats down, Annie blushed.

The meal was tasty. Some of the best food he had ever eaten. Maybe because it wasn’t full of preservatives or lean on fat and calories. He could feel it clogging his arteries that very second, but he wasn’t sure he cared. It was that delicious. “What do you call this?”

“Chicken pot pie,” Annie answered.

“It’s Annie’s specialty,” Mary Elizabeth said with a smile.

“And onkel’s favorite,” Matthew was quick to add.

Everyone laughed.

Another inside joke?

“There was fine weather today,” Abram said from his place at the head of the table. “Tomorrow we’ll start plowin’.”

“Plowing?” Granted he’d been a city boy for the last twenty years, but he’d spent quite a few formative years in a commune. And he’d learned a thing or two about farming. One thing he knew was that it was October. Not time to plant anything.

“Jah,” Abram said with a short nod. “Plowin’.”

“You made out easy,” John Paul added with a nudge to his side. “Last week we laid the manure.”

“Seems like I came just in time,” he said with a laugh. For the first time since he agreed to this crazy plan of Jo’s, he realized the extent of what he’d gotten himself in to. Farming. And backward farming, at that. He rubbed at the dull pain in his shoulder. He supposed it was better than heading into a war zone. Safer, and not as stressful. A little cleaner and a lot cushier. But how was he supposed to live his life to the fullest on an Amish farm in the backwoods of backward Oklahoma? Three months, he told himself. Three months, and he was out of here.


Abram Fisher had made a mistake. He was a godly man. He had learned humility. And he could admit when he’d done wrong. And this time he hadn’t done right by his family.

He looked down the table to the stranger he had invited into his home—their home. He’d done it all for Ruthie. He was a selfish man, he knew. Every night he prayed to God to forgive him and his selfish ways and thoughts, but heaven help him, he wasn’t ready to let her go.

But this Englischer with his hard eyes and unsmiling mouth was not a man he should have asked to come into his house. Not like this. But the deed was done. Zane Carson was staying, living among them, writing about what it felt like to be Amish.

Abram couldn’t understand the draw of the outside world to their little community, but the Englischers seemed to be fascinated by the ways of the Plain folk. It beat him as to why. They all acted like Plain folk did something special. More special than just follow God’s plan. Everything was right there in the Bible for everyone to see, to use. T’weren’t any more special than that.

But with Ruthie’s cancer treatments draining the funds from the district, Abram had to do something to put it back. The only thing he could do was take the fancy, fast-talking editor lady up on her plan. Invite a reporter to come into their midst, live with them, work beside them, and then write a bunch of stories about the experience. She assured Abram that the articles would bring tourists from all over to sample the wares, tastes, and simple life that was offered in Clover Ridge. More visitors meant more money for the town, and more money for the town meant more funds in the emergency coffers. More money for cancer treatments.

So he had done it for Ruthie. Everything for Ruthie.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Anytime Costumes Renaissance Lady In Waiting Costume Review

I received this costume for free to facilitate this review.

I have always loved dressing up. Even as I get older I love cosplay (costume play). It is still fun to role-play. I always loved acting and was in a number of school plays (some musicals) as a child. I love the theater and used to go see plays all the time when I was in college. I miss it, but with small kids It is difficult to go see them. The next best thing to going to the theater and seeing others acting is dressing up and going to fairs or conventions where others are also dressed up too.

I love Renaissance fairs and although I never had a costume up until now, it was still fun to partake in the festivities. Through Anytime Costumes I got to pick out a costume for free to facilitate this review. I decided upon the Lady In Waiting Costume they had. I chose the size small (the smallest size they had) because I am very petite.

This costume comes with a dress and crown. The dress is long and layered. The moss green fabric of the bodice and sleeves feature a gold inlay of diamond shapes that is embellished with an ivory, green and gold decorated ribbon trimming the square sweetheart neckline and the waistline. The outer sleeves are royal purple and puffy at the shoulders and drop into hanging sleeves. They open up to inner long sleeves that are in the same moss green and gold patterned fabric as the bodice. The outer skirt is of the royal purple fabric and is cinched up with two gold colored ribbons on either side. There is a faux underskirt that is moss green and reaches down to your feet. The costume is topped off by a faux gold crown bejeweled with faux yellow gems. This costume is modeled after clothing ladies in waiting wore. A lady in waiting is a female personal assistant who tends to the needs of queens, princesses or noblewomen. They did things like secretarial tasks, embroidering, painting, horse riding, making music, and taking care of clothing.

When this costume came in the mail and I opened it up I was surprised at the crown that came with it. It is absolutely my favorite part of the costume. It looks very authentic from the front, but is held on by a black stretchy band in the back. The crown is made from some sort of rubber painted gold and molded with the shape. The faux yellow jewels really set it off. I love the radiance it gives. It reminds me of the sun's rays.

The dress was well built and I love the decorated ribbon and attention to detail in the front. However; it, like the crown, was not especially flattering from the back. When I tried it on at first I had to adjust it slightly so I wouldn't have a huge wardrobe malfunction. Even the small size I was swimming in. The skirt falls well past my feet and the bodice is not well suited for small chested women like me. I filled it out everywhere but there. I will probably take it in and up later. Even though I had to adjust the costume the pictures turned out great while I was wearing it.

All in all this costume is wonderful if you need something for Renaissance fairs, Halloween, or a theatrical performance.

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate my review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rod Stewart Time CD Review

I received this music for free to facilitate this review. This post has affiliate links.

Time by Rod Stewart is his first album of new material in nearly 20 years that was released May 7th. It was while writing his autobiography that the music just came to him. Rod says, "I've written all those hits in the past then just couldn't do it. But my book was a little ray of sunshine. All those memories and talking about loved ones started me thinking."

This album is a very personal one for Rod. It really sounds like it could be a soundtrack to his autobiography. I love his signature raspy voice. This is a great album.

Rod Stewart with Guitar.
Track Listing and My Thoughts:
  1. She Makes Me Happy is an upbeat song that is a tribute to Rod's newest wife Penny. It is a wonderful love song about how she made him a better man. I love the mix of guitars, mandolin and dulcimer in this with the percussion.
  2. Can’t Stop Me Now is about Rod's career in music and about how thankful he is for his talent. It has a great up beat rock beat. This song is inspired by Rod's dad, Robert, who passed away in 1990.
  3. It’s Over is a lament about the break-ups Rod has had. In particular it is about his divorce from second wife Rachel Hunter, which broke his heart when she left. It is a great soulful ballad.
  4. Brighton Beach is a tender ballad about Rod's first love. It was the song that kick-started Rod Stewart's Time album.
  5. Beautiful Morning recounts a trip to a beach in San Francisco with one of his loves. It is a great song about how good life is.
  6. Live The Life is a song about growing up doing what you love and loving the life you live. I love the harmonica in this one.
  7. Finest Woman has some really rockin' guitars and some nice horns. This is also inspired by Rod's latest wife Penny.
  8. Time is about Rod's past loves. It has some really nice vocals.
  9. Picture In A Frame is the only cover on this album. It is originally by Tom Waits. It is a slow dance song that is kind of melancholy.
  10. Sexual Religion is an upbeat song with some keyboards, guitars, and sax. It also has some background female vocals that I love. I absolutely dig the saxophone! This is also inspired by Rod's wife Penny.
  11. Make Love To Me Tonight is a country number that has a Celtic feel. I love the beat and violin.
  12. Pure Love is a slow sad, moving song. I love the strings and piano in this one. The orchestra solo in the middle is really pretty too.
Purchase Rod Stewart Time through iTunes or Amazon.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to One2One Network, the women's word of mouth marketing network, for providing me with this opportunity and free copy of the album in advance to review as part of a campaign to spread the word. All information about the products I received from the official press release, email from One2One Network, the Rod Stewart website. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. This post has affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Michael Bublé To Be Loved CD Review

I received this music for free to facilitate this review. This post has affiliate links.

To Be Loved by Michael Bublé is his newest and 8th studio album that just was released April 23rd. This heart melting Grammy winner from Canada covers songs by Frank Sinatra, The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Van Morrison, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and more; as well as singing with Reese Witherspoon, Bryan Adams, Naturally 7 and The Puppini Sisters. This CD has 10 golden standard cover songs and 4 original songs co-written by Bublé. To Be Loved is a reflection of Bublé's bliss at home with his wife and he is about to become a new father. Bublé states, "I want to take you on a wonderful journey about love—all different kinds of love," Bublé says. "The album swings big time: it rocks, it’s soulful, it’s happy, sometimes a little sad. It’s romantic, it’s yummy, and it’s heartfelt."

This album is one of the artist's most diverse albums yet. It truly shows Bublé's range and perfection of his voice. I love the diversity of it. This crooner has an amazing voice and is a great performer as well, just watch his YouTube videos and you will see that. I love how Bublé has branched out and also created some of his own songs as well for the album. I also think that my favorite track on this CD is Close Your Eyes.

Track Listing and My Thoughts:
  1. You Make Me Feel So Young has a great big band in the background that really gets the song going. You just want to snap your fingers to the music and sing along to this cover that was also sung by notable musicians like: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Perry Como. 
  2. It's a Beautiful Day is a great original by Bublé. It has a wonderful upbeat tune and a great music video complete with a unicorn shaped cloud, rainbow and animated bird that lands on Bublé's hand. 
  3. To Love Somebody is a soulful version of the Bee Gees cover song and has a music video showing an all girl band in the background that are dressed as 60's Go Go Girls complete with white Go Go Boots and black and white patterned dresses. 
  4. Who's Lovin' You starts out and ends with the crooner soulfully belting his voice out in this Motown classic. This great song was originally performed by notable singers such as: The Miracles, The Temptations, The Supremes and The Jackson 5.
  5. Somethin' Stupid is a song most notably sung by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy. Bublé sings a duet with Reese Witherspoon in his rendition. 
  6. Come Dance With Me is a great jazzy song with big band sound that has been also sung by Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. I definitely love dancing to this one. It has a great cha cha beat.
  7. Close Your Eyes is a anthem to women everywhere and it a gorgeous song. Bublé says, "I wrote Close Your Eyes about my wife and about the power of all the women in my life—my sisters, my mom, my grandma and all women in general. Let’s face it, where would we be without them?"
  8. After All starts out with the bright sound of horns. It is sung with a melding of Bublé's voice and Bryan Adams'. I love the great harmony.
  9. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? is usually sung country, but Elvis Presley also did a version of this song too. This version has feels a little like elevator music to me. Naturally 7 backs up Bublé with their aaahs, Have I Told You Latelys, It's No Good With Out Yous, Oh My Darlings and Oooooohs.
  10. To Be Loved is a song written by Motown Record's founder Berry Gordy, JR and put in the The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown Album in 1995. Bublé's version sounds like it came right out of an old R&B record in a jukebox. I love it!
  11. You've Got A Friend In Me is a song written and sung by Randy Newman on Disney's Toy Story. I dislike Newman's voice. Bublé definately sings this song better!!
  12. Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You) is a soft rock song that has been sung by other notable singers like: Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Bing Crosby, Olivia-Newton John, Rod Stewart and The Andrews Sisters. Bublé does a very nice version with the The Puppini Sisters.
  13. I Got It Easy is a song by Bublé that is about counting his blessings and serves as a reminder to him and everyone to appreciate all the good parts of life. Bublé says, "I'm a very lucky guy and I never want to forget it."
  14. Young At Heart is a ballad originally sung by Frank Sinatra. Bublé's version is just as swoon worthy.
Bublé Looking Dapper in his Suit, Rockin' the Bowtie...because Bowties are Cool ;)

You can purchase To Be Loved by Michael Bublé at for $11.99.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to One2One Network, the women's word of mouth marketing network, for providing me with this opportunity and a instant digital download of the album in advance to review as part of a campaign to spread the word. All information about the products I received from the official press release, email from One2One Network, the Michael Bublé website. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. This post has affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shimmer & Splash The Sparkling World of Sealife by Jim Arnosky Book Review and Giveaway

I received this book for free to facilitate this review. This post has affiliate links.

Shimmer & Splash by Jim Arnosky is a great book about sea life. It has wonderful painted illustrations/penciled sketches and information about the creatures within the book. Some of the pages are giant fold-out pages of life-size fish and other underwater creatures. The contents are very helpful because they show which pages are fold-out.

This book has nearly 200 sea creatures, from a tiny Fiddler Crab to an enormous Orca Whale. This book has dolphins, sting rays, coral, sharks, whales, fish, jelly fish, crabs, etc. I love learning more about the ocean depths and its wildlife.

My favorite parts of the book were about the dolphins and whales because cetaceans are some of my favorite sea creatures because of their intelligence and playfulness. I also enjoyed learning about the coral reef. They are really very interesting, colorful, and have a wide range of shapes. My boys loved the parts about the sharks.We didn't know that there are so many different tail shapes from one shark to the next.

My family enjoyed this book immensely. It has been given an honorary spot on our shelf for ocean/sea related books. Yes, we have a whole bookshelf dedicated to those books, mainly dolphin and whale ones. I would highly recommend it for your home book collection or library! It is great for homeschooling or for the child who loves oceanography or marine-biology too because of all the neat educational information jam packed inside.

You can purchase Shimmer & Splash on for $10.76 at time of posting.

Prize: 1 winner will win a copy of the Shimmer & Splash Book free from Sterling Publishing.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate my review and the opportunity to give another away to my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. This post has affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women, Insights for Everyday Life Notes by Lysa TerKeurst FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card Insight Notes author is:

and the book:

Zondervan; Special edition (March 19, 2013)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and national speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of 15 books, and encourages nearly 500,000 women worldwide through a daily online devotional. Her remarkable life story has captured audiences across America, including appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.

Visit the author's website.


This Bible will help you live up to your God-given potential. Insightful daily devotions written by the women at Proverbs 31 Ministries help you maintain life's balance in spite of today's hectic pace. Dive into the beauty and clarity of the NIV Bible text paired with daily devotions crafted by women just like you---women who want to live authentically and fully grounded in the Word of God.

Product Details:
List Price: $34.99
Hardcover: 1536 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (March 19, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310439361
ISBN-13: 978-0310439363


Pampers Kandoo Target Sale

I am a Pampers Kandoo Blogger and so I was provided with this promotional offer information to share with you, my readers. I might win a GC for posting.

Target is having a sale on Pampers Kandoo flushable wipes. Save up to 50¢ on 50 ct. Refill Packs ($1.99 Retail) and up to 60¢ on 400 ct. Refill Packs ($10.99 Retail). Sale ends 6/08/2013!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post because I thought you might be interested in knowing this information and taking part of this deal. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I will be entered to win a $25 Target Gift Card for posting. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this post.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kick Back and Play This Summer Sweepstakes

I am a Purex Insider and so I was provided with this promotional offer information to share with you, my readers. I might win a GC for driving traffic with my unique URL.

Purex is teaming up with Little Tikes and Life's Good (LG) to make parents' lives this summer just a little bit easier. Enter to win prizes including a playground, a washer & dryer, and a year's supply of Purex!

You can enter daily between May 1-June 30 2013 at...

If I won the Little Tikes Endless Adventure Playcenter Playground grand prize my little ones would be so thrilled! We have had to rely on park visits for play on playgrounds because we had to dismantle our old rickety one and haul it away. Our kids love playing on the playground. We also love the Little Tikes brand and know that this playground would probably last longer than our other one. My little ones would have all types of fun adventures on the Little Tikes Endless Adventure Playcenter Playground if we won. They would be climbing, jumping, swinging, sliding and using their great imaginations for all kinds of wondrous play.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Purex for providing me this promotion information. By posting about this sweepstakes I will be entered to win 8 lucky Insiders to win a $10 or $50 gift card for driving traffic using my unique URL! My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this promo.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chick-fil-A #FreshMade Giveaway & Blog App

I have the opportunity to give away a pack of 2 Chick-fil-A Salad Coupons below free for posting this information. All information and giveaway prizes are provided by Chick-fil-A and PartnersHub.

Forget about yesterday, today is #FreshMade! Each day we have a choice, a choice to do the same old routine or do something unique and different. What have you wanted to do for a long time? 2013 is almost halfway over and it’s time to do something new. It’s time to grow, it’s time to make your dreams a reality.

Chick-fil-A is helping you make today #FreshMade, by creating new menu options that you can feel good about! They are introducing 3 new premium salads and an improved wrap all under 430 calories made with premium ingredients.

Take your taste buds to greener pastures and try the new salads and wraps at Chick-fil-A!

Announcing the Chick-fil-A #FreshMade Blog App!

Blog App:
  • Are You A “Starter”? Quiz - Some of us wake up with pep in our step, ready to conquer the world. Others might need a little kick in the behind to inject something new into their lives! Find out if you’re already raring to to go or need a little help getting the good time rolling! 
  • #FreshMade Activities - Select your mood and let quotes and images from film express how you’re feeling. 
  • See How We Start Fresh - Behind-the-scenes - Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the new Chick-fil-A salads are #FreshMade just for you! 
  • Get Social! Tweet with the #FreshMade hashtag and get excited about the new Chick-fil-A Salads & Wraps.

Prize: Pack of 2 Chick-fil-A Salad Coupons.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about the Chick-fil-A #FreshMade Blog App I am getting a Pack of 2 Chick-fil-A Salad Coupons free for my readers as a giveaway. Thanks to PartnersHub and Chick-fil-A for providing me this promotion information and free product. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this blog app and giveaway.

Car's Life 3: The Royal Heist DVD Review and Giveaway

 I received this DVD for free to facilitate this review. This post has affiliate links.

"Sparky, the high-spirited sports car, is back and ready for his biggest adventure ever… Queen Limousine is coming to town to attend a charity drag race, and everyone’s caught royal fever, even Sparky. But the excitement turns to dread when the queen’s jewels go missing, and every car becomes a suspect. In CARS LIFE 3: THE ROYAL HEIST, join the world’s favorite little red sports car on a turbocharged who-dun-it adventure that packs more hairpin turns than an Alpine speedway – and a shocking final twist that no one sees coming!"

This is a film by Engine 15 Media Group and eone (Entertainment One). It is Dove Foundation "Family Approved". Featuring voices of: Corinne Orr (Speed Racer) and Sean Schemmel (Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon). It teaches younger children lessons about teamwork, cooperation, honesty, persistence, problem solving and loyalty. 85 minutes long.

At first I thought that I might not enjoy it because of the low budget of the film and copycat nature. I was, however; wrong at my first assessment. This DVD is a cute movie that keeps everyone guessing and on their toes. The storyline was more original than I had thought it would be and the car characters were fun even with their over the top accents and personifications. My younger children enjoyed this movie better than my older kids, but it really engaged everyone near the end when the mystery of the plot thickens. My kids all had their own theories about who had been the thief. My kids enjoyed being sleuths and really got into trying to solve the crime along with Sparky.

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You can purchase Car’s Life 3: The Royal Heist DVD on for $7.99 at the time of this posting. WIN IT
Prize: Car's Life 3: The Royal Heist DVD. 3 Winners!! US Only!

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate my review and the opportunity to give another 3 away to my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Conscious Box Giveaway

Conscious Box is offering a free month for this giveaway to one lucky reader. This post is also an affiliate post. Thank you for supporting my blog. I will also be given a month free to review later myself for posting about them.

Conscious Box is a subscription to a monthly delivery service that ships out natural, healthy, earth-friendly and sustainable products in a box to your front door so you can try them out and find new favorites. They carefully pick the products that go into the boxes and the businesses that make the products. These businesses are all trying to make the earth a better place to live on, have ethical practices and have pure and sustainable products. Each box is packed with 10-20 products from these companies. The products range from natural beauty to health food to non-toxic home goods. Monthly subscriptions cost $19.95 per box.

After subscribing and finding new favorites you can leave reviews and ratings so businesses can improve their product, packaging, and business as a whole. You will also be earning points along the way to apply savings to your favorite products.

Prize: 1 entrant will win a free month of Conscious Box.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Conscious Box is providing the giveaway prize free of charge for a lucky reader of this blog. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this giveaway. The links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Birthday and Mother's Day: Visit to Tillamook Oregon

I decided to celebrate my birthday and Mother's Day with my family and my parents in Tillamook Oregon. My birthday was on May 10th and Mother's Day was May 12th, so we decided to go May 11th to celebrate.

My parents live in Sweet Home Oregon and we live in Rainier Oregon, so for both of us it was about a 3 hour drive give or take a little bit. My family were coming from different ways to Tillamook than my parents and so we planned on meeting at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for lunch. On their way to Tillamook...guess dad got lost (He is notorious for doing so and I think a Magellan GPS might be a great present for him for Father's Day! We have one and love it!).

While we were waiting for my parents to arrive we went and to see the Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge along the Oregon Coast. We hiked up a trail to see the Octopus Tree first. The hike was really nice and not too much for Teela and Zari. When we got to the Octopus Tree someone offered to take a whole family shot in front of it. We all loved the scenery and spectacular views over the cape.

We then went inside to tour the Cape Meares Lighthouse. It has a delightful little gift shop inside the bottom floor and then you take some spiral stairs up to the beacon tower lantern house. We learned from the guide that this lighthouse had some vandalism in 2010 and back in 1963 while it was vacant for a number of years to the gorgeous Fresnel (pronounced "Fraynel") lens and the building itself. It is very unfortunate that people would want to harm such a wonderful historic building and I am very happy we got to see it.

After the tour we hiked up a different trail to the parking lot and we saw the Three Arch Rocks out in the distance. The Three Arch Rocks Refuge is home to Oregon's largest seabird nesting colony. We saw a number of wildlife including a Millipede the girls stopped to look at.

Finally we met up with my parents at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and by that time my tummy was growling of hunger. My parents had brought sandwiches, chips, juice, fresh fruit & veggies and deviled eggs in a cooler. We sat around a tree on park benches and ate a very nice picnic.

Then we went inside the factory to explore. They have a lot of neat things to look at and some fun stuff to pose with. While we were downstairs briefly, before we headed upstairs, my kids posed in the plywood cow and farmer cutout with their heads poking through. Teela is a very cute moo, don't you think?

Upstairs we could watch the process of packaging cheese through a viewing window and we could also see the large cheese vats that they mixed the cheese into in another viewing area. Upstairs they also had some interactive video consoles that played the history of the factory and Tillamook city. They also had some antique cheese making equipment behind glass in cabinets that you could see.

Back downstairs again we sampled some various cheeses and then headed on over to the ice cream parlor to have some delicious authentic Tillamook creamery ice cream in waffle cones. I had black cherry and it was so yummy! The kids all had mint chocolate chip and the others had different flavors. Teela and Zari had to have a bowl under theirs because it melted quickly and was dripping...I got them a couple of spoons to help them along. Then my boys goofed off in the Loaf Love Tour Bus for silly pictures.

After lunch and dessert we decided to go see the Munson Creek Falls. We were really enjoying the weather. It had held out for us and didn't rain at all while we were in Tillamook for our day trip. Unfortunately by the time we arrived Zari had fallen asleep in the van in her car seat. My husband, Brian, decided he would stay behind until she awoke because he was feeling the ill effects of all this walking in conjunction with his Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and needed to sit for a while anyway. The rest of us walked up the trail to the Munson Creek Falls and were enjoying all the lush green around us. There was this awesome gigantic tree that had large roots nearby and I got some neat pictures of it as well as the waterfalls and creek. When we got back to where we parked we noticed that Brian had taken Zari to the creek to look at rocks because she had awoke. The kids also had fun racing leaves down the water in the creek.

Next we headed to the beach to round out the day. We saw kelp, seaweed, driftwood and sea shells that had washed up onto the sand. My boys took off their shoes and immediately waded out into the ocean waves. My girls played in the sand together with their sand toys: sifting, shoveling, scooping, packing, dumping, mixing, raking and molding. What fun! Jaedan couldn't help but love it when Delbin wanted him to bury his bottom half in the sand. My mom also got out some special treats when every one was washed up, some chocolate dipped and covered strawberries! Yummy! Brian had found some neat treasures while beach combing: an agate, some whole sand dollars, mussel shells, a piece of coral (I am going to string onto a necklace) and a crab shell.

We brushed the sand off the kids as best we could, said our goodbyes to my parents and my mom gave us a cake she made for Jaedan's birthday party (his birthday is May 15th and we are celebrating with his friends on the 25th) we could freeze when we got home and a yellow butterfly shirt (that reminded me of Fluttershy, an MLP) for my birthday.

We had wanted to do other things too, but ran out of time. My husband was eying the helicopter rides and the paragliding. Maybe next time we are in the area we can do these.

We then climbed into the van for the ride home to our dog, Prince, who was being dog sat by our neighbor while we were away. We had Subway sandwiches on our way home and when we got home we climbed into bed exhausted, but happy. Our day as a family together turned out really well. I had a really nice birthday and Mother's Day outing.

How was your Mother's Day??

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: No compensation was received for this post. This post is a personal post written by me.