Find Your Light by Beverly Conyers

I recently was sent a copy of Find Your Light: Practicing Mindfulness to Recover from Anything from Ms. Conyers’ publicist. This is a lovely little book that is quick to read and very pertinent to daily life. You can read it in little bits or read it straight through. The focus is on how you can be mindful and use mindfulness to aid in recovering from addiction or really any type of stressful and demanding situation (full disclosure: I do not suffer from addiction, but found this little book very pertinent and helpful).

Here’s the overview:

Author Beverly Conyers—one of the most respected voices in wellness and recovery—has guided hundreds of thousands of readers through the process of recognizing family roles in addiction, healing shame, building healthy relationships, releasing trauma, focusing on emotional sobriety, as well as acknowledging self-sabotaging behaviors, addictive tendencies, and substance use patterns. With her newest work, Conyers shows us how the practice of mindfulness can be a game-changing part of recovering from any- and everything.

Early in our recovery journey, we focused on healing. Further along in the process of recovering, we dare to believe it’s possible to embark on a new chapter, but often feel stuck. At times, we wonder…how do we create the breakthroughs we want?

With a mindfulness practice—meditation and other habits of awareness—we develop the courage to look within. As we hold space for ourselves, we find the light within that can spark change, personal growth, and self-compassion. Mindfulness is an irreplaceable part of the health and healing toolkit because it illuminates our true selves; as a result, it illuminates our recovery.

Conyers gives us an approachable mindfulness book with carefully designed reflections and practices that set us on a path forward. Her insight guides our way whether recovering from unhealthy relationships, addictions of all types, compulsive habits, anxiety and stress, workaholism, disordered eating, or mental health and emotional challenges—and whether we follow the Twelve Steps or not.

Discover why Beverly Conyers’ books have been a mainstay for support groups the world over, and why so many have turned to her insights and guidance. As the author of the recovery classic Addict in the Family, she has inspired hope and healing in a way few others have managed to match.

Thank you for my review copy!

Litfuse Tour for THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR by Ace Collins

I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour today for Ace Collins’ THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR – A Christmas devotional. This is a super little book chock full of scripture, reflection, recipes, and crafts. I plan to share mine with my family.Thank you for my review copy!See below for more info and to enter the fun giveaway!The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins’ new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

About the book:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Abingdon, October 2016)

Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.

Join Ace’s Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! 

The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.


LIFE CREATIVE by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart with Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Today I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity tour for the new book by Christian authors, Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart:

Book info
About the book:

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom(Kregel, September 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creativeand then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.

In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:

-Why the world needs your art
-How this Life Creative begins at home
-When art can turn a profit
-Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

Purchase a copy:

About the authors:

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God’s Word. During her career in Hollywood, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys.

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. She is the author of three books, including Like a River from Its Course (Kregel Publications, 2016) and a noted speaker. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.


Is there room for creativity and children in a mother’s life? Learn how to balance home, art, and family in Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart’s new book, Life Creative. In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood.

Join Wendy, Kelli, and other moms in celebrating the beauty of being a creative mom by entering to win the Called to Be Creative Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on October 27!


One grand prize winner will receive:


Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 10/27. The winner will be announced at the Life Creative Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Wendy, Kelli, and other creative moms, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!


Thank you, Litfuse and Kregel Publications, for my review copy!

BETWEEN US GIRLS by Trish Donohue – a Litfuse Book Tour


Today I’m part of the Litfuse tour for BETWEEN US GIRLS – Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. If you know me at all, you know I have a pre-teen daughter. This Christian book focuses on sharing and guiding your daughter through some tough discussions of adolescence.

Here’s the overview:

You feel more than mommy guilt. You feel a deep and growing conviction that you must do something to disciple your daughter. But what? How can a busy mom make sure that her daughter learns about the most important things in life: what Jesus did for her on the cross and how to be faithful to him in this broken world?

Author Trish Donohue has been there, and that’s why she wrote Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. These twenty-six gospel-driven talks are a fun and easy guide for mothers who want to disciple their daughters but don’t know where to start. In each short chapter, moms and daughters read God’s Word, ask one another questions about their thoughts and experiences, get honest about their struggles with sin, brainstorm ways to live out their faith, and build genuine fellowship into their relationship.

Between Us Girls is more than a devotional; it’s a conversation guide, and the twenty-six “chats” are just the beginning. Ultimately, Donohue’s book teaches mothers and daughters a new way to communicate and starts them on a wonderful, lifelong journey of getting to know one another better and learning to love their Savior more.

Between Us Girls was written by a busy mom for busy moms, so no prep time is needed! Just schedule some time with your daughter, grab this book, head to your destination of choice, and cherish every moment you share with your girl.

Here’s a bit about Trish:


Trish Donohue is a wife and mom who writes from her kitchen table in West Chester, PA. With twenty years experience as a pastor’s wife involved in women’s ministry, Trish has spoken to women in a variety of settings. A desire to disciple her own daughters combined with a love for writing inspired her first book, Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. Trish and her husband, Jim, are the happy parents of two sons and two daughters.


This is a lovely little book that you can do as much of as you like at a time. There are sharing questions, ice breakers, suggested scripture to read together, and things to talk about with your daughter, all focused on helping her to understand and talk about challenges in life and making good decisions. There is an emphasis on the mother’s discipleship, so this is a perfect choice for a Christian household.

Thank you for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!

You can find this book online (e.g. Amazon) or at a library or bookstore near you.


Illuminated by the Message -LOUISA MAY ALCOTT – A Literary Portal to Prayer


My friend Susan Bailey – whom I know through Orchard House – was kind enough to gift me with a copy of her new book: LOUISA MAY ALCOTT Illuminated by the Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series. This selection is one in a series of books from Catholic publishing house ACTA that takes beloved writings by authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen and paisr them with similarly themed passages from the Bible.

Using a variety of Louisa’s writings, Ms. Bailey has made connections between some of the most touching passages of Louisa’s children’s books and her journals, linking them to Bible passages of both the Old and the New Testaments. One of my favorite passages links an excerpt about Beth in Little Women as she cares for her broken but beloved dolls to a psalm that cites God as a safe-house for the battered.

This would be a nice volume to keep nearby for daily reflection. It makes me realize how deeply one can interpret Louisa’s work, too.

Thank you, Susan, for my beautiful gift copy!

Review of RIVER OF GRACE by Susan Bailey


I’m happy today to be blogging about my friend Susan Bailey’s book: RIVER OF GRACE, which was sent to me via Net Galley. I know Susan from Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, and we have a lot in common.

Here’s the description of it via Net Galley:

Catholic recording artist and popular blogger Susan Bailey reveals, in this personal and moving narrative, how several major losses helped her rediscover creativity and faith. Filled with powerful insights on the presence and action of grace—in the Mass and sacraments, in nature, and even in grief—River of Grace guides readers to strengthen their faith during tough times and discover their own hidden gifts.

In just a few years’ time, Bailey experienced one challenge after another: the deaths of her father and mother, financial issues, and the loss of her singing voice. Using the rich imagery of a river of grace, Bailey relates how her devotion to the Eucharist inspired her to see Christ’s presence in her life and helped her to trust again.

Each chapter relates Bailey’s experiences of loss and growth and features original activities and personal rituals that include everything from Joni Mitchell music videos and hot baths to imagery and uncooked spaghetti. These inspirational tools guide readers to reflect on their own experiences. Prayers and poetry are found throughout the book and a set of insightful reflection questions are placed at the end of each chapter.


I really enjoyed this short and very readable book and immediately purchased a copy of it for a friend who had recently had a loss in her life. The image of a river, along with Susan’s inspirational writings about faith and dealing with loss, make this book a unique and meaningful read. I like how she has included short, optional activities at the end of each chapter. Being Catholic, I can identify and relate to Susan’s devotion to the Eucharist and the healing power that God’s grace can bring to us through it in our time of need.

Thank you for my review copy!

About Susan — from her publisher:

Susan Bailey is a blogger, musician, and speaker who frequently contributes to and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. Her work has also appeared on, and Catholic Online. Bailey blogs at Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion. She also writes a monthly column for The Catholic Free Press called Be As One. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant, was a member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where she served as chair and secretary and helped organize the biennial Gather Us In conference. Formerly a professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released three CDs and worked as a cantor for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (US History and music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts.

I’m excited to review: “The Good Life for Less” by Amy Allen Clark with Jana Murphy- in stores 1/2/13

I usually try to keep these posts short and to the point: what did I read, what is it about, and did I like it? I figured most folks are pressed for time and are looking for an opinion or a book suggestion. However – today I just MUST take more time and get chatty and talk about my dear friend Amy Clark’s new book: “The Good Life for Less – Giving your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget”. Amy sent me a copy hot off the press so I could review it, and she wrote the most touching note to me on the inside – I will cherish it along with my memories of our friendship!

First some back story (if you aren’t interested in our back story, please skip this paragraph). I met Amy through community theater over ten years ago, here in Massachusetts. Amy, originally from Indiana, was a young newlywed and she and I hit it off right away. We had a lot of shared interests and had similar personalities, and we enjoyed our “girlfriend moments” together. I was going through a period in my life when I really needed a good friend and I had recently moved to a condo which just happened to be right across the street from Amy and her husband Ryan, so we saw a lot of each other and they were definitely there for me when I needed support. Amy became pregnant, which was very exciting, and I knew she looked forward to being home with their baby. Then one day Amy called me to say that Ryan had been laid off unexpectedly from his job. This was a huge blow and understandably threw them into financial crisis. Amy was pregnant and working to try to support them and worrying about the baby coming. I was dealing with my own personal crisis and trying to be a good friend to them. I remember one specific day I took Amy out to lunch and we talked about how sometimes you think you know God’s plan for you, but apparently he had something in mind for both of us that we were still discovering! In time Amy and Ryan moved back to Indiana where Ryan was offered a new job. Of course I missed her terribly but we stayed in touch and one day Amy told me she had started a “blog” for at home moms, using her experiences, focusing on budgeting, house ideas, and recipes. I had no idea what a blog was. I remember saying, “You mean a listserve or a “web log”?” (People – this was a long time ago!). She asked me to sign up for it and I was proud to be number 12 on the roster. Little did I know that this was the beginning of big times for Amy! Her site – “Mom Advice” – became huge and she has become a major blogging force. She is a spokesperson for several companies (places you’ve heard of – like Wal-Mart!) and her happy face often appears in the women’s magazines I read. Now, she has her first book, which compiles a lot of her advice from her website. I was thrilled to be able to read and post about it here on my blog (my web log – just kidding!).

At just over 200 pages, “The Good Life for Less” is not too long and gets right to the point. The chapters include making a budget, the frugal kitchen, recipes, holiday/special occasion ideas, and keeping your house clean and organized (when my nine-year-old saw that chapter she said, “hey, now there’s something we need!”). Amy shares her experience, her opinions, and her resources throughout, from how to establish and keep to a budget to her recipe for pumpkin waffles to how to make times special without blowing your bank account. This book is written in Amy’s voice and I felt like I could hear her talking to me throughout — with that touch of a midwestern twang to it! The book also has short inserts of the best tips or specific ideas that are highlighted. All in all, this was a great read and a good resource to have on hand.  This is the type of book I wish I had when I was in my twenties. It’s a great gift for a newlywed and/or young parent, too. I look forward to Amy’s next book (there is a next one, right, Amy?)

Reviews of Three Diet Books…

If you know me, you know I have this small obsession with diet books. I love to read them and contemplate them and compare and analyze them.

What I don’t like to do is follow them.

So – for today I have a quick overview of three diet books that I’ve read through Net Galley. I have not followed their plans. My goal here is to give you some information on these books so you can decide if you want to read them yourselves.

The first book I read was “The S factor Diet” subtitled “the happiest way to lost weight” by Lowri Turner.  The “S” in the title refers to serotonin. The premise behind this book is that chemical imbalances lead to weight gain and/or inability to lose weight. I liked the premise of this book as it seems logical scientifically. I also really liked how the author doesn’t push supplements but gives various  venues to find these needed chemicals naturally through foods. According to the checklist provided, I need more serotonin and less cortisol in my system. Sounds reasonable to me.However, at the same time, I can’t find any credentials on Ms. Turner. There is no little list of letters after her name suggesting she is a nutritionist/dietician/doctor/etc. Perhaps I missed something?

This book releases in January and is not available for pre-order (that I could find) on Amazon.

The next book I read was “The Zen Diet Revolution” by Faulks, Faulks, and Faulks (one listed as “Dr”),  which focuses on the importance of meditation and in making small changes in order to exact big differences. While I love this premise in principal, I’m not sure it would work for me. My body tends to hit a saturation point where I can no longer make incremental changes (think: marathon training). I would love to believe, though, that I could slowly adjust to eating about 1200 calories a day – over time – and be at peace with that.

This book also releases in January.

Lastly I read “The Virgin Diet”. At first I thought, “Um, may be too late for this one.” However, this book was written by nutrition expert JJ Virgin. She espouses that many people have food intolerances and these are making people’s bodies inflamed and unhealthy and unable to lose weight. As a person with food allergies, this book really spoke to me. It makes sense that if your body is reacting to the things you put in it, you won’t be healthy. Virgin proposes that you cut out the seven most common allergens: gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, peanuts, corn,and eggs for a period of time (3 weeks) to calm your system, then slowly add them back in to see if you can tolerate them. Her byline is: drop 7 foods, lose 7 pounds, in just 7 days! For me, this was a bit drastic. I will say, though, that I cut way back on dairy (specifically milk and cheese and yogurt) and found that my stomach felt much better – so perhaps she’s on to something!

Have you read any good diet/nutrition books lately? If so, let me know!

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copies!

Quick YA Review: “It’s Not All Black and White – Multiracial Youth Speak Out” by St. Stephen’s Community House

I downloaded the electronic version of this book through Net Galley into my Adoble Digital reader.

This book is a compilation of short papers, poems, interviews, etc. of teenagers who are biracial or multiracial. They write of their experiences, their journeys to identity, their run-ins with ignorance and prejudice, and, basically, their innermost  feelings of who they are. This was a great read, in my opinion, and one which I think many young people (and adults for that matter) would find interesting and eye-opening.

FYI – St. Stephen’s Community House is located in Toronto.

Thanks, Net Galley and Annick Press, for my free copy!

Review: “One Good Deed” by Erin McHugh (releasing 9.1.12)

I recently downloaded “One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Better” by Erin McHugh through Net Galley. This book, which stemmed from Erin’s “good deed blog”, chronicles her attempt to do one good deed each day for a year. I found it a fun, positive read: often light-hearted, sometimes heart-tugging.

Erin McHugh is the type of writer that you feel is your friend after you’ve read her. She is a New Yorker, an author, a bookseller, a former Catholic, a gay rights activist, and has a large host of family and friends whom she writes about. Following Erin through her days made me feel that I knew her. You could sense her passion for helping others, her love of books, her devotion to her family, and her true New Yorker spirit. I just loved to pick up this book every day or so and read a few entries. Erin was making her world a little bit better, and it was inspiring!

Thank you, Net Galley and Abrams Image, for my copy!