A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa; Edited by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC


I received a copy of Mother Teresa’s writings, A Call to Mercy, from Blogging for Books. This book was published to coincide with our recent Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church, and also with Mother Teresa’s canonization.

The book is organized to highlight the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy. It is full of quotes from her writings. Questions for reflection and prayer are added for the reader.

It is the kind of book that you can pick up at any time and read a portion of. I found it inspiring and moving.

Now I know that there are some folks out there who have an issue with Mother Teresa and her work. I, personally, find her both humbling and inspirational.

You can find A Call to Mercy online at Amazon or at an indie bookstore near you.

Thank you for my review copy!

(above image via Amazon)

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: http://bit.ly/2bDsqfz

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!

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 Two Diet Books: THE DIABETES SOLUTION and THE ACID REFLUX SOLUTION – both by Dr. Jorge Rodriguez and Susan Wyler

Time to get a little personal.

I’m not a big fan of sharing tons of personal info about myself on my blog. I have to think: who cares? You are here to read a review, not read about me. However, I wanted to give some information with this post so that readers can understand where I’m coming from.

Growing up, I was never a heavy person. I was always pretty average, even thin. All that changed when I was in my 30’s. I started putting on some pounds. I think it was stress, crazy schedule, more stress. Regardless, I trained for a marathon in 2002 and was looking pretty good again, and then I got married. And right away got pregnant. And then when baby 1 was four months old I got pregnant again. That was ten years ago and I’ve been overweight ever since. Like 50 pounds overweight.

Now, here’s the thing: my blood work and medical tests have always been great! Super! And while I am heavy, I exercise a lot. I love to exercise! I like to cook. We eat healthy. I have a fitbit and I know how much I’m doing. Basically I’m a bit stymied why I’m so heavy when I’m out running or doing aerobics and lifting weights and eating healthy.

Then in December I went to my physical, and my blood work no longer looked good. Suddenly my glucose level (usually 70-80) had edged over 100. My triglycerides (which have rarely been past 60) were up over 150. My cholesterol was over 200 for the first time ever. What was happening? So I requested a visit with the dietician at my doctor’s group. I also got two books: THE DIABETES SOLUTION through Blogging for Books and THE ACID REFLUX SOLUTION via Amazon (because I had never heard of acid reflux before I got pregnant and for the past two or three years it’s a daily thing for me).

But first let me tell you what the dietician suggested after reviewing my diet and exercise. Keep exercising. Keep eating, but add more protein at breakfast. Then have a bigger lunch with more protein. Then make dinner 50% veggies, 25% protein, and 25% complex carbs. That’s my daily goal right now. I will let you know how I make out. So far, I got through the holidays without denying myself stuff and did not gain weight. And my whole family is eating more veggies.

So – the books. First let me write about THE ACID REFLUX SOLUTION. (subtitled A Cookbook and Lifestyle Guide for Healing Heartburn Naturally) which I purchased in print form.

This is a great book. The goal of it is to understand why acid reflux is happening and then make some changes so that it is under control. The end goal is to not be reliant on prescription or OTC meds. Now I’ve read A LOT on acid reflux. I thought I knew everything, but I didn’t. I’ve made a few changes to my diet based on what I read and I am so happy to report that my acid reflux is pretty much gone! Amazing! I tend to avoid the foods that cause reflux to begin with but I did a few new things, based on what I read: I added ginger to my diet. I eat a very small piece of ginger after dinner most nights. I also stopped drinking so much with my meal. I’m a huge water drinker and I tend to drink about 12 ounces at dinner and 8 ounces before I go to bed at night. This book suggested I drink 30 minutes before or 45 minutes after dinner and not right before I go to bed as so much water could stretch my stomach. I also cut down on entree portion size (again, to add in more veggies). And we eat dinner earlier so that I can have hours before I go to bed after eating.

There are loads of other suggestions and information in this book and I highly recommend it! It has lots of recipes, too, including some great soups!


How to Control Type 2 Diabetes and Reverse Prediabetes Using Simple Diet and Lifestyle Changes–with 100 recipes

I cut and pasted that — lol.

The first thing I have to say is that this book is a major wake up call. By the time I had read part one, I was pretty much freaked out about my health and my body. Reading the section on complications from diabetes scared me half to death, and the big message was “if you are over 100 for fasting glucose, you are PREdiabetic”. I took it as a call to action.

This was a very informative book. There is a section on medications that I did not read as I’m not on any medications. Dr. Rodriguez also has created a point system to help control sugar in the diet and to balance nutrients. I did not try to this yet. And there are many recipes included in the second half of the book, including list of foods that fit in the point system – the “blood sugar budget”. There is a later section on surgeries, which I also didn’t focus on.

I thought this was a great (albeit somewhat scary) read and I would recommend it to those who want to better understand diabetes, prediabetes, and similar conditions and then do something about it. The recipes look tasty and easy to make. I am considering the blood sugar budget (if I do it, I will post my thoughts on it). One of the themes here is that making several small changes can have a very big and positive overall effect.

Thank you, Blogging for Books, for my copy!