Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Preserving Memories: Disney and Hershey

 I have a couple of Disney layouts to post this week, but also a few from our trip to Hershey, PA last weekend! I know I'm behind just about everywhere, but it's so fun to scrap the recent events when I can! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bonhoeffer Student Edition: A NetGalley Review

There were many martyrs of the Holocaust, but few have had the theological significance as Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His life sets an example for old and young of how to live out ones convictions even in the most difficult of circumstances.

I will have my oldest daughter read this year as we study other literature written about the Holocaust. I think it is highly valuable to learn about many different perspectives when studying history, especially very difficult periods such as the Holocaust.

The book itself is geared towards the middle school reader. The historical information is provided in a clear and interesting way. Even if the reader has not been made familiar with the intricacies surrounding World War 2 prior to reading this, they will have no trouble understanding all that happened leading up to and during the war. It is especially insightful to understand how the everyday citizen felt about what Germany's leaders were doing. 

Individuals are famous for their brief moment in history, but we cannot understand the individuals completely without first knowing what led them to those moments. This biography is an excellently written description of Bonhoeffer's early life and how he became who he was. The clear writing will engage readers fully and hopefully help them think critically about not only World War 2, but also be more aware of all that is going on around them politically and socially.

Now I do want to make it clear that I do not agree with all of Bonhoeffer's theological beliefs. That being said, I believe studying his life and his thoughts on Scripture are still very valuable. If you also have the opportunity to read the original book by Eric Metaxes written for adults I strongly encourage that. It is excellent and will fill in any of the gaps you may feel was missing in this title.

Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Secret Courage: A NetGalley Review

One of my favorite periods of history to read about is World War 2. My own grandfather served in the war and I'm sure this is what fuels my interest in this period. A Secret Courage is the first fiction title I've read from Tricia Goyer. I was very excited to give this novel a try and I was not at all disappointed!

A Secret Courage is set in war-time England and centers around the covert operations of the war. Wars are fought and lost upon the backs of the dedicated men and women willing to risk their lives to uncover the secrets of the enemy. It is hard, often overlooked work because of the need for secrecy. I loved learning about how covert photos were taken and analyzed in secrecy. It was a fascinating side of the war I was unfamiliar with prior to this book While the history fascinates me, I do not enjoy reading fiction books which end up feeling like a history text. The author skillfully weaves in the historical information with accuracy and grace so that I was engaged through every page. 

I also liked the slightly different take on the love-story. As with most historical, romances I had a pretty good idea from the beginning which characters were going to get together, but rather than the usual cat-and-mouse game authors tend to give their readers, these two quickly came together. Now every good love-story needs some challenges to overcome, and they are definitely present, but I won't tell you about those and spoil the book for you!

I was also surprised by the ending. Again, I do not want to spoil it, but it was anything other than a neatly wrapped-up story. What I can assure you of is you will not be disappointed. It was one of the best historical fiction books of the World War 2 era I have read in a long time.

Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

The Good Book for Kids: A NetGalley Review

One thing I desire for my children is that they want to learn the word of God on their own. I pray for their souls to hunger for His truth. As children this often just looks like enjoyment from going to church on Sundays. As they grow older it is important they spend time studying God's Word alone. My oldest two already do this as a part of their homeschool studies and I appreciate the habit it is building. I am always looking for solid resources and The Good Book for Kids is exactly the kind of tool they can use! 

This engaging title invites pre-teens and older to dive deeply into the Word of God for themselves. Larger passages are assigned for reading, there is some thoughtful devotion, and then there are questions intended for the reader to use to seek more about what is in the Scripture. The theology is solid while the writing is geared toward the correct audience. It is not simplified down in anyway, but written in what I like to call kid-speak. The author does not attempt to emphasize theological terminology, but rather just teach what truth is in the Word. 

My oldest daughter has begun using this and told me just how much she has enjoyed it. I love that it contains a sweeping overview of the Bible so she can see how it all relates together. In addition to getting into the text of the Word, the author also seeks to give historical and cultural context to the Bible. This is incredibly important as we learn more about the Word of God. We must know the full context of the words written centuries ago. 

I highly recommend this title to anyone with a child who is ready to study the Word of God more deeply. 

Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Light Up New York: A BookLook Blogger Review

We were delighted to have the chance to read Light Up New York, the next in the Glimmer Girls series by Natalie Grant! My middle daughter, Beth, is 9 and absolutely loves these books. They are a sweet, modern fiction series that points girls to Christ through their adventures.

The premise is about three sisters who travel around the world with their singer mother. It is modeled after Natalie Grant's own family which is sweet. I know it is easiest to write what you know and she does this in a lovely way! They also have a nanny who is fun-loving and a little wacky.

I really like this series because so many of the books written for young girls these days focus on girl-power or getting back at someone. My girls see enough of that in real life without needing to read about it! I want my girls to engage with books which will lift up their spirits and encourage them. At the very least I do not want them to contradict the values we are teaching from God's Word. This series does even more by continually pointing them back to Scripture and their parents to know how to deal with problems. 

Here is what Beth has to say:  
I like that it is a mystery and that it has three girls in it. I like that because there are three girls in our family. It was easy to read and fun. I would let my cousin read it because it has a mystery in it. 

If you have girls ages 8-12 who are looking for fun chapter books, this is a great option for them!

Disclaimer: I received this title through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.