Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Christian Non-Fiction Books, Uncategorized

Review of Reclaiming Sanity: Hope and Healing for Trauma, Stress, and Overwhelming Life Events

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With a girlfriend’s companionship and a professional counselor’s expertise, Dr. Laurel Shaler walks you through personal stories and biblical insights that shed light on daily and traumatic stress. In Reclaiming Sanity, she shows

  • How to find freedom from the past
  • Five myths about anger and how to overcome them
  • The antidote for nagging worry and sleepless nights
  • Ways to rebuild trust in others
  • How Christ gives true strength

Offering effective action steps toward reclaiming sanity, Dr. Shaler guides you through the healing process, whether you are dealing with a one-time traumatic event or years of hidden pain.

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Whether you are a victim of stress, trauma, or just overwhelming life events, or are someone wanting to support someone in your life, Reclaiming Sanity: Hope and Healing for Trauma, Stress, and Life Events has something to offer.Dr. Shaler writes from a person, compassionate and first-hand knowledge about the subject.  The book was easy to read and contained a wealth of knowledge, insight and more.  I appreciated how she was able to differentiate between the types of trauma and stress while recognizing the lasting effects any of the above might have on a person’s life.

I love her Biblical examination of anger and other situations found in life.  One of the most relevant pieces of the book to me is her discussion about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not necessarily for the sole benefit of the one being forgiven.  A lack of forgiveness provides the potential for long-term and even unnoticed effects on the one that needs to grant forgiveness.

I also love how in the last part of the book she describes how to have your own mini retreat.  Truly, everyone at one time or another may benefit from experiencing a mini-retreat.  The details and suggestions in this suggestion   The options include everything from calming breaths to progressive muscle relaxation, to a Reclaiming Sanity retreat.   Reclaiming Clarity, Reclaiming Me, Reclaiming peace, and Reclaiming Sanity all play a role.  It is a matter of going through the steps and searching our hearts for God’s wisdom and knowledge.

So if you are looking for a book about taking back your life or helping someone else take back their life from stress, hard life happenings, or other traumatic events, check out this book for yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Laurel Shaler is an author, counselor, professor, social worker, and speaker. She writes and speaks on the intersection of faith, culture, and emotional well-being. She is the author of “Reclaiming Sanity: Hope and Healing for Trauma, Stress, and Overwhelming Life Events” (David C. Cook, 2016) and “Relational Reset: Unlearning the Habits that Hold You Back” (Moody, 2018).

Here is where you can find Dr. Laurel Shaler on social media at:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

You can purchase a copy of the book here.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Historical Fiction

Review of Surround Me

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Battles rage in Elizabeth Elliot’s heart as the threat of war invades her hometown.

Charles Town, South Carolina, 1773—The dark curtain of the rumors of revolution threatens to descend as Louis Lestarjette makes a permanent break from his homeland and pursues his relations with Elizabeth. Somehow, he must find a way to manage all aspects of his life amid the political and financial difficulties this turbulent time throws at him. Never has his heart been at the center of his life decisions, challenging what he really wants, if he cannot have it all.

Elizabeth Elliott must find unwavering courage, choosing to allow God’s love to surround her with strength. A marriage during a time of confusion seems impossible as a Patriot from a Loyalist family who loves a Frenchman. She wonders how a faithful daughter can marry without her father’s permission. After a summer apart from Louis, she begins to fear that the uncertain times might delay their life together.

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Surround Me is the second book in the Revolutionary Faith series by Marguerite Martin Gray.  This book captured my interest from the moment I picked it up.  The first story, Hold Me Close, also was worth reading.  This story picks up the tale of Louis Lestarjette and Elizabeth Elliott.

The apparent love Elizabeth and Louis Lestarjette have for each other and for God shines throughout the pages.  The difficulties they face as the colonies face increasing strife with England bring out a story that is both captivating and worthy of reading.  Louis’ aunt and uncle provide an oasis for Louis away from his home in France and as friends to Elizabeth.  With increasing tensions and increasing danger facing the colonists from the imminent threat of war leads one to wonder if Elizabeth will stay true to her love for Louis or take the safer route.  

As the story progressed, I found myself unable to put the book down.  So if you want to know how their story turns out, check this book out for yourself.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Surround Me, and Bring Me Near– Revolutionary Faith Books One, Two and Three. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches high school Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and an MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and Preservation Society of Charleston. She currently lives in North Louisiana with her husband.

 

You can find Marguerite Martin Gray on social media at:

Her blog

On Goodreads

On Amazon

On Pinterest

On Facebook

 

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Review & Giveaway for A Love to Behold

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About the Book

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Title: A Love to Behold

Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Christian romance, historical

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Whitaker House

Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.

The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.

But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.

A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.

Click here to purchase your copy!

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This is the third book in the Forever Freedom Series.  I have not read the first two books, but found I was able to keep up with the concept of the story.  I found the information about the Quaker involvement in the Abolition movenment and the part they play in asssisting with reconstruction afterwards.

The book is well-written and contains enough factual information to be informative.  I also loved the storyline.  The idea of a Northern white woman coming to teach black children in a school in the suth really provides some possibilities for conflicts and difficulties.  I have always enjoyed reading about historical events, both from a factual as well as a fictional standpoint.  Lydia Albright demonstrates strength of character and faith from the beginning of the book.  She accepts God’s call on her life and leaves the familiarity of the North for the unknown of the South.  She refuses to back down in the face of adversity, attacks and even threats on her life.  She truly illustrates the gift of serving.

Reese also illustrates strength and determination of character.  With three children to raise on his own since his wife had died, he shows love and compassion along with a determination to do what is right in God’s eyes.  These two characters along with the others in the book show the difficulties and God’s glory and love met during the time following the Civil War.  So if you enjoy reading works of historical fiction, check this book out for yourself.

About the Author

Sharlene maclaren

Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating in 1971 with an education degree, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally with a singing ensemble for one year. In 1975, she came home, returned to her teaching job, and married her childhood sweetheart. Together, they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying families of their own. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
A Christian for over fifty years, and a lover of the English language, Shar always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school, and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, always when the teacher’s back was turned, “pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, and in 2006, she signed a contract for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her writing career. With eighteen published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, she daily gives God all the glory. She dedicated her last novel, Their Daring Hearts, to Jesus.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and made several television appearances and radio interviews. She loves speaking for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their ragdoll cat, Blue.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker for a church function or would simply like to chat with her, please feel free to send her an e-mail at sharlenemaclaren@yahoo.com. She will do her best to answer in a timely manner. You may also find her on Facebook.

Guest Post from Sharlene

My dear readers,

It has indeed been my great privilege and pleasure to write this series set in Civil War times. What a thought-provoking, amazing, and heart-wrenching era in American history.

If you read all three books in the “Forever Freedom” series—Summer on Sunset Ridge, Their Daring Hearts, and A Love to Behold—you will have gotten some history lessons regarding the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers; Abolition; the Underground Railroad, which the Quakers were instrumental in launching; life as a Union soldier in the Civil War; the Freedmen’s Bureau; and Reconstruction, that period following the war when the south had fallen into great dis-repair. Also prevalent in this third book is a bit of history regarding the origin of the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that formed during the Reconstruction period.

Although I did not appreciate history as a young girl, as an older adult, I’m quite fascinated by it. History itself is a great teacher. Learning about it can be everything from exhilarating to depressing, challenging and yet exciting. It is my prayer that as you read my books, you’ll not only find them entertaining, but also inspiring and uplifting. I aim to encourage, not discourage. Much of history—if we dwell on it—can be disheartening, but focusing our hearts and minds on Christ gives us courage and confidence. Let us learn from history, but let us look to the future with hope in our hearts.

With love and a prayer for God’s best blessings,

Shar

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, January 22

Maureen’s Musings, January 22

Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 23

Genesis 5020, January 23

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 24

Splashes of Joy, January 25

Blossoms and Blessings, January 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26

Mary Hake, January 26

Godly Book Reviews, January 27

Daysong Reflections, January 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Robin is Bookish, January 28

My Devotional Thoughts, January 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

The Becca Files, January 30

For the Love of Literature, January 30

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 1

A Baker’s Perspective, February 2

Bibliophile Reviews, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

Bigreadersite, February 4

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sharlene is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d2/a-love-to-behold-celebration-tour-giveaway

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Posted in Uncategorized

Pick a Word…or Three Like Me!

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Pick a Word…or Three!

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So you’re trying to choose a new word for this year. You want something that captures all of your hopes, dreams, and inspirations for your dreams of what is to come. If you’re struggling to choose a theme, it can be helpful to think of one word or phrase. Here are three reasons you might want to consider this method:

One word or phrase invites simplicity.

There’s something about a brand new year that encourages you to become an overachiever. You plan to start a fitness regimen, get a new job, find love, get out of debt, eat healthy, spend more time with loved ones, go back to school, or any number of other goals.

But having just one word or phrase to guide you can simplify your resolutions. Not only does this decrease stress, it also makes it easier to focus. You’re more likely to achieve big things when you’re not feeling pressured to do it all.

One word or phrase challenges you to be intentional.

It’s easy to think of resolutions like a dessert bar filled with cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, and other goodies. You want one of everything, so it’s easy to load up on the things you think you’re supposed to want.

But what if you flipped the script? What if instead of trying to take a bit of everything, you just picked up one decadent dessert like a creamy cheesecake topped with a sweet cherry glaze or a slice of melt-in-your-mouth peach cobbler? What if you embraced the sweetness of now with a simple choice?

One word or phrase shifts your focus.

It’s easy to fixate on what you don’t like about yourself or your life. For example, if you’re in a bad situation that you can’t change, you may keep throwing around the word “stuck”.

But choosing one word to embrace can shift your focus. What if you used the word “purpose” to remind yourself that there’s a purpose for the situation you’re in? Or what if you chose the phrase “this too shall pass”?

 

A lot of creative people enjoy choosing a single word to act as focal point. Elizabeth Rider has a blog post with a list of words you might want to consider. Gretchen Rubin shares the words she and loved ones have used in the past few years on her blog.

You can let others know the word you chose by going to My One Word and posting about your word. You can even browse what words other people are picking for 2018 to give you some inspiration. Regardless of what word you pick, just have fun and enjoy doing it!

CTA: It’s not too late to chose a word or theme.

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Posted in family, Foreign Languages, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Monday Musings for 1/21/2019

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So over this past weekend, my husband has spent a large portion of his time rearranging our living room and trying to get things better organized.  With three days of our week devoted to music, this means we have a lot of instruments in our home.  We need a place to keep them as well as places to practice.  Since there are 6 of us who play instruments and four of us play more than one, there are quite a few instruments in our home.  So watch for me to be sharing how the living room looks once we get everything situated the way we want them to be.

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Also we are just really getting back into our homeschool routine, which means either my children or I want to change some things up.  For our sixteen-year-old daughter, we are going to be adding French, which we found on the Schoolhouseteachers.com website.  I love the ease I am able to find what I am looking for on this site.  If you want to read a review I wrote for Schoolhouseteachers back in January of 2017, click here.  This site provides everything a homeschooling family could need or want.  Be watching in the next few weeks because I will be sharing when the Home School Review Crew goes live with the reviews of this program for this year.

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And speaking of the Home School Review Crew, I am pleased to say I will be participating on the Home School Review Crew again this year.  So be watching for upcoming reviews.

So what is going on in your world today?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for The Lost Art of Relationship

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About the Book

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Title: The Lost Art of Relationship

Author: Dan Chrystal

Genre: Christian non-fiction, Christian living

Release date: October 15, 2018

Relationship is a journey of discovery—a lost art. In this generation, it has become challenging to deepen and grow personal relationships with each other. Our technology-flooded environment has left many with limited relational experience and a fear of face-to-face connection and meeting new people.

The church has done a decent job of helping people understand the need and importance of a relationship with God, but what about with each other? At the heart of every man, woman, and child is the need for connection—for relationships with people who love them for who they are.

In The Lost Art of Relationship, Dan Chrystal tackles the heart of relationship based on the time-honored instruction to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But what does that mean? How do we live out this odd instruction? Who is my neighbor, anyway? What makes relationships healthy, and what makes them fail? Through Dan’s personal stories and difficult life lessons, readers will come away encouraged, inspired, and motivated to love the people in their life more fully. If you desire deep and meaningful connections, now is the time to discover the lost art of relationship.

Click here to get your copy!

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The Lost Art of Relationship by Dan Chrystal is a must-read book if you are interested in having deeper and more meaningful relationships with those around you.  The author does an excellent job of breaking the book down into sections which cover: Foundations of Relationships, Obstacles of Relationships, and Building Blocks of Relationships.  He uses easy to read and understand language along with personal experiences and Scriptures to back up what he is saying. 

As a pastor, being able to establish meaningful relationships is a necessity.  But establishing fruitful relationships applies to everyone.  God did not create man to be alone.  He created us to have relationships with those around us and with Him as well.  This book does an excellent job of conveying both of those points without being “preachy”.  So if you are a person who desires deeper, and more meaningful relationships, check out this book for yourself.

About the Author

dan chrystal

Dan Chrystal has over twenty-three years of ministry and relationship experience. He serves as a pastor for Bayside Church Granite Bay, under the dynamic leadership of founding pastor, Ray Johnston. Dan is a vibrant speaker and a dedicated life, career, and couple’s coach. He holds an MBA in executive leadership from Kaplan University (now Purdue Global University) and is currently studying law at Concord Law School. His extensive ministry background has taken him all over the country, from the east coast to the west, where he has served in varying capacities, including Lead Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Associate Pastor, Worship Leader, and Youth Pastor. An avid student of relationship, Dan is passionate about helping others to love their neighbors as themselves.

“Choose a good reputation over great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Guest post from Dan

For two years, I experienced what many would call a “wilderness experience.” I truly felt forgotten. I had spent twenty years in various aspects of church work having met and coached hundreds of people, and I still felt like I didn’t truly understand why I was put on this earth. I have moved nine times in my adult life. Everywhere I’ve lived, I had to start over—at work, home, schools for kids, and especially in relationship with others.

The last move was different. This time I was no longer looking to connect simply for the sake of connecting. There was a purpose for connection that was brewing inside me. That purpose became the driving force of my life and remains that way today. In fact, it consumes my thought life, relationships, ministry, and every aspect of what I do, think, and say.

Connecting with others has been a part of my life wherever I have gone. This came from watching my mom over many years meet, talk to, and befriend hundreds of people. At her funeral, I had just about that many tell me “thank you” for allowing my mom to be a part of their lives—how she encouraged them and truly got to know them for who they are.

During my two-year “wilderness” period, there was a realization that over all the moves, restarts, connections, coffee appointments, coaching, lunches, and dinners with people, I was learning the essence of what I believe we are called, or actually commanded, to do by Jesus. Such a simple sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” However, it is one of the most difficult things to live out every day. Let’s face it; relationships are messy. They can be downright frustrating at times, but they are a necessary part of life, and the second most important thing to God.

I am by no means an “expert” in relationship. I am and always will be a student of it. I have watched relationships thrive, survive, and some fall away. There are so many divisions that come between us, and during those two years of struggling with my purpose, it became clear—God has designed, purposed, and prepared me to help others discover what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I am not perfect at this. As a matter of fact, I struggle—sometimes daily. That is what sparked the writing of this book. I have found there is an art to relationship. For most, it is a lost art, one that can be rediscovered. I would love it if you would join me in discovering The Lost Art of Relationship.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 20

The Becca Files, January 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 21

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 22

Creating Romance, January 22

Real World Bible Study, January 23

Mary Hake, January 24

Captive Dreams Window, January 25

Bigreadersite, January 25

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 26

margaret kazmierczak, January 26

Bibliophile Reviews, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Just the Write Escape, January 29

A Baker’s Perspective, January 30

Janices book reviews, January 31

Book World ReviewsFebruary 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Dan is giving away a grand prize of an Echo 2nd Generation Smart Speaker with Alexa!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d6/the-lost-art-of-relationship-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Review of 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom with a giveaway

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About the Book

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Title: 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Author: Dan Willis

Genre: Finances/Christian living

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Whitaker House

As a young and naïve pastor, Dan Willis maxed out twenty-three credit cards and ruined his credit to support his ministry. It wasn’t until massive debt caused the cards to stop working that he realized that God never asked him to do this. Through his candor and honesty, Dan reveals the five steps God showed him to get out of debt: stop spending, create a budget, develop a debt payoff plan, begin saving, and repair bad credit. This led him to becoming a thriving and financially-free ministry. Now, Dan is on a mission to teach this to the world. Using biblical principles, but not relying on miracles or “name-it-and-claim-it” theology, Dan provides easy-to-follow, practical steps that can be used by anyone to escape financial bondage. Finally, he encourages readers to use their financial freedom to help others and advance God’s kingdom, and to use their newfound fiscal wisdom to store up wealth. Without shaming those who struggle financially, 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom is the perfect combination of spiritual wisdom and practical advice for those who desperately need it.

Click here to purchase your copy!

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5 Steps to Financial Freedom by Dan Willis performs the task of illustrating through his own experience of how to get out of debt and why we should stay out of doubt.  This book definitely reflects a Christian viewpoint, but the 5 principles apply to everyone.

I love how he connects his ideas and experiences to Scripture.  The passages provide a wealth of information and support for what he is saying.  I feel like this book would be especially beneficial to those just starting their financial journey as well as those who realize they need to change their financial habits.

I also respected the way Dan Willis connects our financial decisions to our relationship with God.  When our choices honor God, He will bring blessings down upon us.  On the other hand, if our choices do not honor God, our lives will reflect that as well.

The book is easy to read and is written in language that is easy to understand.  I definitely recommend this book.  So check it out for yourself.

About the Author

Dan willis

As a young boy, Dan Willis’s dreams involved entering the medical field until that fateful day when, at age sixteen, he was called to “temporarily” take over the pastor position of a local church. More than thirty years later, Dan is still there, serving as the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip, Illinois. He took the small ministry of sixteen people and nurtured it into a thriving multicultural body of more than 1,500 people. Dan’s previous books with Whitaker House were Freedom to Forget: Releasing the Pain from the Past, Embracing Hope for the Future and Praise Is My Weapon.

Guest Post from Dan

Not 23 Ways to Money Greatness or 67 Options to Financial Well Being. Just Five Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. Why complicate this? Wipe out debt and create wealth.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 8

Real World Bible Study, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 10

Just the Write Escape, January 11

Robin is Bookish, January 11

Books, Books, and More Books, January 12

A Baker’s Perspective, January 13

Janices book reviews, January 13

Remembrancy, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Bigreadersite, January 15

Aryn The Libraryan, January 16

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 18

Mary Hake, January 18

A Reader’s Brain, January 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Captive Dreams Window, January 20

Carpe Diem, January 21

Giveaway

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To celebrate his tour, Dan is giving away a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d4/5-simple-steps-to-finical-freedom-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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