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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Romance of Grace


The Romance of Grace

Check out this book and giveaway! A message everyone needs to hear! : Join me in learning more about an amazing new book in the Christian market by a very talented new author named Jim McNeely. You can check out his book on Amazon and consider it for your reading collection. It is available in e-reader and Kindle formats for digital form as well. Author: Jim McNeely Blog: Book title: The Romance of Grace. Book Description: What if God sees us the way a man sees a woman he is infatuated with, and His main question is not how to make us moral but rather how to get us to fall in love with Him? In The Romance of Grace, Jim McNeely explores Bible passages that tell us what God really wants for us and what His love means. This is the love of a God who chose to give His life for ours, even carefully retaining His scars into the throne room of heaven and telling us in His very body, "I have gone to great lengths and great costs to say that I forsook all comforts for the love of you." Join Jim in his exploration of life in God's unconditional, redeeming, amazing grace. Author Bio: Jim McNeely is a teaching pastor and elder at Dakota Creek Christian Center in Blaine, Washington, where he lives with his wife, Betty, and their four sons. Formerly president of New Century Data, with clients such as Lockheed Martin and American Airlines, he now works as a programmer and database administrator in the health care industry. Top Endorsements: So often we turn our faith in Christ into a forcing mechanism, which doesn't work in any event; and if anything, produces disillusionment or hypocrisy. The Romance of Grace is a prophetic book. I believe that unless we heed its call, to put grace absolutely without condition and frontally as the be-all and end-all of the Good News, we will lose completely, and not just in “the eyes of the world” but in the failure of well-intentioned religious lives that tried to love and never knew how.Paul F. M. Zahl, author of Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life It is time, as Robert Farrar Capon put it, to get drunk on grace. Two hundred-proof, defiant grace. That's what you get here in Jim's book. You won’t see a list of qualifications, and you'll get no "footnotes." What you’ll encounter is grace unmeasured, vast and free. It will frighten you and free you at the same time.Tullian Tchividjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and author of Jesus + Nothing = Everything In The Romance of Grace we are confronted with a truth that we may have previously rejected. It seemed too easy to embrace. It lacked obligation on our part and contradicted accusations we have given credence to for the majority of our lives on earth. Yet herein lies the truth—“Not that we loved God, but that God loved us.” This book will help to right the plumb line in your life.David Collins, author of Out of the Box, founder of Canadian Food for the Hungry International   Check out Jim McNeely's book for yourself on Amazon. It's fantastic!! Follow author Jim McNeely and his book, The Romance of Grace on Facebook or Twitter. Join us now for your chance to win a free copy of The Romance of Grace in this great giveaway brought to you by Jim McNeely, and Love2EncourageYou.

Giveaway Time!

  Prize: One winner will receive an autographed copy of Jim McNeely's book: The Romance of Grace Location: Must be a resident of the lower 48 states in the USA Age: Must be 18 years or older to enter Date: Giveaway runs til April 12th at 12:01am. Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Once you've done the mandatory entry, you'll unlock the additional optional entries you can enter also to increase your chances of winning. Good luck to everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway *Special Thanks to the following blogs for their support of this giveaway:
 Disclosure: Lost Island of Book Reviews did not receive compensation for this post except for a link on the giveaway form. Lost Island of Book Reviews and Love2EncourageYou are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugar 'N Spice Voxbox

Sugar 'N Spice Voxbox


Once again I was THRILLED to receive a package from I love the surprise of what's inside and checking out all the wonderful things! In this box was a mixture of sweet biscuits and sweetener to the spice of toothpaste, mouthwash and more. 

The first thing that caught my eye was the belVita Breakfast Biscuits. These taste amazing. They are made healthy but with the same delicious taste which makes you wonder if it's even healthy:)
They are a great source of fiber, have no high fructose corn syrup and 18-20 grams of whole grain.
They are great for a quick breakfast, but I actually took them as part of lunch to our homeschool co-op. They are a great on the go snack. I'm always nervous trying a new "healthy" treat because I've tried some with no taste. I had the brown sugar ones, and they were perfect. They would work for a dessert also in my opinion. I gave one to my 15 year old son and he thought it was a cookie and could have eaten more. He enjoyed it thoroughly. I also gave one to a 4 year to get her opinion. She also was thrilled with the taste. She wanted more! For many age groups to agree on the taste is high praise.

I also tried the Colgate Optic White Regimen. This included a new toothbrush (perfect timing since I needed a new one!) It's great! I also received the Toothpaste which has a light and fresh taste. We are picky about toothpaste flavor at our house, so a flavor we all enjoy was a great thing. We will continue to buy Optic White again I'm sure. The mouthwash also had a fresh taste. I usually don't like mouthwash because it tastes like medicine to me. I was surprise how nice the "after taste" was. It left my mouth feeling fresh, and clean. I can't wait to watch and see the teeth whitening process occur.

The Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture is also really nice. I really like the idea of spraying it on, because I hate to feel all slimy after using lotion. Even after rubbing it in, it leaves my hands feeling moisturized, but not greasy. You don't have to wait for the lotion to dry before getting dressed. It absorbs very quickly. It also helps me after shaving when my legs tend to itch. I apply the Spray & Go right after the shower, and the itching lessons so much easier.

Also in this wonderful package was Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes. This is a great way to rejuvenate your skin and get rid of dirt and oil. Also great for those pesty zits. It leaves my face feeling clean, fresh, and smooth. The box comes with the wipes in small individual packages that are great for anyplace! You can take them with you to work, the gym or just have on hand. You can have the clean feeling at any time! 

Last, but in no way least, is the Nectresse sweetener. There are no calories, it's completely natural but still has the sweet taste of sugar. It is primarily made of monk fruit. What's fun is on each packet, you get some information about the monk fruit. And yes, I have to read each one. There are some fun and also educational things about the fruit. 

This was a great voxbox. So many great products to try. I enjoyed the fact that they were all products I use anyway, but now there are options. I feel that we will try all these products again. I would highly recommend them all.

Disclosure: I received all products from Influenster for complementary testing purposes. The opinions are my own and are always honest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hidden Under Her Heart

Hidden Under Her Heart

by Rachelle Ayala

      Hidden Under Her Heart is a book about choices. The choices we make, and those made for us due to circumstance. In the book, we follow Maryanne as she is attempting to make changes in her life. She wants to move from her life of bad choices in men and sex, to a life where she has a man committed to her and to marriage. She decides to abstain from sex and focus on other things. She starts to date a man named Lucas, who could be that man. One night after a fight with Lucas, she finds herself at a party at a local church, and drinking. That night she is raped. Her boyfriend is accused, and she has to go about clearing his name. They go through many trials as they work to find the truth. Maryanne considers abortion feeling because of her past it would be the best. Lucas is dead set against abortion and works at trying to change her mind. There is trouble following them both as they try and figure out who the father is, and how to prove Lucas is not the rapist. As we follow their journey together and as individuals, we watch them learn about loving themselves and forgiveness. 
      Although abortion is at the center of the book, I feel the story was, as a whole, more about forgiveness and a search for truth. Through characters who show up at the right time, we learn about courage and strength. We find the sole truth to be that of Christ dying for our sins. We learn how God can use any situation to bring us to him and there is where truth is. We see that even when situations seem hopeless, he is there and will see us through. Although to me the story started out a little slow, the more I read the more I realized I was wrong. It was a heartwarming plot, good truth and a good look at how our choices affect our lives and future choices. A very good read!

You can learn more about the book and the author by checking out her website at
Also find her on Facebook at
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Bible Verse Certificates

Bible Verse Certificate

      Have  you ever had an occasion where  you just can't find the right gift? You know you need something special but you want to make sure it reflects their uniqueness and personality. has it all! You can make a certificate for any occasion from weddings, birthdays, a new baby, graduations, Mother or Father's Day, Christmas and much more. The certificates are available in English and Spanish and offer 20 unique styles.
      You provide them with the name of the recipient and when you get the certificate, they have added Bible Verses which include the letters in the name. 
      For my certificate, I chose to send them my son's name. I wanted him to have a reminder of God's love and verses that reflect that. I love seeing how he is growing in his relationship with Christ and this is a wonderful way to see it laid out.
      I was impressed with how nice it looked when I received the final product. It looks professional and the verses chosen were perfect. I chose to use the music style for the border because he loves to play piano. His favorite music is praise and worship, so I thought it would be fitting and create his own personalized style.  Certificates also fit nicely into an 8 1/2" x 11" certificate frame and a 10" x 13" or 11" x 14" frame each matted to an 8" x 10"Now it's your turn, for a chance to win a certificate for someone you love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trouble on His Wings

Trouble on His Wings

         Stories from the Golden Age
by L. Ron Hubbard

      I had the opportunity to review a new kind of audiotape. These audiotapes provide the listener with a larger than life sound that makes you feel like you are a part of the story. By using great sound effects, you are brought into the story instead of viewing it from the outside. It creates great emotion and allows the listener to respond and connect with the story.
      The stories focus on the Golden Age of time. In the story I reviewed, we find a "picture-chaser" looking for a story. He's the best out there but once he rescues a woman, his luck seems to have died out. Trouble just seems to follow him wherever he goes. You are taken on a great adventure as they travel the globe searching for great photos. No matter how hard he tries, the woman is always there, and always bringing him more trouble. What's worse is he can't get the perfect picture anywhere.
      The situations he encounters are well thought out and explained. The drama including the dealings with the woman and other dangers is compelling and draws you in further.
      Along with the audiotape, I received a newspaper and magazine which were written as if it was in that time period. They have some great stories and clever articles and pictures which give you more of a sense of what the Golden Age was like from many perspectives.

Here is a link to the youtube video of the audiobooks available. There are some fun videos to check out!

I think the audiobooks are a fun way to learn about things as they were in the Golden Age of the 1940's era. The sound effects were a great addition without being overwhelming. I would recommend checking these out!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the audiotape in order to do the review. I also received printed magazine and a newspaper as part of the package. The review is my honest thoughts and may differ from others.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MailPix photo brag book

MailPix Photo Brag Book

      I love taking pictures, looking at pictures and creating memories with the pictures. When I was given this great opportunity to review a photo brag book for I was thrilled. I immediately started to think of what pictures I wanted in my book, and how the final product would look.
      I chose the 4x6 photo book. It was so much fun looking back at our family experiences and deciding what pictures to add to the book. This was my first time making a brag book and I was concerned that I  might do something which would make the book less than it could be. My fears were relieved when I saw how easy the actual process of making the book was. The site gives great help on how to do the book, and makes the directions easy to read and understand. I was able to upload my desired pictures onto the site from a variety of locations. An extra bonus was that it provides a way to upload by picking which book you are creating, and it automatically changes to the correct sizing. I liked not having to worry about whether or not the pictures would fit the right way. You have the ability to design each page by adding pictures where you want them. They offer a recommended design, but you can change it if you prefer a different set up. I tried changing the layout just to see how it worked. I was happy with the ease of the process. It's quick and effortless to go back through and make changes to any page layout and switch pictures around page to page if you want until you are satisfied with the final results.
      You can add text to the pages and that adds a personal touch to the final product. I even had a couple pages where I just put text to see how that came out. My son wanted to add a favorite Bible verse, and also a page with the chorus to a couple favorite songs. 
      I couldn't wait to get my book! I wanted to see my families faces when they saw the pictures, and to get their opinions of the book. The book turned out really nice overall. The book itself is of great quality. The pictures looked professional even thought they were mostly all from cell phone pictures and Facebook. 
      The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact that in the small book size, the quarter page pictures are not really large enough to get a good feel of the picture or see people's faces. I would stick with the half and full size in the smaller books.
      I was overall satisfied with MailPix products and will use them again and try other examples of the great Digital Photo Printing. Pricing is good also.  I love how MailPix allows you to be creative and they give you the tools to do that. I will recommend them to anyone needing great photo products.

Disclosure: I received a free photo brag book from MailPix in order to do this review. The review is my honest opinion and might differ from others. 

Chief Complaint Brain Tumor Costnic Blast


Chief Complaint Brain TumorChief Complaint: Brain Tumor

At 57 years old, I thought I was the poster child for fifty-year old healthiness: I competed in triathlons, rode in 100 mile biking events and ate a healthy diet chock full of organic vegetables. Then I discovered that I had a brain tumor the size of my wife’s fist. My memoir chronicles the first year I spent addressing tumor-related health issues: preparing for my first operation, discovering a dangerous skull infection, having the infected portion of my skull surgically removed, learning about my substantial vision and cognitive losses, undergoing rehab and radiation treatments, and learning to live with my “new normal.” And, as best I can tell, the phrase “new normal” is the medical community’s code words for “You’re alive, so quit bitchin’.” As my health changed, so did my sense of humor. My humor started out superficially light-hearted prior to the first operation; transmogrified into gallows humor after several subsequent operations; and leveled out as somewhat wry-ish after radiation and rehab. Topics I write about in the book include:
  • How not to tell everybody you have a brain tumor
  • Why it’s a lot of work to die in this country
  • Why I had difficulties in naming my tumor
  • How I negotiated bathroom visits with “Nurse Don’t-Bother-Me”
  • Why I could prove that I was the “dumbest guy in the room”
  • Why someone compared the back of my head to a diseased goat
  • How I flunked a job interview with myself
This is a book for anybody interested in memoirs about people dealing with personal crises, for patients trudging through rehab, for caretakers helping victims of serious illnesses, or for anybody looking for an unexpected chuckle from an unlikely subject. Purchase Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor at

About John Kerastas

John KerastasI've worked at a global advertising agency, at several technology start-up companies and as a free-lance writer. Currently I spend most of my time blogging, speaking and writing about brain health, brain tumors and rehab. I speak to hospital rehab groups, stroke and aphasia groups, and last summer spoke at the American Brain Tumor Association's annual "Patient and Caregiver" conference. My charity and non-profit efforts includes work through the Taproot Foundation on behalf of Apna Ghar (a Chicago-based non-profit providing domestic violence services to immigrant communities). I also go on Appalachia Service project trips through my church, participate in Early Response Teams that follow first responders into disaster areas, and teach and certify Early Response Teams through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (e.g.UMCOR).

Follow John Kerastas

Website | Facebook | GoodReads  


The author is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Open to US & Can residents only Fill out the form below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 15, 2013

Marie's Yogurt Dressing

Marie's Yogurt Dressing

      I was thrilled to be offered an opportunity to try out Marie's Dressing. My family loves to eat salad and dressing is a great way to make them unique. This was a new dressing for me, I had never tried it before. We always just picked up the regular stand by choices. I have to say though, that this dressing is amazing! It's a yogurt based dressing which is all natural. It offers not only the great taste, but also half the fat and calories. There are no preservatives or MSG and no artificial color or flavors. This was a big deal for our family as we are trying to become more healthy and more conscious of what we eat.
      I tried both the Ranch dressing and the Bleu Cheese dressing. They both were delicious. They are creamy and do have a yogurt taste and texture. My family loved them! 
      My husband doesn't tend to like creamy dressing but decided the Bleu Cheese was perfect with wings.  He loved how the yogurt flavor came through and the combination of it with the flavor of the wings. He was hooked!
      My son and I also enjoyed the Bleu Cheese with the wings and agreed it was really tasty. We also used the Ranch dressing for a salad. It was a perfect taste. It had a richer taste than normal ranch flavors, and the yogurt flavor went well with the salad. It would also be great as a dip for veggies. 
      It was great to have a chance to taste both of these flavors in different ways. That's the great thing about the variety of flavors Marie's Dressing offers. Dressing isn't just for salad, it goes well with many different foods. I can't wait to try the other flavors!

Disclosure: I received one bottle of Ranch Dressing and One of  Bleu Cheese for review.

Monday, March 11, 2013

All about toddlers website!

Ultra Quirky Tot Website

     This is a great website for all things Toddler. They have everything from clothing, toys, gear, furniture and more. What I first noticed when I checked out the website is the inviting front page. It has great color which brings your attention to all the details of the site. It is very well organized allowing readers to easily find what they are looking for.  There are some great ideas and styles throughout the site. Everything is geared toward what the toddler age would enjoy. 
     I found some of my favorite things on the website to be the bookcases and rocking chairs. Here are great examples of the wonderfully made and decorated furniture available. 
     This is my favorite bookcase. It's called the Magical Garden and runs for $139.99. I love how the flowers and butterflies are large enough and make up the entire sides. What cute shelving for a toddlers many books, stuffed friends, and other special things. 

Other favorite items were the rocking chairs. Perfect size for toddlers. What a great addition to the room. Imagine the special memories of reading in these wonderfully designed chairs. For those boys that love fire trucks this is sure to please!
                                                                    This chair runs $149.95 and even has noises that flip on and  

                                                 For all those animal lovers, the Safari Jungle Chair which runs $124.95                                                               is a great addition. Includes a poem on the seat of the chair.  All rocking chairs can be personalized with your child's name.