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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Afters ~ Live On Forever ~ Review and #Giveaway

I love good Christian music, so when given the opportunity to preview The Afters' new CD, I jumped at the chance.  And I am so glad I did.  

Live On Forever

The CD is wonderful!  I listened to it again and again and quickly picked my favorite songs.  Shadows, Battles, Wake Up My Heart, and Time of My Life top the list of faves.  But really the whole CD is fantastic!

Now, if you are thinking that you don't really know who The Afters are, remember the song, "Light Up The Sky"?  Yeah, those guys.  I love that song too.  :)

Their latest effort, Live on Forever, began during a season of tragedy.  Cancer diagnoses, illness, and death all hit close to home for the group.  But despite all of that the band chose to find their shelter and strength in God.  According to Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Afters, “Live on Forever is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It’s an ‘ante up’ record, an anthem for people’s lives: ‘God you are with me in all this. I’m not alone.’”

You should go check out some websites to get to know these guys better:

Official website: www.theafters.com

And go watch some of their music videos:
Battles (Official Lyric Video)
Battles (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Official Music Video)

Now that you love their new album and want to purchase their music :) here are some options:

You won't regret purchasing their music!

Finally, if you would like a chance to win your own copy of this CD, here's your chance.  All you need to do is leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite music genre.  Are you a Rock and Roll kind of person?  Do Blues make you happy?  Do you prefer Jazz?  Or perhaps you are a Country girl/guy?  Just shout it out in the comments!  Easy peasy!

The last day to enter is Thursday, September 29.  Winner will be chosen and announced at the top of this post on Friday, September 30.

Thank you for stopping by!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

Phil Wickham "Children of God" CD Review

Have you heard the new album by Phil Wickham?  It is called "Children of God" and it is incredible!

Children of God

After discovering a vocal polyp - a small lesion on his vocal cord - in 2014, Phil Wickham didn't know whether he'd ever be able to sing again.  Surgery removed it, but the healing process would take time.  During that time, Phil cried out to God and felt a strong sense of God's presence with him.  

He began writing songs not knowing whether he would ever be able to sing them.  The reawakening of his heart is shown in song after song on his new album.  And, obviously, he is able to sing again.  In fact, according to his bio, two weeks into his healing process, the doctors told him they didn't see any scarring on his throat.

God is good!

As I listened to his songs, I enjoyed the worship that he conveyed through his words.  I started writing down my favorite songs so I could highlight them here but found myself liking one after another.  There were, however, a few that stood out a little more than the others, such as Awakens Me, The Secret Place, Wide Awake, and My All in All.  But the whole album is just wonderful.  We will definitely be listening to it over and over.

If you are interesting in learning more about Phil Wickham's new music, check these links out:


What's your favorite music these days?  Feel free to share in the comments!

Disclosure:  I received this product in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was received.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The League and the Lantern ~ Book Review and Giveaway

The giveaway is now over.  The winner is Alisha!  Congratulations!


Hi there!  

Long time, no see, huh?

I've been telling myself for months now that I really should write something on my blog, but then I never got around to it.  I could give you a gazillion reasons why I haven't posted, but I won't bother.  Let's just say it wasn't exactly a priority in my life and leave it at that.

So now here we are at that awkward stage.  Long-time silence.  :)

For those of you who stuck around, thank you.  I hope to post more regularly from here on out.

Anyway, my reason for posting today is pretty exciting!  I just finished reading the book The League and the Lantern and I wanted to tell you about it.

the league and the lantern book

About the book:
After a disastrous sixth grade, Jake Herndon is anxiously awaiting his Big Do-Over, starting with his new school's notorious seventh grade sleepover. Awkward team-building games and forced fun quickly become the least of his problems, however, when a dangerous organization invades and the night takes a shocking turn. Jake and two new classmates, Lucy and TJ, barely escape, only to find themselves in a fight for survival on the streets of Chicago. Over the next 48 hours they unravel a mystery dating back to the Civil War and an incredible secret about Jake's family.

Full of unforgettable characters and unexpected twists, The League and the Lantern is a jaw-dropping ride of mind-bending revelations and laugh-out-loud humor. If Jake and his new friends can make it through this weekend, they just might have a shot at seventh grade.
In this debut novel, family television executive producer and dad Brian Wells has created an epic, rip-roaring comedy adventure that's also about courage, family and friendship. The result is an engaging mix of great characters, crackling wit and unexpected twists that 9- to 14-year-olds, entertainment executives and family groups are applauding.
Wells works from the belief that great entertainment is driven by memorable characters and imaginative writing, and it shows. The League and The Lantern delivers all of this and more without objectionable language or inappropriate themes. Throw in a plot that traces back to real historical figures and you've got what some are calling Percy Jackson meets National Treasure.
As an extra bonus, the book also invisibly weaves in 140 of the top vocabulary words for middle school success. A free downloadable study guide is available on the book's website.

I started reading this book to my 10-year-old son and we got through the first couple chapters.  He's happy with me reading a chapter or two a night, but I was hooked and kept on reading without him.  (Don't worry though.  I will continue reading it to him until we finish.)  :)  I finished the book in two days!  I couldn't put it down!

Yes, it is geared towards middle-schoolers, but it is a great story that even adults will enjoy. The best part is that there is no foul language and no inappropriate scenes.  Just good, clean action and adventure.  With some surprises along the way, of course.

Actually, that's not the best part.  The best part is that for every book you buy from the website, they will give a copy away to a child in need!

If you have a son or daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew, whomever; get this book for them!  It is the first book in a new adventure series for middle schoolers.  I can't wait until the next book comes out!

Here are a few ways you can learn more about the book and the author:

Now for the giveaway part.  Since I agreed to read and review the book, I have been given permission to also give a copy away to one lucky reader!  All you need to do is answer a simple question - who is your favorite children's author?  Easy peasy!  Thanks for entering!

Winner will be announced here once the giveaway is over, so be sure to check back.  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections ~ 2015

I know it is has been a while since I last posted here.  Let's face it ... blogging takes time.  And I have just not taken the time to post anything.  Summer 2015 was incredibly busy with raising Monarchs.  And dealing with our house being hit by a car.  (More on that soon).  Then fall was incredibly busy with photo sessions and editing.  Then the holidays.  

And even now, when I typically have time to get caught up and work on projects that I didn't have time to do during the summer and fall, I have been blessed with more work opportunities.  A family session between Christmas and New Years and a wedding on New Year's Day.  I'm currently working my way through the wedding images and hope to have them finished up this weekend.  Especially since I need to report for jury duty selection on Monday morning.  Ugh.  Praying I don't get picked to be on a jury.

Anyway, I always like to participate in Ashley's Memories, Dreams, and Reflections recap each year, so I made a point to seek out the photos this year.  I will be honest and tell you that I took less photos of my family.  I had a tough time finding a photo for a few of the prompts.  Between butterflies and photographing clients, I apparently didn't pick my camera up as often as I would have liked.  I plan to change that also in 2016.

So here are my selections for 2015's memories, dreams, and reflections ...

01 Me
If you know me, then you know I hate selfies.  But I did want to share a pic of a new t-shirt that I bought last summer.  So this is me.  Kind of.  :)

{i love you}
02 i love you
Doug and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary in November.  I had Keira take some pictures of us while we were both dressed up before we went out to dinner.  However, none of them turned out very well.  So we tried again on Christmas Eve.

{still laughing}
03 still laughing
Since I realized that I hadn't taken many photos of my babies in a while, we set out one evening to remedy that.  Of course, the boys started getting silly.  Nick first, then Alex followed his lead.  I giggle every time I look at this photo.

{winter wonderland}
04 winter wonderland
Honey loves the snow.  Although this particular day it was super cold and windy and even she didn't want to stay out long.

05 birthday
Nick asked for cold, hard cash for his birthday.  So my sister-in-law made sure to make that happen.  :)

06 friends
My friend, Sharon, and I met on Facebook through a photo-a-day group.  When we discovered that we lived close-ish to each other, we decided to meet up.  First at Phipp's Conservatory then at the zoo.  We both love photography and both places are great for photographers.  We both love the polar bears at the zoo also, so this was a perfect place for us to hang out.

{i was inspired}
07 i was inspired
I have been raising Monarchs for 6 years now and I had yet to take a photo of a Mama laying eggs or a couple mating.  Well, this year I got both.  The mating pair was taken with my phone though, so I still need to get a good shot of that.

{spring fever}
08 spring fever
Nothing says spring like tulips.  

{travel or vacation}
09 travel or vacation
We didn't take a vacation this year but we did go on several day trips.  This is a phone pic from one of them.

{summer days}
10 summer days
Butterfly season started a little later than usual for us this year thanks to all the rain, but once it got started, it consumed my summer days.  And some of my fall days.  We raised and released 1,062 Monarch butterflies along with some Black Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails.  For a while there it was like a full-time job.  But one I wouldn't trade for anything.

{a day in my life}
11 a day in my life
These guys are always part of my days.

{all smiles}
12 all smiles
Kobe appears to be smiling for me.  I just love her!

{autumn harvest}
13 autumn harvest
Fall was such a busy time for me that I didn't seem to take many photos other than clients.  However, we did take a family day to go to Elk County to see the elk.  We came up empty in the morning but after lunch we were fortunate enough to see a few elk including this bull.

{family or home}
14 family or home
As I mentioned above our house got hit by a car in September.  I had planned to write a blog post about it (and I still might), but short story is the guy fell asleep at the wheel and our house ended up in his path.  This happened on a Saturday around 1:00 a.m.  The kicker is that we live about 100 feet off the road and up a hill.  Not a house that you would ever expect to get hit by a car.  This photo shows the wall that he took out.  Our homeowner's insurance had to cover the repairs since the driver didn't have insurance.  The house repairs just got finished on Tuesday.

15 celebrate
My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year.  They didn't want any gifts, just a nice gathering of friends and family.  I offered to take pictures for them.  This photo is of Doug's two sisters, his parents, and him.  It had been a while since they had a family photo taken.

{let's do it again}
16 lets do it again
Can't wait for butterfly season to start again this year!

{i miss you}
17 i miss you
Kobe is so much fun to play with at the zoo.  It has been a few months since I visited her and I miss her.  Must get back to the zoo soon!

18 beautiful
Keira participated in a princess day at a local banquet hall.  All the "princesses" (and the "queen") looked so beautiful.  Keira is 2nd from the left, beside Mary Ellen, the owner of The Gathering Spot, and the host of the princess day.

{dress up}
19 dress up
We're pretty much past the days of dressing up (for play anyway).  However, they do still have a fun costume party at youth group.  Keira dressed up as a Geisha girl.

20 macro1

20 macro2
Thanks to my macro lens and my stalking this Black Swallowtail egg, I was able to capture the tiny caterpillar hatching out of its egg and then turning around and eating the egg casing (the baby caterpillar's first meal).

21 holidays
My babies on Christmas Eve.

{my favorite}
22 my favorite
It is really hard to pick one photo as a favorite, but I'm pretty happy with this one.  A Black Swallowtail (one of my babies perhaps) depositing an egg on my parsley plant.  They are super quick, so I was excited to capture her.

{don't ever change}
23 dont ever change
Silly, funny, loving, helpful.  I hope he never changes.

{just because}
24 just because
I love her!  :)

{hopes and dreams}
25 hopes and dreams
Of course, I have lots of hopes and dreams.  For my family, our home, my business.  But I had to pick just one photo, so my hope is to help the Monarch population even more this year by raising LOTS more butterflies.  If you've never raised one, you should give it a try.  But be warned, you will be hooked.  :)

If you made it this far, congratulations!  And thank you!

Be sure to stop over to Ashley's and see her gorgeous pictures!

I hope to be back to blogging soon.  In the meantime, wishing you a blessed and Happy 2016!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith of Our Fathers ~ DVD Review and Giveaway

Taking the entries from the blog and Facebook, the winner of this DVD is Lindsey!  Congratulations, Lindsey!  I'll get your DVD out to you soon.  Thank you to everyone for entering!


Hello there!  Just popping in to share about a great movie I had the pleasure to watch recently ... Faith of Our Fathers.  And just in time for Veteran's Day.

About the movie:
John Paul and Wayne are two young men in search of their fathers.  Problem is...their fathers have been dead for 25 years.  Eddie and Steven are two young men in search of their sons...whom they've never met.  In 1969, Eddie and Steven are with their squad deep in the jungle of Vietnam on a five-day mission to retrieve fallen comrades.  They write letters to their wives, often mentioning their love for their sons, one, who is an infant and one yet to be born.  In 1994, John Paul and Wayne go on a five day road trip to the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC to see their fathers' names.  Along the way, reading those letters, they begin to get an understanding of who their fathers were and how they died.  Trials and mishaps, both funny and sad, complicate the road trip for the boys.  The horrors of war and the testing of faith manifest themselves for the young men in Vietnam.  Ultimately, in parallel stories - 25 years apart - the fathers and sons are bound together forever.  

Runtime: 96 minutes
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13 (for brief war violence)

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Downes, David A.R. White, Rebecca St. James, Si Robertson, Candace Cameron Bure, Scott Whyte, and Sean McGowan.

Special Features of the DVD:
-The Heart of Faith of Our Fathers
-Honoring Father's Day
-Commemorating Memorial Day
-Si Robertson Interview
-Stephen Baldwin Interview

My thoughts:
This movie is a MUST SEE!  It has mystery, drama, humor, and a great story line.  It caught my interest from the very beginning.   I laughed out loud several times.  I may have even cried once or twice.  Or three times.  :)  The story really touched my heart.  I hope you will buy it, rent it, stream it, whatever, and see what I mean.

One of my readers has an opportunity to win their very own copy of this DVD movie.  Just leave a comment on this post.  Easy peasy!  Winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, November 16, and announced at the top of this post.  So be sure to check back to see if you are the winner!

Thank you for stopping by!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Finding Noah

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark.  Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.  

Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit.  There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question:  did Noah and his Ark actually exist?  

Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.  

WOW!  This documentary film was eye-opening for me!  I was not aware that so many people have been searching for Noah's Ark for so long.  Amazing people who risk their lives in search of the truth.

The footage in this film is great.  Breathtaking views.  Spectacular skylines.  As a photographer, I was in awe of the beauty.  

And all of this is coming to a theater near you for one night only.  Thursday, October 8. Check the link above to see if it will be playing near you.  And if it is, be sure to go see it!  I bet the spectacular views look even more amazing on a big screen.  :)

If you do go see it, I would love to hear about it!  Comment on this post your thoughts of the film. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

90 Minutes in Heaven ~ Review and Giveaway

A True Story of Death and Life

The true story that sold over 7 million copies is now a major motion picture!

Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car.  Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don's body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes.  Don's soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he'd never known before.  Don was in Heaven.  

When another pastor's prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle! Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened.  Heaven's bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil.  With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life.  The Piper family's incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life - and death - will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it. 

After given the opportunity to watch the opening scene of the movie, I can't wait to go see it! In the meantime, I was also given the opportunity to read the book.  While I haven't gotten through the whole book, what I have read so far has definitely kept my interest.  I look forward to picking it up and reading more.

About the movie presented by Giving Films:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images) 
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.  

About Giving Films:
Giving Films is passionate about sharing hope-filled movies and donating ALL of their profits to charities and ministries who serve those in need.  Beginning with their first film, 90 Minutes In Heaven, Giving Films is allowing all of us to be a part of making a difference.  Anytime you go to a Giving Films movie in theaters, visit http://www.givingfilms.com and select which charities you want to receive the profits from your ticket.  Their charitable organizations are Christian Alliance for Orphans, Faith Bridge Foster Care, Hire Heroes USA, Hope International, LifeWater, Street Grace, and World Vision. 

I hope you will go see the movie!  But in the meantime you have a chance to win your own copy of the book.  Just leave a comment on this post.  That's it!  Easy peasy!  Last day to enter is Tuesday, September 15.  Winner will be chosen and announced at the top of this post on Wednesday, September 16.

Once butterfly season (< -- click here to see what I'm talking about) is over I'm hoping to have more time to finish reading this book.  And to read a few other books that are on my list.  :)

Thank you for your time!  Don't forget to comment in order to be entered to win your own copy of this book!