Saturday, October 31, 2015

American Pride Calendars Support Hillenglade's Ministry to Veterans

Visit this link for a video message from spokesperson  Jennifer O'Neill.

Hillenglade in Nashville, has provided hope and healing to armed forces, veterans, first responders and their families since 2010.

Hope and Healing at Hillenglade Equine-Assisted Programs and
Events offer a safe place to:


To find out more about Hillenglade's, visit

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Review: Bible Stories Gone Crazy

Bible Stories Gone Crazy
By Josh Edwards
Illustrated by Emiliano Migliardo
Candle Books, 2015

By Lauren Yarger
When I review young children's books, I always do so with a mind toward whether one of my little nephews might enjoy it. After all, the test of a kids' book is whether or not kids like it as much as I enjoy reading it with them.

"Bible Stories Gone Crazy" is a winner, because all three (ages 6 and under) can enjoy it together or separately. A larger sized hardcover book, "Bible Stories Gone Crazy" offers a sort of "Where's Waldo" learning environment where kids can enjoy finding goofy mistakes in drawings depicting bible stories.

"Did Noah have electric tools and cement mixers? Did the Israelites really have surfboards," asks the book. But among the silliness and the complex, colorful drawings are some more serious questions bordering the pages, like, "how many pairs of animals are there?" or "Do you know why the king threw Daniel into the pit of Lions?" that teach kids math and reasoning skills as well as some bible history.

Stories highlighted include Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Exodus, Joshua and the Wall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion's Den, Jonh and the Whale and the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. There is quite a lot packed into this book for hours of learning fun.

One complaint. Perhaps I received a damaged copy, but several of the plastic-covered pages were creased and the stitching binding the book together doesn't allow pages to lie flat to facilitate exploring the drawings for hidden mistakes.

A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Christian Women in Media Events to be Held in Five Cities

The Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) will host five regional connection events across the country this Thursday, Sept. 17 in Dallas, New York City, Nashville, Hollywood, and Minneapolis. Each regional event will feature a keynote speaker as well as a media seminar.

The purpose of CWIMA is to advance professional Christian women in TV, radio, internet, film, publishing, music, the arts, and entertainment. The organization uses the regional connections as a way to provide opportunities for industry networking, professional equipping, and spiritual refreshment.

 "I am excited about the A-list platform we are providing this year," said CWIMA President Suellen Roberts. "It's new and fresh and it will be of great benefit to all who attend!"

The Southwest/Dallas CWIMA regional connection will start at 5:45 p.m.with a Mix and Mingle in the Bent Tree Country Club, 5201 Westgrove Drive, Dallas. At 6 pm award-winning film producer Cheryl Wicker, president of Premier 1 Studios, will share her expertise on social media during the media seminar. At 7 pm dinner will be served and KCBI FM radio Assistant General Manager and Outreach Director Sharon Geiger will speak to the group on God's work through Christian radio/media. Recording artist Bridgette Hammers is the musical artist for the evening.

The Northeast/New York City CWIMA regional connection starts with a Mix and Mingle at 6:30 p.m. at the Shelter Studios and Theatres, 244 West 54th St., New York. Makeup artist Jacqui Phillips will do a media seminar 7 pm, followed by April Lee Hernandez and the keynote address.


The Southeast/Nashville CWIMA regional connection will be held at The Historic Carriage Lane Inn at 337 East Burton St., Murfreesboro, TN. It starts with a Mix and Mingle at 6pm. At 6:30 p.m. Jody Powers, the founder of the nonprofit Amelia's Closet, will lead a media seminar called "Saying Farewell to Insecurity." She will show participants ways to deal with insecurities that keep us in our comfort zones and paralyze us from taking action. Then at 7:15 pm dinner, followed by Channel 4 News Anchor Holly Thompson with the keynote speech "Sisterhood: We Need Each Other." She will show women how they can find balance in life while they are being pulled in different directions. Recording artist Jme Medina will sing some musical selections.

The West Coast/Hollywood Chapter of CWIMA regional connection will be held at CBS Studios located at 4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, CA. Members will share time connecting and networking starting at 6 pm. At 6:30  pm the Founding Director of the Hollywood Prayer Network, Karen Covell, will lead a panel discussion on "The Role of a Christian Woman in the Media." The keynote speaker for the evening is actress, producer and director Nancy McNamara. Following dinner at 7:15 pm she will discuss "Being Comfortable with being Uncomfortable."

The Midwest/Minneapolis CWIMA regional connection will be held at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis located at 410 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis. The chapter will start its meeting at 5:45 pm with a media seminar on writing a memoir led by author Lee Blum. A Mix and Mingle is next at 6:30. Dinner will be served at 7.followed by the keynote message by inspirational speaker Nancy Holte, who will challenge you to move out of your comfort zone and into the life to which God is calling you. Dawna Johnson is the musical artist for the evening.

For more information on Christian Women in Media Association visit

About Christian Women in Media Association: Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) is a professional association dedicated to connecting women in purpose and vision. With a national platform focused on impacting our culture through media, our members work in the fields of social media, film, TV, radio, publishing, music, the arts, and entertainment. The organization promotes and provides opportunities for industry networking, professional equipping, and spiritual inspiration. CWIMA provides national conferences, music showcases, regional events, local networks, and international outreach.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Note: Maggie's song by Marcia Ware

 Maggie's Song, Volume 1 of the Full Circle Saga, by recording artist and radio personality Marcia Ware released today, July 28, 2015, from WordCrafts Press. Ware's highly anticipated debut novel is now available in trade paperback and all major eBook formats, and is at all major online bookstores. It is available from brick 'n' mortar retail book stores through Ingram Content Group, the world's largest distributor of physical and digital content.

Maggie sSong Cover Final
"Maggie's Song" - the debut novel from recording artist and radio personality, Marcia Ware
The novel's protagonist, Maggie West, is a single, 30-something, curvy African-American woman who makes her living as a songwriter/backup singer in the unlikely world of Country music. Ware classifies the novel as a 'clean, contemporary romance.'

"Maggie's Song is a contemporary romance written from the perspective of a woman who has lived her life outside of the safe confines of her childhood home," Ware explains. "Maggie has been on the road as a backup singer for a country star. She has been in compromising situations. She's seen life as it is and she has made her share of mistakes. I think it is an authentic story about a Christian woman who has real world experiences outside of the church.

"I wanted to make the story edgy, but to keep it clean," she adds. "I think there is a way to express romantic love that doesn't involve taking all your clothes off and climbing into bed or using certain language. There are people who actually live their lives that way. It is not a foreign concept. It is not a galaxy far, far away."

"When I first started writing the book, it was more of a lark," Ware muses. "But over the course of time, it went from being an artistic outlet to something very personal. These characters became almost real to me. It has been an amazing journey. It will be exciting, and a bit unnerving, to introduce these characters to readers."

“The way you were smiling to yourself, I figured you were thinking ‘bout your man.” Still in the blush of her honeymoon, Chrissy wanted to see the whole world in love.

“My man,” Maggie sighed. “Nope, I wasn’t thinking about him.”

Maggie’s chances for landing that elusive recording contract were dwindling by the second. The country music industry wasn’t exactly clamoring for a 30-something African American woman looking to launch a solo career. And there was the issue of image. Maggie was a woman of ample figure with curves to spare. Industry insiders suggested that she’d be more successful in the business if she dropped fifty pounds.

Then there was Richard. A handsome, prominent entertainment lawyer, they met at a Star Records fund raiser. With a subtle magnetism and a brilliant smile, Richard said all the right things. At first Maggie thought he was a small piece of heaven. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him. Soon enough she discovered the truth. Maggie was sweet enough to love, but for Richard, Maggie was just a stepping stone to the rich and famous. She would do until someone more suitable came along.

As for Maggie, the only reason she held on was that nagging question in the back of her mind: 
"If not Richard, then who on earth would want me?"

marcia ware headshot small
Marcia Ware, author of "Maggie's Song"
About Marcia Ware
With a resume that includes appearances at Carnegie Hall, The House of Blues in Chicago, the Grand Ol’ Opry, five European and three Australian concert tours, Marcia Ware’s musical background is as varied as it is colorful. In addition to her own celebrated solo work, she has provided background vocals for artists such as Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Peter Frampton, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Gospel greats Bill and Gloria Gaither and the legendary Chaka Khan. She has also been a featured vocalist with the famed Funk Brothers of Motown.

An aspiring actress, she has appeared in several episodes of the third season of the ABC drama, Nashville playing…surprise, surprise…a background singer.

Marcia counts first among her many passions her relationship with her Savior; as well as time spent with her family and her amazing boyfriend, songwriting, travel, harmonizing with the radio, good food, endless games of Candy Crush on her Smartphone, Daniel Day-Lewis movies and Ohio State Buckeyes football. She resides in Franklin, TN.

Maggie's Song is her first novel.

About WordCrafts Press
WordCrafts Press is a small, independent publishing company dedicated to the idea that there is no greater means of communicating truth than the medium of story. Great stories lift us out of the mundane, exhilarate us with adventure and passion, open our minds to great ideas, and remind us what it means to be human. We publish both novels and non-fiction.
We invite you to take a break from the daily grind, turn off the television, brew up a cup of hot tea, open a book and read for a while. Who knows, you might find a whole new world to explore.

For more information about Marcia Ware or Maggie's Song, visit

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden
By Katharine Swartz
Lion Fiction, 2015

Two stories set a century apart intertwine in Katharine Swatrz's "The Lost Garden," the second book in her Tales from Goswell series. In the present, Marin Ellis assumes guardianship of her younger half-sister, Rebecca after the death of their father and Rebecca's mother. Unsure what direction to take in her own life, Marin yields to Rebecca's plea to give them a fresh start by purchasing Bower House, a former vicarage in England's West Cumberland. A locked door to an apparent lost garden intrigues the sisters and they are enveloped by its history.

Meanwhile, the garden's origins and the post-World-War-I lives of the home's previous inhabitants, Eleanor Sanderson, the vicar's daughter and her sister, Katherine unfold as men return from battle and people try to resume their lives. The two tales skillfully are shared intermittently with every other chapter so that the stories unfold simultaneously, but without the jarring that sometimes can occur when the timeline shifts in novels. We also don't get a chance to forget what is happening in one story before moving on to the second.

Similarities surface in the stories as we see how the sisters learn to relate to each other and to the other people in their lives. Marin and Eleanor also have father/daughter issues to work through as well as how to work through grief. And of course there is some romance. The stories are fairly predictable, but in a pleasant way. I hadn't read the first book -- this sequel stands on its own -- but I had been drawn to the book because of its "secret garden" plot.  I wasn't disappointed. The book impressed me with its well written dialogue, often using vernacular, and Swartz's strong descriptive style with metaphor that puts us in the setting and gives clear understanding of what the characters are experiencing.

A nice example:
"Carefully she lifted her skirt and moved through the garden. She had never walked the full length of the place, and now she studied the old slate path that had been buried under the soil and which Jack had scraped clean. He'd shown her the path when he'd first cleared it . . . and Elanor had studied them scrupulously, simply to have a moment alone with Jack."

Touches of faith add to the characters, but are not overbearing. Makes me want to go read the first novel, The Vicar's Wife, also dual stories separated by decades.
-- Lauren Yarger

A copy of the book was provided free by the publisher at my request.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Socrates Goes to Oxford

News from our friend, author Eric Metaxas, founder of Socrates in the City:
I'm thrilled to announce that registration is now open for an unprecedented, international version of Socrates in the City. We're taking SITC to Oxford, England. In fact, there will be eight SITC events in one week. I’ll be interviewing a brilliant array of guests — from journalist Peter Hitchens to C.S. Lewis's own secretary Walter Hooper. Visit the Socrates in the City website for all the details.
We’ll hold the eight sessions from Monday through Thursday, July 20th - 23rd, at St. Aldate's Church right in the center of Oxford. For those of you who live in England, or who plan to visit Oxford this summer, please come and join us! Admission to the sessions is free — but be sure to register here so we can save you a seat.

If you can't be in England this summer, take heart! All of the Oxford events will be broadcast on NRB-TV next season and they'll also be posted online!

More information about our speakers is below here. We hope to see you soon! 

Eric's Signature
Peter Hitchens is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. He currently writes for the Daily Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo, and China. A former revolutionary, he attributes his return to faith largely to his
experience of socialism in practice, which he witnessed during his many years reporting in Eastern Europe and his nearly three years as a resident correspondent in Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Hitchens, who is the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, lives in Oxford with his wife, Eve. They have three children.
* * *
Canon J. John is an evangelist, minister, speaker, social activist, and writer. His much-loved art of storytelling helps people to discover spiritual meaning in a way that makes sense of everyday life, and he has spoken in 69 countries on 6 continents. J.John has written more than 50 books, including just10, a contemporary application of the Ten Commandments, and The Happiness Secret: Finding True Contentment.

Check Out Ad Deum Dance Company Video

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: Bible Dominoes By Juliet David and Jo Parry

Bible Dominoes
By Juliet David and Jo Parry
Candle Books, 2015

This delightful book and game is one of the most entertaining I have reviewed. Bible Dominoes helps 3 to 7 year olds develop counting and matching skills while providing a means of playtime with peers. the "dominoes" are large cardboard pieces that allow little hands enough space to grab firmly (I had thought initially they would be the size of traditional dominoes until I opened the box). The cards are decorated with colorful pictures and numbers which can be matched.. Also in the box is a small paper book containing brief bible stories where the pictures on the cards can be found. Overall, for a product that sells for under $10 at most places, it impressed me as a good investment. Kids of different ages (brothers and sisters and play dates) can enjoy the game, older kids can read the stories to younger ones and adults will enjoy a break from the traditional children's book.

A free copy of this product was provided by the publisher for review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: Life the Flap Bible by Karen Williamson

Lift the Flap Bible
By Karen Williamson
Illustrated by Louise Anglicas
Candle Books, 2014

Seven bible stories are brought to life in soft colors (by illustrator Louise Anglcas) in one or two lines of text (written by Karen Williamson) with the added attraction of flaps which little ones can open to find additional pictures and text.

The hard, board book is targeted toward tots 10 months and up. My little year-old nephew reportedly loves other versions of the lift-the-flap series of books. The illustrations here feature lots of animals and children and are inviting (even if the surprises undermost of the flaps aren'tall that exciting to an older reader like me).

It's a fun, interative way to introduce small ones to the stories of Noah, Daniel in the Lion's Den, Moses and the birth of Jesus, among others.

A copy of the book was provided by Kregel Publishing as part of a blog tour.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Faithcrafting Retreat Opportunities Abound at Singing Hills

Faithcrafting logo 2014

2015 Faithcrafting 
Women's Retreat Opportunities
Early Bird Deadline February 1st!

Fibers of Faith Retreats
Knitting, Crocheting, and Fiber Arts 
April 10-12, 2015
Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2015

Fibers of Faith is a yarn-filled weekend, with dedicated time to knit, crochet or work on any handwork project! Bible based teaching is included like our other Faithcrafting retreats.   This retreat has an early arrival day option. Learn More
Download brochure here: 2015 Fibers of Faith Retreat Brochure
Early Bird deadline Feb 1st (spring retreat) to save $10!   Register Now For Spring!

Heavenly Stitches Quilt Retreats
April 17-19, 2015
Nov. 13-15, 2015

Sew beautiful fabric masterpieces for yourself, family, friends and charity!  Don't miss this amazing weekend of fun, faith, fabric and fellowship.  This retreat also has an early arrival day option. Stitches with a Heavenly purpose! Learn More

Download brochure here:2015 Heavenly Stitches Retreat Brochure 
Early Bird Deadline February 1st (spring retreat) to save $10!   Register Now For Spring!

Memories That Matter 
Scrapbooking and Rubberstamping Retreats
April 24-26, 2015
November 6-8, 2015
Make scrapbooks and other paper crafts at our scrapbooking and rubber stamping retreats. Just getting started? No problem. We can help!  This retreat also has an early arrival day option.  Crop til you drop!  Learn more
Early Bird deadline February 1st (spring retreat) to save $10!  Register now For Spring!
God Speaks 2013
For Both Men & Women:
God Speaks Contemplative Retreat

May 1-3, 2015
Focused listening is the purpose of this restorative retreat for those who desire silence and solitude to read their Bibles, pray, respond, and rest in the presence of the Lord. God speaks, but if we are never quiet and listening, how will we hear? The "God Speaks" Retreat offers special opportunities to take the time to truly listen.  Private rooms and our beautiful inspiring property, are an ideal setting for this retreat. 
Download a brochure here:God Speaks 2015 Brochure

Judy Jordan
Singing Hills Christian Conference Center
Faithcrafting Retreat Coordinator

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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