(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
I must admit thatI love planners. I like the clear format, small decorative details and ample areas to fill in personal details. There are usually plenty of options available online and in stores. Leading up to the start of each year, you'll find calendars, planners and diaries flooding the shelves. And yes, i love digital planners, too.
A planner helps me toremember what is ahead during the day, and what I need to do. After all, I'm never going to get another attempt at each day so I'd prefer to run my day rather than the day running me. I like feeling that I am using my day well.
But owning and using a planner doesn't automatically mean that my day or week, for that matter, runs smoothly or that I finish everything I'd added to my daily planner.
So.. that's why I was interested in reading Simplify your Life: Get Organised and Stay that Way.
This book is like a handbook for developing techniques and strategies that will help you manage your busy schedules. More than that, it will help you find a more satisfying life than the constant frenetic busyness we call life.
'Manage what you must, but organise what you care about.. and what your'e all about.' M.Ramsland
So what will you find in this book?
First, there are many relatable recounts of others who struggle with the same planning and organising problems that dog our efforts. You'll find quizzes like 'Test your organisational skills', tips, hints and simple checklists.
There are questions for your own personal reflections and a simple prayer to conclude each section.
You'll find helpful advice to overcome the daily struggles we all have to complete everything that we think deserves to be on our daily planner. And you'll relate to the simple tips: Limit your to-do lists to 10 items so that your don't get overwhelmed, and If it takes more than 10 or 15 minutes it's too complicated and should be simplified.
Plus.. you'll discover ways that you can simplify your tasks.
You'll discover plenty of information that with help you:
* develop simple organisational systems
*discoer the 7 elements of a great day
* practise the 2 minute pick-up
* simplify special seasons of life: holidays, parenting, work-life and more
* set up a personal organising centre
* manage a beautiful, low-maintenance home
* find 5 steps for a 15 minute meal cleanup
* establish problem-solving dinner schedules
She knows what she's talking about and has helped thousands to live an organised, productive life style.
So.. if you want a simpler, more satisfying life; if you have big dreams but no time to realise them, if you're ready to develop life-long habits that will help you save time and enjoy life, then check out this book.
The estimated reading time is around 4 hours 15 minutes
But, this book would be best read in small doses or chapters so that you can work through the ideas and implement the suggested strategies.
You can find this book:
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
A challenge to individuals, the church, and the community to focus on the gift rather than the burden.
In Australia, one person in a hundred- or roughly 230,00 people- has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. That's an huge number and constitutes the largest disability group in the Australian NDIS.
But I was blissfully unaware of this startling statistic... until grandson #3 arrived with all the activity and excitement of a new birth in the family.
And he was a cheerful little guy ... he delighted in music and listening to singing .. always ready to wrap his chubby little arms around your neck in a big hug... laughing all the time... still does. I cared for him quite a bit while his parents were working so I got to see a lot of him when he was little.
Murphy loved his cousins and followed them around giggling delightedly when they chased him or bounced with him on the trampoline. His eventual diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder affected his cousins not at all. They copied his 'happy hands' movement when one of them jumped especially high on the trampoline or flipped a somersault and Murphy laughed louder than anyone. The boys explained Murphy's difficulties to their curious gymnastics team members. So the whole team adopted Murphy's 'happy hands' wave during competitions to encourage one another. Cute!
But yes, living with Autism is not cute- it's not all laughter and 'happy hands.' So I was interested to read Ausomely Blessed by Beth Frank.
Actually, the book is more a compilation of stories and articles by numerous friends, family and specialists. All of them have a personal acquaintance with Autism Spectrum and special needs kids. You'll find chapters included like Ausome Opportunities, Ausome Potential, Ausome Friendship, Ausome Influence and more.
Caring for a special needs child can be an isolating existence. Autistic kids respond well to routine and repetition..So it's easier, and less stressful, to stay at home; a simple outing is fraught with the hazard of sensory overload resulting in an embarrassing meltdown. And parents of children with autism, many of whom are non-verbal, just don't have anyone or anywhere they can relax, unwind and talk to about these concerns. Unless you've experienced it yourself it's hard to relate.
Find encouragement for the everyday struggles
Ausomely Blessed provides just that type of encouragement. It doesn't sugar-coat the problems. It describes heart-rendering, relatable and real situations- the sort of situations where other parents can say, "Yes! I know what you mean. I've experienced something similar."
-- 'A diagnosis isn't a mandate to watch life from the sidelines, but a call to a destiny of greatness.' --
Focus on the gift, not the burden
Ausomely Blessed does more than just offer encouragement and support. It's so easy to spend all your time listing the problems and yes, there are many.
But there are also so many positives. God didn't make a mistake when He made these kids and neither was He surprised by the problems. He knows it all. Each child is an individual who is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Our family would be the poorer without Murphy's laughter and happiness, his excitement to be with friends and family and his hugs. The problems are just one side of the coin and reading this book is a reminder to look for the joy.
-- 'Every individual with special needs has ausome potential.' --
Look for the hidden potential
Ausomely Blessed also takes time to encourage you, as parents, to look beyond the current circumstances. Each child has potential that you can develop. So take time to regularly challenge your child. Jumpstart their imagination. Turn everyday events into learning experiences. Encourage them to dream. Keep it fun... and remember, God loves to open doors.
This small clip was created by SOAR Special Needs Ministry, and mentioned in this book. It's a reminder to look for the hidden potential in everyone and especially those with special needs.
-- "The greatest legacy is not what we leave for people; it's what we leave in people." --
Become agents of change
Community's perception of those with special needs has changed greatly but still more needs to be done to break down barriers and build understanding and acceptance of individuals and families of those with special needs. It's only when special needs kids and their families are included as valuable members of the church and the community that they will bless others as they also are blessed.
Ausomely Blessed encourages you to be an agent of change, to encourage change in the community and in your church. This type of change has already resulted in a heightened understanding of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Change has created an increased understanding that those with autism are often highly intelligent, hard-working and willing to go the extra mile to achieve a desired task outcome. Consequently, many employers realise it makes sound business sense to employ these people.
Change has also resulted in some supermarkets introducing quiet hour each week for those who struggle with sensory overload. So, for an hour, lights are dimmed, registers and scanners are turned down to the lowest levels, trolley collections and PA announcements are avoided and trained members are available to help customers... and more customers support these innovations and shop at these stores.
Maybe the next changes will be initiated by you!
Check out this book and discover how 'ausomely blessed you really are!'
Find it here: Buy from AMAZON Buy from Booktopia
Ahh... a quiet afternoon, a hot cup of coffee, a cosy spot in the sun, and a good book... What better way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
It's even better when the book is one by Irene Hannon. I've enjoyed a few of Irene's suspenseful mysteries so I was looking forward to Dangerous Illusions.
The story opens on a tense scene enacted within a stormy setting.
'Fingers clutching the door knob, he stared at the shadowy figure as shock thrummed through his nerve endings. In the background, another eruption of electricity slashed across the inky sky. A sharp crack of thunder shook the walls of the house. Rain pummelled the tulips rimming the porch, beating their heads into submission!'
And so.. the scene is set. In fact, the introduction has all the satisfying elements of an exciting mystery: 'It begins with on a dark night where a dark man waits with a dark purpose' sort-of entrance to the story.
But more follows. There's an engaging but capable heroine, a quiet, pensive and insightful friendly investigator, a twist of romance and loose ends throughout that keep you wondering and guessing just how they all tie together.
And what about the illusions?
Let's begin with a close community, a respectable neighbourhood, that suddenly hears whispers of scandal and rumours of suspicious behaviour, lurking beneath a calm public facade.
The investigating detective notes: 'The neighbourhood might be posh, but as he'd learned throughout the years, ugliness didn't have a zip code. Crime happens everywhere.'
And there was a crime. An unexpected, unfortunate and seemingly accidental death camouflages a murder and a sinister purpose.
Where does the guilt lie and why? When everyone involved presents the illusion of innocence and respectability, who can you trust? As danger hovers in the shadows, will the answers be found too late?
'Evil intent often lurked beneath a veneer of respectability.'
If you enjoy a good mystery, especially one with suspense and romance thrown in as well, then you should read Dangerous Illusions. Can you solve the puzzle? Can you break the illusions?
About the Author
Irene Hannon has written more than 50 romantic suspense and women's fiction novels. She has received a string of awards such as Daphne du Maurier award, Carol awards, HOLT medallion, National Readers' Choice award and more. She is also a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.
You can read more about Irene Hannon on her author website.
I would like to thank Revell Books & NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Copy provided for personal review through NetGalley.)
Book One Code of Holour
by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
A book review from AtGrandmasPlace of Stepping on Cheerios: Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life
I cupped the steaming cup of coffee in my hands listening quietly to my daughter's latest recount of my grandsons and their exploits, and smiled.
"But Mum... I'm saying things to my kids that I could never have imagined would ever come out of my mouth. After all, who else has to tell their boys not to lick the floor? Why do they even do that?"
The painful truth is that family life little resembles the soft, watercolour scenes we often see painted in the movies. It's exhausting, full-on and messy.
It's something that Betsy Snyder shares in her book, Stepping on Cheerios- Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life.
What you can expect in this book
You'll read about the author's experiences as she and her husband raise four small boys- one plus triplets. Betsy deals with 'neon-blue, glitter gel toothpaste smeared into the rug, hieroglyphic pencil marks along the hall and scratched furniture from assorted swords and ninja tools. (And you thought yours was the only home with Ninja warriors!)
You'll also find sane advice and plenty of bandaids, both metaphoric and real. You'll be presented with advice like... 'No-one can do it all', 'Less comparing please', and 'Nurture something with your kids'.. lessons in faith learned through the messiness of family living.
And you'll be reminded that there's something very special about the seemly overwhelming challenges of life with energetic young ones . 'And then God smiles, light breaks and the darkness rolls away, so that God can declare, "That's good!" '
Who will enjoy Stepping on Cheerios?
Do you struggle with the creative chaos of living with energetic little ones? Have you been bruised to the bone by stepping on Lego or maybe even believe the blocks are embedded in your feet? Have you entered your living area to discover metres of dental floss, duct tape and assorted containers assembled for a 'speriment? Yes? Then you'll relate to this book.
Betsy has written in a light, journaling style, noting the fun and messy exploits of her kids as well as the faith lessons she has learned in the process. It's makes the book easy to pick up read without feeling that you're reading out of sequence or context. The lessons are light and easy to live from and learn.
About the author
Betsy Singleton Snyder became a mother later in life, is a pastor and wife to a husband who served in US House of Representatives. She certainly found her life had changed dramatically when she found herself with 4 children, boys, within 21/2 years.
If you'd like to learn a bit more about Betsy and her book Stepping on Cheerios, you can listen to her conversation below where she shares, "What we get is not always what we want, but what we most need, is making it through the hard and fun stuff that happens in our families - that crazy, messy tangled ball of people who are learning to practice forgiveness, grace and love."
Friends with God Story Bible: Why God loves people like me.
Well, yes.... another Bible Story book and I guess you're thinking... 'Hey, I have a Bible Storybook for my kids or grandkids. Why would I need another one?'
So....do your kids need it? This review will help you decide.
5 Simple reasons you need the Friends with God Story Bible- why God loves people like me
When information about another Bible Storybook slid into my Inbox, I wondered whether I needed it, too. After all, three children and eight grandchildren translates into an already bulging bookshelf. Some we've read and enjoyed. Others have well-worn covers, ragged corners and loose pages.
Those are the ones that we've read and re-read over and over. Their vibrant illustrations have grabbed my kids' (and grandkids') attention and excited their imagination. The pages have held stories of a loving God who knows and deeply cares about each one of those young, captured readers. And the words have continued to live in their young hearts and minds. Yes, some of these Bible storybooks have been special.
So, do I (or you) need this new one? I can certainly understand the question.
But then, what if your kids.........
1. ...could actually feel a part of the story?
Friends with God Story Bible is written in the first person. So your kids will hear the story from the protagonist's point of view, with all the emotions that go with that. It's not just a story. It's a recount and it will resonate with your kids in a meaningful way. They will feel connected, involved.
2. ...could hear personal stories of 54+ friends of God?
This isn't just a handful of stories. It's enough for a whole year of exciting reading if you read and learn about one friend of God each week. And extra devotional material is included to help you extend each story beyond the pages of a book.
3. ...could also play Bible games and discover Bible facts
You'll find that this story Bible has an interactive element built in that works in conjunction with an app- IOS or Android. Throughout the Story Bible are special icons- a smiling face. Your kids will have fun finding them, too. Simply download the free app. Then scan the page with the icon. You'll come face to face with friends of God plus unlock interactive games.
4. ...could collect and share digital cards of the Friends of God
Not only does this connected app share more information and games, it enables your kids to win virtual collectible character cards. They'll learn even more entertaining facts about these Bible characters. They'll feel they really know them. And they can even add their own image to create their very own card.
5. ...could grow in their own friendship with God?
They'll hear and share in the amazing stories when God stepped into the picture and everything changed. As they read this book they 'face lions, cross rivers, slay giants and stare into a glittering desert sky, awed by God making impossible promises come true.' And they'll realise that this same God wants to be friends with them, too.
This Friends with God Story Bible is just so much more than just a book of Bible stories. The vibrant illustrations add their own unique quality to the personal stories of these Bible friends. And, you'll discover fun, devotional ideas with real-life activity ideas to connect with family and friends.
You can choose either a hardcover version of the story Bible or download it as a Kindle version.
You can find it here...
Do you have toddlers, little ones under 5? Do you struggle with sharing the story of God's truth and love with these little ones?
Sure, you can read to them or tell them the stories from the Bible.... and you should. But you know it should be more than that. You know you want to make it real, and regular, and a natural part of life.
(Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut 11:19)
So.. how do you make it real? How can you share Bible truths in a way that even two and three-year-olds can understand?
The truth is.... you're not the only person concerned about Bible devotions for toddlers. In fact, many parents and grandparents avoid regular family devotion time when their kids are small becuase they just don't know how to do it.
Are you the same?
What if I could tell you how to share Bible truths in such a simple way that even the smallest child will understand?
What if I could show you how you could help kids see God in the small, but important, details of their life?
What if there was a way that you could show your toddlers how God loves them and explain, in real ways, how He cares for them and their troubles?
Easy! It's done for you!
Mary Gross Davis and Rose Publishing have created a series of devotional books for kids of all ages that does all this and more, even for two and three-year-olds.
You'll find 4 parts to each devotion.
1. Each lesson begins with a simple story to read that little ones will enjoy and relate to. It helps them see God as real and personal. Each story is short .... and you'll find it easy to keep the attention of your toddler.
2. There is a simple prayer to encourage your child to talk with God about everything plus a Bible verse.
3. The 'Talk About It' segment provides some simple questions to reinforce understanding and help you child apply the Bible truth to their own life.
4. Last, there are some ideas presented in the 'Try This!' segment. It help you continue to apply the story and Bible truth in a fun way. The suggestion may be to act out something, play a game, look for something special, draw or discuss some aspect of the story.
Take a look at a couple of sample pages below.
I wouldn't like to conclude without mentioning the illustrations by Olga & Aleksey Ivanov. They are lovely- bright and colourful, and they really add interest and appeal to the devotion book.
You'll find God and Me devotional books for Girls and Boys of all ages so check them out.
God and Me! for Little Ones
My First Devotional for Toddler Girls
Author: Mary Gross Davis
Illustrator: Olga & Aleksey Ivanov
Publisher: Rose Publishing
(Copy provided for a honest review.)
Why you rarely see a boy reading and what you can do about it....
"Reading? It's boring, Mum! I just want to go outside and play!"
Ah yes.. I know.. I've been there. I feel your pain.
For a long time, and despite an early introduction to books and reading, my son refused to read fiction or for any book for enjoyment. Well, he did read non-fiction and he said it was enjoyable, but never fiction. So, I guess he was reading. But this is so typical of boys.
Research tells us that, in general, boys:
But don't despair!
Check out the following hints and you may find it difficult to get your son's nose out of a book. I'd also like to introduce you to Charge to Glory, one of the Time Crashes Choose Your Own Ending books by H.Michael Brewer. (Choose your own adventure-style books were a game-changer for my own son!)
Boys crave action and adventure
Most boys have enough problems with just sitting still for any length of time. (They just want to be doing something physical.) So any book they read needs to include the same sort of action and adventure. If they're not actually doing it, at least they want to read about someone else doing it. So, encourage your son or grandson to read a book that you know is filled with action.
Boys like books and heroes that match their image of themselves.
I really don't think that this is any different from anyone else. We all like to imagine ourselves as the hero or heroine so it makes sense to look for books that boys can relate to.
A good book is a rollicking yarn that tweaks his sense of adventure and absorbs him so completely that he battles alongside the hero and rejoices in the final victory as if it was his own. -James Moloney
The length of a book can be daunting.
Especially if boys are not in the habit of reading books, a book with a lot of pages, or with print that is too small, can be daunting. Check that the book has plenty of white space, too, on the pages. If it includes illustrations, maps or diagrams, it's even better as boys are often visual learners. (I know, I know... there are lots of exceptions butdon't take my word for it.)
Be creative in your approach to boys and books
There are creative ways to encourage boys to read more books. First, boys like a role-model so ensure that there are plenty of others, including dad, reading books. Second: try turning reading into an event. Plan an action-filled afternoon. And then, perhaps camp out with toasted marshmallow etc followed by reading a chapter or two from a well-chosen book.
I found it helpful to load up a few bowls with potato chips and snacks and read to my kids, while they enjoyed the snacks.
But make sure you choose a good book.
And a good one to consider isCharge to Glory. It's one of Time Crashers series and it's a choose your own ending. If you're unacquainted with this style of book, it means that, throughout the book, there are pages where the reader must make a choice about how they think the adventure should develop. Depending on their choice, they flip through to a different page for the story to continue. This is great for boys! They are involved in the story development. (It also makes them think that they'll get through the story faster, although I've found that they often go back and choose another ending, too.)
This series involves Ethan Conway and his friends as they travel through time using a time machine to find Ethan's dad who is trapped somewhere in the past. Not only is the plot exciting, but the book includes plenty of other activities to keep the reader focused. The book is filled with exciting illustrations, codes to decipher and puzzles that also encourage the reader to find Bible references and verses. And... the reader gains historical and biblical knowledge and understanding as he works through the consequences of his decisions throughout the book.
So... do you think this book sound exciting enough to hold a reader's attention?
Listen to the introduction to the book and decide yourself!
"Can the boys survive long enough to find Dr Conway? That's in your hands. You are the fourth Time Crasher. If you have the guts, you can join Ethan, Jake, and Spencer as they tumble through the centuries. If you make this trip, you'd better have a quick mind and a brave heart. History is filled with dangers you've never dreamed of. The difference between life and death may depend on a split-second decision. The Time Crashers are counting on you to help make those choices. Will you think things through? Will you follow your feelings? Will you play a hunch? When sabre-toothed tigers are charging or swords are slashing, you'll need every ounce of bravery to choose a path and see it through. It's not too late to turn back!"
TIME CRASHERS: Charge to Glory
One of the Choose Your Own Ending series
Author: Michael Brewer
Publisher: Rose Publishing
(Copy provided for a honest review.)
Read review on GoodReads.
‘Beyond the Silence’ by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
(Plus a Giveaway and Facebook Party)
Far-off screams filled the air and rattled six-year-old Jimmy Colton's bones.
It's a dramatic start to a book filled with questions. In fact, questions flood your thoughts as soon as you begin reading the dramatic opening scene of Beyond the Silence. Who is Jimmy? What pre-empted this situation? More importantly, how does the scene end? And, what's the connection to the rest of the story?
In fact, although initially it may seem unrelated, this opening scene has direct and far-reaching implications. It influences the characters and the course of events through to the escalating drama of the final scenes.
But this story begins to take shape with the introduction of Lillian Porter. Lillian is a young, tenacious woman struggling to throw off the sheltering, but constricting, confines of a wealthy, controlling, grandfather. In her attempt to find a life of purpose and meaning, she accepts the position of nanny for Jimmy Colton. This small boy has recently lost his mother under tragic circumstances which have left him non-verbal.
Although Lillian's entry into the on-going drama of the Colton family comes mid-way in the family's saga, she brings a courageous optimism. The whole homestead, including little Jimmy and Woodward, his overwrought father- still reeling from the tragic death of his wife and the ongoing hostility of the townsfolk, begins to see a glimmer of light... perhaps they can find hope for the future.. maybe they can move forward.
But the danger from the past still lurks in the shadows and even Lillian's bright optimism and faith is tested as they confront the suspicions and personal attack that threatens the family, and their very life and security.
Beyond the Silence is filled with enough action, drama and undercurrents of tension to hold your attention and demand an answer to the growing questions. Will Lillian be able to rescue those she has grown to love deeply and will there ever be peace and acceptance from her failing grandfather who steadfastly refuses to acknowledge her or even read her letters? But the story is more than just drama and tensions. It is also a narrative that is lightened by the interactions between the believable, and sometimes quirky, characters and their roles in the unfolding drama.
I really enjoyed the story and the characters and I'm sure you will, too.
I would like to thank Baker Publishing Group and Litfuse for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Copy provided for personal review through NetGalley.)
BEYOND THE SILENCE
by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Format: Available as paperback or e-book
‘Beyond the Silence’ by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
(Plus a Giveaway and Facebook Party)
Lillian Porter takes a chance on a new job and a new future . . . but rumors surrounding her job make Lillian begin to wonder if she made the right choice in Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse's Beyond the Silence. There are rumors in town that her new employer, Woodward Colton, caused the death of his wife. This accusation doesn't match the man Lillian comes to know . . . but soon the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. Will Mrs. Goodman and Jimmy be able to speak what they know in time to save Lillian from tragedy?
Tracie and Kimberley are celebrating the launch of Beyond the Silence with a Loaded Fire Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on February 11!
One grand prize winner will receive:
RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!
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