I have been given the opportunity to read and review (and giveaway a copy) of The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie.

This wonderful book is due to be released in July of 2012 but it can be pre-ordered now through various vendors. Amazon has it for pre-order for $9.97.

The Forgiven Duke is the second book in the Forgotten Castles series. The series follows sleuth Lady Alexandria Featherstone as she travels through Ireland, Iceland, & Italy (in order of books) in search of her parents.  
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433673231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433673238
What is The Forgiven Duke about? The publisher writes: 

"Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her. 

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love."
The author: Jamie Carie is the daughter of a pastor and spent time as a child travelling with her father as he preached across Indiana. She learned about "creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see." As she grew and then married, she used her knowledge and wrote her first book Snow Angel, that won USA Book News "Best Book 2007". She has since written several more books.

Jamie Caries words to her readers "Live the dreams God has destined for you." Nothing more can be added to that.
The Forgiven Duke is geared toward young adults, I think, or those that enjoy a romantic fictional story and have time to read : ^ )

Because I do not have a lot of time to read, this took me time to finish, but is worth the read. If you like romantic fiction with a few twists and turns thrown in, you will like The Forgiven Duke.

Now on to the giveaway! 

 
 
In Jan of 2010, Dr. Gary Chapman's book The 5 Love Languages, was published. This New York Times bestseller offered couples an insight into the different languages of love that each one may have; some alike & some completely opposite of their spouse.

Now, there is a wonderful new book by Dr. Chapman & Dr. Ross Campbell that can help you understand the The 5 Love Languages of Children. This book brings to light the interpretation of love from a child's eyes. We know that children are not just little adults, but we often forget, or don't realize, that they see the world with totally different colored glasses than we adults do. Sometimes we may remember our own thoughts from childhood, but as adults, our memories & ideas may have become skewed or altered. The 5 Love Languages of Children allows us to reconfigure our thought process just a little in order to speak to our children on their love level.
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"To be their best, children need to feel loved.
But if you and your child speak different love languages,
your affection might get lost in translation, affecting the child’s attitude, behavior, & development. Dr. Gary Chapman’s groundbreaking Five Love Languages series has helped millions of couples communicate love more clearly, and Dr. Ross Campbell M.D. has applied the innovative system to children as well. The 5 Love Languages of Children gives practical suggestions for learning how your children interpret love and creating a sense of security in which they can thrive." (5lovelanguages.com)

On To The Contest: I have been given the opportunity to offer to giveaway The 5 Love Languages of Children to one of you. This contest is easy to enter, too.

 
 
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There is a great new book that I have been given the opportunity to review: A Perfect Pet for Peyton by Rick Osborne & Gary Chapman. This book is wonderfully creative in helping children (and their parents) learn the art of love & their own "love language".

A Perfect Pet for Peyton is like a partner book to The 5 Love Languages of Children only in a "language" that children can understand. 

The setting is a birthday party at a pet store; what a better way to help children learn about love. Most children love animals, love parties, & love pet stores. But love means more than just desire to have, and that's a lesson that can be learned.

The illustrations are fun and colorful, and there are games/activities throughout the book for children to play. They encourage interaction and offers a challenge while reading or being read to. This is the description from the publisher:  

"This wonderfully imaginative children's hardcover book by bestselling authors Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne, featuring four-color illustrations (with hidden details!) by Wilson Williams, Jr., will help children learn the importance of love. Based on Gary's highly successful The 5 Love Languages®, A Perfect Pet for Peyton tells an entertaining and playful story of five children who each, with the help of Mr. Chapman and the unique pets at his special emporium, discover their own personal love language. Children and parents alike will experience firsthand the power of the love languages as they cuddle up and spend precious time together reading this book over and over again."
You can purchase A Perfect Pet for Peyton through a number of vendors: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, & ChristianBook.com are just a few. Amazon lists it for $11.55, which seems to be the best price.

You can click the following links to learn more or connect:
  A Perfect Pet for Peyton: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/a-perfect-pet-for-peyton/
5 Love Languages of Children: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/the-five-love-languages-of-children/
The 5 Love Languages: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/5LoveLanguages
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/drgarychapman
About A Perfect Pet for Peyton: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/a-perfect-pet-for-peyton/

Now For The Giveaway! This giveaway has ended. Thank you for all that participated and congratulations to the winner: C. Owens! 
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
 
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My daughter and I have recently started taking Zumba classes & have really enjoyed the Latin style music. It's exhilarating while exercising. The one thing that I do not like about a few of the songs are the lyrics. Because of this, I was so excited to receive my copy of the Miami Vineyard Live music CD. It's a mixture of Latin, Black Gospel, Caribbean, and Anglo music AND IS CHRISTIAN! How wonderful to hear praises to The Lord while listening to this style of music.

The CD was developed by a group of "20+ musicians and 10+ songwriters that are steeped in their own musical traditions . . . [that come] together to create a new tradition and sound." The Miami Vineyard Community Church took one night, the over one hundred singers, instrumentalists and songwriters that make up its eclectic worship ministry, and joined together in worship. On this night, they created the fabulously MIAMI VINEYARD LIVE CD." (miami-live). You can hear clips of the music on the video below. It makes you want to put your hands in the air and PRAISE THE LORD!

There are 13 songs on the tracklist, and each of them brings it's own uniqueness. From the instrumental blends to the voices, The Lord is lifted above all else.
The Tracklist includes:
You can listen to a sample of each of these songs by clicking here. I like Holy Spirit Come, How Great Is Our God, & At All Times the most, I think, though, all are great to listen to. You can also purchase the CD for $11.99 or download it for $9.99.

You can follow MiamiVineyard Live on Facebook or view their site through Vineyard Music

ON TO THE GIVEAWAY: Along with the CD I received to review, I was also given the opportunity to offer one to you! Just follow the simple rules below and you'll be entered. It starts today and ends 3/13/2012.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I received this product through FlyPropeller.
 
 
A few weeks ago I posted about Kid Puzzles and their awesome handmade wooden puzzles. Since then, we have received the personalized puzzle for my son. Now I don't usually share my kid's names on here, but since the puzzle is personalized, it will be there. I won't blur it so that you can appreciate the beauty that is in this puzzle. It is exceptional, to say the least.

Before I show you the full puzzle, I want you to see the layers put into it. The workmanship is impeccable.
In the top picture you can see the layers of the 3D portion of the puzzle. Each piece has several layers to ensure it's durability. In the bottom pic, you will see the many layers of the base (or back) of the puzzle. The time dedicated to each puzzle is evident!

Now to the puzzle :^)
The picture on the right is shown for size. On the bottom right side is my computer mouse. This is a good size puzzle.
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And this photo is of the top so that you can see (hopefully) some of the 3D dimension.

The base puzzle (without the name) is 18 pieces. Though that may sound like it makes for an easy puzzle, it isn't necessarily easy. Because it's 3D, it takes a little time to get the pieces where they are supposed to be :^)

As I wrote in my previous post, Kid Puzzles offers phenomenal creations that every child (and adult) will love! They are each handmade in the USA and are durable enough to become family heirlooms.  I encourage you to check out their site and the variety of puzzles they offer. These puzzles would be excellent for gifts for any holiday or birthday.

 
 
I remember when I was a kid, growing up in a rural town "in the middle of nowhere", we only had 3 channels on our TV, 3(NBC)-5(CBS)-9(ABC). Once in awhile we would get 20(same as 9) & 24(PBS). We didn't watch TV a lot, but one of the highlights would be Sunday night because of the family movie that would be on. The movie would always be family friendly, non-violent, and clean. Today, there are so many channels to choose from, and very few offer family appropriate, clean movies. And even fewer families actually watch TV together.

Well Proctor & Gamble & Walmart have teamed up to try and change that. They are bringing back Family Movie Night. Quality movies are now "being broadcast FREE on network TV".

Family Movie Night means: 
* Great quality movies *
* Good for the whole family *
* Teachable moments *
* Even family friendly commercials! *

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I was given the opportunity to watch one of these family movies to tell you about it before it airs. I watched Game of Your Life. It is set to air Friday, December 2nd at 8/7c on NBC. The following is the synopsis given to me.

"When industrious high school gamer Zach Taylor lands a prized scholarship to the prestigious Digital Institute of Game Design (DIGD), his future breaks wide open. The opportunity to study under gaming legend Marcus Bentton and alongside the country’s most creative minds will certainly propel him into a successful career as a video game designer. That is, if he can pass the infamous freshman project that eliminates more than half of the class within the first three months.

Paired with brilliant yet socially awkward teammates Phillip and Donald, the trio persuades Sara Ramirez – a determined and striking team leader with whom Zach has a history (and possibly a future) – to join their team. Working off-campus in the teched-out Lincoln Alley loft, the four set out to involve the entire campus in a quirky new social interactive game. But as the group becomes entrenched in the project, Zach learns that his father Billy, a widower, is facing growing financial woes at home. To help out, Zach accepts an opportunity to work directly with Marcus Bentton on a secretive side project that seems too good to be true. The effort requires nearly all of Zach’s time and energy, which he should be devoting to the project. Struggling to keep it together, Zach is torn between his responsibility to his team, his admiration for Bentton and a chance to help his father.

Everything comes to a breaking point when Zach’s team threatens to remove him from the group and the deceptive truth behind Bentton’s project comes to light. With the guidance of Professor Abbie Lambert, Zach must make a decision that not only affects his future, but the lives and livelihoods of the people around him as well. It’s a revealing story that recognizes the magnitude behind the choices we make and the importance loyalty plays in making good decisions.


My family and I watched this movie together. There was no foul language, no violence (except a video boxing game), no sexual innuendo's, and there was a moral/value given. It's not often in today's society that any type of moral lesson is offered, it was refreshing to see. Though the beginning of the movie didn't hold my daughter's interest at first (we were watching through the TV connected to the PC & couldn't get the video to go fullscreen), she did begin to follow it and started anticipating the next thing to happen. I think everyone enjoyed the movie, except for the dead space placed in for the commercials, lol. My daughter said "I normally don't like commercials, and now I don't like them when they're not even there" :^)

What I liked the most, like I said above, is that there is a moral to the story. Actions are questioned and values are tested. Zach (Titus Makin Jr), the main character, makes an unwitting bad decision based on the desire to help his dad & the family business. This causes his team leader to confront him & call him out. He leaves for home to think about his options, when his father tells him "what home is, son, it's love & loyalty", & gives him inspiration, despite the desperate financial situation they face. He realizes he has to make a choice, but knows there is only one right one. He goes back to his team, humbled, and says "I'm sorry...I can only ask for your forgiveness". That, alone, says a lot to me about this movie. There's no punches, no beating around the bush; it's right there in front of you - we make mistakes and we need to admit it and seek forgiveness; that choices aren't necessarily easy, but the answers are obvious if we look. Each of the main characters have important roles in the lessons of the movie. The actors/actresses include Lea Thompson, Dean Cameron, Marcus Bentton, Phillip Reese, & Sara Ramirez. You can meet the cast or view the trailer here.

Game of Your Life is a quality family movie that, I believe, you will enjoy. Be sure to tune in to your NBC channel on December 3rd to watch. You can "like" Family Movie Night on FB or follow on Twitter, too. 
I received a special link, free, to watch this movie prior to it's network release with the sole purpose to provide an honest review after watching. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
 
 
Are you looking for that perfect child friendly toy that is built to endure the strenuous play common with kids? Would you also like it to be educational, personalized, and made in the USA? Think it's not possible? Well I want to tell you about a great company that does offer all of these qualities in each of their handmade gifts.
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Kid Puzzles began in the mid 80's by Marvin & Margaret Jack Their passion developed as they created puzzles and toys for their own children and they soon started Kid Puzzles as a business. Their high quality wooden puzzles are designed with every child in mind. They are non-toxic, contain no lead or cadmium, and are made of durable, premium grade, maple-faced laminate. The are cut by Marvin and hand painted by Margaret! That is amazing to me; that after over 25 years, they continue to invest their own time into each creation.

The puzzles that are offered come in various styles, shapes, & designs. There are different categories of puzzles: peg puzzles, puzzles without pegs, 3D puzzles, and puzzle stools. Each category of puzzle can be personalized with your child's name. These are great gifts for all children, too: grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, school friends, etc.

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There are the basic puzzles for the young learner, with simple shapes. These puzzles have pegs on each piece so they are easier for children to grasp. The puzzle on the left is a standard puzzle, the one on the right is personalized, but they both have pegs. Each piece is well designed and the pegs are solid hardwood. They are drilled into the puzzle and glued with non-toxic glue. They will not break with normal play. As many of you know, there are puzzles on the market that are cheaply made ("is that even real wood?") and break easily. Kid Puzzles are created to last a lifetime!

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These beautiful puzzles are non-pegged. As you can see, they are the same puzzle, but the right has been personalized.  You can also see that, though the puzzles are essentially the same, they are different. Because of the handmade quality, each piece will be unique to any other. Can you spot the differences? (Besides the name) I really like this quality. It makes every piece that much more special! 

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The puzzle stools are just cool :^) I think these would make a wonderful gift for a child. They are educational and functional. Again, they can be purchased with a standard image or personalized with a name. The "Grandma Loves You" is a non-personalized puzzle. So if you don't have time to wait for the personalization (1-3weeks), you can still order a great gift.

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The 3D puzzles are pretty awesome, too. The image above "Melissa" is a 3D puzzle. This undersea ocean puzzle has 3 layers and is beautiful. Kid Puzzles 3D puzzles can be "Stock 3D" or "Special Order". Stock orders can still be personalized but are not as in depth as the special order. The puzzle to the left is titled "Deep Village Life" and has 12 layers. It is geared for those 10years or older because of the complexity. It cannot be personalized, but is gorgeous on it's own.

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We received the wooden alphabet puzzle for review, and will be also receiving a personalized puzzle in the future.  Both of my kids were impressed by the quality of the puzzle. It is so much better than any puzzle we have ever seen in a store. One of the things that I liked the most about this puzzle, and every other Kid Puzzle, is that there is a design behind the piece so that the child can easily find where it goes. Though we want our children to learn critical thinking and manipulation of parts, we also don't want them to get so frustrated that they give up. You can see in this picture the letters under the pieces. There is another example of this in the "123" puzzle above. 

One other interesting thing about Kid Puzzles, is that if you lose a part, there are instructions on how to get a replacement part created specifically for your puzzle. When have you ever found that in a puzzle?

Kid Puzzles is a special company, too. They donate their puzzles to local organizations to be given to low income families. This is a wonderful aspect to be admired.

You can purchase Kid Puzzles through their site. The prices vary and start as low as $17. The more intricate the puzzle, the higher the price, but they are well worth it. These are puzzles that can easily become family heirlooms. 

Christmas and the holidays are approaching fast, so order your puzzle today! You will not be disappointed!
I received this product free with the sole purpose to provide an honest review after using the product. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer
 
 
Do you have digital pictures on your computer that are just waiting to get printed off or made into a photobook? If you're anything like me, your answer is yes. Since my very first digital camera with the appeal of printing photos at home, I have accumulated file after file of pictures not printed. Along with the files on my computer, I also have backed up files on CD/DVD's and flashdrives to be sure not to lose them. This, of course, didn't happen until after my first computer crash losing many files :^( Live and learn, right?

Do you have aspirations of creating beautiful scrapbook pages and have even purchased all the necessary items to get started? Yes? Me, too. I have a whole bin of scrapbooking tools. And there sit my pictures, still on my PC. 

If you have answered yes to either of these questions, or just would like something a little different to do with your photos, let me tell you about an awesome software product that will change your digital photography world!

The software is called My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software. Now you can create scrapbooking pages right on your computer and even print them out. You can create calendars, movies, cards, and more. All you need to do is add your photos. You can even use predesigned templates if you're in a hurry or your creativity gene stepped out :^)

So what is My Memories Suite? It is a downloadable program that allows you to take all of your digital photos and create scrapbook pages, calendars, movies, DVD's, and much more. Now you can easily create photobook pages for your whole family; and even photobooks. Photos have always been that perfect, priceless gift, and now you can put them all together into beautiful pages quickly and easily. Here are a few creations that I put together in no time:
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In this one, I added shapes to the photos, added embellishments, and words. The background is a simple background page. It was fun to just try it out and put things together. 

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This page was created by using a predesigned template; all I had to do was add the photos. The software comes with everything you will need to do whatever you want, but you can also go to the My Memories Suite website & purchase additional templates and embellishments.

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This next page was created using one of the "paper" backgrounds and embellishments. Adding text is easy, too. You have the choice of font, size, color, shape, and there is even a word art designer. It's so simple! 

You can see many other ideas and examples of designs and pages, at My Memories gallery. And there's a great "software tutorial" video on the site, as well.

My Memories Suite can normally be purchased for $39.97, but if you use the code STMMMS14396you will get $10 off today & an additional $10 off additional purchases. Because it's digital, once you purchase, you can just download & get started right away. No more will you be wishing you could do something with your photo files; you can actually be doing it!
And think of all the great gifts you can create. With Christmas & the holidays coming, you'll have the perfect gift for everyone! Remember to use the code STMMMS14396 to get your instant discount. Just enter it during check out under "Coupon/Promo Code".
NOW ON TO THE GIVEAWAY!!

 
 
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THEO Presents - Teaching Children God's Word
Have you tried to find good quality, Christian movies for your children? Are your hopes dashed when you get the movie home to find that it's not really all that edifying or that God's Word isn't really embraced or used appropriately, or at all?

Well I have had the opportunity to review a wonderful movie series that you may find fulfills your search. The movie series is THEO Presents, produced by Whitestone Media. Their mission is to teach children God's word. Their animated series of Theo Presents "guides children and adults through a careful study of systematic theology." With quality animation, humor, and easy to understand illustrations, God's word is taught so that children want to learn more about Christian faith.

The main character is Theo. He reminds me of a grandfatherly English gentleman, that is kindhearted and sweet. From their website: "Theo, an animated student of Godʼs Word, lives in a cozy corner of a quaint English village, in the heart of the Cotswolds, and entertains two mice, Belfry and Luther."


The DVD we received, has 2 short videos, Saving Faith and a bonus video Good News, which you can download now for FREE by clicking the link. Saving Faith teaches about faith and that not all things are faith-worthy. Theo presents the story of Abraham and how he found favor with The Lord and was blessed because of his faith. It's a great movie that will hold the interest of children (at just over 9minutes long) and teaches a wonderful lesson. You can watch the trailer below.
Good News is a video that teaches the Gospel. Theo presents the Gospel true to the Bible's account and with imagery that is sure to grab your attention. The music is pleasurable to listen to, too. Theo sings Amazing Grace at the beginning of the story and sounds like an English Grand-dad. It's nice. But what's most important is that children (and adults) are hearing that we all are sinners and need Jesus Christ as our Savior; that good deeds, no matter how good they are, will not be enough to give us eternal life. As in each of the movies, Belfry and Luther accompany Theo throughout the story. This, too, will keep your child's attention well. You can watch this video in whole below or click here link to download it for free.

We enjoyed watching the videos, though we had hoped they would be a bit longer, just because they are good to watch. They are whimsical and fun, yet pure and wholesome. I am sure you will find that they will be a great choice for your children.

And another very important point: Theo presents is offering a Buy 1 - Give 1 campaign!
 For every Theo DVD purchased, Whitestone Media and Child Evangelism Fellowship® will send a child in need their very own copy of Theo. You can log onto TheoPresents.com after making your own purchase, and select the region of the world you'd like another copy of Theo to be sent.

Saving Faith will be released tomorrow 9/13 and can be purchased through Amazon for $12.49. The DVD will come with 3 videos all together: Saving Faith, Loving Obedience, and Forgiveness. Alternatively, you could choose to purchase the individual digital videos at $4.99 each.

NOW ON TO THE GIVEAWAYS: Yes I said giveaways. I will be giving away 2 copies of the video Saving Faith with the bonus video Good News, that means 2 WINNERS. The contest starts today and will end 9/23 at noon. The winner will have 48hrs. to respond with their names and addresses.

*I will send an email to the winners so be sure that your comment has a way for me to contact you.*

To enter, let me know in a comment if you've heard of THEO presents before. I had not until now. To receive additional entries (after you complete the first entry), you can do any of the following and leave a comment about it.
* Follow this blog by clicking any of the "Follow Me" buttons to the right
(that's 4 possible entries, just leave a comment for each)
* Like Theo on FB
* Spread the word about this contest on your blog, FB, or twitter (you can tweet below this post) 
be sure to add a link back to this post and your link to the post

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services 
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I 
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

 
 

“For it is by grace that you have been saved”
Ephesians 2:8

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"Everything can change in an instant … and take a lifetime to unravel.

When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God … and just about everyone else. Mac’s rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he’s partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force—who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.

Can they somehow join forces to help one another when it’s impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?

Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD … and never underestimate the power of God’s love."

I have been given an opportunity to review this movie. I've watched the trailer and am excited to be able to watch it! Once I receive the movie and watch it, I will be posting my full review.

But in the meantime....I have a contest for you. One of you can win a copy of this movie on DVD. To enter, leave me a comment about how The Lord's Grace has touched you or someone else, or what it might mean to you to have this movie. After you've entered with you comment, you can gain additional entries by doing 1 or all of the following...
* Follow this blog by clicking any of the "Follow Me" buttons to the right
(that's 4 possible entries, just leave a comment for each)
* Like The Grace Card on FB
* Spread the word about this contest on your blog, FB, or twitter (you can tweet below this post) 
be sure to add a link back to this post

The contest starts today and will close on August 30th at 12:00noon. I will send the winner an email so be sure to leave a way that I can reach you in your comment :) The winner will have 48hrs to get back to me with his/her information. 
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