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small headshotJoy. It’s all about J-O-Y with her. I’m talking about my friend Kim Woodhouse. I’ve blogged about meeting her at a writer’s group, asked for prayers on her family’s behalf, celebrated with them when they were chosen by the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show, and shared pictures from the “reveal day.” For months, I talked about this amazing family to anyone who would listen, and now I have the honor of telling the world (along with several other bloggers) about her new book!

My anticipation of this book release was great, and I was not disappointed. I was thrilled to read Welcome Home! and learn more than I ever knew about Kim, Jeremy, Josh and Kayla. I cried, laughed, and cried some more. I continue to be impressed with Jeremy’s patience and strength, Kim’s perseverance and joy, Josh’s tender and loyal heart, and Kayla’s sweet spirit and hope. 🙂 I am thankful for the thousands of people who have touched their lives, walked through many trials with them, and encouraged them to never give up.

Kim's Book cover

From the back cover:

Overwhelming trials . . . met with overcoming joy.

Kayla Woodhouse is not your typical twelve-year-old. Due to a rare medical disorder, she feels no pain, doesn’t sweat, and needs protective cooling gear just to go outside. With her restrictive lifestyle; countless hospitalizations, including brain surgery; and the resulting mountain of hospital bills, what’s a family to do?

How the Woodhouse family has faced seemingly impossible challenges is a story that has captured the hearts of America. Millions of people have experienced glimpses of their lives on Discovery’s Mystery ER, The Montel Williams Show, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (recently voted one of the show’s all-time best episodes!).

Now Kayla’s mom, Kimberley, takes readers behind the cameras to reveal their family’s journey as never before told. From medical sleuthing to cross-country moves, from freak fires to battles with insurance companies, Welcome Home proves that truth really is stranger than fiction. This candid life story reveals both success and failure and demonstrates how, even during tough circumstances, to shift your life from heartbreak to extreme joy.

Peek inside the Woodhouse family’s life (and their famous house) with a 16-page photo insert.

I’m going to give you the opportunity to do just that! For a chance to win a signed copy of Welcome Home!, leave a comment at the end of this post. On Monday morning, September 21st, I’ll draw a name using random.org.

This book was the reminder I needed to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Kim lives by this verse, clings to it, and rejoices in it, and her story is a wonderful example of faith for the rest of us!

kimberleywoodhouse.com has it all! Learn more about the Woodhouse family, check out Kim’s other projects, sign up for her monthly newsletter, invite her to speak, shop her store, leave a note of encouragement, and more!

*Don’t forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win Welcome Home!*

It’s available for purchase from Focus on the Family, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Parable Books, and Amazon.

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I’ve been a long time fan and supporter of XXXChurch.com and it’s co-founders, Mike Foster and Craig Gross. Two years ago I read what has become one of my favorite books, The Gutter written by Craig. I was so deeply moved by the amazing job he did communicating the heart of what it looks like to love people right where they are, I made the book suggested reading for everyone participating in our summer program this year. I told all my friends about it, and bought extra books to give away. So when I heard Craig had a new project coming out this year, I was ecstatic and signed up to promote it. I am SO glad I did.

jlyou
Jesus Loves You…This I Know

Craig and his friend and co-author Jason Harper, outdid themselves with Jesus Loves You…This I Know. The message they offer is one of the most misunderstood and often rejected phrases of our time. To believers, “Jesus loves you” has become a cliche. To those who don’t yet know Jesus, it’s offensive and unbelievable, after all, some of the people who claim to represent Jesus are sending a different message- a message that does not communicate love, but judgment and condemnation. Through their book, Craig and Jason share their desire to live a life compelled by love and share their passion to tell everyone that they are loved no matter who they are, what they’ve done, or what they do.

It is essential to show people that they can belong in your world even if they don’t act, think, behave, or believe like you do.

I was glad they wrote about the process of belonging before believing or behaving differently. The idea didn’t start with them, but with Jesus when he loved those whom people hated. He dined with tax collectors, accepted water from adulterous women, and met privately with a Pharisee who had questions. His encounter with people changed them and they behaved differently after they knew the belonging He offered them. What a beautiful picture of God’s grace and mercy.

The world divides. Jesus Unites.

Jason’s story “Water for the Thirsty,” had me simultaneously weeping and cheering “YES!” while Craig’s story about Jesus loving the religious – those who judge (and who happen to be those I tend to judge) hit me where it hurts. I wept some more, this time with a repentant heart.  Craig and Jason aren’t your typical Pastors, and their book is filled with stories of how their calling has brought them into community with unlikely friends and earned them hate mail from others.

Why should you read this book? Because it will challenge, inspire, and change you. Visit jesuslovesyou.net to download a pdf sample or audio sample, read what others think of the book, watch films, share your story, purchase the book, and more. Buy a copy for your brother or your best friend, then tell others about it and do your best to live the message. Find Craig and Jason on Facebook and Twitter. You can never have too many friends. 🙂

Other Books by Craig:


The Gutter: Where Life is Meant to be Lived


Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex…


The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth…


Starving Jesus: Off the Pew, into the World

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Just this morning I hid in the bathroom so I could finish reading Tricia Goyer’s new book, Blue Like Play Dough. I had forgotten about my commitment to be a part of her blog tour, and though I was excited to receive her book in the mail, I thought it would have to wait until August after our summer groups ended. Then I got the email telling me my review was scheduled for July 30th. What? I’m in the middle of our busy summer schedule and barely have time to breathe let alone read and review a book!

BlueLikePlayDough

My desire to be a woman of my word won out and I began reading. By the end of the first page, Tricia’s conversational style had drawn me in. After the 50 or so parenting books I’ve read, I wasn’t expecting any new information, or to have the condition of my heart challenged.  I thought I would have to rush through the book looking for highlights I could share to encourage you to read it as well. I was unprepared for all that God would speak to me through Tricia’s words – busy or not.

In Chapter One, Tricia writes:

“He loves me just as I am. He knows my to-do list and that I’ll never get to the end of it. Ever. God sees my heart… My flaws neither surprise Him nor dissuade him from entering my life. It’s not as if God says, `I was going to visit you today, but I think I’ll wait until you balance that checkbook, clean out your fridge, and start the Bible study you’ve been meaning to get around to.’ God’s not like that…”

She wrote these words months ago, but God knew I’d need to read them now. That’s where I’m living this summer, in a place of thankfulness that God comes to me IN my mess. I’m an organized mess which puts me in the category of being a walking, breathing oxymoron.

Throughout her book, Tricia speaks of the ways God has molded and shaped her through the trials of being a teen mom, having 3 generations living under one roof, and the realization that THIS is life, it’s not something that happens after…(you fill in the blank.) I felt the check in my spirit as she spoke of that inner nudging moms get when they know something is wrong or when they feel convicted of God’s leading in certain situations. But the real zinger came when I read these words:

“Lord, what’s up? Why do I feel so heavy hearted?  I paused as my whispered prayers caught in my throat. Deep down I knew what was wrong. ..I’d been lazy about my spiritual health. I’d made time for ME. I’d even found time to write about God, but I hadn’t made time for God.“

Ouch. She nailed me, and the explanation for my weariness crystallized in my heart. I knew she was right. I updated my Facebook to say Tricia was kicking my butt, and my friend Margie responded with “Tricia? Or God?” Ouch. Nailed again.

I like the play dough analogy. It fits. God squeezes me in unexpected ways as he forms me into the woman I’m meant to be. I have my own shape, and like the mood ring I treasured in junior high, my colors change with the amount of heat I’m feeling. I’ve been blue a lot over the past year. Today I’m green – peaceful, knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and addressing the things in my life that the Holy Spirit has shown me.  This book played a part in my shaping as God used Tricia’s life to remind me that I need Him just as much as she does – as we all do – and that He wants me too.

Why should you read this book? Because it’s one part “we’re all in this together”, one part kick in the big girl pants, one part encouragement, and one part words of life. It was worth every minute spent reading during this busy season I’m in. Thank you Tricia!

Check out her website at http://www.triciagoyer.com

Be a part of the Get One-Give One Campaign! For details click here:

(http://triciagoyer.com/gogo.html)

To read other reviews on Tricia’s blog tour, click here:

http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/what-is-new/87-bluelikeplaydough-blog-tour

To read an excerpt from Blue Like Play Dough, click here:

http://triciagoyer.com/cmsdocuments/Blue_Like_Play_Dough_Prologue_CH_1.pdf

To purchase the book, click here: http://triciagoyer.com/store.html


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