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July 29th, 2011

FIRST Tour: 40 Days to Better Living–Optimal Health by Dr. Scott Morris and the Church Health Center

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Dr. Scott Morris

and the book:

40 Days to Better Living–Optimal Health

Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well.

Visit the author’s website.


Many of us would admit to being a little out of balance these days. We all want to feel happier, healthier, and more vibrantly alive. What if in just 40 days we could reach a new level of wellness and balance that we’ve never experienced before? In 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health (Barbour Publishing, July 2011), Dr. Scott Morris, founder of Church Health Center, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the United States, offers a straightforward and successful plan to get there.

The first in a series of striking full color health and wellness books by Dr. Morris and the Church Health Center staff, 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health confirms and clarifies what many of us already suspect: living the life we’ve always wanted must go deeper than a diet and exercise program and an occasional attempt to “do better.” Morris is convinced that to achieve the highest degree of wellness requires a multi-dimensional approach and a concentrated effort to be healthy in both body and spirit. He believes, “True health is grounded in the spiritual life that embraces the physical bodies God gives us.” Morris adds, “Instead of the absence of disease, I see health as the presence of those elements that lead us to joy and love, and that drive us closer to God. Finding balance by nurturing our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs is essential to the real health of the whole person.”

40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

· Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits

· Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships

· Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself

· Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts

· Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity

· Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care

· Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262648
ISBN-13: 978-1616262648



July 26th, 2011

Homeschooling Review: Super Star Ch, J, and Th: Speech Therapy Made Simple from Super Star Speech

This is a MamaBuzz review. The product was provided by: Super Star Speech for this review.

superstarspeechchSome of you may know that our second daughter has some articulation delays that we have been working on for the past year or so. Basically, what that means is that she doesn’t make some of her sounds very clearly, or substitutes different sounds for the ones normally used, or she leaves sounds out entirely. We waited, and waited some more to see if her speech cleared up, but around a year ago it actually seemed to be deteriorating instead of getting better. We did go to have her evaluated by a speech therapist and start treatment, but we then moved, and since then we’ve been doing some therapy at home using a variety of materials.

Some of the materials that we have been using with her are the speech therapy books from Super Star Speech. Designed to help homeschoolers address articulation errors at home with their children, speech therapist Deborah Lott clearly explains the stages and steps you need to take to take your child from not making a sound to being able to consistently make it during conversation. This can be a long process, so hang in there!

Because it can take a while to truly master a sound in conversation for some children, it can be challenging to think of new, innovative ways to conduct sound practice without your child becoming bored or frustrated with the repetition. We have been working on the ‘f’ sound for some time, and my daughter sometimes just wants to switch things up! That is what is so great about the Super Star Speech books, they are always filled with a variety of printable/reproducible games, activity suggestions, word lists, and everything you need to make speech practice as fun as it can be! I love this, because I am NOT a very creative mom!

If you aren’t sure where to start with your children, I recommend you get the main book - Super Star Speech; Speech Therapy Made Simple (available in print and e-book) – which includes an evaluation form and test as well as a lot of games, activities, and more. Once you get started you can go from there and really zero in on the trouble sounds your child has. Lott always includes developmental charts that tell you when you need to be concerned if your child hasn’t mastered a sound yet.

Super Star Ch, J, and Th: Speech Therapy Made Simple (e-book only) is a book that you can use if you KNOW your child only has problems with these sounds, or you can use it as an in-depth, add-on module to the main book, which is how we are using it.  Lott tells us that the ‘ch’ sound should be mastered by six-year-olds, the ‘th’ and ‘j’ sounds by seven-year-olds.  She provides a wealth of resources that make it easy for parents to customize a plan of attack for their child’s articulation delays and equips parents with the tools they need to make therapy-at-home work.  And it does, you just need to keep at it daily and be patient as you wait for those new neural connections to form.

These books are also a very, very affordable option for homeschooling families.  There are many MUCH more expensive options out there, but this is really pretty affordable, and it does work.  If you are looking for speech therapy for children resources I highly recommend you check out Lott’s accessible, common-sense approach.

Super Star Ch, J, and Th: Speech Therapy Made Simple is available only as a pdf download (62 pages) at for $12.95, but the other books are available with print options as well that you can order directly from Super Star Speech.  In addition to the main book and this add-on book, Lott also has books available that teach the ‘r’ and ‘l’ sounds and another that teaches the ‘s’, ‘z’, and ‘sh’ sounds.  We have a LOT of articulation errors here, so now that we own the ‘ch, ‘j’, and ‘th’ book, we own them all – I bought the other three books together last year when we started our speech therapy at home journey!  You can buy all four titles bundled together as e-books for only $32.00.

COUPON CODE!  You can use the coupon code “mamabuzz” for a 20% discount off any purchase from!

FREE SHIPPING!  If you order a print copy before August 20th, you’ll also receive free shipping!

You can also find Super Star Speech on Facebook!

July 25th, 2011

Shopping for Canadians

It can be a bit tricky as a Canadian to shop online.  Some companies won’t send to Canada at all, others offer free shipping, but only in the U.S., some others will only send via UPS (resulting in horrific brokerage rates).  I just discovered that Canada Post has pulled together a shopping guide for Canadians that helps to compare prices (converted to Canadian dollars) and compares and clearly lists the shopping options as well.  This is all automatically compiled from a variety of different online stores.

Canada Post has even pulled together a very neat selection of kids games.  They have a lot of neat learning games and activities that are great starters if you are looking for a profitable gift to will provide  both delightful playtimes as well as encouraging an attitude of exploration and learning to give to a child in your life!

I’ll try to remember Canada Post the next time I have presents to buy!  I particularly appreciate how they list whether or not large items have free shipping – in Canada – I love that!  If you have a hard time shopping from Canada, it’s definitely worth checking out.

July 22nd, 2011

Book Review: Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality by Michael Spencer

merechurchianityAlthough I wasn’t introduced to the writings of Michael Spencer until after his death in 2010, I have found in his writings a kindred spirit of sorts.  While many other writers in evangelical Christianity are decrying the exodus of believers (often pegged as non-believers) from institutional church organizations.

It seems nearly unconceivable to such writers that believers who desire to walk with Jesus more than anything else might be sitting out the institutional experience of fellowship in search for something different.  But it is happening – often.  I feel like I’m ‘coming out of the closet’ a bit on this one, but yes – for a number of reasons our family is currently what is called ‘unchurched’ in today’s terminology.

Michael Spencer got that.  He understood the sense of discontent that church leavers have – even when they are pursuing (as he calls it) a Jesus-shaped spirituality.  He understood how this is an awkward place, but he also understood how believers can honestly and authentically feel that in order to be true to where Jesus has them in their walk that they need to be apart from the ‘churchy-church’ as I call it (in an attempt to distinguish between the universal body of believers and what takes place in buildings with the word ‘church ‘on the front of them.

Though it reads as a somewhat disconnected set of thoughts, examinations, insights, and advice, Mere Churchianity speaks to the hearts of believers who find themselves in my position, or who think they may soon find themselves there.  In part one “The Jesus Disconnect” Spencer first sets out to examine what is going wrong with the churchy-church and why people are leaving.  He then goes on to examine what Jesus is really about in part two – “The Jesus Briefing” in which he also presents a very reformation-friendly gospel.

Part three – “The Jesus Life” is my favorite part of the book hands-down.  Spencer very honestly and very realistically looks at what being a Christian is about.  Not only does he look at how being part of the church can play out outside of the typical churchy-church walls, but he also gets gritty and real about the Christian life, how Christians continue to fail and how our only, and absolute hope is found in Jesus righteousness and not our own.  This was really worth the entry price alone in my opinion.  I cried.  It was really that good.

Part four goes on to further, and more specifically examine some ways in which following the Jesus-shaped life can work itself out.  Spencer focuses on service, relationships, putting feet on the gospel, and other ways as well.  He is careful to leave the option of returning to a more formal church setting open, but he certainly isn’t giving it a hard sell.  He really gets people who have left the churchy-church and you can tell.  There are no one-liners here or any pat answers.  I love his understanding and empathetic heart, he’s really been listening and walked some of this road himself as well.

Reading Mere Churchianity is like having a one-on-one talk or a series of ongoing mentoring relationships with a friend who really listens.  If you have left, or are thinking of leaving the ‘churchy-church’ for spiritual reasons (not because you are trying to avoid Christ-centered teachings or church discipline), then you’ll find a friend in Michael Spencer.


July 22nd, 2011

Fresh New Materials for Church Marketing

I was visiting a website today that offers fresh new ideas for church printing.  From basics like church business cards and bulletins to greeting cards, door hangers, and even CD jackets with a focus on ministry and outreach. They also offer church marketing and consultation services to help churches become more effective in their outreach efforts.

I really like some of their designs like their hope designs for follow-up postcards.  I love the spring-like colors and the open door that suggests the new life in Christ that waits anyone who comes to Him!

If you are looking for a contemporary way to spruce up your current church materials, you might want to give their website a look!

July 21st, 2011

FIRST Tour: God Gave Us You (Board Book) by Lisa Tawn Bergren

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

CLICK HERE to read my full review! This is a very sweet book :).

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Lisa Tawn Bergren

and the book:

God Gave Us You (Board Book)

WaterBrook Press; 1st edition (September 19, 2000

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker, WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity, for sending me a review copy.***


Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling author of eight novels, three novellas, and two gift books, with more than a half-million books in print. God Gave Us You is her first children’s book. As an editor during the week and a writer on weekends, she makes her very-messy-but-cozy home in Colorado with her husband, Tim, and their daughters, Olivia and Emma.

Visit the author’s website.


Laura J. Bryant attended the Maryland Institute of Art, where she received a strong foundation in drawing, painting, and print-making. Illustrating children’s books has provided her with both a rewarding and creative career. Laura’s clients have included Simon & Schuster, McGraw Hill, and Stech-Vaughn publishers, among others. She currently lives among the tidal rivers on the eastern shore of Maryland with her loving husband and curiously cantankerous cat!

Visit the author’s website.


Filled with playful, winsome illustrations by an artist who specializes in polar bear images, this four-color, read-to-me picture book will build children’s self-esteem through the tale of a mama bear who reassuringly explains where her cub came from and affirms Mama and Papa’s great love for her.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Reading level: Baby-Preschool
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1st edition (September 19, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1578563232


To Liv, Emma, and Jack—
Words cannot express how glad
we are that God gave us you.

To Ron and Shirley—
Who have an endless supply of love and generosity.

“Good night, sweet child,” Mama said as she tucked Little Cub in.

But Little Cub wasn’t quite ready to go to sleep.

“Mama, where did I come from?” she asked.

“From God,” her mother answered. “Your papa and I were alone, and we wanted
a baby.”

“And you got me?” Little Cub asked, her voice muffled by the covers.

“Yes, my special child. God gave us you.”


July 20th, 2011

Book Review: How God Makes Babies (Pure Foundations) by Jim Burns

howgodmakesbabiesJim Burns is dedicated to equipping parents with the tools they need to educate their children about sexuality with a firmly Christian worldview.  Well known for his resources such as The Purity Code for teenagers, Burns has now turned his hand to colorful, age appropriate resources for children.

How God Makes Babies is his offering for the 6-9 age group, though some parents may choose to read only parts of this book to their children or delay reading it with their children until they are older – depending upon their life circumstances and individual children.

Opening with a special note to parents Burns states:

“Studies show that when children receive values-centered sex education at home, they are less likely to become sexually promiscuous and more likely to have a healthy view of their bodies and relationships.”

This is certainly one key reason why some gentle sex education should take place even in the younger age groups.  There are many others as well – glorifying God through our obedience to His plan for sex, educating our children so that they are prepared to resist inappropriate sexual activity that they may otherwise fall prey to due to ignorance, and many others.

God’s plan for sex should be treated respectfully and in age appropriate ways – thankfully How God Makes Babies certainly makes this task easier for parents by being able to open a book, read, and discuss it with their children.  I had read through parts of this book with my oldest daughter when she was younger (6 or 7), but I didn’t read through the entire book with her until she showed signs that she needed to understand a fuller picture of human reproduction.

Our discussions together had slowly been becoming more detailed – particularly as she began reading the Bible independently each day.  Her questions from Bible readings naturally led into some gentle explanations.  We have always told our children in very simple terms that mommies and daddies cuddle together in a special way that only married people do, and that is where babies come from.

When my eight-year-old told me that bulls jump on top of mommy cows and stretch out their pee-pees inside of them (courtesy of a similarly aged relative of ours – sweet girl – and I didn’t mind at all), I knew we had to get a bit more detailed in our talks together.  I wanted to be the one to provide the more nitty-gritty details, not someone else. How God Makes Babies provided us with the next step to take in our discussions.

Filled with birth color photographs, How God Makes Babies always places sexuality firmly within the realm of marriage as a normal expression of marital love, for which I am very thankful.  Simple anatomical drawings illustrate the differences between boys and girls while using correct anatomical terminology.  Protecting your private parts from inappropriate touches is briefly covered.  A straightforward, facts focused explanation of the act of marital intimacy and conception is provided along with photos of sperm and egg coming together and the newly dividing embryo.  Developmental stages of a baby in-utero are illustrated and described, followed by a description of birth, and explanations of how a new baby changes a family.  There are also provisions made for diverse families that may be made up of different configurations than two parents and children (homosexual families are not depicted).  Adoption is also covered.

This is absolutely a fabulous book for when you are ready to share more deeply about sexuality with your children.  It can be tempting to put off these conversations, but they are vitally necessary to imbue children with a proper, God-honoring view of sexuality.  Remember – sex is not bad, it’s a natural part of life, don’t be afraid of sharing about its proper, God-appointed role in life with your little ones.


July 20th, 2011

Where to Find Affordable Back Pain Surgery in St. Louis Guest Blog by: Rick L.

Patients suffering from chronic back pain would probably do almost anything to feel better. When half a year of massage therapy or chiropractic care isn’t getting the job done, back pain surgery may be necessary.

One of the most common causes of back pain that is serious enough to require surgery is nerve compression. The spinal column contains more nerve tissue than any part of the body other than the brain. Nerve bundles enter and exit the spinal column near disks of softer tissue. When these nerve bundles undergo compression, this can result in severe pain.

There are two reasons that these nerve bundles might be compressed, each requiring a different type of back pain surgery.

The most common issue is called a herniated disk. This is when one of the padded disks in between the bones of the spine is forced out of position. A discectomy is the procedure used to resolve this, which involves removing the dislocated disk.

The bones or other tissue may also become dislocated or form abnormal growths, which may put pressure on the nerves. This tissue can be removed during a procedure called a foramenotomy.

Some patients may suffer from a condition that causes the bones of their spine to narrow and close around the spinal cord itself. This is known as spinal stenosis. The lamina is the hole in the bones of the spine. This hole can be widened through a surgery called a laminectomy. The specialist at back pain surgery St. Louis will guide you and provide a right treatment for your wellness.

July 18th, 2011

Book Review: The Vision (The Last Publishers) by Debi Pearl

thevisionWhen I saw The Vision by Debi Pearl (of THE Pearl family) being vigorously promoted in homeschooling circles I was eager to read it.  A story that combines looming end-times evangelism, terrorism, romance, and herbalism – how exciting – in theory.

I was looking forward to reading the inspiring story of a group of committed Christians pushing on to share the gospel through dangerous times and apostasy, and while there is certainly some of that, the very strong tones of condemnation really ruined this read for me.  It is clear that the Pearls have very strong ideological beliefs and The Vision almost reads like a platform for those strident beliefs.

Do you wear a head covering?  Include some Hebraic practices in your spiritual walk?  Eat junk food – ever?   Weigh a bit too much?  Prepare to be bashed within these pages.  Unfortunately there is very little grace to be found within the pages of this novel, only those who line up with the Pearls ‘ideal’ (and seem like copies of the Pearls themselves put into the pages of a novel) are put forward as good characters, and then they are idealized presenting a false and unbelievable perfection.  Anyone with any flaw or differing belief is castigated.  This is wearisome and reflects a poor understanding of the craft of writing fiction, but it doesn’t really reflect love or mercy.  The Last Publishers present a very harsh, very unyielding belief system.

Pearl is clear on the gospel, the need to share it with others, the need to persevere through persecution, the dangers of Muslim beliefs etc. but I would have loved to see these tempered with grace – as it was I found myself grinding my teeth and wincing throughout.  There are also some issues with back-story and character development.  There are a lot of family ties missing or poorly described – Cheyenne, though she apparently has siblings, seems almost like an only child – other family members just don’t show up or make an impact in this story.

As much as I was looking forward to reading The Vision, I’m afraid I can’t recommend it to others, and will not be reading future releases in the series.


July 18th, 2011

Do You Make Sauce, Or Do You Ragu?

We love to make our meat sauces from scratch with crushed tomatoes, ground, browned beef, veggies, herbs etc.  It is pretty economical and we make a BIG pot of sauce all at once and freeze smaller portions for use on pasta, rice, and even bread in a pinch!

If you can find Ragu coupons for the large jars of sauce, that can also be an economical option. One of the reasons we need to make our own is because of the many food allergies in our family. We need to cook almost everything from scratch so we don’t have allergic reactions (or as few as we can manage!)

Buying ready to go with Ragu pasta sauce coupons is definitely the fastest way to go if you ffamily can manage it! Just open, heat, and serve!


Jennifer. Follower of Yeshua. Wife of one man. Homeschooling mother of 5.