Julie Elias – A Girl Like Me (A CD Review)

We love music around our house and so when I had the opportunity to review “A Girl Like Me,” the new CD by Julie Elias, I took it.  If you are like me, I saw this CD cover and thought to myself that she looks really, really familiar.   I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  As it turns out, Julie was an actress in Hollywood. You may have seen her in “Grey’s Anatomy” or “CSI:NY.”  Her life in Hollywood was not bringing her the  contentment that she knew she could as she was living her life for Christ.  Stepping out on faith, Julie left Hollywood behind and began looking ahead to what God had for her.  That led Julie to pursue a career in music believing that her life experiences could encourage others in their faith.

In her music, Julie shares her heart by sharing personal experiences that span from beauty to rejection.  Her willingness to be transparent through her music makes it all the more beautiful.  As I listen to the music and read the words to Julie’s songs, I am touched by the reality of God’s grace that is freely offered.  A few favorite lines, with the name of the song noted at the end, are:

When I’m lost You call me by name…and when I fall You love me the same.. ~ Unchained

You build power from my weakness…give me life with Your great love… ~ Awaken

A girl like me could be worthy of a King… ~ A Girl Like Me

Can’t make it through without grace and favor…~ Lost

When the hurt and fear are at my door, let me look to You when I need more… ~ Run Away

You’re treasured and loved, a child of a King…There’s hope on the way…There’s love on your side..There’s strength for today…You’re never alone…There’s light to lead you home… ~ Wherever You Roam

It may be because Christmas is less than 20 days away, but I think my favorite song on the CD is Here With Us.  It’s about the manger. It’s about the gift of our Savior and the sacrifice He made for us.  One thing I have to mention is that I love instruments! And Julie’s CD did not disappoint in this area.  Not only are the words poignant but the instrumental portions of the songs are just beautiful reminding us in every song that we are “worthy of a King”.

A little more about Julie…In 2014, she founded Aurora Ministries, an organization that creates Christian material and hosts conferences for teen and tween girls around the world where Julie shares her music and life experiences in hopes of reaching others for the cause of Christ.

Lastly, and just maybe the best part, I get to end my review with a giveaway. You can enter to win Julie’s CD “A Girl Like Me” by clicking HERE.

“A Girl Like Me” is available now in CD format and also on all digital outlets such as iTunes.  Julie’s official website is: www.julieeliasmusic.com.  And you can learn more about Aurora Ministries HERE.

Until Next Time… Joy to You!


Please note that I did receive a free copy of “A Girl Like Me” in exchange for my fair and honest review.


The Family Toolbox Giveaway!!

I am very excited to be a member of The Family Toolbox Blogger Team.  Part of being on a review team includes getting to preview REALLY cool stuff and getting to giveaway REALLY cool stuff.  The National Center for Biblical Parenting is a wonderful organization that encourages discipleship in our families, teaching us to raise our kids to love Jesus.  The Family Toolbox is a wonderful tool that covers topics such as handling pressure, the value of correction, the importance of responsibility, dealing with anger and more.  A full review will be coming the week of October 13th.  Right now, please take a few moments to read below about The Family Toolbox and to enter the giveaway.   

The Family Toolbox is a DVD/video-driven program that brings parents and teens together for constructive dialogue around significant issues of discipleship. Conversation is sparked by engaging video clips. Sixteen Life Success Principles are communicated through eight lessons that give parents and teens biblically-based, practical topics for discussion. The format grabs teens and gets them interacting.

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away.
Family Toolbox Giveaway

I am excited to be joining with the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP) to bring you a wonderful giveaway to celebrate the release of the Family Toolbox.

The giveaway includes a $50 Amazon Gift Card + a bundle of biblical parenting resources from NCBP, including:

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.

The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step.

Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 Years

The later elementary age years are among the greatest times to build responsibility in children. Heart transformation takes place when parents use other tools than behavior modification. Sometimes though, bad attitudes, disrespect, and a lack of cooperation can muddy the waters. You’ll want to learn from the experts how best to navigate these years. Your children are making significant developmental leaps in their cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual growth. Understanding how best to help children through these years is essential.

Family Heart Moments

The Family Heart Moments book is a treasure. Over 70 inspirational true stories from parents who are eager to connect with their children’s hearts. The heart is a special place in the life of a child. You don’t want to miss it. This book will give you practical ideas for touching your kids in the deepest place.

Family Time Activity for Teens

Teenagers are in an exciting time of life. They’re learning a lot about themselves and the world, and they need lots of spiritual guidance. The activities and applications in this book are designed specifically for teens. The object lessons and games are captivating and the biblical lessons are timeless. Walking Billboards, Fear Factor, and Gender Differences, are just a few of the titles. Nineteen lessons are included, all unique and powerful. Make Family Time a regular part of your family’s spiritual growth.

Learning About Sex: Love, Sex, and God

In a natural, conversational style, this book answers tough questions that help teens separate sex and love facts from myths. Straight facts on dating, marriage, sex, and sexually transmitted diseases are presented here.

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes, in You and Your Kids

It affects the way people think, the way they act, and the way they treat others around them. Honor motivates parents to treat children differently. It gives children more constructive ways to interact with their parents. It helps siblings develop tolerance and patience. Honor builds incredibly strong bonds that, in turn, benefit all members of the family. This book shows you in practical ways and shows how honor can transform your family.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open internationally to those age 18 and older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Also, please join us for The Family Toolbox Facebook Party on Thursday, October 16, 8-10PM ET where there will be even more great prizes, an opportunity to ask your parenting questions, and lots of fun and fellowship! The winner of this giveaway will be announced at the Facebook party!

RSVP for the Party here: https://www.facebook.com/events/876232019055940/

Family Toolbox Facebook Party


Joy to You!


Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway — $700+ Value!

Around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music.  And we think history is pretty cool too.  I will admit that I wish I had paid more attention in history class.  Now I have the chance and I just love our history lessons.  My favorite way to study history with my kids is to have resources that will bring history to life.  This gives us all something to hold onto….a remembrance of sorts.   That is why I am so excited to be part of the launch team for the soon to be released Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring.  I can think of no better way to remember history than through music. A full review will be coming the week of June 30th.
To celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music, I am joining members of the Diana Waring Launch Team for an amazing giveaway. Friends of Diana have joined in and as you can see, someone’s homeschool is going to be greatly blessed!
Here’s what you could win!

Diana and Friends Giveaway


From Diana Waring Presents

american history -- never this funExperience History Through Music – set of 3 books with CDs ($50/set) Diana Waring Presents is about to bring back into print the BEST folk music you have ever heard, combined with the fascinating stories they represent in American history!   The Experience Music Through Historyseries includes: America – Heart of a New Nation, Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West  and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The musicians are amazing, every instrument is real, lots of great vocalists, and more toe-tapping music than you can imagine! The books tell the stories behind the songs.  Together, they bring American history to life through it’s music!!With fascinating history books and toe-tapping folk music CDs, American history has NEVER been this fun!


EncouragementCollage2Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection ($25) Every mom needs that word of encouragement from someone who has been there, who has grownup children and can speak with assurance about the journey. Homeschool moms have an extra portion of the journey to navigate, and often wish for an extra voice that will offer direction but without nagging or prodding. Diana Waring has that voice.


From A Journey Through Learning

Logo New 300 trans$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the A Journey Through Learning store, applicable toward any digital download purchase.

     From Homeschool Legacy

westward ho I 300x400Westward Ho! Part I ($19.95) Load up your wagon! Discover the extraordinary times of adventurous frontiersmen and brave pioneers as you travel cross-country along the Erie Canal,  Oregon Trail, and even “remember the Alamo” in Westward Ho Part I.

Westward Ho! Part II ($19.95) Continue the exciting saga begun in Westward Ho! Part I as you journey with the forty-niners, ride the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad, experience life on the prairie, and discover the exciting era of cowboys and cattle drives in Westward Ho! Part II.


      From Knowledge Quest Maps

HardcoverCD_ecover_croppedMap Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History ($55) Map Trek is a historical atlas plus outline maps that allow you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any homeschool parent can use with brilliant success, even if you don’t remember a thing from your history or geography classes in public school.

From Home School Adventure Co.

PAPS-R-96dpi shadowPhilosophy Adventure™ Digital Download ($39.95) Philosophy Adventure™ is designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas.


   From Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom and Real Life Press)

fpf3-bundle-covers-180x180Firmly Planted Family Devotional Digital Volume 3 ($39) The Firmly Planted Family Series is divided into ten-week studies and is your key to making sense of the Bible—even if you’re learning right along with your children. Each lesson provides a core idea, a simple narrative, memory verses and discussion questions for children of all ages. And the companion student workbook is filled with age-appropriate, full-color, reproducible activities for children of any age!


From Raising Real Men

RRM-Mom-Dad-300x295Free Registration to Boyhood Boot Camp or Boot Camp 9-12 LIVE webinar series (winner’s choice) plus Mom & Dad Special Raising Real Men (Book for Mom to read in the bathroom + AudioBook for Dad to listen to on the commute) ($62-69)

My-Beloved-and-My-Friend-Cover-Border-201x300Free Registration for Marriage Retreat Online plus His & Hers Special of My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses (book + audiobook), ($65)


From Institute for Excellence in Writing

logo$50 Gift Certificate $50 to spend in the IEW store, applicable toward any purchase.


From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

ST-Affiliate-300x300_zpsb38aa8aeSchoolhouseTeachers.com ($139) A one year membership to the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Nearly 100 classes for Pre-K to High School, taught by expert teachers, and lots of extras including the Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse Expos, monthly free ebook downloads and more.

Big-Book-14-Cover-113013-e1392516063206The Old Schoolhouse Magazine 2014 Print Book ($15) Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the all new 2014 Annual Print Book published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.You’ll get a year’s worth of homeschool support in almost 300 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. This is a magazine you’ll refer to again and again.


From Writing with Sharon Watson

the-power-in-your-hands-front-coverThe Power in Your Hands ($53.96) With The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, they’ll learn what they need to know for high school and will be prepared for college writing.

69276_1454187188126914_157492202_nWriting Fiction [in High School] ($35) Are you raising the next C. S. Lewis or Jane Austen? Help your students develop their fiction-writing talents with Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life.



To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter link below. Residents of the U.S., age 18 and older only. Other Terms and Conditions can be found in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Joy to You!


Devotions from Genesis ~ A Review

I have had the privilege of working my way through Devotions from Genesis the first book in a wonderful series by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn.  I typically do not gravitate towards the Old Testament for devotional material, however, I am relishing the first book of God’s Word as I read Genesis along with this devotional book.  I am looking forward to continuing in Exodus with Nicole’s book Devotions from Exodus: part 1.
From the acknowledgement page of Devotions from Genesis, Nicole points us to the Lord.  She encourages the reader to be in the Word and to fellowship with other believers. 
This first book in the Devotions from the Torah series is divided into three sections:
  • Discovering the Character of God and Man through the Creation, the Fall, and the Flood
  • Discovering Faith and Obedience through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Discovering the Comings of Christ and Trust in the Midst of Trial through the Life of Joseph
There is so much more than just the discoveries listed as the section headings.  We are pointed to the Trinity, to the God-ordained roles in marriage, to the covenant that God made with Abraham but is still relevant for us today.  We are shown patience, humility, the effects of sin, and the blessing of obedience.  Each entry in this devotional, although brief in length, is full of wisdom and insight into the heart of our God.   We are reminded that every little detail matters to God.  And each entry gives opportunity for further study through scripture references that connect the Old and the New Testaments.   This is absolutely refreshing.  This walk through Genesis takes the events of scripture and weaves them together with today’s culture and circumstances reminding us that God has a solution.  Reminding us that He is, and always has been, in control.
 As beautiful and insightful as the devotional material is in Devotions from Genesis, I have been greatly affected by the prayers that Nicole has written at the end of every section.  She has let us see into her heart and given us a beautiful picture of how our relationship with God can and should be.  Through her prayers, we are reminded of how we are to approach God. And more importantly, we are reminded that God knows us, cares about us, and listens to us.
I would be amiss if I did not tell you just a little bit about Nicole.  She is the Children’s Ministry Director at Shiloh Baptist Church in Somerville, AL. She is the co-administrator of CrossRoads Christian Academy and is the founder of Proven Path Ministries. She has also lead inductive Precept Upon Precept studies, has served as an advocate for her local crisis pregnancy center and has shared the testimony of Christ throughout her community and abroad. Nicole is a woman who is dedicated in her faith, devoted to her family, and driven to share the truth of God with others. She and her husband, Patrick, currently reside in Decatur, AL with their two youngest children.
Finally, I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway to three of my readers here in my little corner of the blogging world.  Three copies, in E-book format, of the Devotions from the Torah series are being provided for me to share.  All you have to do is click on the link below and enter your email address.  Three winners will be chosen after 12 pm on Wednesday, December 10th.    


Joy to you!