Rhe’s Bookshelf – No Greatness Without Goodness



Randy Lewis bet his career that he could create an inclusive workplace at one of America’s biggest corporations where people with disabilities could not just succeed, but thrive. “No Greatness without Goodness” is the powerful story of a corporate executive who, after watching the world through the eyes of his own child with autism, Austin, realized that we all have a greater responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone, including those with disabilities.As the Senior Vice President of Walgreens, Randy Lewis has created thousands of full-time jobs for people with disabilities. “No Greatness without Goodness” offers a firsthand account of what it takes to lead with courage in order to change people’s lives for the better. Randy’s motto is “What’s the use of having power if you don’t use it to do good.” In this book, you’ll learn how to start working for good no matter where you are or how much power you hold.


If you’re looking for an inspiration story, you will love this book. If you have someone with special needs in your life, you will love this book. There’s almost nothing else for me to say about this book. And I really love when I get a book like this because it really just says so much, while saying almost nothing. The inspirational story of a father and son, a large Company, and all the people in their lives and that become connected to them. It has real emotions that aren’t just fluff and fun, which is another thing I appreciate about it. I really encourage to pick up this book because I think not only will it be an enjoyable read, it will be an encouraging one as well. 

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Rhe’s Bookshelf: Little Book of Great Dates

Summary: The Little Book of Great Dates will help build romance and fun into any marriage with its creative ideas for a year’s worth of weekly affordable dates. This book—a simpler, gift version of Focus on the Family’s The Date Night Challenge campaign—will help couples to proactively and intentionally build their relationship, showing how everyday activities can become “dates” that strengthen the marriage relationship. It includes plans for special-occasion dates, such as the couple’s anniversaries (first date, engagement, wedding), birthdays, etc. Couples can get to know each other better by sharing fun times and discover dating again in their marriage with this great little book of ideas!

Review: After nine years of marriage sometimes complacency sets in; you get in a routine and there you go.  It gets hard, and I know for us the routine because easy.  There’s no doubt I love my husband, but there are times I need to be reminded that he loves me.  And its not because I doubt that he does, but holy cow marriage is so different than dating!!  For us time together is so precious.  A Tanzanite is a rare stone.  Its only mined in one place.  That’s about how rare our time is together.  This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately.  It’s been a long eleven years of Air Force Life, and I think its finally starting to catch up with me.  Greg and Erin Smalley seem to understand that, and about something that pops up in many marriage.  This book is filled with great ideas built around specific dates and milestones.  Operating on the idea that men and women are, duh, completely different, the date ideas are built around a way to combine the needs of both.  Hubby and I went out on a date about a month or so ago, and we went to go see a movie.  Before we went to the movies we had ice cream and hung out in the car and just talked.  We ended up having a ridiculously profound conversation about something we had never really talked about before.  We actually shared our real and true feelings about something and it was completely life-changing.  We took the time to really talk with each other open and honestly, and managed to have a little fun while doing it.  Sometimes you just need some ideas, and this book is one.  I would also stop by the Smalley’s website.  It’s full of great resources and information to guide you in the journey of building a strong marriage.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

disclaimer: I was provided this book by Tyndale Blogging Network, in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way.  My views and opinions are my own.
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Rhe’s Bookshelf – My Mama and Me *giveaway*

Time or another Rhe’s Bookshelf review.  This time, I am happy to give you all a chance to win a copy of the
book yourself.   Good luck.

take a look inside on Amazon!
A companion book to My Grandma and Me, this book is specifically written for mother and child. My Mama and Me is designed around four questions: Can You Tell Me about God? Can You Tell Me about Jesus? What Does God Think about Me? How Can I Show God I Love Him?

Through 25 rhyming devotions and fun activities, Mom can answer these questions for the curious little one. It’s a great way to introduce kids to faith at an early age yet in an age-appropriate and understandable manner. Each devotion also includes a short Bible verse and a prayer that mother and child can recite together. Some of the activities include creating a card, making a heart wreath, and singing—all of the activities are directly related to the theme for the devotion. These devotions translate to hours of meaningful, faith-filled fun.

The book ends with a touching prayer every mother will want to pray for her children.

What I Thought:

 I have a couple different devotions that I’ve used with the kids.  I prefer ones that are interactive.  My kids seem to learn, engaged and remember better when there is an activity associated with whatever it is we are talking about.  Plus it usually gets a moving, or having a discussion for longer.  This particular devotion, beautifully illustrated by the way, is perfect for smaller children, probably about 3 I would say.  The devotions are short enough that your smaller children could sit and read and stay engaged as well.

The devotions are set up simply: Bible Verse, devotion (something that the children learn – God keeps us safe, God gives us what we need, God is your friend), prayer and an activity.  The activities range from simply going outside and looking for things, while some are more artsy.

4 out of 5 stars

This is a great devotional for very young children.  While I’m sure older children (my 5 and 7 year old included) wold enjoy this, I prefer a little more in-depth study, and one where they would sit for just a smidge longer.  The illustrations are sweet and this would make a great gift and/or heirloom.

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Rhe’s Bookshelf – ‘Grace’s Pictures’ Blog Tour

I am so excited to be taking part in Tyndale Publishing’s blog tour for Grace’s Pictures, by Cindy Thomson.  Please visit Cindy’s blog to find out more about her and the other books she’s written.

Let’s learn a bit more about Cindy and her book
1. What was your inspiration for this book, Grace’s Pictures?
When the Brownie Camera was introduced, it changed photography forever. What
was before expensive and not very portable, suddenly became available for the
average person. I read a contemporary commentary that expressed the concern that
with everyone carrying a camera, someone could have his/her photograph taken without permission, and what an invasion of privacy that would be
. That got me thinking…what if that happened, and at a time before there were very many mug shots available of criminals.
I love writing about immigrants because their stories are a part of who we are today. If not for their bravery and ingenuity, our lives would be much different today, and probably more difficult.

2. Tell me about your main character, Grace McCaffery. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?
Grace comes to America wounded by her experiences of having an abusive father, being evicted from her home by the police, and then having to survive in a workhouse. When her mother gets remarried, to a policeman no less, Grace is horrified. In her mind, avoiding the kind of people who hurt you is the only way to stay safe. When she is sent to America to start a new life, she is not certain she wants to go. She wishes for the confidence and joy she sees in others around her, and she tries to capture it in drawings and snapshots so she can better study it. I know a lot of people, me for one, who would rather observe for a while before stepping out and trying something new. But historically, immigrants could not do that. They were thrust into change and had to adapt and endure.
Grace, like most fictional characters, is not based on any particular person. She is a conglomeration of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who came to this country seeking a better life, but without many options to support themselves. They must have been frightened at first by this vast new country, but somehow they overcame that fear and founded our American families. 

3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
A lesson that I hope is learned in this story is that God provides what we need, but many times it requires us to put aside our preconceived ideas. No matter what disadvantages we start with, we can turn things around, with God’s help. 

4. How do you expect Grace’s story to resonate with women?
Grace, a young woman who was not nurtured much as a child, becomes a nurturer. She is a nanny with a role that becomes essential for the children she cares for. I think most women are nurturers. Unfortunately, Grace had a far from ideal childhood. I think many women struggle with not having been nurtured themselves. Grace’s story illustrates the hope that God can turn that around, and even in unexpected ways. Grace meets someone who cares for her, who just happens to work in that dreaded occupationa policeman. 

5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I loved learning about Ellis Island, visiting New York City, and imagining those immigrants of the early 20th century moving along the same paths I was exploring. I loved writing about how the children Grace cared for helped to change her. History is fascinating to me, and it’s a privilege to be able to write about it. 

6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
I hope readers will be transported to a time in history when everything was changing at a rapid pace and experience a bit of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I would like readers, through Grace’s Pictures, to not only appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made, but also find the courage to meet their own challengeseveryone has them. 

7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
Grace was at first a difficult character to figure out. I had a loving father who passed away a few months before I started working on this book. Grace, who did not have a loving father, stretched me a bit, but it was good to explore what life was like for her and try to imagine how someone like her could not only survive but thrive. 
8. What is it about this time period in history that made you want to write about it?
New inventions were constantly popping up, things that we take for granted today. For instance, telephones were becoming more widely available, but immigrants were not familiar with them. Same with electricity. There was a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, and the middle class was the minority. Monopolies were not yet forbidden. The rich were extremely rich. The poor were extremely poor, and the conditions in the tenements were disgraceful. And yet, this was not overlooked. There were gangs and corrupt police, but also scores of charities working hard to protect, educate, and care for immigrants. And it was also a time period of huge numbers of immigrants coming to the country, most through Ellis Island, so in that way this time period has impacted a great many Americans today. 

9. What lessons can we learn from the pages of historical fiction?
The Bible tells us, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT). Historical fiction uses the power of story to help us find those old ways. We deceive ourselves if we think no one has experienced the struggles we have. Someone has. Why not learn those stories and be led by them?

10. What is one of the best pieces of advice or encouragement you have received?
I’m always open to sound advice. Here is one that has encouraged me. It’s from a tea bag quote. 

What I thought:

I love a good historical novel.  It can be a tricky thing because you’re messing with history.  It is stuff that has already happened, so you have to be careful.  Whenever I read one it has to be able to transform me to that time and place.  I need to be able to imagine that this is something that could have actually happened.  Perhaps my favorite part about this book is the inclusion of the Brownie Camera.  It was such a revolutionary item, and something that gave just about everyone access to pictures and a way to preserve memories.  In a time where memory was the only way to preserve the past, being able to take pictures was pretty much life-changing.  This fact alone made the story so great.  
The character of Grace was an interesting one for me.  I really liked her, but as the story went on I felt it was harder to keep that going  There were maybe a couple chpters there where the story seemed to be dragging a bit.  There was a lot of stuff going on, several different stories and I really didn’t feel like they were explored to the fullest.  At times it was difficult to also fully take in the reality of the times.  Communication was difficult, people’s experiences were rough and sometimes down right horrible.  As a result there were times I found myself frustrated with the character of Grace and her attitudes toward the police and her step-father.  I kept having to remind myself that there is so much unsaid history that you can’t fit into a book.  Our world and reality is so vastly different then the very real one portrayed in this book.  Sometimes its hard to put yourself in the position of those during this time.  
3 out of 5 Stars

**I received this book in partnership with Tyndale Blogging Network, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  My opinions are my own.
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Rhe’s Bookshelf – ‘Take a Chance on Me’ by Susan May Warren



Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

**Read the first chapter of Take A Chance on Me, here

Author Q & A:

1. This is the first installment in a brand new six book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this series?
I love stories about families, watching the members interact and grow together through challenges and victories and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to pass on their legacy to their children…but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when those collide with real life.

2. This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.
Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to escape for a vacation

What I Thought:

Take A Chance on Me was not what I expected when I started reading it.  After doing so many reviews of Christian novels I was beginning to notice a pattern among them.  I didn’t feel as challenged by the reading perse.  The stories seemed to be lost in the attempt to portray God and the reasons to have faith in Him, or seek out a relationship with Him.  The characters and what they were going through seemed to be secondary to the faith parts of the book.  There have obviously been exceptions to this, but as someone who considered herself to be absolutely obsessed with books, I wasn’t finding satisfaction in the stories.  All that being said, let me take a second to praise Susan Warren’s book!  The characters were wonderful, deep, complex and relatable.  The story was also all of those things.  There was real emotion of love, anger, hatred, all honestly laid out, which I had found to be a unique trait in this genre of novel.  All of those involved in the book with real and they made mistakes.  They didn’t claim to be perfect and they weren’t trying to be.  That’s what I loved, loved, loved about this book.

5 out 5 Stars

I received this book in partnership with the Tyndale Blogging Network, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

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