Author Archives: Dawn Teresa

Movie Spotlight: Paul, Apostle of Christ

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“Paul: Apostle of Christ”

Coming to Theaters Nationwide Mar 23

Paul’s letters and writings were vital to the spreading of Christianity, and became a large part of the New Testament. The film’s story focuses on how, despite persecution and peril, Paul shared Jesus’ message of love, redemption and forgiveness with a small community of believers who in turn, took it to the whole world.

Great pains were taken to maintain biblical accuracy. Using scripture as the only reference, director Andrew Hyatt recreated the story of Paul on film, including the close relationship with Luke, whom at the end of Paul’s life, at his own peril, traveled in and out of the prison carrying Paul’s writings to the community of believers.

 

Luke

Cast

  •    Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ)
  •    James Faulkner (“Downton Abbey”)
  •    Olivier Martinez (S.W.A.T.)
  •    Joanne Whalley (“A.D. The Bible Continues”)
  •    John Lynch (The Secret Garden)

 

Paul 1

Film Synopsis

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians, and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.

Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much—floggings, shipwreck, starvation,stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure—yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . .and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.


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Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this opportunity. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this post.

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Movie Spotlight: Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies

IceDragonBib

“Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies” in Select Theaters Nationwide

The Allegorical Faith-Based Feature Debuts on March 24 and 26 Only

Featuring an Exclusive Short Film and Music Video

Fathom Events, Chelsea Road Productions and Tricord Media present “Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies” in movie theaters nationwide on Saturday, March 24 at 12:55 p.m. and Monday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m. (all local times). Audiences will also enjoy an original live-action short film featuring children’s reactions to important themes raised in the feature content, as well as an exclusive music video.

Based on a short story by Canadian director and producer Bruce Stacey (“God Rocks!,” “Journey to Christmas”), “Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies” will premiere in U.S. cinemas for a two-day-only event. This is the first of a planned trilogy that will follow the adventures of Melody, a gifted young dreamer, and her feisty friend Leif, as they work together to save their village from a menacing dragon.

Tickets for “Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies” can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in nearly 700 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN).

melody-loves-to-sing-in-the-blue-fields

Film Synopsis

Melody, a gifted young dreamer, and her feisty friend Leif must set aside their differences and use the power of magical Blue Daisies and an ancient Song to save their world from an evil Ice Dragon. When the blue flowers that once bloomed all around her village began to disappear, Melody and her eccentric grandfather recognize this as a sign of great danger… but no one believes them! Racing against time, Melody must convince Leif and the other villagers before it’s too late.

 Starring the voice talents of Rheal Rees (Melody), Justin Debé (Leif) and Bill Bray (Nicholai), “Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies” features original songs and engaging characters that highlight this inspiring animated adventure for the whole family.



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“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this opportunity. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this post.

CD Review and Giveaway: Whole Heart by Passion

An Invitation to Open Your Heart to God

Passion - Whole Heart cover - 600Whole Heart
by Passion


Release Date: February 23, 2018
Label: sixstepsrecords
Length: 66:25

Links:

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Passion Website
sixstepsrecords Website


Tracks

1. Whole Heart (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
2. Almighty God (feat. Sean Curran)
3. God, You’re So Good (feat. Kristian Stanfill & Melodie Malone)
4. Reckless Love (feat. Melodie Malone)
5. Heaven (feat. Sean Curran)
6. More Like Jesus (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
7. Hallelujah, Our God Reigns (feat. Brett Younker)
8. Ghost (feat. Crowder)
9. Ever Almighty (feat. Melodie Malone)
10. Great Are You Lord (feat. Matt Redman)
11. All My Hope (feat. Crowder & Tauren Wells)


About The Passion Movement:
From its start in 1995 Passion has been rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8 – Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and Your renown are the desire of our hearts – existing to glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation. Passion has encountered millions of students and 18-25 year olds, young people whose lives have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most impactful and stirring aspects of the movement, founded by Louie and Shelley Giglio, has been the sea of voices uniting together to lift up the name of Jesus, currently helmed by Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone. The band has seen worship leaders such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Crowder, Christy Nockels and more uniting over the years, writing, recording and leading arenas in worship.

Transcending the conferences, songs from Passion have become some of the most recognizable and unforgettable worship anthems of this generation. With more than 1.8 million units sold and a multitude of chart-topping singles such as “How Great Is Our God,” “God Of This City,” “One Thing Remains,” “Even So Come,” and “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” listeners across the world continue to be impacted by the music of Passion. Delivering new projects annually, songs from records such as Here For You, White Flag, Let The Future Begin, Take It All, Even So Come and Salvation’s Tide Is Rising have become timeless staples in the Church. Their newest offering, Worthy Of Your Name, is now available. The four-time Dove Award winners have had seven albums debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart with two hitting the Top 5 on the Billboard 200.

Through it all, Jesus continues to remain at the center.

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My Review

Your love
It comes with no conditions
You give us Your whole heart
My hope
Is in the blood of Jesus
I know who I am
Because of who You are
–“Whole Heart”

Whole Heart is the latest live recording to come out of  Passion Conference. Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker, and Melodie Malone are joined by household names like Crowder and Matt Redman, as well as Sean Curran, and Tauren Wells, who many will remember as the former frontman of pop outfit Royal Tailor.

Stanfill opens the record with title track “Whole Heart”, singing about finding purpose and identity in Jesus. This is one of the stand-out songs on the project. I also thoroughly enjoyed both instances where Crowder makes an appearance: “Ghost” and “All My Hope”. The former is a song about the Holy Spirit (or holy ghost), and he lends a tone dark and mysterious enough to suit. The latter, where Crowder is joined by Tauren Wells, is the biggest departure for the album. This earthy, bluesy gem is joyful and would be equally at home alongside early Stevie Wonder or Southern Gospel.

Other memorable moments come on the simple, yet contemplative duet “God You’re so Good”, “Reckless Heart”, and “Ever Almighty” — all of which feature Melodie Malone. Malone, gifted with an emotive voice, sings with a delicate yearning and an honest vulnerability that can minister to a crowd better than any deep-chested shout.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Matt Redman. It has become commonplace to say that artists on stage singing worship songs are “leading worship”. However, like artists in any other genre of music, some folks on these types of stages do little more than entertain. On penultimate track “Great Are You Lord”, Redman truly leads worship by taking himself far enough out of the way to allow the collective voice of the crowd to predominate. At nearly 9 minutes, the track goes long. If you’re looking for diversion, you might lose interest. However, if you’ve come to be an active participant, Redman will give your heart the space it requires to cry out to Jesus.

While Whole Heart, clocking in at over an hour, is brimming with music, it’s not the kind of record to knock your socks off with innovative bells and whistles. For the most part, it’s fairly mellow, subtle, and workmanlike. You’ll get out of the listening only what you bring to it. So if you’re looking to be entertained rather than making the effort to personalize your worship experience, I would suggest you look elsewhere. If you come at Whole Heart with your heart open, however, you’ll find earnest singers giving their all to praise a mighty God who gave His whole heart. Are you willing to give yours in return?

His love is like lightning
Cracking through the sky
And burning though the rage
Burning through the pain of a billion scars
– “Ghost”

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

4 Hearts - CD - DVD

4 of 5 Hearts. An Invitation to Open Your Heart to God.

Whole Heart is a slow burn, taking time and attention to sink in. But the listener who gives it both will be rewarded.

** ENTER THE GIVEAWAY **

CLICK ON THE ALBUM COVER BELOW

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THE CD!!

Passion - Whole Heart cover - 600

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a CD for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Giveaway Rules: Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Blog Tour and Review: Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D.

Refuge for Your Unrest: Not Just Recommended — Required Reading!

Sacred-Rest-Cover - post sizeSacred Rest
by Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D.


Publication Date: December 19, 2017
Publisher: FaithWords
Length: 225pp
ISBN-13: 978-1478921677

Related Links:
Dr. Dalton-Smith’s Website
Blog Tour Landing Page


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Publisher Synopsis

Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested — there’s a challenge.

How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.


About the Author
 Saundra Dalton-Smith
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women’s Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the author of “Set Free to Live” and “Come Empty” (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a repeat keynote speaker at their annual gathering. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.

 My Review

Many of us are aware we need more rest, but even if we allow ourselves permission to rest, I’m not sure we know or remember how to get meaningful rest. You see, resting well means more than just vegging out in front of the television or computer. It’s also not as easy as logging an extra hour or two of sleep. Luckily, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has taken her own personal burnout, as well as her experiences treating exhausted patients, added some research, and healthy doses of spirituality and encouragement to write a guide book of sorts, Sacred Rest.

I can’t think of a more universally needed book right now than Sacred Rest. It’s especially auspicious that Sacred Rest was released last month and is being promoted right now. With each new January, folks examine their lives, trying to find ways that they can do something better and more productively (work, success, money and investments) or squeeze in more of this or that into their day. Or maybe they are looking to do something less (destructive habits like overeating, being sedentary, drinking to excess, smoking, etc).  Either way, I’ll wager they rarely think about rest. Since by now many well-meaning individuals have already reneged on their promises to themselves, hopefully they are finding their way to Sacred Rest and discovering there is another way – a better way.

Dr. Dalton-Smith (a doctor of internal medicine) uses the first part of Sacred Rest to examine rest through a practical lens using anecdotes and research to explain each of seven kinds of rest – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative – guiding readers through self-evaluation and application with each succinct chapter.

In Sacred Rest‘s second part, Dalton-Smith looks at rest through spiritual eyes, showing us twelve gifts of rest (boundaries, reflection, freedom, and acceptance to name a few). I hadn’t considered it until now, but it’s no accident that there are more gifts of rest than types of rest.

Finally, in part three of Sacred Rest, Dr. Dalton-Smith invites us to join her off the page in a free 30-day Sacred Rest challenge. This is key. She’s aware that our journey into discovering the why (the value) and the how (the personal application) of rest has not ended with our turning the last page of her book. Rather, we have only just begun. And thankfully, she’s willing to be our friend and guide us with daily tips and affirmations in our inbox. I signed up immediately, and I invite you to join us at ichoosemybestlife.com

Dalton-Smith understand her readers. She purposely keeps her chapters brief, but warns that we shouldn’t rush through the book. Rather, we should take it one bit at a time. Here she helps us break our ingrained notions of life being a race. She quiets our urge to find a quick fix, and reminds us to take our time. She even gives her readers permission to break the unwritten rules and read part two of the book first if that feels better. Furthermore, her two-pronged approach – practical and spiritual – will help every unique mindset find solid footing and a happy place to land. Some may read just part one. Some may find more comfort in part two. And that will be okay.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

5 of 5 Hearts. Refuge for Your Unrest: Not Just Recommended — Required Reading! 

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s Sacred Rest shows us why resting is not optional, but essential. A life well-rested will lead to a life well-lived. The path to living well and resting well is about finding your own pace and your own rhythms. No matter where you are on your journey, Dr. Dalton-Smith’s Sacred Rest will meet you right where you are and give you just what you need.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank LitFuse Publicity Group for providing me with a copy of Sacred Rest in exchange for a fair and honest review. 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.”


 

Blog Tour and Review: The Eternity Elixir by Frank L. Cole

An Enjoyable Ride Through a Magical World of Potions!

Potion Masters 1 cover - post size The Eternity Elixir
by Frank L. Cole


Series: Potion Masters (Book 1)
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Length: 295pp
ISBN-13: 978-1629723587

Related Links:
Frank L. Cole’s Website

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Publisher Synopsis

For hundreds of years, all of our medical findings, our technological advancements, and even our weapons are a direct result of magical potions. Few people know about the truth because few people are aware of the hidden potion community known as B.R.E.W.–the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide.



Twelve-year-old Gordy knows all about the importance of cauldrons, flasks, and Bunsen burners. He has an extensive knowledge of hundreds of ingredients including Toadflax, porcupine quills, and catfish eyes because Gordy’s mother is the Director of B.R.E.W., and he is an apprentice potion master with a secret lab in his family’s basement.



When the world’s most powerful potion–the Eternity Elixir–disappears and then mysteriously ends up in Gordy’s possession, he must use all of his skills to protect the “forbidden potion” before enemies of B.R.E.W. find and use it to destroy the world as we know it.



Gordy recruits his two best friends, Max and Adeline, to assist him while his mother leaves to confront the most powerful elixirist of all time-the great Mezzarix-who happens to be Gordy’s grandfather.




Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir trailer:


My Review

In this first book in his new series, author Frank L. Cole stirs together magic, mystery, adventure, and humor, and produces a potion that gives the reader all the excitement and fun he or she could want. The Eternity Elixir introduces a trio of brave and clever kids reminiscent of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, though they are not mere knock-offs. Each is likeable and admirable in his or her own way, and it is easy to go along with them as they dive into danger.

But don’t think it’s just another plot where the parents conveniently disappear. Gordy’s Mom and Dad are active participants in the story-line, and his is a strong, functional family.

For the most part, the reader discovers the secret world of the potion masters along with Gordy, which creates and sustains interest. The plot moves rapidly from point to point, and the focus on potions, instead of wands, provides opportunities for Gordy to demonstrate his ingenuity as he invents new and creative elixirs. Whether used as weapons or for fun, these concoctions can have surprising applications and results. Because they are so central to the plot, a helpful “Glossary of Potions” has been included which details the effects of each elixir, as well as listing many of the terms used in the “potion making community”.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

4.5 Hearts - Final

4.5 of 5 Hearts. An Enjoyable Ride Through a Magical World of Potions!

The Eternity Elixir is a terrific read and a wonderful start to a new series. Those who like losing themselves in the books of Brandon Mull (Fablehaven) will do the same with this new entry in the Kids fantasy genre.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with a copy of The Eternity Elixir in exchange for a fair and honest review. 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.”


Potion Masters- The Eternity Elixir Blog Tour Image

Christian Chapters: Upon a Spring Breeze by Kelly Irvin

An Honest Walk Through Heartbreak Toward Renewal

Upon a Spring Breeze cover - post sizeUpon a Spring Breeze
by Kelly Irvin


Series: Every Amish Season (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Zondervan
Length: 344pp
ISBN-13: 978-0310348054

Related Links:

Kelly Irvin’s Website


Buy the Book

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Publisher Synopsis

After a devastating winter, a spring breeze promises more than new flowers.… It promises a new chance at love.

Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.

Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.

When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy and the possibility of love?


My Review

Upon a Spring Breeze is the first in a new series (Every Amish Season) by Kelly Irvin. Kelly, one of my favorite writers of Amish Fiction, tends to come at her stories from a unique angle and never shies away from difficult topics.

Kelly’s no stranger to pain – she is living with two chronic, incurable conditions – and her personal life certainly helps to inform this novel. Readers are given a glimpse into the suddenly tragic life of young newlywed Bess Weaver who becomes a widow and a new mother in a few weeks’ span. Her baby looks just like his late daddy and he’s colicky. Bess can barely look at him for the pain and sinks into post-partum depression. While neighbors, family, and friends offer platitudes and epithets of faith, they seem to carry expectations and a timetable for Bess’ grief. They all talk about “Gott’s will” and “Gott’s plan” but Bess can’t begin to comprehend how so much heartache could be part of God’s plan for her life.

“Stiff upper lip and all that nonsense. It’s easy to say what we believe, but living what we believe, well, that’s another pot of potatoes.” (p. 79)

Like the character Mary Katherine says above, it’s easy to carry our faith around like a pair of unworn shoes, but it’s hard to actively walk in those shoes when they are worn and tattered. When life tosses us headlong into hardship and suffering, how do we hold on to hope?

The strength of Kelly’s writing takes what begins as a very sad circumstance and brings it to a hopeful conclusion. Just as God makes beauty out of ashes. And that’s the very heart of Upon a Spring Breeze.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

4.5 Hearts - Final

4.5 of 5 Hearts. An Honest Walk Through Heartbreak Toward Renewal.

Irvin’s beautifully touching novel unflinchingly deals with loss, guilt, despair, family relational dynamics, and other challenges of life, while showing that no matter how dark things may get, help and hope are never too distant, and joy and love can still be found.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Fiction Guild, Thomas Nelson, and BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a copy of Upon a Spring Breeze in exchange for a fair and honest review. 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.”

Interview with Amy Clipston (Plus Giveaway!)

A Mother’s Day Q&A with Author Amy Clipston

Amy and sons

Amy Clipston with sons Matt and Zac

What was your favorite Mother’s Day? 

My favorite was after Matt was born because I had my two wonderful boys.

What was your most favorite book to read to your boys when they were little?

Zac absolutely loved Big Joe’s Trailer Truck by Joe Mathieu! He knew it by heart! It’s the cutest book, and I read it to Matt also. We kept it and will pass it on if they have children.

Do you get any book ideas from your sons’ shenanigans?

I haven’t really included any of their shenanigans, but I did model a character after Zac. In my young adult book Roadside Assistance, Logan, who is Whitney’s younger brother, was inspired by Zac. Logan likes Star Wars and video games, and his room is decorated similarly to how Zac’s room used to look.

What’s one of your favorite memories/stories of your boys with your books?

For the past four years I’ve spoken to the 6th grade at my boys’ middle school. I don’t think I embarrassed them too badly when they were members of the audience. One of my sons doesn’t tell many people that I write books, but my other son proudly shares it with friends and teachers. He frequently comes home from school and tells me that the girls in his classes are reading my books. I’m thankful he’s not embarrassed by me or my books.

As a mother, what is your prayer for your boys?

My prayer is that they stay healthy and they find a profession they love. I also pray that if they chose to marry, they find someone who is nice and who will treat them with love and respect. I tell them repeatedly that love should never make them feel bad about themselves. I pray with all of my heart that they will be happy.

About Amy

Amy

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Amy Clipston’s Website
Amy Clipston at Zondervan

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Don’t Miss Amy Clipston’s May Giveaway!

Click through on the photo to enter for a chance to win the prizes shown below, including Amish doll clothes that fit American Girls size dolls!

Amy Clipston May Giveaway

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