Food for the Soul
CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Audra Jennings

Audra Jennings is a publicist with Litfuse Publicity Group.

Posted 2/13/13 at 2:28 PM | Audra Jennings

The Woman God Created You to Be

The Gospel-Centered Woman Points Readers to Their Ultimate Example—Christ

Seattle: The topic of women and the church puts many people on high alert, ready to defend their views. But what is the Bible’s view on women? What does God want a woman to be? Is the Proverbs 31 woman God’s ideal? In The Gospel-Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel (January 2013/ISBN: 978-1451574821/$8.99), author Wendy Horger Alsup sets out to help readers understand what the Bible truly says to and about women.

Biblical womanhood has been a hot topic in Christian discussion, especially with popular books on the subject being the center of attention in recent months. Many of the books focus on the value of being a good wife and mother with an emphasis on love, submission and respect in marriage. While Alsup’s book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses a hole in how she felt the topic was being presented. While striving to be like Ruth, Esther or the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman is certainly not wrong, most discussions on the topic seem to overlook the instruction given in Romans 8 for men and women alike: that we were designed to be conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus should be our first and foremost example of how to live.

Regardless of our background or life experiences, we all struggle, and we all need the life-saving grace of the gospel. Although Scripture certainly gives comfort and healing that transcends gender, Alsup shares how the gospel is a particular balm to women in their vulnerabilities. She not only outlines what God declares good for His daughters, but also how the gospel equips them to deal with the vast gulf between what God declares to be His good plan for them and the reality of their daily lives. When the light of the gospel shines on Scripture’s teaching on the role of women in the church, the home and life in general, it should resonate as well with the single woman as it does with the wife, mother, or widow next door.

Alsup writes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important piece of Scripture's instructions to women, and understanding His good news is key to unlocking anything else the Bible says to women. Many lift up the Proverbs 31 woman as the prototype for good, Christian women. However, if you look at the whole of Scripture, there are a lot of different women in very different circumstances that shed positive light on Biblical womanhood. “Abigail, Ruth, and Esther. Priscilla, Phoebe, and Lydia. Some had husbands, some did not. Some had kids, some did not. Each had very different stories and responsibilities in life,” explains Alsup. “But perfection (or maturity ) in Scripture for both men and women is Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith. We were created, male and female, as image bearers of God, and we all, male and female, are being conformed back to the image of Christ.”

“The good news of Christ is that we have hope that equips us to endure. That hope is not that our circumstances will change. But it is the confidence that when we finally sit with Jesus in heaven, we will NOT be disappointed in how He directed our life. The story is written, and the end is certain. And the final scene is each of us in Him with a satisfied smile on our face in perfect relationship with our eternal Husband, Jesus Christ.”

For more information about Wendy Alsup and The Gospel-Centered Woman visit her blog at www.theologyforwomen.org.

About the Author

Wendy Alsup is a wife, mom and college math teacher who loves ministering to women. “I feel I've almost always been in ministry, from the earliest years of my life helping my dad with his bus ministry at a small Baptist church in South Carolina,” explains Alsup. As an adult, her ministry work has included working in Christian camps and Christian schools in the U.S. and Korea and leading the women’s ministry at a large church in her current home city, Seattle. Her heart is most centered in the informal counseling and discipleship of women.

Alsup has published three books: Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in our Daily Lives, By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity, and the new release, The Gospel-Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel.

“I don't have it all together. But then again, if I did, I wouldn't need the gospel. The Gospel-Centered Woman is written by and for women who don't have it all together. Who struggle. Whose burdens in life sometimes feel overwhelming. This is not a guilt-inducing book. God forbid! It would be the height of hypocrisy if I wrote a book that made other women feel guilt because of some imagined pinnacle of Biblical womanhood I had achieved.”

Find out more about Wendy Alsup and The Gospel-Centered Woman at www.theologyforwomen.org. Readers can keep up with Alsup via the Practical Theology for Women Facebook page and follow her on Twitter (@WendyAlsup). 

Posted 2/11/13 at 1:25 PM | Audra Jennings

Dancing Upon Barren Land

Dancing Upon Barren Land New Book Offers Prayers, Scripture Reflections and Hope for Infertility

Seattle: It is estimated that one in six American couples (7.3 million women) are affected by infertility. Christian women are no more immune to these astounding statistics than anyone else. When experiencing infertility, a woman’s feelings about herself, her relationships with others and her belief in God become confused and complicated. Having experienced these emotions herself, Lesli A. Westfall has written Dancing Upon Barren Land: Prayer, Scripture Reflections, and Hope for Infertility (January 18, 2013 / ISBN: 9780615746128 / $12.99) not only as a prayer guide for women facing infertility, but as a resource for churches and support groups.

Much like many couples today, Westfall and her husband put a family on hold for their careers and to build a savings. In fact, this approach has become so prevalent in today’s society that within the fertility world it has been given the official terminology as “delayed parenting.” By the time Westfall felt God nudging her to start a family, it was too late—a number of factors, including age, kept her from carrying a child of her own. “I went through the range of emotions one goes through in trying to get pregnant. I felt angry at God, jealous of others who were expecting, disappointed every month and essentially left with a broken heart,” she confesses. FULL POST

Posted 2/8/13 at 9:34 AM | Audra Jennings

Sometimes it Takes a Stranger to See You for Who You Really Are

Best-selling author Colleen Coble Explores Unconditional Love in Safe in His Arms

Seattle: Each and every one of us has felt unattractive or awkward at one time or another. Our insecurities often give us the false impression that we are not worthy of the unconditional love and acceptance that we all desire. This sense of love and security is something Margaret O’Brien thought she would never find. In Safe in His Arms (Thomas Nelson/January 29, 2013/ISBN 978-1-59554-914-3/$15.99) by best-selling author Colleen Coble, readers follow Margaret’s journey from never fitting in to realizing the love and acceptance we can only find in the safety of God’s arms.

In this second installment of the Under Texas Stars series, Coble takes readers back to one of her favorite locales and time periods, Texas in 1879. Born and raised on a sprawling ranch, Margaret prides herself on her competence as a rancher. She is convinced she can do as good a job on the ranch as her brother who died in the war. However, her father believes she should be acting more like a woman, find the love of a good man, give him grandchildren, and build a life for herself.

Margaret has long given up on the dreams her father has for her because she’s always felt unattractive and out of place: too tall, too red-headed and too unspoken. Up to this point, she’s never even had an admirer. For most of her life, Margaret has had to fight society and stereotypes about a woman's role on the ranch. As far as she is concerned, the ranch is her life and she fears anyone who might want to take all that away from her.

When Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she is not only frustrated, but is highly suspicious of the stranger. Margaret suspects Daniel is hiding something, even though he promises she’s safe with him around. Daniel swears he’s turned over a new leaf and is not involved with the thieves he used to run with, but Margaret is unconvinced. When she finds out he is an undercover Texas Ranger, sparks fly. Can she help Daniel extricate his younger brother who is still involved? And can Daniel convince her he is the safe haven he has promised for her heart?

“There’s a lot of me in Margaret. Growing up, I always felt awkward and unattractive,” admits Coble. “Women are indoctrinated from infancy about beauty. We feel we must be superwoman and have it all: beauty, brains, a good work ethic, great with children, a good cook. I think it’s particularly hard for women to accept the unconditional love God offers. We are so used to being held to such a high standard—and failing—that we feel we can never measure up.”

Coble hopes that much like Margaret, each reader will discover that God created you just like you are. “He doesn't make a mistake, and you are worthy of unconditional love. What a blessing when we realize we don’t have to. God loves us, warts and all. We are safe in his arms. Safe to tell him our dreams, our fears, our failings. Safe to relax in his unconditional love.”

Find out more about Colleen Coble and her books at ColleenCoble.com. Readers can also become a fan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter (@colleencoble).

About the Author

Colleen Coble is the author of more than forty books, most of them bestsellers. Some of her most recent novels are Lonestar Angel, The Lightkeeper's Ball, Blue Moon Promise, and Anathema, an Amish suspense. Along with her best author friends, Coble has also written novellas for the Smitten series. The second book Secretly Smitten released in January 2013.

Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Carol Award, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly two million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail.

Coble is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Readers can connect with Colleen Coble via her website, ColleenCoble.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@colleencoble).

Colleen Coble is available for interviews. To request review copies of Safe in His Arms, schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Audra Jennings, audra@litfusegroup.com.

Posted 2/4/13 at 4:22 PM | Audra Jennings

Facing Your Fears with Faith

Humorist Debora M. Coty Uses Wit and Wisdom to Help Women Conquer Their Fears

Seattle: As much as we would hate to admit it, most of us struggle with some kind of fear, worry or anxiety on a regular basis. Whether the fear is something that seems insignificant to some (like spiders) or is more common to mankind (like the loss of a loved one), we need to find the faith to hand our worries over to God to handle. In Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate: Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries (Barbour Books/February 1, 2013/paperback/ISBN 978-1620291696/$9.99), Debora M. Coty uses her trademark humor to draw readers out of a lifestyle of worry and anxiety and into living life with the security of knowing that God has everything under His control.

“Fear is really about losing control. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking we’re doing the responsible thing by worrying,” writes Coty. “When we worry, we’re desperately trying to maintain control. We keep our manicured fingernails clutching on to every shred of our lives because underneath it all, we’re afraid to relinquish complete control to the Lord. Why? Because things might not turn out the way we want them to.”

In preparation for writing Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, Coty conducted a survey of 500 women between the ages of 18 and 80 in order to pinpoint real fears women struggle with most on a daily basis. Gathering the information from her speaking events, online responses via her website, and surveys sent out to churches around the country, she discovered the top ten fears women face:

1) Loss of loved one (spouse/children/parents)
2) Debilitating disease/illness/cancer
3) Failure
4) Old age/senility
5) The unknown/the what-ifs
6) Loneliness
7) Dependency on others
8) Rejection
9) Specific Critters (snakes, roaches, rats, etc.)
10) Being judged unfairly

Coty addresses the five categories of fear as well as how fear leads to bigger problems such as worry, anxiety and even guilt. Tackling everyday fears—financial, health, relationships, loss, pain, the unknown, the what-ifs—both real and imagined, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate promises peace and hope for a better future. Readers will come away refreshed, renewed and ready to conquer their worries.

Faith, Fear, and a Fistful of Chocolate is the third release in Coty’s “Take on Life” series. Much like her earlier releases in the series, Too Blessed to be Stressed and More Beauty, Less Beast, the latest addition is full of personal stories bringing scripture to life, snippets of the author’s unique humor and light-hearted but heavy-hitting practical tips. However, Coty has also added additional reflection questions at the end of each chapter at the request of Bible-study groups, making it an excellent tool for personal or group reading.

To celebrate the release of Faith, Fear, and a Fistful of Chocolate, Debora Coty will be giving away Kindle and hosting a chocolate themed Facebook Party on March 7. For more details about both, readers can visit Coty’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AuthorDeboraCoty.

About the Author

Debora Coty has a gift for getting across sound biblical concepts with a refreshing lightheartedness. She is able to use humor to engage her readers and get to the heart of the topics women struggle with most. Coty began writing to fill the void when her youngest child left for college, and it has since become a passion.

Coty is the author of ten books, including Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolate, More Beauty, Less Beast, Too Blessed to be Stressed, and Mom Needs Chocolate, and a contributor to numerous devotionals for women. She also writes monthly newspaper column titled “Grace Notes: God’s Grace for Everyday Living.”

In addition to being a published author and popular speaker, Coty is an orthopedicoccupational therapist and a tennis addict.

Learn more about Debora Coty and her books at deboracoty.com. Readers can also keep up with her via Facebook and Twitter.

Posted 1/29/13 at 4:41 PM | Audra Jennings

"Revelation" Online Bible Study! Launch party 1/30 - RSVP today.

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity.

Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season.

Sue Edwards will be kicking off her new Revelation study with an online Facebook chat on January 30 at 8:00 PM EST.

RSVP today and invite your friends to join you.

In the weeks following the chat (February 4 – April 8), Sue Edwards will be hosting an online Bible study for Revelation. She will be posting weekly on the Year of Discovery Facebook Page and interacting with groups and individuals around the country going through the study at the same time. Women will be able to discuss the study with each other and ask questions via Facebook. Once readers complete the Revelation study, Edwards will be going through the Ephesians study in the same way. (An April 11 Facebook launch party will be followed by an April 15 – June 17 online study.)

Completing each lesson requires about one-and-a-half hours. Readers still receive in-depth Bible study but with a minimum time commitment. For those who desire a more thorough study, including an opportunity to learn more about the history, culture and geography related to the Bible, Edwards has provided “Digging Deeper” questions. Answering these questions may require outside resources such as an atlas, Bible dictionary or concordance and challenge readers to examine complex theological issues and differing views more closely.

More about the Revelation study: Edwards and Kregel are especially excited about the new Revelation study that has been added to the series. “I have focused on five special chapters—the first three and the last two—passages that I believe are most pertinent for Christians today,” writes Edwards. “I find a thorough investigation of these five chapters the most beneficial as we consider how God wants us to prepare for the end.” “The first three chapters paint a glorious picture of the resurrected Christ and record his seven letters to first-century churches. These early churches represent the different kinds of churches that have existed through the ages. The letters both commend and point out deficiencies in these churches, providing lessons to help us get ready for our future,” Edwards continues. “The last two chapters unfold with unspeakable energy, beauty and promise, as John describes what Jesus shows him: a new Eden, redemption’s climax and our eternal home. Walk with me through these incredible pages, and experience the blessing that God promised to all who read and heed.”

Purchase a copy of Revelation and join the online Bible study today.

Posted 1/17/13 at 1:48 PM | Audra Jennings

Make 2013 a Year of Discovery

Discover Together Bible Study Series Allows Individuals and Groups to Dig Deeper into Scripture

Seattle: When it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions each January 1, many Christians undoubtedly put at the top of their lists being more diligent with their Bible studies. Sue Edwards and Kregel Publications challenge women not to let this resolution go by the wayside a few weeks in—like their latest diet or exercise program—by inviting them to join in The Year of Discovery an interactive online experience. With the launch of the Edwards’ Discover Together Bible Study Series (in stores January 16, 2013), individuals and groups will be able to participate in their choice of seven different studies that actively dig into six books of the Bible.

The Discover Together Bible Study Series includes six of Edwards’ popular studies (Psalms, Proverbs Volumes 1 & 2, Luke, Ephesians and I Peter) that have been reorganized and revised to be more reader-friendly for both personal and group reflection along with the completely new release on Revelation. Each of the seven books is divided into weekly lessons and includes new inspirational sidebars and QR codes to take readers to supplemental teaching videos.

Sue Edwards will be kicking off the Revelation study with an online Facebook chat on January 30 at 8:00 PM EST. In the weeks following the chat (February 4 – April 8), Edwards will be posting weekly on the Year of Discovery Facebook page and interacting with groups and individuals around the country going through the devotional at the same time. Women will be able to discuss the study with each other and ask questions via Facebook. Once readers complete the Revelation study, Edwards will be going through the Ephesians study in the same way. (An April 11 Facebook launch party will be followed by an April 15 – June 17 online study.)

Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season. Completing each lesson requires about one-and-a-half hours. Readers still receive in-depth Bible study but with a minimum time commitment. For those who desire a more thorough study, including an opportunity to learn more about the history, culture and geography related to the Bible, Edwards has provided “Digging Deeper” questions. Answering these questions may require outside resources such as an atlas, Bible dictionary or concordance and challenge readers to examine complex theological issues and differing views more closely.

While the Discover Together Bible Studies are designed for both individual and group use, readers will benefit most by going through each week’s lesson on their own, then meeting with other women to share insights, struggles and aha moments. Bible study leaders will find free, downloadable leader’s guides for each study, along with general tips for leading small groups, at www.discoverytogetherseries.com.

Through short video clips, Edwards shares personal insights to enrich the Bible study experience. For ease of individual viewing, a QR code, which you can simply scan with your smartphone, is provided in each lesson. Readers can also go to the Discover Together website and easily navigate and find the corresponding video title. These clips are meant to bless, encourage and challenge participants in their daily walk.

Edwards and Kregel are especially excited about the new Revelation study that has been added to the series. “I have focused on five special chapters—the first three and the last two—passages that I believe are most pertinent for Christians today,” writes Edwards. “I find a thorough investigation of these five chapters the most beneficial as we consider how God wants us to prepare for the end.”

“The first three chapters paint a glorious picture of the resurrected Christ and record his seven letters to first-century churches. These early churches represent the different kinds of churches that have existed through the ages. The letters both commend and point out deficiencies in these churches, providing lessons to help us get ready for our future,” Edwards continues. “The last two chapters unfold with unspeakable energy, beauty and promise, as John describes what Jesus shows him: a new Eden, redemption’s climax and our eternal home. Walk with me through these incredible pages, and experience the blessing that God promised to all who read and heed.”

Psalms: Discovering Authentic Worship ~ ISBN: 9780825443114
Proverbs: Discovering Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World, Volume 1 ~ ISBN: 9780825443077
Proverbs: Discovering Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World, Volume 2 ~ ISBN: 9780825443084
Luke: Discovering Healing in Jesus’ Words to Women ~ ISBN: 9780825443107
Ephesians: Discovering Your Identity and Purpose in Christ ~ ISBN: 9780825443091
1 Peter: Discovering Encouragement in Troubling Times ~ ISBN: 9780825443121
Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity ~ ISBN: 9780825443138
All of the studies are paperback and retail for $12.99 each.

Visit www.discovertogetherseries.com to learn more about the Bible study series, download leader’s guides and watch Sue Edward’s video messages that correspond with each lesson.

Keep up with The Year of Discovery on www.facebook.com/DiscoverTogetherSeries.

 About the Author: Sue Edwards is associate professor of Christian education with a specialization is women’s studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where she has the opportunity to equip men and women for future ministry. She brings more than thirty years of experience into the classroom as a Bible teacher, curriculum writer, and overseer of several megachurch women’s ministries. As minister to women at Irving Bible Church and director of women’s ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, she has worked with women from all walks of life, ages and stages. Her passion is to see modern and postmodern women connect, learn from one another and bond around God’s Word. Her Bible studies have ushered thousands of women all over the country and overseas into deeper Scripture study and community experiences.

Edwards has a doctor of ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston and a master’s in Bible from Dallas Theological Seminary. With Dr. Joye Baker, she oversees the Dallas Theological Seminary doctor of ministry degree in Christian education with a women-in-ministry emphasis.

Along with Kelley Mathews, Edwards has coauthored New Doors in Ministry to Women: A Fresh Model for Transforming Your Church, Campus, or Mission Field; Women’s Retreats: A Creative Planning Guide; and Leading Women Who Wound: Strategies for an Effective Ministry. Edwards and Mathews also joined with Henry Rogers to write Mixed Ministry: Working Together as Brothers and Sisters in an Oversexed Society.

Edwards loves words, but often feels like she is drowning in them. She writes Bible studies to carry women deep into God’s Love Letters, hoping the words turn their lives upside down much the same way they revolutionized her own life. Writing is her way of reaching women that she cannot connect with one-on-one.

Sue has been married to David for more than forty years. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.

To read more from Sue Edwards, visit the New Doors in Ministry website or her blog on Bible.org. Readers can also keep up with her via Facebook and Twitter. FULL POST

Posted 12/21/12 at 12:00 PM | Audra Jennings

Simple Ways to Save Money in 2013 From Money Saving Mom

A new year will soon be here, and with it comes renewed resolution to make lasting changes. If you could use some extra wiggle room in your budget, here are just a few ways to save money throughout the year. Each penny, quarter, and dollar helps (especially with all the fiscal cliff speculation!). You may already do some of these things, but hopefully at least a few of these ideas will spark some fresh inspiration for you.

1. Create a Written Budget

A budget gives you the ability to track your spending and saving—and hopefully to see an increase in savings and a decrease in spending. Without a budget in place, your money will just be running through your fingers with no set objectives. A budget gives you parameters and purpose. It gives you boundaries, and it gives you freedom to live creatively within those boundaries.

2. Use Cash

When you shop with a credit or debit card, you can have your budget in your head and you can do the best to stick with it when you go to the store and check out, but it’s so much easier to go just a little bit over here and there when you’re swiping. You can justify that two dollars you went over your budget to buy something that was a “great deal” when paying with your card. Two dollars might not seem like much, but if you spend two-to-three dollars more every week, that adds up to about $130 in extra spending over a year’s time.

3. Simplify Your Wardrobe

Are you wearing everything you own on a regular basis? If not, why are you hanging onto it? It’s just taking up space in your closet and cluttering your life. Save money and time by paring down your wardrobe to only those things you love and wear regularly.

4. Buy in Bulk

It is often much more cost-effective to purchase meat and staple ingredients in bulk. Call around to local farmers and see what they would charge you for purchasing a quarter or half of a cow. In many cases, it’s at least a dollar cheaper per pound to purchase in bulk. Search online or look in the phone book for nearby bulk food stores or co-ops that allow you to buy items in large quantities. Remember to always check the price per ounce at your local grocery store, though, because bigger is not always less expensive.

5. Have a Meatless Night Once a Week

Meatless doesn’t have to mean calorie-less or tasteless! We often serve breakfast foods for dinner or we’ll have soup and bread. I’ve also learned that you can completely skip the meat in some recipes, like lasagna, ziti, or bean burritos. If you’re not ready to go all meatless, try replacing a third of the meat in recipes such as tacos with beans.

6. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

There’s no need to buy expensive cleaning products. A bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda are enough to tackle a myriad of household cleaning jobs. MomsBudget.com has an extensive list of homemade cleaner recipes to try.

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, and bestselling author of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget and the e-book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. Visit her blog, www.MoneySavingMom.com, for high-value coupons, online bargains, freebies, and practical ideas and inspiration to get your life and finances in order.

Posted 11/13/12 at 11:25 AM | Audra Jennings

Money Saving Mom Says to Stay Home on Black Friday

Are the Black Friday Deals Really Worth Getting Up at 3 a.m. For? Post by Crystal Paine

I don’t go shopping on Black Friday.

I know, I know. That statement might sound a bit antithetic to my usually frugal, money-saving ways, but it’s true.

Here’s why: The Black Friday deals online are just as good, or even better, than the in-store deals.

Yes, seriously. And I’ve proven this theory throughout the past few years by meticulously comparing the prices online versus the prices in-store. In almost every case, the online prices were better than the in-store prices.

Plus, you don’t have to wait out in the cold for three hours, and you can avoid all the stampeding and shoving crowds at the stores. Instead, you can get up a little early on Friday morning, sit in your PJ’s, sip your cup of coffee, and browse online.

There are other perks to shopping online for Black Friday:

You Have More of a Selection When Shopping Online

Typically, online sites are stocked better and have more variety than you’re going to find in-store. However, do note that the deals still sell out fairly quickly online. So if you see a deal ahead of time you’re particularly interested, you may want to wait up until midnight to go ahead and get it, as it may be sold out by the morning.

You Don’t Have to Drive to Multiple Stores

One of the biggest headaches of Black Friday shopping is strategizing where to be when and how you’re going to be multiple places in time for the great sales. Save gas and time by just clicking your way to savings.

Tip: Set up an account the day before on the sites that have hot sales that might not last long online on Black Friday. That way, when you order, you can just login and go through checkout quickly.

You Can Use Online Coupon Codes

Many online sites will have coupon codes available for free shipping or 15% off that you can stack on top of their fantastic Black Friday sales. Before placing your order, check RetailMeNot.com to see if there’s an online coupon code available for the site you’re ordering from.

You Can Get Cash Back

Set up a free account with Ebates and click through their site and search for the online site you’re shopping with before placing your order. You’ll usually get anywhere between 1% to 15% cash back for each online purchase. While it might only be a few dollars per purchase, these trickles add up to a nice check every three months!

If you love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy long waits and big crowds, be my guest and go out shopping on Black Friday. As for me, I’ll be snuggled up under a blanket with my mug of coffee and my laptop on Black Friday morning getting great deals from the comfort of my living-room couch!

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, and bestselling author. To see the best deals available online on Black Friday, be sure to stop her blog, http://www.MoneySavingMom.com, where Crystal will be live-blogging the best online Black Friday deals and coupon codes as they become available.

Posted 11/9/12 at 11:27 AM | Audra Jennings

How to Have a Thanksgiving Feast on a Budget

By Crystal Paine, The Money Saving Mom

Planning and preparing a delicious spread of turkey, gravy, and all the fixings doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are seven tips to help you keep more cash in your wallet this Thanksgiving season:

1. Split up the Cooking Responsibilities

Divvy up the Thanksgiving meal responsibilities so no one has to purchase and make all the food themselves. Not only does it make a lot less work, but it can also provide more variety in your menu, too.

2. Use What You Have on Hand

Look in your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you already have on hand that might make the beginnings of a Thanksgiving dish. Type the ingredients you find into your pantry the ingredient search feature on www.AllRecipes.com, and it will generate a list of recipe ideas for you based upon what ingredients you have.

3. Simplify Your Menu

Do you really need fifteen different dishes on your Thanksgiving buffet? Consider simplifying and just sticking with your very favorites; it’ll save you a lot of time and effort—not to mention money!

4. Plan Your Menu Based on What’s on Sale at the Store

If possible, start looking at the store sales fliers a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Grocery stores typically rotate their best sales each week, so if you can stock up on their rock-bottom deals for a few weeks preceding Thanksgiving, you’ll end up paying a lot less for the groceries you need to make Thanksgiving dinner.

5. Check for Coupons Online Before Shopping

Before you head to the store, check the coupon database on www.MoneySavingMom.com to see if any printable coupons are available for products you’re planning to purchase. For a few minutes of time, you’ll probably be able to save at least a few dollars—if not more!

6. Make Food Ahead of Time

Instead of purchasing expensive food pre-made or pre-packaged in order to save time, cook as much Thanksgiving food ahead of time as you can. A few fantastic make-ahead items are: Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Butterhorn Rolls, and Slab Apple Pie.

7. Buy Extra Turkeys

Turkey is a great source of inexpensive protein, especially when you can get it at the bargain prices available during Thanksgiving! Take advantage of the turkey sales by buying extra turkeys to stick in the freezer. Then, you can thaw and bake them throughout the year to use in recipes that call for chopped turkey or chicken.

While you’re buying extra turkey for your own freezer, consider buying an extra turkey to give to another needy family or donate to the local homeless shelter. We have so much to be thankful for—let’s pass on the blessing to others, too!

About the Author

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, author of The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget. Visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com, for high-value coupons, online bargains, freebies, and practical ideas and inspiration to get your life and finances in order.

For more money saving recipe ideas, Thanksgiving craft for kids, and ways to decorate on a budget, visit www.MoneySavingMom.com.

Posted 11/7/12 at 7:12 PM | Audra Jennings

Author’s Supernatural Fiction Breaks All the Molds

James L. Rubart entertains and challenges audiences with his new thriller, Soul’s Gate

Ever since author James L. Rubart read The Chronicles of Narnia in the seventh grade, he has been enthralled with supernatural and fantastic stories. Because of his love for being swept away by a story that goes beyond ordinary, everyday life, and gives him hope while opening his mind to ideas he never dreamed possible, he writes. This passion is sure to shine through with his latest book, Soul’s Gate (Thomas Nelson/November 6, 2012/ISBN: 978-1-4016-8605-5/$15.99). In this new release, Rubart poses the question: What if you could send your spirit inside other people’s souls to fight for their freedom?

“Toni Morrison says, ‘If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.’ That’s what I’ve done and why I’m writing supernatural fiction,” says Rubart. Supernatural fiction is a term that covers a wide spectrum of genres, but when Rubart wrote his first book, publishers weren’t sure where he fit in. He has since been able to carve out his own niche. “For me it’s taking ordinary contemporary settings and interjecting the extraordinary into them. If you look at the Bible, it’s full of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative type stories. The difference is the tales in the Bible are true. What I do is take those fantastic things in the Bible and turn them into a story in our modern world.”

Rubart’s novels entertain readers while challenging them to reexamine their own lives. Soul’s Gate explores healing from our deepest wounds and embracing God’s calling for our lives — challenges that often have a strong hold over us. Ultimately, as with all of Rubart’s previous releases, the core theme of freedom runs deep. “I want people to finish Soul’s Gate and be freer than when they picked it up. Freedom from their past, freedom from their brokenness, freedom to step into their God designed destiny,” Rubart shares.

Soul’s Gate poses the question: what if you could travel inside another person’s soul? What if you could battle for them and be a part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds? Thirty years ago, that’s exactly what Reece Roth did—until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his destiny. Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a decades-old prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world. In order to fulfill God’s plan, Reece will have to face his deepest regret in order to train them.

Reece stood and faced the group. “Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory. A world the prophets saw; the world Enoch, and Elijah, and Paul, and John the apostle all saw. A world that is all around us in every moment if we would have eyes to see and ears to hear.”

The group gathers at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity and how to step into the supernatural as powerfully as anyone in the Bible did. The four have a destiny to battle for a freedom even Reece doesn’t fully fathom. However, they have an enemy determined to destroy them — one who will stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.

There’s no doubt that Rubart has found his niche. In addition to a strong following of readers, his previous releases have garnered critical acclaim and have risen to the top of best-seller lists. His first novel, Rooms (2010), won a Best Books 2011 award from USA Book News, as well as a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award.

For more information on James L. Rubart and his books, visit www.jimrubart.com. Click here to watch the Soul’s Gate book trailer.

About the Author

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. While being the owner of Barefoot Marketing certainly keeps him on his toes, his passion is writing fiction.

Rubart is an ECPA best-selling author who has been positively reviewed by both Publisher’s Weekly and Romantic Times. His first novel, Rooms, won a Best Books 2011 award from USA Book News, as well as a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. His debut release was followed by Book of Days and The Chair. Soul’s Gate is Rubart’s fourth release.

In addition to being an author, Rubart is also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer and semi-pro magician. With all of this, he says that he barely sleeps. Rubart lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.

To keep up with James L. Rubart, visit www.jimrubart.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

load more