Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'The Sacred Meaning of the Pentacle' Guest Post by Brigid Ashwood


Greetings! Thanks so much to Uplifting Reads for allowing me this opportunity to share with your audience.

The Earth Child's Handbook is an educational, craft and activity book for children and families who follow a pagan and earth-centric spiritual practice. The symbol on the cover of the book is a painting I created specifically for the series. I call it the "Kid's Pentacle" and it features craft supplies arranged in the form of a five pointed star with a circle around it.

The Pentagram or Pentacle is perhaps the most mis-understood of religious symbols. These days the two words are often used interchangeably, although in truth there are subtle differences. Practically the Pentagram is a 5 pointed star while the  Pentacle is a 5 pointed star surrounded by a circle.

In it's original usage - the term pentacle was simply another word for amulet or sigil, and the image inscribed on the object was not necessarily a 5 pointed star but any symbol that was of spiritual significance to the wearer. In modern terminology the most correct definition is Pentacle as the five pointed star surrounded by the circle, and it is this symbol in particular that is commonly worn by modern Pagans as a reminder of their faith. In this context the symbol represents the 4 elements of creation (earth, air, fire, water) - with the 5th point of the star representing the divine or "spirit". 


To modern Pagans this is a sacred symbol, it represents the vital importance of mother earth and our connection to it as both dependent and caretaker. The Pentacle emphasizes the interconnectedness of all creation and with the top point facing ever upwards, the continuing journey of our souls perfection, our desire to be reunited with spirit. Spirit to Pagans is the first element - the divine - that which is called "God" in Abrahamic tradition. The exact definition of course varying according to religious tradition and individual belief.

Modern misunderstanding of this symbol comes from it's appropriation by groups to whom it's original meaning is of little value and hence in their minds is worthy of no respect. Just as the Indian Swastika and the Christian Cross have been appropriated by hate groups, inverted and corrupted - so has the Pentacle (and Pentagram) been used with the same disregard.

Modern Pagans aim to honor this sacred symbol and hopefully educate their communities regarding it's true grace.

About the Author:

Brigid Ashwood is an artist, illustrator, blogger and author of various and sundry titles such as The Earth Child's Handbook (Books 1 & 2), Oracle of the Tarot Deck and more. She is a core contributor to Wired's GeekMom Blog and creates freebies for Geeky Kids with her monthly Printable Fun feature. Her artwork ranges from New Brow contemporary, Pop Surrealism, Steampunk, Fantasy and Fairy illustration, Celtic Knotwork, Witchy Pin-up to New Age, Pagan and Goddess imagery.

The Book http://www.earthchildshandbook.com

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/brigidashwood Amazon 

Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/brigidashwood

Facebook page for book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Earth-Childs-Handbook/124662954255734 

Art & Blog http://www.brigidashwood.com http://www.brigidashwood.com/blog/ 

Wired Blogger author Page http://www.wired.com/geekmom/author/brigid 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/skwerlgrrl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrigidAshwoodArt 

Tumblr: http://www.skwerlgrrl.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105571732813733771460/posts

Author Brigid Ashwood has an amazing giveaway for readers! 
  
Tour wide Giveaway features: Both volumes of The Earth Child's Handbook, signed by the author. A one of a kind Pagan Kid's tote bag to hold your books. Your very own craft kit bag that includes safety scissors, glue stick, tape, colored pencils, crayons and 7 tubes of glitter glue. A $90 value! 

Check out this picture and then enter the Rafflecopter below!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review of 'The Fiddler' by Beverly Lewis

Amelia Devries is an extremely talented violinist, whose father's dream for her has been to travel the world's stages. Music is what gives her life; however, she doesn't only like to play the classics. She also loves to fiddle. Her alter ego is Amy Lee, star fiddler, who just opened up for Tim McGraw. No one else in her life knows about her other side, which at times is more appealing than being a concert violinist.

On her way home from the Tim McGraw show, she takes a wrong turn in a horrible rainstorm. She seeks shelter at a nearby cabin, in which an Amishman, Michael Hostetler, lives. Michael was born in the Amish faith, but has recently found himself drawn to the English ways of life as he seeks his higher education.

The two of them are instantly drawn to each other. Michael is amazed at Amelia's talents and beauty. Amelia is drawn to a simpler way of life. Both of them seem to straddle both worlds, though one foot definitely lies more heavily in one than in the other.

As you are reading this book, you realize that one or both of them is going to have to give up their current way of life, in order to make anything work out. Dreams may be fulfilled, but some may have to be given up in order to create new ones. You're torn between how you want them to work this out. If Amelia goes Amish, she will have to give up her music. If Michael becomes English, he faces the disappointment of his community. Both of them fear upsetting their fathers, who have alternative ideas about what their children should do with their lives. You want them to find a way to work it out, to achieve their life's dreams, and to not lose their families in the process.

While I was reading this, I kept envisioning Amelia as a sort of Alison Krauss. I had no celebrity in mind for Michael, but I could still picture him just as clearly in my mind. You could really feel the emotions of the characters as they grew and developed. You rode their roller coaster of hopes and dreams, disappointments and desires. It was a very touching reminder to stay true to yourself. I loved it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


Purchase in paperback


Purchase for Kindle

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review of 'Your Mark on the World'


Welcome to another stop on the tour for 'Your Mark on the World' from Promotional Book Tours! I had the chance to read this book, via a review copy sent to me from the author via this tour.

Your Mark On The World

Your Mark On The World combines inspiring stories of ordinary people doing remarkable things to make the world a better place with practical advice to empower anyone to give more to a cause (charity, non-profit or social venture) without giving up a career or family.

The inspiring stories include:

Botevy's life and death struggle through Pol Pot's killing fields that led her ultimately to create an orphanage in Phnom Penh.

Rick's personal crusade to cure cystic fibrosis to ensure that his two afflicted grandchildren will attend his funeral and not the other way around.

The eight-member Smith family's world service tour.

David's decision to walk away from a successful career as an international executive to volunteer to care for victims of leprosy in rural India.

These stories are combined with practical financial advice to empower you to give more to a cause without giving up your family or your career.

The book answers these questions:

How do I get out of debt and stay out of debt?

Which charity or cause do I choose to make my donation?

How do I decide where to volunteer?

How can our family plan a volunteer vacation?

How can I save money for retirement?

How much should I contribute to my 401k?

Can I use Mint to manage my budget?

How to retire early enough to devote healthy years to volunteering?

This must-read book provides an overview of philanthropy in America and around the world, providing you with a clear picture of charity and its fruits. You'll learn the ability to leave your mark on the world.

**My thoughts**

This is a book that was written with the LDS family in mind. However, anyone can learn from the stories and advice contained within its pages. Each chapter focuses on a way that you can work to improve your own life and circumstances, to help you to be better able to serve as a volunteer. Volunteer work and missions are a fundamental part of the Mormon faith, yet anyone can easily set aside time to do this. 

As I was reading the advice, I had moments of "Duh," because I felt like I knew a lot of it. For example, sitting down to look at your finances to make a budget. That doesn't mean that I am applying these words of wisdom on a regular basis. Sometimes you need a smack in the face of "Duh" to remind you of what you already know. Those words get under your skin, because you know you're supposed to be doing these things. You can then be inspired to finally take the plunge and do what you know you should be doing.

All of the anecdotes are going to touch you in one way or another. Some are going to speak to you more than others. I was particularly moved by the story of the special needs children in China who have been left in orphanages. I work with young children and have a special place in my heart for those who are not "typically developing" for whatever reason. I cried through that chapter. Perhaps you will find a particular story that speaks to you above all others. That may be indicative of your calling for your role in leaving your mark on the world. 

Purchase on Kindle / Paperback / Nook / Smashwords

Follow Devin D. Thorpe

Twitter: @devindthorpe or #yourmarkontheworld

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/NLQBn6

Follow the Tour Tour Prize - 50 Amazon Giftcard and 5 Autographed Books Open US/ Can ends 11/18/2012 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2012

'Indigo Butterfly' Book Promo



Welcome to the book promo for 'Indigo Butterfly' by Lisa Schoonover!

Travel Narrative 
Title: The Indigo Butterfly
Author: Lisa L. Schoonover

Synopsis:

The Indigo Butterfly is the true and inspiring story of a young writer’s journey of self-discovery and a yearning for her place in the world. On the eve of college graduation the author has a revealing dream that leads to an epiphany. At the same time, Desert Storm is causing a recession throughout the country, leaving few opportunities for a new writer.

Forced to make some difficult decisions, the young woman rejects conventionality in order to follow her dream of becoming a writer. But she soon discovers that the outer voyage is interwoven with her inner journey to understand herself. While she is on the road, the writer encounters fellow travelers, teachers, mystics, artists, and unique individuals who welcome her into their communities.

The Indigo Butterfly chronicles the author’s fifteen-year odyssey across North America as retold through vignettes culled from her journals during that time. From Seattle’s lush rainforest to the mysterious islands of South Carolina, no region of the country goes unexplored in the determined writer’s quest.

Read an excerpt:
THE DREAM...
A young girl with hair the color of the sun wanders through a grassy meadow bursting with colorful wildflowers. Her eyes are drawn to the cragged branches of a gnarled elderberry tree. Hovering high above her is a spectacular indigo butterfly. Sunlight dances on its iridescent wings.
The butterfly flutters towards the clearing’s edge before disappearing into the canopy overhead. The girl searches anxiously for the path, unable to find her way in the darkness. Every shadow becomes a possible threat.
She searches for the path by the light of the moon, yearning for a sign that will lead her out of the darkness. On the verge of collapse, the girl falls to the ground. A dark shadow approaches. The girl struggles to pull herself up from the place where she has fallen.
A voice softly whispers, “Hello.” Resting on a rock is the indigo butterfly.
I am lost!” the girl cries out in fear. She covers her face with trembling hands.
Dear child, you are never lost.” The butterfly leads the young girl to the clearing.
The butterfly effortlessly transforms into a beautiful maiden. Her shimmering indigo gown gleams in the moonlight, and her flowing hair smells like jasmine. Clouds of tiny lavender butterflies swirl around her. With a sweep of her hand, she gestures to the surrounding woods.
All writers begin their lives in the darkness, cloaked where the alchemy of transformation resides. One must allow for this precious unfolding before emerging into the light. Without it, the journey is meaningless. Soon, you will be called. Do not be afraid. When you are ready they will be waiting for you. Remember all that I have told you.”
The maiden places an enormous book with a frayed red velvet cover into the girl’s hands. A golden tassel hangs from the spine of the book. The script has been recorded in rich, dark hues matching the maiden’s gown.
The edge of each page has been gilded from gold, and though it appears to be extremely heavy, the book is entirely weightless. Within a moment, the book fades from her hands. The maiden raises her cloak and disappears into the fading night. The girl is alone again in the woods, but this time she can see the clearing. As she departs the forest, the wind stirs gently for a moment. On the winds of the night, the maiden’s voice calls once again:

Go forth with the soul of an artist with the wings of a butterfly…”

Readers Are Saying:
​"The Indigo Butterfly is exquisite! I'm recommending it to everyone I know."
--S. Eaton, Managing Editor

​"I couldn't put it down. This book is a testament ​to the human spirit. Lovely."
--Konda R., Publicist

"Well done... this book has it all. This story will captivate you until the last word."
--Robert, Publisher

Amazon Buy Links: Kindle | Paperback

Author Bio
Lisa L. Schoonover is an experienced writer, aquisitions editor, curriculum developer, and independent travel contributor. With twenty years of combined teaching and educational publishing experience, she has worked as a senior editor and project manager for Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, Riverside Publishing, as well as several other development houses and publishers across the country. Her work appears in texts, ancillary materials, testing materials, and educational curriculum.
Lisa is also active in the literary community as an advocate and writing facilitator. Her work with Headstart and Homeschooling was one of the early after-school literacy programs in the country. She has worked as an ELL instructor, ELA TA, Laubach Literacy instructor, and has taught in both private and public schools throughout the country. Lisa is the former editor of Schoolwisepress in San Francisco, and has worked for CK-12 in Silicon Valley. She has been a contributing writer to many literary journals, anthologies, and publications. Lisa is currently involved with literacy projects of merit.
As an independent travel writer, Lisa is provided with the opportunity to experience other cultures in a more personally engaging way than with pleasure travel. Lisa has written for Conde Nast Traveller, Transitions Abroad, Budget Travel, Boots 'N All, as well as other independent and mainstream publications. Her travelogue for children, entitled A Day in Florence, will soon be re-released in e-book form. Her travel articles have also been published in periodicals and magazines across the country. Lisa was also a stringer for the MV Times, Martha's Vineyard Magazine, and BermudaMagazine.
She has written for neighborhood publications, non-profits, and start-ups. Her curriculum development experience assisted in the transition to technical writing. Lisa has provided educational services for Adobe, Cisco, Upside Magazine, NFA, and The IrishIndependent when Lisa lived abroad in Ireland. She has been a freelance reporter and contributor to a number of political, business, and trade organizations. Lisa's writing skills were honed at the Iowa Writers Workshop and her short stories have appeared in anthologies nationwide. She is currently promoting her new release The Indigo Butterfly.

CONTACT
Twitter @lisa_schoonover
Twitter@lisa_schoonover



Purchase Links

Book Ordering Information: 
1 (877) 407-4847
 ISBN: 978-1-4525-5325-2 (sc)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

'Saving Savanna' by Sara Fitzgerald Book Blog Tour


Welcome to the blog tour for Saving Savanna by Sara Fitzgerald!

I received a complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review of this book, as a part of the Cedar Fort Book tour.

Book blurb:

Devan can’t help but blame God for his wife’s death, so the last thing he wants to do this holiday season is celebrate. But when his daughter, Savanna, makes a special Christmas wish, their little family will never be the same. Filled with faith and tenderness, this heartwarming story is sure to remind you of the real power behind the magic of Christmas.










Read an excerpt:
Devan swallowed and then changed the subject. “We only have three days left until Santa comes down our chimney. What do you want him to bring you?”
“There’s only one thing I want from him,” she whispered, leaning toward him.
He forced a smile. “And what’s that?”
“I want Mommy back.”

**My thoughts**

That excerpt alone was enough to do me in, and I knew I needed to request this book for the tour. The pain of losing a parent was horrible enough at the age of 33. I can't imagine having it happen at the mere age of 5. How do you explain that to a young child? 

Devan has been struggling with his faith since his wife was brutally taken away from him and his daughter. It doesn't seem fair that God would do this to them, especially not a just and loving God. He cannot understand that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it. It's hard for him to function, even though he needs to be there for his young daughter. aaaaaaa

Sometimes, all it takes is one significant event to bring everything back into perspective. His revelation may surprise you and will definitely make your eyes moist.

This is a short story, only 16 pages long. But it is a powerful one.

About the author:

Sara Fitzgerald was named the 2006 Writer of the Year for the League of Utah Writers. She lives with her husband and daughter in Salt Lake City. She loves the Christmas season. To find out more about Saving Savanna and the author Sara Fitzgerald, visit her website: http://www.sarafitzgerald.com.






Follow the tour:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday



October



1 2 3 4 5 6

Paper & Parchment/Connections/ Creating Comfort/



7 8 9 10 11 12 13

LDS & Lovin’ it/
Bookworm Lisa/ I Am a Reader, Not a Writer/
The Stubby Pencil/
14 15 16 17 18

Uplifting Reads/ Getting Your Read On/ A Room without Books is Empty/Always Look Up/It’s all about books/ Real Mom KitchenMy Amateur Adventures/ Confessions of Me/The Phantom Photographer/

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Win a Kindle Fire!


I earned points for enough Amazon cards to pay for a Kindle Fire for myself. I also have a Kindle Touch. While the Touch has its own virtues, there is just something special about the Fire. I'm completely addicted to using it.

Now you have the opportunity to try to win one of these for yourself or to share with someone special. Read more to find out how!


This Kindle Fire Giveaway is sponsored by SavingStar and brought to you by Madame Deals Media.

**Powered by Mommy Needs Her Coffee and Madame Deals**

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The Prize

Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift card so you can purchase your Kindle Fire. Giveaway open to US Residents only.


How to Enter

The Giveaway will open up on 10/10 at 12:01 am EST and Close on 10/24 at 11:59 pm EST.

Complete the 3 mandatory entries below.

1. Follow Our Sponsor

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Comment below with which deal is your favorite.

3. Easy Entry - Mystery Word

Click on this link and find the easy entry word(s). Copy/Paste it in the sign up doc below.

The rest of these options are not mandatory but we'd love it if you would...

 

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Click on the link here and follow our Blogger Team. If you choose to complete this optional BONUS GIVEAWAY, you'll be entered to WIN $25 CASH via PayPal! Entries will be verified.

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That's it! You have successfully entered this awesome giveaway! Winner will be chosen via Random.org and emailed no later than 48 hours after giveaway closes. The winner will have 48 hours to confirm or a new winner will be chosen.

We'd like to recognize the following bloggers for this event: Joys Of Life, Chant3llo's Blog, Mail4Rosey, Sweeping The USA

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To inquire about becoming a sponsor for a giveaway like this one, please contact Amee or Dawn at madamedealsmedia@yahoo.com for details. Take a look Madame Deals Media to see what we have to offer.

Are you a blogger that would like to be on the MDMedia Team? Find out how you can join us.

Monday, October 8, 2012

'Your Mark on the World' Book Tour Promo


Welcome to the kickoff for the tour for 'Your Mark on the World' from Promotional Book Tours!

Your Mark On The World

Your Mark On The World combines inspiring stories of ordinary people doing remarkable things to make the world a better place with practical advice to empower anyone to give more to a cause (charity, non-profit or social venture) without giving up a career or family.

The inspiring stories include:

Botevy's life and death struggle through Pol Pot's killing fields that led her ultimately to create an orphanage in Phnom Penh.

Rick's personal crusade to cure cystic fibrosis to ensure that his two afflicted grandchildren will attend his funeral and not the other way around.

The eight-member Smith family's world service tour.

David's decision to walk away from a successful career as an international executive to volunteer to care for victims of leprosy in rural India.

These stories are combined with practical financial advice to empower you to give more to a cause without giving up your family or your career.

The book answers these questions:

How do I get out of debt and stay out of debt?

Which charity or cause do I choose to make my donation?

How do I decide where to volunteer?

How can our family plan a volunteer vacation?

How can I save money for retirement?

How much should I contribute to my 401k?

Can I use Mint to manage my budget?

How to retire early enough to devote healthy years to volunteering?

This must-read book provides an overview of philanthropy in America and around the world, providing you with a clear picture of charity and its fruits. You'll learn the ability to leave your mark on the world.

Purchase on Kindle / Paperback / Nook / Smashwords

Follow Devin D. Thorpe

Twitter: @devindthorpe or #yourmarkontheworld

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/NLQBn6

Follow the Tour Tour Prize - 50 Amazon Giftcard and 5 Autographed Books Open US/ Can

Ends 11/18/2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do you want to win a new Kindle Fire HD?

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway Event!
Here's your chance to WIN one of the NEW Kindle Fire HD Tablets!

I was so excited when I saw the new Kindle Fire HD being advertised! I know I want one. Now you can try to win one of your very own!

This awesome giveaway event is sponsored by BookSnagr, a website for book lovers that connects you with free, discounted and recommended eBooks! Check out their Top Free Kindle Books page for a whole list of freebies you can find at Amazon! Follow their blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for deal alerts, updates and giveaways, and be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for exclusive info on newly released free, discounted and recommended eBooks!

One winner will receive a Kindle Fire HD 16 GB Tablet "The world's most advanced 7" tablet!"

  (Prize will be delivered via an Amazon.com gift card valued at $199.00)

Giveaway ends October 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.

This giveaway is open to USA only.
Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Complete the first easy entry to unlock the rest.

Remember, the more entries you submit, the better odds you have of winning!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review of 'Second Chance: The Story of a Father's Faith, a Mother's Strength, and a Child's Will to Live'

Second Chance: The Story of a Father's Faith, a Mother's Strength, and a Child's Will to Live by Kip Moore is a heart-wrenching story of one family's struggle with E.coli illness in their young eighteen-month-old son, named Chance. Mr. Moore has chosen to share their story, in the hopes of promoting awareness of the problem, and to help families in similar situations to keep the faith.

It all started when the Moore family was on vacation, spending a day at Mount Rushmore. After a random TV interview at the historic site, they decide to go to a local restaurant.

Soon after, Kip found himself feeling quite ill, with flu-like symptoms, lack of appetite, and diarrhea that lasted for ten days. His doctors told him he probably had a small case of food poisoning. Chance became ill the same evening, vomiting repeatedly. The next day, he began to have massive amounts of diarrhea, and even started to pass bloody stools.

The first trip to the pediatrician simply gave Chance some fluids to rehydrate him. When symptoms didn't improve the next day, the Moore family was instructed to take him directly to the Children's Hospital. And thus began a month-long roller coaster ride.

Tense moments, close calls, amazing people, and medical miracles fill the following 100+ pages. Even those who do not have their own children cannot help but feel the pain of a family waiting with baited breath to see if their precious baby is going to live or die. Their unwavering faith and devotion to each other, as well as reengaging with a higher power is inspirational.

This is a book that parents should read, especially as problems with E.coli and other forms of contamination are running rampant today. Chance's parents were not educated on the symptoms of E.coli infection and the outcome could have been quite different. The book also teaches parents how to find faith and to believe in miracles, while also fighting for the rights of their children. No one knows a child better than his parents, and parents need to be their child's biggest advocate.

The book also provides up-to-date information about E.coli, with links to the latest research and organizations. Again, the goal of the book is to arm readers with information, in the hopes that other families don't have to go through the same horror story that the Moore family faced back in the summer of 2005.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.