My Review of Penny Wise by Dave and Neta Jackson

Penny Wise by Dave and Neta JacksonPenny Wise | A Windy City Neighbors book

Michelle Jasper doesn’t have much time to hang out with her neighbors—not with thirteen-year-old twins, another teen with hoop dreams, a full-time job as a caseworker, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, and heading up the women’s ministry at Northside Baptist. Her husband’s constantly changing shifts as an air traffic controller at the world’s busiest airport—Chicago’s O’Hare International—and responsibilities as a trusted deacon at Northside only add to the juggling act at the Jasper household.

Her new neighbors, Harry and Estelle Bentley, mean well with their friendly efforts to bring people together, but how can she deal with neighborhood concerns—like Greg Singer, who lost his job and is now trying to recruit sales reps from the neighborhood for his new venture—when she’s confronted with tragic family situations daily in her job? Like little Candy and her baby brother Pookey, victims of neglect . . .

With the “tyranny of the urgent” crowding out the important, Michelle is blindsided by danger involving her own kids—and a personal crisis that calls into question the very values she holds dear. How could this happen? Does God even care?

As her life unravels, a missing penny—and a “penny from heaven”—give her a shred of hope. But will God just laugh at her penny test?

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Dave and Neta Jackson


Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Find out more about Dave and Neta at

My Review

I fell in love with Dave and Neta Jackson’s writing when I read the House of Hope series. (Their Yada Yada Prayer Group series is next in my queue!) I read all three books in like three days. (A book a day!) Penny Wise did not disappoint. This story offers a realistic view of what life is like for a mother of teenagers who also lead very active lives in their church. It’s firmly grounded in Christian principles, but it’s not preachy or judgmental. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.


Simple Ways Parents Can Nurture Their Creativity

Nurturing your creativity takes time and attention, but as I’ve found out, it doesn’t take as much time as I had originally figured.

Thirty minutes a day can do wonders for a creative person. It can create a proverbial garden of inspiration.

Creative Life

In thirty minutes, you can:

Write a full page of your book (that’s about 250 words)

Edit a half a page.

Knit three rows of your latest project.

Sketch a part of a drawing.

Practice a couple of songs.

Go for a walk. (Daily walks are the best for clearing your brain and getting those creative juices flowing.)

Draft a blog post.

I used to thing I needed long, uninterrupted stretches of time to nurture my creativity. Well, my lifestyle doesn’t always allow me such luxuries. In fact, that last time I have a long, uninterrupted time to do anything was when I had an unexpected 11 hour layover at the Atlanta airport. (After getting over the grumpies about my layover, I didn’t think twice about getting to work on my latest project!)

Times When Busy Parents Can Nurture their Creativity

Before the children get up

While the children are eating.

When the children are busy playing.


Right before you go to bed.

This tiny snatches of time add up, but when we are in the midst of our days it can often seem like the exact opposite.

Time for you: Do you long to pursue a passion? Have you learned to snatch up minutes to nurture your creative life?

Easy Ways for Children to Unplug From Technology

My family needs to unplug from technology, but I have to confess, I am the main culprit behind our media saturated lifestyle. I often plop my children in front of the television in order to get things done.

Have you done that too?


It’s a quick fix but often comes with disastrous results. After spending time watching a movie on television, my children’s tempers flare up easily.

Does this happen to you?

(More crickets…)

Y’all need to speak up before I feel like the MOST.INCOMPETENT.PARENT.EVER.

Since my children are so young, they are still shaping their view of the world. Do I really want Disney and Dora to be the main conveyors of truth?



I got to thinking about the path I’d like my children to walk. I’d like them to be grow up and become purveyors of truth rather than recipients of people’s propaganda. I’m taking baby steps to accomplish this:

To unplug from technology, I’ll expose my children to living books.

Charlotte Mason, a pioneer in the education of children, coined the term living books. To her, living books were written by an author who knew their subject very well. The author tends to write from their passion for the subject and this enthusiasm enables them to write in such a way that ignites the imagination of his/her readers.

To unplug from technology, I’ll limit my children screen time.

This is where I need to focus the majority of my efforts. For me, it comes down to managing my time better so I can stop doing this:

unplug from technology

And limiting their screen time doesn’t mean they NEVER EVER watch TV. It simply means I need to be more purposeful by scheduling it in and not using it as a crutch. Crutches can be disastrous. Just read about the time when my two year old walked out the front door!

To unplug from technology, I’ll give my children lots of outdoor play.

I recently read an article from NPR which said that Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills. This article propsoed that, as the generations passed, children’s capacity for self regulation (aka, self-control) decreased.

Playing in nature ignites a child’s capacity to imagine. I believe that our capacity to imagine is a gift from God. Something that I, as a mom, don’t want to squelch.


How about you? Do your children spend lots of time in front of a screen?


SEAGRASS PIER by Colleen Coble


Colleen Coble Seagrass Pier

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

Don’t miss Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble Her latest release in the Hope Beach series, Seagrass Pier. The book releases July 1st, and Colleen’s publisher is offering the ebook at a special pre-order price of just $4.99 between now and 6/30 everywhere ebooks are sold.

PLUS . . . between 6/9 – 6/30 Colleen will be hosting a Kindle giveaway.


Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Seagrass Pier and the rest of the Hope Beach series by Colleen Coble

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 30th. Winner will be announced on Colleen’s blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Colleen’s blog on July 1st to see if you won!

My Review of Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble:

Elin Sumerall found a perfect match for her heart transplant. After the death of her husband, she spends her days taking care of Josie, her 4 year old daughter and her mother who has early onset dementia. During the course of the story, Elin begins to have violent memories and she learns that these memories stem from the woman’s heart now beating in her chest.

Marc Everton is an FBI agent looking for the person who killed his partner. He winds up working with Elin when he realizes her memories are real. They aren’t happy working together since they now have to deal with the fling they shared years ago. He then realizes that Josie is his daughter and that both Elin and Josie need his protection.
Overall, the book was very compelling. I couldn’t put it down. The plot twists kept me thinking. I highly recommend this wonderful story!
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.)

Maintaining a Creative Life as an Adult

My husband says I’m insecure about my ability to live a creative life, and that I need a lot of validation. He’s right.

But I wasn’t always so wishy-washy.


Creative Life Image Credit: Quozio


When I first came to faith in the Lord as an 11 year old, a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me. I believed 110% that I could do anything and that included living a creative life. And so I dreamed big dreams and had the blessing of seeing those dreams come to fruition.


Creative Life Image Credit: marganz

Yet as I got older, those school teacher voices of doubt and conformity riddled my brain with thoughts like:

“Color in the lines.”

“Forget that acting thing and major in Economics. That’ll get you a secure job in something like investment banking.” (?!)

“You can’t make a real living as an artist.”

I bought into those beliefs and paid for it dearly with years of unfulfilling work which didn’t feed my soul. As a result, I shortchanged myself artistically during my twenties. That young girl who once dreamed big dreams had been squelched by the illusory “real world.”

Now, as I take steps towards a creative life, I have to overcome this inner struggle with myself daily.

Am I really smart? Am I really creative? Can I really do that?

All of my self-inquiries are really questions of: Am I worthy? Am I brilliant? Am I talented? Am I fabulous? Am I beautiful?

As an adult, I am learning daily to accept what I had already known as a child: that I am, in fact, worthy, brilliant, talented, fabulous and beautiful.

I’m learning to get out out of my own way.

How about you? Do you know that you are brilliant, fabulous, talented and beautiful? Or do you have to get out of your own way?