Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Fall Friday!

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Ahem…

It’s FRIDAY!!!

I love this day and I love the 80’s.

 

Honestly I think this is like the best day of the week.  THE. BEST.  It’s the kickoff to the weekend.  The time that Banjo is off school, Audi is off work, and we can just have family time.  And… it’s fall so that makes it doubly dandy.

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I mean seriously?  How can you not love the hue of that red?

Tell me.  How can you not LOVE it?!  It’s super, duper dandy.

I’m thinking that I need to take some more fall pictures and put them in some photo books to preserve the memories.  Then I’ll get to view them all year long and not just in fall.

I think I might be just a tad gaga over fall Friday.

Too much?

Okay.  Moving on.

Putting the season of fall aside… Why do I like this day so very much.  Well, this day reminds me that I get to have an entire dandy weekend.  A dandy weekend of family fun.  A dandy weekend of family games.  A dandy start to weekend that culminates with church on Sunday.  That’s what we do on the weekends around here.  We spend time with family and then attend worship services on Sunday.  Then we work all week until the next Friday.  Yay for Fridays!

What do you love about Friday and what do you do on the weekend?

A dandy Friday to all!!!

Abco Tech {Giveaway} Closed

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I love listening to music! I love singing a long and rocking out! I love that there are so many advances in technology today so you can take your music right along with you, however, I’m not a huge fan of earphones. That’s no big deal, I can usually just use my lap top, which has pretty nice speakers on it. However, what if I want to listen to music on a bike ride? I’ve seen some riders wear earphones but I feel like that’s a little unsafe. Thankfully Abco Tech came up with their new Wireless Bike Speaker- Amazing Multi Function Bag, that let’s me do both!

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In the instructions Abco Tech explains how to link your device (i.e. cell phone or mP3) to the bike speaker via Bluetooth. You can stream any music from your device. You can play songs you have on your device or stream from music stations like Pandora. You can also answer your phone through it too! My Man J called in once while I was using it and he said it just sounded like he was on speaker phone. If you don’t have a device that can be linked through Bluetooth, no sweat! It also has an FM radio built in as well. You just push the corresponding buttons to search through channels.

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The bike speaker has three different velcro straps. Two of the straps can be used to attach it between your handle bars, or you can use the middle to strap it hook it on anywhere else on your bike. It also come equipped with clips too. It has a compartment for keys, phone, or money that’s all enclosed with a sturdy zipper. The on and off switch is located inside of the compartment on the back of the speaker. I feel like this is a huge bonus so you don’t accidentally bump one of the buttons on your ride and turn off the music. They come in three colors; red, blue, and black. Included in the box is the awesome speaker, instructions, and a micro USB cord to charge it.

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I asked my super, sporty brother if he would give the speaker a test run on his next ride. He’s been looking for some way to listen to music while he rides without having earphones in. He said “It was pretty cool! It was lightweight and not too bulky.” He took it on a ride with another rider and said they could both hear it well. My only complaint, one that my brother shares as well, is that the speaker lacks the ability to play some of the deeper bass in songs and you can’t adjust the treble/ bass. Other than that I love this product!

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When we’re not on bike rides I really enjoy using it while we’re outside. Since the warm weather hit my kiddos and I are outside for the majority of the day. I like to bring the speaker with us and play music while we’re outside. More recently we’re working on putting a patio in our backyard and I decided we need some music to work to. It was the perfect addition to our project. It was loud enough for us to hear 10 feet away. If you are someone you know is looking for a safe way to add music to your bike ride, I think this is the product for you!

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The winner of this giveaway will win one Wireless Bike Speaker-Amazing Multi-Function Bag!

 

*This giveaway is open to entries in the US only.
*The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the evening of June 20th and will be emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
*This posting and giveaway are sponsored by Abco Tech, but all opinions are my own.

…….

Connect with Abco Tech 

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Tears. I have tears.

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Hello my Dandies!  I just came across this music video and I’m seriously in awe.   This talented musician is a friend to my nieces and such a beautiful person; both inside and out.  She is actually legally blind and such an inspiration to me.  Her music literally brought tears to my eyes.  It’s just so very touching.  Enjoy.

Linked up to the Be.You.Tiful Link Party.

Rock ‘N Learn {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

My kids learn from music. It’s scary how quickly they both can remember a song, a rhyme or even instructions when given in song form. I actually have to be really careful what we listen to on the radio because they will remember things after the first go-through, and it’s usually the things you don’t want them to remember! So when I found this company, Rock N Learn, I knew it was for us!

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Rock N Learn is a series of educational DVDs, CDs and Apps dedicated to teaching children through music. They sell DVDs that teach everything from early childhood learning to science, math, reading and even foreign languages. Most of the songs are all in the style of rock, but for math and social studies they also offer rap and country DVDs. Those are some our family would never purchase, but I’m sure someone out there would 🙂

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Their website is really easy to navigate–you can search for DVDs by Subject or by Age, and there is a special tab for their Mobile Apps, iBooks, and Albums available for download on iTunes. And the variety of products they offer is fabulous. Here’s just a sample: Phonics,  Money and Money Changing, Reading Comprehension, Grammar, Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Math Word Problems, Physical Science, the Solar System, States & Capitals, and lots more. They also sell some of their Preschool & Kindergarten titles as Books with CDs, which my son is SUPER into recently, so I love that option.

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 I was sent a copy of the Alphabet DVD to review. My almost-4-year old has known his alphabet for a long time, so I thought he’d be bored with it. But the first time we watched it he was glued. I like that along with showing a picture of the letter (both upper and lower case) and saying the letter name, they show pictures of other words that start with that letter and spell out the word below the picture.  I think this helped extend the video from being just for “babies” to “big kids” (in his words). Another cool thing about this video was that at the end, once they’d gotten through all the letters, they had some letter games. One game was recognizing letters in different fonts, and another was the “Name Game,” where you stand up when the first letter of your name is on the screen. Also, at the very end they show how to write each letter on a chalkboard. This is especially appropriate for my older kid who is learning to write, but a little over-the-top for my two-year old who is just learning her letters. Because of that, I would say the video caters to a wide variety of skills and ages.

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The animation is nothing spectacular, but it kept my kids interest for the 35 minutes of the DVD. The songs were also less “rock” and all started to sound the same after a while, but again, my kids enjoyed it and I know they were learning, so I can handle it. Let’s just say it’s not a DVD I would pop in and watch on my own time 🙂 Here’s a sample of the Alphabet DVD I reviewed. You can preview most DVDs on the individual pages on their website.

Rock N Learn products can be purchased at Rocknlearn.com and on Amazon.com. The prices are pretty reasonable–$19.99 for DVDs, $12.99 for CDs with Books, $3.00 for Books, and some Apps are even free!  They even sell some DVDs in groups, like the 1st & 2nd Grade Collection, at a discounted bundle price. Right now Rock N Learn is offering YOU a discount code for 25% off on any products on their website. Just enter the code JQ7711 at Checkout.  But for one really lucky reader, they are offering a DVD or CD of your choice!

Enter to Win a Rock N Learn DVD or CD of your Choice!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of November 30, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Rock N Learn, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Baby Blanket Music {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

When my son “Ralph” was a newborn, I spent a LOT of time in my rocking chair. He ate every 3-4 hours, and ate for an hour each time, so I felt like I was permanently glued to that chair. I had a CD player in his room and would turn on quiet, soothing music so I could stay awake while feeding him, especially in the middle of the night. I sure wish I had known about Baby Blanket Music back then!

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Baby Blanket Music takes your favorite artists (Madonna, Michael Jackson, John Mayer, etc.) and turns their songs into music suitable to listen to while your baby is drifting off to sleep. Rad, right? Baby Blanket Music was created by Josh Rutt, a teacher, composer and performer.  He noticed that there was room for improvement in the quality of baby music available when his close friends started having kids, so he set out to create a line of music that would appeal to not only babies, but parents and grandparents as well. Each music CD pairs familiar baby sounds like vibraphones and music boxes with classical instruments to create a sound that is soothing, calming, but never annoying.

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I chose to review the Michael Jackson CD, and I loved it! This is DEFINITELY meant to be soothing, lullaby-type music, so I don’t recommend operating any heavy machinery or trying to think too much while listening. But it will be a joy to listen to at night or in the wee hours of the morning when trying to soothe your little one to sleep. Every song on the CD is an MJ Hit, and even slowed down and set to a music box, I couldn’t help but groove and sing along! Some of my favorites include “Bad,” “Man in the Mirror,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” I like that he throws in little things that aren’t purely orchestral, like the high notes Michael Jackson would hit at the end of songs. It makes you feel like you are listening to an actual version of his music (much slower, obviously) instead of a hollow, dentist office karaoke track. I know I will be glued to this CD with my next baby!

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In addition to MJ, Baby Blanket Music has made CDs of music by Madonna, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, John Mayer, Elton John, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Garth Brooks. Definitely an eclectic collection but one that can satisfy any music lover. Don’t see your favorite artist here? Tell them which CD you want, and they just may create it!

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Baby Blanket Music CDs are sold online for $14.99, on iTunes and in select retailers nationwide. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll be the first to know about new artists or great deals!

You could win a Baby Blanket Music CD of your choice!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of October 8th, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Baby Blanket Music, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Hootenanny CD {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Ask my mom where she grew up and she’ll tell you Compton, with an air of hardness to her voice (for those not familiar with Los Angeles, Compton is now a really scary, gang-infested city). Back in the 60s when my mom was living there, it was actually a really nice place, but she likes to tell people she’s “from the ghetto” even though she’s the epitome of a white suburban housewife. She also has family from New Orleans, and she still tears up when she tastes a real, Southern-style cup of gumbo.  What can I say–she’s proud of her roots! And the band Jambo is out to make today’s kids proud of their roots, too!

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Jambo is a self-proclaimed “roots-based” band that strives to bring an appreciation for different styles of music to its audience of kids. Their “roots” include music from the Mississippi Delta, New Orleans street corners and Chicago juke joints. Jambo’s creator, Steve Pierson, says he wrote two kinds of songs for the album, “full blown band tracks and what I call ‘back porch tracks.” He used at least 10 different guitars throughout the album’s 14 songs–I didn’t even know there was more than one kind of guitar! Talk about learning some music appreciation!

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Jambo’s music is inspired by kids and a desire to bring them back to their roots, so all of the songs are full of positive messages that encourage imagination and learning. I loved that about this CD–I could throw it on for the kids and not worry about the messages they were hearing or the language that was being sung. Everything was happy, silly and good-natured fun. Here’s a fun fact about the band: the band’s vocalist, Melinda McGraw, has been in movies and TV shows such as The Dark Knight, Men of a Certain Age, and Mad Men! Random, but cool. I loved her soulful addition to the band’s sound.

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The CD was super fun. My kids and I had a blast dancing around to the tracks and rocking out. Our favorite by far was the title track, “Hootenanny.” The message was great, but the beat was even cooler. Their songs reminded me of eating at Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que (do you have those near you? Delicious.) or any other Southern style restaurant where they have live blues/bluegrass music playing throughout the restaurant. I’ve always been a big ska music fan, so some of the tracks with heavy horns (“We are all One Kind,” “Let’s be Friends”) reminded me of ska and had me skanking in the living room (sorry, no video or pictures of that). Other tracks had a softer side, like “Be Yourself” and “Smile,” which were nice to sway and swing to. The Blues-y “Don’t Play With Your Food” was hilarious, and “Ice Cream Soup” was a highlight for us.

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Hootenanny is Jambo’s second CD. Their first, Lucy’s Parade, won both a Parent’s Choice® Award and a Los Angeles Music Award, and Hootenanny has been named one of People Magazine’s “Best Kids Albums Now!” But don’t just trust them, or me for that matter–go out and buy one yourself to see how great their music is! Hootenanny can be purchased at Amazon.com, cdbaby.com and iTunes. Also, if you like going to live concerts, they’re big in the kids music scene and frequently tour, so check out their website to see if they’ll be in a city near you!

Enter below to win a copy of Jambo’s Hootenanny!

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** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of September 2nd, 2013,  and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Jambo and Waldmania PR, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Recess Music {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

My family and I LOVE music. I love to sing and dance, my husband plays the piano and sings, and our two kids have definitely inherited our love of music. My kids know most of the (appropriate) Top 40 hits on the radio because we like to listen to them in the car and then dance to them at home. And while I’m somewhat proud that my 3-year old knows all the words to Maroon 5’s Payphone, I’m much happier when he can sing all the verses to “Book of Mormon Stories” (did you know there are eight?!?) because I know that he’s learning songs that have meaning and values. Recess Music was created with this exact sentiment in mind.

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Recess Music was created by Nancy Doan, a mother, wife and minister who wanted to make the world a better place by teaching morals and values through music (sounds like my kind of lady!). Recess Music has the twin goals of teaching environmental awareness through its “Celebrate Earth” series, and social empathy through its “Best Foot Forward” series of recordings.

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We received the newest CD from the Best Foot Forward series, Gratitude Attitude. Heather Ann reviewed Share! from the same series back in April, and we enjoyed our CD just as much as she did. There are 15 songs on the disc, and each is by a different talented kids’ musician. The overall feel is very chill, which is great for those times you just need something soothing playing in the background while you’re cooking dinner and the kids are playing on the floor. But there are a few tunes that are get-up-and-dance songs, and those were my kids’ favorites!  Here they are rocking out to “In My Family’s House.”

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All of the songs teach kindness, manners and gratitude in a way that is subtle and sometimes funny but never too in-your-face. My favorites are “There’s A Pea On My Plate,” “Thank You Letters,” and “Use Your Napkin Not Your Mom”–so true, right?! The website says it best:

 “The music on Gratitude Attitude was chosen with an eye to helping children understand that their attitudes are just as important as their actions in bringing harmony and understanding to their classrooms, neighborhoods, and homes (emphasis added).”

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This is definitely a CD worth owning to help your kids develop an attitude of gratitude and kindness. Gratitude Attitude won’t be released until August 27th, but can be pre-ordered at recessmusic.com for only $9.99! It will be available for $12.99 at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, iTunes and brick and mortar retailers throughout the U.S. after August 28.

Until then, you can enter to win a copy of Gratitude Attitude for you and your family!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of August 10th, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Recess Music, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Jungle Boogie

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

It was beyond beautiful outside yesterday.  Audi was in lectures all day and got out of work early at 3pm.  (Every so often he gets to spend all day in lectures on medical topics like:  Hearing loss, throat cancer, etc.  Exciting, right?)  So the kids and I picked him up from work and we headed to the St. Louis Zoo.  How better to spend a glorious early evening outside?

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Here in St. Louis we have one of the top zoos in the nation.  And…  It’s free!  That’s right there is absolutely no entrance fee to our zoo and that’s not just for residents.  If you come to St. Louis on vacation then you too can experience our zoo for free!  (Along with our free art museum and free science center.)  Thanks to the generous donations of so many wonderful, giving St. Louisans.

Every summer the zoo has bands perform in the evenings.  It’s always packed.  We of course picked to go to the zoo on band evening.  😉

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995415_10151478844235894_1370383550_n  The kids loved it!

Miss Nina / Recess Music / Young Avenue Kids {FOUR Giveaways!} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I have played the piano since I was four years old, taught piano lessons for 10 years, and enjoy singing in choir and small groups, so people always assume that I really like music.  While it’s true that I am usually most touched by music and that I enjoy creating music, I’m not overly creative and I’ve never been the type to stay very up-to-date on new bands.  It took me a while to even figure out who the Backstreet Boys were when I was in high school, and I watch Gilmore Girls and just know that Lane would be so incredibly disappointed in me.

I know of several people who have complained about listening to kids music after becoming a parent, but we haven’t had that same sentiment.  I think part of that reason is because some of the kids music is so fun for parents, too!  We were sent a couple of CDs to review, and we all love all of them.  It’s not uncommon for one of us (especially the boys!) to break out in one of these songs over the past couple of weeks.

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“Sha Doo Be Doop” from Miss Nina is my four-year-old’s favorite CD, and we have been known to sit in the van just a little longer after getting home to finish listening to the song from the “Miss Nina” CD.  My favorite part of this CD is the literary connection, and we were lucky enough to already own all three of these books so we could read them while listening!

Nina Stone has established a reputation for creating engaging songs inspired by some of her favorite children’s books.  On Sha Doo Be Doop kids can sing along with Miss Nina to Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? or groove to “The Brown Bear Rap,” based on Bill Martin’s classic children’s book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  A particular treasure is “Wild Things,” an interactive ode to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, in which kids can gnash their terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes, show their terrible claws, and get up and jump when the “wild rumpus” starts!”

Here’s a free download of Miss Nina’s “New Alphabet” song, found on the Sha Do Be Doop CD (giveaway below!).

We also received two CDs from Recess Music — Share from their “Best Foot Forward” series and La Bella Stella from their “Celebrate Earth” series.  SHARE_Cover_72dpi_1500x1404

“All the songs on Share! celebrate sharing and generosity as key actions for bringing harmony and understanding into classrooms, neighborhoods, and homes.  The album features 15 tracks that showcase contributions by some of today’s most gifted kids’ musicians, including Renee & JeremyDog on FleasBen Rudnick & FriendsCharity and the JAMband, and Noel Paul Stookey (“Paul” of the legendary folk-singing trio Peter, Paul and Mary).”

We were especially excited to listen to the “Give Said the Little Stream” song by Inside Out since it’s a song that we’ve learned since we were young and a band we know and love. 

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“This album of children’s music features many contrasting styles and teaches kids about galaxies, solar systems, and other wonders of our universe.  These songs were chosen for LA BELLA STELLA because they engage, educate, entertain, and encourage children to think about the natural setting of their lives to balance the ‘virtual’ world they live in.”

My oldest son was enthralled with the solar system and planets before he got on his instruments and United States kick, so he was especially excited to see this CD!  Some of the songs on this CD have a slower tempo, so we really like this one to put in his CD player at night.

Whatever I Want To Be Cover Art_ 300 dpi   “Whatever I Want To Be takes off in grand style with everyone singing the “rocket ship” lyrics to the fanfare from Franz von Suppé’s “Light Cavalry Overture” and proceeds in jolly fashion to “The Orchestra Families,” which employs a marching tune by Johann Schrammel to capture the thrill and excitement of an outing to a symphony concert. Other highlights include the clever lyrics of “The Gorgeous Butterfly,” which grace a Johann Strauss march, and the galloping tune from Rossini’sWilliam Tell Overture,” which finds new life as the humorous “William Tell Is Oh So Swell.” 

I have really loved this CD!  I taught a music camp in my home over the summer for a couple of years, and I know that this would be a perfect addition to that program, should I decide to hold another one.  I love introducing my boys to classical music at such a young age in such a fun way.

If you’re looking for some fun and engaging CDs to add to your kids’ music library, I would highly suggest these ones! 

Each of these CDs is available for as a giveaway item here at Dandy Giveaway — be sure to enter to each Rafflecopter widget to enter to win each one!  

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** This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of April 10th and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Miss Nina, Recess Music, and Young Avenue Kids, but all opinions are strictly my own.

 

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp {Book Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I’ve never been a follower of Christian music and didn’t know about Jeremy Camp before I started reading this book, but I am fascinated when I  read about other people.  This book is a memoir of Jeremy Camp’s life and it outlines the experiences that led to developing and later strengthening his faith and finding comfort in music after a major loss.

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Jeremy Camp had an impoverished childhood whose home might have lacked financially but didn’t lack in faith, religion, strong examples, and support.  He struggled with peer pressure until he attended a youth retreat and felt that he needed to change the direction of his life.  He attended a Christian high school to provide good influences and later went on to Bible College where he found his love of music and performing to share his beliefs.  Only months after he married Melissa, whose strong faith Jeremy admired, Melissa passed away from ovarian cancer and left Jeremy a widower in his early 20s.  Jeremy describes how music allowed him to heal, share how he could still believe in God after such a harrowing loss, and later meet his second wife Adie.

This book is very Christian and mentions God frequently throughout Jeremy’s experiences.  There are times when I felt like the story was a bit repetitive or I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I was especially touched by the experiences he shares about his wife and her journey through cancer.  I admired his desire to marry Melissa even when he knew of her health struggles, but I was also drawn to Melissa’s optimism through her pain and trials.  I was interested to hear the family’s response to Adie and could only imagine how she must have felt to marry Jeremy and, in essence, have to take the place of his first wife.  This book is a good read, though might be more meaningful to those who have experienced loss.  Take a look at this website for more information on Jeremy Camp and this book: www.jeremycamp.com/IStillBelieve.

**I was provided this book for free from Tyndale Blog Network for a review, but all opinions are strictly my own.

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