Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 22}

I am thankful...

For snuggling on the couch with my 2 wonderful kids, watching the Macy's Day Parade!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 21}

I am thankful...

For health!  I say this with some irony, because I actually do have a pretty yucky cold, but overall, our whole family is blessed with health!  And sometimes when we are not feeling 100% is when we appreciate the fact that we are generally very healthy all the more!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 20}

I am thankful...

For our church family!  We are so blessed to be part of Grace Community Church.  Although, I wasn't much help with 2 kids in tow, tonight our church put together 30 Thanksgiving dinners for families in the community who need a little extra help for the holidays.

Our church's dedication to "being the church" is inspiring and something I am proud to be a part of!

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 19}

I am thankful...

 For friendships!

"Make new friends, but keep the old.  Some are silver and the others gold."

Anyone else remember that little ditty?

Well, tonight Eli and I got to have Karen & Adam Hartley over for dinner.  Karen and I met in 8th Grade and have been friends ever since!  She was my maid of honor at our wedding too!   Had a great time catching up with them!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 18}

I am thankful...


I'll let the video speak for itself...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 17}

I am thankful...

For Christmas lights. Honesty, I think this time of the year when it gets so dark so early would be awfully depressing without those glorious little lights! :-)

Eli and my wonderful father-in-law hung up our lights today, and it makes me so happy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 16}

I am thankful...

For family gatherings.  Tonight our family got together to celebrate Eli's birthday (which is actually the 18th, but he has to work Sunday).  We ate a delicious meal that Eli prepared (yes, he cooked almost all of his own birthday dinner - and yes, I am thankful for his superior cooking skills too!) and brownies (that I made!) and just had a fun time hanging out with family!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 15}

I am thankful...

For technology!  Yes, it can be an addictive time drain, but it also a beautiful way to keep in touch with friends who are far away.  I can see pictures of their newborn babies and share in their joys and in their sorrows.  And also, it enables me to do soooo much of my work from home!  It really is a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 14}

I am thankful...

For the Nathan Project!  We just passed the 2 year anniversary of the passing of a wonderful young man, Nathan Stiles, who suffered a concussion while playing on the Spring Hill football team.  Although far too short, his life has blessed so many!  He truly lived for Jesus, and evidence of that happens all over the world now in the many Bible studies going on in his name.

I am privileged to be part of one on Wednesdays at Grace Community Church for junior and senior high school kids.  In the last 2 years, we have studied through Luke (Nathan's personal favorite), and then Acts, and then Romans.  Tonight we celebrated our completion of the Book of Romans!  And after Thanksgiving, I am excited that we will be starting Jonah!

So thankful for Nathan, his parents, all the volunteers that distribute the Nathan Project Bibles, all my fellow Bible Study leaders, and of course, all the awesome youth that gather together to study God's Word!

If you would like to help bring Bibles to those in need and in correctional facilities, please visit to make a donation!  To get connected with a study, check out the list at

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 13)

I am thankful...

For Eli's job.  Yes, he is working a 24 hour shift today, but tomorrow he goes on 4 day.  9 days a month I don't see him at all, but it is a great schedule for our family.  Plus, I am so thankful that he has been so blessed and honored there - God has given him favor with a recent promotion and wonderful coworkers.  I am so proud of him!

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 12}

I am thankful...

For uncles & aunts!  Micah is at this awesome stage where he wants to know where everyone is at all times. Lately, he had been asking for "Un Nick & Aunt Caitlin" so we got to go to dinner with them tonight!  And we enjoyed a fun and delicious time at Oklahoma Joe's and then Orange Leaf for dessert!  Lucky Micah got his fill of jumping with Uncle Nick and flirting with Aunt Caitlin.  All is good :-)

And we can't wait to see Uncle Caleb (Un Caber) when he is home on Christmas break!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 11}

I am thankful...

For our great nation and all the men & women, past & present, who have served in the military to protect it and us!  Happy Veteran's Day!

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 10}

I am thankful...

For our Grow Group! Every Thursday we get to hang out with the most amazing people and sometimes we get together even more than the usual Sunday-Wednesday-Thursday. Tonight some of us got together to celebrate Aaron's birthday at Cinzetti's and we had fun and laughed together and probably ate too much, and I think God smiled because that is true communion.

Eli and I had a great small group in St. Louis, but when we first moved back to Kansas, we went about a year without one. So I know what life is like with and without a community of fellow believers, and let me just say, it's soooooooooo much better together!

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 9}

I am thankful..

For my guard dogs! Lol

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 8}

I am thankful...

For everyone I work with!  Today, I had a meeting at the Louisburg office with some of our Crown Realty leadership, so I was reminded how blessed I am to work with such wonderful people!  Many of the agents, brokers, and staff at Crown Realty I have known since I was born, and some of have only been with us a little while, but everyone contributes to the excellent family atmosphere and fun environment we have at Crown, and I am so thankful!

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 7}

I am thankful...

For the awesome ladies that work in our church nursery on Wednesdays and Sundays! I think there has been maybe 3 times in Micah's 2 years that he has protested the nursery, and it's because he loves those ladies! When we pull into church he is always excited... What a great first exposure and testament to what God's family should look like!

Plus their loving service allows me to study the Bible with our youth group girls on Wednesdays and actually listen to sermons on Sunday!

Love you ladies and occasional guys that love our kids for an hour or 2 every week!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 6}

I am thankful...

For the right to vote!  I know this is probably on everyone's list today, but seriously it is something we should never stop being thankful for.  What an amazing country we live in!

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 5}

I am thankful...

For grandparents!  I grew up with my 2 grandmothers living nearby and was so blessed by them!

Now, I am so thankful that Micah & McKenzie have all their grandparents close too!  We spent the evening at his Grammy & Pappy's house (Eli's parents) enjoying a bonfire, hotdogs, s'mores, 4-wheeler rides, and of course playing with all the toys they have there.  Micah is one spoiled little boy, and soon Kenzie will be too!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 4}

I am thankful...

For ROAD TRIPS!  2 weekends ago, we got to go to Branson and Silver Dollar City with some of our grow group, and this weekend, the kids and I go to go to Nickerson, KS with my mom.

Sometimes the best part really is the journey, and on our way back to Spring Hill today, we had lots of fun with little pit stops.  Micah really got the hang of the road trip spirit and kept saying "see another thing, see another thing, see another thing"  LOL!

Here is one of the cool things we saw!  A stone arch bridge build in 1886 in Clements, KS.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 3}

I am thankful...

For God's sense of humor!  WOW, does he have one!

Micah, Kenzie, and I are in Nickerson, KS with my mom and Auntie Ainka & Auntie Jae visiting Hedricks Exotic Animal Farm and Bed & Breakfast.  Such a cool place with such amazing animals that reflect our very amazing God!

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 2}

I am thankful...

For Micah & McKenzie.  It's Friday, but I spent the night building towers, having "tummy time," reading stories, and watching "Thomas the Train" - and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Halloween 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness {Day 1}

I am thankful...

For the best husband and dad our little family could ever have.

At just 3 months, little. Kenzie just lights up when she sees her daddy. And Micah has serious hero images of his daddy. He asks me where daddy is and when I tell him "at work" he asks "driving ambulance?" He is so proud of his daddy already!

And as for me, I am so blessed to have married my best friend! :-) 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas!

We got to celebrate Nan's 80th Birthday a couple weeks ago, and we had a total blast.  I come from a very small family, so it's always fun to see my Eli's side all together.  Nan (his maternal grandmother) has 4 children, 15 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren (plus one on the way!) and although not everyone could make it, it was still a HUGE party!

And, those of us who were still around the next morning got to experience a real treat, Aunt Delia's Homemade Flour Tortillas.  Oh yum!  Eli hadn't had these in over 15 years, but he still remembered them fondly, so I was very happy Delia was willing to share her famous recipe with everyone!

This makes 50-55 tortillas!
8 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup shortening
3-4 cups hot water
1/2 cup flour (for flouring counter when rolling out)

Mix first 3 ingredients well.  Add shortening & mix until evenly distributed.  Add water gradually.  Dough should not be stick -- if too wet, add additional flour as you knead.  Knead dough for 3-5 minutes until soft and firm.  Make dough into golf size balls, let sit covered with plastic for 10 minutes.  Roll our, cook on hot skillet.  (I used my electric griddle, and it took about 2 minutes per side).

So, I finally got to try this on my own the other day.  I halved the recipe, my kitchen was covered in flour, and my tortillas ranged in shape  from ovals to Africa to hearts (not at all perfect circles like Delia's!), BUT they were delicious!!!  I am never buying store bought tortillas again!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy One Month McKenzie!

One month ago, we welcomed the most gorgeous baby girl I have ever laid eyes on into the world.  She was fashionably late (2 days past her July 30th due date) and had to be evicted (via a scheduled C-Section) just like her big brother!  Since that day, McKenzie has totally stolen our hearts and has made the most perfect little addition to our family!  I just can't believe she's a month old already!  I can't believe her newborn clothes are starting to get so tight... it seems like just a couple hours ago she was totally SWIMMING in them.  Ahh...

She is such a sweet, easy-going baby. We are so blessed!


  • She is named after her uncles Caleb McKenzie Casey & Nicholas Lawrence Hosack.
  • The purple dress she is pictured in here is the first outfit we got for her.  Eli and I stopped at Kohl's on our way home from our ultrasound to buy her her first dress.
  • She gained 17 oz in one week after we were released from the hospital!  YAY!
  • Micah loves to give her lots of big wet kisses and he calls her "Baby."
  • She eats every 2-3 hours during the day, but at night she usually goes 4-6!  I'm a happy momma.
  • She makes very funny squeaky laugh sounds.
  • She has Daddy wrapped around her little finger.   ;-)
People always ask us "Who does she look like?"  or "Does she look like Micah?"

I don't know.  She looks a little like Micah.  I think she looks a little like me.  Micah is a Daddy-clone, so I'm hoping I might have a little bit of stock in this one, but what do you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: "Work, Love, Pray"

Work, Love, Pray: Practical Wisdom for Young Professional Christian WomenWork, Love, Pray: Practical Wisdom for Young Professional Christian Women by Diane Paddison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly almost put this book down about 1/3 through. I had bought it after reading part of it on a blog somewhere and thought it sounded intriguing, but I was starting to get disappointed in the beginning. The first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book is a necessity (I now see) for Diane Paddison to establish her credibility as a very successful business woman, but I was looking for more advise and less autobiography. Now, however I am so glad that I stuck it through and learned where Paddison was coming from!

The second half of the book makes it so worth it, so KEEP reading!!! After sharing her personal stories, Paddison really gets a lot more practical and encouraging on HOW you can balance your faith, family, and career. And why should we even bother with the balancing act? She says, "We don't give God only our spiritual selves when we surrender to him. We give him everything, and that includes our talents, our gifts, and yes, the part of us that goes to work every day" (location 1722).

Another great quote: "I'm far from perfect and have experienced my share of the dry times, but when my faith is strong and I am closest to God, the benefits spill over into my family and my work. I am a better parent, better spouse, and better worker when I put God first" (location 2088). AMEN!

Paddison sprinkles the book (the last half anyway!) with great verses to reference. She writes, "the best way you can become a shining light for Christ is to be the best employee in the company (Colossians 3:23)." This is one of my favorite verses that has gotten me through some pretty bad jobs in the past - it says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" (NIV).

Her advise covers everything from finding a good church family, growing an accountability group, making Bible study a daily habit, physical exercise, putting your kids and husband first, financial concerns, spiritual retreats, business conferences, travel, boundaries, and more! I have so many highlights in my Kindle edition and have a long list of websites and books that she referenced that I want to check out! Many of her suggestions are listed on the website of Diane Paddison's non-for-profit ministry, 4word. She also has a blog there that I have begun following.

I recommend this to any Christian woman (18+) who plans on spending ANY time at all in the work force. Eli and I are so fortunate that with our jobs and schedules, we can be stay-at-home parents with full-time jobs; but I still find "doing it all" and "having it all" to be quite challenging at times, and this book has been very encouraging to me! Hope you will find it to be so too!

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Monday, July 23, 2012


Well, a lot has happened in the Casey family in the last month, so here's a quick update!

Eli has been back to work for almost a month now (went back June 26th) and has had no complications or setbacks after his miraculous recovery!  Luckily, he is at a relatively slow station and he does not have to do any transfers on his own.  He is basically acting as a first responder on all his calls, so even in that God has taken care of us more than we could have thought to even ask for!  The nystagmus is still present, but is much better (according to Eli) and may continue to get better.  Before Eli's surgery, I read a book called Conquer Chiari and in it, the author mentions that his symptoms still flare up in the summertime (even after a successful surgery) due to the heat and humidity.  Considering that we are having one of the hottest summers ever, that could be what is going on...  Anyway, he'll go back in for a follow-up appointment on August 15th so we'll know even more then probably!

As for this little baby girl, we are still waiting...  

I have to admit that it is VERY difficult being patient at this point.  Micah was 10 days early; so for some reason (I know, totally illogical!), I thought for sure she would be early too!  Well, she might still be, but we're 7 days out now and I had a doctor's appointment today and showed no real signs of being close (no dilation, effacement, etc.).  So, please join me in praying that this little girl gets the show on the road in the next 10 days or so.  Because I had a C-Section with Micah (you can read the whole story here), conditions have to be pretty good for my doctor to allow me to attempt to go natural this time.  Fortunately, so far everything has looked good.  Kenzie is healthy, my C-Section scar is healed nicely, I don't have any complications, BUT they will not induce me, so if she is too late in coming, it will be another C-Section for her too.  (For the curious, my doctor will not induce me because the pitocin-induced contractions are so strong and have been known to tear open old C-Section scars, so it has to be natural contractions or C-Section.)  I was terrified of having a C-Section with Micah, but luckily I learned a little humility and grace from God who taught me that He can bless us with a healthy baby in ANY scenario He chooses, so while my hope is a natural delivery this time, I'm a lot more open and willing for whatever God's plan may be!  Though I confess I hope He acts soon!  LOL!  It is HOT here after all!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Thursday, May 31st was some of the most beautiful late spring weather we could ever ask for in Kansas!  So, several of us headed out to The Berry Patch - a local summertime favorite - located at 223rd & Stateline where you can pick blueberries all summer and blackberries late summer.  I have been going since I was a very little girl with my mom and grandma.

And ever since I was a little girl, I would diligently fill my bucket (while eating as many from the bush as I could) so that Mom would make her delicious blueberry pie.

We continued the tradition with Micah and he was very helpful!  He ate a few green berries, but soon realized the blue ones were the way to go (as you can tell from the blue juice all over his face in the picture below):

And like his mommy before him, Micah very much appreciated the blueberry pie!

Mom's Blueberry Pie Recipe

3 cups blueberries
1 unbaked 9" deep-dish pie crust
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter

Put pie crust in your pie dish (I like Pillsbury's pie crusts!) and fill with blueberries.  Set aside.
Combine sugar, flour & salt.  Add eggs & sour cream.  Stir.  Spoon over berries.
Combine 1/2 c. sugar & 1/2 c. flour, cut in butter with blender until mixture resembles course meal.  Sprinkle evenly over sour cream mix.  Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Witness to a Miracle

Throughout my life, I have seen and felt God work in many ways.  He has provided for us in ways too numerous to count.  He has protected us from seen and unseen danger more times than we know.  He has guided and directed us in our marriage and careers.  He has created through us new life in Micah and in baby McKenzie (even if she hasn't made her debut yet!).  However, although I have known that God is also a healer and have prayed for Him to heal family and friends, I have never experienced it first hand like I did these last few days.

At 10am Thursday, Eli went under for his cranial decompression surgery.  I had my first update from a nurse a couple hours later saying, they made the first incision at 11am.  By 12:50pm, the nurse was calling me to tell me Dr. Camarata - Eli's neurosurgeon - was ready to meet with me!  I was so shocked, and even more so when he told us (Eli's parents and myself) how smoothly everything went and that he did not have to cut into the dura (the lining between the brain and skull which would have almost doubled Eli's recovery time and chances of infection, etc.).  He had made a long incision on Eli's neck, removed part of the skull and parts of the top 2 vertebrae and then ran an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed that Eli's cerebral tonsils were now moving up and down freely and that his cerebral fluid was moving very well, so they sewed and stapled him back up!

Eli spent the next few hours in recovery while he woke up and waited to go to an ICU room.  That was probably the hardest part for me because I knew he was done and yet I couldn't see him yet!  A very kind nurse took pity on me later in the afternoon and snuck me back in recovery to see him when he woke up.

Once he was awake and in his ICU room, Eli almost immediately wanted a cheeseburger (I thought this was an excellent sign!)  I spent the night with him in a recliner in the ICU room, not the most comfortable place for a pregnant belly, but I was so thrilled to be there with him.  I've never been so thankful to have my snoring husband next to me!  ;-)

Friday, Eli continued to surprise everyone by walking, doing stairs, and sitting up for much of the day.  He got moved out of ICU and into a private regular room in the neuroscience unit.  He did pay for all his activity a bit that evening when the pain and exhaustion caught up to him, but when Micah came to visit, he definitely perked right up again!

Micah and I headed home Friday night to have a night in our own beds; and I repacked my bag and was ready to spend another night with Eli in the hospital.  So you can imagine my surprise when he called me to tell me he was getting discharged today.  When the doctor took off his bandage today, she was so surprised that she told Eli he could go home today if he wanted!  And of course he did!

So by 2:30pm (just 50 hours after this crazy surgery!), Eli was in my car and we were headed home!  I still think I might wake up from this wonderful dream.

For the next 2 weeks, Eli is not allowed to drive or lift anything over 5 lbs.  The main thing is for him to sleep and sleep and sleep, which shouldn't be a problem with his prescriptions of muscle relaxers and pain meds!  I think being in his own bed is already doing him a world of good.  He got up briefly for dinner and a shower and is now back asleep.

As for me, I couldn't be happier to have the whole family back under one roof.  Cooper and Denver (the dogs) are lying on the couch next to me as I type this.  I can hear Micah breathing on the monitor and Eli snoring upstairs (I don't need a monitor to hear that... lol!)  Only the girls are awake (Little Kenzie is kicking me right now!)  This is all I could have hoped for my Mother's Day tomorrow!

God is so incredibly good.  I know none of this would have been possible without the MANY, MANY prayers we have received (and continue to receive) from our friends and family all over the world!  When doctors (even neurosurgeons), nurses, physical therapists use words like "shocked," "surprised," or "amazed," there is only one explanation.  Our amazing heavenly Father was showing off a bit these last few days when He healed Eli as quickly as He did!  And even with the residual swelling from the surgery, Eli's nystagmus is already markedly better and so is his balance!  It will be amazing to see what his follow-up appointment in 10 days reveals!

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of your prayers, thoughts, love, and support.  We have felt them these last days in a real and powerful way.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book Review: "In the Eye of the Storm"

In the Eye of the StormIn the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love how Max Lucado makes God so REAL.

One of my favorite chapters was "Why God Smiles" in which Lucado writes "I'm not one who easily envisions a smiling God. A weeping God, yes. An angry God, OK. A might God, you bet. But a chuckling God? .... What do I think he was doing when he stretched the neck of the giraffe? An exercise in engineering? What do I think he had in mind when he told the ostrich where to put his head? Spelunking? What do I think he was doing when he designed the mating call of an ape? Or the eight legs of the octopus? And what do I envision on his face when he saw Adam's first glance at Eve? A yawn? Hardly."

Throughout the book, Lucado gives examples of Jesus' interaction with people to show us that our almighty God really does understand us and that no matter what we are facing - even in the eye of the storm - He is there with us and has been there before.

So here's to a smiling God that loves us more than we will ever understand this side of heaven!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chiari Malformation

Well, time to resurrect this blog to update you all on something going on in our lives right now, and hopefully you will join us in prayer!

About a year ago, Eli noticed that he occasionally got "dizzy" when he used his right peripheral vision. Thought it was vertigo and ignored it. Gradually though it got more and more frequent. He finally paid enough attention to it to realize that it was basically like his eyes were "resetting" whenever he looked to the right. Went to his eye doctor who called it a NYSTAGMUS and referred him to a neuro-optomologist who referred him to get an MRI. At which point we found out it was CHIARI MALFORMATION. (Which though bad was better than our worst fears of it being a brain tumor or something!)

Anyway, CHIARI is basically a condition that some people are born with but doesn't usually cause any problems until 20s or 30s in which the skull is too small for the brain. In Eli's case, his brain is actually pushing through his spinal column because it has no room in his skull. This is causing his vision thing, poor balance, and headaches.

We met with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Camarata, at KU Med who will be doing decompression surgery on Thursday, May 10th. They will remove part of Eli's skull and part of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. Recovery is 6 weeks unless they also have to cut into the dura (the lining between the skull and brain) which would put it at 2.5 months. We won't know if they have to cut into the dura until after they are inside though. It's certainly scary, but we know God will take care of everything!

Surgery next week will be about 3-4 hours long and then require 3-5 days in the hospital.  Then 2 weeks without lifting anything over 5 lbs (Eli & Micah are going to be in severe rough-housing withdrawals!).  Then... we just don't know!  Eli is young and healthy though so we are hoping for a speedy recovery.  Although because his job as a paramedic obviously requires a LOT of lifting, he will probably be off the full 6-12 weeks.  And 12 weeks from now, we are expecting the arrival of our little girl - around July 30th - so it's going to be a crazy few months for us!!!

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Reivew: Soulprint

Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine DestinySoulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a pretty quick read and useful for thinking in terms of what God wants out of your life. Mark Batterson uses a lot of good examples from David's life to encourage readers to be the people God created us to be.

I really love Mark Batterson, but I enjoyed some of his other books much better (In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars and of course The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears) so admittedly this one was slightly disappointing compared to those 2, or perhaps I just needed those 2 more than this one at this point in my life!

However, if you are at a point in your life (we're all there sometime!) where you are really struggling to find out what your purpose is, what you should be doing, and really just wanting to hear from God, then I would recommend it!

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“I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review”.