“90 Minutes in Heaven” Book Review & Giveaway

Yesterday marked six months since my brother passed away. I still must remind myself often that he is gone.  And my mind has been wearing a well-worn path over the same questions for months. Where is he? What is he doing now? I have been giving a lot of thought to Heaven–not the idea of Heaven as some caricature of puffy white clouds and slightly bored cherubs strumming harps, but the reality of it–a place of extraordinary beauty and peace where my brother has been reunited with God.

In the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Pastor Don Piper describes how Heaven made him feel: “I was home; I was where I belonged. I wanted to be there more than I had ever wanted to be anywhere on earth. Time had slipped away, and I was simply present in heaven. All worries, anxieties, and concerns vanished. I had no needs, and I felt perfect.”

90 Minutes Cover_FINAL.indd

The story of his near-death encounter began when Pastor Don Piper’s car collided with a semi on January 18, 1989 and emergency workers pronounced him dead at the scene. An hour and a half later, after a desperate prayer from a passing stranger, Piper came back to life. His book is a straightforward first-person narrative in which Piper dedicates two chapters to describing his time in Heaven. He also shares the journey through his painful recovery and reflects honestly about the spiritual and emotional letdown of getting a rare glimpse of heaven only to end up back on earth. His story reminds us that God’s plans are bigger than anything we could understand or imagine–even the darkest and most painful parts of our stories. It’s a message my brother believed with his whole heart.

A full-length film based on the book is set to release this Friday (September 11, 2015) and stars Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth. Visit the official website for information and showtimes! The movie was produced by Giving Films, a new non-profit that plans to donate ALL film profits to charities in the U.S. and around the world. The list of charities includes Hope International, World Vision and Christian Alliance for Orphans, among others.

To win a copy of this book, you can enter the drawing HERE. The movie edition of the book includes a new preface from Don, true stories from readers and a section with is favorite verses and quotes. (Paperback, 245 pages)

Comment with your thoughts on Heaven and go see the movie!


Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book Giveaway

Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this … Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, J.Laurel

I’m not saying I’m a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I’m not. It’s fun when you’re four and eating red mashed potatoes and red jello for dinner (thanks, Mom!). But, after that, Valentine’s Day comes with its share of major and minor disappointments…until you are 34 and realize it’s no big deal. (Yep, I think I’m finally there.)

I am, however, a huge fan of LOVE. Not just romantic love, though it is arguably the loudest and most obnoxious and overtly worshiped form of love in our society. I’m talking LOVE in all capitals. The kind of LOVE that isn’t so exclusive (and gag-inducing from the outside). LOVE that is much bigger and wider and wraps its arms around all of us. That sort of LOVE is given to every person, first by God, to be shared without limits. And instead of demanding fancy dinners or token flowers, it seeks to be a creative giver of beautiful things like encouragement, help, hope and wisdom.

Today, no matter what kind of Valentine’s Day you have, don’t be swept up in the lie that you are on the outside looking in (and that goes for single and married people). It is so easy to believe we are missing out when LOVE has been right there on our doorstep all along. And unlike those flowers you may or may not receive, LOVE is available to all of us if we simply open the door.

God loves you more than you could ever imagine. So much so, the universe is one great big Valentine to you. Don’t miss it in lieu of some cheap dime-store version. And don’t miss opportunities to give LOVE to others who need it…today and every day.


In honor of LOVE, I am featuring two of my favorite J. Laurel items that put me in mind of Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

For more about the bag, go here.

For more about the bow tie, go here.

Craft Show Tomorrow!

Well, here’s one for spontaneity. If you are just itching to do some early Christmas shopping this weekend, come out to the Susquehanna Evangelical Free Church’s Annual Women’s Marketplace! It is a great event with 30+ vendors and wonderful handcrafted items! This is a nice, relaxed event. The selection of products is varied without being overwhelming. Yours truly, J. Laurel, will be there with a smile and a nice inventory of bow ties, in addition to my other products. Hope to see you there!

Date: November 2nd

Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Location: Susquehanna Evangelical Free Church www.svefc.org/#/contact-us

J. Laurel Announcement: I am Writing a Book

Happy New Year to my J. Laurel Peeps! Have you made your resolutions for 2013?

I don’t really believe in resolutions. But I do believe in setting goals. My husband and I sat down and, I (being the “family secretary” as dubbed by my husband who keeps all his lists “right here” *points to his head*) wrote our 2013 goals on notebook paper – one list for him, one list for me and one combined list for our family. I can’t actually find those lists at the present moment (they are around here somewhere…making mental note to add to goals “stop losing lists of goals – is counterproductive”).

Anyhow, the most prominent goal I made for myself is to write a book. I don’t have a publisher. I don’t have a book deal. I don’t even have a title yet. But I have an idea. And, in the last few months of 2012 with the Holidays swirling around me, I wrote 20 double-spaced pages and scribbled many more notes on loose paper throughout my house and in my purse. Don’t judge. It’s my process.

So, I am not doing a show in January. And I will be pausing production (with the exception of individual orders) to focus on my book.

I would also like to lose 30 pounds. But I think writing a book will happen sooner.

God bless you all in the New Year!

J. Laurel Shop Announcement #001

Hear ye, hear ye!

I have come to the conclusion that my zealous love for fabric is now borderline obsession, and I must clean house (a little). I am listing some of my lovely fabrics for sale on Etsy in order to preserve my sanity (and that of my dear husband). I love all the fabric in my collection, but alas I have had to make some difficult choices (cue scenes from Sophie’s Choice). Keep an eye open for any you may desire to use for your own sewing/crafting purposes, and contact me if you live locally and wish to avoid shipping costs.


Jessica Laurel