Sunday, December 4, 2016

Charlie The Tramp by Russell Hoban (Review)



From the authors of "Bread and Jam for Frances" comes their newly re-released book "Charlie the Tramp". This sweet children's book is written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, a husband and wife team. "Charlie the Tramp" won the 1968 Boys Club of America Junior Book Award and has been praised over the last 50 years as one of the best classic children's books ever written.

Charlie is a beaver who lives with his mom and dad. One day his grandpa comes for a visit and asks what he wants to be when he grows up. Grandpa Beaver expected Charlie to say he wanted to stay in the family business of cutting trees and making dams. Charlie has other plans. He wants to be a tramp. He wants to wander here and there and do odd jobs for his food and living expenses.

His family is disappointed at first but decide maybe they would give him the chance fulfill his dream. So, they send him on his way the next morning. Charlie has a grand day of adventures and sleeps under the stars that night. He does come home the next morning and works for his breakfast.

Off he goes after breakfast for some more tramping around. He begins to build a dam without even knowing it and his family is well pleased. He turns out to be one of the best dam builders they have ever seen.

Little Charlie represents what all children truly want to do when they grow up. They just want to have adventures and do silly things and be free. Sometimes, though, those adventures end up becoming a dream job or a dream life.

My boys (ages 8, 6, and 3) loved this book. I am sorry to say that I had never heard of this classic until recently. But, I am very glad to have been given the opportunity to review it. What a sweet and interesting book. As I was reading the story to my boys they all giggled and asked questions. They felt like they could relate to Charlie and his dream of becoming a tramp and tramping around. I did have to explain what a tramp was and they thought it sounded like something they would love to do someday. Haha. So innocent and sweet.

This book has been re-released for it's 50th Anniversary and this time around it is hardcover. It's just in time for the holidays too. It would make a great gift for a grandchild, nephew, niece, friend, cousin, or your own children.



 
AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Tramp-Russell-Hoban/dp/0874867800/  


*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, December 2, 2016

Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas CD (Review)





I absolutely LOVE Amy Grant. I also LOVE Christmas music. It makes me feel so cozy and warm inside. It brings so much joy to my life. Amy Grant has released her new album (including some old favorites) called Tennessee Christmas. I mean, who hasn't heard this beautiful song??

I just think the world of this album. It will be dearly loved by my family over the years. The album includes:
  1. Tennessee Christmas
  2. To Be Together
  3. Christmas For You And Me
  4. Melancholy Christmas
  5. December
  6. White Christmas
  7. Joy To The World
  8. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
  9. Baby, It's Cold Outside (feat. Vince Gill)
  10. Christmas Don't Be Late
  11. Still Can't Sleep
  12. Another Merry Christmas
  13. O Come, All Ye Faithful
Okay, I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear Amy Grant with her husband Vince Gill singing "Baby It's Cold Outside". It was one of the best and sweetest versions I have heard. Their voices singing together is such a delightful sound to hear.

Of course, my favorite song on the album is "Tennessee Christmas". It just brings back so many memories from my childhood. No matter how old I get, it will always remind me of simpler times. I have never even visited Tennessee (even though I live in Virginia) but it makes me feel like I have been a thousand times. Did you know that Amy Grant actually helped write this song? Wow!

In a few of the songs Amy Grant talks about different Christmas memories. Hearing her talk about real life stories that have happened in her life felt inspiring. It gave the album more character.

Some songs were written by Amy herself and others are age-old classics that still give you the sense of Christmas. I liked hearing new and old songs together. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the older, more well-known songs that I forget other songs are out there just waiting to be heard.

Here is a sample of one of the songs on the album:


Amy Grant and her team are using the hashtag "#TNChristmasSurprise!" to form a video of real life people surprising their loved ones this holiday season. If you have a video of you surprising your loved ones this Christmas, post it to any social media outlet using the above hashtag and it could be selected to be in her video. How exciting is that?

Here is an example of a video:

Tears!!!! Just a warning. Haha.

You can purchase the CD from iTunes:
http://smarturl.it/TNChristmasAlbum?IQid=flyby

I pray that this CD blesses you as much as it has blessed me. It truly is the sweetest album I have heard in a while.

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing me with a copy of the product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bible Journaling Kit by Ellie Claire (Review)




Bible journaling is all the rage lately. I haven't gotten on the bandwagon simply because I am not artistic in the slightest. I can barely make stick figures. Recently, I was sent the Ellie Claire Bible Journaling Kit to review. Well, I can now say I have no excuse to not hop on that bandwagon. This kit is so delightful.

The kit includes:
  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 4 sheets of alphabet stickers
  • 24 tab stickers
  • 8 twistable colored pencils
  • 1 journaling pen
  • 1 pouch with adjustable strap
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines


As someone who is very un-artistic, I found this kit to be very helpful with journaling. The tab stickers have saying on them such as: "Amen", "Blessing", "Pray", "Grace", and "Faith". I used these to mark pages that I found fit with the word. For instance, I used the "Favorite" tab to mark Psalm 103 in my Bible. I can easily find Psalm 103 in my Bible now because of the tab. I used the "Fear Not" tab to mark Psalm 23 since it speaks about not fearing death and trials. There are also blank tabs included that you can add your own words or phrases to.

I used the word stickers all throughout my Bible. Some of the phrases included are: "When life is hard, remember...", "I love this.", "Let it go.", and "Think on these things". I loved these stickers because I have a hard time thinking of little phrases to add to my Bible journal. These came in handy when I found a verse I wanted to remember for a specific reason. On these word sticker sheets are also little arrow stickers, star stickers, and heart stickers. I used these to mark a verse here and there that I wanted to recall easily.

The alphabet stickers come in two different fonts that include both lower and upper cases as well as numbers. I found these helpful to write out a word here and there. I spelled out "Love" on a verse that reminded me of Christ's love for us. I spelled out the word "Grace" for a verse that spoke about God's grace. There are many things you can do with these letters and numbers.

The colored pencils are the twistable kind that you never have to sharpen. I liked this feature because sometimes I don't have a sharpener and I can continue journaling without interruption. I used the pencils to underline or highlight a section of the Bible that I found significant.

The journaling pen that is included in this kit comes in black ink. It is great because it doesn't bleed through to the next page. Bibles have very thin pages that easily bleed through with many other pens and markers. This pen is specifically designed for thin pages.

"Whatever is lovely...think about such things." (Philippians 4:8) This is the inscription on the outside of the pouch. The pouch can hold all of the materials included in this kit except for the page protector mat. It is convenient and has an adjustable strap so it can be strapped to any size Bible for easy access.

On the page protector mat you will find a ruler on one side and different kinds of designs made for edging. It is clear so that you can still see the verses through it.

I truly enjoyed using this Bible Journaling Kit. It made journaling easy and accessible to someone who would not normally participate.

You have the chance to win a your very own Bible Journaling Kit. Simply go to this website (http://bit.ly/BibleJournalingKitGiveaway) and enter to win. They are giving away 5 sets so hurry over!! There are also some FREE coloring pages that you can print out to inspire you on your Bible journaling journey.

Here are a some websites to check out to purchase your very own Bible Journaling Kit:


Amazon: http://bit.ly/BibleJournaling
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/BAMBibleJournaling
Christian Book Distributors: http://bit.ly/CBDBibleJournaling

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing me with these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jesus Today (Sarah Young)




Sarah Young is the author of Jesus Calling and now her new book Jesus Today. Jesus Today was written during a very difficult time in Sarah's life when she was going through some unexplained illnesses. During this time she never gave up hope in Jesus.

Christians go through tough times just like the rest of the world. But, what we have is very different than what the rest of the world has...Hope. Hope in Jesus. This new devotional was written to inspire Christians to keep pressing on in those hard times and keep our eyes on the cross. When we take our eyes off of Jesus we start to lose hope. Hope is only found in Him.

Most of you know that I suffer from chronic pain. I have been in severe and debilitating pain for 4 years now. My last pregnancy pushed me over the edge (or so I thought). Through these last few years I have almost lost all hope in ever being well again. I have seen countless doctors who tell me nothing is wrong with me. I finally got an appointment with specialists at Johns Hopkins that only took 6 months of waiting to get. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jesus Today came in the mail at just the right time. It has inspired me to have more hope in this journey. The book is hardbound with a ribbon bookmark.  The devotions are numbered and there are 150 of them. Each devotion includes some words from Sarah Young that are inspired by God as well as several Bible verses to read that go along with the theme.

The devotions are short and simple yet very encouraging. I felt God's presence as I read the words each day and feel better about my own situation. Reading Sarah's testimony about her illness at the beginning of the book gave me such optimism. Her story sounds so similar to my own (although we have completely different issues). It made me realize that I am not alone in this world. There are others who struggle just like me. Christians all around the world are going through their own trials.

Knowing that my hope is not found in any man or doctor or diagnosis but in Jesus gives me such inspiration. No matter how hard times get, God's got my back. This book helps the reader to gain a better perspective of what it's like to go through trials and still keep hope alive.

*Many thanks to BookLookBloggers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

31 Verses To Write On Your Heart (Liz Curtis Higgs)



Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs has done it again. Her newest book, 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart, is amazing and inspiring. It is a very easy book to read and understand.

The book is written with the intention of getting the reader more familiar with well known Bible verses. These favorite verses were chosen very carefully to urge the reader to dig deeper into their quiet time. Many verses you will already know. But, there are few unexpected ones throughout the book as well.

31 Verses was written to inspire, impact, and stir your heart for God. There is a study guide included for a group study. Each of the verses serves as a daily devotion. So you could use this for one whole month of devotions. That is what I did and I truly feel refreshed and enjoyed it very much.

Each verse has a theme. For instance, Proverbs 29:25 has a theme of "Afraid Not". Since the verse speaks about fear being a snare for man. Liz takes you through each verse word by word. She gives Biblical examples of each theme and word. She also gives Hebrew definitions of certain important words so that we know the true meaning behind the verse.

At the end of the devotion there is a short prayer that goes along with the theme. I love reading prayers. Sometimes words fail me. Having the prayer written out for me already helped me to get a better grasp of the theme for the day.

There are "Tips" throughout the book for helping you to memorize scripture. These tips help you to be able to memorize verses quicker and be able to find them with ease. She offers the reader the chance to write out that days verse in their favorite translation of the Bible as well. I loved this part because some translations of the Bible are harder to understand than others. Having a favorite translation of the verse written out makes it easier to memorize as well.

I encourage you to take a look at this sweet book. It is such a good book with many helpful tips throughout that encourage you to dig deeper into your faith and memorize scripture. That way, when you are facing a situation you can pull that Bible verse right out of your head and pray it.

*Many thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Blessings of Unity (By: Richard T. Case)



Marriage is the most important relationship I will ever be in (besides the one I have with Jesus). My husband is my partner in life. He is my strength when mine is failing, he my rock when I am weak, he is my shoulder to cry on. He is my best friend. When we are at odds with each other it feels like everything else is going wrong too. The Blessings of Unity by Richard T. Case is a marriage saver. My marriage is not in trouble but we have very troubling times for sure. This new book gives you a Biblical perspective about divisiveness and unity.

No matter how "safe" you think your marriage is, no marriage is too good that issues arise that try to divide. Humans are, by nature, self-centered. We have a "me" attitude that says: I am right, you are wrong. That kind of thinking causes much heartache and separation. In The Blessings of Unity, Case gives us Biblical advice about how to love like Christ, especially toward our spouses. There are many blessings that come from marriage including walking in the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit God is literally with us.

Creating Godly unity in marriage takes work. There are two key ideas that he focuses on in this book: 1. Abiding in the Vine and walking in the Spirit and 2. Learning and applying the concept of unity.

At the beginning of the book, the married couple is instructed to take a "test" of sorts. There are about 10 questions that are answered on a scale from 1-10. Each person gets there own section (one for the husband and one for the wife). Then, you discuss your answers with one another. This is where it gets tricky. Being honest about how calm your partner is during a disagreement is tough. Telling them they get defensive during an argument can be hard to hear. But, the truth must be told in order to reap the blessings that come from unity.

Case bases this book solely on scripture. He quotes the Bible very often throughout and gives examples as well. He guides you through evaluating your marriage (the first part I spoke about above), what division and discord are according to God's word, unity and the keys to unity. I think my favorite part was the chapter about "Unity Comes Through Abiding in the Word". If we don't base our marriages on God's word, we have nothing. He gave us the Bible as a guide to life and every relationship we will ever have.

Another very important part of this book is the chapter on "How to Handle Disagreements and Differences of Opinion". Yikes! This hit home for me. I am VERY opinionated. I have tried very hard to reel it in over the years but I have had many years of training in that department growing up. Handling disagreements in a Godly manner is so important. Humans want to win every battle and argument. As we become more unified, we will start to view these disagreements and differences in a new light. God can use these things to bring you closer than ever before to one another.

The author then goes on the give us ways to pray through unity. Praying is the most important way to connect with God and one another. It's our way of communicating with God. Praying with one another also makes us vulnerable. That can lead to a closeness that only God can provide. He also gives Biblical examples of unity. There are many examples of unity in the Bible. Some of them I was not even aware of and am thankful to have read this book to know them.

Richard Case closes his book with very simple instructions about the blessings that come from unity. He uses Psalm 133 as the premise that we should all be unified through Christ Jesus.

This book is very easy to read and understand. I gave me hope for future disagreements with my husband (as well as others). I learned a lot about what the Bible has to say about unity. A marriage is two people always forgiving one another. We are humans. We are sinful. But, with God's help (in which he tell us how to get in the Bible), we can over come our differences and love one another as Christ loves us.

Here is a free ebook called Unshakeable, from the All For Jesus ministry. This will help and support your growth in Christ. http://allforjesusunshakeable.gr8.com/

You can purchase a copy of The Blessings of Unity at:
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Blessings-Unity-God’s-Best-Marriages/dp/1943425108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474726271&sr=8-1&keywords=blessings+of+unity+richard+case

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Where Jesus Slept (By: Norma Lewis)



My boys love books about Christmas. They especially love them if they tell the true story of Christmas that includes Jesus' birth. In the new book, Where Jesus Slept, Norma Lewis brings to life the stable where the Messiah was born. Katy Hudson, the illustrator, did a beautiful job of giving animating each scene.

The story begins with the straw that Jesus slept in. Then come the animals and Mary, Jesus' mother. The shepherd and angel and wise men are all there too. The story builds as you read on and is repetitive (which my boys LOVED). The repeating words help children with their vocabulary and reading skills. Some of the words are in all caps. That gave me the idea to use those particular words for copy work with my kids.

I truly think this book is adorable. I appreciate the fact that actual Bible verses are included at the beginning and the end of the book. When a child knows that what they are reading is based off of actual events from the Bible it becomes more real to them. My kids understand that some stories are completely made up but the Bible is God's true word to us. The story of Jesus being the most important of them all.

Having the story repeat was very helpful with having my oldest son (he is 8 and just learned to read not long ago) the chance to read to his brothers. Since the same words were on each page as the story built up to the end, he could easily identify the words and sound them out.

I will be reading this book each Christmas (especially on Christmas Eve). It is a sweet story and puts Jesus back into the meaning of Christmas. He is the Messiah who was born in Bethlehem in the city of David. No matter how much we try to secularize Christmas, Jesus is still at the heart of it and the reason for the day. His birth brought the world great hope and love. We must never forget that and Where Jesus Slept gives children a glimpse of what that night was like.

The recommended ages are between 4 and 7. I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old (with a 6 year old in the middle) and they all enjoyed it. Kids young and old will enjoy this book.

If you need an idea for a gift for Christmas for a little one, Where Jesus Slept is a great one. It brought joy to us as we read the sweet words of Jesus' glorious birth through a child's point of view.

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*