Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Daniel Code (By: O.S. Hawkins)



We live in a culture that tolerates and praises sin. Violence is the norm and comes in the form of terrorism as well as crime. If a Christian stands up for Biblical values he is labeled "intolerant" or a "bigot". Christians are told to keep their "religion" to themselves and to "stop spreading lies and hate". People don't realize that God said sin is sin.

So, what are Christians supposed to do in a society that will eat you alive if you even speak God's name? O.S. Hawkins has written a book called The Daniel Code (Living our truth in a culture that is losing its way). He uses the Biblical example of Daniel to guide Christians on how to respond to the issues of today. Daniel was placed in a culture that cursed the One True God. Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylon and wanted to be worshipped.

In this book you will find ways to engage our broken culture with strength and honor. Daniel survived a pagan, liberal, and difficult society. His story was written and included in the Bible because it has had significance throughout history. There will always be cultures who say "evil is good and good is evil". Studying Daniel's story can help Christians to grasp how to react and engage with non-Christians.

With so many young people (and some older people) living so freely (even though they are not that free) with sin, we need to know how to captivate others for Christ's sake. The Daniel Code gives an in-depth study of the book of Daniel and how he overcame the ungodly society he was placed in. The author gives tons of background information as well as very detailed scenarios that happened during that time.

When I think about how my children will have to grow up in this crumbling culture, my heart breaks. But, with Godly examples such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we have all we need straight from the Bible. Speaking the truth in love is what we are called to do. People NEED to hear God's truths. If we hide them for ourselves, who are we helping? If we don't speak up, who will?

When sin infiltrates a society and becomes the norm, Christians need to stand strong and speak up. Live out your life in a Christ-like way. Always point back to Jesus and His love. Most importantly, always show love. If Christians shout down other people about their sins, they are not going to hear you. They only see judgment, intolerance, and foolishness.

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

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.*

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NKJV Word Study Bible Review (Thomas Nelson)



Studying the Bible is one of the most important parts of my life. Understanding the original language and the meaning behind each word gives me a better appreciation of God's book. The new NKJV Word Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson gives you just that. It is a Bible with 1,700 key words and their original meaning defined and elaborated on.

This Bible includes:
  • Paragraph-style text with in-text subheadings
  • Translators' notes
  • Book introductions
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Word studies
  • Indexes
  • Concordance
The features that I enjoyed the most were the book introductions and the translators' notes. The book introductions give a place, time, and purpose for that book in the Bible. It also gives you the main ideas for that book. For instance, in the book of Ephesians the introductions tells the reader that the group of people Paul was writing to were rich and living as beggars. I didn't know that until I read this commentary.

The translators' notes were very informative. They give you an in-depth description of each word that is being identified and also help you to better understand why that word would have been used. They also provide other passages in the Bible where you may find that word being used in a similar way.

The word studies include those from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic languages. Having these words explained gave me a new sense of the idea behind "Bible Study". Digging deeper and unveiling familiar words to become new and fresh. I absolutely love this Bible and use it for my primary Bible at home now.

This Bible has helped me to experience scripture in a whole new and exciting way.

*Thank you BookLookBloggers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Parenting by Paul David Tripp




Parenting is easily the most difficult task God has ever given me. It has molded me, transformed me, and made me very aware of my actions. But, through it all I know I am not alone. God is with me. He has given me an entire book to guide me along the way. The Bible talks a lot about parenting. God is our Heavenly Father and we should always be striving to be more like Him in every aspect of our lives. The principles in the Bible give us exactly the path in which to take in our parenting journey.

In Paul David Tripp's newest book, Parenting, he gives us 14 Gospel Principles that can radically change the family dynamic. Let's face it, I need all the help I can get in the parenting department. I fail every day. But, thankfully, God is gracious and merciful and so are my children.

Tripp's 14 Gospel Principles are:
  1. Calling
  2. Grace
  3. Law
  4. Inability
  5. Identity
  6. Process
  7. Lost
  8. Authority
  9. Foolishness
  10. Character
  11. False Gods
  12. Control
  13. Rest
  14. Mercy
God gives us a calling in our lives. Parenting is one of them. One of the most profound things I learned while reading Parenting was:


Wow! That hit me right in between the eyes. God is using ME to help form a human soul...my children. I am not worthy, yet He has given me this calling and I am willing.

Through the frustration and the busyness of life, God can use you to guide your children in the Gospel. God has given us the tools (via the Bible) in order to direct us in this calling. Parenting does not end when your children leave the nest either. It is just different. There will be different needs. But, you will always be your children's parent.

There is so much pressure to raise "good" children and give them "good" morals and values. It is so easy to lose sight of our ultimate goal as parents and that is raise Godly men and women. Equipping them to go out one day and face the world as an adult who is strong in their faith.

In this book, you will learn more about seeing what the goals are and how to accomplish them. What goals God has for you as a parent. Reading all of the parenting books in the bookstore isn't enough. God's love and grace and mercy are enough.

Our parenting styles are different but God is the same. His principles do not change. He wants us to have joy and purpose in our parenting. The words in this book have changed the way I think about parenting. I have become more aware of raising my children with the reasons God has given me and not just some advice from another book.

This is the prefect book for any parent (whether for 50 years or 50 seconds) and/or adult who has children in their life. You will find the true reasons for your calling as a parent and the many ways God can work in your life as you journey on.

*Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing me with this book. I received a sample product in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall



Fraying at the Edge is the second book in The Amish of Summer Grove series by Cindy Woodsmall. The first book, Ties That Bind, was the beginning of Ariana's journey of learning who she really is. Ariana Brenneman learned that she was switched at birth by accident in the first book. That story takes her on a wild journey of realizing that her whole world is crashing in around her.

Her biological father makes a deal with the Amish community that the Brenneman's are a part of. In exchange for not suing them (because the midwife who switched the two girls at birth is Amish) Ariana would come to live with him and the biological mother for one year while the biological daughter of the Brennaman's would come to live with them.

That is where we pick up in Fraying at the Edge. Ariana has come to live with Nicholas and Brandi (her biological parents). They don't live together and she finds out she has "step-siblings" (which is never heard of in the Amish community). She also learns that when she was conceived, her parents were not married at the time. This is devastating news to her.

During her year with her biological parents, the only person she is allowed to contact is Quill, an ex-Amishman who helps others leaving the Amish community. He is also an old friend of Arianas. No matter how hard she tries to avoid having contact with him, because of their past and her anger toward him in coordinating this whole debacle, she has no one else to turn to.

Her biological father, Nicholas, is very anti-Christian. He tells Ariana how wrong her religion is and it puts a wall between them. He also gives her a "bucket list" of things she must accomplish in the year she is with them. Some of the things will compromise her faith but she agrees to the rest. Some of the things are: get a drivers license, go out on a date, go to a bar. Amish people don't do any of those things.

As Ariana continues to get to know her biological family and overcomes a lot of fears and reservations about them, Skylar is "stuck" with her biological family, the Brennemans. Skylar grew up with Brandi and Nicholas as parents. She is addicted to drugs and lives a very hard life. In order to return to her bio parents she must stop doing drugs and get clean.

Little did Skylar know that no matter how hard she tries to push the Brennemans away, they love her and want her. The relationships are hard at first. Her drug addiction gets her into a lot of trouble and she can't seem to see how much she really means to the family. After a while, she realizes that this is her life now. She has peace about it and gets better.

So much happens in the course of three months that Nicholas decides it's okay for Ariana to return to the Amish and for Skylar to come home to them. But, there are lots of things that still need to be dealt with as each girl tries to come to terms with their new and changed lives. They realize that things are different and they may not be able to return and just be okay with their old lives.

Cindy Woodsmall is an amazing Amish fiction writer. I enjoy everything she writes and this new book is no exception. I am looking forward to the next installment of the Summer Grove Series.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Purpose In The Pain




We are all going through something or just coming out of something or getting ready to go through something. No one is immune to the consequences of a life lived. We all have things we wish we could do better or different. No matter where you are, there is purpose.

For me, life has dealt me a card that is so hard to bear that only God can get me through it. Pain. Physical pain. The kind of pain that you cannot escape from with a magical pill or potion or essential oil. The kind of pain that shakes you to the core and has you wondering why you are even alive.

When I first started having symptoms of chronic pain, I didn't know it would last this long. I didn't know that four years down the road I would still be there. Stuck in the pain. Stuck in the deep, dark pit of self pity and anxiety and depression. But, it's my journey. God knows my pain. He has been with me every step, tear, and scream of the way.

God has also been with me when I questioned Him. I questioned why He would do this to me. Why would He curse me with this terrible disease? But, I knew the answer all along. Sin. Sin did this to me. I don't mean I am being punished. I mean, sin entered the world and gave us pain, heartache, depression, separation from God.

Through the years I have gone through every single emotion a human can go through. Anger, sadness, joy, hope, resentment, self pity, jealousy, fear, depression. That last one sticks with me. I bury it under many layers of other emotions but it is there. Always wanting to rear its ugly head. Always taunting me to give up hope. Give up any thoughts of being healed.

But, God. He sustains me. He has given me purpose in this pain. I don't know what that purpose is other than to make me stronger. Stronger in my faith. Stronger as a wife. Stronger as a mother. Sometimes I don't feel the purpose. Sometimes I feel it so much that my heart could burst.

Through my relationship with Jesus, my Savior, I can say, "I am Healed!" I am still in pain. But, I am healed. This body is not my forever body. My eternal body won't have this pain. But, my purpose is to get through this life proclaiming God's love and mercy and grace and healing.

I have been to the bottom of the pit. Probably even below the bottom of the pit. God didn't give up on me. He never gives up. His strength becomes my strength. His endurance becomes my endurance. I press into Him and He guides me through every painful moment. He sees me. He comforts me and shelters me and redeems me.

So my point is this: There is purpose in the pain. God's purpose. Not mine. His plan. Not mine. His mercy. His love. His faithfulness. His strength. Not mine. Physical pain is hard. It messes with your mind. It makes you feel hopeless and helpless. But those are not of God. Those are the lies of the enemy.

Jesus suffered a greater pain than I have ever felt. He died in my place on the cross. He took on all of my sins (and yours). He loves us so much that He died the death we deserved. He lived a sinless and perfect life and CHOSE to carry that cross to Calvary. He humbled Himself and felt all the emotions and pain that a human can feel. He saw how ugly and sinful and ungodly we are and still chose to save us. Wow.

Whatever pain you are going through (there are so many types of pain), God's got a purpose for it. His plans are always higher. Always. I have to remind myself daily that this world is not my home. This body is not my body. It is only temporary. Whether I am healed here on earth or when I get to Heaven and have a new body, I will get through it. I will sing God's praises and shout for joy!


"For I know the plans I have for you,
Declared the Lord,
Plans to prosper you and
not to harm you.
Plans to give you a hope
and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 10, 2016

Chronic Pain Update (A Crack In The Door)



I haven't been writing on my blog like I should. Life happens. I do a ton of reviews (which I love). But, I want to get back to writing on this space of mine. I wanted to give an update on the chronic pain issues that I have and also let you know what we have been doing in our homeschool journey.

Last year I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This was after 13 other doctors told me I was crazy, had "new mommy syndrome", and needed some rest. Finally, a doctor actually listened to my symptoms and ran the proper tests. I am so glad to have a diagnosis but not very happy about the type of illness I have.

You see, there is no cure. There are medications to mask the pain. But, there is no cure. I not taken any medications for the pain (even though it is unbearable at times) because they are opioids and I don't want to be addicted and strung out all the time. After going to several "pain specialists" (who just wanted to drug me up), I decided to see an actual Thoracic Surgeon.

The one I chose was a 2 hour drive from my house. I was so relieved when he told me that I wasn't crazy and had TOS. He told me I needed to have a first rib resection (have my first rib removed), a scalenectomy (my scalene muscle removed), and I needed my pec minor muscle clipped. Yikes!! It sounds as scary as it actually is. That is major surgery. But, this doctor is not the one for me. He only does this surgery once or twice a month. I need a more skilled and specialized doctor if someone is going to rip my body apart.

The reason for the surgery is to release the nerves, artery, and vein that are trapped in my brachial plexus. They are all being crushed by my first rib and my collar bone (that is called the brachial plexus). My body reacts by having my muscles tense, my arm to go numb, and so much more. It has been 4 LONG years of constant, debilitating pain.

My journey took me to a support group where I heard about a wonderful doctor at Johns Hopkins. That is the closest one to me that has a doctor who specializes in TOS. I immediately began the process of getting an appointment with him. After months of waiting (the local doctors and hospitals here took their time releasing my medical records) I finally have an appointment with the TOS doctor. It isn't until December, but I have hope.

I  HAVE A CRACK IN THE DOOR!!
 
Now, on to our homeschool journey so far this year. We just celebrated my oldest son's 8th birthday. I cannot believe I have an 8 year old. My middle son turned 6 over the summer and my youngest is 3 1/2. He thinks he is 12 though.
 
We are doing Classical Conversations this year again. It is such a blessing to be able to do this curriculum. We meet on Wednesdays at our own church building. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays we stay home and do our normal school work (which usually takes about 3 hours total) and chores. I leave Fridays open for field trips, library visits, family visits, and catching up from the week with school work and chores.
 
We have started reading all of the Chronicles of Narnia books. We already read The Magicians Nephew and are on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe right now. I have never seen my boys more excited to listen to me read. My oldest son has taken off with his reading. He is so smart. My middle son is just beginning to understand that letters actually make sounds that form words. It is amazing to watch them grow and learn.
 
Jensen Family Academy has already been on one field trip this year to a pumpkin and apple farm. It was so much fun! Our Classical Conversations group went (well, a few families) and we had a ball.
 
We did just go through Hurricane Matthew but it wasn't much here in VA. I am praying for those going through the aftermath right now with flooding and loss of life. We are truly blessed that we didn't take the brunt of it. I have actually been very ill for two weeks. We didn't do school work at all the week before last and last week was bare minimum. Not sure what I came down with but now I have a cough that won't go away. Oh, the beauty of someone sharing their germs. The children have escaped with no signs of illness, Praise God!
 
Life is pretty much routine around here.We are enjoying all of the fall activities, festivals, and weather. It has cooled down here and is now sweatshirt weather. I hope you have a great fall! It is my favorite time of year. 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Unreasonable Hope By: Chad Veach




Life's circumstances can sometimes be overwhelming. They take you for surprise and leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. A death in the family, a devastating illness, financial ruin. Whatever it is, God sees you and He loves you. He gives you hope to keep pressing on in the storm. Chad Veach has written a new book called Unreasonable Hope. He tells the story of how his daughter was diagnosed with a terrible disease and how his family overcame the feeling of hopelessness.

Chad Veach is the pastor at Zoe Church in Los Angeles. He has a wife and three children. One of which this book was written about her disease. In Unreasonable Hope, Veach takes us on the journey that he and his wife began when they had their very first child. A daughter named Georgia. When she was only a few months old, Georgia was diagnosed with a disease called lissencephaly (or smooth brain). It is a neurological illness that develops between 12 and 24 weeks gestation.

The Veach's were hit hard by this news. They felt sad for their daughter and feared for her future. As they struggled to find balance between their "normal" lives and trying to tend to their special needs daughter, God gives them hope. In the midst of their storm of finding a new "normal" they find Jesus and His ever-present help.

Veach gives the reader a new way to cope with the pain life can bring. Pain can bring so much hopelessness and helplessness. But, with God and His hope, you can overcome any of life's storms. When something unimaginable happens to us, we immediately start asking why and how and what did I do to deserve this. The author shows us how his family chose to have hope and look forward to what God brings to their lives each day.

Even though they have gone through their worst nightmare, they cling to Jesus and the hope that only He can provide.

This book read more like a memoir but it was easy to read. It answers some important questions about our faith in God during trials.

*Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for providing this book to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Biggest Story by: Kevin DeYoung (Review)


Teaching my children the Word of God is the most important part of our homeschool. It is the biggest reason why we homeschool in the first place. Each morning we read a passage from the Bible out loud and discuss how it pertains to our own lives. Kevin DeYoung, a Pastor in Michigan and author of Christian books, has put together a beautiful Bible story called The Biggest Story. He teamed up with illustrator Don Clark (who did an amazing job!). I received a copy of the DVD (an animated short film) as well as the audio book both narrated by Kevin DeYoung himself.



In The Biggest Story DVD, Kevin DeYoung takes us back to the beginning of the Bible in Genesis. We have to start there because that is where God started. As beautiful and elaborate pictures are shown on the screen the author tells Bible stories with such enthusiasm and meaning. He gives each account from the Bible in a child-like way in order for people of all ages to understand the concepts.

He builds up the story to "The Biggest Story", the story of Jesus. He explains how every single person, story, and event in the Bible leads us to Jesus. The prophets of old were all telling of a coming Savior. The leaders of the Bible were all sinful and needed someone to come and rescue them from their wicked ways. No matter how hard each person tried, they just couldn't save themselves. God guided them and gave them many chances throughout history. But, God's ultimate gift to His people is Jesus.

My children LOVED this DVD and looked forward to it every day. I wish there were more to it. The only negative (if you can call it that) was that when you get to Jesus and the resurrection that is it. I wanted more from the New Testament. The Old Testament could have been elaborated on a little more but I felt it was enough to keep my children's attention. After each lesson we sat down together and talked about what happened in that chapter. My boys asked lots of questions and truly begged for more each day. My boys are 7, 6, and 3, by the way. So, it is great for all ages.

The Biggest Story Audio Book is exactly like the DVD except it is just audio. We have been listening to that in the car and it really comes to life after having watched the DVD. I think this would make the perfect Christmas gift for a grandchild, niece, nephew, friend, or anyone with children.

Here is a link to the animated short film:

Here is a link to the audio book:


*Many thanks to Propeller Consultling, LLC who provided me with the items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Intercessory Prayer (By: Dutch Sheets)




Prayer is the most important form of communication because we are speaking directly to God. It is our way to connect instantly with our Savior. There are many different kinds of prayers. Prayer can change your life. Dutch Sheets book Intercessory Prayer helps guide the reader into a healthy, fresh, and motivating prayer life.

Though this book was originally written in 1996, he revamped it and republished it this year. It has previously sold over 600,000 copies and I believe it will sell just as many this time around as well.

Intercessory Prayer will challenge you to become more bold in your prayer life. To come before a Holy God and speak to him with courage and wholeheartedness. Humans have become lazy in their prayers. They make up thousands of excuses as to why they don't pray very often. But, Jesus was fearless with His prayers and His ministry.

Through Jesus' example we gain knowledge and wisdom about how we should be praying. Sheets begins this book by answering many questions about prayers and why we should have a prayer life in the first place. Having a solid foundation in God is just the beginning but the most important part of prayer.

The author goes on to give stories from his life and they bring light to some very important issues. Adding personal experiences gives the reader a better sense of how prayer can change situations and lives. Then adding the "meat" or substance to your prayer life becomes easier.

This book was an easy read and the flow was effortless. It will change the way your pray and think about prayer.

*I was given this book by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Taste And See (John Piper)



John Piper is an amazing teacher, author, and pastor. He has written many books and founded desiringGod.org. I have done reviews of his work before and enjoyed it. His newest book, Taste And See, is a book with 125 daily meditations. I chose to use this for my devotions each morning.

The theme of Taste And See is "Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life". That means trusting God no matter your circumstances and choosing to give God the credit for everything. God is sovereign and supreme. He is ruler over everything. John Piper gives us lessons on how we can appreciate God's authority and delight in His presence.

Each devotion is set up the same. There is a theme for each day and a sub-theme. The lessons are written by John Piper and are about two and a half pages long. They are easy to read and he gives scripture verses to back up his teachings. He uses the Bible to get his points across and is firm in his faith.

This book is hard bound and easy to use. The author helps to solidify your trust and faith in God who rules over everything. He asks hard questions and gives Biblical truth to back up his findings. God loves us so much and sometimes it is hard to feel that love through life's circumstances. But in Psalm 119:103 we read, "How sweet are your words to taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" God wants us to dig deeper into our relationship with Him. This book gives you the tools and understanding to be able to do that.

*I was given this book by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Today's Moment of Truth (Lee Strobel & Mark Mittelberg)



I have written many times about putting God first in your life each day. Having alone time with Christ and seeking out His Word is the most important thing you can do for yourself. That is why I do so many reviews for devotionals. I find them to be very helpful in getting in that time with the Lord.

Apologists Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg have teamed up to bring us a new devotional book called Today's Moment of Truth. It is a collection of 180 encouraging and insightful devotions that they have written themselves. Their main focus is "Why do we believe what we believe?" They use scientific facts, Biblical facts, and historical facts to strengthen your walk with Christ.

Each devotion is set up the same way. There is a main theme such as "Who Has Faith?" Each devotion also includes a scripture reading for that day that correlates with the theme. There is a short message about each theme and they end with "Truth for Today". This part includes some questions to ask yourself about that days theme.

This book is hardbound and very easy to use. There is a ribbon book mark included for your convenience and each theme is located at the front of the book in the contents section. You can easily find a theme that may relate to your life or one that you find intriguing.

No matter where you are in your walk with God, having a daily devotion to deepen your understanding and faith in Him is very important. This particular devotional book will give you more insight about why Christians believe what we believe as well as giving you a firm foundation in Christ. This is one book that the whole family can enjoy together.

*I was given this book by BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, July 22, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful (By: Cecil Frances Alexander)




All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander and illustrated by Katy Hudson is a sweet new book. It is based on Genisis 1:1, 31A.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth...
And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good."
(KJV)
 
The pictures are absolutely amazing and adorable. Katy Hudson did a tremendous job. She was raised in England and has been painting since she was a small child. She earned a degree in illustration with the encouragement of her parents. She is a freelance author and illustrator now and her studio is located in Old London library. I truly believe this is the cutest book I have ever seen.
 
Cecil Frances Alexander was an amazing and inspiring woman who wrote hymns and poems during her time. She was born in 1818 in Dublin, Ireland. Her writing began as a young girl. One of her best known hymns is "All Things Bright and Beautiful". This book was made from that hymn. She died in 1895 and is remembered because of her great kindness and generosity.
 
Throughout the book the author speaks about God and how He created all things. Through God's inspiration, the whole world and all its beauty was made. No matter what, if something is great or small, wise or wonderful, God created it all.
 
My children truly love this book. All Things Bright and Beautiful gave them a book about the things that God made. I highly recommend purchasing this book for your children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren.
 
*I was given this book by FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

American Woman's Bible (Review)



I absolutely love history (my favorite subject to teach and study). I also love the Bible. So, when someone decided to combine the two I jumped on the opportunity to review it. The new American Woman's Bible (edited by Dr. Richard G. Lee and forward by Penny Nance) is all about combining the Bible with the women who have been influential in the making of America as well as Biblical virtues.

This Bible is the New King James Version. I prefer this version. It is easy to read and I grew up reading this version. It was edited to add tidbits about women throughout American history who have helped to mold this country in some way or another. There are also a few color pictures throughout.

As you read through this Bible, you come across a biography on Fanny Crosby, or an article about the Women of the American Revolution, quotes by some American women, or a small piece on Dorothea Lang (a famous photographer). Every page brings a new element.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the pages. I was fascinated by the amount of women who assisted in forming this great country from early in history all the way to modern day. I am doing a further study into some of these women to learn more about each of them. I had not heard of a few of them and it really got me thinking about history.

In America, we hear a lot about all of the men who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We hear of the great wars, the triumphs, the losses, the heroes, the Presidents, and leaders. We don't hear much about the women who worked behind the scenes with these great men to accomplish what we have today. In this book, you will learn of the battles that women fought to bring freedom and justice to America. You will read about women who loved and served God without wavering in their faith when the odds were stacked against them. You will read of heroines who served this great country through wars and victory.

This Bible is for the history buff. There are so many great quotes that inspired me throughout. I plan to write them down so I can remember them in hard times. We are facing many changes in the USA. Some of them are great and some are grave. No matter where this country ends up, we know that God stands still and will always be constant and never-changing. What a great reminder as we head into adjustments in this country. God is in control.

*I was given this book by BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

God Bless America~A Patriotic Coloring Book (Multnomah)



Adult coloring books are very popular right now. I would have never believed it. I was very skeptical a year ago when they started to become a trend. Now, I am head over heels for coloring. Today I am reviewing God Bless America (A Patriotic Coloring Book). It is all about America and history and love of country. Perfect timing since we just celebrated Independence Day.

In this book, it's all about the red, white, and blue. This book gives you peaceful ways to contemplate the good ol' U S of A. We live in a truly amazing country where freedom was fought for and freedom was found. We have the advantage of equality, possibility, faith, family, justice, and so much more. You will be able to gain a sense of pride about being born American.

Each page features an original design from one of nine different artists and an inspirational quote from one of our Founding Fathers, an historic document, a patriotic hymn, or other symbolic American quotes.

I just love how this book represents a wide range of American history. It also features quotes from both men and women who made this country what it is today. Some of the quotes are recognizable, while others were new to me and I truly enjoyed each one.

On the back of each page is a short description of the quote, a history lesson about the person who said it, or the rest of a Bible verse that was taken to make the coloring page. I truly adored this part of the book because I love history. It saved me from having to "Google" the quote or scripture verse, or hymn. I actually learned a little bit while coloring.

This is the perfect coloring book to relieve stress, get you to slow down, quiet the noise, and get creative.

*I received this book from BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dogs Go To Heaven CD (By: Mark Lowry)




Mark Lowry is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and comedian. His songs are inspirational and funny. His comedy will leave you laughing your heart out. I have enjoyed him for a few years now. Ever since discovering him through the Giathers, I have followed him and laughed and sang along.

His newest DVD also comes in CD form (in which I am reviewing for FamilyChristian.com). It is called Dogs Go To Heaven and it is hilarious and refreshing. Some of the people that are also featured on this CD are: The Martins, Stan Whitmire, TaRanda & The First Baptist Church Choir of Hendersonville, TN. The music is so lovely. The comedy is side-splitting.

He speaks about old age and how he is becoming older. The advantages of being older and the disadvantages. He talks about animals being heaven and where the cats go too. Ha! His heartfelt stories and music make my day better. With so much bad in the world, having comedy and good music is very calming.

The songs included on this CD include:

  • Jesus Laughing
  • Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
  • Fly Me To The Moon
  • He Leadeth Me
  • Count Your Blessings
  • Worry
  • What A Lovely Name
  • I Thirst (Mom's Song)
  • You'll Never Walk Alone
  • How We Love
  • Glow Worm
  • On Jordan's Stormy Banks
  • Goodbye World Goodbye
  • Old People
  • Where Amazing Happens
  • The Promise
  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Come As You Are
My favorites were "Fly Me To The Moon" (very romantic sounding), What A Lovely Name, Old People (it is very sweet and funny), and, of course, Mary, Did You Know? That is my favorite song that he sings. 

If you are looking for something funny, sweet, uplifting, and encouraging, this is the CD for you . 

*I was given this CD by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Dogs Go To Heaven CD (By: Mark Lowry)






Mark Lowry is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and comedian. His songs are inspirational and funny. His comedy will leave you laughing your heart out. I have enjoyed him for a few years now. Ever since discovering him through the Giathers, I have followed him and laughed and sang along.

His newest DVD also comes in CD form (in which I am reviewing for FamilyChristian.com). It is called Dogs Go To Heaven and it is hilarious and refreshing. Some of the people that are also featured on this CD are: The Martins, Stan Whitmire, TaRanda & The First Baptist Church Choir of Hendersonville, TN. The music is so lovely. The comedy is side-splitting.

He speaks about old age and how he is becoming older. The advantages of being older and the disadvantages. He talks about animals being heaven and where the cats go too. Ha! His heartfelt stories and music make my day better. With so much bad in the world, having comedy and good music is very calming.

The songs included on this CD include:

  • Jesus Laughing
  • Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
  • Fly Me To The Moon
  • He Leadeth Me
  • Count Your Blessings
  • Worry
  • What A Lovely Name
  • I Thirst (Mom's Song)
  • You'll Never Walk Alone
  • How We Love
  • Glow Worm
  • On Jordan's Stormy Banks
  • Goodbye World Goodbye
  • Old People
  • Where Amazing Happens
  • The Promise
  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Come As You Are
My favorites were "Fly Me To The Moon" (very romantic sounding), What A Lovely Name, Old People (it is very sweet and funny), and, of course, Mary, Did You Know? That is my favorite song that he sings. 

If you are looking for something funny, sweet, uplifting, and encouraging, this is the CD for you . 

*I was given this CD by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

The Life We Never Expected (By: Andrew & Rachel Wilson)






The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson is about the challenges and unexpected joy of raising children with special needs. I do not have children with special needs but I chose to review this book to gain a better understanding of children with special needs and their families. I teach in Children's Worship at my church as well as serve in the nursery. We are also a part of a homeschool co-op. I want to be able to better understand and communicate with others who do have special needs in their lives.

In The Live We Never Expected the Wilsons discuss the highs and lows of raising special needs children. They tell stories that are real and raw. They face challenges every day and they decided to write about how they cope and manage to get through the tough time. They also write about all of the joys and triumphs they have in their lives.

The couple brings you through the ups and downs of their every day lives and how they use God's Word to bring peace in the midst of trials. They give hope to those going through the fire of raising children who have special needs. Having a disability can be devastating. Especially when your child is diagnosed with an illness or disorder. Like I said, I do not have a child with a disability but have friends and family who do. I have seen them go through so much.

This book is not just for special-needs parents. All care givers can benefit from reading this book in order to have a better understanding of how to get through childhood. The book is broken up into five cycles. Those cycles are then broken up into categories: Weeping, Worshiping, Waiting, Witnessing, and Breathe.

Clinging to Jesus through a life you never expected is so important. That is what this book does. Gives you the courage to get through it. It gives you hope for tomorrow. It gives you encouragement when faced with devastating circumstances. By using the Bible as the main source for all of the things mentioned above and with personal experience.

I highly recommend reading this book. It would most benefit those with children who have special needs, foster parents, adoptive parents, parents of challenging children, and parents who have sweet angels who are perfect (if there are any of you out there). I joke about that last one. But, I do recommend any care giver to read this to really understand what it is like to have a child who is different, special, or needs extra care.

*I was given this book by FlyBy Promotions in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Friday, July 1, 2016

Would A Worm Go On A Walk? (By: Hannah C. Hall)


Children ask so many questions. Some of them are silly and some of them are genuine. This new little book called Would a Worm Go on a Walk? is a silly book with a great and powerful message. It is written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Bill Bolton.

It all starts with the question: Would a Worm Go on a Walk? Many different kinds of animals and insects are introduced in this book. Silly questions are asked about each of them such as: Would a Ladybug wear lipstick?, Would a penguin use a parachute?, Would a rhino wear a raincoat?, Would a pig play piano?

I read this to my three year old son and he laughed so much. He understood that these scenarios wouldn't happen and that the questions were asked in a playful tone. He truly enjoyed the pictures. They are very creative and colorful. The pictures truly bring the story to life.

At the end of the book we come to the moral of the story. We are all created the way God created us for a specific purpose. So, a ladybug wouldn't wear lipstick, a worm wouldn't go for a walk, a penguin wouldn't wear a parachute and so on. Each animal, insect, and human was created just the way God wanted them to be and for a purpose that He designed. Humans are truly God's masterpiece and we were created so different than everything else.

I loved that it has a biblical moral even though it is a children's book. It involves animals and fun. My kids all loved it and have read it a million times since I received it. I recommend this book and plan to give it as a gift for other children.

*This book was given to me by FlyBy Promotions/Propeller in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Longing In Me (Sheila Walsh)




I love Sheila Walsh. Her days on the Women of Faith Tours were awesome. Ever since, I have been a big fan. Her testimony is amazing and it felt like God was speaking straight to me. When I saw that she had a new book I just had to have it. It's called The Longing In Me. It is so inspirational. She writes about how everything in us leads to God. Everything we crave, everything we long for, everything we want. It all leads to the feet of Jesus. We were created to need Him.

We all have an ache in our hearts for something. We have a void that needs to be filled. Jesus is the answer. He will give you the desires of your heart and fill it with much joy and wonder. We have a hunger in our souls for God. His presence will fill us and make us complete.

No matter where you are in life, everyone craves something more. If you have lots of money, you still feel poor. If you have a great career, you still want more. If you have love, you still don't have TRUE love. Only God can give that. Only He can strengthen us and give us what we need.

Sheila Walsh is such a wise and Godly woman. Her counsel is Biblical and true. She tells us our longing is for Jesus. No matter how much we look to the wrong people, situations, things, on earth, it won't be fulfilling without Jesus.

If our lives are leading us away from God, we are doing something wrong. We must examine ourselves, spiritually speaking, and seek God. When we turn our lives over to Him, we will feel all our needs being met even in the harshest circumstances. Even when we fall, God is there to pick us up.

I encourage you to read this book. It is chock full of Biblical advice and wisdom. Sheila Walsh is an amazing writer and speaker. Her passion for God is so evident in her life. She is real and raw and full of emotion. You will not be disappointed.

*I was given this book by BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Hope Unfolding (Becky Thompson)





Motherhood. It's not for the faint of heart. It is the best thing in the world. And, it's the hardest thing in the world. It can be very unrewarding. It can be tiring, stressful, and down right ugly sometimes. You try your best every day to be the best mother you can be. Most days are awesome. You feel loved, your kids feel loved, your family is taken care of. There are also days when you come up short. No matter how hard you try, the days seems to be crazy.

Becky Thompson (of Scissortail Silk) has written a new book called Hope Unfolding. It is full of grace, truth, and hope about motherhood. On those days when you feel like you aren't enough, God says we are enough. She gives sound advice and Biblical wisdom as a mother herself who has been in the same shoes.

I find myself constantly comparing myself to other mom's. I fall short because they are not me and I am not them. I can never be anything except what God has called me to be. I have friends who are constantly on the go. Their children and very well behaved. They take art classes, karate, music lessons, and so on. I don't do any of that. We just can't afford it. So, my human self feels sorry for my children. But, in reality, what are they missing? They are happy, fed, loved, and awesome. I couldn't ask for anything more.

So, why the comparison? Why the doubtfulness? It is this world and the Devil. They are lies. God says I am enough. This book has given me fresh confidence to look up to God instead of around at the world. This world is temporary. My children are so happy. My worries are for nothing. God is in control and His plans are higher than my plans.

There have been days that I have thought God has forgotten about me. What a lie! He cares for me so much His Son died for me. No matter what life throws at me, God is good and loves me. He has never left me even for a second. He is my strength and comfort. He is my steady hand and my rock. He fills me with joy and hope.

No matter how messy your life looks (or mine), that doesn't define us. We are redeemed in Christ. He has given us grace. A grace in which we must give ourselves as well. If the sink is full of dirty dishes, but you spent the day playing with your kids....GRACE. Give it to yourself. God loves you where you are and for who you are. His blood covers all.

LOVED! That is how I feel about this book. I plan to give it to many of my mom friends. They need to read this book! Go and get it NOW!

*I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*


Spiritual Warfare For Your Family (Leighmann McCoy)




Leighmann McCoy's new book, Spiritual Warfare For You Family, has given me a lot of think about and pray about. I have seen spiritual attacks on my family, friends, and on the church. It is on the rise and Christians need to be prepared on how to handle and what the Bible says about it.

The enemy wants to hurt, kill, and destroy you and everyone you love. He lies, steals, and takes whatever he wants. Satan knows his time his short and he is trying to devour as many souls as he can. He starts with family. Tearing down the family unit tears down so much more in its wake. But, God's power is so much stronger than Satan's. God created Satan, so we know who wins in the end.

Leighmann McCoy gives practical advice and Biblical wisdom for protecting your family against Satan's attacks. This book will guide you in learning about how the enemy will attack your children and you will discover why you may be struggling to overcome then attacks from the enemy.

She gives sound ideas about how to develop offensive tactics to strike first through prayer and God's Word. When we give ourselves fully to God through prayer and reading the Bible, we find that we are already equipped to defeat Satan.

We are vulnerable to spiritual attacks because we are raising children, getting married, going to church, living for Christ. We must lean on God and His strength and wisdom. It is everlasting and enough. God has given us every tool and weapon to defeat Satan. The Bible contains all we need.

I am definitely witnessing more and more from Satan lately. He tries to get me down because of my chronic pain and illness. I find that when I give in to the pain, Satan laughs and feels empowered. Those times (which are more and more) when I go to the throne of God and ask for His mercy and strength and endurance, I feel free from the captivity of pain. This book has given me the courage to become more aware of the spiritual realm and the wisdom to know how to defeat the enemy's attacks.

*This book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*