Thursday, August 20, 2015

Snuggle Time with Bible-Related Books for Toddlers


I hate to admit it, but it's taking some dedicated effort to make sure that I get snuggle time reading in with my youngest little guy right now, and sometimes even my Bumblebee. Grasshopper loves for me to read to him, and I'm reading more and more with him, attempting to make sure we're getting in all his "schoolwork". It's too easy to leave out my younger two right now. Most the time, they're all too happy to jump in my lap with a picture book, though! Here are a few we've enjoyed recently.


First up,


Say and Pray Bible: First Words, Stories, and Prayers by Diane Stortz, with illustrations by Sarah Ward

This book is perfect for the littlest of learners. It would be a great book for the nursery class age, but my Bumblebee(2 1/2) has enjoyed it, too. Each "story" gets two pages, with a brief little "story", a Bible verse, and a prayer. Some of the pictures are labeled with words, so it's a great way to introduce words to little ones. My bumblebee has enjoyed pointing at pictures, and attempting to say the words. He's a late talker, so his words are still in the super precious stage(when we can understand them).


This definitely isn't a book to use exclusively for Bible lessons, by any means, but it is a sweet way to get in a little Bible lesson(and snuggles) with younger babies/toddlers.

*We were provided a review copy, in exchange for our honest opinion, from BookLook.

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Next,


The Plans I Have For You by Amy Parker, with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton


We have a couple of Amy Parker's other books on our nighttime bookshelf(Night Night Blessings and A Night Night Prayer), and they're some of my most favorite books to read to the boys before bed. They're short and sweet and comforting. I have to admit I don't like this one quite as much, but it's still a nice read. I like the illustrations most of all. They're fun!


This is a good book to introduce some of the professions out there that they might not have heard about yet. Mostly, though, it's a reminder that God has a plan for your child(for EACH of us), and it's an important one(even if someone else doesn't think so).

The story is written as if God is talking directly to your child, which I didn't know before getting it. I didn't really care for it at all in that format, so I changed the words a bit. Instead of saying "I" as if God is talking, I just changed it to "He" and we discussed how God DOES have a plan for each of us.

Overall, it's a fun read.

*We were provided a review, in exchange for our honest opinion, from Booklook.


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And, finally(for today)


Jesus Calling for Little Ones by Sarah Young, with illustrations by Antonia Woodward


I've never read any of the Jesus Calling books, and to be perfectly honest, I have no intentions of doing so. As you may already know, the Jesus Calling books are written as though Jesus is talking directly to you/your child. This isn't really my thing, but I've learned if I'm willing to edit a few words here and there, we get in on some great books that we'd miss out on otherwise. (Dinosaurs come to mind here!)I knew that the 1st person narrative wouldn't be super hard to edit within a board book, so I gave it a chance. I'm really glad I did, too! It's a sweet book.

The pictures are the sugar sweet kind, which I can't seem to resist. They also appear to be within Bible times, though a few could pass for present.


We love precious little board books around here. They're perfect for throwing into bags to carry to various places for entertainment AND perfect for quick little snuggles here and there. This one is a sweet reminder that Jesus loves each of us, and He's always with us.

*We were provided a review copy, in exchange for our honest opinion, from Amazon Vine.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Grin With Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis


AMG Bible Studies (May 1, 2015) 208 pages

Description:

Have you ever felt the need to bite your tongue or grit your teeth? Grin with Grace explores ways to genuinely smile in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances. Sometimes, we just need to grin with grace! God blesses us with His grace, and it impacts our relationship with Him and with others.
Each chapter features five sections:
• Grin with Grace contains real-life stories and observations. You’ll laugh at the humorous confessions and wacky insights, and relate to Kathy’s transparent honesty. Be inspired to see grace in your everyday life.
• Grow with Grace features a grace word study. Kathy examines Bible verses and personalizes the meaning to your situation. Workbook prompts allows you to write down your thoughts as you read along.
• Go with Grace offers life application. Pick one action step and make it work for you, or pick all of them—but do something to live out your grace-walk.
• Give with Grace advances life application further, equipping you to become an instrument of God’s grace to others. You’ll be inspired to take what you’ve learned and give it away to others. This is when faith becomes ministry—when your focus expands to see the needs of others.
• Your Grin with Grace Challenge describes a grace-challenging scenario to give you an opportunity to exercise your new found grace. It allows for speculation and judgment calls, to prepare you for the what-ifs that happen in life.

My Thoughts:

This is a study that I desperately needed!

Not too long ago, I commented that I wasn't one to get easily offended. Of course that comment has made me pay extra attention to when I have, and I've had to admit that maybe I'm offended more than I'd like to admit. Recently, I was talking to a friend, and she turned to her co-worker, and said, "Pray for her. She homeschools, so she never gets a break." After laughing sarcastically, the lady said, "That's okay. She'll be down there signing 'em up before long." I just smiled at my little one that was with me, but I wasn't smiling on the inside. On the inside, I was sarcastically thinking, "Wow! Thanks for the encouragement." Grinning with grace means doing so on the inside, too, and I need work on that. I've said PLENTY of stupid things that I didn't mean to be offensive, but that were. I pray when that happens the other person offers me grace. I desperately want to do the same!

Grin With Grace is a 7 week Bible study. There are 12 chapters, along with an epilogue and a leader's guide in the back. You could divide the reading into any way you want, but there is a recommendation in the front on what chapters to cover each week, particularly if you're studying the book with a group. Each chapter has personal stories, with plenty of humor. There's tons of discussion questions, with lots of writing room. These questions aren't generic, either. They are wonderfully thought provoking. There's quotes, and the Bible verses are woven right into the chapters.

There's even a "grin with grace challenge" where you'll get a scenario, and have to decide what you would do in that situation. THIS would definitely be a benefit of doing this book with a group, because many of these challenges left me baffled as to what would be an appropriate response. Grinning with grace is HARD. Like when a momma abandons her daughter right before starting kindergarten, and even takes all of her new school clothes you got for her, so she has nothing nice to wear. What do you do in situations like that?! Rely completely on God! The selfishness and cruelty of people these days make it hard to grin, period. This book is full of amazing advice, though!
"Sometimes God's grace is put on hold, as He waits for me to "get it". It comes as no surprise to God that I don't have it in me to make it without Him. So why do I hide my flaws and try to trick myself into thinking I can manage on my own? He designed me-He knows my shortcomings. My grace challenge, if I'm going to grin, grow, go and give, is to be authentic with myself and with God and then rely on Him to be enough without me trying to compensate in some way. Like Eve after she ate the fruit, I can't hide behind a rock, or behind a fig leaf, and think God can't see me for what I truly am. He sees. He knows. And yet He loves. If that isn't grace, what is?"

This study has been greatly beneficial for me, and thought provoking, so as long as you pay attention to my "note" below, I highly recommend it.


Note: I disagree with the Salvation portion of the book, and don't believe it is Biblical. While there is awesome advice in here, I recommend skipping/ignoring the parts concerning Salvation.

Acts 2:38: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Repent...a command

Be baptized IN the name of Jesus Christ....a command

For what? Remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.



Here are two excellent "Question and Answer" sessions at Come Fill Your Cup. ((Part 1 and Part 2)) And, also the article "What About Baptism?" There are lots of Bible verses and study throughout all of those!


*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Purchase Link:

Grin with Grace

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Odyssey Adventure Club Back-to-School Special

It's August, which means it's nearly time for your kids to pack up their pencils, zip up their backpacks, and hop on the school bus. Aside from prepping them for their new teachers, new classes, or maybe even a new school, it's important to prep their faith. Sign your whole family up for Adventures in Odyssey's Odyssey Adventure Club for a special price of $9.99/month. The club is an essential tool to teach your children to share their faith at school, to be bold, and to grow in their relationship with God.




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Join during the month of August for $9.99/month, and you'll receive these benefits for being a member:


  • Unlimited streaming of Adventures in Odyssey library (800 episodes) retail value over $1,500 USD
  • New monthly exclusive episodes
  • Monthly Web Quests
  • Monthly Clubhouse magazine subscription (U.S. Residents Only)
  • Daily devotions based on Adventures in Odyssey episodes
  • OAC monthly member newsletter
  • OAC exclusive video stories
  • Animated Odyssey videos, Last Chance Detectives, and more!
Spend the last few weeks of summer vacation with your kids listening to Adventures in Odyssey episodes and build their faith!




Ready to join? Head over to the website and sign up today!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hello, Everybody!


Hello, everybody!

How was your July/start of August? Any fun/happy things happen? I've been thrilled to see all the great news through my blog feed. There's been quite a lot with blogging friends to celebrate!

One of them: Kathryn Cooper is an author! :D I met Kathryn at some point in blogging, and she's a friend I'd love to meet in person. I'm super happy for her and proud of her. She recently battled brain cancer, so this great news is even more special after her getting through that challenge.

I'll post more soon, but here's a bit about it for now.


Aspen Everlasting

Description:

Aspen Foster thinks she’s just a normal sixteen-year-old, but when her car’s caught in a flash flood, Aspen and her sister discover the superhuman strength they never knew they had.

Soon Aspen learns she’s not normal at all. She’s an Evermortal fairy, with powers beyond her wildest dreams. But the more Aspen finds out about her family’s past, the more dangerous her future becomes.

This riveting fantasy is full of action, adventure, and romance. Suspenseful and exhilarating!

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What have you been reading? Any good recommendations?



I did take on a review book here and there, but I've been enjoying freedom in my schedule. I saw Harry Potter mentioned one too many times by many, many friends, both in the blog land and on Facebook, so I've made my way back into that series. It had been a long time since I'd read them all, and honestly didn't know how much I'd like them at this point in my life. It turns out these books are like comfort reads for me. It's felt good to be back in them, and I've been amazed at just how much I'd forgot.




Any other Harry Potter fans out there, or have you not read the series yet? ;)


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Break For July



I'm taking a break from my blog during the month of July.

At some point last year, I had full intentions of no longer reviewing books if I couldn't involve my children in the reading and reviewing of them. I don't know what happened, but I ended up with a ridiculous stack of books. Thankfully, I finally saw the light of day, and stopped requesting again. I made a goal to be done with everything by July 1st, so I could escape from the internet just a bit during July. I'm exhausted and my head and my eyes hurt from so much reading, but I'm done. Hallelujah! :D (Now you know why so many posts went through today....I had a GOAL to accomplish!) ;)

It should remain quiet around here, unless I've forgotten a commitment, in which case you'll see that pop up.


I'll leave you with a few of my favorite books from the past few months. Despite the HUGE amount of reading I've done, it seems very few of them have made it to my blog.



The Glass Casket by Mccormick Templeman

This book is beautiful, but dark and creepy. Don't judge it by its horrible cover, though! It's so much better than that, and I loved it. It's a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. Just don't read it at night!



The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Though I don't recommend it AT ALL for the target age, I think it is an amazing story for adults to read. I was quickly turning the pages, and couldn't figure out what was going on. It's very strange, but thought provoking.



The Boys of Fire and Ash by Meaghan McIsaac

This one has more of a science fiction feel to it than average old YA fiction. It's unique, and another one I loved.



Lord willing, I'll see y'all in August! Have fun! I'm simply preparing for some rest and play now. :D

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A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer


Description:

A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim?

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

My Thoughts:

Romance books just aren't my ideal reading material right now. I'm not sure what has happened to me, but I find myself sarcastic and my eyes roll more and more while reading. It's not my husband's fault, in case you want to blame him. (Husbands are typically the first place of blame when a woman admits such things.) ;) I'm hoping it's just a stage I'm going through!

Karen Witemeyer is one of my most favorite authors, though, so I couldn't resist reading her newest work. I gave myself a pep talk before diving into the pages, and prepared to read a sweet romance. There were still moments of eye rolling as she admired his muscles, and he admired that she was the perfect height for kissing, etc, etc. But, even in my stage of sarcasm, I enjoyed it.

As I've came to expect with Witemeyer's books, I got a very sweet romance! I loved the characters, and even though I don't typically like kids to be a part of the romance books I read, Witemeyer makes it work!

This is definitely a book I'll revisit when my sarcastic phase has subsided, but I really did enjoy it this reading round, too. If you enjoy Christian romances, read each and every one of Witemeyer's books! They truly are treasures.

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Purchase Link:

A Worthy Pursuit


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