Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Scripture Doodle Books by April Knight


Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.

My Thoughts:

I was sent a copy of both Scripture Doodle and Scripture Doodle: God's Promises. To me, they make me think of something that might be used in a ladies' class that might meet on a Thursday(or another day that isn't official "church gathering" time). It mixes teaching you how to doodle and create art with a Bible lesson. April gives you instructions on how to do things, from super basic and up. These books are mostly about the art, though it is meant to create art that keeps the focus on God. The lessons are truly like a Christian art class within a book, and I think that's awesome.

The lessons aren't super deep, but they are nice reminders. Each day gets a Bible verse, along with the mini devotional(around 3-9 sentences), and then an assignment for that day's art. Obviously, it doesn't take long to read the lesson, and most of the time is spent attempting the art assignment.

These are both beautiful books! I believe anyone that enjoys creating art, or wants to learn how to do it better will enjoy these books. I must admit that I'm a bit fascinated by them.

*I was given free copies of both books.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pray from A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community by Amelia Rhodes


Change the world one prayer at a time.

How would our community change if instead of absently saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually did pray–deeply, intensely, and purposefully?

Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.

With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter–three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God’s presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong–on His strong shoulders.

Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

My Thoughts:

You really can't go wrong with this book! It might sound a little corny to list prayers from A to Z, but it greatly opened my mind to those that need my prayers(and yours). There are many that I don't think about on a regular basis, and this book has been a great reminder to do just that. Plus, it's not just prayers for those in need. There's also prayers of blessing and praise.

Each letter will get several topics, and each topic gets a page with a Bible verse, an assignment for prayer, and then a sample prayer. The author makes it clear that the prayers listed in this book aren't meant to be recited. They should be seen as "conversation starters". I firmly believe that prayers should come from my heart, not the heart of someone else, so I greatly appreciate that reminder from her.

To give you an example of what you might see: The letter "D" gets the topics of "Depression and Mental Health", "Divorce", "Dementia and Alzheimer's", which are "Prayers of Petition" and "Deliverer", and "Dwelling Place", which are "Prayers of Praise".

The book is super simple, but so helpful! You're encouraged to write notes and use this book and these prayers as just a starting point. (I'd recommend a separate journal or notebook for that, because there's not a ton of room left over. I don't write tiny, though.)

This book truly IS a practical guide for praying for your community. Again, you can't go wrong with it.

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus and Bible by Juliet David, with Illustrations by Jane Heyes

Candle Day by Day Bible

If you'd like a super quick summary of what I say below for both books(because it's a bit long): Gorgeous illustrations, but make sure you read and compare with God's true Word!

I really like the whole idea of this "Bible". It's made like a flip type calendar, being spiral bound on the top. It has a very sturdy stand, which makes it easy to set on a desk or counter(or wherever you wanted to display it). The stand also folds up, so it can be flat if that's what you need(for moving or storage, etc). The pages aren't that thick, though, and with it being spiral bound, especially on top(making less holes to be torn), I worry about the lasting power of this thing, particularly if little ones are around. It's labeled for 5-7, but as far as content, I think it would be nice for younger children, too. It's a bit simple for older children.

It appears that this is actually a desk version of the Day by Day Bible, so if you have that version, this one would simply make it easier to keep in sight every day.

You turn the page each day and get a new picture and a new part of a "story". It's a nice and easy way to get a little extra Bible in each day. Of course it doesn't cover every single event from the real Bible, but it's great for little ones. Just to make sure we're clear, no, I wouldn't recommend this as a lone Bible source. It's a nice little supplement, though!

I would have liked each page to have the Bible verses it was summarized from to have been included. This would have made it a better option for older children, too. They could read each day's page, similar to a devotional, and then read the Bible verses associated with it. That way they could fill in the details and compare for themselves between God's Word and the summary, all while getting great visuals, which I think are perfectly lovely. That said, it is easy enough to find the real events within the Bible by searching ahead of time. Having it included would have just made it easier on me, though.

(Just to give you an example of exactly why I highly recommend reading alongside God's Word, and never taking the word of us imperfect humans: This book says that Moses wrote God's "rules"(The Ten Commandments). God's Word makes it clear, repeatedly, that God wrote on those tablets Himself. (Exodus 31:18, 32:15-16, and 34:1) (I have to admit that Exodus 34:27 does make things a bit confusing, but I'm still left with the same conclusion when I add verse 28.) I relied on other people's summaries too often in my younger days, and even into years too recently. I'm still learning, and I won't claim to be able to pick out everything that's wrong with summary books like this. I still get things wrong and I still miss things that are wrong! This is just one event that I commonly compare, and it's frequently wrong within books. There's almost always something like this within books, so be careful. They're useful, IF used with the REAL thing, though, and more than anything I enjoy the variety of illustrations.)

I also like that the pages are numbered, as opposed to dated. You can start using it any day of the year. You don't have to start on January 1st, and I like that freedom.

Overall, it's really nice, if you think the spiral part of the page will survive your children, and you use it WITH the real Bible.

Candle Day by Day with Jesus: Read the Story of Jesus in 40 Days

I can mostly say the same things about this book.

This  one is in regular book form, though it is a little smaller than the average book. Each page gets a brief "story", along with a Bible verse(from a wide variety of versions). I like that the Bible verse gives you a reference, though not exact, to go straight to the Bible for comparison and extra details. Each page also has a question or informational sentence. It starts with "Day 1" and continues from there. You can also start this on any day of the year, and finish it any day you want.

The illustrations in this book are also done by Jane Heyes. The ones in this book are actually within the Day by Day Bible, too. Again, though, I really love the illustrations and think they are beautiful!

Both of these are nice for devotional type books, done alongside God's Word, for younger children. It would be a great way to give them a little independence, of course with discussion afterwards with the parent(s). They're also great for quick little devotionals done with parents for younger little ones.

*I was given free copies of both books.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible: Illustrations to Inspire and Color


The NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible explores the wonders of our created world though detailed black-and-white illustrations—each one ready to be filled with the hues of your imagination. From amazing Eden-esque gardens to the creatures God made, this Bible features over 50 ready-to-color pages alongside the full text of the New International Version (NIV) translation.

My Thoughts:

These days, I'm constantly catching my Grasshopper coloring. (At the table, in the floor, in his bed well past bedtime) He loves to color! He went through a stage where he didn't care to at all, so I was pretty surprised when I started catching him with coloring books and crayons stashed around the house. I thought this Bible might be a little treat for him.

It turns out that this thing is super girly. I'm not even the pickiest with my boys playing with "girl" things. They've all had dolls in their younger years. I share my "girly" LEGO sets and they enjoy playing with them as much as any other. They wear "manly" pink! ;) This Bible is an invitation to bullying, though(or at least "picking on", or laughing behind his back), so I can't recommend this for boys. It was hard to tell online when I first saw it, though it does look perfectly obvious now that I look again, but there's lots of pink on the front and back, and even a pink bookmark. For girls, it's nice. (Thankfully, I have a sweet niece that this is perfect for.) I would have loved for the outside(and the bookmark) to have been a little more gender neutral, though!

This is a full NIV Bible. It has 13 sections throughout with coloring pages. These sections are all two pages, front and back, and they are on thicker paper. The middle is a full two page spread, so you technically get 3 coloring pictures per section. The insides of the front and back covers are for coloring, too.

I'd probably recommend this for 7-11(on average). I imagine it'll start looking too childish for older girls, and most younger won't be able to color the complicated sections. (Of course, all children are on different levels, so that will vary, depending on the child.) I wouldn't want to give it to a child too early, especially if they just carelessly color the pages. It wouldn't end up being the treasure it has the potential to be.

Overall, this is cute for a girl!

*I was given a free copy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith by Champ Thornton


A kid-sized explorer’s guide to faith and life

The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls age 8 and up. Along with examining some of the most exciting realities in the universe, the handbook is vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas. Deep truths are communicated to elementary and middle-school aged kids while stimulating their curiosity and sense of adventure within a gospel-centered framework.

This power-packed book is “radical” in more ways than you might think! It is “radical” in the sense of the original meaning of the word, “going to the root or origin.” The Radical Book for Kids will take children on a fascinating journey into the ancient roots of the Christian faith. But it’s also “radical” in the more modern sense of being revolutionary. Kids read about men and women who learned to trust Jesus and stand for him—displaying radical faith—even when everything seemed against them.

But The Radical Book for Kids is also “radical”—meaning fun or cool—in the eyes of a child. Kids read about ancient weapons (and how to make one), learn about jewels, create pottery, discover ancient languages, use secret codes, locate stars, tell time using the sun, play a board game that’s 3,000 years old—and more.

Check out the table of contents, skip around, or read straight through. However a child chooses to explore it, The Radical Book for Kids will open new vistas for their imagination and help to make straight paths for their feet.
My Thoughts:

I really love this book! Of course, there's nothing like God's Word itself, but I truly believe books like this would have helped me as a younger person have more interest in the Bible. I had attention problems as a child when it came to lessons of any sort. (So pretty much an average child!) It wasn't fun to me, and I zoned out. I never paid attention in classes and I crammed before tests. It was only thanks to my great *temporary* memory that I did so well. (It left me afterwards, unfortunately.) This book is so engaging, I imagine most children will greatly enjoy it, and will be more interested in reading The Bible. I wish I had it as a child!

The chapters are short and interesting. They don't have to be read in order. The reader can skip around, if they chose. The chapters cover all kinds of things, from dividing the books of the Bible into their groups, to an ancient game(modified) which can be printed off, to talking about "Christian" types books like Pilgrim's Progress and Chronicles of Narnia, and even Greek letters. It combines science and history, which are really all about God("His Story"). It discusses manners and how to deal with anger. There's recipes for unleavened flatbread and salt dough for pottery. It has a page that converts money from the Bible into money today and a calendar of holidays in the Old Testament. There are features for Christian people, like Amy Carmichael, and so much more. Really, it's packed full of cool and interesting things that surround God's Word, and it ties into specific verses.

This book is targeted for children 8 and up, but I was fascinated with it, too, so even adults can learn from it and enjoy it. My Grasshopper is 8 and this book is perfect for him. He thrives on learning all things science and history. I even think it would be great for a bit younger, too. Some of it is great for my Firefly(5), but most of it is still a bit much for him.

Overall, I think this book is pretty fantastic!

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely By Lysa TerKeurst


The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers: • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt. • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence. • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging. • Stop feeling left out and start believing that "set apart" does not mean "set aside." • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.

My Thoughts:

When I first debated whether or not to read this book, I thought it might be one of those books that so many would roll their eyes at. I wondered if I'd be ashamed to be seen reading it. (Maybe, but I did read it in the privacy of my own home.) I decided to give it a try, though. I remember loving Lysa's writing style in the past, and really, if there was ever a book title that was meant for me, it'd be this one. I've made it no secret that I suffer greatly with social anxiety. At the time I decided to read this book, I was at an all time high with my suffering. I didn't want to go in public(even more so than normal). I'd force myself to anyway, sometimes in tears, because I have 3 little boys that need to be around people. I'd almost always come home in tears, full of embarrassment, with a severe headache and stomachache, and want nothing more than to curl up in a ball under my blankets and cry the pain away. I'd even had to hide in the bathroom at church a couple of times, in tears, which just made life even more humiliating. I wanted to hide from the world, simply put. (At the same time, I wanted to travel and see the world, apparently in a bubble of protection.) :P

So, that's what this book was up against, meaning it probably didn't have a fair chance to begin with. Did it help with my social anxiety? Mostly, no, to be honest, but you expected that, right? I really enjoyed the humor of the book. Lysa seems much more outgoing than me, but the stories made me feel much more normal with my feelings. We all get embarrassed and we all get uncomfortable. We all imagine that others are judging us, when maybe they aren't so much. (Though at times they are, because many people are cruel.) Reading this book reminded me that I shouldn't imagine things that aren't for sure, though. Plus, the more I'm around people, the more I realize that we're all weird in our own little ways. ;)

Despite enjoying the humor, though, I did find parts of it annoying. I just didn't connect to it like I have a couple of her past ones, and though I laughed, I also got annoyed too frequently while reading. Maybe I'm just in a different phase of life or maybe I just put too much pressure on it?

Really, the biggest thing that helped me was focusing on the fact that life isn't about me and reminding myself NOT to focus on myself. No matter what struggles I'm having, praying, focusing on God's Word, along with other people, is key to making it through my hard times. For the most part, this book has a bit more of a selfish feel to it, and focuses entirely too much on me. Sometimes that's a good thing, when it calls attention to improvements that need to be made. As far as my social anxiety, though, that's part of who I am, and always has been. I was much worse, overall, as a child. I can't change that. I need the focus to be removed from me here. (There are parts about focusing on others, just not near as much as I'd have liked.) I'm a selfish person that wants life to always be comfortable and happy, though, so that's a hard lesson to learn and apply. Plus, this post has turned into being mostly about me. *sigh*

In the end, there are great parts and not so great parts. Ultimately, I didn't connect to it quite as much as I anticipated. I do think it's a beneficial read in some ways, but maybe pair it with something that puts a much greater focus on others to create some balance.

In case you're curious, I am at a much better place now, and I pray that continues. When one escapes from a dark time, there's always fear of returning, so if you'd like to pray for me, I sure won't complain! (And, as always, I'll be more than happy to pray for you. My line is always open for your requests!)

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All is Bright Coloring Book and Devotional by Nancy Guthrie

My Thoughts:

Any time I review a Christmas book focused on the birth of Jesus, I typically mention that I don't celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus. (Like I'm mentioning now.) I just don't agree with it. I don't mention that to be a pain. (Surprised?) ;) I do it to open those minds like mine to books like this. They don't have to be used in the targeted way. Cross out a few words to make you more comfortable, and there's much learning to be had from "Christmas" books.

This coloring book is meant to be used in the month of December. There are 31 devotionals and they each get a coloring page. If I were using this as a daily devotional, and hoping to get a page colored each day, I'd be greatly disappointed. Thankfully, with my beliefs, I can use it all year long without any problem. I color slowly, and it's a time of relaxation and fun for me. I'd feel rushed and more stressed if I hoped to get an entire page done each day.

The coloring pages are nice. They're both complicated and simple at the same time. The designs are very simple, but there's tons of little shapes within each design. You can color as intricately or as basic as you choose, though. The devotionals are also nice and simple, and I enjoyed them. There were some things said that I especially needed to hear, as my battle with social anxiety was at an all time high.

"Sometimes we wonder why we aren't happy, why we make sinful choices, why we feel distant from God. Often it's because we have small thoughts about God and magnified thoughts of ourselves, our wants, our rights, our accomplishments. Mary, the one God chose to be the mother of his Son, could have easily allowed her thoughts of herself to become larger, even prideful. But instead of magnifying herself, she magnified the Lord."

I always need to remember that life isn't about me!

In the back of the coloring book are some discussion questions to use with your family, along with some Bible verses and sample prayers. Extra coloring pages are also in the back and they're much simpler and family friendly, though still well decorated.

I've really enjoyed this coloring book, both for the devotionals and coloring pages, even though I'm a bit outside of the target audience.

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake and Kelly Stuart


Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (Kregel, September 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.

In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:

—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book! It was exactly what I needed right now, and I just want to hug it tight. The writing is perfectly lovely, and it made me cry.

I'll admit here that after getting this book in hand, I was a bit skeptical about it. I was afraid the focus was going to be entirely too selfish. I think most children these days just want their parents to look up from their phone or projects or books(ME), and pay attention to them. The last thing parents need is advice on how to spend more time away from their little ones. In my case, I'm with my children ALL THE TIME, but sometimes my focus isn't where it should be and I get greatly discouraged with my lack of "quiet". I needed great encouragement here, and I got it with this book. There was really no cause for concern in that area at all. The authors make it abundantly clear that those little ones come first. There are years in a mama's life that she has to put aside interests and projects, to an extent, and just love on those children and focus on what is truly important. It's such a needed message these days. (Of course, at the same time, there's still encouragement to use those creative outlets when the time allows for it, because it's still important, too, and a part of us.)

Another thing I was a little concerned about is the fact that I have absolutely no talents. I won't be creating anything any time soon that could be sold or even admired. This book is targeted towards those women that do have artistic talents, whether it's writing or singing or baking or........ Really, though, I think each and every mama could benefit from this book, and all mamas have some level of creativity(as the authors tried to convince us of, too). I may not have talent, but I do still enjoy my moments of peace, drawing and writing in my nature notebook, or in my "random thoughts" one, even with my children right with me. Though I don't have a wide range of talents(or any at all), I do have a wide range of interests. I crave beauty and knowledge and could spend entirely too much time in my books. This book still spoke so much to me, so don't dismiss it simply because you think you might not be artistic enough for it. I can assure you that you are!

There are so many lovely stories and beautiful quotes and Bible verses held within the pages of this book, and it is full of encouragement. It really is a treasure!

*I hate to even mention it, but I didn't care for some of the things in the worship chapter, so I'm not promoting that part. I can't, in good conscience, let you think that I possibly did.

*I was sent a free copy of this book.

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey


40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

My Thoughts:

I hate to say it, but I didn't like this book at all. I'd love to leave it at just that, but you'll probably be left wondering why. I really do hate being negative, though.

There are 40 devotions that include a coloring page, but there's also some extra devotionals thrown in the mix that doesn't have a day assigned to them. Some of the devotionals are okay, though a little on the shallow side. Some of them are a little out there for me, though. Right at the beginning, such a big emphasis was put on the meaning of names that it put a red flag up for the rest of the book. You're encouraged to find the meaning of your name, and your husband's name, and your children's name(s)(through various devotionals) and focus on those meanings while parenting. My name means "Palm Tree". I can't help but wonder what my parents could have possibly done with that! I just can't, in any way, parent my children based on what someone else decided their names meant. I attempted to choose masculine, old fashioned names for my boys, and don't think I even knew what meaning their names were assigned.

Out of curiosity, I did look up what their names mean, and I could focus on that for each of them, but I don't want to. There's so much more to them. (Of course, I DO realize names are important. I wouldn't have ever named my children Jezebel or Nabal, after all, but I don't think a name given by a parent should label a child.)

In defense of that method, though, this book does come off more for the very new mommies. I imagine most new mommies have just finished looking through baby name books and the meaning of names mean more to them. It's just not for me. Also, I may be blowing the name thing way out of proportion, but I've read those passages over and over, and they still bug me.

Aside from that, I just didn't like the wording so often. Here's a quote that I'll leave for you, and you can do what you want with it.

"Because of my sensitive nature, I have the predisposition to absorb every environment I walk into. Not only did I have my own life experiences and traumas to work through, but I also carried the experiences and traumas of others that I encountered. Some call it empathy, some call it hypersensitivity, some call it prophetic intercession, and some call it psychic abilities. What it is for sure is absorption, and many people are wired this way, especially women."

Now I'll move on the the coloring pages. Honestly, that was my biggest reason for wanting to check this book out. (And, of course, the curiosity of what would bring more joy to my days in 40 days time.) ;) The coloring pages are incredibly simple. I've made it very clear that I have no artistic talent, but most of these pages look like something that might be found in one of my notebooks(practice doodling), minus the handwriting, because I can't write that pretty. IF you're looking for a coloring book that could be colored with crayons, as opposed to smaller tipped colored pencils, this might be a decent choice for you. Maybe the point was to provide a quick little artistic page for those new moms to do while rocking a little one, in which case simple is better. For the average mother that is used to the gorgeous coloring books on the market these days, this one looks on the pitiful side. Also, the lines in the doodles are so bold, and the pages so thin, that it was hard to read the devotionals. The coloring page on the other side of the page was glaring through.

I really do dislike being so negative about a book, but I just can't recommend this one to anyone, unfortunately. My negatives might end up being positives for you, though!

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue by J.A. Myhre


Eleven-year-old Kiisa had no idea why her parents would send her away to boarding school. She wondered why they couldn t all stay together in their beautiful African valley home. But no matter what she said they were firm: she must go, and she must go to this school.

As she said a tearful goodbye to her father, he whispered, For such a time as this. . . . Remember that phrase, and try to open your trunk soon. You ll find something unexpected inside. When Kiisa opened the trunk, she was astonished to find a small heap of black and white feathers that quickly unfolded into a little bird, a wagtail to be exact. Her surprise only deepened when the bird started to speak, My name is Njili. I am one of the Messengers, though a small one. I have been sent to assist you with the Rescue. Kiisa had no idea what she meant, but she would soon find out.

Join Kiisa on the adventure of a lifetime a dangerous rescue mission that includes rebels, stolen girls, illegal logging, a hungry cobra, and more messengers who help in unexpected ways. Kiisa sets out to rescue others, but finds herself rescued from fear and bitterness as she learns that bravery is nothing more (or less) than being in the right place at the right time and taking action despite her fears.

This page-turning story, the second in The Rwendigo Tales (A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest is the first book), is an adventure that children, young adults, and even full-grown adults will not be able to put down. A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue creatively and convincingly explores universal themes like family, forgiveness, bullying, and courage by blending magical realism and compelling storytelling. Written by a long-time medical missionary to Africa and featuring realistic pen and ink illustrations, it draws first-world readers into another (equally real) world where young girls are captured by rebel soldiers, terrorism is a way of life, and environmental resources are exploited without a second thought. As Myhre s characters deal with these real-life issues in the news, readers of all ages will gain a deeper interest in global human concerns.
My Thoughts:

Several months ago, I read and loved A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest. I was greatly looking forward to A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm also excited to read the final two books in the series. There's no worries about cliff hangers. Each story has an ending(so far), but there are connections. I would recommend reading the first book before picking up this one. The leading lady in this story is the sister of the leading guy in the first one. They are separate stories, but there are connections that will be better understood with knowing the first story.

I especially like the fact that a mother wrote these books for her children. For 4 years, a new story was given to them at Christmas, and that makes these books more special to me. The lessons hidden in the story and the story itself are things that this mother wanted her children to tuck away inside their minds. I just love that!

I enjoyed the details of life in Africa. The first one had a focus more on home life, but this one is more on school life, though both move away from home and school during part of the stories. Giving my children books that open their own worlds to the worlds of others that live very different lifestyles has become more and more important to me as they've gotten older. This series has proven to be excellent choices so far. There are also animals from the area discussed, which will most likely promote a little extra interest led learning. Aside from life in Africa, there are things within the book that children anywhere can appreciate. Courage and dealing with the mean folks in life are a couple of things included in the story.

Overall, I've greatly enjoyed this series so far. It's a pleasure to tuck these lovely stories away on our shelf for my boys! As a side note, I've also loved the beautiful covers, and I'm thrilled that they go together so nicely! It's always even more pleasurable to add beautiful stories to our shelves when they have beautiful covers.

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pop Manga Coloring Book by Camilla d'Errico


Manga artist and Pop Surrealism superstar Camilla d’Errico presents her first ever adult coloring book, filled with portraits, patterns, and the stunning artwork her fans and collectors have come to love.

This one-of-a-kind book offers you the opportunity to collaborate with d’Errico, adding your colors to her gorgeous black and white linework. Featuring everything from haunting and surreal character portraits to pages filled with patterns and designs all rendered in d’Errico’s inimitable style, Pop Manga Coloring Book is guaranteed to provide hours of coloring fun and excitement.

My Thoughts:

This has to be the most gorgeous coloring book I've ever seen. It's also weird, but it's the kind of weird that I adore.

I enjoy Manga, but I'm more of a casual, armchair fan at this point. I'd love to explore it more, but don't have a ton of access to it. Plus, you have to be so careful to avoid nudity and profanity(which most of it includes). This coloring book is conservative, for the most part. (There's a page with "Helmet Girls" on them, and those girls are a little less covered than I'd prefer, but there's no nudity. IF this book is for a child, then you could easily tear out any pages you didn't care for before handing it over to them. This one is for me, though, and I don't feel the need to remove it.)

This coloring book seems aimed more towards children, since there are a handful of little "Be Creative" types of notes through the coloring book. I think most adults that are like me, meaning they appreciate oddness, will like this book more, though.

My only semi-complaint about the book is the fact that some(though not all) of the eyes are left completely blank. I don't know if this is common in Manga. I haven't ran across it yet, but again, I'm still pretty new to the world. I'm sure it's to inspire creativity and let the owner make their own eyes, but I am very much lacking in that area, and don't really want to ruin the pages. That said, there is a note that lets you know you can make photocopies of any of the pages to practice on before attempting the main one. Maybe with practice, I can draw some decent eyes. :P

As a bonus, I love that there's a new front and back BLUE cover hidden underneath the dust jacket. It's those little extras that make a book more special!

If you enjoy the lovely side of Manga at all or surrealistic types of pictures, or just beautiful ODD pictures, this is the coloring book for you. I absolutely ADORE it.

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NKJV Study Bible (as a Beautiful Blue Option)


The NKJV Study Bible, Second Edition is the most comprehensive study Bible available! It has the most complete study system for pastors, teachers, or students who desire accurate study in God's Word. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has "the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor." Thomas Nelson's skilled team of scholars has produced the study system to reach for when accurate study in God's Word is the goal.

Features include:

More than 15,000 verse-by-verse study notes 150 Bible times and culture notes 114 articles on key Bible doctrines 350 word studies with Strong's numbers "Christ in the Scriptures" feature Topical index Deluxe Nelson concordance Full-color maps

My Thoughts:

I've used the NKJV Study Bible for years, and I love it. I have a Bible from most versions out there for reference, but as far as day to day use, I highly prefer my NKJV Study Bible!

This particular version is very similar to my other ones, with the same set up, but it has has a lovely soft blue/turquoise cover, with silver outer page coloring. (The pictures make it look like it's black and turquoise, but it's really a lovely blue, not black.) The colors alone are worth getting a copy. ;) Seriously, though, I greatly enjoy the notes at the bottom of the pages that give a little extra detail about the verses. You get great background knowledge concerning the different time period the verses were written in. Just for the sake of honesty, some of the notes do contradict themselves when it comes to interpretations of verses. I would never suggest you use those notes solely, and I recommend them for historical value more than anything else. Study God's Words more than anything, not men's. These notes are a great jumping point, though, and I greatly appreciate them, and use them regularly.

Also, I appreciate the size of the words. They're not huge, but they're not so small that I'm uncomfortable reading it. For the average person, they're just right.

I think most people have their favorite Bible version already, but if you're looking for a nice NKJV Study Bible, this is a beautiful option.

*I was provided a free copy of this Bible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Download Your Free How-To Guide for Bring Your Bible to School Day


Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit. For students in hurricane-affected states who are facing school closures but still want to participate in Bring Your Bible to School Day, the alternate date is Thursday, October 20.

This brings about a good point: Any day can be a day you organize your friends to bring your Bibles to school together!

By signing up during the month of October for Bring Your Bible to School Day (even if you missed the official celebration), you can download a free how-to guide for teens, parents, pastors, and elementary students. It's full of helpful information that will help you organize a day to take a stand for religious freedom and bring your Bible to school with your fellow classmates.

(Sign-ups must be received by midnight (MT), Oct. 7, in order to be automatically entered into the Newsboys giveaway.)

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book by Dr. Daniel Amen, with illustrations by Gail Yerrill


Ten-time New York Times bestselling author and child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen teams up with artist Gail Yerrill to create a book that helps facilitate sleep. Time for Bed, Sleepyhead pairs whimsical illustrations with storytelling techniques to tire your child’s imagination in order to help them settle down at bedtime and fall asleep.

Read aloud the story of little bear and his friends as they have a big day at the beach, then return home to eat dinner, take their baths, and head to bed, falling gently to sleep alongside your little one.

My Thoughts:

My boys have been struggling with going to bed lately, meaning they keep me awake, too. That's not the best for an already exhausted, grumpy mama, like myself! When I saw this book, I decided it sure wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

Did it work miracles and put them to sleep? No. It did make me sleepy, though. ;) I already knew the answer, but I asked them if they were sleepy after finishing it. My Grasshopper answered, "No, but I can tell you are." (There are a couple of yawns written into the story.)

It is a sweet and calming story, with relaxing illustrations. It does use a hypnosis kind of method with the story. That may or may not be for your family. I imagine if you read by lamp, with the lights off, and children already in bed, it would have better results. We read bedtime stories piled on one of the beds, with the lights still on. Everyone goes to their own bed after the stories end.

In the end, this probably won't be a book that gets a great deal of rereads, but it is a relaxing book to add to the bedtime shelf.

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

Wee Alphas Postcards


This imaginative take on the alphabet features 26 Wee Alphas postcards, each created with a "hidden letter” to find.

Based on the award-winning Wee Alphas kids’ app, the postcards feature quirky illustrations of Biki the Buffalo, Ulysses the Unicorn, Yolanda the Yeti, and their furry, feathered, or finned friends. The cards are bound into a fold-out accordion format that can be displayed in its entirety, or they can be detached to separately display or share. Writing prompts on the back of each card will inspire any kid (or their grown-up) to pass along a super-special greeting.

My Thoughts:

These postcards are really cute! Each animal has a letter hidden somewhere in the design. It's not really a challenge to find them, but it is fun. My little guys have had fun with it.

They're designed so that you can send them to people as mail, but I can't say we'll be planning that. I wouldn't want to break up the set, and it just seems wrong to do so. ;) You have that option, though. (These are really postcards.) The back of each one has things pertaining to the letter on the front. For example, the letter "C" has:

Ciao, (blank)!

You are:

Chipper (with a check box beside each one)

Cheery wave, (blank)

P.S. Can you spot the hidden letter in Charlie the Chipmunk?

(Each one has something different on it. It doesn't follow the same format.)

You also have the option to keep these in the book form that they come in, or to tear them out and use them as flashcards or even artwork. (Each one is perforated for easy removal.) We like it in book form for now. It's just much easier to keep up with that way. (I'm sure we're not the only family that looses pieces to sets and games if we're not super careful.) :P

Overall, this is a fun little set of cards for a rainy day activity(for younger ones), or to actually send to people as postcards(for adults).

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

Take the Bible Challenge with Odyssey Adventure Club

How much do you know about the Bible and its influence on our culture, history–and the whole world? Focus on the Family and Bring Your Bible have teamed up to create a quiz to test how much you and your kids know about the Bible. Take the quiz to find out!

Don't forget to mark your calendars to celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.


By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey


Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you're automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don't miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus Sign Up for a Free Two-Week Trial of Odyssey Adventure Club


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Commit to Bring Your Bible to School October 6

Celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.

By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Bible and Me: Stories with a Message to Live by, Retold by Lois Rock, with illustrations by Alida Massari


Thoughtfully retold, The Bible and Me begins with the faith stories of the Old Testament that tell of God’s unfailing love. The New Testament describes the coming of God’s son Jesus Christ, who by his life and teaching showed how all people could be reconciled to God. Finally, the stories of Jesus’ friends and followers are that of their faith, hope, and love. Each story ends with a prayer, psalm, or passage for reflection.

My Thoughts:

The Bible and Me is a beautiful book, full of Bible history. The illustrations are a bit odd, but it's a lovely, classical kind of odd(at least to me), and I fell in love with the artwork.

Within this book, you'll get summaries of the following people/events:

Creation, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, The Israelites(more specifically, Joshua and David/Goliath), David and Solomon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Nehemiah and Ezra, the birth of Jesus, along with several other chapters on Jesus, Saul/Paul, the return of Jesus for us

These events are covered very briefly and very summarized, and some of the people are barely mentioned. I do like it, though, as a quick, summary type of book. I think it's a great book for children.

My only complaint about the book is that it portrays a baptism as a sprinkling kind of thing, as opposed to a person being fully covered by water. (You could look at the picture and think maybe they were trying to portray the woman(Lydia) being fully covered by water, because there's wavy blue all around, but really, you'd have to want to see it. I really don't know what their intention with it was, but I was thrilled that they didn't exclude baptism from the book. They gave Bible verses where it is commanded, and gently added it into the mix.)

Other than that, I really like this book. It's a beautiful addition to our Bible-related shelf, and I thought it was very well done!

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

Monday, August 29, 2016

The More of Less by Joshua Becker


Don’t Settle for More

Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter, and we tire of cleaning and managing and organizing.

While excess consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, fancier technology, and cluttered homes, it never brings happiness. Rather, it results in a desire for more. It redirects our greatest passions to things that can never fulfill. And it distracts us from the very life we wish we were living.

Live a better life with less.

In The More of Less, Joshua Becker, helps you….

• recognize the life-giving benefits of owning less
• realize how all the stuff you own is keeping you from pursuing your dreams
• craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering your home and life
• experience the joys of generosity
• learn why the best part of minimalism isn’t a clean house, it’s a full life

The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. It’s in what it gives.

Make Room in Your Life for What You Really Want

My Thoughts:

The More of Less is a great place to start if you're thinking about minimalism or are curious about what it is. It explains what it's all about and why it's a great lifestyle choice. It gives some general instructions and challenges, and shows some real life success stories. It lets us know that all journeys are different and don't compare one to another. I still remember one of the first books on minimalism I read being super rude and judgmental towards those that didn't share the same lifestyle as the author. That approach rarely works with anything! This book, on the other hand, does an amazing job of offering grace to those of us, like me, that are very much imperfect on this journey.

For myself, I used this book as a bit of extra encouragement. Really, I'm more of a minimalist wanna-be. I want a simple life, only full of the beautiful things God has given us to enjoy, like His Word and nature, and things that we need and/or love. I also want my house full of great books! I've struggled through my attempt at minimalism for years. I've gotten rid of tons of things and cleared out storage spaces, and life IS getting simpler, but I'm not where I want to be just yet. My biggest struggle is the books, and the fact that I want a cute house. When I get the chance to trade out necessary items for cute ones I like more(through review items, most often), I typically do it. ;) I do tend to pass on the older items in the process, in my defense. All of that said, we really have came a long, long way since I first started this journey. It's taken us much longer than I'd have liked, but it's not from lack of effort. This book was a great little nudge in the right direction.

Definitely grab this book if you're wanting some extra encouragement to make your life simpler, or are curious what minimalism is all about.

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


Thursday, August 11, 2016

God Made You Just Right by Jill Roman Lord, with illustrations by Amy Wummer


A bright and cheerful reminder that God made each of us special and unique

Here is a message that every parent will want to share with his or her child: "You're brilliantly created and there s no one else like you!" With easy-to-understand descriptions and simple, rhyming text, Jill Roman Lord shares the message that God created each of us in just the right way in a manner that even the youngest child will understand. Bright and engaging illustrations from Amy Wummer pair perfectly with the text and enhance the appeal of the book. Ages 2-5.

My Thoughts:

God Made You Just Right is a sweet book for little ones!

It's so hard being young these days. Of course, it has always been hard, as I know too well from my younger years. It seems like the bullying and the judgements are getting worse and worse, though, and it makes me sad. Children are having a tougher time being comfortable with who God made them to be, and I'd be lying if I didn't say the same about myself. It's a struggle, and I'm grateful for simple books like this to remind us that God made us just the way we are.

I want my children to know that God is with them, and He knew what He was doing when they were formed the way they are. I want them to find comfort in that fact, and I want to find comfort in that fact myself. People HURT us, and instead of insulting myself or them insulting themselves over qualities about ourselves that can't be changed, I want us to turn to God, and thank Him for His marvelous design, even when it doesn't seem so marvelous. ;)

"You may not be like other kids-
that's not your job to do.

But no one else can do the job
of being you like you!"

Of course, this book is really a cheerful, sweet book, since it doesn't even mention bullying or anything negative, nor have I discussed any of that with my children(in connection with this particular book). I want reading it to quietly give them the strength to turn to God. It's also great for the littlest people to just learn about body parts, and would make a great book for reading, with breaks for tickles and cuddles. (The book does deal more with body parts than "quirky" traits, like my social anxiety. Also, depending on the child you're reading to, you might want to change the words a bit. The overall message still perfectly applies to every child, but if the child doesn't have use of his/her legs, then you might not want to read how God gave them super strong legs to run and kick and play. The same goes for the other parts mentioned within the book.)

I like the simplicity, yet also beauty of this book so much that I'm putting it in my "Bible Class" bag for the 2 and 3 year old class I help my mama with. (We rotate 3 months on, 3 off, so I haven't tried it with them just yet.) I have read it to my children, though, and they enjoyed it. The story is lovely, and so are the illustrations. It's a great little book to add to the reading line-up.

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

NKJV American Woman's Bible: Women, Godly Virtues, and the Making of America


Discover how biblical virtues in the powerful words and actions of extraordinary American women past and present have shaped our blessed American way of life. By their examples you can develop the same strength of biblical character in your own life. Whether you are a daughter, a mother or a grandmother, you will find this Bible an encouraging and powerful companion for daily living.

Features include: * New King James Version * Theme articles show how biblical virtues have shaped our nation * Biographies of influential American women highlight key points of their lives * Inspirational quotes by or about great women, famous and not well known * Introductions to each book of the Bible * Essays about biblical virtues embodied in women during key chapters of America's story * Ribbon marker * Presentation page for gift-giving

Part of the Signature Series line of Thomas Nelson Bibles

The New King James Version® - More than 60 million copies

My Thoughts:

I've came a long way since my younger days when it comes to history. I never cared about it in school, and my interest in it has only really came into existence in the past few years. I was so incredibly ignorant of so much, and I've made a fool of myself. I still am and I still do, but I'm making great effort to learn as much about history as I can now. My new interest in history is what made this Bible irresistible. I was too curious to not take a look.

Though this probably goes without saying, the American Woman's Bible isn't one that I'd recommend for every day use. Something more simple is more appropriate for that. Honestly, I'd have loved to have seen all the pages and quotes concerning women from history in a separate book, but it is still enjoyable within this form. It never hurts to have Bible verses so handy, no matter what the study is!

Within this Bible, there are pages about various women throughout history and quotes from them. Ruth Bell Graham, Angelina Grimke, Dale Evans Rogers, Harriet Ross Tubman, and Evangeline Booth are just a few of the women spotlighted. For me, there is a great mix of women I already know about and women I'd never heard of, which is great! I loved that in the introduction, Richard Lee, the general editor, makes it clear that the women included aren't being added to God's Word. He acknowledges God's wisdom in choosing the women that He did to be within His Word, and these particular ladies have simply did great things for our country.

Now to cover some of the basics. While most all of the pages have a very mild/muted red, white, and blue color theme, there are pages included that are thicker and full colored. These sets come in 2 pages, front and back(so 4 pages total per set). These include photographs and illustrations. The regular pages are on the thicker side, for a Bible. The print is readable, so not tiny. I have the hardcover edition, which also has a dust cover. If you take the dust cover off, the same design is on the Bible itself, too.

This is a great Bible to take a look at if you'd like to learn about many of the great ladies throughout American history. I've enjoyed it!

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tyndale Rewards

Have you signed up with Tyndale Rewards yet? If you haven't, now is a perfect time! They have a few awesome Bibles as rewards in the line-up for the next few weeks. It's super easy to earn points, and if you sign up today, you'll probably earn enough points to go ahead and order a book or Bible or audio book today. I've already got lots of awesome stuff from them, including the Inspire Bible and a set of Adventures in Odyssey audios.

**If you use my link RIGHT HERE to sign up, you'll get 25 extra points(and I'll get 10), so even if you don't use my link, use someone's and get those extra points! ;)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin


Young children live with awe and wonder as their daily companions. But as they grow, worries often crowd out wonder. Knowing this, how can parents strengthen their kids’ love for the world so it sticks around for the long haul?

Thankfully, parents have at their fingertips a miracle vaccine—one that can boost their kids' immunity to the world’s distractions. Well-chosen stories connect us with others, even those on the other side of the globe. Build your kids’ lives on a story-solid foundation and you’ll give them armor to shield themselves from the world’s cynicism. You’ll give them confidence to persevere in the face of life’s conflicts. You’ll give them a reservoir of compassion that spills over into a lifetime of love in action.

Give Your Child the World features inspiring stories, practical suggestions, and carefully curated reading lists of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.

Parents can introduce their children to the world from the comfort of home by simply opening a book together. Give Your Child the World is poised to become a bestselling family reading treasury that promotes literacy, develops a global perspective, and strengthens family bonds while increasing faith and compassion.

My Thoughts:

A book about books? How could I resist?! ;)

Anyone that truly knows me knows that I love books, and do everything I can to pass that love onto my children. I also want my children to have a heart for those around the world, and Give Your Child the World is perfect for helping that goal to become a success. It's too easy to get stuck in our own little worlds, with our own little opinions, but there's so much more out there, and so many more people out there that needs to touch our hearts. Getting on a plane to find that isn't always possible, so I greatly appreciate this book!

Give Your Child the World is mostly about books, but the author does start it all out with some advice on how to open our days to other parts of the world. It's all kept short and sweet, but it has been so very encouraging and useful to me. It has already inspired a change in our homeschool days that I'm excited about. Also, as a mama that highly values the teaching methods of Charlotte Mason(though we do our own things in many ways), I love that these books are twaddle-free suggestions. I wanted to hug Jamie(you know, if I was a hugging type of person) for her advice concerning twaddle, though. She tries to encourage grace in the world of twaddle. I've witnessed entirely too much rudeness in connection with it lately from other mamas. (Dr. Seuss? Twaddle! Roald Dahl? Twaddle! Your child watches Disney movies? That offends me!) It has all only verified that I will always, Lord willing, have a bit of twaddle on my shelves! Even if I cringe a little on the inside when I read that Peppa Pig book or that Paw Patrol book....AGAIN, I know my children love them, and they're getting way more of the good stuff, too, so I don't worry too much. Her grace based approach just made me smile and like her even more, but I do greatly appreciate that the books listed in here are quality literature.

The lists are given based on countries, and divided by age groups. The index in the back makes it really easy on us. You can search by author, country, book title, and even time period. After each book title, you'll get the author's and illustrator's name, if applicable, along with what country it's connected with. There's a brief description of the book, too.

This is an amazingly valuable tool for any family, and I can highly recommend it! It's one of those special books that will get lots of love and use from us, Lord willing.

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges


We all admire humility when we see it. But how do we practice it? How does humility―the foundational virtue of the normal Christian life―become a normal part of our everyday lives?

Jerry Bridges sees in the Beatitudes a series of blessings from Jesus, a pattern for humility in action. Starting with poverty in spirit―an acknowledgment that in and of ourselves we are incapable of living holy lives pleasing to God―and proceeding through our mourning over personal sin, our hunger and thirst for righteousness, our experience of persecutions large and small, and more, we discover that humility is itself a blessing: At every turn, God is present to us, giving grace to the humble and lifting us up to blessing.

My Thoughts:

Really, I could just give you a few of the many quotes I highlighted throughout this brief book to give you an idea of what a magnificent book it is. I'll attempt to say a bit more about it, though.

Bridges takes each of the beatitudes and discusses them separately, while also connecting them to others. While this book has a small page number with under 100 pages, not counting the extras(notes, introduction, discussion guide), it has a great deal of challenging, thought provoking ideas within it. The author gets right to the point and doesn't fill the pages with words just to add pages to the book. I want more books like this!

It's requested to read The Blessing of Humility straight through, which won't take you long, and then to read it again, but more slowly. I recommend the same. There's so much good stuff in here that one read just doesn't do it justice. It's really one of the best books I've read, and it has showed me just how lacking I am in my life.

There's not a single person out there that won't benefit from this read, so I highly, highly recommend it. It is truly a wonderful book, and one that I will open up often, Lord willing, as long as I'm still on Earth. Jerry Bridges was a wise man, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his books now.

*I must add that Bridges and I have/had different opinions on some matters, particularly predestination, which isn't my opinion. Therefore, some of his beliefs clash with mine within the book. It's still a wonderful book, though, and I still recommend it. (And I still want to read more from him.)

Now, I'll leave you with a few quotes, though I highlighted a great deal!

"The person who is poor in spirit recognizes that his or her best deeds are always mingled with the corruption of one's sinful nature, with impure(that is, mixed)motives, and with imperfect performance. This person recognizes that he or she never comes close to obeying the law of God as Jesus defined it in Matthew 22: 37-39: to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
At the same time, those who genuinely see their spiritual poverty do not wallow in it and say, "Oh, what a miserable Christian I am." Instead, they look to Christ and His Cross for cleansing from their sin." (page 12)

"It is so easy for us to stand apart from the culture and do no more than express self-righteous judgmentalism toward it. But those of us who grieve deeply over our own sin will not do this. Instead we will mourn over the sins and wickedness of our nation and will pray most urgently that, just as we want God to be merciful to us, so we want Him to be merciful to our nation as a whole."(page 25)

"To be a peacemaker means we must seek to be delivered from self-interest and not look at everything in terms of how it affects us. Instead we must be concerned about the glory of God and how we can best promote that glory in situations of conflict." (page 71-72)

"Instead of loving those whose actions and lifestyles we oppose, we seem to engage in some form of action that is inconsistent with Jesus' admonition to love our enemies." (page 78)

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