Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BLOG REVIEW: The Story of King Jesus






"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might, and these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall TEACH them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  And you shall write them on your doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9  (NASB)

This school year in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), we have been studying the Life of Moses.  Our study has taken us through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and finally Deuteronomy.  I have been moved immensely by the WORD and these old testament books have profoundly impacted my daily thought life.  One of the recurring themes throughout these books is the importance of passing on faith in the ONE TRUE GOD to the next generation.  We have learned there were always consequences for not passing down their faith.

MY REVIEW:  We want the best for our children, don't we?  We want to see them blessed beyond all measure!  One of the best ways we can provide for our children is to share the FULL story of God's plan for redemption.  The Story of King Jesus does just that in a short, concise way with beautiful illustrations to captures a child's heart and mind.  I love that Ben Irwin scripts a book with such rich truth in a perfect amount of pages to read during one setting!  He quotes "God's redemptive tale can't be reduced to a few memory verses from Scripture.  It's not a formula or a plan or a prayer you recite.  It's a drama that you life, and it's woven throughout every book of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation."

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our Jesus Storybook Bible and the other Bible storybooks we have, but you can't sit down and read the whole thing in one setting.  My experience is that preschoolers and early elementary kids don't have long attention spans, so something that is concise is perfect!  It is short enough that it can be read over and over again, with different parts of the story impacting the kids lives at different times.  The book is written in language that our kids can understand perfectly.  It also, focuses on Jesus as KING, which is so crucial because that is what transforms our life.  Overall this book is an excellent "launching point to explore the Bible together."  It has generated additional conversation with my oldest two children.  We discuss the pictures in the book, which then leads to additional bible teaching.

Ben encourages us as parents, "Show your children --- with your life and words -- that this is your story, and it can be theirs too."

One of my favorite lines is towards the end of the book ... "God gave us the King we needed."  Isn't that so true?  He didn't give us the type of King we wanted, because He knew that wouldn't be the best.  So often in my life, God gives me what I need and not what I want.  Thank heavens He knows better than I.  Jesus is God's Best and because of His sacrifice, we have the opportunity to once again be in a restored relationship with God.  And that my friends is GRACE!


Question to ponder: What has God given you recently that is what you NEED, but not necessarily what you WANTED?  


Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

His Strength ....


One of my dear friends wrote this poem and I thought it was so good I wanted to share as an encouragement to the women in my life ... 




To the Mom who would give anything for just ONE night of sleep
To the Mom who has volunteered for more than four activities in one week
The new Mom of two who feels defeated
The Mom of a teenager...and also a toddler
To you, the Mom taking care of your parents and your family and your neighbor and...

HE WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH

To the woman that can't look at her own reflection in the mirror
The woman that feels guilt taking time for herself
The woman whose marriage is crumbling
To you, the woman that keeps a smile on her face through despair

HE WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH

In the moments that you have never felt more alone
The moments you feel like a failure as a mom, a spouse, a friend
Moments of regret and shame

HE WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH

For the days that you know you did your best
The days that you took time for yourself
Days when you slept through the night for the first time in...months
Days when your toddler actually let her daddy put her to sleep
The days that you thank God for the patience you didn't know you had
For the days that you smiled and gave thanks for chaos
Days that are renewed and that give you new breath

HE GAVE YOU STRENGTH

~By: Jennifer Mobley


When have you felt the Lord's strength and provision in your life recently?  




Saturday, August 30, 2014

Blog Review: Treasury of Bible Stories




"God made Adam a beautiful place to call home, 
a garden with flowers and trees.
The garden of Eden had plants of all kinds
that swayed in the warm, gentle breeze.

There were tropical trees that had blankets of blooms; 
some had fruit that was tasty and sweet.
There were apples and oranges, bananas and pears
and cherries for Adam to eat."

Once again, I have the privilege to work alongside of David C Cook publishing to introduce one of their newest books: Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times.   This 351 page book is a collection of 20 of the most common Bible stories geared towards preschoolers and early elementary children, but fun for the whole family.  This is a storybook Bible perfect for kids who are too old for toddler Bibles, but too young for complete Bibles.  Its lyrical stories will make your whole family laugh!  The illustrations are extremely clever and colorful!

The back cover describes it perfectly, "Magnificent Tales are rhyming Bible stories with clever art and clear lessons the whole family will enjoy.  The stories and illustrations are so engaging that you won't grow tired of reading a Magnificent Tale night after night!  From "The Salty Tale of Noah's Ark" to "The Lasting Story of the Last Supper," the rhyming tales in this book remind us that God loves His people -- in the Bible and today!"

My Review:  The Treasury of Bible Stories is a beautifully illustrated storybook geared towards children ages 4-8.  The rhyming stories pair great spiritual truths with attractive and fun-filled illustrations!  It is the perfect book to read aloud to your little ones because of the fun rhymes!  I found Sophia laughing at each story with the many plays on words.  The rhyming helps the children commit the stories and spiritual lessons learned to memory!  

Sophia really enjoyed "God's Bigger Plan: The Beautiful Story of Queen Esther" as well as "The Good Neighbor: The Parable of the Good Samaritan."  Of course Jackson's favorite story was "Every Beast Times Two: The Salty Tale of Noah's Ark" since he is obsessed with every animal known to man!  He also enjoyed "The Biggest and Toughest: The Story of David's Big Faith."

Both kids truly enjoyed the illustrations!  Kelly Pulley, the illustrator, has a unique and clever style, which distinguishes this book from the many children's Bible storybooks available!  It is pleasing and quite engaging to the eye.  I also felt that the language/word combinations used made it very easy for the children to understand the story and the lesson behind it.  This is ideal for teaching such young ones the spiritual truths from the scriptures.

Overall, I was very impressed with this treasury and am very thankful that we have it in our personal library!!

I will close with a section from my favorite story, "He Has Risen!  The Magnificent Story of the Resurrection."

"So Jesus hung out with His friends for a while,
till the day that He left with a wave and a smile.
He said, "I must return to My Father above, 
You must preach to the world about God's endless love.
You must preach the good news.
You must tell all creation,
and preach of salvation from sin to each nation."

Then He held out His hands and He lifted them high
and He blessed all His friends as He rose in the sky."  

The next time you are in the Christian bookstore, please check out this book!  It would make a great gift for a child's birthday or Christmas!  Give the gift of truth and love! :)



Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.









Monday, August 25, 2014

Welcome to the World .... Jonathan Robert Long


Friday August 8th at 12:13pm, our HUGE surprise was born ... Jonathan Robert Long.  He was 9lbs 7oz and 21 in.  Once again, I was blessed with incredible care, fantastic L&D nurse, and an INCREDIBLE physician!  I am so thankful for God's protection over our lives during my three deliveries!  I am also thankful for the extra grace He provided to deliver a 3rd child ... something I never thought I would do!

Funny story you see ... Nate and I swore up and down that we were done having children!  Our family of FOUR was perfect in our eyes.  However, God knew in advance that our family would be perfect at FIVE!  2 days before our 8th anniversary, on a very cold wintry December morning, we found out we were pregnant.  The pregnancy was extremely hard the first 27 weeks.  Tons of nausea, no energy, lots of puking, you know ... the fun stuff!  During January and February, I was so sick, it was hard to care for Sophia and Jackson.  Friends and family stepped up to the plate and really helped us out with meals, childcare, and prayer support.  Alas, we made it through, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy!

Picking a name was an extremely hard challenge.  We wanted something that would describe our journey of faith through this SHOCKER of a time!

Jonathan, means given of God, and we felt like that was the perfect description!  He truly was a gift to us, something we did not plan for nor ask for, but am thankful that we walked in His will in obedience!

Robert was the middle name of my late maternal grandfather, Kenneth Robert Lewis.  He was an incredible man of God, one that I wish could have met my amazing husband and our children.  We were thrilled to be able to use a family name!

So there you have it ... some of the reasons behind my lack of blogging and "presence" in addition to being a VERY busy mother to two other little children!

Enjoy these awesome pictures from Captured Beginnings!  Sabrena did an awesome job capturing our new beginning!  So thankful for this wonderful Christmas present from my parents!  Birth photography ... something I never would have asked for, but something that I am so thankful I have!  Memories to last a lifetime!


Kisses, kisses, kisses 

Sharing Jonathan's name with my mom ... 

This is how he really felt ...

Yes, he was born with a FULL HEAD OF AMAZING HAIR!
The other two were bald for 2 years ... thankful for this guys hair!  

Finally, here is a snapshot of the "bigs" meeting their little brother!  They were so excited!  They have been awesome with him!  I LOVE having 3 years age difference b/w each kids!  Such a huge help for this mama!

My heart melts ...

Hopefully more pictures to come!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

School Pictures!


Some how DMH Photographics gets my kids to smile perfect EVERY SINGLE time!  I think they have a magic trick up their sleeve that I don't know about ....  (I apologize for the not so great image quality ... a picture of a picture!)

Pre K

Barely 2's Preschool 
We finally made it camping as a family of four a few weekends ago!  We went to Shades State Park and had a blast! :)  Here are a few pictures we have of our memories together!  I am confident to say it went WAY better than I ever expected and I look forward to doing it again!


Helping daddy put up the tent!

Story time while mommy cooks dinner

It was about 40 degrees when we woke up Sunday morning!

Happy Hikers

My girl!

BOO!!
Earlier this month we drove out to the local orchard and took some pictures by the big farm equipment!  Love this one!




Hope you are having a wonderful fall!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What a DINO-MITE 2nd Birthday!



Wow!  What a difference 2 years makes!  I can't imagine life without my sweet son Jackson!  I feel extremely blessed by the gift of a SON!  Who would have ever known the special bond between a mother and her son!  Words can't describe my love for my son!  I know he won't be a mama's boy forever, so I will savor these extra hugs, kisses, and snuggles deep in my heart!

Jackson's Birthday!

Look at that face!  What a chunker!

"Look at me now!"

Being true to her role as big sister, Sophia took it upon herself to pick the theme of her brother's 2nd birthday: DINOSAURS!  She did a great job with the theme!  With some a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and blogs, I came up with lots of fun decorations!!  

Palm Trees and a dinosaur hanging in the tree!

ROAR Jax is 2 banner!

String Dinosaurs!
 
Our sign welcoming guests!  

Come in at your own risk ... dinosaur sighting
 
I actually splurged for dino theme plates, napkins, and cups!

Sweetivores!  Dino cupcakes with "dirt and worms"

Jax's cupcake in the middle!

Some of the Dino toe nails were dipped in dark chocolate thanks to the help of Sophia

Who knew there was a dinosaur called a "Fruitaden!" Oh the things you learn!

My version of healthy dinosaur eggs!  

With hummas as a yummy dip!

Ham or Turkey and Swiss sliders! YUM-O!

The Watering Hole - orange and mint water

Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Yum!

Reading "How do Dinosaurs say Good Night" to the kids!

Family Picture!

"Yes, I am pretty good at getting into trouble!  Can you tell?"

Only took us about 20 tries to get a good smile!

Swimming in the family grain bin pool with kids!  

"Oh NO" he said!  

We had such a fun time celebrating Jackson's 2nd birthday with our family!  We look forward to the many years to come with this sweet, fun-loving, silly boy!  Oh how much he adds to our family!  We are blessed!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: "Not of This World" by Lisa Chan




"What are the things that tie you to this world?"

What things do I treasure more in "this life" than I do God?  

In her third and final True Beauty DVD, Lisa reminds us we have to be very careful by how quickly these "things" can distract from God and His purpose for us and our love for Him.  She asks, "What keeps you from seeing and embracing God's purposes?"

Check out Matthew 6:19!  Are your treasures for this life or for the life to come?

Lisa asks, "What does friendship with the world look like?"  Often we find ourselves loving the things HE made more than we love Him.   I know I am guilty of this so often!  I have to always remind myself that HE is the giver and to worship the GIVER not the GIFTS!  Do you struggle with this?  

Here is a good question to ask yourself, "In what ways can I detach myself from the world and still enjoy the gifts that God has given me?"  We need to be aware of when our enjoyment has gone too far!

How can we open up our hearts and our hands an share the things of this world we have been given?  Are we white-knuckled with fists clenched holding our "gifts" too tight?  A great question for self-reflection as you consider the gifts you love more than the Giver!  

We must remember that everything pales in comparison to knowing and following Jesus.  We must allow this truth to resonate within our hearts and our minds.  Our pride can create discontentment with what He gives or doesn't give.  As our eyes are focused on Him and Him alone, we can find the joy in the gifts (yes's and the no's) and gratitude towards the Giver! 

Lisa graciously reminds us to follow Him and hold this world loosely!

I hope you will be encouraged by Lisa's challenges and check out her True Beauty DVD series!
  
WATCH IT:
Watch the trailer: HERE
Watch Carolyn: HERE discussing True Beauty is Not of This World

BUY IT: HERE

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last Day of Preschool! Bring on Pre-K!



Today was Sophia's last day of 3-4's preschool!  Next year she will be in Pre-K!  I can't even believe how quickly the time has gone!!  This time next year, I have a feeling I will be an emotional mess with the thought of her going off to Kindergarten!

Looking back at her picture from the first day of Preschool, I can't believe how much she has changed over the past year!  Wow!  What a difference!!

1st Day - 9/2012

Last Day - 5/2013
Looking at the two pictures ... I have GOT to do something with her hair now!  It is a mess!  Looked so much better back in the fall!  Ha!! Ha!

Excited to go to school today, but she was VERY sad it was the last day!

Sophia had the best preschool teachers this year!  I am so thankful for their amazing influence in her life!  She has such a sweet relationship with both of them, and is really sad that she can't be in their class again next year!  She loved playing "doctor" and taking Miss Heather to the hospital!  During playtime, Sophia would always end up on Miss Heather's lap, just to talk and hang out!  She and Miss Pam had a running joke that made her day ... One day Sophia wore her BUTLER cheerleading outfit and Miss Pam called her a "Bulldog!" From that day on, every day during the bathroom breaks, Sophia would ask Miss Pam "Do I look like a Bulldog?"  Miss Pam would always say YES and Sophia would giggle!  Miss Pam called Sophia her favorite Bulldog Princess!  I am so thankful for these two ladies and am thankful for all the time, effort, and love they poured into her over the course of the school year!!  

Miss Heather and Miss Pam!

Sophia and her buddy Isaiah!

Isaiah, Cooper, Sophia, and Maya -- some of her classmates!

Wow, what a fun year it has been!  I can't believe she is going to be old enough to be in PRE-K!  I am excited about our summer together and hope we will make so many wonderful memories!

Anyone graduate in your household?