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…but God

This has been a…hard year.

A year of a lot of loss but also a lot of prayers answered.

We’ve lost loved ones.

We’ve lost dreams. I lost a very personal dream but also was delivered from cancer, pain, and gained…a lot of weight 🥴 from that lost dream.

Milestones were not forgotten but … prioritized, often not in the order we wished but in the order which was right.

A dear friend found she had cancer….but God and she fight.

She still fights today.

We celebrated 50 years of God-focused marriage between my parents.

We finally found our Church home after nearly a decade of praying and seeking, going through different seasons, and being used at various places.

So, while we have seen loss and experienced hurt…we rejoice – I rejoice – because though we prayed and often felt like He didn’t hear us, He knew what was down the road and where our specific brand of love and talents were needed most. He saw us through fear. He delivered us from slings and arrows.

While my flesh wants to cling to the loss, the hysterectomy, the pain, the fear, the weight gain, the heartbreak… my spirit cries out in joy and appreciation for the hope of Heaven, no cancer, loving and being loved again in a Church family, and my family’s every need being met.

What do YOU choose to thank Christ for, today?

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Book Review & Giveaway: Jesus Calling, The Story of Christmas

I was given this book for an honest review. No money was exchanged. As always, you will receive my complete and total honesty.

I have liked a lot of books that have come my way. I have disliked a few. I have not endorsed many. This book I would go so far as to say, “I love.”

Jesus Calling is called just that because throughout the book your child can hear Jesus Calling to their little hearts.

Unlike many Christmas “stories” this one is from the perspective of prophecy.

Christmas didn’t begin when Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to the Messiah but much, much, sooner!

The Bible begins to tell us about the coming Messiah long before the New Testament, after all!

Watch this short video for my raw, heartfelt, response to this book:

https://youtu.be/mwRz2g89izQ

This book has beautiful illustrations, a perfectly executed story of Christ’s coming, and its all wrapped in a child-friendly and cohesive way.

Of course, the story of Christ’s birth is also within this Christmas story…

But the point of this book is not about one day a year but of One Man of a lifetime! So, make sure you watch the video above for greater details and to truly understand why THIS is the book to buy this Christmas.

Can’t wait to buy it? Enter for your chance to win a copy!

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Review and Giveaway: Artsy Olive

I was given a product by Artsy Olive for my honest opinion. No money was exchanged and I am not an affiliate.

Artsy Olive is a cute online boutique for all of those Etsy prints you’ve seen but can’t afford. Artsy Olive makes them not only affordable but a downright steal!

Check out these cuties…

The prices? Around $15 or $20…FRAMED! Crazy, right?!

Well, I ordered myself one as a gift to my husband. It will remind him of God’s great restoration of our family.

And the checkout was quick and easy! Don’t believe me? Watch this:

https://youtu.be/StXm9ZBpKSE

When I got it in the mail, it came quick and I was siked!

Artsy Olive is able to keep your cost down in many ways – one of them being no glass, another by having reusable frames that can switch out prints easily!

I like the way Artsy Olive puts it…

“We believe that giving an Artsy Olive™ sign is valued so much more than a greeting card because of the longevity of the gift and the thoughtfulness it conveys.”

I like and agree with their statement because, quite frankly, I’m not really a card person. I know there’s a 99% chance you’re just going to throw it away and they’re around $5! That’s crazy.

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The quality of the print is incomparable to something you could do at home no matter how great your printer. The frame is durable and the hardware sturdy.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at my experience and plan on giving Artsy Olive rather than cards in the future!

⭐️EXCLUSIVE READER DISCOUNT:

The Headcase Christian readers who visit Artsy Olive may use the promo code “blog15” and get a 15% discount on their order. It is good Dec 1-30 for unlimited use!

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Sparkle & Change Holy Bible

I received this Bible (no money was exchanged) for my honest opinion and that is always what you get!

My review is short and sweet because this Bible is short and sweet! ☺️🍭

The pink Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible is sure to be a hit with girls! This fabulous material is on everything from pillows to t-shirts. The “mermaid” sequins change color right before your eyes. Girls will love the design and will want to carry the Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible everywhere!

This Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible features a cover with pink sequins that change color depending on which way your child swipes. It’s double the fun! It’s perfect for kids ages 6 to 10 to take to Sunday school, read with the family, or study on their own.

The ICB, the first Bible translation created specifically for children, is easy for children to read and understand with a third-grade reading level and is typeset in a large, readable font.  The Bible text is set in ten-point type, with bold in-text subject heads that help kids easily find the passages they are looking for. Also included are boldface words that correspond with a dictionary and concordance entry to explain word definitions. A great new feature in this updated setting is more than 300 key verses that are highlighted throughout the Bible for kids to read and learn. The beautifully illustrated insert pages are in a style that children love and will delight their imaginations, including topics such as:

• A Bible timeline

• A presentation page

• A place to keep favorite Bible verses

• Bible maps

• Articles on topics such as how Jesus loves them, knowing Jesus better, and how to pray, etc.

Your little girl will love her Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible!

https://youtu.be/kC4VFPhZqvU

I actually already know who I am going to gift this Bible to this Christmas. She was baptized not too long ago and loves all things girly.

There’s a few things that I want you to see that make this Bible special. Then, you can go about your merry way and know that you have found a super cool Bible that any little girl would be proud to carry around.

I love that it has this “key verse highlights.” It’s things like this that get not just a child but any person to start reading the Bible – the ease of finding the answer to your current problem.

I really like that it’s pretty and that’s OK. It’s OK to have a pretty Bible. What matters is the content. What matters is getting the child to read the Bible on their own and to fall in love with Jesus.

I like that they add a “Why should I read the Bible?” page to this. Children are impressionable and will often think it’s more important to read Harry Potter than it is to read the Bible!

Lastly, I love, love, LOVE that they added a “How do I know Jesus loves me?” page. In a world where we’re all so disconnected even though the Internet is supposed to bring us all together, boys and girls are feeling unloved, unwanted, and uncherished…if that’s even a word. That is the exact opposite of what God wants for his children.

Buy the pink one here, the blue one here, or at your local Walmart, Target, or Christian Bookstore!

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Billy Graham’s God’s Good News

I received this book (no money) for my honest review and that’s what you always get!

Billy Graham remains one of the foremost pastors in America’s history, and parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and more will want this lovely edition of God‘s GoodNews for the children in their life to show them the way to the cross and to help them begin a lifetime of following Christ. God‘s Good News is a collection of more than 60 favorite Bible stories told in actual Bible text from the New King James Version, including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples, and each story is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham. The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the good news from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham.

Christianity is good news. . . . When we open up the Bible, it is good news from cover to cover. It’s the good news that God loves us.

—Billy Graham

This book is yet another part of the amazing legacy that Reverend Billy Graham leaves behind – him ministering, through book, to the next generation.

Graham starts this capturing Book by talking about what he always talks about – God’s love and how “it passes knowledge.” Graham was big on talking about how much God loves us and that tone is set from the very beginning in this book.

Separated – just as the Bible is – between Old and New Testaments, this story and devotion book prepares the youngest for independently reading the Bible.

Meanwhile, Scott Wakefield’s illustrations are making every story come alive in your child’s mind! His artistic interpretation, while beautiful, is realistic enough that the illustrations do not deviate from the Word while still being child-friendly.

Throughout this story and devotion book, your children will hear words directly from Billy Graham’s writings as well.

I highly recommend this book. I know that shouldn’t surprise most of you as it is the works of Reverend Billy Graham. His legacy and history, though, do not just give him an automatic seal of approval by me. Going through this book, I am very impressed with the stories that were included.

So many children’s devotionals include stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Esau, Jonah, and others. Many, however, do not include the Tower of Babel, Jacob’s ladder, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, King Solomon, Josiah, Zacharias, the sermon on the mount, Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, the widow’s coins, Stephen, and many, many, more. This story and devotion book has more than 60 of them in it!

If you want to know what a child’s honest first thoughts are of this book, before you buy it, watch this short video:

https://youtu.be/pNTE6KfRFZM

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Bible Review & Giveaway: (in) courage Devotional Bible

*I received this book for an honest review and that’s what you’ll get. No money was exchanged.

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I was asked to review the new (in) courage Devotional Bible by Holman Bibles, written in the Christian Standard Bible translation. For those of you unfamiliar with CSB (Christian Standard Bible), don’t feel bad. It’s still fairly new. “It is a modern English Bible translation of the Christian Bible. Work on the translation was completed in June 2016, with the first full edition released in March 2017.”**

“The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a major revision of the 2009 edition of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The CSB incorporates advances in biblical scholarship to improve upon translation decisions, word choice, and style. It also removes some of the novel features[which?] of the HCSB, based on feedback from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers.
The HCSB was translated by an international team of 100 scholars from 17 denominations. The HCSB New Testament was released in 1999, and the entire translation was released in 2004.
Work on the CSB revision was undertaken by the Translation and Review Team, a trans-denominational group of 21 conservative Evangelical Christian biblical scholars. Backgrounds represented include Southern Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, conservative Anglican, and non-denominational Evangelical churches.”[4]

To put it short, Holman Bibles has taken the Bible and tried to make it easily readable without leaving out or discounting the Word Itself. My personal opinion is that this is a great starter translation. I have a 16 year old little cousin that is receiving one of the CSB Bibles from me as a gift soon. I truly believe this is a great translation for those who find it hard – for whatever reason – to sit down and delve into God’s Word.

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I often say this to people: I don’t care which translation you read so long as you start reading. A lot of people freak out when I say that but here’s my philosophy: if you’re really hungry for God’s Word, you’re going to want to know more and delve deeper. People can experience a church and walk away. People can experience Christians and walk away. A person doesn’t experience the true text of God, with a hungry heart, and merely walk away. They don’t have a true encounter with God and walk away. I’ve yet to meet one. So, my belief is that most Christians that hunger for God and His word will do as I did – they will evolve as their relationship with Him does. I didn’t start reading KJV.

I know. That’s shocking for many of you. Settle down. The fact is that when I was 16 it wasn’t doing it for me. The first Bible I actually read was The Precious Moments Bible. Know what translation that was? NKJV. That’s right – New King James Version; and, I really didn’t start delving into until I was around 15 or 16. If I had access to something like CSB, I would’ve delved much sooner.

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The beauty behind (in) courage Devotional Bible is that in this era of creative Bible journaling, Bible distributors are beginning to realize that many of us want to make notes and do devotionals within the one book. In a sync-my-phone-with-my-laptop-and-ipad world, we seek to simplify. Honestly, I like this because seeking God and reading about Him should be simple. Life is complicated, seeking Jesus shouldn’t be. 9781535924955.in01 (1)

The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible invites every woman to find her story within the greatest story ever told—God’s story of redemption.

As you study God’s Word, 122 women from the (in)courage community come alongside you with 312 devotions, sharing stories of how God’s story has changed their lives. Because of His grace, they have found beauty in the brokenness and hope in the hard. With each devotion, they sing the praise of the One who has authored their story.”

Some of the features that are included in the (in) courage Devotional Bible are:

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in) courage community writers – women just like you and I
  • 10 distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • journaling space
  • topical index
  • two-column text
  • them verses
  • specialized presentation page

Not sure you want it just yet? Easy, you can actually download a sample!

If you are not quite sure if this is for you, I want to encourage you to consider picking a woman in your church – maybe a young woman or a new-to-Christ woman – and gift them this Bible. That’s what I’ve decided to do with my copy. The Lamb’s Book of Life has recently acquired a new name within it and I want to gift her this to show her how loved she is and to give her a stepping stone closer to Christ.

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**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Standard_Bible
[4]“Holman Christian Standard Bible: Original Translation Team and Translation and Review Team” (PDF)A PDF document containing the full list of original translators of the HCSB, and translators of the CSB.
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Book Review: A Fearless Leader (A Bible Story About Deborah)

* I was given this book for my honest opinion, no money was exchanged.

Deborah is an imaginative and perceptive young girl who makes good decisions in the heat of the moment. When she sees her village is about to be invaded by King Jabin and his general, Sisera, she bravely warns the people of danger, and everyone flees. But that doesn’t stop Jabin and Sisera’s vicious attacks.

As Deborah grows up, she becomes a natural leader, sharing God’s will with the people and helping them solve difficult problems. Eventually, God calls her to help defeat Sisera’s army so Israel can finally live in peace.

With God’s help, you can be just like Deborah—called and courageous!”

I can’t express how much I like this book. But I’m going to do my best.

In a world that is nurturing the idea that feminism equates to emasculating the men around you, demonizing the world, and picturing yourself as a victim, this book shows the true power of a woman.

Power, of course, comes from God. This book perfectly illustrates to our children how God can use anyone regardless of age, sex, ethnicity…

I can tell you about how the book is a book made of quality. I can tell you that the illustrations are fresh, distinctive, and beautiful. I can tell you that the story is biblically accurate. (Though the ending is more kid friendly 😉)

I would prefer to tell you, though, that my nieces were completely enraptured by this story. My six-year-old niece was enthralled with the story of Deborah and how God used her. That is my favorite thing about this entire review.

When you can get a small child to fall in love with the real events documented in the Bible then you are setting a path for them that can only lead to success.

This is the path God desires for women – that we might be used by him mightily, not see ourselves as victims! The story of Deborah is a wonderful one and I’m so glad that it has been made accessible and exciting to children through this book.

If you want to empower young girls in your life, or share with any children in your life that God can use anyone that is willing to be used by Him, I encourage you to purchase this book today. (I am not an affiliate and I receive no money if you make a purchase.)

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Book Review & Giveaway: Young Whit & the Traitor’s Treasure

* I was given this book, no money was exchanged, for my honest opinion of which you always will receive from me.

Young Whit & the Traitor’s Treasure is an Adventures in Odyssey book by Phil Lollar and Dave Arnold. It’s the first in the Young Whit series!

“This Odyssey book series explores the history of the much-loved character John Avery Whittaker. The series introduces newcomers to the larger world of Odyssey. For readers who are already Odyssey-philes, the novels provide the history of the franchise’s most important character.

Whit and his family (father, Harold; stepmother, Fiona; half-sister, Charlie) have just moved to Provenance, NC, in the middle of the Great Depression. Harold will be teaching at nearby Duke University. Not-quite-10-year-old Johnny soon makes a friend in Emmy, who lives across the street and joins him in his adventures. At his new school, he encounters a bully who makes his life miserable, and he makes a new friend in Huck, the custodian. Both of them play key roles in the mysteries and action.

The central mystery in book 1 involves Confederate gold missing since the end of the Civil War and the question of whether Johnny’s ancestor was the coward and thief who stole it, as everyone believes.”

My six (soon to be seven)-year-old immediately loved this book. The preface saddened him. The first chapter grabbed hold of his total attention. By chapter four, he was reading himself just to get more read!

While I would say this book is more targeted at 10 years and older, don’t discount younger ones if my son is any evidence. Every night he wants the next chapter.

The thing that I think I like the most about this book is that I have seen it touch the heart of my son. At such a young age, most boys are emotionally immature. I have seen signs of his heart growing and his sensitivity coming to awareness while reading this book. It’s been a beautiful process to watch.

I love that people such as Focus on the Family appreciate celebrating boys being boys (and girls being girls) all while encouraging them to be their best in Christ Jesus.

So, if you’re young adventurer needs or wants a new book to add to their library – that you know you can trust to be safe for their hearts and their minds – I greatly recommend this book. I plan on buying the entire series book by book.

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Review & Giveaway: Always Enough Never Too Much

I received this book for my honest opinion, no monetary gain, and my honest opinion you will get. 

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“We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.
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Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.”

 

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I think it’s appropriate that this is called a “flip book.” I’ll tell you why: because sometimes you need to FLIP the script on your life!

This past year has been a year of “too much” and “never enough” for me. This book is what I’d call an “on time” book for me. In a world that has programmed us to instinctively compare ourselves to one another and judge ourselves against litmus tests that God never set forth – other than His Word – it is refreshing to find a book that is truly edifying. It is refreshing to know that I’m reading words that are inspired by the Word of God in order that I might get back on the rails that I derailed from and remember who I am in God’s eyes. It’s nice to know I’m about to “flip” things back to the way God intended.

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You might notice that this book has two titles… kind of. I’ll explain it perfectly (and give you a sneak preview) in this short video:

Now that I have my own copy, I know exactly who I’m going to gift one of these to. It’s a pastor’s wife. It would amaze you the pressure that is on women that we look at as if they have it all together and we wish we were them. You may find that the very same insecurities that plague you are plaguing the very people you think have it all. So… don’t just keep this book to yourself – when you’re done, gift it to someone else. If you want to keep yours forever, then consider someone else who may feel the same way and gift them a copy. It may be the very think that helps them to become who they are truly meant to be in Christ simply by empowering them!

Now, after you get your Prime on and and grab your copy of Always Enough Never Too Much, you may find you want to get another copy for someone close to you:

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me

 

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Book Review & Giveaway: BibleForce

I was given this Bible for my honest review and as most all of you know I only want to share with you guys the things that really work for my family and I’m always honest about my thoughts. I received no financial compensation for this.

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BibleForce is a brand-new Bible storybook that is illustrated with exciting, comic-style artwork that kids will love. My six year old absolutely loves it. I have to be honest…I’m 40 and I love it.

I grew up with The Children’s Bible “in Colour.” There’s nothing wrong with it. It was awesome. In fact, around 15 years ago, when my daughter was my son’s age she read it from cover to cover by herself. We were very proud. I think we can all agree, though, that for this next generation of kids… some (not all) of our books are a little like watching a black & white television for them. I mean…I grew up on this:

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 But my son is all about this…

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See the difference?!

I can’t blame him! Look at the detail and imagery! It’s amazing. Adam being made out of dust, alone, is awesome and looks like a work of art! All kidding aside, I want that image of Adam on his knee framed to gift to my husband. It’s … wow.

Your children will love the detail and action of BibleForce, and parents will love having a book that gets their children engaged in reading Bible stories. Vivid art, incredible detail, and easy-to-follow text will get readers of all ages enthusiastic about reading this chronological and fast-paced retelling of the Scriptures. It includes nearly 200 fully illustrated stories that take children through the adventure and action of the Bible and help kids understand the full story of the Bible. The focus on Bible heroes makes the stories even more thrilling. After all, that’s what each parent wants – to get their kids hooked on the Bible so that they want to read it themselves, want to delve deeper on their own!

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BibleForce is a great book to be read together and is simple enough for young readers to read on their own. Kids won’t be able to put down this book! We’re reading it nightly in our house and it’s even had to travel to Nana and Papa’s, too!

Want to read something even cooler? (I know – I sound like I’m way too psyched out about this to be an adult. No one told me I had to grow up in all areas, though.) Here it is: With your purchase of BibleForce, you get a FREE AUDIO APP! That’s a $29 value FOR FREE

I’m not going to read the whole Bible to you but I really wanted to show you guys why I’m all about this Bible. So, check out this brief video and consider picking one up for your kids, grandkids, etc.

Want to try and win one of your own before buying? Click below!

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