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Review and Giveaway: God I Know You’re There

I was given this book for my honest review. No money was exchanged.

Where is God? Is He real?

Look closely and you can see God’s touch all over creation. Like the sun, God is warm. Like the stars, God is dazzling. Like the wind, God is all around, everywhere. God, I Know You’re There, by bestselling author Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrator Lucy Fleming, reminds children of the nearness and goodness of God. Children will discover that God never leaves their side, even if they can’t see or feel Him.

Each page will help children understand the many things in the world we can’t see, touch, or hear are just as real as God is. And even if God feels distant, He is real and He is near.

I found this book to be a perfect, short and sweet, bedtime or quiet time story. It reads in about three and a half minutes and is a sweet reminder that we can know that God is there.

The illustrations are vibrant and inclusive of most children. The words come alive with each scene that’s been set.

It’s perfect for ages 2 to 5 but could be a sweet read for children slightly older as well. For just $8.98 on Amazon, this book would make a great addition to any gift, for any occasion, to give a child that extra reassurance that God is never far. You can also get it, right now, for $6.49 on Christianbook.com! (not affiliate links)

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56 YEARS OF LOVE LESSONS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Today’s guest blogger is Erica from Coming Up Roses.

Find the original post here!

This post may contain affiliate links; see site footer for more details.

Happy Hump + Happy VALENTINE’S Day, friends! Are you someone who loveloveloves or despises this holiday?? J + I celebrated last night since he’s got a work meeting tonight, so I’m hungover on chocolate truffles this morning and I ain’t mad about it. 😉

This V-Day, I was trying to think of what kind of content/advice/thoughts I could put out on this THE day of lovelovelove. And I realized…I’m SO not cut out for that. But luckily, I know two people who totally are.

My Nana & Pop have been married for 56 years – they’re the living embodiment of true, selfless love. (Let’s play “how long will it take before E tears up writing”). They’re the two best people I know (note: already crying). I know my Nana is tied for CUR’s #1 fan (alongside my mama) – she’s a daily reader. A few weekends ago, J + I went up to spend the day with them, take them out to lunch, and just enjoy the day together just the four of us. ‘Twas SO STINKIN’ NICE, especially since it’s usually the whole clan hanging out and not as much 2-on-2 time like that. And it was so stinkin’ nice getting to learn so much more about them still, about their life + love. I mean…56 years.

Can you imagine that?

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Their wedding picture – also can we talk about how GORGEOUS Nana’s dress is?!?!?!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

We live in a day + age where divorce seems like an epidemic. Left and right, marriages fail. Couples break up. Partnerships end. 56 years? Try 5. Or 10. And it’s oh so sad + discouraging to feel like love can no longer withstand the hardships of today’s society.

My Nana & Pop give me hope.

And I think they can give hope to so many people omg, because they’ve been through some friggin’ low lows, too, and are still living a beautiful life + love together, after nearly 60 years of partnership. For some perspective, when they got married, they had odds stacked against them. First off, they got married “out of order.” In my Pop’s traditionalist Czech family, his mother expeced his older brother to be next in line to tie the knot. But Pop fell in love with Nana and wanted to marry her, so he did – against his strict mother’s wishes. They had about $5 to their name. They moved into Nana’s childhood home…where Nana’s mother still lived…and where she continued to live for the first 25 years of their marriage. Y’ALL.

Let that sink in.

Today, I don’t many folks who could fathom having an in-law live under the same roof for 25 years. Heck, some folks can’t even manage a long holiday all together before dying to be back in their own space. Beyond that, they were her caretaker’s as she aged and became sick, and they did it willingly + with joy.

No complaining. No struggle bus-ing. No resentment.

They also lived in a time where you really had to just do what ya had to do to provide for your family – it wasn’t as much of “dreamer” world as it is today. Today, we’re all so stinkin’ lucky in that we can truly wake up with a dream and make it happen. That wasn’t the case back then, largely because of resources! If you weren’t born into it, you had to make it happen, and obvi you didn’t have the iPhone to help ya do it. 😉 Pop wanted to be a State Trooper, Nana wanted to be a nurse. Neither one had the chance to do that, because real life at the time didn’t allow it. And neither one is bitter about it. They always put their love + their family first, and if that meant they couldn’t personally do something, that was A-OK. Which is so inspiring I think, especially in light of so much messaging today that’s dripping in do you-you-you.

I think in anyone in the world, my Nana & Pop truly “get” what it takes. Their life is proof of that. Their life is proof that you have zero control of the cards you’re dealt, but you have every ounce of control over how you respond + react to your hand.

SO. I had asked them to put together THEIR thoughts + “advice” that they think has contributed to being together for a true lifetime. I wanted them to be able to mull it over + think about what they can say really contributed to the fact that so many years after “I Do,” they STILL do…love AND like each other. 😉 My Nana handed me a stack of paper with her handwritten notes, which I just typed here exactly as is, unedited.

Start with Love, Patience, & Understanding! Prayer and faith!

Sometimes being quiet and keeping things and feelings to yourself and they seem to work themselves out

Were young and had to learn a lot of things, day to day. We went together for 2.5 years, but you still don’t know everything about each other. Time does that, ups and down and God helps you through them. And the blessed Mother Mary intercedes for us to God. Pray to her always!

Working together is everything and keeping your love alive! Having our children were happy days. Thanking God for healthy, beautiful children was the best news. Early days were not financially easy, but we got through them.

Proud to see our children grow up and do well in school and go on and get a good education. They all got good jobs and work hard to succeed.

Then in future years we got two beautiful grandchildren, Erica and Michael. Erica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing and Management and now has her own business (blogging and such). Now she is married to a great guy, Jamie!

Our grandson Michael will be graduating in May from Penn State, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. We are blessed in every way and thankful to God for all the good things in our life.

Also from day one we took care of Mom and we did our best. There were a lotof things to deal with, but we got through them with God’s help and a lot of prayers! We loved her with our heart and soul! She was quite a lady in every way. She raised a big family and had nine children. Life was never easy but she did it with love.

The having, the holding, the family and raising, the working, the planning, the celebrating, the cleaning up after, the dividing and conquering, the memory making and especially the sticking by each other through all of it. And we did it with so much love! With God and the blessed Virgin Mary’s help!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Can we point out that Nana was one of NINE? Also, I lovelovelove her point about actually being quiet sometimes, and things seem to work themselves out. This is HARD for me, oftentimes, because I’m not quiet. Like, ever. Ha. In any argument, I’m quick to wanna talk it out or address an issue head-on. But of course I’m not always right, and there are DEF times when I think I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and it would’ve turned out better in the end. My Nana is such a *patient* woman, which is something love could use today.

Also, the power of prayer. Nana is one of the most faithful women EVER, I swear. She’s a total prayer warrior. And really, I think that’s probably why she can get through ANYTHING with the attitude that she has – because she just hands everything up to God. (The epitome of trusting in God). 

They don’t pick fights. They know when to address something versus when to let something slide in the bigger picture. Which is something I’m soooo bad at sometimes oh my gosh. 

They always knew they’d get through. They just had faith and kept truckin’ along.

I asked my mama + my Aunt Donna + Jamie to chime in with their two cents, too, about things they’ve seen slash learned through/because of Nana & Pop’s relationship over the years, since we’ve all been directly impacts by it and have seen it blossom…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

MOM:

  • Selfless love! They always do things for each other out of care, not a sense of obligation. They. WANT. To. Nana still pours Pop’s juice every morning. I can still remember that from my childhood. And even little things like that let you know someone is caring for you.
  • They don’t keep score!
  • They don’t complain. They had to endure lots of tough stuff – very tight finances, caring for ill relatives, Pop working lots of overtime to make ends meet, living very modest lives. And their attitude was just to do what you need to do and keep going!
  • They celebrate the little things. They appreciate what they have! I’ve never heard them wishing for luxuries or complaining that they did not have them.
  • They did things for themselves. Pop was (and still is) a great handyman. He can fix pretty much anything or build a new one! He’d learn how and do it himself. Both are great cooks and bakers. They had a large vegetable garden and we grew up canning and jarring all sorts of veggies. Nana was not a seamstress making clothes from scratch, but she can mend or repair basically anything that needed it.
  • They tease each other playfully and Pop can always make Nana giggle. 😉
  • They have inside jokes! And they have certain looks that they can give each other that speak volumes.

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

DONNA:

Mom and Dad are the epitome of a marriage made in heaven. God made them amazing individuals and when He bound their hearts, a solid bond was made that could never be broken. Their commitment to God, each other, and their family is unmatched. They’re my role models, and to them, ALL blessings they truly deserve, as they glorify God every day! Their individual quirkiness, funny private looks to each other, and subtle yet grounded PDA’s are only some of their qualities that make their marriage and relationship one that everyone should strive to achieve. After about 60 years together, what better love lesson than theirs…through it all!

J:

What I’ve learned:

  • Faith is a big part of a successful marriage. Having 25 years of your marriage be with an in-law there, many of them in caretaker capacity – it can be a tremendous challenge on your relationship so faith is SO IMPORTANT.
  • Focus on family over perception. For a man to get married and spend the next two decades in his wife’s house with his mother-in-law is not considered “ideal” for our generation today, but Pop put family first over maybe his own personal ideal. You’ve gotta be selfless in your marriage.
  • The important things in a marriage. It’s not always comfortable, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.
  • They’re always aware of each other and what each other needs. Pop always talks about Nana and is looking to see what he can do for her, and vice versa.

Look at the way they look at each other. Look at it. I mean…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

If that’s not lovelovelove, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Whatever your relationship status today, I hope you feel hope.

So much of how we experience life – so much of our story – stems from our perspective. So much of what my Nana & Pop have been through might leave some feeling less-than-stellar, throwing a pity party. Their attitude has always been to just make it work and do it all with love.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, about to tie the knot or married for a decade, I hope that attitude rubs off on ya a bit today.

Make it work, do it all with love.

Whatever you’re doing in life – be that your relationship with your S.O., your girlfriends, the random person that sits outside the Dunkin’ Donuts on your way to work every day – do it all with love.

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? What’s the most inspiring love story you’ve heard?

Whatever your plans are today, I hope you know + feel how loveloveloved you are.

For what it’s worth, I lovelovelove each of y’all so much and am SO grateful that you’re here. I owe so much to you, and I wouldn’t slash couldn’t do Coming Up Roses without you.

Sending you SO much lovelovelove on this Valentine’s Day + everyday.

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Are your Expectations Ruining the Real Joy in Life?

Today’s guest blog post comes from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard and can be originally found here!

Expectations are sneaky buggers. We often don't realize we even have them until we find ourselves disappointed in our reality. Maybe we need to shift our focus.
Expectations are sneaky buggers. They are often so engrained into our ideas of normal that we forget we have them at all.

We walk into daily situations, especially holidays, with subconscious champagne and roses expectations thanks to Hallmark movies, and miss the better gifts reality can offer.

One year, I almost ruined my own birthday with my expectations. In the years since, I have seen how God has walked with me through feeling disappointed and invisible and reminds me He is the God who sees me.

In the weeks surrounding holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, I often see so many struggling relationships because they weren’t celebrated in the way they wanted to be. And hurting women let disappointment turn into a burr between themselves and their families.

I sadly remember all the Valentine’s Days, birthdays, trips, and anniversaries that turned into balls of hurt in my house because of my wrong expectations that didn’t offer any grace to the love of my life.

Somehow, I expected my husband to say the words that would make all the late nights, emotional exhaustion and struggles of being a wife and mother worth it. I wanted him to find the gift or flowers that would make me feel for just ONE day that he truly sees and appreciates me.

I was putting the pressure of my expectations on him instead of taking them to the Lord.

And with all the weight I was giving these particular calendar days, nothing was ever going to satisfy.

Now, I can see all the ways he shows me how much he appreciates me everyday. But I was missing it because I was so focused on my emotional needs.

The year I almost ruined my birthday changed everything. The day had been pretty low-key, a fine day, but I couldn’t get over my disappointment at not receiving any kind of gift.

After feeling a bit dejected and debating with myself about telling him how I felt, I decided not to say anything and be grateful for all the blessings I had.

Five minutes later, he came out from the bedroom with a jewelry set he had purchased months earlier. It was special hypoallergenic gold due to my bizarre metal allergy. I felt like such a jerk. My unmet expectations almost ruined his thoughtful surprise.

I almost missed a real expression of his love for me because I wanted to dictate what it should look like.

Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.

Why? What changed? Me.

First, I stopped placing my value and worth as a mother in the hands of my husband. I would love a moment of recognition from him, but I don’t need it.

My identity as a woman, mother, even wife is in Christ and the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I have learned to let God’s love fill me so that I overflow with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Even though I still do those things imperfectly, I recognize I am growing in grace as I grow in Him.

So I set my expectations for holidays now on what I want for myself. On Mother’s Day, I want a day of being the mom I really want to be everyday: fun, patient, kind, joyful.

I don’t want to use this holiday as a weapon. Expectations ruin reality. Don’t miss the real joy God has for us. CLICK TO TWEET

Does it really measure my worth or his love if he doesn’t roll out the red carpet and ticker tape parade on this one calendar day?

When I quit having expectations, I got to see more fully who my husband is, appreciating and loving the whole of him, and experiencing the joy of the day as it unfolds.

My first Mother’s Day of letting go of expectations, my husband didn’t make me breakfast in bed, because he wanted to wait to ask me what I would like to have. He didn’t buy me a gift, but researched a special place for me to choose exactly what I wanted. He spent his afternoon cleaning out the pool so I could have the first swim of the year.

His quiet thoughtfulness was more precious to me than any gift.

For years, I missed the real gifts because of my wrong expectations.

Sometimes we feel invisible and ignored. No one sees us up at midnight, straightening the living room or washing dishes. Laundry magically folds itself and finds its way back into drawers, or maybe you magically earn the paycheck that keeps your house from belonging to the bank.

One or two days a year doesn’t change who you are and won’t heal days you were taken for granted or ignored. But rest assured, God sees you. He sees your every moment.

The work and struggle of being a wife, mother, friend, sister is not invisible to Him. And I find so much joy when I remember that I’m serving Him through my earthly service.

Matthew 5:14 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Don’t let the darkness steal true joy from your grasp. Even on this side of heaven, jewelry and flowers pale in comparison to the joy of the Lord in the ministry where He has placed you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.

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7 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Today’s guest blog post is by Sara Benny from A Virtuous Home and can be originally found here!

As the children of God, we need to look to the scriptures for the answers and seek His help alone. You can breathe life into your empty marriage life through prayer, scripture, and trusting our Lord, Jesus. So, what are the seven beautiful ways to strengthen your marriage?

Ways to strengthen your marriage -1

Rebuilding intimacy in marriage

I want to quote the words of the author of the book Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” There was a time in my life when I thought my marriage would be like a fairy tale and never knew the investments it needs to flourish.

And when the reality hit me, I knew it needed a lot more work than I expected. All I did was look to the Lord in prayer. It was my sincere desire to rebuild the intimacy in marriage, strengthen the marriage, and get the divine guidance.

How to bring back intimacy in a marriage?

Building intimacy in a marriage is important in strengthening marriage.

Put God first in your marriage.

Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by love towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is love between the two persons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

So, I am rephrasing the above sentence to be- Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by God towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is God between the two persons.

Hope you got the key point :).

Companionship in marriage

Be your husband’s favorite companion whom he loves to spend his time together.

This is not an easy task, so let’s take encouragement from the scripture.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12)

  • Be gentle and cheerful always

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

A right companion always knows the right time to talk. You can spoil both of your moods by simply bombarding your husband with your frustrations or pessimistic talks, or you can warmly greet him when he comes home and save your discussions for later. This makes a huge difference!

  • Spend time together

I should say that my husband loves to watch classic movies and I hate watching it. All I do is force myself to watch with him because my interests are completely different.

There was a time when I tried to resist him, but now I decide to focus on the relevant and to ignore the irrelevant.

The good news is, now I love watching such movies with him as I am sitting beside him enjoying time together.

  • Listen to Him

Are you a good listener? Have you ever neglected when your husband talks to you or when he shows you some exciting news?

Try to take a conscious step to pause whatever you are doing, and listen to him for that little time. He will love it!

  • Put on a smile

My husband loves when I smile at him, or when I am cheerful. It reminded me that the habit of being pleasant and optimistic makes me lovable and attractive.

So, why not take a step to always talk to him in a friendly, pleasant manner to get his attention!

  • Try new recipes

Men love delicious foods prepared with love :).

Physical Intimacy in marriage

A strong physical relationship is built on emotional intimacy and companionship. If you desire to have good physical intimacy, it is important to address the emotional needs of the partner.

Being a submissive wife

Is submission important in marriage life? Do I have to be a submissive wife to strengthen my marriage?

As we see there are thousands of ideas on the internet about this topic alone. Some think being submissive is neglecting one’s freedom, or even as slavery.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21- 27)

Marriage is never a one-sided relationship. As husbands and wives, we need to respect and appreciate each other’s efforts out of reverence for Christ.

As wives, we should let our husbands have the lead role in our family, and help him to be the man God desire about him. For that, we need to be renewed in our minds and be filled with the spirit of Christ to be the wife glorifying God through our lives.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)

But, what if your husband hardly cares about your needs, or barely shows affection or appreciate your efforts. In that case, I urge you to walk an extra mile with Jesus who can save your marriage.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Give thanks to God for everything

How can I strengthen my marriage by giving thanks to God?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Always give thanks to the Lord in everything, whether you are doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and in the tiniest of things you do in your house- do it with thanksgiving and prayer.

Even the most vibrant marriage can turn dull one day if you fail to see the purpose of doing those mundane things. But if you do everything with thanksgiving and prayer, your heart will be filled with God’s peace and your home will be a beautiful reflection of Christ and the church.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Let us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Effective communication in marriage

Communication is crucial in marriage relationships, and it is essential in strengthening marriage.

So, does this mean we can communicate all the silly things that are revolving in our mind? Or to constantly complain about the things which are pending to complete or undone?

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

As Christian wives, we should communicate with our husbands in a way pleasing to the Lord. This might be against our nature, but when we are ready to be renewed in our minds (Ephesians 2:21-24) and seek the wisdom of Christ in our lives, He will help us.

Be intentional in spending time with each other without any external distractions for at least half an hour.

Express opinions, or any negative feelings in a gentle way.

It is okay to be specific when asking something as men are not good mind readers. 

Avoid responding when you are angry. Resume the conversation only once you are calm down.

Try to avoid reminding him of the pending “to do lists”.

Now, let us check some things that can aid us in the effective communication process.

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19).

The best way to effectively communicate with your husband is to know the best way to show your love towards him.

So, let’s check some ideas to get his attention.

Appreciate and affirm him for all his efforts to build your family.

Ask Jesus, and Jesus will fill you with the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Being attentive of every single need of the family- cooking, cleaning, organizing, children, dressing up, etc.

Listening to him whenever he initiates a conversation.

More than anyone, your husband deserves your best. So, give him the best of you in everything.

Involve and show enjoyment in his interests too.

Try speaking in a soft voice.

Cook his favorite food.

Prayer for marriage protection

There was a time when I took this less significant in my marriage life. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t pray at all. I surely did, but I didn’t use this powerful weapon to strengthen my marriage wisely.  We can always cover our husband in prayer, building an invisible wall of protection on him through the power of prayer.

It is true that we often become vexed when situations turn unfavorable, but prayer is the most powerful weapon to protect the love of your life from all the snares of the enemy.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Pray for your husband in all the walks of his life- in everything give thanks to the Lord in faith, believing that your prayer is heard.

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5)

Bible tells the love and reverence Job had for God. He was rich, blessed in everything, and even in that abundance he was mindful of praying for his children on a single thought- perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.

Be ready with the armor of God, and fight for your family!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 10:12)

Forgiveness in marriage

Forgiveness in marriage is essential to strengthen marriage and to keep it secure. We all easily feel whenever our emotions are hurt, sometimes may not express it soon but hide it till the right moment to vent it out. We try to forget it but fails to forgive.

Am not an expert in this, and I often struggle in this aspect of my marriage. Then I found a way to overcome this issue without accumulating much in my heart.

Love your husband in the way he is, and accept him for who is.

Always pause from talking when you are hurt.

Tell God your hurt feelings and then openly share it with your husband when you both are in a good mood.

There is no secret formula for forgiveness in marriage except “forgive as Christ forgave you” and “love as Christ loved you”.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Download your free printable here!

Hi, if you enjoyed reading this, please comment so that I may know someone has been encouraged reading this and that would make me glad in the Lord. So, please share your heart.

Blessings,

Sara Benny

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Blinders

I want you to imagine a horse with blinders on. Blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Since the horse can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision, it keeps the horse from becoming distracted or scared.

The horse looks towards the end of the row – it’s goal. So, for instance, if a dog runs up from the house, the horse will hear it; but, the horse will stay the course. If a snake should come into its path… it will tread on and over it; because, the horse’s goal is in sight – nothing else.

I would like to encourage you to first ground yourself in God’s word, assuring that you are walking as Christ did (1 John 2:6).

Then know this, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

Don’t take the time to rejoice in your authority. Stay the course, focusing on God. Keep your blinders on. Once your with our Heavenly Father, look back and witness the trail you took in life and how it’s littered with snakes and scorpions that you were never even aware of; because, you were too focused on your goal, the end of your row, your God.

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50 Magical Date Night Ideas!

Today’s guest post comes from Minding the Kings.

Find the original post here.

You know, sometimes Mr. King and I just need a date night. A time to ourselves where we can set our responsibilities aside and enjoy each  other’s company. It’s so important to spend that time together and cultivate a strong relationship. A strong marriage relationship sets the foundation for a strong family! But after a while it can be hard to come up with date ideas. We want to mix it up! We want to try something new! Going to the same couple restaurants every time gets boring, and when we just go to a movie we aren’t really engaging with each other. So I sat down and came up with a list of ideas we could try. Then I thought, we can’t be the only ones looking for new ideas! So, I’m sharing the magic with all of you!

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more**

50 Magical Date Night Ideas

  1.  Go for a bike ride
  2. Create sidewalk chalk murals all over town
  3. Take selfies together with random strangers, then create a photo book of your adventure
  4. Go out and do random acts of kindness together
  5. Go Fishing
  6. Look up workout videos from the 80’s and have fun working out and making fun of them together!
  7. Taste test candy or snacks from other countries
  8. Put together a 1000+ piece puzzle
  9. Visit an art museum, take notepads and pens in with you, and pretend to be art critics!
  10. Build sandcastles and look for shells at the beach
  11. Go canoeing
  12. Do an escape room
  13. Go ice skating or roller skating
  14. Go shopping together and pick out clothes for each other to try on
  15. Make music videos by recording yourselves singing and dancing to your favorite songs
  16. Do a craft together, like making a tie blanket, a stepping stone for your garden, or painting flower pots
  17. Rent a movie that’s in a foreign language, then make up the dialogue for it while you watch
  18. Have a water balloon fight, then relax together in a kiddie pool
  19. Do a color run or mud run together
  20. Go Bowling
  21. Take a class together (painting, cooking, etc)
  22. Explore a nearby  town you’ve never been to before
  23. Go Horseback Riding
  24. Play Frisbee and have a picnic at the park
  25. Do a progressive dinner restaurant tour: Have an appetizer at one restaurant, split an entree at 2 other places, and finish with dessert somewhere else!
  26. Read together
  27. Go Geocaching, or play similar types of games, like Pokemon Go, Draconius Go, or Zombies, Run!
  28. Go riding quads, dirt bikes, a side-by-side, or other recreational vehicles together
  29. Volunteer together
  30. Look up a new recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and make it together (maybe try this one!)
  31. Go Swimming
  32. Create a vision board together
  33.  Look up massage techniques and try them out on each other
  34. Taste test and rate different brands of cola, different flavors of M&M’s, or other foods and drinks!
  35. Play strip poker
  36. Set up hammocks, then watch the sun set and stargaze together
  37. Do a couple’s photo shoot
  38. Go camping. REAL camping!
  39. Play video games together. Multiplayer ones, so you are both playing!
  40. Get to know each other even better by doing a questionnaire or asking “would you rather” questions
  41. Go on a scavenger hunt
  42. Work together on a scrap book of your favorite memories
  43. Borrow I Spy or Where’s Waldo books from the library and spend time together doing them
  44. Have a Nerf war or a Nerf sharpshooter competition
  45. Stay in a hotel room with a Jacuzzi and pamper yourselves
  46. Have a game night playing your favorite board, dice and card games
  47. Do a fast food taste test: Gather 1 each of the same item from different fast food restaurants (chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, etc). Then one person wears a blindfold while the other feeds them the foods from each place one at a time. The blindfolded one has to guess where each item they try is from!
  48. Build something together. Doesn’t matter if its from IKEA or made from scratch.
  49. Go out and play Pool together
  50. Do a $10 date: Each person gets $10 to shop with. The objective is to find 2 things to buy for your other half, 1 thing they would like and 1 gag gift!

For 15 more fun ideas, head over to My Cup Runs Overand check out her list!

As rare as our date nights are, this list will last my husband and I a LONG time! I hope you find some ideas you can use to make your next date night magical! Let me know in the comments what your favorite ideas are!

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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!

Bible, bible verse, Birthday, Book, books, Children, Christmas, family, Friends, friendship, gifts, girls, Giveaway, god, Holiday, jesus, Kid's Fun, kids, Parenting, review, Uncategorized

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!

Bible, bible verse, Book, books, boys, Children, Church, Entertainment, family, gifts, girls, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, Kid's Fun, kids, Life, Ministry, Parenting, review, Uncategorized

Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Untold Bible Stories for Kids

I was gifted this book for my honest opinion and received no money for this honest opinion that I am sharing with you.

Erika Vose of Mom Sets the Table has written a children’s book: Untold Bible Stories for Kids.

Erika Vose is a wife, mom, and writer.  In theory she is sitting down reading by the fire, or working on her next children’s book.  In reality she is probably dancing in the living room with her two daughters or playing outside wondering when was the last time she took a shower, or listening to her favorite comedians with her husband Clint.” (from her blog)

Now that I have taken care of the preliminaries in order that you might get to know the author a little bit better, I will share with you my thoughts on her new children’s book:

My initial thoughts, as well as – most importantly that of my son’s, is on the following quick video:

https://youtu.be/74Tg-y-pduQ

I really like this book. I try to speak very candidly with you guys and so that’s what I did in my video and that’s what I’ll do here. When I first saw the book, the illustrations kind of threw me off. It’s not that I didn’t like them, though. I had to take a second and think to myself, “Does it look cheap? No. Does it look poorly drawn? No! Absolutely not!”

I finally figured out that I was unconsciously comparing the illustrations to some of the things that I’ve seen continuously here lately. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the illustrations. In fact, I love that they are different and have a touch of whimsy and humor to them. Those things that I had been watching lately, though, are Heroes & Friends and Superbook. It’s unfair to compare a book to a cartoon. The two are illustrated in completely different fashions. I digress.

Then, I reminded myself that it doesn’t matter what I think! This book is for children. So, if you refer back to my video, you’ll see the true, warm, excited, reception that this book received by my son.

At the end of the day, this book is awesome. I’m serious. This book is aptly named because it’s author addresses stories that are not often taught to our children. Yes, they may be taught to our teenagers; but, many of the stories are not being taught to our children yet our children can recite back to us the story of Noah’s Ark because they’ve heard it eleventy billion times. Our children are ready to move on from milk but we’re holding them back.

With its humor, choice of biblical stories, and illustrations, this book captures the attention of children. Greater than that, it opens up the door of their curiosity and desire to know more about the word of God.

You can buy the book here. (I am not an affiliate and receive no compensation.)

BONUS:

If you visit Erika’s blog, you’ll see she’s given readers 10 FREE Bible study tools that coordinate perfectly with the book!

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Don’t Give Up

A lot of people quote Matthew 6:1-4 when speaking about good deeds.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Tonight, I would quote Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So many times (because it’s in our fleshly nature) people only remember, talk, dwell, focus on past mistakes.

They define you in their own minds by what they hear or by that moment.

I feel like someone needs to hear this, “Don’t give up doing what’s right!”

There’s a very important word in the passage from Galatians – the word “if.” IF we do not give up, then in our due season we will reap.

Many times we’re beaten up… for just doing the best we knew how through Christ; and, so often, we get abused and blamed when we may actually be the injured party.

In those moments, we have to not speak – for it’s God that promotes us – not us. Anything that we do for ourselves can just as easily be taken away. Anything God gives us, however, cannot be taken from us but by Him and His permission.

I praise God that in those times, God remembers what I did. He’s my daddy and I know, in that moment, HE was proud of me – IS proud of me. I hope you’ll remember this too.