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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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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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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: 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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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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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: Not My Jesus

This book was given to me (no money was exchanged) for my honest opinion and that’s what you’ll get! I am not an affiliate and receive no money from this or any purchases.

Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. If that front cover doesn’t get that message across, nothing will! 😂

I began explaining the book to my first-grader (mainly because of the cigarette) and he wound up taking over saying, “Plus, Jesus was brown, with brown eyes because He was Jewish!” #HomeschoolWin

Ever heard the hashtag #NotMyPresident? If not, you’re probably not reading my blog and therefore I don’t need to explain😅. If you have, then you know that many have voiced their negative opinions of our current president by tagging their statements with #NotMyPresident. Bob Fabey, an Anglican priest, plays off this notorious hashtag with his book titled Not My Jesus.

This book is not about politics. It’s not about hipsters, cell phones, smoking, nor homosexuality. It is about who Jesus is not and who He is. More importantly, it’s about who Jesus is … to you!

I recently asked, on my Facebook page, “Who is YOUR Jesus?” These are some of the responses I received:

“The Way the Truth and the Life, never changing, never failing….. I do have to say “Your” Jesus…. is The Jesus… He can’t be changed to fit my needs or my wants/desires.” – Dawn L.

“My Deliverer! I’m so blessed that my Jesus thought enough of even me to sacrifice Himself and I will do my best to live my life to honor Him. Thank God for grace!” – Sabrina M.

“Interesting and difficult prompt. I would say that “my” Jesus, the one I normally think of, is less passionate, less humble, less concerned about me, less confrontational, and less interesting than the Jesus that I encounter in reading, meditating, and praying.” – Patrick M.

“My deliverer and strong tower, yet my precious God who holds me in every instance of my life. He never fails and is always there when I need him, gently leading and guiding. I love my Jesus!” – Sue G.

“Love.” – Victoria R.

“My Jesus is a radiant light that guides me on my path. He’s my savior, my redeemer, and His love knows no bounds. Even when I’ve gone astray, his mercy and love pulls me back in. ” – Tiffany R.

“Creator – through Him everything was made that is made. Healer – by His stripes we are healed. Savior – no one comes to the Father but by Me. Redeemer – full of grace and truth (John‬ ‭1:14‬). He has redeemed me from the bondage of sin and given me life everlasting and joy unspeakable and full of glory.” – David M.

For myself, Jesus is so much. He is an incomparable friend, yet one that holds me accountable. He is grace and mercy, yet soul-jarring conviction. He is healing and provision, yet also guidance and wisdom.

Fabey starts right out the gate, grabbing you by the ears, describing many people’s versions of who Jesus is. He even references the now infamous Talladega Nights prayer many of us know where Ricky prefers his Jesus to be 8 pound, 6 ounce, newborn infant Jesus.

He goes on, after describing everything from Santa Jesus and black Jesus to judgmental Jesus and blonde Jesus, to share some “Jesus tweets.” Many of these “tweets” will be shocking to a lot of readers. What’s sad is that they should not be. Because Fabey is doing nothing more than quoting Jesus from the Bible.🤷🏻‍♀️

Fabey challenges his readers:

“We frequently see Jesus as of looking through a keyhole, unable or unwilling to see a bigger picture. In fact, the sad truth is we make Him out to be what we want. In short, He looks like us. He carries our wants, wishes, ideas, and leanings with a spiritual spin. This gives us the divine right to feel, act, or think the way we do because Jesus did it that way. He is used to justify our biases and, in turn, becomes nothing more than a caricature of the flavor of the day – our preferred flavor.”

After reading this book – a book full of humor, sarcasm, bluntness, reality, and truth – I was left with the question, “Who is this book intended for?” Is this book for mellenials, the confused, new in Christ, people looking for a laugh? After all, Fabey goes off the rails if you compare his book to mainstream Christian books. I can’t imagine anyone of my grandparents snuggling up to this one. He doesn’t mince words nor does he cater to sensitivities. So… I simply emailed Fabey and asked.

His response:

“I am targeting the millennial crowd. Especially the de-churched.”

Honestly, his response gave me a lot more peace about this book. Millennials (many but not all) have developed during a time of segregation. There is now segregation of thought, belief, feelings. Fabey actually addresses this in his book and how detrimental it can and will be. This is one of the points that he makes that I wholeheartedly agree with – that at one time we could simply agree to disagree. Now, if we disagree we can’t be friends. We’ll take our ball and go home. No, it’s not as simple as that but in some ways…it is.

For instance, it’s very difficult to understand how one person can know that there is a living being inside of someone else and be OK with the killing of it; yet, if I shut down all dialogue with them how will I be any different from those that would simply turn a blind eye? Am I not to open up a conversation with those people on how precious that life is, possibly changing their minds into a direction that is not my perspective but that of Christ’s?

He talks about the power of “Othering.” Othering is when we have a “Oh…them 😒” mentality.

Fabey, I believe, is trying to redirect a generation from the “My Jesus is okay with me just as I am” mentality to the truth of Christ and who He was (and is) that day He met a woman at the well.

Let’s be honest: Christ called her out. She was living a life many would call a Jerry Springer life and Jesus called a spade a spade. He didn’t leave it there, though. He gave her hope and a reason to change her life. That is who Jesus really is – He is truth even when it hurts but He’s also grace and love. The problem, as Fabey points out, is that many want one without the other – truth and judgment (without grace) for their oppressors, or grace and love (without truth) for themselves. That’s simply not who Jesus is.

So that being said, if it takes Fabey being somewhat controversial or “in your face” to get a dialogue going about who Jesus really is, then who am I to say that his delivery is shocking or insensitive?

In all, I wouldn’t say that I disagree with Fabey. I would say we share different perspectives about a few things and we would certainly differ in our delivery. I can imagine that we would have a very colorful and interesting conversation over coffee if he and I were to sit together.

I found myself disagreeing with Fabey, or at least the way he conveyed something. Some of his views and opinions are pretty extreme to me. Yet, many times I found myself saying, “Yes! Exactly!”

One such example is when Fabey references Matthew 13:38 where Jesus is calling people weeds that can potentially choke things or other people out. They – weeds – grow in the wrong place. If you’re in the wrong place you’re a potential problem. You need to know where you belong otherwise you are going to “clog up the works.”

His book takes you from who you may think Jesus is, through a journey of how dangerous misinterpretation can be and onto the promise and potential of who you – and this world can be – if we can grasp who Jesus truly is.

I would agree with Fabey that this book is for millennials and the de-churched. I would add that this is for the prideful, somewhat close minded, those that are absolutely convinced that their mind cannot be changed. This book is for the Christian and the unbeliever. I would also say that this book is for people who simply like to see different perspectives. This book is for groups who like to just talk about Jesus and how this generation, or world, relates to Him today.

*I would probably not give this book to someone brand new in Christ as many of the topics are for people who are already at one extreme or the other, not someone who is in a transitional period with God.

There is a lot of information packed into a very small book. This is not just a book of flash and fancy but a book that is referencing who the messiah is, how important He really is, why Jesus is the way that He is.

If you read this book, I cannot wait to hear your take on it! I would definitely say that this is a book club book. This is a conversation starter to be sure. With such topics as, “Who is your Jesus?” “Which generation should we turn back to?” “Are our Jesuses the same?” “What is truly a zealot?” I could go on!

Can’t wait to see if you’ve won? Buy it here…

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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. 

AENTM3d-Front-copy

“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.”

 

Capture

 

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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Capture2

 

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