A Useful Tool to Help Kids Get the Gospel

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 0

I love NCIS.  Longmire.  CSI.  Law & Order (back in the day).  Blue Bloods.  Leverage.  I love crime shows that usually get solved in a short amount of time.  They take finding clues and knowing how to interpret those clues.

In some ways, the Gospel is the same.  Faith is given to us.  It is a gift from the Spirit.  But, we can also investigate and prove true the claims of Christ.  We can know that Jesus really existed, died, and rose again.  And we can teach our kids something similar.

We still need to pray that they would indeed be given grace and faith to understand and love and surrender to Jesus and the Gospel.  But, giving them tools to understand the gospel and know it is super helpful.

Cold Case Christianity is a new book that will be helpful in teaching your kids, I’d say especially boys before they reach the teenage years.  It has help from a real detective and a real believer, with good diagrams and helpful questions for them to ask questions about Jesus for themselves.

This will encourage them in their walks with Jesus.

Thank you Litfuse for sending me the book.  All opinions are my own.

Life Creative (a review)

posted in: Books, creatives, mothering | 1

One of my favorite questions to ask moms is : what do you like to do, you know, besides being a mom?

That question can be controversial, but I really don’t mean for it to be.  What I want to know is what is inside this woman, other than being a mom.

We all know that with being a mom comes a ton of love, responsibility, and fun…but not lots of time for ourselves, or our former selves.  Motherhood has to be selfless – which is really hard, I’m learning.  And I’m not great at that – but God is teaching me in his generosity that that is what I need.

One of the ways God wired me is in creativity.  Actually, that is one of the reasons my husband said he married me – is because I’m fun – I love to be creative and think outside the box.  I also love to do that in my motherhood journey.  I love to try new recipes – all the time.  I go all the time, taking my littles with me to new parks, or library story times, or just to a new aisle in Target.  I love reading books with them and letting my boys be in the kitchen with me – or in the yard with me learning about new bugs (oooh, gross), or new flowers that seemed to have popped up over night.  It is never ending.  I don’t like boredom, whether in life or in motherhood.

And I love to be creative in my personal life too.  I have loved photography since high school.  Loved to cook since college.  Loved to letter and write for what seems like forever.  These are things that still excite me.  So, they are also things that fuel me.  How do these things help or help me engage in motherhood?  Well, I love to take photographs of our every day – or of our special days.  I love to cook for my family and for other families.  I love to letter to help me meditate on the Word (to help my heart) or to give to others, or to help with our family finances.

Life Creative is a book written by two women who seek to encourage moms to not only be creative, engaging with their creative side (and we all have one because we are made in the image of a creative God) but to also encourage moms to encourage their kids to be creative.  We may not be talking about painting and cooking.  Creativity can take on many different forms and be used in many outlets.

Whether you are struggling to find your creative outlet, think your kids are getting bored, or are maybe struggling to decide how to use your creative gifts right now (especially in the throws of motherhood), this is a great book to encourage thinking and discussion.  I would read it, discuss some of it over coffee or tea or wine with a fellow mom, and also, discuss some of your thoughts with your husband – who I hope will encourage you to use your creative gifts.

Litfuse, the group that gave me this book to review, is also hosting a giveaway for you and a Facebook party!

Total Family Makeover (a review)

posted in: Books, parenting | 0

As my kids get older, I think I start to notice all of my expectations of parenting get washed away.  When I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood with mostly family, went to a small church where we really only interacted with 1-2 families, and I went to a Christian school and really don’t remember doing things as families with anyone.  Of course we had friends, but it wasn’t essential in our upbringing to surround ourselves with community and family.

When I get to college that all changed for me.  I surrounded myself with families and loved them and learned so much, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that I had a family of my own.

I now want to do a couple of things in family/parenting life:

  1.  Make sure my mister and I are always on the same page especially in our calendar and parenting.  This is so crucial to success.
  2. Surround ourselves with those who are ahead of us, but also with us in our stage of parenting – and who share similar grace and parenting styles.  Community is so important.
  3. Pour grace into my husband and my children.  I think the main way I do this right now is through asking forgiveness each time I do something wrong (which is often).

In Total Family Makeover, Melissa Spoelstra, tackles some important topics on how you can work toward a more discipleship centered home – because isn’t this our most important task as parents – to raise those who will Lord-willing seek after God because of HIs grace?

If you normally don’t read book introductions, read this one.  She hit the nail on the head.  Sundays are usually the day I feel the worst as a parent.  My kids disobey walking into church, or don’t obey me in childcare, or always need discipline.  While seemingly most around me have perfect children and I feel are always looking at my with disdain or disapproval.  I know this isn’t the case, but I always feel like a failure.  She tackles this and is so encouraging.

The areas of discipleship she highlights in this practical book: praying together, Bible time, mentoring, church community, serving, rest, giving, and evangelism.  All of these are personally important, and definitely are important for your family.

My one suggestion = read this book.  Maybe read it with your husband, or just give him your takeaways.  Pray together and see which area you can tackle first.  Its like if your house is a mess and you try to clean the whole things at once, you’ll get discouraged.  I would start with one thing and then go on to the next.  You’ll see God reward your obedience in these areas with success and grace.  He wants our families to be more Christ-like!  He is for you in this endeavor!

This post is sponsored by Litfuse who gave me the book.  All opinions are my own.  And you can win a great prize pack for a fun family night (think free pizza and books and games!)  Enter here

Experiencing God Through His Names (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

Experiencing God Names

I will never know God as fully as I can.

I definitely won’t know him perfectly this side of heaven, because of sin.  Even in Heaven, God is eternal and so big – that every day in heaven (which will never end) will bring me new wonder of God – so I will always be in new wonder of him. I can’t wait.

This year, as I’ve been reading through the Bible (I’m in Joshua), I’m writing down in the margins of my ESV journaling Bible all the ways that I see God as He has revealed Himself to me.  It is beautiful to see and know that God is the same God today as He was in the days of Moses, Joseph, and Job.

Sheryl Giesbrecht has written a really good study on the names of God.  She takes God’s character and let’s us know how we can experience it in our lives.  I found it helpful as I’ve been walking through the Bible to find out what the meaning of some of these names are.  And they are short – so you could do a month study on the names of God, and add this to a little journal, a quiet time, and knowing God more in his perfection.

I hope you pick this book up and find out more of God’s beauty.

Thanks Litfuse for this book and all opinions are my own.

Jesus and the Beanstalk (a review)

posted in: Bible, Books | 0

I’m one of those people who find it hard to stick to one thing.

Maybe blame it on a lack of patience, or always wanting to see results, etc.  I really find it hard to believe I’ve been blogging for 11 years almost – that I’ve stuck to something that long.

For me, I like to jump around in my Bible study  I don’t mean that I just pick out a verse and think about that.  No, I like to do different things any given year.  Maybe I’ll read through the Psalms while doing a Bible study.  Right now I’m going page by page through the Bible to find out what God says about Himself.

Jesus and the Beanstalk would be helpful for folks like me, who may want to change up their quiet times or Bible study time near the end of the year.  Lori Roeleveld has written a humorous but good study through the book of Second Peter.  This will give you a lighthearted look at life while walking you the little book of 2 Peter.

She helps you look at the characteristics that you need as you walk the life of faith in Christ to battle any (and many) of the giants that you will inevitably face in this life.

Thank you to Litfuse for this book.  All opinions are my own.

Unnatural Mom (a review)

posted in: Books, mothering, parenting | 0

Motherhood is such a journey – and a different journey for everyone.

Writing about the ups and downs of motherhood is quite difficult too.

I got married late and therefore had kids late (mid-to-late 30s).  I didn’t have many people in my life who truly told me how hard raising kids was going to be.  Even if I hung out with families, I only saw glimpses (and most of the kids knew to obey in front of guests).

So, I had different expectations for parenting.  And Hettie Brittz writes about parenting, motherhood, and all that goes with it in her new book (un)Natural Mom.  She tells about real life, and all the what ifs and all the doubts that we are mothers face.  I like that she is real.  I like that she tells it like it is and points us to SCripture (and not the world’s ideals).  I don’t like some of the daily specific things she talks about – because everyone is so different and may not find herself in the same story.

I do think that every woman (because she is a woman) is life-giving.  That may not mean being a natural mom, or even an adoptive mom – that may mean discipling others or bringing life to an art area that sparks her interest.  Affirming and maturing and building life is something we do because God created us as women.

Let us hold firm to what the Word says about women – not what the world says we have to be in order to be a good mom.

Thanks to Litfuse for this book.  All opinions are my own.

Hunting Hope: a Review (and giveaway)

posted in: Books | 0

To say that life has been a little complex over the last few months would be an understatement.  And I don’t think we are quite out of a season full of hurt and disappointment.

So, when I heard about Hunting Hope, I jumped at the chance to read it. (And you can enter a giveaway for it)

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it lined up perfectly with my quiet times.  I love the break down of the book – so focused on God and who He is – then challenging the reader to apply what they have read to their lives – in whatever season they are in.

So often when we are dealing with hurt, pain, or disappointment; when we are hopeless and not hope-filled, we tend to look at ourselves and sink deeper into despair.  Nika Maples graciously offered us hope by pointing us away from ourselves and to our masterful God. Our compassionate God, our God who is there.

So, if there is something you feel hopeless about – turn first to the Word, but then if you need a companion to help you see some of God’s wonderful attributes and how they can be felt in your need, pick up Hunting Hope.

Thanks to Litfuse for the opportunity to read and share this book.  All opinions are my own.

Christ, not prayer, is the answer

posted in: Bible, Books | 0

I love church signs.  You can either think that is sarcastic or true – whichever.

But, I passed one today and it said “prayer is the answer”.  I thought to myself.  No, Christ is the answer.

Here’s my thought.  If we tell people all they have to do is pray, everything will work out right, then that really isn’t the right answer.  We do need to pray – Christ models it and commands it.  We need to pray biblically-centered prayers.  We need to know the Word and pray it back to the Father through the Son by the power and intercession of the Holy Spirit.  But, our works, prayer, isn’t the answer to any of our problems.

The one who is our Brother and Intercessory Prayer partner is the answer.  All of God’s promises to us are yes in Christ Jesus.  So, we need to pray – but rest all of our hope in the Christ who answers according to His Father’s will.

I’ve been a believer for a long time now, and Max Lucado has been influential in my growth.  I read most of his earlier books when I was in high school and college.  I have his children’s books and read them to our boys.  And now, he has come out with a set of prayer books that have prayers that are guided by the Word.  You have ones for military families, mommas, dads, friends, graduates, etc.  I love how you can give these out to people, be a blessing.  You can also have them to read in a quick moment and focus your mind (through prayer) on Christ!

I gave away the military one to some sweet ministry friends of ours who live in south Florida.  They are about to have their second baby.

I gave away the teacher one to a mom of 3 boys and a preschool teacher.

I am giving away the Dad one to my husband on Father’s Day.

I gave away the moms one to a sweet friend in our church who is about to have their first baby girl

Thank you Litfuse for sending these to me.  All opinions are my own.


Finding God in the Ruins: a review

posted in: Books | 0

Thanks to Litfuse for delivering a copy of Finding God in the Ruins for me to read and review.  All opinions are my own.

To tell you that life has been hard since we got married, might be an understatement.  I think my mister and I are learning to trust only in God, rely on Christ, encourage each other, and redefine what we thought life might be like as a family.

Matt Bays, the author of this memoir-esque book, has definitely had a lot of harsh life thrown at him.  He very carefully tells the reader about his life, marriage, family, and ministry.  He encourages the reader to be honest and real with God about how life is treating him.

I wish that the book had been less story and more engagement with Scripture.  It is a tough book to read – not putting enough emphasis on the grace and truth of God’s character and His word, especially in the first part of the book.

It is definitely hard to keep faith in God real when life continues to hand you blows.  But, we need to keep believing, asking questions, and growing our faith through the Spirit.  He is a big enough God and can handle our questions.


and it was beautiful : a review

posted in: Books | 0

I received this book from LItfuse in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

I have been blessed with a few good books lately.  These books that are real and heart-felt, and soul-searching – and tears well in my eyes and puddle on to the pages.

This book is one of them.  I even told my husband that I don’t know if I could finish the book.  I cry in every chapter.  And I’m thankful – they are short chapters.

This book will take anyone through cancer – or other trials that loom in life – and help you rest in the peace that the maker of the wind and the rain and the hurricanes and tornadoes watches every move you make.  I’m so thankful that Kara Tippetts wrote these words before her death.  They will lead others to the same Rock she went to.