FMF – Challenge

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Today I am participating again in the Five Minute Friday posting.  Today’s word is Challenge.  What looks like a challenge to one person can be easy to another.  But that is what makes this world special.  We are all different.  Challenges can come in all forms – such as financial, athletic, educational, jobs, and more.  How you decide to approach a challenge can make all the difference in the world.

Some challenges might be avoided, while other things that challenge us are not avoidable – such as weather events.  But what matters is facing any challenge with grace, faith, and prayer.

Our family is currently dealing with the challenge of preparing for a cross-country move that will come at a yet-to-be-determined time.  However, we know it is definitely coming.  So our challenge is making sure our home is ready for the move when we get the final word.  This challenge is not good or bad unto itself.  Some of my teens and 20-somethings that all still live at home are viewing it as something exciting and to be enjoyed.  They also know where we move next will be for less than 3 years, so they can accept that.

So what type of challenge are you facing today?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to join up or read other posts from this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt, click here.

Review and Giveaway for BIBLEFORCE The First Heroe’s Devotional

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About the Devotional:

The BibleForce Devotional includes 100 devotions concentrating on the heroes of the Bible using the concept of comic-style action art, facts about the hero, Scripture references, and action items aimed at helping kids connect God’s Word to their own lives.   While reading the devotional, kids will be able to find ways they can serve as heroes for God as well.

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Designed to interest girls andboys alike, it is a great way of capturing the attention of young reads who want a devotional full of action, adventure, and color.  It is perfect for reading aloud or for young readers to read alone.

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Cliick here to pick up your life-saving copy of fun.

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And click here or on the graphic below to enter the giveaway to win your own copy of this devotional.

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MY THOUGHTS (1)

I found this devotional to be colorful and engaging.I loved having a built-in ribbon bookmark for keeping your place. I felt the text, comic picture and “Be a Hero” all worked hand in hand to convey the Biblcial message in each lesson.

I felt the lessons were of an appropriate way and written to keep the attention of the child reading the devotional.  Another aspect of this devotional I really like, is how only the reference for the Scripture to be read is given.  This feature allows children and families to decide what is the right version of the Bible to use for their particular circumstances.

All in all, I feel book is an excellent devotinal for children in grades 1 – 5.  So check it out for yourself.

I received a copy of this devotional for my fair and honest review.

Disclaimer

 

#BibleForce

Review of Covenant Kids Book 1 – The Law

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As the mother of three sons and a daughter, comic books, manga books, and other graphic novels find their way into our home.  So when I saw the opportunity come up to review Covenant Kids Book 1 – The Law, I was excited about the opportunity.

My children are currently 23, almost 21, almost 19, and almost 17, but when they were younger, I would have loved for them to read this Biblically-based comic book by Andrew Youngblood.

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Andrew Youngblood has been teaching Scripture to students of all ages for over twenty years.  But his own children inspired him to write a graphic novel.  While his own talents as an artist might not be there, his wonderful team at Sky Blue Ink were able to turn his Biblical adventure into an incredible work of art.

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Combining the present with Biblical accounts of the very beginning, Mr. Youngblood has been able to capture Biblical truth and facts with present-day information.  I loved the drawings as well as the story.

I found the blurbs in each frame to be easy to read and understandable.  Designed for children ages 7 to 13, I feel this is a worthwhile graphic novel for this age range.  Based on the idea of living in a place where it has recently become illegal to study or even talk about the Bible outside of church on Sunday, Naomi decides to form a study group with three other teenagers so they can learn more about the Bible.  With the climate in our country today, I feel this is a relevant and worthwhile subject for children to read and learn about now.  The graphic novel format may reach children who otherwise may not be interested in hearing about the Bible.

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As they learn about the Bible they recognize God has a plan to bring everyone into a loving and close relationship with him through his Covenant.  But these teens, as well as children today, need to recognize that not everyone wants to hear about God’s love.

This graphic novel is the first in a series of twelve to bring the truth of God’s Word and love to children.  So if you have children in your life who need to hear about the Word of God and strengthen their faith, check out this graphic novel for yourself.

Click here to buy your own copy of Covenant Kids Book 1 The Law

Check out the giveaway for this book by clicking the link below.

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I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Disclaimer

Review of Courage for Life/Strong and Courageous

 

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Courage for Life is a Bible App that brings the Word of God to life with female voices.  With busy lives and being on the move frequently, having a Bible app I can listen to is beneficial.  With so many Bible apps out there, it can be hard to pick just one.appText

This particular app is the first female-voiced audio Bible app.  While I did enjoy it, I do not think it will be my preferred audio Bible app.  At this moment, only the New Testament is available, which was rather disappointing.  At the end of each chapter is an application section that you can either listen to or read.  I appreciated this feature.

In addition to the Bible reading, there are interviews with women who helped make this audio Bible come to life.  Devotions are also available, but you have to leave the app and go to the website.  I would prefer to be able to stay in the app to read the devotions.  To me, accessing the website requires the Internet, which I would prefer not to do when reading a devotional.

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While there are things about the app I liked, for the most part, I feel I have other apps I already use that offer more features and benefits.  While I will keep this app around, I do not think it is currently my favorite Bible app.

In addition to the app, I also received a copy of the book She is Strong and Courageous.  This book is designed to take women on a 90-day transformational journey.  Each day contains a passage of Scripture, a prayer, an observation, an interpretation, applying what you read, along with a closing prayer.

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I found the devotionals to have meaning and being reasonable in length.  Of course, you could use the devotional as a springboard for deeper study.  The devotional is written by the creator of the Courage for Life app, which I found interesting.

So if you are looking for an audio devotional or a physical devotional, check out these two for yourself.

If you would like to enter the giveaway, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Formerly a Wife: A Survival Guide for Women Facing the Pain and Disruption of Divorce

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Built on the foundation of her own experiences from her own divorce, Formerly a Wife: A Survival Guide for Women Facing the Pain and Disruption of Divorce provides excellent insight from a Christian viewpoint about divorce.

Let’s face it, no one (well typically anyhow) no one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce.  However, divorce does occur and occurs all too frequently.  I watched my parents as they divorced when I was 23.  I have watched numerous extended family members and friends go through divorces as well.  Divorce leaves devastation and chaos in its wake.  However, I have also seen some divorced couples manage to come out on the other side of divorce and be better separate than they were together.

Welby O’Brien does a remarkable job meeting people where they are.  She provides excellent words of wisdom and Scriptural basis to help individuals heal.  This book has been featured on the 700 Club and is recommended by groups such as the American Association of Christian Counselors.

While my husband and I are still married, I believe this book would be an excellent resource for those in danger of divorcing or already divorcing.

So check it out for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Disclaimer

Review of Goodbye for Now

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Goodbye for Now: Practical Help and Hope for Those Who Grieve provides excellent insight in dealing with the death of a loved one.  So far in my lifetime, I have had to say goodbye to all of my grandparents, three of my husband’s grandparents (one died before we became a couple) and countless other friends and family members.  Grief is hard.  No matter what a person does, he or she can not prepare adequately.

Goodbye for Now includes practical information for dealing with grief and the steps to take after a loved one dies. It is definitely a useful book to have and read.  Whether you have just lost a loved one, are about to lose a loved one, or just want information for when you do lose a loved one, this book has something to offer you.

Welby O’Brien has a masters degree in counseling as well as a teaching degree.  She is an author of several books and is a contributing author to both Chicken Soup for the Soul and  Shepherding Women in Pain.

So check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Disclaimer

Review for Love Our Vets

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As the wife of a Vet (formerly in the Air Force) who then went active duty in the Army Reserves after our first child was born, I have great respect and concern for our vets.  Our home of record is the location of one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the country.  So we have a lot of friends who are vets.  So when I had the opportunity to read this book, I was glad to read it.

This book is dedicated to addressing the needs and concerns of loved ones who are vets dealing with PTSD.  It includes more than 60 heartfelt questions for taking care of yourself.  Shared from the viewpoint a counselor along with her personal experience, this book touches on a lot of wisdom and quite a range of issues.

I found the book to be well-written, informative and worth reading. I appreciated how she was willing to share her own experiences with her readers.  I also appreciated how she included reflection questions at the end of each chapter.

Welby O’Brien, the author, has a master’s degree in counseling as well as a teacher’s degree.  She is an author of several books, plus a contributor author to Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as Shepherding Women in Pain.

So if you have a family member who is. a vet or know of someone who is a vet, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Disclaimer

Review and Giveaway for Healing the Healers

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When mass trauma hits, faith leaders are called upon to guide communities through the aftermath, but who reaches out to heal these healers and their families? This new media resource is designed to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders, and other spiritual care providers facing community-level trauma.  The five-part film series also offers a discussion guide which includes written reflections from scholars, clergy, and other experts.

In this series, Reverend Matthew Crebbin of Newton Congregational Church holds powerful conversations with faith leaders who have experienced mass trauma, such as Newton or during 9/11, and even those ministering to a community facing chronic violence such as Hartford, CT or St. Louis, MO.

This series does a remarkable job of touching on both traumatic events as well as addressing what the faith leaders and other responders have to deal with during times of traumatic events as well as the results for communities many years in the future.

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The first episode is titled – Newtown Faith Leaders Unite in Tragedy.  This episode includes self-awareness and self-care, phases of human-caused disaster as well as the impact on the families of faith leaders.  It addresses the ideas of re-traumatization, moving forward and looking ahead.

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The second episode is entitled “Looking Ahead and Moving Forward”.  This episode features Reverend Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, who was formerly from Newton and currently lives in St. Louis.  This episode includes the themes of mass tragedy and the Liturgical calendar, self-awareness, self-care, denominational as well as congregational support and more.

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The third episode, “Pastoring in a Community That Faces Continual Trauma” addresses the topic of chronic gun violence.   Rev. Crebbin speaks with Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers Against Violence of Hartford, CT, and Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr., Senior Pastor of Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church.  Both have personal connections to trauma that they discuss with Rev. Crebbin and discuss how they cope with the chronic stress, both mental and physical, that can result from ministering to a community re-traumatized continually by gun violence.

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The fourth episode, “Heartbreak and Hope 20 Years After Tragedy” includes a conversation with Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan, who is the parish priest of Church of the Holy Family, Dunblane, Scotland.  It addresses the fact that time does not necessarily heal all wounds, confronting depression, questioning God, re-traumatization, and rejoicing in the preciousness of life.  Out of all the episodes, this is among my favorites.  The Monsignor speaks eloquently and with feeling about what his community has gone through since their own experience 20 years ago.
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The fifth episode, “Faith Leaders as First and Second Responders examines Cantor Michael Shochet’s journey from poiice officer to Cantor.  He discusses his personal experiences of being at the Pentagon following 9/11 and the trauma of seeing his partner being shot in front of him.  He discusses the similarities between faith leaders and the police in being first responders.

If you have experienced any type of personal trauma, you may want to think twice about watching this series.  Or you may wish to contact a professional prior to watching it.

I loved the variety of people interviewed, especially their backgrounds (Christian and Jewish), a former police officer), and their willingness to share their own experiences.

As a mother of four, I can not begin to fathom what these individuals have been through and continue to live with each day.  Yet this film does a remarkable job of addressing the issues facing communities and those called on to provide healing.  This series contains powerful words and imagery.  It provides an excellent look into what faith leaders may experience personally in their congregations and communities following acts of violence, whether those acts occur on a regular basis or unexpectedly such as the shooting at the school in Newton, CT.

You can see a trailer of the film below.

You can find the film series here.  If you know of someone who could benefit from this resource, please share the link with them.

 

Click here or on the graphic below to enter the giveaway.

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I received free access to these episodes for my fair and honest review.

Review of Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup

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 Have you ever wanted to do something only to second guess yourself? Have you ever wondered what you are capable of doing? Have you ever wondered what prevents you from doing what you truly desire to do? If so this is the book for you. Ruth Soukup does an excellent job of breaking down the archetypes that keep us paralyzed in fear and then gives strategies and suggestions for overcoming those fears.

The first section of the book dives deep into the Seven Archetypes which are: the Procrastinator, The Rule Follower, The People Pleaser, The Outcast, The Self-Doubter, The Excuse Maker, and The Pessimist. She provides both the strengths and weaknesses of each type along with suggested careers for each type.

After helping the reader understand their archetype, she then provides 7 tools and strategies for overcoming your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone. Too many of us get stuck because we are too paralyzed by fear to walk out in faith and challenge the status quo. The second half of this book does an amazing job of helping the reader see how to start moving and face our fears head-on.

She writes in an engaging manner that makes you feel as if you were actually sitting down having a conversation with her. This book will help you go from fear to faith and go for the “Big” dreams and desires of your heart. So if you are looking for a book to inspire, motivate, encourage you and more, check out this book for yourself.

I know this book encouraged me to think about who I am, what I am afraid of and what I want from life. With a husband who is about 3 years away from retirement, I have big dreams for our future that I want to see come to life. This book is encouraging me to step out in faith and start working towards the life I want.

So check this book out for yourself.

Guest Post for Shiny Things

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Today I would like to share a guest post from the authors of the book Shiny Things, which I was privileged to be on the book launch team for.

WHO’S THE BOSS

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I sat contentedly, tucked back into the restaurant booth—the perfect spot for a romantic date with my husband with just enough visibility to people watch (one of my favorite pastimes). Whereas the words between us seem to bounce back-and-forth like a Ping-Pong game, the table across from us was rather quiet. 10 people sat within inches of one another, heads bowed and eyes glued to the devices in front of them. The adults held phones while the children were magnetized to various digital screens. Not a word was spoken. We watched in amazement as the waitress came and did her best to take drink orders. The family didn’t even look up. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and 2 children, one by one, they mumbled their selection as the server walked around the table. Meal ordering was no different. I couldn’t stop staring, so amazed at the lack of conversation. Didn’t they know they were completely missing out on precious time together?! And what about the rudeness in ignoring the waitstaff?

I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s easier to stare at a screen than to wade through awkward conversation. Avoiding confrontation, pushing off uncomfortable social situations, and sidestepping the possibility of a raw subject rearing its ugly head and offending someone.

But beyond actual phone conversations, our cellphones sure seem to boss us around an awful lot, causing us to feel like we are at the beck and call of everything and everyone. Like we have to respond to incoming texts as soon as they pop up on our screens. Obligated to check our social media accounts 50 billion times a day because someone might have commented on our fabulous photo that we posted 15 minutes ago.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have willingly become a slave to my apps, checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts like it’s my job. Which it’s totally not. (Hence the reason I decided to take the Facebook app completely off my phone. Now I only use it on my laptop. Which for me, means I use it a whole lot less. And guess what? I don’t feel like I missing much. Less politics and drama = one happy mama. Less scrolling and more time with my people. Win win. I’m not saying you have to do this, but it’s worked well for me.)

It feels like the world is waiting for us. For us to engage and comment and post and document our day for all the world to see.

So how do we utilize these amazing little rectangular wonders of technology? Is it possible to find ways to communicate and interact with one another in a way that draws us closer to God and His people rather than drawing us away?

This is the quandary we face. We’ve been given a gift of connection. But we’re unsure how to be good stewards of it.

Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s boss.

– Setting them aside more often.

– Putting them in another room so we can spend intentional time with our people.

– Establishing a social media sabbath regularly.

– Limiting the amount of times we check email and social media throughout the day.

– Setting a timer for when we’re on social media or doing online searches.

– Turning our ringers off more (unless your best friend going into labor, or the fire alarms at your house are going off and the babysitter is calling).

– Focusing our eyes and our attention on our most important people, because our actions (and our lack of words) speak loudly.

Our people are watching … and waiting for us to get off our devices.

Our callings are waiting … ready for us to unswervingly pursue the passions God has put on our hearts.

The Savior of our soul is waiting … longing for us to wholeheartedly be in relationship with Him. The kind of loving friendship that wants to share quality time all throughout the day. Listening. Learning. Communicating. Because that’s what love looks like.

What matters most is waiting. For us! Not us connected to something else.

Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s really in charge.

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For more on this topic of intentional living, check out our brand new book, SHINY THINGS: Mothering on Purpose in a World of Distractions. It launches out into the world in exactly ONE WEEK. Get your preordered copy today. Then pop back over to our book’s landing page and claim your free gift. Time is a tickin’.

 

So definitely check out this book for yourself.  You can purchase the book on Amazon and from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Store

Here are the Links to the authors:
Instagram: @amanda_bacon_ @anne_reneegumley
Facebook: The Masterpiece Mom
Let me know what you think about it.