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

Formerly a Wife

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

Goodbye for now

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.

The Very Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd

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.

Father Basil O’Sullivan
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.
Cantor Michael Shochet

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.

  

Review and Giveaway for Chonda Pierce’s “Unashamed”

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This Mother’s Day week, May 7 & 9 at 7:00pm., you and your friends can enjoy a night of laughter and truth as the only top-selling female comedian, Chonda Pierce, can deliver.  Chonda will make you laugh and think as she boldly proclaims the truth of the Gospel to a hurting world.  Chonda takes a journey into the hearts of the faithful as she engages some of the boldest believers in America. Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers, and others tell their stories of speaking truth to our culture…no matter the consequences. Don’t forget to bring your moms, grandmas and every mother in your church for a night to remember!

Only Chonda can communicate deep and meaningful truth and make you laugh at the same time.  Chonda is unchained, unrestrained and UNASHAMED!

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As I started watching this movie, I have to say I was glad I was alone.  Initially, I had thought about having my husband watch with me, but then I decided I wanted this to be something I watched alone.  Interspersed with clips of her comedian routine, she talks with some incredible Christians including Mike Huckabee and then Benham Brothers along with Danny Gokey.

Chonda Pierce definitely has the heart for those who are hurting and it comes through her work.  The other thing that stands out in this movie is that she is unashamedly Christian.  When she visits the Benham Brothers, I learned something I did not know previously, which was their minor league baseball foray.  But I did know they were unapologetically and unashamedly Christian.  I also had to chuckle when Chonda Pierce turned the interviewing tables on Mike Huckabee and even sat in his chair.

In the clips from her comedy routine, she talks directly to the women in the audience.  Although there are some men present she makes it clear that she is talking to women.  With her personal experience of being a widow who is trying to get back out into the dating world, she truly made me laugh and shake my head in agreement at times.

The Christians in this show demonstrate the heart and love of Christ through their words and actions.  I will say I feel this show would best be enjoyed with a bunch of your favorite women and some good snacks to go along with the show.  Truly, this is a movie that will make you laugh and understand that as Christians we need to be unashamed of our faith.

 

Win 8 disc

GIVEAWAY LINK:  https://www.blessedfreebies.com/chondra-pierce-giveaway.html

Giveaway ends May 6 and winner will be selected by May 15th.  Prizes are physical items that will be mailed.

So check this movie out for yourself!  And as I said take some special women in your life with you so you all can get some laughs.

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“G” is for Grace, Gentleness, and Gifts

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter G

Welcome to my next installment for the 2019 Blogging A to Z challenge.  Today’s letter is “G”, which stands for Gentleness and Gifts.

Today I want to share some of my favorite Scripture passages about Grace.

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Ephesians 2_8-9 [Full Chapter] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves_ it is the gift of God_ Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Now here are some of my favorite passages about Gentleness.

2 Corinthians 10_1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you_

Galatians 5_22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Finally, here is one of my favorite passages about Gifts (as in Spiritual Gifts.

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So what are some of your favorite passages about Grace, Gentleness or Spiritual Gifts?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read the rest of my posts in this series, click here.

 

 

Blogging A to Z – “F” is for Faith, Family, and Friends

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Here is my next installment in my Blogging A to Z series for 2019.  “F” is for family and faith.  Family plays an important role in my life.  My husband and children bring untold blessings, laughter and more to my life.  They provide a lot of joy and distractions in my life.  They instigate a lot of mischief and more in our home.  Truly, they bring so much excitement and intensity to our lives.

Here are some of my favorite Scriptures about Faith.  This first verse from Hebrews is one my husband frequently uses when he is preaching.  Through the years, it has become one of my favorite verses.

Hebrews 11_1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

This verse from Romans reminds us that faith rather than the law is what gives us our salvation.

Romans 3_28 (KJV) -

Another verse is found in Romans.  Truly, peace is something worth desiring and striving to obtain.

Romans 10_ 17 (KJV) - Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ_

Here is another verse from Romans my husband frequently uses when preaching.  I love the words of this passage.

Romans 10_17 - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Finally, this verse from Ephesians is another of my favorite passages, because my husband has frequently used it in his sermons.  This passage reminds us that our salvation is a gift from God rather than something we can earn by any good works we might do.

Ephesians 2_8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves_ it is the gift of God_

So what comes to your mind when you see the letter “F”.  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read my other posts from this series, click here.