Win a charming ring in the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop! (ends 5/31/22)

Welcome to another fun giveaway hop! I’m joining MamatheFox and 22 other amazing bloggers for the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop! Keep reading for more info on how to enter.

How to enter the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop

To check out all those bloggers, you’ll want to visit the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop linkup page . On that page, you’ll find links to all the participating blogs and their giveaways. You’ll be able to enter each one on their own blog’s page. So, to get to the linkup page, click on the blue InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). That will take you to the Moms Rock Giveaway hop page!

And now, for the FINCHNWREN giveaway!

The FINCHNWREN blog is giving away this fabulous piece of costume jewelry! I fell in love with this darling ring when I saw it and couldn’t wait to share it with one of you!

  • 14k Rose-Gold Plated Eternity Band Ring with Swarovski Crystals in size 5 (this means it’s definitely on the small side).

How to enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway

To enter to win the FINCHNWREN giveaway, just click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on May 31, 2022. One winner will be selected to win. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift: Scott Drew’s “The Road to J.O.Y.” (a review)

*this is a sponsored post*

I have the immense pleasure today of sharing about a wonderful book with you! I received Scott Drew’s The Road to J.O.Y. from FrontGate Media a few weeks ago. And although I am not a basketball player, I read this book in only one day (well, almost, anyway: I read the first few chapters the night before but then it got to be midnight so I put the book down until the next morning, and spent the day reading until I finished!). It’s not only a ridiculously amazing Cinderella story; it is, more importantly perhaps, the story of what God did that transformed a disgraced college basketball program AND those who coached it and played for it. Including Coach Scott Drew, the author of this exceptional book.

About The Road to J.O.Y.

Back in the early 2000s, the Baylor University’s men’s basketball program was rocked by scandals, including murder, drug use, improper payments, and recruiting violations; as well as an attempted cover-up. Baylor imposed sanctions on its own program and the NCAA later did as well. So, when basketball coach Scott Drew was hired as the new head coach, to say that he and his staff would be in charge of rebuilding Baylor’s men’s basketball program would be an understatement. Yet Drew accepted the position and moved his family to Waco, Texas, from Indiana. And the rebuilding began.

The Road to J.O.Y. tells the story of that journey, from Scott’s childhood as the son of college basketball coach Homer Drew (and brother of “The Shot” maker Bryce Drew), to his own assistant coaching position at Valparaiso University, to beginning his head coach career at Baylor–and the 18-year pilgrimage from there to Baylor’s win over Gonzaga of the 2021 NCAA National Championship.

It is a remarkable story. And Coach Drew tells it like the story that it is; of God taking him, his family, his coaching staff, and years of Bears players from, as the old Wide World of Sports promo would say (but in reverse), “the agony of defeat” to the “thrill of victory.”

In Coach Drew’s book, you’ll find his thoughts, along with Scriptures, on topics like: seeking God; spreading joy; God’s formation of us throughout our lives; creating a culture and holding to that; using your lows to prepare for the upcoming heights; and more.

If you’re wondering what the “J.O.Y.” in the title is, it stands for “Jesus. Others. Yourself.” That model is what Coach Drew, his staff, and players built their program on. His book chronicles not only the Baylor Bears’ journey to the NCAA championship, but the spiritual lessons that they learned in the process. It is remarkable, encouraging, and a book that doesn’t just tell a story of winning but that can transform the reader’s life with its lessons.

My thoughts

One of the things I like to do sometimes when a non-fiction book has been powerful for me is to show you the tabs I’ve put on pages that had important thoughts or quotes that I knew could be difference-makers for me. You might laugh when I explain that that’s what you’re seeing in the picture above! (I think my son found the sheer number of them overwhelming!)

I realize that, to some of you, that might look like “too much of a good thing.” I understand! But what I found as I read Coach Drew’s book, is that, in his road to the NCAA championships (remember, that was an eighteen-year journey), he experienced God in so many different types of circumstances, challenges, and of course, joys. I realized early on in my reading that Drew was chronicling his spiritual journey via the ups and downs (and there were a lot of downs) that he walked through. And what I found to be so helpful and noteworthy was that process. I feel as though, in American Christian culture, we can magnify the mountaintop experiences. And don’t get me wrong, they are great! But perhaps in our lives, we might come up against a struggle that we don’t know how to walk through; where God seems very distant and silent; where we are groping for examples of HOW to live faithfully.

That is what I found to be so noteworthy in Drew’s book. I love the story of how God walked them all from horrific scandal to the heights of victory. It’s a great one! But all my tabs marked the thoughts, ideas, and Bible verses that I want to think and write on in my journal. To consider the ways Drew learned to walk through difficulty, that are Scripture-based and full of the life experience I can also take hold of in my own life. It’s an incredible book, and one that could actually be a disciple-making experience for the reader.

So all those tabs? They’re marking things I’ll be writing in my journal. Praying over. And seeing God in ways I might have missed as I look back over some difficult years in our family’s life, and in my own. I believe that He is going to use this book for such good!

Some of my favorite passages

Now that I’ve explained to you what all those tabs ARE, let me share some of my favorite book passages with you!

  • “That the story of a man struggling to deal with the things God has put in his life, and his open questioning of God in that process, can be considered poetic is pretty awesome. That’s real life. God is good. So is the struggle he gives us. And reading through Job with my dad helped remind me of that. Because there were a lot of struggles.” (p. 65)
  • “But a lot of times, God doesn’t make sense. That’s the point. The Bible tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis added). (p. 74)
  • “The Bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t begin to comprehend them. By definition, that means sometimes things will happen that you don’t understand. But does that mean God isn’t working in your life? As Paul would say, “By no means!”” (p. 99)
  • “Sometimes, when you find that you aren’t having the success you want, ask yourself if what you want is what God would consider success. He’s very clear: his goal is to be known.” (p.126)
  • “God often uses the least of us to make amazing things happen, not so much to bless the vessels he chooses for the mission but so that when people look and see what has happened, they have no choice but to see it as a thing God has done.” (p.191)

Obviously, those are only 5 of the many I’ve marked. But I think they’ll give you a wonderful flavor of what you can find in The Road to J.O.Y.

Where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y.

So, here is the link where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y. for a Father’s Day gift, a devotional reading for yourself, or a fantastic book for anyone you know who loves basketball! (Or is a Baylor grad, for that matter!)

Purchase link for The Road to J.O.Y.

This link will take you to the book’s main page, which also has a variety of booksellers’ links (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Christianbook.com, and BAM! Books-a-Million). There’s also an audio link where you can listen to the first chapter.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All the thoughts and opinions listed here are my own and are honest.

“The Catch” by Lisa Harris ~ a Revell Reads review

#sponsor #partner

Revell Reads was kind enough to send me a copy of Lisa Harris’s newest novel, The Catch. I just finished it and I’d love to share about it!

About The Catch

The Catch is Lisa Harris’s third book in her US Marshals Series. (It does definitely work as a stand-alone novel; but since I’m sure you’ll want to read the first two, The Escape and The Chase, also featuring US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn, I wanted to mention them!) In The Catch, the book begins with two women; and the first, Myra, is threatening to take the second’s, Becca’s, infant son. Suddenly, a gun is brandished.

In another part of town, accused criminal Maxim Cervantes is scheduled to appear before a judge to learn whether he can post bail or if he’ll be denied that opportunity. Madison and Jonas, along with numerous other marshals, have been assigned to the courthouse since Cervantes, who’s on the Most Wanted list for racketeering, kidnapping, and felony murder, has a cadre of foot soldiers who are a serious cause for concern. And sure enough, that concern is warranted, and the two marshals are forced into immediate action to protect the judge.

It’s not just the judge whose life is in danger, however. Before it’s all over, the marshals will be searching for Becca and her baby, attempting to solve a murder, and to rescue someone from Cervantes’ hit men’s grasp. And they STILL haven’t had a moment to talk about their feelings for one another; but with several innocents’ lives at risks, their personal lives have to be put aside for the moment.

My thoughts

I couldn’t put The Catch down once I started reading it! Although I wasn’t familiar with Madison (and her past) or Jonas, and their earlier adventures, I really liked their characters. I sympathized with Becca (even though some of her decisions started the rollercoaster of crime and events) and was anxious for her baby to be found. I also do love police and federal agent-types of fiction, and I’m so satisfied when I’ve reached the ends of the books and the crimes have been solved. The twists and turns of the criminals’ choices weren’t easy to predict (actually, I rarely knew where things were going to go!) and Harris definitely kept my anticipation at a high level.

I enjoyed reading The Catch and felt that I was able to get a grasp of the protagonists’ characters and motivations, although I do wish that I’d gotten to know Madison and Jonas in the two earlier books of the series first. I appreciated their commitment and professionalism and loved learning a bit about their pasts and inner worlds. I can recommend this book for sure to you! (But I’d also say, read the first two books in the series too!)

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions stated here are my own.

New fam film (in theaters TODAY!) from The Skit Guys: “Family Camp” plus Amazon GC giveaway! (ends 5/21/22)

#sponsor #partner

Recently, Momentum Influencer Network provided another awesome family film for me to view and to tell you about (plus an Amazon GC giveaway!). It’s a brand-new film you can see in theaters opening weekend–which starts today, 5/13–from The Skit Guys. Called “Family Camp,” it’s something your entire family can (and WILL!) enjoy. (Opening weekend continues 5/13-15.)

About the film

Here’s a brief synopsis about what you can expect from Family Camp!

When their pastor encourages the congregation to sign-up for a week away at family camp, Grace (Leigh-Allyn Baker) believes she’s found the perfect cure for her imperfect clan—even if they’d all rather be anywhere but at rustic Camp Katokwah. The first feature film from The Skit Guys—Tommy Woodard and Eddie James—FAMILY CAMP is a laugh-out-loud comedy that is sure to touch the hearts and tickle the funny bones of every family member from eight to eighty.

My impressions of Family Camp

Well. First, I have to give a shout-out to the cast, all of whom are incredible!

  • First, The Skit Guys themselves, Tommy Woodard and Eddie James
  • Leigh-Allyn Baker, from “Good Luck Charlie”
  • Gigi Orsillo”
  • Robert Amaya (one of my faves from “Moms’ Night Out” and “Courageous”)
  • Cece Kelly
  • Mark Christopher Lawrence
  • Heather Land, who’s a social media star and comedian

You know that a film like this is going to be about transformation. But, there’s a story to tell first! “Family Camp” does a great job of introducing viewers to the two families, and the script gives each very identifiable characteristics (in a non-overdone way). Of course, in real life costars Tommy and Eddie are best friends. But in the film, they definitely do NOT get along. Their competitive natures, and Eddie’s desire to show himself and his family as the best and strongest (and most Christian) at camp, get in the way of the possibility of their becoming friends. Side stories about the kids’ inclinations and personalities make the kids’ characters very appealing (in fact, Jacob M. Wade’s portrayal of Tommy’s son Henry charmed me).

A dad hike causes the biggest conflict in the film, for unusual reasons. (And don’t miss the Bigfoot Hunters. Awesome!) It causes some rather stinging interactions between Tommy and Eddie and illuminates their differences even more dramatically. But there is still much more to come before the film’s conclusion!

I can definitely recommend “Family Camp” for your family! It is a clean family film, and something you can take your whole family to. (For smaller children, there might be some scary moments. But they’re definitely mild.) There is great humor, the characters are well-drawn and exceptionally-acted; and “Family Camp” reminds us of the meaning and immense value of marriage, family, relationships, fun–and family camp!

Meet the Skit Guys!

The marvelous Jean Thomason from Momentum Influencer Network got to interview The Skit Guys–and we’ve got it on film for you to see! The Skit Guys are longtime friends Tommy Woodard and Eddie James. Here, you’ll get to hear about how they met and what their ministry and creative process looks like. I love their stories and their long history of friendship. Very fun!

I *knew* that The Skit Guys’ name sounded a bit familiar when I first heard it. But it took my telling my husband and (now college-age) son about “Family Camp” to remember why. My son’s drama classes in high school and middle school often used scripts that were written by The Skit Guys! The pair is so gifted in telling a fun and funny story while naturally including spiritual truths and encouragement.

Get your tickets now for opening weekend!

“Family Camp” opens in theaters this weekend, May 13-15, 2022! Here’s more on how you can get tickets and go to the movies this weekend!

Purchase “Family Camp” movie tickets here

If you’d like to see “Family Camp” with your church group, purchase “Family Camp” group tickets here

Visit the “Family Camp” movie website here

Learn more about the Heart of “Family Camp” here

And, see the “Family Camp” movie trailer here!

Now, enter to win a $10 Amazon GC!

“Family Camp” and Momentum Influencer Network are giving away a $10 Amazon gift card here at the FINCHNWREN blog! To enter to win, just click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 5/21/22. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to K-Love Films for providing a sample of this product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

“Facing the Enemy” ~ a JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 5/17/22)

#sponsor #partner

Facing the Enemy JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for the Facing the Enemy by Paige Edwards, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Facing the EnemyTitle: Facing the Enemy Series: Roxbury Heirs #1 Author: Paige Edwards Publisher: Covenant Communications Release Date: April 4, 2022 Genre: Romantic Suspense, Christian

Lady Elise Henderson lives two separate lives. At home in Scotland, she’s the titled daughter of the Marquess of Roxbury, an heiress in her own right. In London, however, she’s Elise Taylor, a top MI6 operative for the “home office.” But when a devastating accident threatens to end her career, Elise is left with far too much time for self-reflection and the regret of a decision made long ago that features one man: fellow MI6 agent Harry Benson. Harry Benson, the son of servants, has loved Elise for the better part of a decade. But life took them on separate journeys until their worlds converged once more. An immediate assignment to the Scottish Borders leaves Harry little time to make provisions for his small, rambunctious son, Sammy. Harry knows only one person he can rely on for the boy’s care—Elise. When Elise brings Sammy to her ancestral estate, she never imagines that a nemesis from her past looms in the shadows, hungry for revenge. Stalked at every turn, Elise and Harry discover that fighting their feelings for one another is futile, but can they survive long enough to get another shot at true love?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paige Edwards

Paige Edwards is an award-winning author and a Reader’s Favorite finalist of contemporary romances with a side-order of suspense. She holds a degree in interior design and has worked professionally in that field. Due to her deep British roots, Paige’s books are often set in the UK, and she hops the pond whenever she gets the chance. She is styled the Lady Paige Edwards when in Scotland, but her favorite title is Grandma. When she needs a break from writing, she serves as president of her area’s Interfaith Community Council, is fond of digging in the dirt (what some might call gardening), biking battlefields, and kayaking on the lake. Paige is a member of ACFW, ANWA, and Storymakers Guild.

CONNECT WITH PAIGE: Website | Facebook | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(5) winners will receive a signed copy of Facing the Enemy!

Facing the Enemy JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 10, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 17, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

I have to admit, I fell in love with Paige Edwards’ Facing the Enemy when I saw its striking cover for the first time! And, it hasn’t disappointed me at all. Although the cover looks a bit medieval, it’s set in the here and now time frame. With the most captivating of characters!

Elise and Harry loved each other deeply years ago. But when Elise dumped him, Harry married soon after and now has a young elementary-school-aged son. His wife didn’t stick around, but Harry’s parents help care for their grandson when Harry is overseas. Because Harry and Elise both serve MI-6, the organization made famous by “Bond. James Bond.” MI-6 is also known as SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service. So you can guess what its agents do overseas; the high-minded name for their work is espionage. Which we all know can look like millions of different things.

When we meet Harry for the first time, he’s scrambling over rooftops trying to avoid bullets after his cover is blown. If he can make to to the pier at nightfall, he’ll board a boat heading for Tunisia, and after that, for the Home Office in London.

Elise is already there. Following a horrific car crash with a known criminal, she’s still trying to regain her former stamina; and worse, to deal with a health prognosis that she never expected. She’s instructed to spend the next six weeks healing and doing physical therapy.

And so, with Harry’s continued assignment and Elise’s medical leave, they both end up in Scotland; together again for the first time in a decade. She’s heading for her parents’ ancestral estate and he’s being sent to a military base. Because before he left the region where his cover was blown, he discovered that someone was smuggling British armaments to the warlord general who’s attacking his own country in his coup attempt.

But there are complications. Harry still loves Elise, who’s hiding her own complicated feelings under her own tough agent exterior. Obviously she cares for him…but there is that diagnosis she hasn’t shared with anyone. And there’s Sammy, Harry’s son, who’s has supposedly been under the care of Elise’s family’s cadre of servants; but he escapes them every time and has already ended up not only in mischief but in physical danger. Harry is undercover, trying to discover who’s behind the arms smuggling. And unbeknownst to the pair, Elise’s nemesis, a dealer and trafficker who has plans to move into an even more hideous type of crime, has an ultimate plan to carry out revenge. And the target of that revenge is Elise; and the trafficker doesn’t care whom he harms in the process.

Do not miss this book if you’re a lover of the spy genre (as I am)! It’s fascinating to visit the MI6 world and Paige Edwards has crafted a gripping tale. Lost loves, constant suspense, and this actual battle between the forces of human evil and the faithful and good who stand against them is not to be missed. Paige Edwards is a fantastic writer; I loved Harry, Elise, and Sammy–and you will too!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Your Finances God’s Way” book and workbook ~ a JustRead Blog Tour and Giveaway (ends May 16, 22)

#sponsor #partner

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook by Scott LaPierre, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Your Finances God's WayTitle: Your Finances God’s Way Author: Scott LaPierre Publisher: Harvest House Release Date: May 3, 2022 Genre: Christian living – nonfiction

Experience the Peace that Comes with Wise Stewardship Financial insecurity can be one of the greatest threats to your well-being—but the good news is that even if you’re on a tight income, you can eliminate many of your monetary worries when you create and abide by a biblical plan for your spending. In Your Finance’s God’s Way, you’ll identify the negative money management habits you need to break and the positive habits that should take their place. Implementing the teaching laid out in the Bible, this book gives you advice and practical steps backed by proven principles, helping you • get the most out of your money by paying off debt and building up savings • make wise spending decisions that enable you to avoid anxiety, regret, and conflict • find a healthy balance between being financially frivolous and frugal to a fault Even when you have less to spend, you can use what God has provided to thrive. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, working or staying at home, Your Finances God’s Way will give you everything you need to be a careful steward of the resources you’ve received from the Lord.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is a senior pastor, author, and popular conference speaker. He holds an MA in biblical studies from Liberty University. Scott and his wife, Katie, live in Washington State, and God has blessed them with nine children. Learn more about Pastor Scott at his website, www.scottlapierre.org, and connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH SCOTT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook!

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 9, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 16, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Books US only, Amazon gift card where available. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

If we don’t know much about wise ways to spend money, to whom do we go for guidance? The federal government (with its loads of debt)? To product commercials, who market their products to us as items we NEED to be beautiful, successful, or amazing? To friends or family, who may or may not have developed good habits?

Author and pastor Scott LaPierre has another source: the Bible. Did you know that Jesus “talked about money more than anything else except the kingdom of God” (Your Finances God’s Way, p. 18). 11 out of 39 parables, and 288 verses in the Gospels (that’s 1 verse out of every 10) are all about money: where it comes from, how people use it, and whether their uses of money are wise or unwise. As we all use money to live, how about we look at God’s Word for wisdom and understanding on how to best use this provision that’s actually come from God in the first place?

To this end, LaPierre spends much of his book teaching about what the Bible says about money, and the examples of humans and how they used money. This foundation (I would say that’s 12ish chapters out of 16) covers the following topics:

  • Viewing money as an opportunity to steward God’s resources
  • …and building faithfulness in that process
  • What’s wrong with loving money? (Well–a lot, really!)
  • The parable of the rich fool and what we can learn from him–and how to avoid being him
  • How we can give: sacrificially, cheerfully, willingly (and why)
  • Our emotions and feelings about money; do we have a spending problem or an income problem?
  • What God indicates about debt
  • and more

Then, in the remaining chapters, LaPierre gets into the HOWs of dealing with money. He gives specific wisdom and insight (and yes, how-tos) of how we can get rid of debt, how to save well, and how to retire well. The final chapter of the book contains Biblical perspectives on the many parts of life that will intersect with money; and really, how we can (as the Bible exhorts) build treasure in heaven. There is an appendix at the end with a website link that includes budget worksheets for financial planning.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed LaPierre’s book. Let me be the first to say that I am not an accountant, a financial planner, or an expert investor. I don’t feel that this area is among those I operate the most confidently or wisely in. (Because numbers, ugh; I am so definitely a words gal.) However! Just because financial advising isn’t in my strengths arena, doesn’t release me from the responsibility to operate wisely with the money the Lord has granted me. So really, I needed this book (and its workbook, which is written in such a way that you read a section, then complete the accompanying section in the workbook. I’ve always found that this is a way that I learn the most from books and Bible studies. It takes the mental knowledge and brings it into the practical for our brains–and helps us retain the info well. So do be sure to purchase the workbook along with the book as a way to get the most out of Your Finances God’s Way) for the life wisdom it provides on dealing with finances.

Also, I appreciated the way LaPierre writes. There is no judgment for those who might be ignorant in these topics. Instead, he gently but clearly speaks from God’s Word about wise and foolish ways of the use of money, the generous gift of God to us; and how we can give with joy and spend with wisdom. That foundation (plus the guidance on getting out of debt, saving, etc.) will tell you so much about money from God’s point of view; and how we can follow that to become exceptional stewards. It’s a readable, useful, and enjoyable set of books for gaining wisdom on money. I do recommend them both!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Link2Us” Spring 2022 Magazine ~ and a FABULOUS Instagram Giveaway! (ends 5/14/22)

**this is a sponsored post**

Earlier in March, I had the privilege of reading the Link2Us magazine for the first time. It’s a lovely new lifestyle and faith magazine filled with interesting articles about inspiring people, food, creativity, and faith. FrontGate Media sent me the newest Spring 2022 issue, which I loved. And, I have exciting news to share with you! Link2Us is having an incredible giveaway with a prize pack to swoon over!

About this issue

This issue of Link2Us is fantastic. There are amazing recipes and wonderful fashion photos that take notice that, after a long winter, it is finally spring! (There is one gorgeous salad that I plan to make!)

There are interviews with singer/songwriters Dante Bowe and Brooke Ligertwood, who talk about the paths they’ve taken (and that God has taken them on) to becoming well-known artists. I also appreciated an inspiring article with advice from leaders and innovators (I’ve flagged that page so that I can return to it!).

Link2Us, as always, is very conscious that the people of faith who read the magazine are people of many colors. Their photos and interviews reflect that. For example, in this issue we get to know women who’d identify as different races, and how they made an impact in their own fields.

And! Now I can tell you about this incredible giveaway!

Enter to win the Link2Us Instagram Giveaway!

Two winners will receive this incredible prize pack of goodies!

*The Link2Us logo official Tote bag
*2 free Fandango Movie tickets
*A medley of Maddy & Maize fancy flavored gourmet popcorn
*5 Must reads from the Link2Us Book picks for Spring 22′ + a signed copy of INVISIBLE a new book by author by Grace ji-Sun Kim.
*6 A signed CD copy of “SEVEN.” Brooke Ligertwood’s latest album release.
*7 Four travel size Spring fragrances by Replica, Jo Malone, Marc Jacobs and Victor&Rolf.
*8 A digital download of Dante Bowe’s multi-platinum album “Circles.”
*9 A One year digital subscription to Link2Us Magazine.

How to enter to win

Here’s how you can enter to win this amazing prize pack! First, click on the link below:

Link2Us Magazine Instagram Giveaway

Once you’re on the Link2Us Magazine Instagram Giveaway page, you’ll need to do the following things:

  • Follow the Link2Us Instagram account
  • Tag a friend
  • Post the phrase “I love Spring”
  • Invite your friends to do the same in the comment section

Giveaway closes at 2:00PM EST on Saturday, May 14th, 2022. So get on over there and enter!

Where to find Link2Us

You can find Link2Us at Barnes & Noble and you can also visit the Link2Us website.

Best wishes! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this magazine from the publisher. All opinions are my own and honest.

Do you want to live “A More Beautiful Life”? ~ then this review is just for you!

#sponsor #partner

I was captivated immediately when I saw the cover and title of Whitney English’s lovely book, A More Beautiful Life. FrontGate Media provided a copy for me to read and I am thrilled to share my experience with this book! Keep reading for more plus information on where you can purchase a copy!

About A More Beautiful Life

Whitney English’s remarkable book is subtitled, “A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART.” Her lovely book lives up to its subtitle and its gorgeous cover!

Goal-setting can be so challenging. Most of the models we’re familiar with are the business ones that instruct us to picture where we want to be first, then list the steps that will get us to that place. These models don’t take into consideration the goal-setter’s life circumstances, personal challenges, or family responsibilities. Instead, the achievements in the future are the goal and vision focal points. And not that there is anything wrong with that! But…what about when life happens or intrudes upon this lofty professional vision?

Whitney English has been a woman who’s set and achieved incredible and amazing goals. But she has also experienced the challenges that life threw at her, that broke the plans she’d imagined. Those experiences drew her down the path of creating life goals that are based on what individuals actually NEED; as opposed to what they might want or think they should want when they compare themselves to others. This path enabled Whitney to design the most life-giving, encouraging goal-imagining process. And it’s something that, when we have an off day or some bad experiences, we can reset so simply. The process is is based on the acronym HEART:

  • H – Help Yourself
  • E – Empower Yourself
  • A – All Your People
  • R – Resources and Responsibilities
  • T – Trade and Talent

The book breaks down each part of the process and explains it clearly. Each chapter has not only lists of questions that help the reader determine their current challenges and needs, but also ideas for how to formulate what we need and how we can build these, simply, into our lives. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (but in reverse), the reader can establish strength and goals area by area, then move on to the next level of need. And at the end of the book, Whitney gives encouragement and ideas for how to start this process as well as what to do when life intrudes. (As it so often can!) Building on the HEART process or progression, readers can envision and develop–and then, keep returning to–the beautiful life we all want to live. (Even though that’s going to look different for each one of us!)

My thoughts

I can tell you all, I have been a goal-setter from the first time I heard about the concept! I embraced goal-setting quite eagerly and enthusiastically. But while I’ve enjoyed some lovely successes, I’ve also encountered LIFE — not only in its wonder and unexpectedness but also with roadblocks, health issues that sidelined me, and relationship issues that my hopeful rose-colored glasses weren’t prepared to solve. So what happened then, with my goals? In those moments they fell to the wayside.

Whitney English’s HEART process is SO different. First of all, it doesn’t start with the lofty goals that are built on (perhaps) what the media promotes. Instead, it starts with what I, Wren, need TODAY. And every day. I love that HEART’s first process is what my own body needs. I’ll give you a spoiler: it needs water, nutrition, movement, and sleep. Now, I don’t know about you, but that has, in my adult life, generally been the last thing I focused on. Instead, I was serving! Doing! But not really taking care of myself. And I will tell you, that caught up to me in a harsh way. Whitney’s HEART starts with “helping ourselves” because that’s what provides the strength and grace for us to do the next things we “need” to do: taking care of our emotional/mental/spiritual needs; then our needs of belonging, love, acceptance (a.k.a., our families, relationships, friendships); then, caring for our home, vehicles, and finances; and last, our careers, ambitions, and desired accomplishments. That makes SO much sense to me. Instead of starting with “careers” first, and toward “self-care” last, we start with caring for our own human bodies (the only ones we’ll have on this earth). And then we can move forward in our life goals.

I loved reading every single page of this book. It was so physically lovely that I didn’t want to write in it at first. (That lasted as long as the introduction!) I changed my mind very quickly as I read and saw so many concepts I needed. I highlighted, wrote, flagged, and stuck Post-It notes with ideas on so many pages. And, encouraged by Whitney’s closing remarks, I’m going to be working through A More Beautiful Life again; but starting small. Maybe I’ll work first on drinking more water. Then maybe I’ll work on nighttime routines (turns out adults can benefit from those as well!) Then movement. And if I mess up, I can simply reset by going back to what I have done and adding again to that. I’ll be able to keep moving ahead, but in ways that will stick, because I’ll be caring for first things first.

It is a beautiful process. A simple one–and such a life-giving one. I want to continue to create a beautiful life. Whitney English’s book is going to help me do it!

Where you can buy A More Beautiful Life

You can purchase this book on Amazon at the link below. I so encourage you to consider this book! It really can enable us to live that beautiful life of our hopes and dreams.

Buy A More Beautiful Life here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Perfect family-fun book review: “100 Days of Adventure”

#sponsor #partner

I received the awesome 100 Days of Adventure: Nature Activities, Creative Projects, and Field Trips for Every Season from FrontGate Media. It is definitely a book that is worth your while if you’re interested in creating fun and memorable adventures for your family and little ones (or bigger kids for that matter!).

About 100 Days of Adventure

From the publisher: Second-generation homeschooling mom Greta Eskridge shares 100 hands-on, learning activities for kids that will connect and enrich your family through adventures, small and big. Turn off the screen and turn on the creativity, curiosity, and love of nature as you have a meteor slumber party, attend a symphony concert, take a hike in the rain, preserve colorful fall leaves, make nettle pesto, and venture into the great, wide, real world.

Greta’s beautifully-illustrated, chock-full-of-ideas book will thrill your family as it offers you 100 adventure-filled activities for your family to do together! Each season’s section contains 25 activities that will engage young minds, hearts, and bodies–and bring your family connectedness as you immerse yourself in memory-making fun and adventure. Designed for families with kids aged 6-10 (but certainly will be fun for ages just under or over those), this book can provide the perfect idea guide for families who want to do something FUN, whether it’s fall, winter, spring, or fall.

And what kinds of activities will you find in 100 Days of Adventure? There are ideas and plans for cooking, outdoors experiences, art, writing, camping, volunteering, observing animals and insects, and lots more. There are even more “formal”-type activities like visiting an art museum, attending a symphony concert or ballet, and heading to a national park. It is so full of exciting and creative activities. In fact, here are some of the ones you’ll see in the book!

  • Start Seeds (in eggshells!)
  • Snow-White Canvas (painting on snow)
  • Knead and Bake Bread
  • Take a (Forest) Bath
  • Stand Tall on Homemade Stilts
  • Meteor Slumber Party
  • and so much more!

Each activity contains an introduction, illustrations, and a “What To Do” instructions list. Some (like the Create a Collection activity) even includes more ideas for kids to explore on their own.

This is a wonderful, joyfully-created idea book that will provide years of amazing activities for you and your kiddos to do.

My thoughts

One of my favorite homeschool memories includes the year that we had a homeschool group that met several times per month for enrichment activities. One week, we’d do an art project; the second week, we’d take a field trip; and the third week we’d do a local hike to a nature area. It was so enjoyable, and provided ways for kids and parents to experience art, nature, and more formal museum-type visits with a group of peers. It was a truly wonderful experience for us and parents still talk about it (or find older art projects from those days).

Greta Erskine’s book embraces the idea that adventures and amazing family activities can happen on the regular. She provides these beautiful and creative projects that touch on many wonderful things kids can learn in our wonderful world, whether they are in the categories of art, cooking, creating, insects and animals or the larger world of nature. Even if you consider yourself a creative person, there are ideas and plans in this book that you’ll love seeing and using yourself. (And maybe they’ll provide jumping-off points for new ideas for you as well!)

One idea that I love that was included here was creating your own adventure group. Whether you’re a homeschooler or not, I know that you and your children know other families you love getting together with. What a fantastic guidebook this can be for your own family, or for a group! I believe you’ll love this book and you’ll so appreciate Greta’s beautiful approach to family connections, growth, and activities.

Where you can purchase

You can purchase Greta Eskridge’s wonderful book by clicking on the link below!

Purchase 100 Days of Adventure here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions and thoughts written here are my own honest ones.

“The 50 Final Events in World History” (a review)

**this is a sponsored post**

When you read the title of this book, isn’t it intriguing? I thought so! But this is not a set of conspiracy theories, or false prophetic words, or anything distorted or erroneous. I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the Bible! FrontGate Media sent me a copy of Robert J. Morgan’s The 50 Final Events in World History and I couldn’t wait to dig into it. Keep reading for more!

About The 50 Final Events in World History

This fascinating book is actually a guidebook for students wishing to study the Bible book of Revelation! Author Robert J. Morgan (he’s also a pastor) wrote this book after digging into it again on a long car ride with his college intern, who asked him to teach him about Revelation as they drove. Anyone who’s done a Bible study may have studied Revelation. But many of us have found it mystifying and difficult to parse through. Of course, prophetic books are more challenging to interpret than epistles or historical books. And one wants to interpret properly. How exactly is one to study this book?

That is the purpose in mind that Morgan had when he wrote The 50 Final Events in World History. His desire was to make Revelation understandable for the believer who wants to dig in. And, there is a blessing for the student who studies this book. Did you know that Revelation 1:3 proclaims a blessing over the ones who read, hear, and and take to heart what is written in this book? What a great reason to study!

The 50 Final Events in World History is, in my opinion, a fantastic guidebook to use alongside your Bible as you study Revelation. Morgan has observed patterns in the layout of Revelation that will help the student to grasp more of its meaning. He has divided Revelation into 8 major book/timeline divisions, with a title for each one. And then, the fun begins! (Really!) Students are encouraged to mark these in their Bibles as they study. From those divisions and Scriptures Morgan explains and identifies the 50 final events that Revelation says will happen in the end times. His book chapters follow those timeline divisions, and the author explains, verse segment by verse segment, what this Bible book teaches. Here are some of The 50 Final Events in World History chapters and their verses (all verse locations are from Revelation):

  • Celebration Erupts in Heaven (4:2-5:14)
  • The Lamb Inaugurates the Tribulation–Seal 1 (6:1)
  • Dramatic Manifestation of Answered Prayer–Seal 7 (8:1-5)
  • Two Super Prophets Are Commissioned (11:1-14)
  • The Abomination of Desolation Is Set Up in the Temple (13:14-15)
  • The Seven Last Angels of the Last Plagues Appear (15:1-8)
  • The World’s Armies Converge at Armageddon (16:13-16)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ Returns! (19:11-16)
  • Conclusion: The Spirit and the Bride Say, “Come!”

Now, obviously, I didn’t list every chapter from Morgan’s book; you can see that there are verses missing between those I listed. But I hope that from those I listed you can get a flavor of the book, and everything that Morgan covers. Verse by verse, Morgan leads the student through this study. Students are encouraged to mark the 50 events in their Bibles as well. He incorporates other portions of Scripture, like the books of Daniel, and Ezekiel, in his teaching (I’ve always been a fan of letting Scripture interpret Scripture), along with historical data about the geographical areas that these events could occur in. He also mentions current events and how the events of Revelation could eventually unfold from those.

My thoughts about The 50 Final Events in World History

It can be daunting to study the book of Revelation! But Morgan is so encouraging and humble in his exposition and teaching. He understands students’ apprehension, but he also wants to fully equip the believer. Revelation is mysterious, and we may never understand all of it until we get to heaven. But, there is so much we CAN understand, and so, Morgan faithfully leads the student verse by verse through Revelation.

I also appreciated that the author’s recommendation is that readers have their Bibles open to Revelation as they read The 50 Final Events in World History. This is not a book where Morgan’s opinion is what rules. Rather, he leads the student/reader verse by verse through Revelation.

I think that The 50 Final Events in World History provides an opportunity for exceptional Bible study. And I believe that it makes the book of Revelation very approachable and understandable. Isn’t the reason most of us haven’t studied it because we thought it was the opposite of those?

Last, but not least, I found this book to be so incredibly encouraging. We have a God, and a Savior, Jesus, and also the Comforter (Holy Spirit) who are magnificent, perfect, sacrificial–and FULL of love for their created humans. How can you resist a loving God, who, in the last chapter of the Bible (Revelation 22), is still inviting us to come and be in relationship with Him? I can’t, for sure!

I am so happy to recommend this book to you. It is a kind, wise, and loving guidebook whose sole aim is to help students grasp the book of Revelation. Get yourself a copy!

Purchase at this link

Click here to buy The 50 Final Events in World History

Thank you for reading. And remember–“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”” Their invitation is for you!

–Wren

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.