My Review of Sarah Beckman’s ALONGSIDE, and a chance for you to win! (ends 2/24/17)

Do you ever wonder how you can help those around you when they’re in need, ill, or suffering a loss of some sort?  Sarah Beckman’s Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial richly answers those questions and gives so many ideas to the person who’d like to help but just isn’t sure how.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network provided an autographed (!)  copy of Alongside for me to read and review–plus a copy to give away to one of our readers!

 

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So…how to help?

Just recently, I was having dinner with two dear girlfriends.  And this very subject came up.  How do you help someone who’s suffered a huge loss?  Or is facing some significant (or even life-changing) sort of trial?  The first thing that comes to my mind is always to take a meal to the person or family who’s in need.  But what if the person has particular dietary needs you don’t know about, or can’t cook yourself?

Of course, there’s always the gift card to restaurants or grocery stores.  We were a bit stumped, though, as we brainstormed some other options.  Sometimes you want to help another person, but you just don’t know how.

 

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Alongside by Sarah Beckman

Not long after that dinner, I had the opportunity to read the book that answered those very questions, written by a woman who has both served others in their own trials and experienced challenges herself, when she was the one who needed assistance.  She also contacted trusted friends and family, and asked them:  “I’m writing a book and I need your help.  Will you tell me exactly what was helpful and not-so-helpful to you during your most difficult life experience?”

Answers poured in as Sarah interviewed those close to her via Skype, Facebook, in person, and via email.  These conversations weren’t just surface, quick answers, either.  Some of them produced tears.  But all of them brought wisdom and incredible ideas for those who wish to serve and love others in times of suffering.  In Alongside, you’ll hear stories which range from those who were helped immensely, to those who were deeply hurt by someone’s well-meaning (yet thoughtless or unkind) remarks.  And one of the reasons you’ll want to keep this book handy are 26 chapters full of wide-ranging ideas of just how you can love and serve those in crisis or trouble.

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Sarah Beckman begins with some things to keep in mind as you help and serve others.  First, why we should love others or seek to serve them.  How can we keep our own personal motivations healthy and pure?  How can we serve others without making it about us?  What are some examples of those who might be truly blessed by our help?  Depending on the closeness of our relationships with the person in need, how intimately should we try to get involved as we serve?

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Practical ways to love and serve

As I mentioned above, I’ve found taking a meal to be a very practical way to come alongside others.  I have had several surgeries (not to mention bed rest during my pregnancy, and some broken metatarsals from a bad step off the stairs), and the meals others prepared and delivered to us made an enormous difference for us and gave us what I could not at the moment.  I do love that idea.

But, there are SO, so many more, and the author’s entire second section of Alongside (18 chapters and 137 pages) is absolutely packed with categories and ideas that can bless our friends and neighbors.  Here’s a sampling of those chapter titles:

  • be present
  • offer specific help
  • listen well
  • give good gifts
  • nourish normal
  • make them laugh
  • tap into your talents
  • choose wise words

You will find tons of ideas in this book.  Great gifts lists for men, women, children, teens.  Questions to ask.  Inside- and outside-the-house duties that you could perform.  Things NOT to say.  Ways to help that won’t put pressure on the person who’s suffering.  And so much more!

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In special circumstances…

What do you do?  What if you’ve had very similar times of suffering yourself?  What if the person you’re desiring to serve doesn’t share your faith?  How do you help when your friend has a terminal diagnosis?  What about uncomfortable social situations?  Sarah Beckman covers these and other situations where we might feel even less like we know what to do or how to help, with kindness and grace but also with clarity and wisdom.

 

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How Alongside affected me

I loved this book.  Over the course of my life, I’ve been in a position to offer help to others, and I’ve required it myself at various times.   But I don’t always know what I can do (especially if I don’t have a super-close relationship with the person in need) to help besides bring food.  Not anymore!  Now, I have a huge abundance of ideas in addition to that.  I also have more perspective on how my words might sound to the person in need; and how to take the pressure off them by offering specific things, rather than just asking, “How can I help?” and leaving them to come up with solutions when they’re already in a place of suffering.  I’ve also been reminded of other needs a person in trial might have, and things I can do or offer to offset those.

 

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Alongside could be a fantastic resource for:

  • A person who is suffering–who’ll now have a long list to answer others who’d like to help but don’t know how
  • An adult with older relatives
  • Anyone who’d like to be available to serve in times of need
  • Someone who’d like creative ideas for blessing others who are suffering
  • Youth group leaders
  • Those in ministry, whether it’s to men, women, or moms
  • Anyone!

We live in a beautiful world.  But it’s also a world where we do both see trial, and experience it ourselves.  For this reason alone, Alongside is a book which will equip you, encourage you, and help you to be ready to love and serve others.  I recommend it highly!

Enter to win your very own copy!

One reader will be blessed with his or her own signed copy of Alongside by Sarah Beckman.  Just click on the pink link below to go to the Giveaway Tools entry form to enter.  Giveaway closes 2/24/17.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

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DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Can There Be Creativity in Prayer? ~ Reviewing DESIGNED TO PRAY & Giveaway (CLOSED)

How is your prayer life going?  Do you need a boost?  Are things there seeming like the same old, same old?  If you’re needing something in this area, but you don’t know exactly what, then you’re going to love this book.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was so very kind to send me a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God to use myself–as well as a copy for one special reader to win!

 

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So how is your prayer life, anyway?

I will admit to you that my own times of prayer have really undergone a beating in the last four years.  Two abdominal surgeries (which left quite a mark on my overall stamina and energy) plus job challenges took my own faith to a place that I never expected it would go.  Did I believe in God?  Yes, of course.  Did I spend time in God’s Word?  Yes.  But even as I read the Bible’s truths, I struggled to apply them to myself; to believe that God really was FOR me, in my corner, loving and upholding me.

Hard times.

But (and here’s where we insert a “yay!”), I’m journeying back.  Receiving healing.  Able more and more to receive God’s truths for myself.  But I still could see that my prayer life needed…life.

 

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Enter Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God

I will not be exaggerating if I tell you that this book has made more of an impact on my prayer life than any other resource I’ve ever found on prayer.  It has been a delight.  It has caused me to see God differently–more truly what He is.  It has enabled me to desire prayer more fully, and to enjoy connecting with Him.  It has made my morning prayer time SO FUN.

It has been just what I needed at a moment when I really needed SOMEthing, but didn’t know exactly what.

 

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So how can a book do all that?

Kelly O’Dell Stanley, who already authored a book on prayer called Praying Upside Down, kept having ideas about journaling prayer.  Designing something for people to use that would help them see God, hear Him, know Him, get closer to Him, that could engage them both individually and creatively.  A book that could take the reader on an interactive & joyful journey.

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Designed to Pray provides a unique journey on prayer that I’m pretty sure nobody has ever taken before.  O’Dell Stanley has designed 8 weeks’ worth of daily exercises on prayer which will enable the reader to use her own creativity, colored pencils and pens to venture into prayer in ways that are exciting, encouraging, and uplifting.  The weeks’ titles include:

  • “Fumbling into God’s Presence”
  • “The Faith of a Child”
  • “Creativity…or Connecting the Dots to See God”
  • “We’re All in This Together (Praying with or for Others)”
  • “A Personal God (Knowing God, Knowing Yourself)”
  • and three more

Each of these chapters begins with an introduction from O’Dell Stanley that sets the tone for the week’s activities and prayers.  Then, the reader is given 7 different activities, one each for every day that week, Sunday through Saturday.

 

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How can art & creativity take you into God’s presence?

It’s all about the activities, the grace and fun behind them, and what Kelly O’Dell Stanley has designed them to do; engage with God on a heart level.  Sometimes, I started with a page the author designed with some beautiful doodles in one corner, and doodled more…then wrote prayer items in the spaces.  Another time, I wrote lists of things I was thankful for like rays of the sun.  Once I lettered the words to a children’s song about Jesus’ love.  Sometimes I got to color!

One pivotal day, I wrote down fears that kept me from praying.  Honestly, these were sort of buried in my mind and I wasn’t consciously aware of them.  But when the author asked the right questions, out they came…and I was able to progress beyond them.

 

designed-to-pray-4My conclusions

I like artsy stuff.  I teach art at our homeschool coop.  I have just jumped into Bible journaling.  I like to “do” art with my child.

I am not, however, a “trained” artist.  But I’ve found over my years as a mom and a homeschooling mom in particular, that art does something in me that nothing else does.  It encourages me.  It removes me a step from life’s pressures and helps me to take a breath.  It provides cool times for connection with my son.

So, combining creativity with prayer?  It felt very natural.  It created real connection points between me and God (okay, He was there already, but it helped me to reach for Him).  It moved me to pray and think about things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Best of all, it breathed new life into my prayer times.  It made me WANT to pray.  It showed me that connecting with God can happen in new and beautiful ways.  It helped me to start my days with joy and a real knowing that He is there.

To me, that’s an amazing outcome from a book!  (I have to tell you that when I finish this book, I am thinking that I need to purchase a fresh one and work thru all the exercises and activities again!)

 

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Who could use this book?

  • Someone who is worn out with legalism and the “right” way to do things
  • A mom who wants to pray but doesn’t feel like she has a lot of time
  • A person who’d like to pray but doesn’t know how
  • Someone whose soul needs touches of beauty
  • And anyone else who’d like to know that God loves and cares for them

 

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My recommendations…and a chance for you to win!

If you see yourself in the list above…if you’d like to bring more beauty and joy to your prayer times…or if you’d just like to connect with the God who loves you in a new way, get a copy of Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage With God!

And, you can enter to win a copy now!  (Giveaway ends February 10, 2017.)  Just click on the pink link below to go to the Giveaway Tools form to enter!

Enter here!

 

WINNERS SELECTED:

I loved DESIGNED TO PRAY so much that I selected 3 winners!  (1 gets the copy from Blog about Network, and the others from FINCHNWREN.)  Congratulations to Diane P, Kayla F, and Savannah H!

Enjoy!  –Wren

 
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DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

Charming, Engaging Book: “When We Last Spoke” ~ a review & giveaway ~ Ends 1/30/17

Recently, I received a most engaging book from FlyBy/Propeller Promotions about a life in small-town Texas to read:  When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna.  (As well as a DVD with a beautiful trailer for the film version of this book, to go along with it!)  Let me share my thoughts about this book with you.  And at the end of the post, you can enter to win a copy of the book and DVD for yourself!

 

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Once upon a time, there were two little girls in Texas.  Their dad was off flying Hueys in Vietnam.  They lived with their mom in Austin.

But Juliet’s and Evangeline’s mother had other plans, plans that included fame and fortune.  She wanted to be a star.  She could sing and tap-dance.  And she had given up acting in New York when she got  married.  So one day, she packed up the girls and drove them to Fireside, Texas, in her 1960 Corvair.  When her mother-in-law Ruby met them at the front door, she told the girls to be good and for Ruby to take care of them; that she’d be in touch.

So began Evangeline’s and Juliet’s new life.  Ruby cooked, canned, gardened, and gathered eggs which she and Juliet sold in town every Saturday.  Walt took Evangeline along as he took care of the calves and fences.  And a beautiful, stable life was created for the girls, even as their hearts always felt the abandonment of their mother (would she have left them if they’d been more well-behaved? was she ever coming back?).  Walt and Ruby adored each other and loved the girls deeply, and they settled in to life in small-town Texas, where everybody knew everybody else (AND their business!).

Dr Pepper.  Skinned knees and Dippity-Do.  Elvis, Thunderbirds, and fiddle music.  Drive-in movies and banana pudding.  Sibling squabbles and sleepovers.  And every now and then, a special box comes from their mother to the girls, with special treats and a note.  They always hope that she’s going to come back for them, though.  There is intrigue that the little girls notice.  There’s the crazy lady who won’t set foot out of her house, that Ruby takes food to.  There’s fashionable Selma Davis with her go-go boots and frosted lipstick.  There’s Walt’s mean mother, who comes to live with them all.  There’s Juliet’s friend Dixie, who’s been spying on Selma and the secret she hasn’t shared with the community.  And there’s the sender of the packages, that the little girls don’t know about.

Come to Fireside and meet Juliet, Evangeline, Ruby, and Walt, and all the rest of the residents.  Author Marci Henna brings small-town Texas in all its glory to life in When We Last Spoke.  The love its residents have for each other, the traditions they uphold, and the vivid pictures of neighborliness and family life, will engage your heart.  And the food they eat–it’ll make your mouth water!  In fact, it sounded so good to me that I included some recipes!

 

Do you want to try your hand at Ruby’s Texas goodies?

I delighted in the mentions of Ruby’s culinary goodies from the 1960’s and 1970’s Texas.  These aren’t from the author or publisher, but I loved some of them as a little girl myself, and loved the idea of them as Marci wove them into her book.  I found these versions of them online, and included them here for you in case you’d like to try your hand at cooking up some Texas edible memorabilia!

Watermelon Rind Pickles (I am a Texas girl born and bred, but I have NEVER had these.  But Ruby’s sounded so good, I had to include them!)

Golden Westerner Cake (this is actually a pound cake which you can make in two ways, with white or brown sugar)

Homemade Banana Pudding from Allrecipes

 

More about Marci Henna:

Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800’s and currently lives in Austin.

Find Marci Henna on social media:

Facebook (http://bit.ly/FiresideNovels)
Twitter (http://bit.ly/twitter_MarciHenna)
GoodReads (http://bit.ly/WWLS_GoodReads)
FiresideTexas.com (http://bit.ly/FiresideTexas_URL)

 

You can purchase When We Last Spoke at:

Softcover (http://bit.ly/WWLS_softcover)
Kindle (http://bit.ly/WWLS_Kindle)

Trailer on YouTube (http://bit.ly/WWLS_TRAILER_HD)

 

And enter to win your own copy here!

Enter to win a copy of When We Last Spoke, and its DVD movie trailer, for yourself.  Just click on the pink link to go to the Giveaway Tools page to enter.  Giveaway closes at 11:59PM on January 30, 2017.  (Also, Marci will be giving away a free ebook version of the book on Amazon from February 20-24.  So keep your eyes out for that as well!)

Enter here!

 

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

#Keyword Reading Challenge January: Charles Martin’s “Long Way Gone”

It’s time to check in with the #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!

 

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I’ve just finished my first book of the year:  Charles Martin’s Long Way Gone.  I recommend it highly!

I discovered Charles Martin last year when I read his phenomenal Water From My Heart.  He’s an incredible storyteller with a wonderful voice.  Mr. Martin deftly unfolds a story to take you places you never imagined that you would go.  His characters, and their stories, are captivating.  January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017 keywords are Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand.  Lots of books out there with those words in the title…but I was thrilled when my copy of Long Way Gone arrived from the library.  Perfect timing for sure.

The story:

Long Way Gone is the story of accomplished musical prodigy Cooper O’Connor.  Raised in the Colorado mountains by his widowed father, Cooper spent his early years traveling around with his dad and Big-Big (their friend and coworker who’s also a former convict).  His father, an honest and godly man, preached the gospel in and around Colorado, and they traveled in the family pickup, listening to and singing along with the radio.  One night, during a service held under a terrific thunder and lightning storm, they discovered that Cooper was enormously and amazing gifted as a musician.  He joins in playing for the services with his dad and Big-Big, and life is good.  He revels in the opportunity to play with his dad, hone his abilities and skills, and praise God.

Yet as he grows up, he notices that he is the really talented one of the trio; the one that people really come to see.  He wants to sign with one of the agents who approaches him, but his dad tells him to wait til he’s older, and to know that the agents really just want what they can get out of him.  Rebellion grows in him, til the day that he takes his dad’s pickup, his favorite guitar, and all the money they have, and heads to Nashville.

Like the prodigal son, Cooper has a hard road ahead of him.  Poverty.  Digging in the trash.  Loss of the things he holds most dear.  But he also has opportunity, in the form of another singer who’ll be the song to his instrument, and he meets her in the form of Daley Cross, up-and-coming star.  The two of them together might just change the music world forever…if Cooper can survive what’s coming.

What I thought:

I was hooked on this story from the very first chapter, where an older (and somewhat wiser) Cooper sees an older Daley (in the form of a hitchhiker).  Life has left a mark on Cooper, and it’s a mark that seems very likely to steal that life from him.

It’s not just Cooper’s story, though.  We come to know his incredible, faithful, loving father.  Big-Big, who got a second chance from Cooper’s dad and held onto it with both hands.  Delicate, trusting Daley, who’s enormously gifted but oh-too-malleable in the hands of others.  Is redemption possible for all of them?

You’ll have to read Long Way Gone to find out.  But I can tell you that I would read this book again and again.  In fact, I blew through it so fast the first time, because I just couldn’t put it down, that I’d read it again just to lovingly wander through Cooper’s story once more.

I think, when you read it, you’ll feel the same!

Hop over to January’s #Keyword Reading Challenge 2017!

Scores of other bloggers will be linking up and reading other books that have this month’s keywords in it.  Click on the button below so you can find some more awesome reads to add to your own list!

Enjoy!  –Wrenkeyword-challenge-january

 

Gorgeous Board Book to Teach Your Kids “Bible Basics” ~ A Review and Giveaway (ends 1/26/17)

We recently received a fantastic resource for parents and their little ones; Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer to use and review from the BlogAbout Blogger Network.  This precious, meaningful little board book uses Biblical principles and truths to teach children their numbers from 1-10.  Its artwork is incredible and its narrative, both beautiful and faithful to Scripture.  Let me tell you more…and at the end of this post, you’ll have an opportunity to win a giveaway for a copy of your own!

 

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About Bible Basics

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer is a sturdy, beautifully bound 7 1/3″ x 7 1/3″ board book.  Authored by Danielle Hitchen and illustrated by Jessica Blanchard, it’s designed to introduce children to principles and foundations of the Christian faith as well as to their first numbers, 1 through 10.  It uses Bible verses, hymns, prayers, history, and simple teaching to bring these tenets to life in ways that even the youngest listener can understand.  Gorgeous artwork accompanies each of the ten principles and makes them vivid and memorable.  Although the size is larger than most board books, it’s still well-proportioned for little hands to hold.  And, the size gives plenty of room for the text and illustrations, printed in readable font.

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This is truly a unique and unusual idea for a board book.  It was birthed out of Danielle Hitchen’s question:  how could she teach her babies to know God and to love Him?  What an incredible answer Bible Basics is to that question!  I don’t want to spoil the joy you’d find when you read this book for the first time, so I’m not going to tell you everything that’s in it.  But here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find in this beautiful book:

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  • The 9 fruits of the Spirit
  • The 10 Commandments
  • The Trinity
  • The 5 books of the Pentateuch
  • and 6 more!

 

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Ways you could use Bible Basics in your own home

So…I have a confession to make.  We do not currently have a baby or a toddler in our home!  (Our regular readers know that our boy is a 9th grader.)  However, I absolutely adored the idea of this gorgeous little board book and I loved that I could share a copy with one of you!  What I discovered, when I received Bible Basics, is that it’s not only an incredible resource and learning tool for little ones.  It also reinforces the beautiful tenets of Christianity for any believer, be he or she young and fresh, or more seasoned in the faith.

Here are some other ways that I know Bible Basics could bless you!

  • Read it aloud during family worship
  • Use it as a jumping-off point for a study of the Scriptural principles in it (for example, you could study one concept per week and look up related verses that go with each principle)
  • Allow it to inspire your homeschool art times
  • Prop it up on an easel in your home, and display different pages on different days
  • Purchase it for a shower or new baby gift
  • And of course, its primary purpose:  read it to your little ones 🙂

 

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What our family thought

We LOVED Bible Basics!  During our family worship time one week, I read it aloud to my husband and son.  It was so encouraging.  It really made us all think about many of the different truths that make up our relationships with God through Christ Jesus.  And, it blessed us.  I really do think that I could use this to do a deeper study on each item that the author presents, by simply doing a word or topical study in the Bible and using that with my son.

We’re also a family who loves art.  So we weren’t just blessed by the biblical truths of Bible Basics.  We were also really moved to think more deeply about each of the 10 tenets, because of the way that the art helped to unfold those truths.  Plus, they were just beautiful pictures.

My guys knew that this was a book that I’d received for both review and for a giveaway.  But my husband loved it so much, he said, “You can’t give away this book!”  (He was relieved to hear that I received a separate copy to give away to one of our readers.)

We’ll definitely continue to use Bible Basics.  And, I’m going to follow my own recommendation and display the various pages via propping the book up on a small easel, open to one pair of pages at a time.  What better way to enjoy God’s Word and art at the same time?  🙂

 

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My recommendations for you?

Get a copy of this book.  Read it to your little ones…again and again.  Use it for a basis for a deeper study.  And revel in the beauty, grace, and abundance that God offers to us in relationship and salvation through Christ Jesus.  You can find a copy and more (including art prints and a coloring book) at Catechesis Books.

Also, keep an eye out for more books in the Baby Believer Primers series.  This is the first of more to come.

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And, enter my giveaway!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a copy of this wonderful book for one reader.  Just enter below in the Giveaway Tools “Enter Here” link.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Find Catechesis Books at these social media sites:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclaimer:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

Cool Reading Challenge that I’m Joining! 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge

If you’ve kept up with the finchnwren blog in any way over the last few years, you KNOW that both Finch and I are booklovers.  We love, love, love books.  Yep, you could probably call us #booknerds.

Which is why I am so happy to have discovered the 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted  by Claudia at My Soul Called Life.  Claudia has developed a fascinating list of keywords and assigned a group of them to each month of 2017.  Anyone who signs up for this challenge then selects a book title with one of those keywords in it, reads it, and posts a review of it during that month.

I love this!  I think Claudia’s keywords list is incredible, and I know it’s going to keep me on the lookout for amazing reads that I can then share with you all.  As a matter of fact, I already have my book for January 2017 (although I have two books in front of it that I need to finish first!).  In keeping with Claudia’s list, its title contains the word “way.”  (Stay tuned for more on that in a couple of weeks!)

 

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Here’s a list of the keywords for each month of 2017:

JAN- Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand

FEB- And, Rose, Promise, Every, Deception, Blazing

MAR- Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga

APR- From, Trigger, Tale, His, CrownMist

MAY- Four, Wind, All, Fury, Days, Shade

JUN- Without, Know, Good, Watch, One, Have

JUL- Before, Final, All, Freedom, Life, Dream

AUG- Sun, Infinite, Big, My, Wherever, Most

SEP- Sand, From, Between, Ever, Reasons, Clash

OCT- Darker, You, Ashes, Out, House, Sea

NOV- Place, War, Heart, Why, Give, Meet

DEC- Forget, Twilight, Only, Crystal, On, Will

Here’s how you can participate, too!

Just head over to My Soul Called Life by clicking on the pink link, and you can join it as well!  You don’t have to have a blog to be able to review your books, either.  You can post a review on Goodreads or Booklikes.  There will even be a drawing for a prize, for everyone who posts reviews, at the end of the year!

So looking forward to this challenge!

If you’re a book lover, I encourage you to join in and read along with us this year.  I think it’s going to be amazing.  And just think of all the other cool books you will discover with everyone else’s reads!

Enjoy!  –Wren


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“31 Verses To Write On Your Heart” by Liz Curtis Higgs ~ A Review

I’ve been working through a lovely book in my Bible devotional time over the last few weeks: Liz Curtis Higgs’ 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart.  What a rich and beautiful way to engage with the Word!

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Many of you are probably familiar with Liz Curtis Higgs.  She’s written many fascinating books, both fiction and nonfiction.  She’s also a faithful Bible student, and it’s from her deep study of God’s Word that 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart comes.

Over one thousand women weighed in on this list, sharing with Liz Curtis Higgs their favorite and most important verses in the Bible.  From these favorites, the author has selected 31 and written a little about the verses (in a format that’s ideal to read during devotional times) and even included a prayer at the end of each chapter for the reader to pray.  She has also included tips for memorization of the verses, and left a space where the reader can write the verse down in her most-preferred translation.

 

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This book contains both the very familiar and less-known verses that will engage the heart of a woman.  Some of these you’ll know well, and others, perhaps not at all.  But each one can deeply impact the gal who reads and memorizes them.  Here’s a sampling of the 31 Liz Curtis Higgs focuses on:

  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Proverbs 15:1
  • Philippians 4:8
  • and more!

 

 

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How I used this book

I am between Bible studies at the moment, but still wanted something meaningful to add to my Bible reading times each morning.  I was thrilled to find 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart.  I admit, it has been awhile (since a previous year, when my son and I memorized verses together) since I’ve worked on Scripture memorization.  And I have found the verses so rich, and so appreciated the author’s words on each verse.  Even though the chapters themselves on each verse aren’t that long, I lingered over them, reading them over a series of days.  Next, I visited biblegateway.com or biblehub.com, where I could enter a verse address and be able to look at many translations at one time.  Then, I picked the one that was most impactful to me, and wrote it in my book.  (Booklovers, breathe a sigh of relief…you’re actually SUPPOSED to do that!)

31-verses-pic-4How I’d describe 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart

Meaningful.  Encouraging.  Beautiful.  A way to really slow down and engage with the Word.  Something that really benefited me as not only a wife and a mother, but as a daughter of the living God.  A way to spend time with Scripture that will strengthen, encourage, and bless women.

I happily recommend this book to any woman who desires to interact with Scripture deeply and beautifully.  Liz Curtis Higgs brings Scripture to life in a manner that will help women to pause and breathe in God’s goodness and care for them.  It’s sweet and wonderful, and will bless the reader!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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