“Courageous Women of the Bible” ~ A Review & Giveaway (Ends 6/20/18)

Hello friends!

I have a lovely new book to tell you about!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was kind enough to send me not only a copy of LaTan Roland Murphy’s newest book, Courageous Women of the Bible, to review; but a copy for one reader to win as well!  (You’ll be able to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.)  This beautiful (inside and out—I just love its cover as much as the book’s insides) book is something that women will find inspiring, courage-producing, and uplifting, whether they are single, married, mothers of young children, moms of older kiddos, or retired…or any other life stage a woman might be in.  Whatever your life experiences are in this stage of your journey, you’ll find something here to relate to.

 

 

Courageous Women of the Bible

What are you experiencing in your life today?  Are you in a smooth patch of life, or are you facing challenges with your job, an illness, your relationships, your parenting, or even on a larger scale in your nation?  All of us have faced some of these and some of us may have even faced them all.  When we face life struggles, sometimes we can drum up the courage to meet them head-on.  Yet other times, we wonder how on earth we will possibly endure them.  What if I told you that courage can look a little different than we might imagine?  What if all we have to do, to be courageous, is to set our feet toward obedience?

Author LaTan Roland Murphy knew that she–and we–all need courage.  So she wrote a book about courage and how we can have it.  She delves into the lives of 11 women of the Bible who faced a variety of circumstances that demanded courage: everything from leading a nation; to giving unsparingly; or defeating an enemy; to believing in miracles when all hope seemed lost; and stepping into leadership when the actual leader wouldn’t do it.  And that’s just a few.

In Courageous Women of the Bible, you’ll have the opportunity to meet:

  • Deborah
  • The woman with the issue of blood
  • Jael
  • Bathsheba
  • The Samaritan woman
  • Jochebed
  • and 5 others!

In each chapter, the author describes a Biblical woman and what’s happening in her life that demands courage.  She includes the Bible passages that inform us of these women and each one’s state of affairs.  Then, LaTan pulls out for our edification the particular character qualities, choices, strengths, and evidences of faith that these women exemplify.  She introduces us to these gals and describes them so richly that, by the end of each chapter, we feel as though we might actually know them—or recognize them if they were to step across our paths.  Lastly, each chapter ends with a courage quest, a list of 5 questions designed to help us identify our own need for each type of courage and help us to embrace and build it in our own lives.

LaTan has also included a journaling chapter at the very end of the book, to give readers the opportunity to mine their thoughts and emotions for the things God would like to show them–and do in them–through the experiences of the Biblical women of each passage.

My impressions of Courageous Women of the Bible

I have to say that God used this book in my life in a somewhat curious yet fascinating way.  I received it while my teen son and I were wrapping up the end of his 10th grade homeschool year.  And the last 6 weeks of the year (the last part of April and May) were so packed and, at times, exhausting.  (You know the drill:  finals, finishing courses, end-of-the-year projects/papers, teacher appreciation days, drama performances, art shows, final coop classes, etc.)  I had this lovely book sitting on my bedside table.  I wanted to read it.  I had made it 4 chapters in and loved what I’d already read.  Yet, I could *not* find a moment to delve further.

This is one of those moments when I get to say, looking back, “But God!”

This might sound crazy.  But I honestly believe that God halted my reading by using the circumstances of our very-full family life because there were two very significant–even crucial–chapters that I would need at the very end of May.  And oh, when I read them!  What refreshment, encouragement, and strength they provided.  Timing is everything, sometimes, my friends.  And God works with the seasons and events of our lives to bring strength, comfort, and yes, courage, just at the very moments when we need them.

I won’t tell you which women were so deeply meaningful to me, simply because ALL the chapters in this book are going to minister to you, and on different levels, depending on what you’re experiencing in your own life.  I do want to share some lovely quotes from the book, though, that ministered to me:

  • “When every single angle you have tried is met with a dead end, know that you, yourself, are an overcomer with God as the voice of wisdom.  God wants you to experience life and freedom—to experience all that He is.”
  • “…God had challenged Moses to use what was in his hand to perform miracles that would set the stage for God’s chosen people to be freed from four hundred years of bondage and persecution.  God asked Moses:  “What is that in your hand?”
  • “Never forget that one willing woman with a tiny ounce of faith, grit, and tenacity can do amazing things; there is nothing too big, too hard, or too impossible with God.”
  • “I wonder if the Samaritan woman felt the same sense of awe as she experienced the rushing power of heaven’s truth spoken over her empty life.”
  • “The story He is writing in your life will be way better than the one you have been working on.”
  • “Friend, God still has His pen in hand and He is writing a good story across the pages of your life.  He is in the process of answering your prayers and He’s not finished yet.”

And as wonderful as this book has been for me, I’ve even more excited that I have a copy to share with one special reader via a giveaway!  You can read a little more about Courageous Women of the Bible and its author LaTan Roland Murphy in the next section; then scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway!

 

About the author

LaTan Roland Murphy is a published author of books and articles as well as her own website and blog, latanmurphy.com.  She wrote Becoming a Woman of Interior Elegance and co-authored God’s Provision in Tough Times.

 

Her articles have been featured in WHOA women’s magazine and other publications as well.  She was a founder of The Colors of His Love Women’s Conference, and lives in North Carolina with her husband Joe.  She’s the mother of three adult children as well as several grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

How to enter:

Simply click the pink “Enter here!” link below, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  There you’ll be able to enter in a number of ways.  One winner will be selected after 6/20/18, when this giveaway closes.

Enter here!

Best wishes, my friends!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, we at 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.

 

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“Gospel-Centered Mom” ~ A Review

Hello friends!

Do you ever have moments of #momfail?  We try to laugh about that here in our house (oh, there are so many!).  But below the silly mistakes or funny mis-speaks (you know, when you put in a syllable that doesn’t belong there or put in the wrong word here and there), I do have questions about my mom ability.

I try not to compare myself with my mom friends.  I have got friends who are AMAZING.  Who have gifts and abilities that, to be honest, I will never have.  And really, God does instruct us in Scripture not to compare ourselves with others.   We have the gifts, the abilities, the moments in time that we have and that He has given to US, not to others.

But how can I make sure that my core identity–the person I am under those gifts/abilities/personality–is healthy, and bringing health to my family?  And I’m not talking about healthy meals here (though I do think those are important).  I’m talking about being a woman who lives in the truth.  And that is a hard thing to do sometimes.  The media tells us their “truths” about a woman’s appearance, beauty, worth, importance.  We can accept as “truth” the actions that others have toward us, whether positive or negative.  We can even use our mirrors as truth-tellers.  But in every interaction we have with the people or things on that list, our minds and hearts are going to make interpretations.  And those are shaped by our own experiences, relationships, successes, and sadly, our hurts.

I have been on a journey recently where I have seen more and more the importance of living in and dwelling on the truth as God defines it.  I am trying to take my experiences and emotions and line them up with what the Bible says before I just take them on.  (It’s definitely a skill I am learning, and not always automatic.)  But, I’m also looking for other resources that will aid me in that journey.  And when I saw the title of Brooke McGlothlin’s new book, Gospel-Centered Mom, I was immediately interested.

 

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780735289635?width=450&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif

Gospel-Centered Mom

Author Brooke McGlothlin heads and cofounded Raising Boys Ministries.  She writes for an online boy mom community, on LifeWay’s ParentLife blog and on the Proverbs 31 Devotional website.  Perhaps most importantly in terms of this book, she is a  mother who wanted to be a great mom for her kids.  But how do we do that, when culture and media tell us how to be the “perfect” family, or our own hearts compare our families with others and we feel we come up short?

Instead of pursuing those unhealthy ideals, Brooke went back to God. She learned that just trying harder was not enough.  But turning to God first and foremost was.  I love the subtitle of this book, which reads:  “The freeing truth about what your kids really need.”  Because that’s really the bottom line, isn’t it?  Not what I am feeling forced by my culture to make, but what my child needs from me to become the amazing young man that God wants him to be.  That changes my focus pretty dramatically.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke discusses:

  • The difference between the ME Gospel and the True Gospel
  • Living my life as part of God’s enormous, amazing Story instead of my own, self-focused story
  • Living in the truth (I’ve mentioned already how important that is for me at this moment in time)
  • Practical things I can do every day to live in that truth
  • How God meets us in the wilderness, shows us Himself, and loves us…even while He’s showing us the truth about ourselves
  • And one topic that is so useful but is even hard for me to write down here:  Why is God letting me suffer?

My thoughts

Brooke McGlothlin is a woman who writes the truth.  When we live in a culture that is so focused on the newest amazing beauty product that will change your life; or shows you pictures of the “perfect” family life that you should be living; or tells you unrealistic ways that you can “be your best self”—we need people who will boil down truth to its essence and share that truth with us.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke shares honestly from her own struggles as a mom and a woman who believes in God…and shares hope with those of us who are in similar struggles.  Sometimes the answer really is as simple as coming to God.  But Brooke’s words also tell us how to come to God; how to work out our lives and relationships, and even our own weaknesses as mothers–by living in love with God and in His truth.

This book is worth reading.  Check it out.

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

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.

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

 

Art With Your Kids! A Finchnwren Giveaway (Ends 2/3/18)

I have a super-fun new giveaway for you today…especially if you like to do art with your children or students!

 

 

Today I’m giving away a copy of Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham.  This large, softcover book is packed with tons of modern-ish art projects for you to do with children.  Kids age 14 and under will probably love the projects the most (although adults will too!).

I personally love art books and art projects, whether I do them with my son or in art class with the students I teach.  I so enjoy the way that conversation come to life, and heart issues even emerge and are shared when people are working together on a creative project.  And even if you wouldn’t call yourself an artsy person, the projects in Kid Made Modern are very accessible and many of them are easy to do.  (Others may take more work and attention!)

 

 

In Kid Made Modern, you’ll find art projects from categories like:

  • Tape (and you won’t believe the coolness of the project using masking tape)
  • Printing
  • Dye
  • Sewing (both machine- and hand-)
  • Felt
  • and more

Each of these categories features artwork from a famous  Modern artist, then offers creative projects kids can do with their parents…or with some, on their own.  Kids will be introduced to works by Anni Albers, the Eames brothers, Paul Rand, and others.

And what kinds of projects can kids do as they learn about Modern art with Kid Made Modern?  There are almost 50 projects in this book!  Here are just a few:

  • A really cool messenger bag made from duct tape
  • A pet bed
  • Painted polo shirts
  • Dip-dying
  • Woven belts

 

 

So….how to enter!

Just click on the pink link below that says “Enter here!”  You’ll be taken to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you can enter to win Kid Made Modern in a variety of ways.  One winner will be selected after the giveaway closes on 2/3/17.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

A “Merry Christmas from FINCHNWREN to You” Giveaway #2 (Ends 12/27/17)

Hello again, friends!

Welcome back to another “Merry Christmas from FINCHNWREN to You” giveaway!  My sister Finch and I are so excited to share some fun giveaways with you all.  Today, we have something  Christmas-y and something for the New Year for one special reader!

 

 

First, something Christmas-y!

I love Christmas ornaments.  And I love bunnies!  So when I saw this little Lauren Conrad wool and sparkly bunny ornament, my heart was smitten.  (She even has a crown!)

 

And then, something for the New Year!

Bless the Lord, O My Soul is the title of this combination Bible journal, coloring book, and daily devotional.  It is a softcover book with gold-edged pages.  The pages have psalms printed out (one for each day of the year) with coloring pages tucked in here and there.  Each page also has lines for journaling and reflection, where the reader can jot down thoughts about the psalm and what it has meant to him or her that day.

The title is taken from one of my most favorite psalms; Psalm 103, which begins like this:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”  (Psalm 103:1-5, NASB)

And to enter the giveaway…

just click on the pink Enter here! link below, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Giveaway closes 12/27/17.  One winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes, and Merry Christmas!

Enter here!

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer” Review & Giveaway

Do you ever feel as though you need a new way to approach prayer?  Author Jeannie Blackmer did, and out of that came her new book Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network generously sent me not only a copy to read and review myself, but one to give away to a reader!

 

 

So, about prayer…

What does prayer look like for you?  I’m a morning person, and I’ve always thrived on an early morning quiet time when I can have some time in the Bible and in prayer (along with a cup of coffee, of course!).  That was a great way for me to start my day when I was single and working, and it’s just as good for me as a wife and mom.  Especially as a homeschool mom; having that time of peace, God’s Word, and time with Him helps me to stay on track and get going in the right direction each day.  (And, I hope, staying the course throughout that day!)

Our family has been through a lot in the past few years, including job challenges, surgeries, and most recently, the chemotherapy treatments I had following my May 1 surgery.  And I noticed recently that my prayers had just been knocked down to the bare bones.  It’s not that I WASN’T thankful for God and His character, and His love.  But I was urgently pleading and asking for the help I so desperately needed without focusing on thankfulness, praise, and worship.  It looked a lot like, “help, help, HELP!”

 

Author Jeannie Blackmer

And about Talking to Jesus…

Also recently, I was given this meaningful book,  Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer.  Something that author Jeanne Blackmer experienced when her children became teens was that she desperately needed to find a way to pray deeply for them…to change the focus and perhaps the nature of her prayers.  Blackmer was inspired as she looked through Scriptures and found other parents coming to Jesus with their needs about their children…their loved ones…and themselves.  Out of this, the wonderful Talking to Jesus was birthed and written.  In 21 chapters, we meet 21 different people or groups of people who encountered Jesus (plus a few preceding and closing chapters).  While staying faithful to the Scripture accounts, Blackmer has written about what the characters might have been thinking or feeling as they ministered (the disciples); as they came to Jesus with a huge request (like the Canaanite woman, or Jairus, or the woman who’d bled for 12 years), or as they lived and struggled (the blind men or the scribe).  I loved this!  I am a person who loves and finds meaning in story, and by adding story to the lives of these real Biblical men, women, and children, Blackmer is able to take us into what the characters might have experienced….and help us to see how those feelings aren’t so (if at all) different from our own.  Here’s a sampling of some of the Biblical characters whose experiences with Jesus are explored here:

  • The Centurion
  • The Paralytic and His Friends
  • The Ruler (a.k.a. Jairus)
  • The Bleeding Woman
  • The Disciples (in various situations)
  • The Blind Men
  • and more!

Blackmer concludes each chapter with three very good–and very impactful–sections.  First, there is her Personal Response portion, where she talks more about what we can glean ourselves from the Bible account, and some specific things she noticed.  She concludes these sections with gentle encouragements and exhortations for the reader.  Second, there is a Reflection segment, which includes pertinent Bible verses (with both the verse itself and its address printed out); further nuggets from the Word of God that will draw the reader closer into the arms of God.  And third, is a place for the reader’s own Observations.  Here are spots where we can write about our responses to Jesus’ experiences and invitations, or prayers for the ways we’d like to move forward.

 

What this book has meant to me

So I mentioned earlier that my prayer life had been, for quite a few months, in sort of a crisis mode place.  I knew that I needed the help that only God could give me.  And I was definitely desperate enough to ask, and keep asking, for it.  During my chemotherapy journey there were a lot of moments of amazing provision…and absolute hilarity…and faith and trust.  But there were also fear and pain, which kept driving me to God for His help.

I’m so thankful that we’re past the chemo now.  I am feeling better and more energetic every month.  But I’ve noticed that there can be more to my prayer times now.  After all, I’m in a relationship with God; and any relationship has got to be about more than the things one person needs from the other.  Reading and working through Talking to Jesus has been a rich, lovely experience that has opened my eyes to some wonderful things, like who God is; how He loves me; and how readily He stands to be in relationship with me.

As I read Talking to Jesus, I was encouraged to place my own name–and myself–in one of the stories.  You can probably guess which one was deeply meaningful to me!  It was Blackmer’s chapter on The Bleeding Woman.  The woman who was desperate–really desperate–for healing.  She believed that Jesus might be the one who could help her.  And He did!  She reached out and touched his garment.  Not even his hand or his leg…but the fabric of his robe.  And He noticed!  He turned, and asked who had touched Him…and, knowing she’d been found out, she came forward.

As an “unclean” person, she shouldn’t have even have been in a crowd of people in Israel.  Her very presence or accidental touch of another person would have transferred (albeit temporarily) her uncleanness to that person.  And yet Jesus didn’t say, “Get away, you’re dirty, you’re going to taint us.”

He called her “Daughter.”  Beloved girl child.  Wanted.

And then, He told her that her faith had healed her!

What an incredible moment.  I’ve loved it for years, ever since a favorite pastor taught on Jairus (and his own desperation) and the bleeding woman.  But never, in all those years, did I see until I read Blackmer’s retelling, how very deeply Jesus loved and valued the bleeding woman.  And how very deeply He loves and values us.

Wow!  What a moment.  And what a book.

 

And your chance to win!

The BlogAbout Blogger Network has given me a copy of Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer to share with one reader!  Let me tell you, whether you use this book in a devotional fashion, or just read it in huge chunks, you will be blessed and encouraged.  Just click on the pink “Enter here!” link below, and you’ll be taken to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you can enter to win this for yourself.  Giveaway closes December 18, 2017.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, we at 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 opinions, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

ADORED: A Review & Giveaway of Lindsay A. Franklin’s New Book (Ends 11/27/17)

I have a lovely book to tell you about today.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was kind enough to send me a copy to review AND a copy of this lovely book to give away to one special reader!

 

 

If you are a young woman, do you ever wish that you had someone to help guide you through the ups and downs of life, emotions, relationships, and challenges?  I know that I certainly did.  The adolescent and young adult lives that we live carry so much change, so much identity-formation, so much of the internal life that we don’t necessarily even realize as we walk through life.

Most of all, do (or did) you realize that there is a God of the universe, the God of the Bible, who doesn’t just like you or tolerate you but ADORES you?

Author Lindsay A. Franklin certainly understands this and communicates it vibrantly and joyfully, (not to mention, at times, hilariously) in ADORED.  Subtitled 365 Devotions for Young Women, this book is filled to overflowing with daily Scriptures and devotional writings that speak wonderfully to the hearts of young women.  (Or even women who’d fit more into the Titus category, or moms of children or teens, like me!)

About ADORED…

ADORED is just a gorgeous book, inside and out.  It’s a smooth hardback book that feels substantial but isn’t too heavy in the hands.  Its gold and blue artsy cover is echoed in the pages, which have illustrated blue borders plus lines for journaling thoughts and prayers at the bottom of the pages.  Each day’s reading (and there are, as mentioned in the title, 365–so one for each day of the year) begins with a Bible verse and its address printed at the top of each page.  To go along with each of these, Franklin has written devotionals that address ways we can understand the verses, be encouraged by them, or even live out their instructions in our daily lives (both inner and outer).

How I used this book…

I love to start my day with devotional and Bible reading, or Bible study.  So I really enjoyed reading ADORED in the mornings with my coffee.  Sometimes, I’d look up the daily Bible verse in my own Bible, so that I could glean more of Scripture and the contexts the verses were set in.  And although I live with men in my home (my husband and teen son) rather than young women, I often found inspiring and encouraging words that I could share with them during family Bible times or devotionals together.  They’re not the target audience, but there was so much rich content that really affects all of us.

 

 

and what I thought about it

So why did I find that ADORED was so applicable to my whole family?

I really think that it’s because all of us, whether we’re male or female, younger or older, deeply need to know that we are loved.  Even adored.  Lindsay A. Franklin makes that point in her book again and again, in different ways, with different words.  And we all need to hear that!

Here are some of my favorite words from this remarkable book:

  • “But given how much Scripture talks about waiting, specifically waiting on the Lord, we can guess patience is listed as a fruit of the Spirit for a reason.  God is never in a rush.  This God who is always the same says, “Wait on me.  See what I have for you in my time.”…God’s not in a rush, so why are we?”  (Day 23)
  • “You have a God who offers peace.  You have a God who hears your prayers.  You have a God who never backs down, even from the very gates of hell.  You are never alone and your God is never overcome.  So stand tall.  You can trust God to help you overcome those who are trying to intimidate you.”  (Day 18)
  • “Our God–the one of unchanging purpose, constant love, utmost consistency–never discovers greener grass and decides to graze over there a bit.  He knows all the grass.  He’s not wooed by the bigger, better deal.  He’s not suddenly walking alongside you in life, only to be distracted, shout “Squirrel!” and take off after it.  God won’t give up on you.  He won’t forget you.  He won’t leave you.  Ever.”  (Day 17)

That’s only a tiny taste for you of what comprises this most wonderful and encouraging devotional.

And now…my giveaway!

So who would be the perfect recipient of this lovely book, ADORED?

  • A young woman (whether she’s a teen or in her twenties)
  • A new believer, who needs to know the character and purposes of God
  • Any woman—even if she’s not the target audience—who’d like to know more about the amazing love that God has for us
  • A dad who’d like to bless his daughter with this incredible book
  • Or, anyone else whose heart is captured by the idea of ADORED

All you have to do to enter is to click on the pink “Enter Here!” below.  That will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Just follow the directions there!  One winner will be selected after the giveaway closes on 11/27/17.

Enter here!

Best wishes!  –Wren

 

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.

“When We Last Spoke” Free on Amazon thru 10/6!

Hi everyone!

You might remember a book review I did back in January for a charming book called When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna.

 

Such an interesting book about sisters, family, and life.  You can click on When We Last Spoke to read the review I wrote and to learn more about this book.

And this week, you can get an ebook copy free on Amazon!  Just click on Grab your free copy of When We Last Spoke to obtain your own copy, free through 10/6/17!  (It’s only the Kindle version that is free, by the way.)

Don’t miss this fun freebie!

Enjoy!  –Wren