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

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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

Kim Frauli’s “When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne” ~ A Review

Earlier this year I was offered the chance to read a fascinating book by Kim Frauli when I was given a free e-book copy to review.  When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne is an engrossing read about a young woman in a post-apocalyptic America, that doesn’t look much like the America we know.

 

 

About the story:

Julianna Brenner is a bright, personable young woman.  Although her life was dramatically reshaped by the terrorist attacks that blew across her nation, especially when her parents were killed.  Julianna was brought to the Scholars Compound, where she lives and works on scientific research.  Her work is focused on discoveries that will enhance and benefit the remaining humans who live in the country.  She’s fortunate to work daily with Declan, her best friend.  Her life is very regimented and controlled; there are places she can go (and not go), security personnel who take her almost everywhere she goes, a bedroom which looks much like everyone else’s in her division.  Julianna’s work challenges her and excites her on a daily basis.  She also loves working with Declan; in fact she’s becoming emotionally connected to him in ways that the New Regime might not appreciate.

Guardian Costma is the man in charge of the New Regime, and of Julianna’s area in general and her work in particular.  One day she is taken off the work she’s doing and reassigned to a new project; and the more she works on it the more concerns she has about its ethics and moral rightness.  This new project seems awfully like something that could be used as a weapon, or to harm others.  In addition, she discovers that she is to be “matched” or joined in a sort of marriage with another young man with whom she has NOTHING in common.  In fact, she can’t stand him.  And Declan, it turns out, is as unhappy about this as Julianna is.  They decide that, for their (and humankind’s) survival, they have to try to leave the compound.

Declan and Julianna have a journey before them that they cannot imagine.  Can they get away from teh guards and the compound?  What will they discover in the outside world?  Are there people there, will it be safe….and will they get caught?  And what is Project Mnemosyne?

My thoughts:

I enjoyed Julianna’s and Declan’s story.  Kim Frauli has written an interesting and compelling story. Young adults and those who enjoy YA fiction will be captivated by When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne.  This book is appropriate for teens and would definitely be considered family-friendly.  I recommend it!

Where to find this book:

You can find When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne at Amazon.  Even better, I understand that Kim Frauli is working on book 2 in the series!

About the author:

Kim Frauli lives on a farm in rural Illinois with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of animals. She spent several years in marketing and communications for non-profit organizations, including serving as editor-in-chief of a hospital’s health magazine. She took a break from full-time work to focus on family and volunteer work and became involved in education. She has served as a PTO president, board of education member, reading tutor and youth sports coach, in addition to chairing various events.

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Hope Prevails” ~ A Review & Giveaway (Ends 7/16/17)

Have you ever gone through challenging times and found it difficult to hang onto your hope?  Or, have you even struggled with depression?  Have you wondered why your faith wasn’t enabling you to kick that depression in the teeth?  Or, have you ever found it difficult to believe what God says about you?  If so, you’re going to love Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me a copy of this amazing book to review and a copy to bless one of our readers with….as well as a gorgeous & incredible gift box from the author!  (I’ll be sharing some goodies with my giveaway winner from that as well!)

 

I have read a lot of good books over the past year.  However, I must say that in all my reading, I don’t know that I’ve seen an author open the door on her own struggles and then describe them in such a way that I felt that she was talking about my own.  I endured a season of depression myself following a couple of serious surgeries and family difficulties several years ago.  While I would say that depression doesn’t describe my emotional state at this moment, I am in a place where Dr. Bengtson’s words are still of enormous value and assistance.  Readers of the finchnwren blog know that after having abdominal pain that just wouldn’t go away, I required surgery to remove a cyst in early May.  That cyst turned out to be cancerous, to my utter shock and disbelief!  The surgeon felt optimistic about having gotten all of it out, but he still recommended chemotherapy.  So I’ve completed the first third of the chemo journey (having had 2 of 6 sessions) but I am discovering that for me, the battlefield of the mind is almost as important as the battle being waged in my body.  How do I endure the physical challenges while hanging onto my hope, my faith, my belief in  God and that He is FOR me?  What a perfect book Hope Prevails is for my journey!

What will you find in Hope Prevails?

Author and neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengtson found, after treating patients for years in her own practice, that she required treatment for depression herself.  And she discovered that there was a crucial ingredient missing in common treatment options for depression; the spiritual aspect.  In Hope Prevails, you’ll find out what depression can look like, what it can do to you spiritually, and how you can integrate care of yourself spiritually to work alongside traditional treatment.  And receive true healing!

Each chapter begins with identification and description of depression plus the key elements of YOU, yourself, that can be tended on your walk toward healing.  Next, Dr. Bengtson gives the reader an Rx (prescription) to follow, that includes anything from Scriptures to read and review, brief research, prayers, and more.  She writes the most meaningful prayers for the reader/sufferer of depression, and concludes each chapter with a Recommended Playlist of praise and worship songs that are keyed to each chapter.  (You can find them by searching YouTube or iTunes.  Worth a listen!)

And Dr. Bengtson shares her own life, transparently, and how to address the spiritual component of the healing of depression in the following chapters (and others):

  • This Thing Called Depression
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Underlying Causes of Depression
  • Recognize You Have An Enemy

These first chapters define depression in all its lack of glory, and remind us that there is an enemy of our souls who seeks to do us in, as Jesus instructs us in John 10:10:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

But then Jesus goes on to encourage us and remind us of the truth:  “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Life!  Not just painful existence.  The remainder of the chapters in Hope Prevails tell us about this full or abundant life, and how we can apprehend it:

  • Recover Your Joy
  • Reclaim Your Peace
  • Reestablish Your Identity
  • Know Your Worth
  • Remember  Your Secure Destiny
  • Be Confident That Nothing Separates You from God’s Love
  • God Uses Your Pain
  • The Way to Hope

Each of these chapters is so rich; each one speaks to a component of our spiritual identities (you know, the invisible part that makes each of us uniquely us), how each is affected by depression and its spiritual battles, and how we can regain strength and joy in them.

 

 

How Hope Prevails affected me

So…I’ve mentioned a bit to you about my own current physical, mental, and spiritual journey.  How I am walking through chemotherapy: one day–6 hours, actually–getting the IV infusions and then 20 more days of letting that medication do battle in my own body.  Then starting the whole process over again.

I can tell you (see my Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator for confirmation) that I am a great beginner.  I love starting new things, new classes, new projects.  But there is that spot, sometimes, in the middle of the journey where the fun isn’t as obvious, the grind has become the grind, and the newness has worn off.  Now nobody is really going to call chemotherapy a fun journey.  But there has been that newness of it: the not knowing what’s coming next, the unforeseen challenges.  All those kept me on my toes, really depending on God for what was around the next corner because we just had no clue.  But now I’m kind of noticing that we’re in that middle part; the routine.  Not that there won’t be unexpected surprises or challenges; but now I’m thinking that suddenly the circumstances (the pain, the medications/their effects, the trips to the doctor) aren’t my fight, I (my choices, my relationship with God, my mental battle) am my fight.  Or rather, my reacting to each day; knowing I might not be feeling my best or feeling well at all, but choosing to ENGAGE.  Engage with God; believe His truths; attempt to walk out my best in my life and with my family.  Sigh.  The middle.

What a powerful tool, what a valued companion Dr. Michelle Bengston has provided for me in my fight.  In each chapter, she defines what I am needing, whether it’s hope, joy, peace, identity, etc., and kindly and lovingly explains how I can grasp or attain it.  She provides truth to counter the enemy’s lies.  She includes Scripture that I’ve written in my journal or on cards for my vision board, so that I can remember what is real and true about my journey and about me.

How could Hope Prevails help you?

Now…most of you (and maybe even none of you!) are NOT undergoing my particular journey.  But perhaps you have experienced depression.  Maybe someone you love has.  Or it could be that you just desperately need to learn, remember, and know the truths the enemy would love for us to forget, but that God has given us in His Word.  Or, what if you’d just like to learn how you can grow in your own relationship with God?  If so, this book is for you!  (And keep reading because I have one copy to bless a reader with…that just might be you!)

I have to tell you that discovering that there had been a cyst in my body that was cancerous, and then going thru six rounds of chemotherapy, was NOT something that I was hoping for in my life!  But God has spoken Romans 8:28 over every one of us that loves and believes in Him…and He has spoken it over me and my life and journey to defeat illness as well.  I know that there will be a day when I can richly and fully say that I can rejoice in having gone through this.  If this also is something you desire to be able to say about your own pains and struggles, then that’s another reason to read this incredible book!

 

The unboxing of encouragement

Before I get to the giveaway, though, I have to share with you the absolutely wonderful gift box that I received from Dr. Michelle Bengtson.  It came to me at just the right moment, when I was home from surgery but still in significant pain from a wound infection.  WHAT an encouragement and blessing this box was!  Just at a moment when I needed something beautiful and wonderful to encourage me.  (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dr. Bengtson and The BlogAbout Network!)

 

 

Of course, you know after reading my review that I adored the book.  But at a time when I needed some beauty and love (and isn’t it nice to get that in a physical form from time to time?), I was blessed with that gorgeous scarf and the beautiful pearl bracelet that reads “Hope”!

 

 

I have to tell you that I wear the bracelet every time I go to chemotherapy.  It reminds me of beauty, that God is good, and that I have a hope to look forward to…not only in the life to come but in the here and now!

 

And now…enter to win some Hope Prevails goodies!

One reader will be selected to win a copy of Hope Prevails, a dog tag necklace with Jeremiah 29:11 on it, AND a delicious bar of chocolate from Dr. Michelle Bengtson!  Just click on the pink link below to be taken to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Giveaway closes on July 16.  Best wishes!

Enter the giveaway here!

 

Don’t forget to visit Dr. Michelle Bengtson on social media, where you’ll find more encouragement and beauty

 

Her website, DrMichelleBengtson
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

 

Thank you for letting me share this powerful book (and goodies!) with you all.  Blessings!

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.