About the Kendrick Brothers’ Newest Film: “Overcomer” (release date 8/23/19)

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There is an amazing movie opening this Friday, August 23! Maybe you’ve seen trailers for it this summer when when you’ve escaped the heat to watch a movie in a cool, dark theater. We did, and we’ve been waiting for it to come to theaters all summer long. Finally, it’s almost here!

 

Poster

What is Overcomer?

Overcomer is the newest film from the Kendrick Brothers Productions (comprised of brothers Alex, Stephen, & Shannon). It tells the story of a coach, who’s lost much of his team and even his own identity as a star basketball coach when financial difficulty hits his small town. His principal (played by Priscilla Shirer) offers him a different coaching position, for a sport he hates: cross-country running. Out of choices, he reluctantly accepts…only to discover that his team is composed of only one runner.

One.

A young woman with asthma.

Suddenly, success is not just looking a long way off…but maybe even impossible. The coach begins to question everything; his commitment to his work, his purpose in life, his faith, and even his own identity.

But interestingly enough, his runner is asking some very similar questions about her own life and purpose. Who is she anyway? What can she accomplish? Does she even matter to anyone?

 

 

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About the Kendrick Brothers

You’ve probably seen or even heard of the films, told from the perspective of the Christian faith, that these brothers have created and produced (and even starred in):

  • Flywheel
  • Facing the Giants
  • Courageous
  • War Room

The Kendrick Brothers Productions exists to honor God and share the truth and love of Jesus Christ through movies, books, curriculum and speaking. By blending engaging stories with doctrinal integrity, the Kendricks seek to encourage and inspire audiences with resources that positively impact their lives and strengthen their faith, families, and personal relationships.

Overcomer is the latest in the Kendrick Brothers’ films, that asks the questions: Who are we? What is our identity? Who is God? Who cares about us? Designed to encourage individuals and families as they walk out their lives in faith, Overcomer looks like another incredible film. I cannot wait to see it!

 

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Here’s what the stars and producers have to say about Overcomer:

“The movie OVERCOMER is about identity, an issue that everyone deals with. Everyone needs to answer the questions: ‘Who is God?’, and ‘Who am I?’, and the Scriptures deal with both of those things. When a person discovers who they are in Christ, it opens up an understanding of how they can live that out in a daily basis in what they do in their relationships with others,” said Stephen Kendrick.

“Cross country is a very difficult sport. From the time you start, you do not stop or pause until you cross the finish line. And in many regards, that’s like our life; that’s our journey of faith,” said Alex Kendrick.

“I hope moviegoers will realize their salvation is about much more than just having a ticket to eternity. They were actually given a brand-new identity. Which means, they have access to spiritual blessings, they have an inheritance, they have all this stuff that’s available to them, this side of eternity. And when you realize that, that means the decisions you make, the relationships you have, the trajectory you choose, the ambitions that you hold, all of that stuff will reflect, and be indicative of your brand-new identity. That changes and transforms the way you live,” said Priscilla Shirer.

 

 

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And what is an overcomer, anyway?

OVERCOMER in many regards, is a discovery of who we are in Christ, who gets to determine our identity and what we have to overcome to embrace the life God has for us,” said Alex Kendrick.

“Overcoming is about powering through and realizing that on the other side of it you are stronger and more courageous than when you started,” said Shari Rigby.

“Being an overcomer means you keep your head up and you know that you’re going to get through it; you figure out a way to get through it, you keep your faith strong, you get through it, and you just thank God,” said Aryn Wright-Thompson.

“Being an overcomer means there is pain, discomfort, inconvenience, life’s tough, and yet you have joy and peace and all the stuff that you can only have if there is an anchor in your soul,” said Priscilla Shirer.

 

Overcomer Trailer

Does that whet your appetite? Well, you can watch the trailer below! (Just have a couple of tissues handy. I’m honestly going to have to find some waterproof mascara before I see this in the theater!)

 

 

Kendrick Brothers Productions has also created some parent resources to go along with the film, that you can use with your own teens and kiddos. Just click on Parent Resources to find these; you’ll be able to download free a Parent Primer (Your Child’s Identity in Christ), a Sports Team guide, and a Family Guide to help with conversations after you see the film. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find these, after you click on the link.

 

In closing

We all go through times where we are wondering about our own identities. Suffering, tough times, challenges can all make us ask who we are, if God cares for us or even sees our struggles, and if we’ll possibly be able to make it through. This is true for us all, whether we’re adults, parents, CEOs, teens, or children. We all wonder.

Overcomer wants to help us as we ask those questions—and help us find the answers that will encourage us, strengthen us, and build us up. And, your entire family might enjoy seeing it together! Check it out!

 

 

See more about Overcomer on social media

Interested in seeing more? Visit Overcomer on its social media sites for more information!

Website – https://www.overcomermovie.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/OvercomerMovie/

Twitter – @overcomermovie  https://twitter.com/OvercomerMovie?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Insta – @overcomermovie  https://www.instagram.com/overcomermovie/?hl=en

 

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.

 

 

FLASH GIVEAWAY! “More for Mom” Review (CLOSED)

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If you’re one of my readers who is a mom, are you breathing a sigh of relief that the school year is *almost* over? You can have the best kiddos in the world and still be exhausted at the end of a full year. Does this sound like you? If so, I have the perfect summer read for you. The Blog About Blogger Network gifted me with Kristin Funston’s new book, More for Mom: Living Your Whole and Holy Life this spring. And, they have provided an extra copy so that I can give it to a FINCHNWREN reader! (This is a FLASH giveaway closing 5/27/19, so enter today!)

 

 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your to-do list? Or just tired when you look at the laundry pile/weeds to be pulled/calendar of events for your family? Do you feel as though you could be living a successful life and ministry if you *only* could remove one thing from the stack, something that seems to interfere with the life you want to live?

Kristin Funston has life and relief to speak to you then. She, too, struggled with this “overwhelm” feeling that causes us to feel that we have to keep producing and keep striving; as the marked-out word on the book cover suggests, that life and people just want “more” from Mom. Do you ever feel like that; that people just keep asking you to do more, more, more, and that you are trying to serve out of a cup that is already emptied out; or even, a cup that is cracked already?

Maybe this is just what our culture has shaped us to believe. I’ve certainly lived life that way and had those moments. (Especially if you’re a type A person like I am.) At a recent physical, my doctor and I were talking about stamina and energy levels, and the cost of doing more than we can. He said, “Well, if you can just carve out a “reasonable” schedule…”

Yes. I actually laughed when he said that. 🙂

Sometimes in the midst of mom life a reasonable schedule isn’t always possible. We can have the orthodontist appointments, the coop classes, the driving lessons calendared. But we aren’t always able to calendar sudden colds or the flu; unexpected emergencies; or the meals you’d like to provide to a dear friend in need. And over time, that constant demand of schedule can not only wear us down physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. How can we recover from, and learn to operate from, a place where we can understand that MORE is not demanded from us, but is provided FOR us by the God who loves us?

Kristin Funston offers a different mindset for us to operate from:

“Each of us is a whole person with one whole life,
and we were designed to experience the holy of this life now, on earth.”
(p. 7)

Okay, that sounds great. But what does it mean exactly? To Kristin, it means that we don’t have to live “compartmentalized” life, where changing diapers is one thing, teaching Sunday school is another section of my life, meal planning is another, work life is another. Really, our lives aren’t composed of the “important” and “non-important” parts. It’s all one life, and it’s all significant. All of the seemingly disparate parts of our lives are really all just one, whole life; one that has Him to steer us through, fill us up for, and stitch all those different parts together into one beautiful whole. One where we actually experience rest.

That’s just the first chapter. Throughout the rest of the book, Kristin unpacks these from this original “whole life” thesis statement:

  • Experiencing joy, contentment, and (yes, even) a holy life
  • Learning to develop a mental mindset that keeps our thoughts in a beautiful and useful path
  • Showing love by engaging with others both inside and outside our families
  • Dealing in a healthy manner with personal expectations and avoiding comparisons
  • Really, really seeing others
  • Understanding the real purpose of our lives
  • And tons more!

And while all of this is so, so awesome (and trust me; this is a remarkable book that has been incredibly meaningful to me), there are two things that really made it truly life-giving for me.

  1. There is no expectation in this book anywhere to make me think that I need to be a perfect mom.
  2. It. Is. Hilarious!

While Kristin is offering readers this beautiful way of looking at our lives and engaging with God for more joy, more peace, and more contentment…she is just so real. And makes you laugh while you read it! I am definitely an anti-spoiler girl (i.e., I avoided every single news article or blog post about Marvel in the weeks heading up to “Avengers: Endgame” because I did NOT want to know what happened before I sat in that theater seat!) but I just have to share with you some of these funny moments from More for Mom:

  • “If I can barely manage my life, how can I be godly?” (p. 91)
  • “Yow. Not going to lie. This verse hurt my feelings.” (p. 69)
  • “After a long day of (poorly) parenting my two-year-old, I find peace and even laughter when I sit and write words down in a journal or prayer book.” (p. 126)
  • “I have a terrible memory and am very easily distracted. I believe this is partly because of the changes that child rearing caused in my body and mind, but I also know it’s because there are roughly twelve bazillion things running through my mind at any given time.” (p. 150)

And all of this is important to me for several reasons. First, I REALLY believe that we need to laugh more. Life is just hard sometimes, and it hurts. And we can get worn down and forget how much laughter not only lifts our spirits but also puts smiles on the faces of those we love. SO important.

Second, I love that Kristin gets down on the floor with her readers. She’s not sitting high up in the air on some podium of righteousness that we can barely see. She is right down there in the trenches with us. She has struggled with our own struggles; she has had the snarky thoughts that we have had; and she’s made some mom mistakes that are so familiar to us. She makes it funny even as she’s making it real…and that gives us hope that we can do this too.

 

In closing…

Has this been a rough year for you as a mom? Are you just so, so glad that we are on the cusp of summer? Do you feel as though you just can’t accomplish one more thing? Or, if none of these things is true for you (yay for you if so!), would you just like to read a book that will blow a fresh air of encouragement across your mom life? Then More for Mom: Living Your Whole and Holy Life is THE book you must read this summer. You will learn so much, focus your gaze differently on your life, and learn how to live this mom life in joy and peace.

I loved it. And so will you.

 

And the giveaway!

One FINCHNWREN reader will win a copy of More for Mom: Living Your Whole and Holy Life! Simply click on the pink “Enter here” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. This is a flash giveaway, so it will close on Monday, May 27. Enter now and watch your email to find out if you won on Tuesday, May 28!

Enter here

And the winner is: Leela. Congratulations, Leela!

Best wishes! And 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.

 

 

 

Prison Fellowship’s New Program Addresses Reentry and Recidivism: The Academy and Jonathan’s Walk

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Are you familiar with Prison Fellowship?  Started by Chuck Colson in 1976, Prison Fellowship serves prisoners behind bars and their families (as well as former prisoners) in the world outside.  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions sent me the first part of Prison Fellowship’s new documentary entitled “The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk,” which shares the story of one man and his experiences as part of Prison Fellowship’s new program, The Academy.  Read on for more!

 

 

About Prison Fellowship and Jonathan’s Walk

So…what does Prison Fellowship do?  Here’s what I found at their website (you can check it out yourself at Prison Fellowship’s Our Beliefs page).  They believe that:

  • All people are created in God’s image
  • No life is beyond God’s reach
  • Those affected by crime can be reconciled to God, their families, and their communities (that’s actually Prison  Fellowship’s vision)
  • Jesus can bring the most broken situations and people to be whole again
  • Those who broke the law can be restored and healed to serve

So what does this ministry and service look like?  Prison Fellowship serves both people convicted of crimes and in prison for those crimes, as well as the families of those people who are separated from those they love.  This can look like:

  • Prison Fellowship Academy, in certain prisons across the country, where inmates can participate in programs designed to help them transform and grow
  • Angel Tree, where donors purchase gifts for children on behalf of parents who are in prison, to give to these kiddos for Christmas
  • Re-entry programs for inmates who are about to be released
  • And more

 

About “The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk”

This inspiring new documentary from Prison Fellowship introduces us to Jonathan, who has been in prison for years because he was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time; and who became involved in a carjacking and was then arrested and incarcerated for that crime.  During the years since that time, he has been separated from his wife and family.  He has missed so many moments that parents treasure with each other and with their kids; the first day of school, his daughter’s serious facial injury from a burn, his wife’s being alone during their daughter’s healing, and the daughter’s needing to transfer schools because of bullying.

However, Prison Fellowship has been there to support him, to aid in his transformation, and to help him to prepare to be released from prison and to be reunited with his wife and daughter, as well and giving him tools to stay away from the devastating cycle of returning to crime (recidivism) and prison.

Did you know that over half of all release prisoners commit crimes and return to living lives of incarceration?  According to Prison Fellowship, the U.S. is home to only 4% of the world’s population.  But at the same time, U.S. prisons contain more than 20% of the world’s prisoners.  So, Prison Fellowship has created a new program for prisoners called The Academy.  It is designed to combat incarceration and recidivism.  And “The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk” introduces us to one man who has participated in this program.  We meet Jonathan and his wife, as well as his daughter, as they prepare to be reunited again.

‍This series is fantastic.  It offers and provides hope not only for incarcerated prisoners, but for their families, for a life after separation and division; and for a life not marred by repeat offenses, crimes, and a return to prison.

 

 

So you can watch…

Prison Fellowship has provided a video so that you can check out the first part of this documentary series yourself!  Simply click on the arrow in the video above to watch the first part of this encouraging and inspiring series.

In addition, if you’d like to see the whole 5-part series you can sign up at Jonathan’s Walk entire.  That is completely free, and you’ll also receive access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

Thanks so much for checking out this neat series and ministry to prisoners and their families!

 

–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 video.   I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 

 

 

Introducing the gorgeous Ellie Claire 365-Day Devotional Journals~A Review and Giveaway! (CLOSED)

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CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER CAROL E!

I imagine that this is a BUSY time of year for you.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a few moments to simply rest, reflect, and read some thoughtful devotional and Scriptures?  Thanks to Worthy Publishing and their division Ellie Claire, I have just the thing to share with you…and even a giveaway for one person to win!  Ellie Claire generously sent me three of their lovely new journals to use and review.  One of these will be gifted to a FINCHNWREN reader, just in time to jump-start 2019!  The journals are entitled: Peace Begins with Me; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus; and The Earth is the Lord’s and Everything in It.  Let me tell you more, and show you!

 

 

The Ellie Claire 365-Day Devotional Journals provide a place each day for readers to quiet a heart, think upon the Lord, and dwell on Scriptures and the Lord.  Each devotional is organized around a theme or idea.  The covers of the journals are vividly and gorgeously illustrated, and the books have an elastic band to hold the books closed (as well as an attached ribbon bookmark).  Inside, you’ll find pages for entries on each one of the 365 days of the year.  Each page begins with a quote of some kind, followed by a devotional writing.  Scripture verses are included, as well as blank lined sections at the end, for the reader to jot down thoughts, prayers, and ideas.

 

Peace Begins with Me

Peace Begins with Me has a lovely green/blue/white watercolor wash cover, with a golden title.  The inside is just as restful and pretty, containing white pages with green borders and a clear, readable font.  This journal’s theme is, of course, peace; specifically, gaining peace for ourselves by learning, knowing, and dwelling with the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus.  Each page begins with a verse of Scripture that directs our attention to God, and explores who He is.

 

Who is Jesus?  In Peace Begins with Me, we’re reminded that He is:

  • The Lamb, whose glory lights the New Jerusalem
  • The One who gives us strength in suffering
  • The Maker of heaven and earth
  • The One who calms the storm
  • and more!

Some of my favorite devotional passages from this journal include the following:

“God, however, is not like us. He is not limited in what He can see and do. God sees full scope and far range, from an unhindered perspective. His view is not hampered by a cluttered past or the baggage of sin or the clouds of fear. We cannot even imagine what is known to Him in a glance. But we can ask and we can seek, and in Him we shall find.” (September 12)

“We human beings often talk about God’s will. When life is going well, we totally support the Lord’s plan for us. When the road gets bumpy or flat-out painful, we’re confused at best, despairing at worst, and hardly able to believe that the Almighty’s will is good or perfect….To be specific, our God is mighty to save you from death and gracious to redeem your life…” (December 5)

 

 

I love a lot about this particular journal.  What I Iove the most is how it takes me out of my day-to-day routine and points me at an aspect of God that perhaps I’ve forgotten about.  As a busy homeschool mom of a high school junior, my days are filled with a LOT.  Training my son, teaching him upper-level subjects, supervising the classes he takes online; and getting out of the way so that he can develop skills and become more and more the person he’s meant to be.  My daily prayers are focused on that, on my husband and family, on strength so that I can manage my day and responsibilities well.  But over and above all that is the God who loves me and my family; who has amazing purposes, and is working out things I can’t even imagine.  To move my focus to Him?  Yes, it really does bring peace.

Where you can find Peace Begins with Me:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/PeaceonAmazon

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/PeaceonBN

 

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

From the title of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus — if you’ve ever sung from a hymnal before — you might surmise that this journal’s theme centers on quotes from hymns.  If you did, you’d be correct!  Each page begins with a line from a hymn (or a praise and worship song), that tells us something about God and His character.  Then, the devotional develops that idea more fully, followed by Bible verses to read.  The pages close with lines for journaling.

If you are someone who loves worship music (both old and new), you will love this journal.  I personally love the old hymns for what they show us about God.  Newer worship songs do the same, in different ways.  Here are some of the lovely words found in Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

From August 21’s entry:

“Broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!” –“Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” Haldor Lillenas

“Fortunately, as believers we know the battle for our souls has been won.  Jesus, the Son of God, understood the threat of sin, waged war against the enemy, and rose victorious over sin and the grave.”

Or, another great reading, from March 3:

“He bled, He died to save me; and not alone the gift of life, but His own self He gave me.” –“I’ve Found a Friend, Such a Friend,” James G. Small

“Times of adversity reveal who our true friends are.  The good news is, you never have to wonder with Jesus; He is always a friend.  A friend to those who feel friendless–the Companion who endures with you through loss and sadness.  In fact, He is more than a friend–He is Savior and Lord.”

 

I love Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.  Beautifully, it reminds me of all the steps in my journey of faith; from my grandmother singing hymns in her kitchen, to my days at camp where I first heard the gospel, to my time as a missionary and even my current life, as it reminds me of God in all His glory and goodness.  How amazing to remember that God is at work, has been at work, and always will be at work in us all!

 

Where to buy Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/EyesonAmazon

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/EyesonBN

 

The Earth Is the Lord’s, and Everything In It

The Earth Is the Lord’s, and Everything In It journal pages begin with a Bible verse.  Then, the authors connect that verse to a particular aspect of creation, or to one of their own experiences in nature.  (You can tell that these coauthors have spent a lot of time enjoying and experiencing the great outdoors!)  Each page then ends with a short prayer and blank lines to journal in, along with corner decorations of colorful peacocks and flowers.

Have you ever experienced God through the riches of creation?  As Romans 1 reminds us, “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen…”  Perhaps you’ve taken your family camping and marveled at meteor showers or constellations in the night sky, away from the bright lights of the city.  Or, maybe you’ve taken a walk when a light snow is falling, and felt the quiet and hush as you’ve trodden the snowy ground.  Or, delighted in the roar of the waves on beach trips.  This book will take you through these experiences and more, and remind you of the God whose hand is behind them and in them, speaking to you through His creation and Scriptures.

 

Some of my favorite passages include:

“Likewise, God is a compass for our lives.  When we face important decisions, He will guide us if we will listen—“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”  (Isaiah 30:21), from November 16

“I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.”  (Leviticus 16:4) “Even as a child I saw the difference between what I could offer and what God could do…I’ve not forgotten the lessons learned in Dad’s garden…”  from March 17

 

Where to buy The Earth Is the Lord’s and Everything In It:

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/EarthonBN

 

In closing…and a giveaway for you to enter!

Each of these books is lovely in its own way; and if you’re looking for a beautiful and thoughtful journal to gift to someone special, do check out these books!  I’ve included some Amazon and Barnes & Noble links for you, in case you’d like to bless someone (or even yourself!) this December.

I am giving away The Earth Is the Lord’s and Everything In It journal to one FINCHNWREN reader!  To enter, simply comment below and tell me something you love about nature.  Entrants from the continental U.S. only (48 contiguous states).  The giveaway will close on 12/26/18, and one winner will be selected to win the journal.  Best wishes!

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.

BELOVED Devotional for Young Women Review & Giveaway (CLOSED)

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CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER AMY W!

Are you looking for a new devotional for young women?  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions kindly sent me Lindsay A. Franklin’s newest book, Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women to review.  It has been a pleasure and an encouragement to read and use this book in my own daily Bible reading times.  And I’ll be able to share a copy of Beloved with one FINCHNWREN reader, because FlyBy also provided a copy for me to give away!

 

 

About Beloved

Have you ever wished you had all the Bible information about women all in one place?

If so, you will love Beloved!

Beloved is Lindsay A. Franklin’s newest devotional for young women.  It contains a full year’s worth of daily devotionals (yes, 365!) in a beautiful hardback book that’s sized at just over 7″ x 5″.  It’s sturdy and has a nice heft, but it’s just right for holding or opening up in a lap or on a desk.  The pages are a creamy white with black text, a lovely pink, green, and yellow floral border, and journaling lines at the bottom of each page.  And, its subject matter is perfect for young women (but really, women of all ages will love it).

Franklin has delved deeply into the Bible and has drawn out the life stories and experiences of about 60 biblical women, both named and unnamed.  Then, she penned devotionals with life direction, lessons, and Scriptures that young (and older!) women can learn from.  The stories and choices Franklin explores are not just the good and beautiful ones, interestingly enough; because we can learn not only from women’s positive choices, but the negative ones, as well.

 

In Beloved, you’ll find meditations on the lives of many women, including:

  • Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah
  • Delilah
  • Jael
  • Shiphrah and Puah
  • Rahab
  • Hannah
  • Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth
  • Abigail
  • The Shunammite woman
  • and so many more, including meditations on the Proverbs 31 woman!

 

 

While this book is designed with a reading for each day of the year, I often read several pages at a time for the purposes of this review.  I found my reading times so rich, beautiful and encouraging.  Each daily devotional is tied to a verse (or collection of verses) of Scripture.  So, it’s very easy to turn to those verses and read an entire Bible section or chapter to get the expanded story of the women being discussed, alongside the devotional passage.  Each day’s reading is concise yet still full of wisdom and understanding.  Franklin is able to, quite effectively, connect these ancient women’s experiences to the things we need to know and live by in our own present day.

 

Some of my favorite readings…

…came from most unexpected places.  Like these words, about Lot’s wife:

“We never get to hear words directly from Lot’s wife in the Bible.
She doesn’t have one line of dialogue, so it’s hard to know who she might have been.
But, because of her ultimate end, she has gone down in history as an example of
what happens when we look backward instead of forward.”  (p. 43)

But I also loved these words about Sarah (Abraham’s wife), whom we’d consider a better example than Mrs. Lot:

“We can draw strength from examples like Sarah’s story. She wasn’t perfect
in her patience or in her belief that God would follow through for her,
but we don’t tend to be perfect in those areas either. We have the benefit
of being able to see Sarah’s whole story, many millennia later, and so we can
easily understand that God works out his will in his timing. It takes strength
to be patient, but letting God’s plan unfold is always worth the wait.” (p. 35)

 

Or, these beautiful words drawn from the life of Samuel’s mother, Hannah:

“The long-term solution is to understand that we aren’t created for comparison.
You were created with unique gifts to use, particular trials to overcome, and
specific triumphs to celebrate. When you embrace your own path and avoid
falling into the comparison trap, you can find contentment, as well as the
motivation to be the very best you possible.”  (p. 198)

 

For many years, I spent much of my Bible study time on the Epistles, Psalms, or Proverbs.  Sometimes it’s comforting (and instructive) to read the actual instructions that the Bible has for us.  However, it can be just as rich and absolutely as valuable for us to observe the lives, choices, mistakes, and faithfulness of different Bible persons.  Beloved is wonderful to read; to stop and take some time each day, and to look at these ancient women.  If we stop for a moment, to look, read, and pray, we can grow and become more equipped in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and maturity as we seek to follow Christ.  Definitely check this book out.  It is so worth your time, and worth the time of the young women you parent and mentor!

For more information, click on the Zondervan link below:

http://www.zondervan.com/p/beloved-devotional/

 

 

And…I have one copy of Beloved to give away!

Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools form, where you can enter to win a copy in a variety of ways.  The giveaway will close 12/10/18, and one winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes!

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.

 

Practice Your Lettering, Illumination, and Artsy Coloring! Ellie Claire’s Art Journal Trio (Review)

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Are you someone who loves Bible journaling?  Coloring, painting, or drawing?  Writing quotes in lovely calligraphy?  Or just taking moments here and there to express your own unique form of creativity?  If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions…or even if you don’t feel that you even are particularly creative, but would like to learn to be…you are going to love the books I’m sharing with you today!  Worthy Publishing generously provided some of their newest Ellie Claire publications for me to use and review.  They sent me copies of these lovely art journals, entitled Faith & Lettering Journal; The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal); and Illuminate Your Story Journal.  I have had hours of creative time, fun, and enjoyment with them.  Let me tell you more!

 

Each of these books is a sturdy, hardback book that’s perfectly-sized for the lap or table.  They have fun textures on their covers, touches of fabric or embossing here and there.  Two have pencil or pen holders on their spines, and one has a ribbon bookmark and a stretchy elastic band to hold it closed.  Although the page thicknesses vary somewhat, they all contain beautiful creamy pages with a nice heft.  Illustrations of different types (according to whether the book is for lettering, illuminating, or coloring) pepper the pages, and there are grids, dots, and journal lines to guide your work.  They are beautiful inside and out and are just a pleasure to look at, or to work in!  And now that I’ve given you an overview of the books, I’d like to show you some of the features of each journal.

The Faith & Lettering Journal

If you’ve ever lurked around Pinterest, you’ve probably seen the italic, unusual lettering that people are doing right now in their Bibles or Bible journals.  Have you ever wondered how on earth they wrote so beautifully?  I have.  And I’ve even worked on practicing a simple italic alphabet.  But that’s still pretty far from the lettering I’d love to learn how to do.  Faith & Lettering Journal to the rescue!  This book includes:

  • Full-page quotes and Bible verses on colorful painted backgrounds
  • Pages of alphabets, doodles, and flourishes with lots of room for you to practice
  • Illustrated verses with spaces for you to trace, practice, and repeat
  • Empty pages with dots or grids for you to write your alphabets or verses in
  • Directions and instructions to help you gain mastery in lettering

 

 

This is an example of the full-page, colorful quotes and facing blank journal pages throughout the book.  One night I wondered if I could copy the lettering on the adjacent page….and lo and behold, I did!  It was really fun and not too difficult.  I simply worked in pencil (and eraser) word by word and line by line.  Then, I got some gold tempera paint and a very skinny paintbrush and filled in the letters.  (You can see a photo of me painting the gold in the trio pictures below).  In this book, I used mostly pencil (don’t forget the eraser and a good sharpener so your pencil point stays sharp), tempera paint, and thin paintbrushes.  The paint never soaked through the pages, which means you’ll always have a fresh canvas to attempt!

 

 

The Faith & Lettering Journal provides a huge variety of alphabets, verses, and lots of instructions for both the novice Bible journal student and the more experienced one.  You don’t have to work the book in order.  Just page through the journal, find something you’d like to try, and jump in!

You can find the Faith & Lettering Journal at the following links:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/WhittenAmazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/FaithAndLettering-BN 

 

The Illustrated Word

The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal) might just be the most beautiful coloring book you’ve ever seen.  Its images are taken from the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which has a quite fascinating collection of historical Bibles, fragments, Books of Hours, and art inspired by the Bible.  In The Illustrated Word, you’ll find images, verses, prayers, and art from a variety of these sources.  The reproduced images are rich and colorful, and the coloring pages taken from these are verses with incredible art, historical images with intricate borders, or even redrawn pictures that resemble stained glass windows.  Lined blank pages round out the journal, so you have spaces to write your thoughts, prayers, or descriptions of the art you’ve created.

Some of my favorite pages included scenes from the book of Esther (taken from an old parchment scroll from Israel), images from a Book of Hours from the 1300s, and a commentary on the Apocalypse from 1420.  How encouraging to think of believers who loved art and God’s Word throughout the ages!  And, to have reproductions and journaling pages of these is a pretty amazing benefit of living in our own day and age.

 

 

This journal is printed on thick, creamy pages.  The art media that worked best for me as I created in The Illustrated Word were tempera paint and brushes, or paint pens (my favorite).  I used colored pencils and they looked just fine, but they honestly didn’t provide the vivid colors that I felt these pages deserved.  I even tried my tube watercolors; while the colors looked fantastic on the pages, some of the color did bleed through.  Colored markers are also a great idea, plus they have the fine points you’ll need for some detail.

You can purchase The Illustrated Word at:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Illustrated-Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illustrated-BN

 

Illuminate Your Story Journal

Have you ever heard of illuminated pages?  The short answer is that monks would copy prayers and Scriptures into handwritten books.  Sometimes these were Bibles, and sometimes Books of Hours (prayers and Scriptures with illustrations).  What they often had in common were illuminated (decorated, ornate paintings) first letters.  These would often be an enlarged letter, surrounded by a painted and golden square, which would be the first letter of the prayer or Bible chapter.  These were often given as gifts from a prospective groom to his fiancee, or to other members of well-to-do families (since literacy in the Middle Ages was generally confined to those and to priests, monks, or clergy).

The Illuminate Your Story Journal was captivating to me, because I had just taught a lesson on Books of Hours to my elementary art class this fall (and had them illuminate their own initials)!  And, this journal even has a short lesson on illuminated art at the beginning, as well as a list of materials and instructions.  You’ll also find practice pages so that you can learn to create illuminated letters.  Each letter of the English alphabet has two decorated (and quite different) versions to draw.  Step-by-step directions and squares are given so that users can draw both the letter and ornate decorations around it, as well as a grid of dots to help you utilize the space.  You’ll find nice thick pages and a wealth of creative ways to illuminate letters.

 

With this book, I used my gold paint pen, a no. 2 pencil for the original and practice drawings, and colored pencils to color in the letters and decorations.  Colored markers and a fine-tip black ink pen will round out all you need to make beautiful illuminations.  (Although, as always, I love using tempera paint in these books!  For some reason tempera lays nicely on the pages and makes vivid color without sinking through to the other sides of the paper.)

Check out these links to find Illuminate Your Story Journal:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Illuminate-Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illuminate-BN

 

In closing…

I have absolutely loved using these books myself.  Whether it has been just looking at them on my table, paging through the illustrations, or actually diving in and creating (or attempting to create! :)) beauty, I’ve found them to be such a joy.  Working in these journals has allowed me to step aside to a quiet place.  It has not only produced peace in me as I’ve focused on doing just one thing, creatively; it has lifted my spirit as I’ve been able to notice more of the beauty of the Lord, His Word, and His creation.  What a blessing!

Check these beautiful journals out.  They’d make a wonderful gift for friends or family; for teachers or Bible study groups; or even for you, yourself!

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.

Enter to Win Hillsong Kids’ “Can You Believe It?” DVD! (Review & Giveaway-Ends 11/21/18)

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Hello friends!  I have a neat giveaway for you today that you will love if you have kids, work with kids, or enjoy Hillsong and their worship songs.  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions provided a free copy of Hillsong Kids’ new worship DVD for kiddos to review…as well as one DVD to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader!  Read on for more about this fantastic worship DVD for kids and families.

 

 

What is Hillsong Kids’ “Can You Believe It?” DVD?

It’s a great combination of Hillsong Kids worship songs, combined in both music videos and studio recordings, along with some fun extras.

In our family, we’ve been fans for years of kids’ worship DVDs.  We own a number of them and we’ve used them in family worship, for singing along, and for just playing enjoy in our home.  And, we adore Hillsong worship music.  So, when I heard about this Hillsong Kids DVD, I was definitely interested; it seemed just like something we’d use and love!  And, I was right.  This DVD includes music videos starring kids with fun narratives and dance, as well as studio versions of 14 songs.  It also has a fun You-Tube-ish video interview called “Funny Man Dan presents “Can You Believe It?”” which introduces kids to the purposes for the DVD and worship songs as well as some of the singers/worship leaders from the songs.  There are also Lyric Videos which have the words to each song (great for learning them!)

 

 

Songs include:

Some you probably know (like “What a Beautiful Name”) and others that you might not be familiar with yet, but will love, like:

  • “I Give You My Hallelujah”
  • “Ask Seek Knock”
  • “This Is Living”
  • “My Best Friend”
  • “As the World Shakes”
  • “You Know Me”
  • and 7 more

There is a sweet song led by a 16-year-old female worship leader called “Little Life” that I loved.  Here are some lyrics from it:

“My little hands together pray to You
My little feet together follow You
I lift my eyes and look to You
And my heart will love You”

We also loved the cheerful and upbeat “I Give You My Hallelujah”:

“You’re doing a new thing
Making my heart sing
Bringing colour to this brand new day

It’s never been clearer
You draw me nearer
You’re always with me and You’re here right now”

And another wonderful one, “You Know Me”:

“All Your thoughts about me, Oh God
Outnumber the sand
Outnumber the sand
You know me inside out
Outside in”

 

And, lots of other fantastic songs.  You may not only want to sing along or listen; “Can You Believe It?” may just make you want to dance!

 

 

What we thought

We listened to and watched this DVD in several ways.  We used it in family worship one Sunday morning when we were ill and not able to attend church.  I also have listened to it/watched it on my DVD with earbuds when my family was working on other things.  I was not surprised to find it a fantastic worship experience!

I found this music just so uplifting and worshipful; songs that remind us and establish us in the truths of God’s love for us and how He is always with us; that we are always walking with Him.  We enjoyed both the joyful and exuberant music videos (starring kids) and the studio versions of the songs, which feature both a kids’ ensemble and teen/adult worship leaders and musicians.  I think that kids, tweens and teens will be encouraged to see young people involved in leading worship.

We only found one drawback to the DVD which is more a technical issue than anything with the content.  In our other kids’ worship DVDs, you can just play all the worship videos in a loop.  For some reason, you have to hit “Play” on each and every song in this DVD.  Still, it’s worth it; just know that you just can’t set it to play and let it go.

In addition, kids will love seeing other kids starring in the music videos!

 

Who would enjoy “Can You Believe It?”

Families with small children or tweens especially.  Children’s Sunday school ministries.  Anyone with little ones who either loves Hillsong music or loves to have great worship music going in their homes!

 

More about Hillsong…

Hillsong believes that teaching children to love God and others takes place in
both the home and in the church. For this reason they seek to partner with
parents (the greatest teachers of all!) and with church pastors and leaders,
equipping them with great resources. Through fun experiences, meaningful
music and ministry that encourages kids to participate, Hillsong Kids presents
Jesus Christ and His Church in a relevant way, creating moments which children
will never forget.

Buy link for “Can You Believe It?”

 

Now–your chance to win!

I have one copy of Hillsong Kids’ “Can You Believe It?” DVD to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader!  Just click on the “Enter Here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you can enter to win in a variety of ways.  Giveaway closes 11/21/18 and winner will be selected and contacted following that.  Best wishes!

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.