“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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wonderful, Meaningful Gifts from CrossTimber ~ A Review & Giveaway!

We have had the most beautiful experience for our family recently!  We were selected to review CrossTimber for the Homeschool Review Crew, and received their Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse, with the option to choose any name for personalization that we wished.  (I’ll share more on that below!)

 

crosstimber-bannerSo what’s in a name?

Everyone’s name is special to him or her.  And important.  You know how good it feels when someone you admire or just met got your name right.  We feel seen, and connected, when people use our names and use them well!

But, there is so much more to a name than that.  It is part of our identities and becomes part of our makeup.  It is so very personal and really connects to our hearts.

John Dehnart and his family know this.  In fact, John has spent years, all the way back to his high school driver’s ed class, noticing the meaning of others’ names, investigating them, and blessing the owners of those names with the special meanings of their names.  What a ministry!  This grew out of John’s own printing business and personal interactions with other students, and over the years since then (during which he married, and he and his wife are raising a family) it has blossomed into a wonderful business, CrossTimber.  All focused around sharing the special meanings of individuals’ names from a Christian perspective, and inspiring verses of Scripture to go with them.  How encouraging!

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

What does CrossTimber do?

CrossTimber researches the meaning of individuals’ names.  They really look deep for what God would say about a name, based on its original meaning in its original language.  They also look at history, for others who bore that name and what can be inferred from that.  Then, they connect it with Scripture verses (or a verse) which embodies that.

From there, CrossTimber offers beautiful and encouraging products which can display these names, their meanings, and the Scripture verses.  These gifts can range anywhere from framed prints, to coffee mugs, to bookmarks, and much more!  All of the gifts can be personalized with particular backgrounds (and CrossTimber has a LOT that you can choose from) which include landscapes, animals, musical instruments, castles and lighthouses….hundreds of choices!

When a person wishes to order one of these gifts, he can use the Chat Box at CrossTimber to ask John about his name.  After some research, John will respond with that name’s meaning and verses.  Then, the person can place his order using that information.  He’ll select backgrounds, frames (if he’s ordering one of the framed prints of a name and its meaning), and anything additional he’d like.  Then—the ball is in CrossTimber’s court!  They print and prepare the gift and then ship it to the purchaser.

crosstimber-mMy experience

CrossTimber very generously offered Homeschool Review Crew members a beautiful, personalized gift:  a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse.  I was particularly interested in what John might have discovered about my name.  I really love my name; but do you know what it means?  “Dark.”  I have to say that since I’m not a Star Wars Sith Lord and really try to stay away from the Dark Side….I never really liked that!  Of course, I was named after a great character in a movie; and I’ve always liked everything else about my name.  Just not its original definition.

Well, I was not the first person to feel that way!  When I contacted John about the meaning of “Melanie,” he responded with the most incredible and amazing account of my name and what it meant.  There were some amazing Christian women in the 5th century with my name.  The meaning John sent to me and to others with my name?  “Hidden and Protected.  One who is a Child of God.”  Oh!  How beautiful.  And how special to me.

He also included a Bible verse which fits that meaning seamlessly.  So I couldn’t have been happier with the results!

(My guys' names are blurred for their own preferences)

(My guys’ names are blurred for their own preferences)

Our family’s experiences

I was so happy with my own name that I emailed John back and asked him about the meanings of my husband’s and son’s names.  CrossTimber had given me a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse free of charge for myself.  I had had such an amazing experience myself that I ordered (and paid for) the same framed names and meanings for my husband and son.  John gave me a discount for that order and included free bookmarks with our names and meanings which matched the framed prints.

So what would I say about CrossTimber?

Occasionally you meet people who are in the jobs that seem to be the absolute perfect fit for them; vocations where they are able to use all of their giftings, their temperaments, and their abilities.  This is truly John Dehnart and CrossTimber!  It is so obvious that he finds incredible joy in connecting people with the true and life-giving meanings and Scriptures of their names.  And not only that; he does it well, and he does it right!  Serious investigation truly goes into each name.  It’s not in any way random or careless.  And for me?  My experience with John and with CrossTimber couldn’t have been more positive or encouraging.  I loved what I learned about my name and its meaning and history.  And now I have a lovely framed gift to remind me of that on a daily basis!

Check out CrossTimber for lovely and inspiring gifts for people you’d like to bless or encourage.  You can purchase truly wonderful and encouraging gifts that others will treasure for a lifetime.  You’ll be glad you did!  You can also click on the banner below to see what other Crew members’ experiences with CrossTimber were like.  Lots of names out there—and lots of neat experiences!  You can visit CrossTimber’s social media pages at:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meaning.name/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/crosstimber

CrossTimber 2016 giveaway

And, you can enter to win your own beautiful name meaning gift!

CrossTimber is hosting a giveaway where you can enter to win your own name meaning gift!  Through Dec 4th, CrossTimber is sponsoring a Name Gift Giveaway.  Enter the giveaway for a chance to win another free Name Gift or $10 gift certificate!   Winner of the Grand Prize may select either a Personalized Mug OR a Name Plaque or 8×10 Plaque!  9 others win $10 Gift Certificates.

Just click on www.Meaning.Name/giveaway.html to enter.  Remember, the giveaway closes Dec 4th, 2016. Or you may enter via the Rafflecopter form below!
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Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} ReviewsCrew Disclaimer

Fabulous Giveaway from Paper Doll Greetings!

I have a truly wonderful giveaway and review to share with you today!

My dear and beloved friend Julie Doshier, whom I’ve known for years (see below),  has opened an incredible Etsy store, Paper Doll Greetings, which features her beautiful hand-created paper goods.  She creates lovely things that everyone would love to either give or receive as a gift.  Today, I have the honor of introducing my beautiful and godly friend to you—and one of my readers will receive a gift basket of some of Julie’s lovely creations!

Paper Doll Greetings banner

Julie has quite an eye for beauty and design, and now, with her new Etsy shop,  Paper Doll Greetings, we can all enjoy her beautiful things!  She creates handmade journals, hand-painted greeting cards, mixed media paintings and collages, and more fabulous artwork.

I’d love to introduce you to Julie.  Here’s a short interview, so that you can get to know my lovely friend!

How did Paper Doll Greetings come about?

Paper Doll Greetings just sort of evolved after a number of my friends encouraged me to start a business. I’ve always made cards, collages, diaper baby cakes, painted t-shirts, etc., and people would tell me that I needed to sell my “stuff!” So after my youngest son went off to college in September 2014 and I became an “empty nester,” I found that a portion of my brain had been freed up and I had more time to make and create! So finally, this past October, I decided to go for it and I opened my Etsy shop, Paper Doll Greetings.

Beautiful creations from Paper Doll Greetings, an Etsy Shop

Beautiful creations from Paper Doll Greetings, an Etsy Shop

Julie, you’ve been a creative person as long as I have known you. Is there a design process you go through when you create your beautiful paper goods?

Wren, thanks for thinking of me as a creative person and, yes, we have known each other a very long time! Like almost 30 years??!!! Wow!!! How does that happen?! LOL!

Basically, my creative process is simple. I see things that I like, the Lord gives me ideas, and then I want to see if I can re-create them but with my own little twist! I’m thinking of Charles Caleb Colton’s famous quote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But like I said, I add my own “pizzazz!” I love things that are vintage, retro, kitschy, and my favorite designer for paper, embellishments, etc., is Anna Griffin Inc. out of Atlanta, Georgia. I love everything she creates and have invested a lot of my “resources” into her product line! My craft room runneth over! If I were younger, I would want to go work for her!

 

Julie 1My newest passion is Bible journaling, like where you actually draw and color in your Bible! I think it is a great way to show God we are thankful for our creative gifts that He has given us plus it is a great way to work on Scripture memory!

Tell us a little more about your charity, Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, and how you selected it.

Yes!!! Most importantly, a portion of all sales from Paper Doll Greetings goes to Wipe Out Kids Cancer, a non-profit organization started by one of my dear friends, Cindy Brinker Simmons (daughter of Maureen “Little Mo” Connelly Brinker (youngest professional tennis player ever to win the Grand Slam) and Norman Brinker (Of Steak & Ale/Chili’s, et al, fame). Cindy’s mother died of cancer when Cindy was only 13 and Cindy’s precious husband, Bob, died of cancer about 10 years ago. With all of that to say, I love Cindy, a faithful and Godly woman, what she stands for and her passion for helping children with cancer. That is why I chose WOKC to be my philanthropy! I can’t think of a better way to honor my sweet friend, and the way that she is encouraged me over the years, and how she loves and encourages others! So buy a card or gift from my shop and help make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer and their families. For more information, visit Wipe Out Kids Cancer. Thank you, thank you!!!

 

Julie-gift-basket bannerNow, you have the opportunity to win a basket of Julie’s beautiful goodies from Paper Doll Greetings.  One blessed winner will receive the following, all handmade and hand-designed by Julie:

  • A large journal featuring a Renaissance-esque angel
  • A greeting card featuring Anna Griffin-style paper and art (with a special goodie inside for your card recipient)
  • Two hand-painted greeting cards, featuring “Hope” and “Love”
  • Two mini-journals

Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below!  Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.  Giveaway runs from 3/11-17/16.  Enter today–and best wishes!

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Enjoy!  –Wren

Fab Fit Fun Box-Spring 2015

I signed up for a really fun subscription service called “Fab, Fit, Fun” recently; they do 4 boxes delivered to your door with a melange of amazing, hot, new products (most unsponsored) ranging from beauty products to edibles and accessories! It comes with an insert that details all the features of each product with the retail price. For my spring edition box, I paid $49.99 and the total value of my products and gift cards (bonus) was $273.89!

These amazing products can also make great gifts for family and friends, they are all so unique!

Here we go, Spring 2015 at Fit Fab Fun!

The moment I’ve been waiting for..a brochure that lists all the products and their value!

FFF brand

Anticipation..

FFF openFun!FFF surprise

My Helper…

FFF helperFull size Orly polishes…1 BB creme and 1 pretty pink!FFF NailsYum!FFF popcornA set of 8 coasters with amazing cities on them…Paris anyone?FFF coastersCollagen boosting serum!FFF collagenMakeup brushes!FFF brushesMiracle grow Basil seed pod!FFF miracleNew Pilates DVD!FFF pilatesMetallic Tattoos!FFF tattooLovely scarf!FFF scarf

Finally! A bunch of gift card and coupons to great places.Hello Fresh!
FFF gift cards

It really is a great subscription!

If you are interested in checking out current and past products, click on the link below!

https://vip.fabfitfun.com/index.php

Enjoy…Finch!

 

 

 

 

 

POP Vinyl Collectibles!

The Entertainment Retailer i work for sells these and like many of my co-workers, I’ve started collecting them! They are in my office to add a bit of lightness and fun to the place. Since these photos, I’ve just purchased two more okay five (I do get a great associate discount).

First I just wanted strong females, Catwoman, Daenarys Targaryan, I added Poison Ivy a few weeks ago with Wonder Woman. POP catwoman

 

Pop GOT

Now I’m venturing into dragons…just ordered Barf & Belch and Toothless from How to train your Dragon and Drogon from Game of Thrones.

They have kind of taken over the world and have characters from Movies, Marvel, Video Games you name it. One of my co-workers has collected at least 50+ at press date.

Silly? Yes. Fun? Yes. A kid at heart…? Why not!

http://funko.com/

Enjoy…Finch!

The perfect summer date…!

What do you give the man who has everything he needs (as most of us over a certain age do) for his birthday? Agonizing over Amazon ideas…nothing seemed right; Clothing? No. Chocolate? No. Cooking stuff? Definitely No.

Until we went to our local Botanic Gardens…and wandering through this beautiful place, it came to me, the gift I wanted to give him was an experience together.

One does need props however, so the gift I gave my husband this year: a promise of romantic picnics, just because…and a lovely wicker picnic basket to make it even more special.

Cleo picnic

Of course, Cleo wants to come along as well!

Enjoy—Finch

Things we love….Enstrom’s toffee!

A rare treat in our house…Enstrom’s toffee is absolutely sublime~

Usually reserved for Christmas gifts to very few..we happened to have 1 box left. My precious husband left me 1 piece (at my request) he’s the candy fanatic in the house.

I’ve never had better toffee in my life..and the few that receive a box rave about it until it’s gone (about 1 week on average). Some even say they get every crumb out of the box!

We ordered the Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee: it’s crafted from fresh California almonds, sweet cream butter and pure cane sugar, covered in a generous layer of rich chocolate and sprinkled with crushed almonds. 

It really is World Famous!

Enstrom’s is located in Grand Junction, Colorado, so the only way to get these amazing treats are online.

http://www.enstrom.com

Toffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy with your eyes—Finch!