Here’s a song to encourage your heart: Josh Blakesley’s “Jesus, I Trust in You”

**this is sponsored post**

Friends, I have the most lovely and encouraging song to share with you today. FrontGate Media provided Josh Blakesley’s new song for me and I have to tell you, today was the PERFECT moment for me to listen to it. It is going to go on my phone and into my regular worship song rotation. Let me tell you more!

About Josh Blakesley

Josh Blakesley believes he has a calling to make music that moves people into prayer and action. As a Christian songwriter, the question that provokes him is, “How do I create a song that will honor traditions yet speak to the modern Church and lead them to worship?”

In 2003, Josh released his first solo album, Immersed, which included “The Lord Is My Shepherd” and the popular anthem “Our God Is Good.” Immersed was followed by Waiting then FreeYou Are the Light was released to iTunes in March of 2012, debuting at #16 on the Christian and Gospel charts. Josh and his band’s latest album, Even in This, features songs co-written by Michael Farren, Mia Fieldes, Marc Byrd and Sarah Hart.

Most recently, Josh collaborated with guitar player Grae McCullough to write a new Mass setting paying homage to the hymns of the past and the culture of modern worship. This long-awaited project called Mass of Restoration is now available anywhere music can be downloaded.

Josh also recently launched a new, on-demand video worship series, The Way with speaker and author Paul George. The Way is a unique series of 10 worship night-style videos promoting introspection, thoughtful prayer and a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.

Here’s what Josh says about “Jesus, I Trust in You”

“When we say ‘Jesus, I Trust In You,’ we’re not only expressing our faith in God, we’re making ourselves vessels open to all that God has for us. The divine mercy of Jesus pours out of his heart and cleanses us from our deepest sorrows. In suffering, it can be difficult to see, and even more difficult to accept, but when we trust in Him, we are made witnesses to his compassion—his deep and unconditional love for us. ‘Jesus, I Trust In You’ is a song about God’s mercy flowing out to his people offering peace and healing for all.”

–Josh Blakesley

My thoughts

I was so moved as I watched the “Jesus, I Trust in You” music video. Josh and his fellow musicians and singers in the video create are completely in the moment as they perform; there’s no awareness of the fact that they’re being filmed. Perhaps that adds to the incredibly worshipful atmosphere of the song. They make it all about Jesus, and not about themselves.

For me, this was THE message I needed to hear in this moment in time. There is suffering all around us in this world at this moment. I’ve seen it in my own life, in the lives of those I deeply love, and in the world as a whole. I may *try* to carry the burden of suffering on my own. But God never asks me to do that! Instead, He is present. And I can put my trust in Him even when I don’t have all (or sometimes, any!) of the answers.

He loves us so dearly. And we can trust Him. What a beautiful and timely reminder.

Where you can stream “Jesus, I Trust in You”

Just click on the link below. That will take you to links for Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube, and others, where you can stream this lovely song.

Stream “Jesus, I Trust in You” here

And–here it is for you, on YouTube!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own honest ones.

Do you want to live “A More Beautiful Life”? ~ then this review is just for you!

#sponsor #partner

I was captivated immediately when I saw the cover and title of Whitney English’s lovely book, A More Beautiful Life. FrontGate Media provided a copy for me to read and I am thrilled to share my experience with this book! Keep reading for more plus information on where you can purchase a copy!

About A More Beautiful Life

Whitney English’s remarkable book is subtitled, “A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART.” Her lovely book lives up to its subtitle and its gorgeous cover!

Goal-setting can be so challenging. Most of the models we’re familiar with are the business ones that instruct us to picture where we want to be first, then list the steps that will get us to that place. These models don’t take into consideration the goal-setter’s life circumstances, personal challenges, or family responsibilities. Instead, the achievements in the future are the goal and vision focal points. And not that there is anything wrong with that! But…what about when life happens or intrudes upon this lofty professional vision?

Whitney English has been a woman who’s set and achieved incredible and amazing goals. But she has also experienced the challenges that life threw at her, that broke the plans she’d imagined. Those experiences drew her down the path of creating life goals that are based on what individuals actually NEED; as opposed to what they might want or think they should want when they compare themselves to others. This path enabled Whitney to design the most life-giving, encouraging goal-imagining process. And it’s something that, when we have an off day or some bad experiences, we can reset so simply. The process is is based on the acronym HEART:

  • H – Help Yourself
  • E – Empower Yourself
  • A – All Your People
  • R – Resources and Responsibilities
  • T – Trade and Talent

The book breaks down each part of the process and explains it clearly. Each chapter has not only lists of questions that help the reader determine their current challenges and needs, but also ideas for how to formulate what we need and how we can build these, simply, into our lives. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (but in reverse), the reader can establish strength and goals area by area, then move on to the next level of need. And at the end of the book, Whitney gives encouragement and ideas for how to start this process as well as what to do when life intrudes. (As it so often can!) Building on the HEART process or progression, readers can envision and develop–and then, keep returning to–the beautiful life we all want to live. (Even though that’s going to look different for each one of us!)

My thoughts

I can tell you all, I have been a goal-setter from the first time I heard about the concept! I embraced goal-setting quite eagerly and enthusiastically. But while I’ve enjoyed some lovely successes, I’ve also encountered LIFE — not only in its wonder and unexpectedness but also with roadblocks, health issues that sidelined me, and relationship issues that my hopeful rose-colored glasses weren’t prepared to solve. So what happened then, with my goals? In those moments they fell to the wayside.

Whitney English’s HEART process is SO different. First of all, it doesn’t start with the lofty goals that are built on (perhaps) what the media promotes. Instead, it starts with what I, Wren, need TODAY. And every day. I love that HEART’s first process is what my own body needs. I’ll give you a spoiler: it needs water, nutrition, movement, and sleep. Now, I don’t know about you, but that has, in my adult life, generally been the last thing I focused on. Instead, I was serving! Doing! But not really taking care of myself. And I will tell you, that caught up to me in a harsh way. Whitney’s HEART starts with “helping ourselves” because that’s what provides the strength and grace for us to do the next things we “need” to do: taking care of our emotional/mental/spiritual needs; then our needs of belonging, love, acceptance (a.k.a., our families, relationships, friendships); then, caring for our home, vehicles, and finances; and last, our careers, ambitions, and desired accomplishments. That makes SO much sense to me. Instead of starting with “careers” first, and toward “self-care” last, we start with caring for our own human bodies (the only ones we’ll have on this earth). And then we can move forward in our life goals.

I loved reading every single page of this book. It was so physically lovely that I didn’t want to write in it at first. (That lasted as long as the introduction!) I changed my mind very quickly as I read and saw so many concepts I needed. I highlighted, wrote, flagged, and stuck Post-It notes with ideas on so many pages. And, encouraged by Whitney’s closing remarks, I’m going to be working through A More Beautiful Life again; but starting small. Maybe I’ll work first on drinking more water. Then maybe I’ll work on nighttime routines (turns out adults can benefit from those as well!) Then movement. And if I mess up, I can simply reset by going back to what I have done and adding again to that. I’ll be able to keep moving ahead, but in ways that will stick, because I’ll be caring for first things first.

It is a beautiful process. A simple one–and such a life-giving one. I want to continue to create a beautiful life. Whitney English’s book is going to help me do it!

Where you can buy A More Beautiful Life

You can purchase this book on Amazon at the link below. I so encourage you to consider this book! It really can enable us to live that beautiful life of our hopes and dreams.

Buy A More Beautiful Life here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions expressed here are my own.

“Made for Eden” ~ a review & giveaway (ends 2/18/22)

*sponsor *partner

Recently, the BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me a wonderful, incredibly life-giving book to review. It’s called Made for Eden, by Dr. Bryan McIntosh. I am so happy to be able to share about this with you; it has been an absolute gift to me. And–I will be giving away a copy to one reader!

About Made for Eden

The “abundant life.” Do you ever feel like you’re really living that? Do you feel burdened and constrained by living “the religious life” or by pleasing others? Do you sometimes wonder if you will ever figure out how to live the Christian life?

I can answer “yes” to all the questions in the paragraph above. In fact, I have even felt sick and exhausted over trying to do those things. And even in these years of corona, I have still struggled with them. Because of these, and because Made for Eden was such an absolute joy to read, I was thrilled to make my way through this book. Dr. Bryan McIntosh addresses these thoughts, and so many more. As it turns out, many believers are probably struggling with the same things. Dr. McIntosh brings solid Biblical teaching and interpretation, as well as a kind voice to remind and instruct us that we weren’t actually made for this world where sin has its sway, where violence and selfishness direct so many. Instead, he wants us to understand that we were, instead, made to live in Eden, in a beautiful place where intimacy with God is what we experience every day. Oh, and I didn’t mention the book’s subtitle: “Promises and Provisions for the Life God Created You to Live.” Beautiful!

In this 12-chapter book, Dr. McIntosh unpacks this idea. Chapter titles include:

  • Stewards of Eden: What Creation Says About Our Purpose
  • The Return to Eden through Becoming New Creations
  • Eden’s Promise: Why the Good News Is Good
  • Eden’s Victory: Ambassadors of New Life
  • Skeptics of Eden: The Question of Suffering and Evil
  • and more

Dr. McIntosh begins in Genesis 1 and moves all the way through the Bible to Revelation 22, to show us our purposes as human Christ-followers. To partner with God in caring for God’s creation(s); to enjoy God’s presence; to fulfill God’s overall purposes but also His individual purposes for our lives by using our gifts and callings. But, he contrasts these with the ways we’ve mistakenly interpreted our relationship with Him, and the work we do with Him, by showing the fear that makes us afraid of Him and “trying” to do “good things” or follow a “religious life” instead of walking in intimate, trusting relationship with God. And perhaps most important: we can live this life because of Christ in us. He really is not only the hope of glory but the way we can live with God and in His power.

I can see seasons of my own life where I’ve done both of those; walking in love with Him vs. walking in fear and mistrust. How light and flowing the former is; how weighty and impossible, the second. I have told you what a joy this book was to read. Something else I truly appreciated is that the author takes time to fully unpack each of these ideas. It’s definitely a book where ideas are laid out before the reader carefully and clearly, which is wonderful and empowering, rather than just pronouncements of “Do your life THIS way!” And each one is backed up by Scripture, and cross-referenced with other verses to fully explain its meaning.

Some of my favorite parts of the book

I do want to share with you some of my most favorite moments of this book, so you can get a bit of the flavor of Made for Eden.

  • “Over the course of history, God has shown what He values: people. His current purpose for those He redeems is the same as what He intended in the beginning. He wants a relationship with man through which His excellency is displayed, and His goodness in salvation is made known. It’s not about how many times we fail. It is about getting up, repenting, and moving forward in our call as His stewards.”
  • “The life God meant for us…is not a religious life…but a life guided by His purpose for us…Because Jesus lived according to the Father’s purpose, He did not follow every human expectation or request placed on Him. He was not after men’s approval. He only wanted to follow His Father’s will and purpose.”
  • “Life here can be hard, but learning how to walk as He walked, in humility, gives us rest instead of weariness. The good works He has for us are not a burden. That makes His invitation to come to Him good news. Jesus knows that trying to live our life without the plan that He ushered in–to indwell us and create a new man–would wear us out. He knows that only His way offers true rest.”
  • “Abiding in Jesus means we depend on His life-giving presence and direction daily. We are a branch drawing its very life from the vine.”

I’d like to mention, also, that as Dr. McIntosh may reference “sonship” or the new “man,” it’s very clear that he is also speaking of and to women. I never felt that women were being excluded in this book.

So, who should read this book?

I could give you a list of who’d be blessed by this! But I think I can shorten the list to this: anyone who’s longing for the Matthew 11:28-30 life, where they’re empowered by Christ and walking moment-by-moment in God’s amazing love. That is SO appealing to me–and I believe it also might be to you!

So–here’s how to enter to win your own copy!

To enter to win Made For Eden, just click on the pink link below that says “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 2/18/22. One winner will be selected. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: The FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service, which we will talk about 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.

“The Jesus I Know” ~ review of Kathie Lee Gifford’s wonderful new book

#sponsor #partner

Kathie Lee Gifford has just published her newest book: The Jesus I Know: Honest Conversations and Diverse Opinions About Who He Is. I was blessed to receive a copy of it from FrontGate Media. And I couldn’t put it down; I read it almost in one sitting! I’d love to tell you more about it, including where you can purchase your own copy.

Here is something I didn’t know about Kathie Lee Gifford. She is an interviewer whose kindness and compassion enable her guests to truly open their hearts and souls to her, which produces intimate, heart-felt conversations.

Of course, it would make sense that she’d interview well, with her 25+ years of co-hosting television morning shows (“Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,” for 15 years, and fourth-hour “TODAY” with Hoda Kotb, for 11 years), during which Kathie Lee had numerous opportunities to interview actors, singers, authors, and those in the news. But as I read The Jesus I Know, I was enchanted by her interviewing style. As she spoke (for The Jesus I Know is laid out in a back-and-forth Q&A format) to her 24+ guests for this book, I noticed how she must have made them feel so very comfortable, accepted, and not judged. They opened their hearts to her and shared sensitive moments of their own histories that must certainly have been private; yet Kathie Lee clearly made them feel that their conversations were safe places. (Even as they all knew these interviews were for her upcoming book.)

The result is the most beautiful, encouraging, and life-giving book that I honestly could not put down. Kathie Lee’s question, to each one, was this: “Who is Jesus to you?” And the answers cover a broad gamut. Many of the guests are followers of Christ, and readers get to hear the stories of how they came to know Him and what their lives have been like since then. Others would not profess to be Christian, yet they still have an opinion on who Jesus is, and was; and they share moments of their own encounters with Him, whether they are vivid or more intangible. All of this combines to produce a book which left me with the impression of the connectedness and fellowship within the body of Christ; and also, how Jesus’s love really does reach out to touch everyone.

Who you’ll find in The Jesus I Know

Just a remarkable and wide-ranging group of people! As you can see in the picture above, Pattie Mallette shares with Kathie Lee what it was like to have her son, Justin Bieber, as a young woman of 19; and what she focused on as she raised him. Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian siblings, shares about her childhood faith, and how her first husband Robert Kardashian’s faith impacted her as she began to learn the Bible as a young adult. Brian “Head” Welch tells his story of life as a rock star as a guitarist for Korn, the American nu metal band, and how Jesus changed him from a man using copious amounts of drugs and alcohol to someone who was still a musician, but who was sober and working on being a great dad.

Readers also get to meet jewelry and handbag designer Brenda Shoenfeld, who talks about how God really does listen to us when we pray (and also about her kidnapping as a young girl) and how crucial forgiveness is. Joanne Moody’s chapter is called “Nothing Is Impossible With God,” which fits her story amazingly! (No spoilers but it involves some things that are pretty miraculous.) And Roger Charles, who set out as a young man determined to disprove God’s existence. (Something else happened instead.) Jimmy Wayne shares his incredible story of an elderly couple who, along with Jesus, rescued him. And so many more!

Some of my favorite moments from the book

I have tabbed many pages in the book, where either Kathie Lee or one of her guests said something that was very meaningful to me, that I wanted to remember and think upon more. Here are some of my faves!

  • Megyn Kelly, to Kathie Lee: “Every time you say a prayer, I’m blown away by how natural it is and what a good conversation you have with God just off the top of your head. I don’t think I’m good at it that way, but it’s a soft place to fall and that’s really how I see Jesus. He is my soft place to fall.”
  • Jimmie Allen: “We just got to remember that in the midst of our mess-ups, our shortcomings, and trying to figure out who we are, to God, we never lose our value.”
  • Brenda Schoenfeld’s mom, to her about hate, despair, and anger: “Any time you feel that, you pray, ‘God, You come in here right now. Right this second.’ And in that moment, you have a conversation with God about it. And you and Him clear it up. He will speak to you, and it will be gone.”

Also, there are wonderful moments that I loved with Kristin Chenoweth, Jason Kennedy, Lauren Scruggs, Chynna Phillips Baldwin, Janice Dean, and others. There is just so much rich content, so many beautiful conversations with very different people. I absolutely loved reading this book, and I recommend it to you!

Where you can find The Jesus I Know

You can purchase The Jesus I Know from several outlets. It’s available in print, on Kindle, and via Audiobook and audio CD. I’ve linked a couple of buy links below!

Kathie Lee Gifford

Amazon

In closing

I thoroughly enjoyed The Jesus I Know. It was encouraging and so faith-building. And it did remind me of so many ways that God is working, and has been at work, in people all over the world. This would be a wonderful gift for someone you love–or even for you, yourself!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions are my own.

“Divine Disruption” ~ From Dr. Tony Evans and his 4 children (a review)

#sponsor #partner

I have had the opportunity, courtesy of Frontgate Women’s Blogger Network, to read the most outstanding book on working through pain and sorrow without losing one’s faith. The book is Divine Disruption: Holding on to Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart. Let me tell you more about this moving, encouraging book.

About the book

Divine Disruption explores the many hardships we experience in life and how God breaks through with the power of hope. In the book, Dr. Tony Evans and his four children – Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Anthony Evans, and Jonathan Evans – discuss their faith-shaking experiences: from the deep grief of losing six loved ones in less than two years’ time, with the most devastating blow being the death of Lois Evans, the matriarch of the family, to a deep dive into dealing with the various hard, unexpected things we all face. Life throws many curves – whether the loss of a job or health due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic, or marriage and relationship issues, problems with children, even the recent racial and political unrest. The authors step together into a unique Kingdom Legacy partnership, opening themselves to the honest questions, raw emotions, and solutions they learned to cling to amid their various struggles as they honor their mother’s wish to work together. Through their bond and individual strengths, they demonstrate how even the most devastating tragedies can bring glory to God as He continues to meet their needs and build their faith.

Watch the book trailer for Divine Disruption

In this video, you’ll get a brief overview and introduction to the Evans family and their reasons for writing Divine Disruption and their hopes for readers with this work.

My thoughts and impressions of the book

Encouraging. Moving. Heart-breaking. Equipping.

Divine Disruption: Holding on to Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart may be just the book you are needing to read at this very moment. Have you suffered loss recently? Has your faith been shaken because you’ve experienced pain like you never expected? Have you felt that you’ve been pouring out your heart to God but that He isn’t hearing you…or worse, He doesn’t care? Have you experienced disruption in your family, your career, or with your health?

The Evans family could say “yes,” to the question of whether they’d experienced loss in the past two and a half years. In fact, in a very short period, they lost 6 members of their family. Including perhaps the most devastating; Tony Evans’ wife Lois, his ministry partner and the mother of their four children. Their response to loss was a unique one, however, and one that produced this incredible book.

You might be familiar with Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX. You’re also probably familiar with some, if not all, of his children, who are involved in ministry and family: Chrystal Evans Hurst (writer, worship leader, wife and mom); Priscilla Shirer (author, Bible teacher, actress, wife and mother); Anthony Evans (songwriter, author, producer, worship leader); Jonathan Evans (mentor, author, speaker, former NFL fullback, and co-laborer with his dad in ministry, as well as a father and husband). When Tony and his children were beginning to work through the deaths of those close family members, they asked themselves how they were going to get through these losses. As Bible teachers and worship leaders, they committed to walk through this together; to believe God and trust Him; to stand on what they knew God’s Word said. The result is this book, which is written in conversational form as the father and his children processed the losses of their loved ones, that could become an incredible handbook for anyone experiencing suffering.

In Divine Disruption, the Evans family discusses and processes, very honestly and openly:

  • Is God good? Does He care about my pain?
  • Can we believe, in the midst of suffering, that God knows what He is doing?
  • The legacies we leave and the purposes God has in our lives
  • How to trust God when we feel broken…and the world feels broken too
  • What we can do when it seems our prayers aren’t being answered
  • How we can replace fear with faith
  • How we can hold on to God and our faith in hard times
  • and more

There is just so much rich content, in this book that’s clearly the result of love and faith.

And, what it meant to me personally

I don’t know about you. But I DO NOT like suffering.

But we’re told by the Bible, even by Jesus Himself in John 16:33, that:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We can look anywhere and we will know that living in this world includes suffering. You’ll find it in literature. In movies. In the lives of those around us. And of course, even in the Bible. But what I have found in my own life is that, when suffering happens, we don’t always know how to deal with it. Suffering is HARD. And often unexpected. What are we supposed to do?

It might sound odd to say that I loved a book that is about people going through suffering. But I did! I loved the conversational manner of five very different personalities who were all related. I so appreciated their honesty and openness. And I was moved and encouraged by the way that they clung to God, to His Word, and to each other as they walked through the valley of the shadow.

As you can tell by my photos, I highlighted a lot of memorable passages. I bookmarked, with tabs, the crucial takeaways that I believed I could use in my own life; the truths that faithful people embraced that I also could embrace in times of need (or really, in daily life!). This is a book that I’d recommend to any person of faith who is going through a difficult time; and one that I will keep for myself, to strengthen my own faith. It’s an exceptional, beautiful book. Don’t miss it.

Where you can purchase Divine Disruption

You can purchase this book at:

Kingdom Legacy

Amazon

–Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions are my own.

Enter to win an Audrey candle & Tarte lip paint in the October Howloween Giveaway Hop! (ends 10/19/21)

Hi there!

It’s time for another giveaway hop! I’m joining with blog hosts, The Kids Did It and Mommy Island and lots of participating blogs for the October Howloween Giveaway Hop! Over 50 blogs are giving away amazing prizes in this hop. Keep reading for my giveaway, and for how to enter all the blogs’ giveaways!

How to enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway

The FINCHNWREN blog is giving away two beauty cuties! One winner will receive:

  • One Audrey soy candle from Kin & Care, in Bergamot & Rose scent. These candles are made in America by refugees who are making a new life for themselves, in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • One Tarte Lip Paint (my fave!!) mini in FOMO. It’s a dusty rose-ish color. I love Tarte’s Lip Paint because it literally stays on for hours!

To enter to win the FINCHNWREN candle & lip mini, 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. Giveaway closes October 19, 2021. One winner will be selected to win both items.

Enter here

Now, check out the October Howloween giveaways!

Now, you’ll want to check out all the amazing giveaways posted by all the bloggers who’ve joined the October Howloween Giveaway Hop! To head over to the linkup page, just click on the blue button below (the one with the frog on it). You’ll find links to all the blogs in the hop, and you’ll be able to visit the blogs and enter the giveaways there.

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting the October Howloween Giveaway Hop! Best wishes!

Enjoy! –Wren

New kids’ devotional: “Roar Like a Lion” (CLOSED)

*Congratulations to Kelly W., the winner of the book!*

#sponsor #partner

Hi everyone! I have a fantastic kids’ devotional giveaway for you today: Levi Lusko’s Roar Like a Lion. I received a copy of this book from Momentum Influencer Network; and they’re going to give away a copy to one reader as well!

About Roar Like a Lion

This devotional is written for kids aged 6-10 from a Christian perspective. Co-written by pastor Levi Lusko and Tama Fortner, it encourages kids to embrace courage, remain hopeful, build their own faith, and, as the book says so beautifully on the back cover, “Understand how you are a part of God’s great story.” There are 90 devotional readings contained in a 192-page hardcover book, sized just right for kid hands (6 1/2″ x 8 1/4″). It’s illustrated by Catherine Pearson.

Each devotional starts with a title. Then, the Bible verse is listed. Next, the authors share how the verse could apply to kid life (in situations with siblings, parents, peers, friends, the world at large, or in their own choices). The devotional ends with simple prayers. Also, there are sidebars on the right which tell an anecdote or story, or summarize events from the Bible which relate to what kids have just read. These are entitled “Get Ready to Roar!” or “Did You Know?”

What you’ll read inside

You’ll find thoughtful, gently and kindly-written words that are just right for kids to read to themselves. (Of course, this could also be read by kids and parents together, in the morning or just before bed.) The authors know what it’s like to be kids, and to face issues that they face, because (of course) they were kids once themselves! Levi Lusko also is the parent of several children. So armed with day-to-day life experience, years of pastoring, and the Bible, they offer clear explanations of Bible verses and how they really do apply to kids’ daily experiences.

The writing is warm and clearly written in a caring manner, so that kids and readers know the authors understand what it’s like to face a world and situations that are beyond kids’ experiences; and that the Bible have loving and helpful words to apply. Verses that kids will remember or can memorize.

And, I have to mention the artwork! As you saw above, the cover art is breathtaking. I thought of stained-glass windows, while my son thought of origami-type paper art. (I think we’re both right!) Inside the book, under each title, you’ll find art that illustrates each particular devotional. Those echo again the collage/paper feeling of the cover art. They’re cheerful and wonderful. I even was reminded of one of my own favorite illustrators of children’s books and her work, Lois Lenski. Kids and parents will love the art, which takes each topic and brings it to life vividly.

So what are some kid life challenges that readers will discover here? Here are some of the topics:

  • Even kids can be leaders
  • God loves us and speaks to us
  • School days that are tough
  • What to do when you don’t know how to proceed
  • Fears
  • How God sees us
  • And one of my own cherished phrases: “But God…”
  • and more!

I particularly loved how Lusko wove the story of Jesus and Jairus and the woman who touched Jesus’s robe so she could be healed, into an illustration of how we might feel when we are interrupted…and how Jesus dealt with the same thing. Or about our habits, and Jesus’s habits! Or, how seemingly impossible situations were worked out by our “But God…” God. Over and over, devotionals are presented that will help kids know that God loves them and holds them close, and is so ready to lead and guide them always.

I had many favorite passages in this book. But I wanted to show you one of my top faves:

God never will leave us. And He will NEVER break His promises.

That’s an exceptional word for all of us, whether we’re kids or adults!

And…some Roar Like a Lion freebies from the publisher!

This devotional is so wonderful. But sometimes, we as parents might not know how to approach spiritual discussions with our kiddos. Here are some free resources for you from the publisher; a “Parent Discussion Guide,” and a guide to “Four Rhythms to Setting the Pace in Your Home.” Both of these are free downloads that you can save and print from the links below.

1. Parent Discussion Guide

Teaching kids about the Bible can be hard. Taking concepts like heaven, and hope, and loss, and faith, and boiling them down into digestible bite sizes for kids is challenging!

This guide is built as a tool to accompany the book, and to help your family discuss Roar Like a Lion together. Each day you’ll find a few questions that will help you dig deeper into what your child is discovering.

My prayer is that Roar Like a Lion will ignite your child’s heart and imagination to know and love Jesus! And that is my prayer for you, too.

Download Parent Discussion Guide

2. Four Rhythms to Setting The Pace of Your Home.

Your calendar is chaotic, your days loud, and your seasons busy. I see you. I feel that.

Maybe you feel like the madness of life is clouding the calling on your home. Like you just can’t pinpoint the priorities. Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering…

  • Is “balance” even possible?
  • Is parenting ever not chaotic?
  • Will I always feel overbooked, under-rested, and too busy?

The truth is, there is a God-ordained rhythm that He wants us to set out our lives to. There is a built-in beat. There is a cadence. There is an ebb and flow to how He wants our lives to go.

Find the encouragement you need to set a sustainable pace in this free download.

Where to purchase Roar Like a Lion

Just click on the Buy Link below!

Buy Links

Best of all, I have a copy of Roar Like a Lion to give away!

One FINCHNWREN reader will receive a copy of Roar Like a Lion! To enter, simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools page where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. US only. Giveaway closes on 9/29/21. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

Sally Clarkson’s new book, “Help, I’m Drowning” ~ A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 9/20/21)

#sponsor #partner

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Help Im DrowningTitle: Help, I’m Drowning Author: Sally Clarkson Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Release Date: September 14, 2021 Genre: Christian Women’s Spiritual Growth

Life is filled with unexpected storms that take you by surprise.

In these storms of life, it’s easy to feel helpless, exhausted, afraid . . . and alone. We can feel like victims to circumstances out of our control. Beloved author Sally Clarkson understands deeply. Through almost seven decades of life, she has found herself tossed about in overwhelming life storms through many different seasons. In Help, I’m Drowning, Sally identifies the challenges that took her by surprise and then leads you to the wisdom she gathered from her experiences. Finding grace to walk through the darkness and hope to make it through will give you the comfort and encouragement you need in knowing you are not alone. Though there are no easy, formulaic answers that apply to every situation, Sally leads us to the One who is with us and will see us through. Sally found the anchors that held her steady in the midst of every storm, and she wants to help you find your anchors too. She invites you into her own personal story of anchoring well, and then–with honesty, grit, and her trademark wisdom–she will help you heal and move forward with courage and strength.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sally Clarkson

Photo Credit: © Steve Hixon

Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your Life, The Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threaded through her messages. Sally’s podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

CONNECT WITH SALLY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a four-book prize including Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson, The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Make Their Day by Karen Ehman, and Prevail by Susie Larson!

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

Oh, I have so many! (Thoughts, I mean.) Help, I’m Drowning: Weathering the Storms of Life with Grace and Hope was yet another book that I didn’t know I *needed* but which poured out comfort, wisdom, strength, and important points to reflect upon as I: remember my past, walk through my present, and also look toward my future; all those years as a woman, a wife, and a mom. I have to admit that there were a few moments in which I wished this book had been written about 10 years ago, as there were storms my family and I were buffeted by then, and I was completely unprepared for the difficulties I was about to walk through. (You know! As if I had that time machine that I could use to take a copy of this book back to 2011 me!)

Part of my own struggles was the pair of rose-colored glasses I was wearing (I was comforted to read that Sally had begun her marriage with a similar pair). Apparently when I read the Bible’s verses on suffering, I studied them but then was SHOCKED when the pains of life showed up on my doorstep. (I know! Also as Sally says about herself and us, I was totally a toddler myself in some ways!) As we all do, I muddled through. But reading Help, I’m Drowning today provides a different pair of glasses for me to view my life with; one that says that storms will come, but I have the hand of my loving Father God who will walk me through them; and that I can begin to trust Him even more with those storms as well as life’s joys and blessings. So as we know, if we live in the world today, there are all sorts of difficulties that life can bring. Sally chooses some to speak about here that I know have affected me and many of my friends and family. She speaks, not in a “one-size-fits-all” manner, but as a loving older mentor sharing what she has learned that might help others. Here are some of the ideas that meant most to me:

  • Does God not care about me as I am going through this suffering?
  • Fear desires to intimidate and even stop us in our tracks
  • It really is okay to feel sadness
  • Some of our storms are created by difficult people
  • We can be tender and gentle with ourselves (!)
  • We really can grow and mature as we walk through the storms

There is a lot there, right? More really, than I can unpack for you here in one post. I can say, overall, that Sally’s book was a breath of not only fresh air, but of loving and kind support and encouragement. Sally’s words and the way she shared her own life experiences told me that what I had lived and struggled with was normal for this life, and this world that we live in. That the Bible even left us examples of similar struggles faced by the early church (or, of course, by the Hebrews and Israelites in the Old Testament). The author’s personal, honest stories meant so much to me as a Christian and as a mom myself.

Perhaps even more helpful to me than the “Yes, this is what life can contain and you’re not a weirdo for going through this,” were the insights Sally included about how we can walk through these troubles (as Jane Bennet calls them in Pride and Prejudice). We can know, as we live through our days, that we are not unnoticed by the God who loves us; that He promises to work things out for our good; that He is not embarrassed or ashamed of us when we struggle. All of those things that, in my deepest valley of suffering, I forgot as if I’d never learned them in the first place! We can have a disconnect when trouble comes; but both Sally and Scripture remind us of the truth of the God who’s standing with us in all things.

This is such a beautiful, instructive, and helpful book for women and for moms. I believe I’m going to be garnering riches from it for a long time.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

“Empty Nest, Full Life” – a review

#sponsor #partner

I had the enormous privilege of experiencing Jill Savage’s wisdom for life in her exceptional new book for empty nesters. The Blog About Blogger Network sent me a copy of Empty Nest, Full Life and I’ve loved every moment of reading this book. If you are in, or are preparing for the time of life when your children are grown and have entered their own adult lives, you will want to grab a copy of this book!

About Empty Nest, Full Life

Being the mom of kids who range from the ages of infant to high school graduate tends to create a full, busy life. Eventually, those kids are going to go off to college (or other educational institutions), pursue careers, and move out of the homes they’ve grown up in. Making that transition can feel overwhelming, sad, and without a clear path to follow. How can moms, and dads, step into such a different life with grace, courage, and wisdom, while not trying to hang onto or control their adult children? Empty Nest, Full Life is subtitled “Discovering God’s Best for Your Next,” and that sums up a fantastic perspective outlined in this book for parents as they step into the new chapter of their lives without kids at home.

Author Jill Savage covers a lot of ground in this 277-page softcover book. Suddenly, our full houses can feel very empty. How is our thought life coping with all that empty space in our physical home and our schedules? It’s so important that we are thinking truthfully as we move through this transition. Right away, in the first chapter, Jill offers help for moms in this process, including lies we might believe and truths to replace them, and a questionnaire to help readers assess what we’ve experienced and learned over the years. This powerful chapter assists readers to begin to step into what Jill calls the “encore” years on a solid foundation.

Much of this book deals with relationships. How do we learn to interact with our grown children as they begin their own adult life journeys? Our roles will change, but much of the success of those parent/adult child relationships lies with the parents’ expectations and willingness to release control and authority as their kids are stepping out into their own marriages, careers, and parenting. Jill divides the book into two major sections: “Let Go” and “Hold On.” For us to move successfully into this new segment of our lives, there are habits, thought patterns, and traditions or opinions that, if we choose to lay them aside, will enable us (and our kids!) to move on in a beautiful and healthy way. There may also be idols that we have set up that would try to drag us down. Wouldn’t it be amazing to identify those and kick them out?

Jill’s picture of the lives empty nesters can lead is full of wonder and excitement. We may not feel wonderful nor excited when our kids move out! But we can embrace, or as the author says, “Hold On,” to what God has for us. Just because a particular (and important) season of our lives is past, doesn’t mean that God is finished with us! He may have a new career, or mission field, ahead for us. We may have had a list of things that we’d like to do “someday.” What if “someday” has suddenly become now? This season is also a time where we can pursue new friendships as well as new paths in our marriages, if we are married. And God is still there, desiring to continue or have a rich and loving relationship with us! Truly, there can be many adventures ahead.

My favorite moments in Empty Nest, Full Life

You can see from the banner above, if you look very closely to the right of the book, all the little flags and sticky notes I used to mark important things I wanted to practice or remember. My highlighter pens got quite a workout as well! You see, I’ve been out on this empty nest journey myself for almost an entire school year while our son has been in his college dorm. I’ve personally experienced so many changes myself! From learning to release him so that he can grow in confidence and authority; to keeping my (often very strong) opinions to myself when they won’t really add much to our conversations; to starting out to learn what God has for me in this next season of my life. So I’d say that, while I’ve learned many things over the last 8 months, there is still much for me to learn and walk into, and Jill’s wonderful book has opened my eyes to many things I’d never considered. Here are some of the most memorable quotes for me:

  • “As you adjust your expectations to better match reality or let go of expectations of others completely, you’ll find your contentment will increase, your love will expand, and your relationship with your…kids will be strengthened.” (p. 47)
  • “Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) tell us we experience “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” The fruits we particularly need as we fight the temptation to share our opinions when they’re not requested are love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.” (p. 65)
  • “It’s being a safe person to be honest with–one who listens, shows compassion and empathy, and leads with love…It’s not about lecturing or telling them what to do.” (p. 105)
  • “He is a good God with good plans for us. He wants what’s best for us. His plans are hope-filled and yet-to-come. This means we have something to anticipate.” (p.136)
  • “You and I have to steward this body God has given us. Take care of it. Keep it healthy.” (p. 227)

And that’s just a tiny sampling of the richness moms can find as they are preparing for and entering God’s next steps in their journey.

In closing

My life this year, since our son has stepped out on his college adventure, has been quite a learning experience! I have seen God bring so many books to my attention that have helped me to heal, to grow, and to work with Him as He leads our family as a whole and individually. I have to say that Jill Savage’s Empty Nest, Full Life has been an incredible encouragement and instruction manual for me! As a wife and mom of 5 who have grown to adulthood and left her home, Jill has an enormous bounty of wisdom and helps for those on their own similar journey. It has been a wise and beautiful help for me.

I recommend Empty Nest, Full Life to you if you’re on your own empty nest path, or if you’re approaching it. You’ll find Jill to be a wonderful friend and guide to you, with God’s help, as you walk out this new season. Do get yourself a copy!

Where you can find Jill Savage

Jill is active on social media so you can connect with her there!

Jill Savage blog

Facebook: @jillsavage.author

Twitter: @jillsavage

Instagram: @jillsavage.author

Empty Nest, Full Life website

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service, for which we share our honest opinions on 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.

“The Power of 1440” – A JustRead Blog Tour & Giveaway (ends 3/22/21)

The Power of 1440 JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Power of 1440 by Tim Timberlake, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Power of 1440Title: The Power of 1440 Author: Tim Timberlake Publisher: Thomas Nelson Release Date: March 9, 2021 Genre: Christian Life/Personal Growth

A thirty-day story-driven manual to celebrate the importance and blessing of each of the 1,440 minutes we are given every day, written by an up-and-coming lead pastor of a global church. The son of a preacher, eighteen-year-old Tim Timberlake’s tragic and painful personal story of the sudden loss of his father began his journey toward seeing the benefit and blessing of each day. And not just to get through it, but to exhaust every opportunity of potential of that day, moment by moment, fulfilling his God-given purpose. Today Pastor Tim inspires others to approach each day with its 1,440 minutes in a way that they live out their own God-given purposes and passions. Comprised of thirty bite-size chapters, The Power of 1440 is a day-by-day manual to help readers deal with topics like forgiveness, perspective, mistakes, rest, and living a life that matters. He says, “Win some, learn some . . . but never lose.” Every day should be magnificent, not mundane; filled with delight, not drudgery; and a grand adventure, not a grind. It is possible to make today and every day truly remarkable.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Timberlake

Tim Timberlake is the lead pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida and Creedmoor, North Carolina. He is a gifted communicator and teacher who has the ability to communicate to people from all walks of life. His sense of humor, combined with his in-depth Bible teaching, gives the listener and reader the tools to transform their lives from the inside out. Tim is a graduate of the Pistis School of Ministry in Detroit, Michigan. He is an avid sports fan and a cultural thought leader.

CONNECT WITH TIM: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of The Power of 1440!

The Power of 1440 JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 15, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 22, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My Review

The Power of 1440 begins with one of the most unique stories I’ve ever heard (and no spoilers, you’ll have to read it for yourself!). Tim Timberlake, a pastor (and the son of a pastor) experienced God and the love of his own father in a way that transformed the way he looked at time and the way he, and we, use it. To break down the title for you, there are 1,440 minutes each day that have been given to us. Tim shares how we can structure those minutes, and our days, in ways where we grab amazing opportunities, walk in love, and spend time in rest and renewal. And much of Tim’s wisdom starts with restructuring the way we look at time, itself, in our days.

Using Scripture, Tim shows us where our thinking has been shaped wrongly by our culture or world (“Monday again.” “Focusing on what is lacking” or on “what can’t be done.” Things will never change; “it’s always going to feel like this,” and more) and enables us to see what the Bible says instead. For example, Psalm 118:24 reminds us that “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Even if it’s a Monday.) And Matthew 7:7-8 reminds us who is on the other side of our prayers, and what He desires to do (“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”). Tim goes on to share: “When we seek to live out the will of God while also seeking to align our heart with his, he will indeed answer our prayers in a way that is the very best for our lives.”

Perspective changes everything. So Tim’s wonderful book goes on to remind us the difference between what God says about our time, our days, and our thoughts, and what we may be used to hearing from the world around us, or from our own thought habits shaped by difficult times in life. Over 30 chapters, intended to be read over a 30-day period, Tim discusses such topics as: defeating our doubts; 7 days of splendor (instead of 7 days of drudge); changing our thinking by giving thanks and being grateful for ALL God has given; how our faith can bring transformation even in our messiest times; releasing control to let God be in charge of my life (instead of using my own human attempts to control); and so much more. I had so many favorite quotes and notes that I’d taken. Here are just a few of them:

  • “In every one of your 1440 minutes today, you have the opportunity to be happy (or joyful, Ps.16:11, Rom. 15:13)…fruitful (Gal. 5:22-23), to be free of fear, guilt, shame, anger…past pain, regret, future anxiety…”
  • “At the root of control lives fear and self-doubt. An obsession with control is nothing but submission to those emotions. God wants me to loosen my grip and put my trust in Him. Fear and self-doubt are hard taskmasters. When we surrender to God, we’re submitting to an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving heavenly Father. When we surrender to Him we are set free.”
  • And in a rich and fulfilling chapter in which Timberlake shares how we ourselves can get in the way or or block our own opportunities, he says this: “The point of this chapter is not to load you down with yet another burden to bear. It is to open your eyes to the vision of who you can be when you choose to reach for more than your unhelpful habits have allowed so far.”
  • Your “opportunity for inner peace is (not) dead and buried. It can be achieved when you have little just as much as during times of plenty. You can echo the powerful words of the apostle Paul: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil 4:11-12). Nurture a sense of gladness and fulfillment throughout the minutes of this day and every day.”

I have to admit to you that I was a bit apprehensive when I picked up The Power of 1440 and started to read. I was, honestly, fearful that it was going to be just another time-management book that told me to pull up my bootstraps and shove more activity in my day. I could not believe how enormously mistaken I was! It’s not at all a standard “cram more into your day” book. It’s a book that lovingly and kindly says, “Here’s what the Bible says about time. Here are some ways you might not be thinking the truth, or living it. And here’s how God wants to help you!” What a beautiful, refreshing difference. THAT is the kind of book I want to read.

I can’t tell you just how much I love this book. It reminded me of so many of God’s truths that suffering, trial, and the enemy can often try to grind out of our hearts, minds, and experiences. In fact, I took notes from each chapter with bullet points that I plan to post on my bulletin board (I’m thinking one chapter per week) to remind myself of these truths so that they can continue to help me. The Power of 1440 gently and beautifully helps the reader to reframe the way he or she sees and interacts with time, believing that God has rich opportunities for us in each of the 1440 minutes we have each day. Encouraging, life-giving, and fresh, The Power of 1440 is just what you need during the weird and sometimes trying days of pandemic…and all the days to come after.

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.