Encouraging book on the end times: “Global Reset” (a review)

**This is a sponsored post**

Do you read books that explore the prophetic books in the Bible–or those about the end times? FrontGate Media provided one for me that was an exemplary read; full of encouragement and Scripture. It’s co-written by Mark Hitchcock and Jeff Kinley, and it’s called Global Reset.

How my reading began

Global Reset and I had a bit of a rocky start.

You see, I caught a horrible summer cold or virus a few weeks ago. (Not corona.) But, it sent me to bed for a good 35+ hours.

I thought that a cup of coffee would be nice to have one morning as I rested. So I filled my cup, went back upstairs, and as I walked toward the bed the cup and its handle separated themselves. (Kind of like when you see someone slice off the top of a champagne bottle with a katana.) I was left holding the handle and the (FULL) cup of coffee and half-and-half fell to the ground, spewing its contents all over the carpet and my stack of books beside the bed. Including Global Reset, which was drenched.

I hollered for help, my husband came running, and we grabbed towels and wipes and cleaned the liquid from the carpet and off the books. So Global Reset had to dry. And when it did and I could begin to read, I discovered that the book starts with an art theft that has always been one of the saddest stories to me, an aficionado and former teacher of art. So yes, that was rocky. (Also, it was my favorite cup.) I might have been predisposed to have an attitude about this book simply because of those things. But, I read, and continued to read.

a favorite passage–with coffee stain

What I discovered as I read

The authors do begin the book by describing some current events that we’ve all lived through in recent years (coronavirus, etc.). These current events serve as a springboard to discuss what the book is actually about: what the Bible says about the end times, and specifically, about these Biblical teachings deriving from Revelation, Daniel, Matthew, and Ezekiel, among others:

  • The rapture, the Tribulation, and the church
  • The mark of the Beast (what the Bible says it is and what it is NOT) and the Antichrist
  • Nations and their mentions in the Bible (spoiler: America is not one of them)
  • How current events *might* be setting the stage for these future events
  • And what, perhaps most importantly, Christ-followers should be doing in light of these

The effect the book had on me

The more I read of Global Reset, the more it moved me. Now. I am not a Bible scholar, but I am a woman who’s loved studying the Bible inductively. I believe, deeply, that one must allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. This can be done by looking at the original Hebrew and Greek (for me, that means with dictionaries and concordances), and by cross-referencing verses which speak about the same topics. Also, one considers what the verses meant to the original audience. At this point, one can utilize commentaries by Bible scholars. But if one is inductively studying the Bible, it helps to leave the opinions of others until personal study is concluded.

I don’t know personally what Hitchcock’s and Kinley’s study methods were. But I do believe, after reading Global Reset, that they handle the Scriptures and these prophetic passages (which, let’s face it, are some of the most difficult to interpret by readers) carefully and respectfully, not utilizing verses willy-nilly or to prove their own points.

I believe that Global Reset is a book which will encourage believers about the end times, about the order of events in that era, and about what Christians can do in light of these teachings. Because isn’t that the point? I don’t think that God put these verses in His Word to terrify Christians and cause us to focus on our own personal fears about these end-time events. Rather, I think it is so that we know what is coming–and so that we can live accordingly, sharing Jesus and His love and salvation with those who don’t know Him. And following Him and loving Him ourselves.

Some of my favorite passages

You know if you read my reviews, that I love including meaningful book passages so that readers can get a taste of the books I’m sharing. Here are some of the parts of Global Reset that I loved!

  • “This should bring supreme comfort to everyone who reads these words. What we are seeing played out before our eyes is part of the divine script leading to the coming of Jesus Christ…And the same God who rules time and nations rules the intimate details of your life and mine.” (p. 74)
  • “If you are running low on hope these days, set aside time often to think about the world to come. Take time to read Revelation 20-22, develop an eternal perspective, and seek to live a righteous live in view of what lies ahead.” (p. 163)
  • “[We are to be] looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13, emphasis added)…Waiting. Looking. Purifying. Exactly what you would expect a loving bride to do.” (p. 131)
  • “Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly to my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone!” (Missionary John G. Paton’s account of hiding in a tree after having fled for his life; p. 177-178)

What hope these passages stir up in me! So often I forget (as Paton shares in his quote) that Jesus is waiting for me to tell all my heart to Him. All my hurts and sorrows; my confusion and pain; and yes, also my joys. He is the best and most intimate Friend to us.

And finally, Global Reset‘s impact on me, a reader

I read a lot of books, as you might imagine, as a book reviewer. They’re often fun, or full of helpful advice or ideas. But sometimes, a book will impact me at the deepest heart level. And Global Reset is that kind of book.

What I felt as I moved closer to the final pages of Global Reset is that it is a book that makes me love Jesus more; that it inspires me to draw closer to Him and more deeply into His Word. It made a difference in my own faith, seeing the end time events and all their accompanying Scriptures laid out in order. It caused me to see God and His love in a deeper and quite significant way; and His tender love for us all. It is drawing me to a place of closer study of the Scriptures. And, I believe it can do the same thing for you.

THAT is incredibly wonderful and amazing to me!

Where you can purchase

You can find Global Reset on Amazon at the link below.

Purchase Global Reset here

Enjoy–and be blessed! –Wren

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

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift: Scott Drew’s “The Road to J.O.Y.” (a review)

*this is a sponsored post*

I have the immense pleasure today of sharing about a wonderful book with you! I received Scott Drew’s The Road to J.O.Y. from FrontGate Media a few weeks ago. And although I am not a basketball player, I read this book in only one day (well, almost, anyway: I read the first few chapters the night before but then it got to be midnight so I put the book down until the next morning, and spent the day reading until I finished!). It’s not only a ridiculously amazing Cinderella story; it is, more importantly perhaps, the story of what God did that transformed a disgraced college basketball program AND those who coached it and played for it. Including Coach Scott Drew, the author of this exceptional book.

About The Road to J.O.Y.

Back in the early 2000s, the Baylor University’s men’s basketball program was rocked by scandals, including murder, drug use, improper payments, and recruiting violations; as well as an attempted cover-up. Baylor imposed sanctions on its own program and the NCAA later did as well. So, when basketball coach Scott Drew was hired as the new head coach, to say that he and his staff would be in charge of rebuilding Baylor’s men’s basketball program would be an understatement. Yet Drew accepted the position and moved his family to Waco, Texas, from Indiana. And the rebuilding began.

The Road to J.O.Y. tells the story of that journey, from Scott’s childhood as the son of college basketball coach Homer Drew (and brother of “The Shot” maker Bryce Drew), to his own assistant coaching position at Valparaiso University, to beginning his head coach career at Baylor–and the 18-year pilgrimage from there to Baylor’s win over Gonzaga of the 2021 NCAA National Championship.

It is a remarkable story. And Coach Drew tells it like the story that it is; of God taking him, his family, his coaching staff, and years of Bears players from, as the old Wide World of Sports promo would say (but in reverse), “the agony of defeat” to the “thrill of victory.”

In Coach Drew’s book, you’ll find his thoughts, along with Scriptures, on topics like: seeking God; spreading joy; God’s formation of us throughout our lives; creating a culture and holding to that; using your lows to prepare for the upcoming heights; and more.

If you’re wondering what the “J.O.Y.” in the title is, it stands for “Jesus. Others. Yourself.” That model is what Coach Drew, his staff, and players built their program on. His book chronicles not only the Baylor Bears’ journey to the NCAA championship, but the spiritual lessons that they learned in the process. It is remarkable, encouraging, and a book that doesn’t just tell a story of winning but that can transform the reader’s life with its lessons.

My thoughts

One of the things I like to do sometimes when a non-fiction book has been powerful for me is to show you the tabs I’ve put on pages that had important thoughts or quotes that I knew could be difference-makers for me. You might laugh when I explain that that’s what you’re seeing in the picture above! (I think my son found the sheer number of them overwhelming!)

I realize that, to some of you, that might look like “too much of a good thing.” I understand! But what I found as I read Coach Drew’s book, is that, in his road to the NCAA championships (remember, that was an eighteen-year journey), he experienced God in so many different types of circumstances, challenges, and of course, joys. I realized early on in my reading that Drew was chronicling his spiritual journey via the ups and downs (and there were a lot of downs) that he walked through. And what I found to be so helpful and noteworthy was that process. I feel as though, in American Christian culture, we can magnify the mountaintop experiences. And don’t get me wrong, they are great! But perhaps in our lives, we might come up against a struggle that we don’t know how to walk through; where God seems very distant and silent; where we are groping for examples of HOW to live faithfully.

That is what I found to be so noteworthy in Drew’s book. I love the story of how God walked them all from horrific scandal to the heights of victory. It’s a great one! But all my tabs marked the thoughts, ideas, and Bible verses that I want to think and write on in my journal. To consider the ways Drew learned to walk through difficulty, that are Scripture-based and full of the life experience I can also take hold of in my own life. It’s an incredible book, and one that could actually be a disciple-making experience for the reader.

So all those tabs? They’re marking things I’ll be writing in my journal. Praying over. And seeing God in ways I might have missed as I look back over some difficult years in our family’s life, and in my own. I believe that He is going to use this book for such good!

Some of my favorite passages

Now that I’ve explained to you what all those tabs ARE, let me share some of my favorite book passages with you!

  • “That the story of a man struggling to deal with the things God has put in his life, and his open questioning of God in that process, can be considered poetic is pretty awesome. That’s real life. God is good. So is the struggle he gives us. And reading through Job with my dad helped remind me of that. Because there were a lot of struggles.” (p. 65)
  • “But a lot of times, God doesn’t make sense. That’s the point. The Bible tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis added). (p. 74)
  • “The Bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t begin to comprehend them. By definition, that means sometimes things will happen that you don’t understand. But does that mean God isn’t working in your life? As Paul would say, “By no means!”” (p. 99)
  • “Sometimes, when you find that you aren’t having the success you want, ask yourself if what you want is what God would consider success. He’s very clear: his goal is to be known.” (p.126)
  • “God often uses the least of us to make amazing things happen, not so much to bless the vessels he chooses for the mission but so that when people look and see what has happened, they have no choice but to see it as a thing God has done.” (p.191)

Obviously, those are only 5 of the many I’ve marked. But I think they’ll give you a wonderful flavor of what you can find in The Road to J.O.Y.

Where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y.

So, here is the link where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y. for a Father’s Day gift, a devotional reading for yourself, or a fantastic book for anyone you know who loves basketball! (Or is a Baylor grad, for that matter!)

Purchase link for The Road to J.O.Y.

This link will take you to the book’s main page, which also has a variety of booksellers’ links (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Christianbook.com, and BAM! Books-a-Million). There’s also an audio link where you can listen to the first chapter.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All the thoughts and opinions listed here are my own and are honest.

“The Catch” by Lisa Harris ~ a Revell Reads review

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Revell Reads was kind enough to send me a copy of Lisa Harris’s newest novel, The Catch. I just finished it and I’d love to share about it!

About The Catch

The Catch is Lisa Harris’s third book in her US Marshals Series. (It does definitely work as a stand-alone novel; but since I’m sure you’ll want to read the first two, The Escape and The Chase, also featuring US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn, I wanted to mention them!) In The Catch, the book begins with two women; and the first, Myra, is threatening to take the second’s, Becca’s, infant son. Suddenly, a gun is brandished.

In another part of town, accused criminal Maxim Cervantes is scheduled to appear before a judge to learn whether he can post bail or if he’ll be denied that opportunity. Madison and Jonas, along with numerous other marshals, have been assigned to the courthouse since Cervantes, who’s on the Most Wanted list for racketeering, kidnapping, and felony murder, has a cadre of foot soldiers who are a serious cause for concern. And sure enough, that concern is warranted, and the two marshals are forced into immediate action to protect the judge.

It’s not just the judge whose life is in danger, however. Before it’s all over, the marshals will be searching for Becca and her baby, attempting to solve a murder, and to rescue someone from Cervantes’ hit men’s grasp. And they STILL haven’t had a moment to talk about their feelings for one another; but with several innocents’ lives at risks, their personal lives have to be put aside for the moment.

My thoughts

I couldn’t put The Catch down once I started reading it! Although I wasn’t familiar with Madison (and her past) or Jonas, and their earlier adventures, I really liked their characters. I sympathized with Becca (even though some of her decisions started the rollercoaster of crime and events) and was anxious for her baby to be found. I also do love police and federal agent-types of fiction, and I’m so satisfied when I’ve reached the ends of the books and the crimes have been solved. The twists and turns of the criminals’ choices weren’t easy to predict (actually, I rarely knew where things were going to go!) and Harris definitely kept my anticipation at a high level.

I enjoyed reading The Catch and felt that I was able to get a grasp of the protagonists’ characters and motivations, although I do wish that I’d gotten to know Madison and Jonas in the two earlier books of the series first. I appreciated their commitment and professionalism and loved learning a bit about their pasts and inner worlds. I can recommend this book for sure to you! (But I’d also say, read the first two books in the series too!)

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions stated here are my own.

“Your Finances God’s Way” book and workbook ~ a JustRead Blog Tour and Giveaway (ends May 16, 22)

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Your Finances God's Way JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook by Scott LaPierre, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Your Finances God's WayTitle: Your Finances God’s Way Author: Scott LaPierre Publisher: Harvest House Release Date: May 3, 2022 Genre: Christian living – nonfiction

Experience the Peace that Comes with Wise Stewardship Financial insecurity can be one of the greatest threats to your well-being—but the good news is that even if you’re on a tight income, you can eliminate many of your monetary worries when you create and abide by a biblical plan for your spending. In Your Finance’s God’s Way, you’ll identify the negative money management habits you need to break and the positive habits that should take their place. Implementing the teaching laid out in the Bible, this book gives you advice and practical steps backed by proven principles, helping you • get the most out of your money by paying off debt and building up savings • make wise spending decisions that enable you to avoid anxiety, regret, and conflict • find a healthy balance between being financially frivolous and frugal to a fault Even when you have less to spend, you can use what God has provided to thrive. Whether you’re young or old, married or single, working or staying at home, Your Finances God’s Way will give you everything you need to be a careful steward of the resources you’ve received from the Lord.

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

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is a senior pastor, author, and popular conference speaker. He holds an MA in biblical studies from Liberty University. Scott and his wife, Katie, live in Washington State, and God has blessed them with nine children. Learn more about Pastor Scott at his website, www.scottlapierre.org, and connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH SCOTT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the Your Finances God’s Way book and workbook!

Your Finances God's Way JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 9, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 16, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Books US only, Amazon gift card where available. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My thoughts

If we don’t know much about wise ways to spend money, to whom do we go for guidance? The federal government (with its loads of debt)? To product commercials, who market their products to us as items we NEED to be beautiful, successful, or amazing? To friends or family, who may or may not have developed good habits?

Author and pastor Scott LaPierre has another source: the Bible. Did you know that Jesus “talked about money more than anything else except the kingdom of God” (Your Finances God’s Way, p. 18). 11 out of 39 parables, and 288 verses in the Gospels (that’s 1 verse out of every 10) are all about money: where it comes from, how people use it, and whether their uses of money are wise or unwise. As we all use money to live, how about we look at God’s Word for wisdom and understanding on how to best use this provision that’s actually come from God in the first place?

To this end, LaPierre spends much of his book teaching about what the Bible says about money, and the examples of humans and how they used money. This foundation (I would say that’s 12ish chapters out of 16) covers the following topics:

  • Viewing money as an opportunity to steward God’s resources
  • …and building faithfulness in that process
  • What’s wrong with loving money? (Well–a lot, really!)
  • The parable of the rich fool and what we can learn from him–and how to avoid being him
  • How we can give: sacrificially, cheerfully, willingly (and why)
  • Our emotions and feelings about money; do we have a spending problem or an income problem?
  • What God indicates about debt
  • and more

Then, in the remaining chapters, LaPierre gets into the HOWs of dealing with money. He gives specific wisdom and insight (and yes, how-tos) of how we can get rid of debt, how to save well, and how to retire well. The final chapter of the book contains Biblical perspectives on the many parts of life that will intersect with money; and really, how we can (as the Bible exhorts) build treasure in heaven. There is an appendix at the end with a website link that includes budget worksheets for financial planning.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed LaPierre’s book. Let me be the first to say that I am not an accountant, a financial planner, or an expert investor. I don’t feel that this area is among those I operate the most confidently or wisely in. (Because numbers, ugh; I am so definitely a words gal.) However! Just because financial advising isn’t in my strengths arena, doesn’t release me from the responsibility to operate wisely with the money the Lord has granted me. So really, I needed this book (and its workbook, which is written in such a way that you read a section, then complete the accompanying section in the workbook. I’ve always found that this is a way that I learn the most from books and Bible studies. It takes the mental knowledge and brings it into the practical for our brains–and helps us retain the info well. So do be sure to purchase the workbook along with the book as a way to get the most out of Your Finances God’s Way) for the life wisdom it provides on dealing with finances.

Also, I appreciated the way LaPierre writes. There is no judgment for those who might be ignorant in these topics. Instead, he gently but clearly speaks from God’s Word about wise and foolish ways of the use of money, the generous gift of God to us; and how we can give with joy and spend with wisdom. That foundation (plus the guidance on getting out of debt, saving, etc.) will tell you so much about money from God’s point of view; and how we can follow that to become exceptional stewards. It’s a readable, useful, and enjoyable set of books for gaining wisdom on money. I do recommend them both!

Enjoy! –Wren

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

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

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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.

Beautiful picture book: “Good Morning, Little One” ~ a review

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FrontGate Media sent me the most beautiful picture book, just in time for Easter! Artist Amy Kavelaris painted and wrote Good Morning, Little One to share God’s delight and love for children. It is absolutely gorgeous, and you will definitely want to get a copy of this for your family (or others that you love!). Let me show you some of this wonderful book.

About Good Morning, Little One

In Good Morning, Little One, Amy Kavelaris pairs her beautiful painted animals with Scripture and words to remind children (and adults!) that God is always watching over them, rejoicing over them, and loving them. Subtitled “New Mercies and Prayers to Carry You Through the Day,” this is the perfect book to help establish your child’s faith early on! The endpapers and paste-down of this hardback are a lovely green and have promises from Scripture written in flowing font, with flower around the edges. There’s also a spot for the giver of the book to inscribe it to the child.

The characters in this book are lambs, puppies and bunny rabbits. They’re embraced by their animal parents, who are greeting them with God’s blessings in the new day, and the parents’ trust and belief that God will carry their precious child all day long. There are gorgeous illustrations with those main characters, plus some birds and mice tucked around the corners. Promises of God’s incredible care and love are written on each pair of pages. And, there are some surprises on the pages as well; Amy Kavelaris has tucked the Bible verses that contain the promises in tiny font, so families can do a treasure hunt for them as well as look them up in their own Bibles.

The prose flows gently and pairs perfectly with the pages. On these pages, children are reminded that God protects them, picks them up when they get tired, and will always seek them and find them when they are lost.

On the facing page to the promise that God carries us, children are treated to a visual illustration of what that can look like, where a puppy is carried in a comfy basket (with a plaid cloth) by its fluffy dog parent. (Maybe they are golden retrievers!)

Again and again in this lovely book, readers are treated to the beauty of God’s care for us in its Bible verses and the darling animals which are so beautifully painted by Kavelaris. Children are also encouraged to dance and worship God, to call out to God in prayers, and to remember that God crafted every single part of them. I just loved the pages that remind readers that even if dark moments come, God’s love will still shine brightly on them. This is a message not only that children need to hear, but that parents and grandparents will be comforted by as they share them together.

This book is just such a joy! I love its charming animals and beautiful verses. (The author even included my most favorite flower, peonies!) Its message, that the God who made us loves us, cares for us each day, and is thrilled when we reach out for Him, is the perfect way parents can start each day with their children. This book would be the perfect addition to an Easter basket, or a gift for a new baby; really, it’s the perfect addition to any child’s library. Don’t miss it!

Where you can purchase Good Morning, Little One

You can purchase Good Morning, Little One by clicking on this link from Amazon, Walmart, Christianbook, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. You can also download a charming, *free* Activity Guide to go with the book.

Enjoy! –Wren

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

Undercover Snacks ~ a review of a fab new healthy treat

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Hi darlings!

Recently I received a box of the coolest, most original snacks to try out with my mom group from Mom Meets. I really wanted to tell you about them because they ARE delicious and yet pretty healthful as well! Meet Undercover Snacks and their new treats: Undercover Chocolate Quinoa Crisps.

About Undercover Chocolate Quinoa Crisps

Diana, the creator of Undercover Snacks is a chocolatier who had her own delicious chocolate business. Later, her family discovered that two of their children had celiac disease. So then, Diana was determined to create a gluten-free treat that even her daughters could enjoy. The delicious and healthy result was Undercover Snacks’ Undercover Chocolate Quinoa Crisps!

You’re probably familiar with quinoa, the wonder grain that is a complete protein. (It’s actually a seed, but is generally classified as a grain.) The Undercover Crisps contain just two ingredients: chocolate and quinoa. The quinoa is toasted first, then mixed with the premium chocolate to create delicious snacks. Each bag is about the size of the individual snack-sized bags of potato chips. These 2-ounce bags generally retail for $2.99-$3.49, and are available in many grocery stores, like Fred Meyer, Dillons, Jewel Osco, Kroger, Ralph’s, Shoprite, and more. You can also find them online at UndercoverSnacks.com and Amazon. They’re also available in the single-portion snack size in the picture above; there’s one crisp in each of those bags.

They are lower in sugar than any other chocolate bar or snack on the market, and healthier, too! They are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and nut-free, making them great for many kids and adults who are very limited in their snack choices.

Undercover Chocolate Quinoa Crisps come in a variety of flavors. We received the one-portion snack sizes in two dark chocolate flavors and bags of the Milk Chocolate Crisps to share with my women’s group, plus some additional flavors as gifts for my family (for hosting this sampling opportunity). Here are the flavors you’ll find Undercover Chocolate Quinoa Crisps in:

  • Milk Chocolate Crisps
  • Milk Chocolate & Currants
  • Milk Chocolate & Peppermint
  • Dark Chocolate & Peppermint
  • Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate & Blueberries
  • Dark Chocolate & Pomegranate
  • Dark Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice

The flavors we’ve tried have been spectacular. They are so filling that, even though there are a number of servings in a bag, it only took one at a time to satisfy our snack cravings. (Until the next time we wanted one, that is!) The crisps are about the circumference of a Reese’s cup, but thinner; maybe comparable to a peppermint patty. They reminded us of a healthier rice krispy treat, in terms of the texture. And while some of us preferred one flavor to another, we ALL loved them!

I was able to share full-sized bags of the Milk Chocolate Crisps, plus individually-wrapped packs of the Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt and the Dark Chocolate & Blueberries to share with my women’s group. They were all so positive in their reactions! They loved the treats and were able to take some home to share with their families. One friend even reported back with her impressions (The Milk Chocolate flavor was the biggest hit, and her husband and sons loved the Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavor. Everyone but the mom loved the Dark Chocolate & Blueberries. And, she ordered more of the Milk Chocolate flavor for her family, plus some Milk Chocolate & Pomegranate to try!)

In closing

We all loved Undercover Snacks’ Chocolate Quinoa Crisps! They are so delicious, come in a wide variety of flavor, and provide something great to take to parties or provide for your family. We don’t, in my family, have any allergies or food difficulties, but we have a lot of friends who are restricted on gluten. Yet I’d love to provide some lovely snacks for those friends as well. Undercover Snacks provides something for everyone with their amazing, healthy, delectable Chocolate Quinoa Crisps!

Where to find Undercover Snacks online

Undercover Snacks’ website

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Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for 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 honest opinions, and our family’s, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

“The Healing of Natalie Curtis” ~ a Revell Reads Review

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Revell Reads was kind enough to send me Jane Kirkpatrick’s newest novel to read. The Healing of Natalie Curtis is another of the author’s exceptional books about actual American women on the frontier. It is so worth your while; let me tell you more!

About The Healing of Natalie Curtis

Natalie Curtis had always planned for a career in music. An accomplished pianist and vocalist, Natalie had planned to tour the world making music…until circumstances brought her plans to a very sudden, public, and painful stop. It affected her physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Natalie stayed in her parents’ home for several years. She did improve a bit physically, but each day, it felt desperately difficult for her even to get out of bed. And she had no idea what she could do instead of being the performer she’d spent over half of her life learning and preparing to be.

Until, one day, her beloved brother George returned home from the West. Once a librarian, George’s asthma induced him to move to the western U.S. He returned home for a visit a strong, vibrant, and happy man…and, he invited Natalie to return with him, hoping that the bright and dry climate, and its beauty, might restore his sister to the joyful and dynamic woman she’d been.

The idea perked Natalie right up, and eventually, she traveled west with George. And, the adventure Natalie had been preparing for all her life (unbeknownst to her) began. Beauty, music, relationships, and a fight to preserve Native Americans’ (or First Nations’) music became Natalie’s life and purpose…with unbelievable experiences before her.

My thoughts

I have loved Jane Kirkpatrick’s books since I first discovered them years ago. She conducts and presents impeccable research into the lives of intrepid American settlers, travelers, photographers, and now, musicians, to readers in the form of novels. And, did I mention, her protagonists are all women? And, they’re women who lived amazing lives, facing dangers, prejudice, societal constraints, and various other difficulties. But they all crafted lives with richness and immense purpose.

If these were just history books, they could be dry indeed. But Jane Kirkpatrick really does bring her characters to life. They are all human, of course; but the author endows them with such personality, vibrance…and PERSEVERANCE. Each of her characters experiences difficulty; but, over and over, she shares the lives of women who overcame their troubles and continued on.

Now, as I said, I have loved all Kirkpatrick’s books and characters. But Natalie; well, she is my favorite! I adored her personality and purpose. I loved the sense of God’s grace as He drew her out of what she might have perceived as her most enormous failing (in her musical career), in the depths of despair…into a calling that no other had ever attempted, with passion, love, and an ear that enabled her to record the music and beauty of many First Nations of America. What an incredible person.

Don’t miss this lovely, rich book. You’ll be entranced as Jane Kirkpatrick’s musical ear and artistic eye (and amazing storytelling ability) captures the life of a most unusual woman. And, you’ll never forget Natalie Curtis!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are honest and my own.

“A Midnight Dance” ~ A Revell Reads Review

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Revell Reads so very kindly sent me a copy of Joanna Davidson Politano’s brand-new A Midnight Dance to read. I picked it up on Saturday and didn’t stop reading (except for dinner) until I turned the last page. O my heart!!

About A Midnight Dance

Ella Blythe has been raised in poverty by her mama, a former ballerina, in 1830s London. After being scarred in a theater fire, Ella’s mother left her onstage work to live in obscurity, hidden away so definitively that her former colleagues thought she was dead. Her love for ballet still beat in her heart, however; and she taught Ella, who lost her own heart to dance irrevocably. When she sees an achingly handsome male dancer about to be accosted by drunken thugs, she saves his life by a well-thrown shoe. And, her heart is lost again. He promises to dance with her someday, on the stage. And the years pass…

…and Ella is suddenly part of Craven Street Theatre as a dancer. The principal male lead is none other than the one she rescued years ago: Philippe Rousseau. Ella, of course, is one of the many dancers who dance in the background. And while London society regards ballet dancers as immoral and loose, Ella is convinced that the God who saved her and loves her brought her here for a purpose.

Ella works daily until she is exhausted; convinced that her work will save her yet again. If she is perfect she will be even more appreciated and loved by God. Philippe has had a conversation or two with her, yet the role of dancing alongside him seems incredibly far away. Plus, there is the company “bad boy” who seems to have his eye on Ella, even though many of the other dancers call her the nun.

There are secrets in the ballet company even as there are in Ella’s life. But only one of those secrets might just take Ella’s life.

My thoughts

This is the ballerina book I have been waiting for my entire life.

Like many little girls, I took ballet lessons in my early years. (Sadly, I did not continue.) But the beauty of ballet has always remained with me; the adoration of the light, airy steps, the beautiful orchestral music, and of course, the tulle and ribbon! I understand now what I didn’t as a child; that all of that beauty is achieved only by the hardest of work. That doesn’t make me love it any less.

But oh, Ella! The girl with a secret regal (ballet royalty, anyway) background, whose heart is set on realizing a moment of romance from long ago. Ella, who truly loves God but who thinks that His love is only won by her unstinting, hard work. Ella, who has joined the ranks of my most-loved literary heroines (yes, Elizabeth Bennet will have to move over to make room!).

Joanna Davidson Politano has created a most gorgeous story. Her heroine is real, will do anything to prove to God that she loves Him and is worthy of Him, and has a destiny to dance out that could become an unimaginable story of love and life. If she can just avoid danger and keep herself alive.

In closing

If, like me, you love ballet and tulle; if you adore a good mystery; and if a life of faith is a life of beauty to you, you must read A Midnight Dance. It truly is a tour de force, and it will captivate your heart and your soul!

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I received this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.

Jody Hedlund’s gorgeous new “Come Back to Me” ~ a review

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Revell Reads recently sent me Jody Hedlund’s gorgeous new Come Back to Me, a dual-timeline novel that’s the first of her new “Waters of Time” series. I adored it!

Medical research scientist Marion Creighton has long been on a quest that completely fills up her days (and some of her nights). Her beloved sister Ellen is fighting a disease for which there’s no cure, and that threatens to steal Ellen’s life prematurely. But when Marion hears that her father has fallen into a coma, she drops everything and flies immediately to England to see if there’s any way she might be able to help.

When she arrives and discovers that her father’s home and lab were broken into, she wonders why. From her father’s coworker and friend, Harrison, she learns that her father was working on developing a drug that would not only cure her sister’s illness but basically, any other disease. That would be a temptation for thieves of any kind. But then she hears something about time travel, the space-time continuum, and…the Tree of Life? Marion can’t believe that at all…but when she ingests the residue from an ancient ampulla of holy water, she opens her eyes to find herself in the Middle Ages. And so, her adventure begins.

My thoughts about Come Back to Me

Let me tell you, I LOVED this book! But writing about my love for Come Back to Me and its characters without ruining the story for you (no spoilers!) was very difficult! I have written sentences and backspaced over them A LOT as I’ve considered how to share my thoughts with you. So…let’s see how I can communicate without verging into spoiler-land.

First, let’s talk about the author. Jody Hedlund is exceptionally gifted in recreating the past–its appearance, manners, clothing, and personages–in ways that enable the reader to imagine “what life was like back then.” I’ve loved so many of her books for that very reason. In Come Back to Me, she accomplishes that feat again, magnificently. As Marion travels to the past to find a substance that could cure not only her sister but her father, she experiences life in ways that she’d never considered. And life in the 1300s looks nothing like life in the twenty-first century!

Second, the characters. So many interesting ones; but I particularly enjoyed Marion and Will, the knight she meets in the past. They are very different, as you’d imagine; but the way they meet and the experiences they encounter and move through ring true to their times and their persons. Their character journeys are fascinating and satisfying.

Third, the time travel. It’s presented in such an interesting way, and one I’ve never encountered in books before.

Basically, I loved Jody Hedlund’s newest novel, and I loved it more, the further into the book I read. It captivated me and truly left me wishing I already had book 2 (currently unpublished) in my hands! If you’re a reader that loves historical fiction AND fantasy works; if you’d love a clean love story with beautiful romantic moments and lots of adventure, then Come Back to Me is for you!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts and opinions about this book are my own.