“Work and Rest God’s Way” ~ Review and Giveaway (ends 10/5/20)

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Hello friends!

Recently, The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me two copies of Scott LaPierre‘s new book, Work and Rest God’s Way. Well-written, thought-provoking, challenging; yet encouraging at the same time. Let me tell you about this book, and at the end of the post you’ll have an opportunity to enter to win a copy!



What are your thoughts on work and leisure, or rest?

We all love R&R; our weekends off, our vacations, our hobbies or personal time. (I love all these too!) We do love to play. Or, are we on the other end of the spectrum, veering towards workaholism and embracing work at the expense of everything else? Probably, most of us are somewhere between those two sides. But did you know that God actually created human beings in His image, and placed them in a garden to do fulfilling, life-giving work? He did! Of course, now we don’t all live in the Garden of Eden, and because of the Fall work is not always a joy and a delight to accomplish. Yet even as we live post-Eden and post-Fall, God has given principles and directions in His Word to provide us with a healthy understanding of how to work and how to rest.

Scott LaPierre has studied the Bible extensively, and in his new book, Work and Rest God’s Way, he shares these principles. Work can be exhausting. We can place too high a focus on it, or we can place too little value on it. Yet if we understand what God says about work, it can inform our callings and vocations, and help us to work in a way that blesses us and others and allows us to be refreshed instead of exhausted.


What you’ll find in Work and Rest God’s Way

In just over 200 pages, LaPierre covers a lot of ground. He presents a sound discussion of God’s views on work and rest, and discusses these not only from a physical standpoint but a spiritual one as well. In this book, you’ll find:

  • What diligence and its opposite, laziness, look like
  • What to do when work feels like a curse instead of a blessing
  • What our true purpose as Christ-followers should be as we work
  • What value God puts on our daily labors
  • Husbands, wives, children, and their responsibilities
  • Rest, and what it looks like physically and spiritually
  • and more

LaPierre writes from a Christian perspective, and includes Bible verses alongside each and every principle or instruction. His instruction is derived from the Bible but also includes real-life examples of work, choices, and decisions.


What I found most helpful

I really appreciated the teaching on diligence (and guarding against laziness). All of us will face transitional points in our work lives and careers, and I am at one of those myself. But as I am praying, waiting, and looking for the next steps God has for me to take, I loved the reminder to be diligent both spiritually and physically.

I also LOVED Chapter 16, “The Promised Land and Spiritual Rest.” My son and I have returned over and over again to Hebrews, specifically chapters 3 and 4. Interpreting those chapters has been very challenging for both of us. I found LaPierre’s interpretation to be solid, and both grace- and truth-filled, and such a relief! Really understanding what “the rest” means in those chapters has both lifted up my faith and strengthened the foundation it is based on.

I was encouraged as well to read LaPierre’s discussion of the dangers of workaholism and not taking the time that our bodies, minds, and spirits need for rest. It can be hard to rest! But it is so necessary for us, and not taking that time can have profound impacts on both our lives and abilities to serve.

Spending time, and choosing to spend time, in God’s Word will help us too; to know Him better, to love Him well, and to understand His leading and direction for our lives.


Concluding thoughts

Work and Rest God’s Way would be a great book for families. (The principles of work, rest, and spiritual life will be applicable to single men and women as well, but LaPierre’s focus is more on husbands/wives/kids in several sections.) It is an excellent discipleship program as well for any Christian, although it wouldn’t call itself that per se.

I would recommend that the reader have his or her Bible handy to refer to as Work and Rest God’s Way is read. LaPierre includes many Scriptures, but I think it is also valuable to look at Bible sections or chapters to get a grasp of the verses in their actual context. Plus getting into the Word is a great idea as we read books on the Christian life.


And now…the giveaway!

One FINCHNWREN reader will win a copy of Work and Rest God’s Way by Scott LaPierre. To enter, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 10/5/20. Best wishes!

Enter here!



About the author, Scott LaPierre

Scott LaPierre is the pastor of Woodland Christian Church. He and his wife Katie are the parents of 8 children, whom they also homeschool. You can visit his website to find out more and see pictures of the LaPierres. You can also download a free ebook there, as well as access more books by both Scott and Katie.

You can reach Scott on social media at:




Enjoy! –Wren


DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service that we mention on the 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.




3 Books to Add Meaning & Value to Your Spiritual Walk

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I have been privileged to read and review books for a number of years. I am a total booklover, but sometimes there are books that not only are an excellent read but make an impact on you or your life personally. WaterBrook Multnomah sent me these books to read and review, and I wanted to let you know about them! They’ve all impacted me in multiple, and postive, ways.



Dee Brestin’s The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture is both a book and a Bible study. It can be used in a group, or by one person on her own. We all know that Jesus is mentioned many times in the Old Testament, but we may not know exactly where. Here, Brestin draws us through different segments of the Bible (the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets) to show us a more intimate portrait of Jesus and to connect the dots between the OT and the New.

Each chapter focuses on an image of Jesus pulled from those three Bible segments and is introduced beautifully by Brestin, who shares her own experiences and even her own suffering and how Jesus met her. We learn about Jesus’ love and the seemingly paradoxical correction He administers (see the moneychangers in the Temple); how to live and serve out of joy rather than obligation; the Lamb as He’s beautifully described in Isaiah; intimacy and prayer; the royal Wedding; suffering; God’s holiness, and more. The book’s Bible study sections include lots of room for the reader to answer questions; to ponder; and to journal.

This is a deep, intimate, sweet, and beautiful study. It brought meaning and vividness to my personal quiet times, and my own view of and understanding of Jesus. I’ve heard tons about Dee Brestin and her amazingness over the years, but this was my first time to read one of her books. I’m only sorry I waited so long! The Jesus Who Surprises was one of my most favorite reads/Bible studies of 2019.



As a new Christian, years ago, one of my most pressing questions was: how do I know what God wants me to do?

Over the years I have learned to hear God better. I certainly don’t get it right every time or always hear God well. But there are moments when I do, and those moments have brought beauty, joy, and fulfilling careers and choices to me (and, I hope, to those around me). There’s also the downside, though. As a human, with failings, family histories, and traditions, I don’t always get His voice and direction right. (Ugh!) So I do still have that same question, reframed a tiny bit: how do I hear God well?

Nathan Finochio, teaching pastor and worship leader, has a book that I’d recommend to anyone who’s wrestling with the same questions I did and do, still: Hearing God. This book is honest, funny, and designed to help you tear away the “myths” about hearing God so that you have a better perspective to understand how He might be speaking to you. Such “myths” include: that it’s always easy; that if messed-up people weren’t around you you’d hear Him better; that the Holy Spirit can be divided from the Bible; that if your life weren’t full of so much messed-up stuff you’d hear Him better.

I love what emerged as the bottom line for me: God loves me, desires for me to grow toward maturity, and will continue working with me when I mess things up (or when I don’t!). Nathan’s funny, conversational style clearly explains what God might be doing with us despite our faith traditions, our bad habits, and our own misconceptions. Hearing God is great. We actually used it as a read-aloud in our homeschool; it was perfect for me and my teen!




Core 52 by Mark E. Moore’s subtitle says it all: “A fifteen-minute daily guide to build your Bible IQ in a year.” In 52 chapters, Moore starts with Creation and ends with Heaven, and covers tons of information on what the Bible actually SAYS about these topics. Which is awesome! This book would be perfect not only for individual study and reading, but for quiet times, small groups, and even classroom teaching in a religious setting.

Here are some of the other topics Moore covers in Core 52:

  • The Fall, Covenant, and Holiness
  • Our True Identity
  • Jesus and David
  • Prophecy
  • The Messiah
  • Wisdom
  • Prayer, Money, and the Golden Rule
  • And clearly, tons more; that just scratches the surface of the 52 topics!

Each chapter starts with a question (e.g., “Who do you say Jesus is?” or “How can I achieve greatness?” or “What kind of kingdom is the kingdom of God?”). Then, Moore writes an essay which explores those questions (and sometimes, inspires further questions!). Each chapter closes with a summary of key points.

There is a box alongside each chapter that gives a daily (for 5 days each week) assignment to complete. Those assignments include reading the essay, looking up Scriptures, Scripture meditation, and a related activity that varies from chapter to chapter, like taking communion, writing notes, seeking out ways to grow in different areas. There are also bonus assignments for overachievers (ha ha!) and extra reading ideas.

Reading and utilizing Core 52 will take the reader through what almost amounts to a discipleship course on living and walking with Christ, understanding the Christian church, and becoming deeply familiar with the Bible and its precepts. While it would definitely be effective for new Christians, it will be just as powerful for more seasoned Christians.


Are there books or materials you’ve deeply enjoyed lately in your life? Be sure to share in the comments below!


Enjoy! –Wren


DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

I received these books from WaterBrook Multnomah to read and review.

“Hey Mama!” Schoolhouse Planner for 2019/20 ~ A Review

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As a homeschooler, one thing that is vital for me each day (and each year) is lesson planning. Each year I purchase a paper planner to use. This year, The Old Schoolhouse® kindly sent me the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 to review. I’m so excited to use it starting later this summer! Let me share more about it and how it can help you in your homeschool year!



About the author

The Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 is a 1-year homeschool planner with enough space for one through five children. It’s authored by Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse®,who, along with her husband, Paul, publishes The Old Schoolhouse® magazine. They are the parents of 7 children and are longtime homeschoolers themselves. Gena brings this lifelong experience to bear in the wonderful new Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. The result is everything you’ll need for the 2019-2020 school year!


What you’ll find in this planner

First, I have to say, it is absolutely GORGEOUS. The front and back covers are a white background with lovely flowers superimposed across them. The flowers have sort of a native cherry blossom look, but the colors are blue, purple, and a little red/brown/yellow. It’s pretty and quite appealing to look at; even before you open it! It opens and closes without a hitch. It’s spiral-bound and the covers are laminated, so it is durable and lays flat for desk work or closes like a spiral notebook would if you’re only planning to work on the first (or second) part of the week.

The Hey Mama! planner is chock-full of practical helps, weekly/daily/monthly calendars, lesson plan pages, attendance records, and other important record-keeping pages for the homeschool year. There are also encouraging notes and devotionals from Gena to the homeschool mamas on such timely topics as; anxiety, God’s provision, trials, adventure, perseverance, dread, failure, and joy. I love Gena’s words to us homeschool moms. Homeschooling is a wonderful vocation, an adventure, and a delight; but it’s also, on some days, a task we may not feel equipped for. These devotionals will bless the user on those days!



Here are some of the practical helps you’ll find in the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20:

  • Tips on creating a transcript, and a form to you for your high schoolers
  • A checklist for skills learned and courses studied
  • 2019-2021 mini-calendars
  • Monthly large calendars with big squares to jot notes and appointments on each day
  • 90 pages for each week’s lesson plans, with spaces for up to 5 students
  • Planning pages for each child, including curriculum planning, attendance, books read over the year, yearly and semester goals



My thoughts

I haven’t begun to use my new Hey Mama! planner yet. We have JUST (and I mean, JUST) finished my son Jackson’s junior year as of last Friday. So at the moment, we’re all breathing a huge sigh of relief.

However, our minds are beginning to turn to the 2019-2020 school year, which will be Jackson’s senior year. We’re considering curricula, coop classes, volunteering, driving lessons and practice; all the things that will comprise his last year of high school. As this planner starts in July 2020 and runs through May 2020, I’ll begin filling it in soon, I’m sure!

I love everything about the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20. I love the feel of the beautiful color; the nice white pages inside just waiting for my pencil to begin writing; all the practical helps that will lead and support us on our way in this coming year. I can’t wait to get started!


How you can get your own Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20


It’s easy! Simply follow this link Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20  to purchase your own Hey Mama! planner from The Old Schoolhouse® .  Prices start at $22, with planners also available for shipping to Canada and to international addresses.

And, don’t delay. The Old Schoolhouse® has sold through 98% of their print planners. If you’d like to get one of these planners for your 2019-2020 homeschool year, this is your moment to do so!


Thanks for letting me share this with you! Have a lovely first week of June!


Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

The Best Study Bible I’ve Seen in Years! A Review of Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible

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Hi friends!

I have the privilege of telling you today about a fantastic study Bible that has become my new favorite!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network generously sent me the most gorgeous (inside and out) copy of Thomas Nelson’s new NKJV Study Bible to use and review.  I love it and it has made my devotional and Bible reading times so rich and rewarding!



The NKJV Study Bible is beautifully printed and bound in cranberry-colored softcover faux leather.  Its full-colored pages have gorgeous photos of art and geographical regions of Bible lands, as well as golden page edges.  There are two ribbons to mark the spots you’re reading in.  Each Bible book has an interesting introduction that describes the events, purposes, and timelines of the books, as well as chapter outlines.  It’s a hefty Bible with a good weight; after all, there are 2201 pages!  There is just SO much to this Bible; check out what’s included!

  • Verse-by-verse study notes, on more than 15,000 verses
  • Notes on Bible times and culture
  • Word studies with Strong’s numbers (one of my favorite ways to study, by delving into the original Greek and Hebrew!  The Strong’s numbers help you to discover more without being an ancient languages scholar yourself.)
  • Extensive cross-reference system
  • Maps and charts explaining more about what’s going on in the text
  • Full-length articles by evangelical Bible scholars, a concordance, and color maps
  • Clear and readable Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print®


What I encountered with the NKJV Study Bible

Each spring, our church offers a cool optional prayer and Bible reading activity for the first 21 days of the new year.  That gave me the perfect opportunity to put this study Bible to the test.  And oh, was it a rich and fulfilling time!  The Bible reading was divided into a New Testament (a daily chapter from the Gospel of John) and an additional chapter or chapter portion (sometimes in the Old Testament, sometimes in the New).  So, each day I was reading the book of John chapter-by-chapter, and then reading verses of Isaiah, Psalms, 1 Corinthians, etc.  That would have been an amazing three weeks in and of itself.  But this Bible added so much depth to that!

The book of John starts with a gripping introduction (as do all the other 65 books of the Bible) and reminds us that this gospel includes the reason it was written: to show us how to find eternal life (John 20:31).  It tells us about its author, “the disciple Jesus loved,” widely understood to be the apostle John.  It includes a timeline of the years covered in the book, and the time scholars believe it was written.  The gospel’s theology is shared (that Jesus, the Word, is God) as well as the acts of Jesus that serve as His deity’s proof.  The intro closes with an outline of the book.



As the book of John progresses, the NKJV Bible includes verse-by-verse footnoted teaching, Greek word studies (for example, “The Word,” “The Only Begotten Son,” “born again,” “fountain,” and more).  There are also maps of Jesus’ journeys and photos of the lands He walked through, like Tiberias, a Capernaum synagogue, and Nazareth.  There are infographics (charts) on everything from Jesus’ trials, to the Old Testament predictions (and consequent fulfillment) of the Messiah’s death, to Peter’s restoration.  And more!  There are just so many amazing additions that both bring the Bible to life for the reader and deepen his or her understanding of it.

I have to mention one last thing I really appreciated, and that’s this Bible’s translation.  There are quite a few Bible translations out there, which are produced by people who read and study the original Hebrew and Greek, then translate it into modern language.  I’ve used, over the years, the NASB, the NIV, and the Message for my Bible study and devotional reading.  This study Bible, as you might have noticed from the title, is in the New King James Version, which (other than knowing it existed) I was mostly unfamiliar with.  Well, I love it!  It seems both very personal and very faithful to the Scriptures I’m familiar with.  In fact, it wouldn’t be exaggeration for me to say it has brought my Bible reading to life.  And all the qualities and aspects of this Bible that I loved in the Gospel of John book occur in all the other books of the Bible as well!



All in all, this Bible has been a wonderful experience for me.  And I think it would be the same for anyone who’s looking for a great study Bible in a fresh and vivid translation, with all the extras that bring the Old and New Testaments into greater focus.  Whether you’re considering it for a gift for someone else or for you, yourself, it will be a fantastic faith experience.  Definitely, check this Bible out!




More on the NKJV Study Bible:

You can see even more about this amazing study Bible, and why it might be right for you, by watching this YouTube video about it!  Just follow the link in the preceding sentence to see this gorgeous Bible.




Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



30 Days to Understanding the Bible Review and Giveaway (closed)

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Are you someone who’s interested in the Bible but confused about what exactly is in it?  Are you unsure of where in history all the Biblical events occur?  Do you know what doctrines are part of Christianity?  If you can answer “yes” to any of those questions, then Max Anders’ bestselling 30 Days to Understanding the Bible is a book you’ll definitely want to check out!  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions sent me a free copy of this exceptional book to read and review, as well as an additional copy to give away to one reader!

What is 30 Days to Understanding the Bible?

Author Max Anders has years of experience of teaching others to understand what’s in the Bible.  A veteran pastor, he’s taught on the seminary level and has written over 25 books.  He also was one of the first team members of the Walk Thru The Bible organization, which creatively teaches people to learn and remember the Bible and its contents.  You can find him at  MaxAnders.com.



All this experience has been distilled to create 30 Days to Understanding the Bible.  Perfect for both teachers and students, it is everything a person needs to (yes) understand what the Bible is all about.  It covers:

  • Bible land geography
  • Christian doctrine
  • the Gospels and what’s in them
  • How the Bible is organized and why
  • The major arcs of the Bible
  • Its historical eras
  • The types of books it contains
  • and more!

Even better, just as the title says, you can learn all of this in only 30 days!

How this book works

It’s organized in 30 chapters (so, a chapter per day for 30 days) which run about 8-12 pages apiece.  Each chapter is filled with interesting anecdotes, great maps and charts (with illustrations to help organize the information), clear presentation of information, and quizzes on chapter info so that the reader can learn and build on what’s currently taught, and reviewing what’s been taught before.  It’s fun, interesting, clear…and in addition to teaching well, it’s also a great read!


The book is divided into the following 7 sections:

  • The Story of the Old Testament, which covers the Bible’s structure and overview, its geography, the historical books (divided into eras of Creation, Patriarch, Exodus, Conquest, Judges, Kingdom, Exile, Return, and Silence), the poetical books, and the prophetical books
  • The Story of the New Testament, which covers the New Testament’s structure and geography and its eras (Gospel, Church, Missions, Epistles)
  • The Great Doctrines of the Bible (the Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, angels, man, sin, salvation, the Church, and Future Things)
  • Nanosummary of the Bible (the Bible in 3000 words!)
  • How to Master the Bible So Well that the Bible Masters You
  • Teaching Plan (for small groups, classes, families, etc.)
  • Bonus Chapters (comparing the 4 Gospels, Jesus’ parables, the Bible’s miracles, Jesus’ resurrection, and more)

How we used 30 Days to Understanding the Bible

I started out just reading this on my own.  I have studied the Bible (inductively, via Bible studies, chapter by chapter, or simply reading it) since I began seriously following Jesus in my early 20s.  However, I don’t think I have ever done an overview of the Bible, learning how everything fit together chronologically, geographically, doctrinally, and historically.  So I thought I’d just enjoy this by myself.

However, once I started the book I realized that it would be an incredible tool to use in our homeschool.   I have a teen son who’s read the Bible for years but who could also appreciate and use this context for the Bible.  So I ordered a second copy of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible for Jackson.  Because the book has fill-in-the-blank sections, it really does make sense for each person studying it to have his or her own copy.  And because we just homeschool 5 days per week, it’ll take us closer to a month and a half to finish the book, if we cover one chapter per day.  We’re both committed to it though, and interested.  I am excited for my son, though.  He’ll be learning at 16 what it took me decades to get to!


My favorite things about the book include…

  • The great maps, quizzes, and review info that ensures you’re actually learning and retaining everything
  • The historical overview of the Old Testament
  • The explanation of Christian doctrine
  • And the Bonus Chapters, which had some of the most fascinating portions of the book
  • Anders’ friendly and interesting way of writing
  • and most of all, the great grace and love with which all this information is presented

I think that anyone who’d like to grow in his or her understanding of the Bible and all it contains would love this book.  It’s suitable for small group study, for classrooms, for personal study, and (as we’re doing) for homeschool study.  It’s equally as good for seasoned believers, brand-new ones, or even those who wouldn’t describe themselves as believers but are interested in what comprises the Bible.  I recommend it!

Where to find it:

Promo video link:  https://youtu.be/6J8xqfbsGBM
Official website:  http://www.biblein30days.com

And, how to enter to win your own copy!

FlyBy/Propeller Promotions has generously provided a copy of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible for me to give away to one FINCHNWREN reader!  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.  The giveaway will close on 1/28/19.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Jackson’s Review of StikBot: The Social Media Sharing Toy!

Hi everyone! Jackson here.

I thought it would fit to post a toy review on Black Friday…even though this was written on Wednesday…and I also got him on that day…never mind that, I am here to review Zing’s StikBot, aka the Social Media Sharing Toy!

Stikbot in package

Stikbot in package

First off, he has great posing ability, as he can have his (or her) arms, legs and head turned and positioned to your liking!

StikBot comes in many colors, but the one I got was the azure/turquoise blue version.

Of course, StikBot is intended for stop-motion, and works very well for it! In fact, I already made a stop-mo with him and he can be used very well! However, he fell over a lot, but maybe it was just the surface I had him on.

Next up is the fact that his hands and feet are suction cups, meaning many possibilities for places you can put him on in your videos/pictures.

There are pretty much infinite possibilities for this little fella, including that you can get him for a good price. He is only about $5 and some tax at my local Wal-Mart, meaning you can buy several of them for a reasonable price, or get the StikBot Studio ($10), which I will be reviewing in the future.

Size-wise, they are very-well sized for their price, as I just measured him, and he is about 3” tall.

Overall, whoever came up with this idea deserves a big raise, because StikBot is very awesome for private or shared stop-motion videos or even maybe a StikBot Selfie!

Thanks for reading this review, everyone! Happy Black Friday!

God Bless!