“Who Are You Following?” ~ a book & guided journal review

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FrontGate Media sent me Sadie Robertson Huff’s gorgeous new book duo, Who Are You Following?: Pursuing Jesus in a Social Media Obsessed World and the Who Are You Following? Guided Journal. They are hardback books that are as gorgeous inside as they are outside. Let me tell you more about them!

About Who Are You Following?

Sadie Robertson Huff has experienced the ups and downs of social media use, along with both the joys it can bring and the discouragement and heartache. In Who Are You Following?, Sadie addresses the truths that young people face today with their statistically-high use of various social networks, which can result in poor self-image, anxiety, depression, even eating disorders. She’s not saying that social media is all bad, of course; but she is saying that it’s vitally important *who* we are following online as well as in our lives overall. And if those we follow aren’t encouraging us, blessing us, or leading us to great places, are they really the ones we should be putting our trust in?

In Who Are You Following?, Sadie unpacks these ideas in the 9 chapters:

  • Who is influencing you?
  • What are you looking for, from social media?
  • How “liking” and “loving” are so very different
  • The ugly trap of comparison, and why we don’t have to engage with it
  • Why do you want to be famous?
  • What are you sharing, and what are the results you’re hoping for?
  • Is “cancel culture” part of your engagement online?
  • What truth are you following?
  • Perhaps most important: “Does God Still Love You?”

In just one book, Sadie identifies, unpacks, and clarifies the many reasons we engage with social media; what our hopes are, and what the realities of each actually are. She utilizes Scripture, her own life experiences, and what she’s learned in each of these chapters that will truly benefit readers. Especially young people, who are still forming their own identities.

Her conclusions are sound and will, I believe, help social media users understand how online use will affect them and shape them. I think this book will encourage them to understand the true love offered to them by Jesus, and to develop some wise practices in the way they interact online.

About the Who Are You Following? Guided Journal

This lovely book is the perfect companion to Who Are You Following? In the journal, readers are guided through the same ideas, also in 9 chapters, that Sadie discusses in her book. The difference is that this journal is for readers to actually write in and engage with. Journaling spaces, devotional readings, Scripture verses, encouragements and prayers comprise each of the guided journal’s chapters. There are lots of questions and lined spaces or boxes for writing, designed to help young women to stop and really think about:

  • who they engage with online and why
  • to identify issues that social media seems to create for them
  • to consider who’s influencing them
  • to understand that “likes” don’t really provide the love they’re seeking
  • to consider their passions and purposes, and why they’re pursuing them
  • to understand whose truth they’re following, and what will set them free
  • and more

This guided journal is filled with beautiful images, words of wisdom, and spaces for readers to think and write down their own thoughts, desires, and the directions that they are truly led to go, instead of just the way social media leads them.

My impressions & reactions

I love reading Sadie Robertson Huff’s books! I love her genuine, happy voice, which comes across as clearly as you read her words as it does when you watch her on a video. I love the joy that infuses her words in each chapter. Better yet (as she does in her books), she would be the first to tell you that this joy is not a result of who she is, but because of who she is following–Jesus.

Sadie’s message is a vital one for young women (and, to be honest, not-so-young women too) today. In a time and era when social media, film, and print media pressure women in so many ways (and ways that are not always positive), Who Are You Following? offers a different take: that we are not amazing, precious, or adored because of our beauty, thinness, popularity, or number of likes and followers. Instead, Sadie reminds us that what we are looking for so avidly via social media is something we’ve already been offered. God showed us that love, the immense love and acceptance He has for us in that Jesus died on the cross for us, when we didn’t even know Him. And that love will never leave us, never forsake us, never desert us when we’re unlikable or unlovely. It is totally steadfast, even when we are at our worst.

The Who Are You Following? book and its companion Guided Journal refreshed my spirit and captured my heart. They are physically beautiful books. The book itself is filled with wisdom pulled from Sadie’s own walk through the ups and downs of “likes” and the world’s approval, which didn’t satisfy her or give her love; but that instead helped her to choose Christ and to understand the complete love He always has for His people. The journal is also gorgeous. It’s filled with lovely photos of diverse young women and of beautiful landscapes. So it’s soothing to read. But it’s also a journal that will guide readers through the topics addressed in the book, with exercises to help identify struggles and pain, and to receive the healing and acceptance Jesus offers.

These would be lovely gifts for young women for so many occasions. Or even for yourself! What a breath of fresh air, filled with excellent Bible verses for life application, and the thing that will help women understand their own worth–and the One who loves them best.

About the author

Sadie Robertson Huff is a speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Influencer, and Founder of Live Original. Communicating as a sister and friend, Huff is on a mission to use her influence to reach her generation with the message of Christ. Huff is the host of the popular podcast WHOA, That’s Good, which reached more than a million unique downloads after only 15 episodes. Her Live Original Blog, features encouraging and transparent messages from Huff and her closest friends. She recently launched her exclusive, online community and App, LO Sister, which is designed to cultivate sisterhood through bible studies and workshops. You can learn more about Sadie Robertson Huff at LiveOrginal.com or by following her on Instagram @legitsadierob.

Where you can purchase these

You can learn more about Sadie, the Live Original ministry, and purchase Who Are You Following? and the Who Are You Following? Guided Journal at the link below:

https://bit.ly/WhoAreYouFollowingSadie

Enjoy! –Wren

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

“Create Your Garden of Eden” ~ a book review

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I received an exceptional book to help individuals in creative planning for their lives and callings from FrontGate Media. Authored by Elizabeth Mannette, Create Your Garden of Eden is based on the process God utilized in Genesis 1 as He created everything, day by day. This book made strategic planning and personal goal-setting a beautiful process. And, you can enter to win a copy for yourself!

About Create Your Garden of Eden

God has made you, and your life, to be a masterpiece. But how exactly do you understand how He has made you, and find the purpose and works He’s equipped you for?

In Create Your Garden of Eden, Elizabeth Mannette uses the 6-day Creation Week process to lead readers through their own life vision creation, with an additional exercise that helps readers understand who they are and where they are, before they begin to craft their masterpiece plan. These include:

  • Step Zero: Assess Where You Are
  • Step One: Light – Getting Clarity About Where You Want to Go
  • Step Two: The Heaven Line – Be Motivated by High Standards
  • Step Three: Plants – Plan for the Short, Medium, and Long Term
  • Step Four: Heavenly Lights and Seasons – Be Guided by Light from Heaven
  • Step Five: Fishes and Birds – Who Says You Have to Be the Same
  • Step Six: Human and Animal Life – Your Masterpiece Reflects Your Best
  • Step Seven: A Time of Rest – Flow in What You Have Designed

In each chapter, Mannette explains how the six orderly, clearly-planned days of creation offer a model for us to use as we seek God for His excellent purpose for our individual lives. On each day of Creation Week, God creates something (or some things) that are very specific. On each consecutive day, He creates something that is now possible because of what was created before it. And in every day, He proclaims that His creation is good, or finally, very good.

As Mannette unfolds this strategic planning model, she includes exercises that enable readers to understand where they are, and craft what they believe are the masterpieces God has gifted and called them to do. The whole process is clean and orderly, and extremely easy to follow. It’s a book that readers can return to over and over, as they progress in their own good work, and as they prepare for the next things they’ll be focusing on.

My impressions

Honestly, I have always found strategic planning to be SO DIFFICULT. I could set goals, plans, and lists for the day, week, or quarter. But to unify that under an overall vision or direction for my own life or calling? Just so arduous.

But finally, I’ve found a person who can explain strategic planning to me AND lead me through the process almost painlessly. (Since we’re being honest here–strategic planning IS going to include some things I’m not good at, and that felt a bit painful just because of my lack of skill with them.) Yet even with the more challenging aspects of this planning for me, Elizabeth Mannette was able to lead me through setting a vision for my life. And then, breaking down that overall vision to short-, medium-, and long-range goals that will feed into that vision.

As a Christ-follower, I do want my overall goals and vision to be the ones that He has created me for, that are in line with the way He made me and the abilities, gifts, and inclinations He’s given me. Mannette’s process keeps that goal in mind, and in such an encouraging and useful way. The first exercises directed me to assess where I was, at this very moment, in the different areas that make up my life; both ones I felt good about and not good. This actually felt like a relief! And the following exercises, chapter by chapter, built effectively on the foundation that Step Zero started with. And while they stayed aligned with God’s Creation Week process, they never strayed from being focused on me and on my own purposes and path. It was a wonderful, always-hopeful exercise.

And, I’m not finished with it yet. I have worked through the beginning exercises of the book. But although I’ve read the entire book, I’m still working through the days and my own purposes and callings. I am looking so forward to continuing the process prayerfully and thoughtfully–following it to the end of the book and the steps and exercises. Finally, a vision and calling book for me–and, I believe, for so many others!

Enter to win Create Your Garden of Eden

You can enter to win a copy of this wonderful book from FrontGate Media and Elizabeth Mannette! To enter, just click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to the website, Blessed Freebies, that is hosting the giveaway. One winner will be selected on 3/10/22. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Where you can find Elizabeth Mannette online

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/CreateYourGOE

Instagram:          https://www.instagram.com/createyourgoe/

Twitter:               https://twitter.com/CreateYourGOE

Where you can purchase Create Your Garden of Eden

You can purchase Create Your Garden of Eden from the website link below. You can also watch a short video from the author, and learn about how and why she created this exceptional vision- and goal-setting system. In fact, she’s used it herself for over 20 years!

Create Your Garden of Eden purchase link

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and my own.

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.

 

 

“The Daily Question for You and Your Child” Book Launch — For Beautiful, Rich Moments Together Between Parent and Child

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I have just had the opportunity (as part of Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team) to preview and use the most beautiful and wonderful book that can provide years of rich conversations and keepsake memories between you and your kiddos!

 

 

As a parent, are you noticing that the years and moments are flying by?  Our son is 16 and we are beginning his junior year of high school.  As I’m sure you can do that math, you probably can see that we have ONLY two years of high school left.  I am suddenly very, very aware of the brevity of that time left.

I’m so happy to have received The Daily Question to use with our child.

 

What is The Daily Question?

The Daily Question is a 3-year sort of journal where you can sit down with your kiddos–each day–and answer questions that range from silly to deep to opinion-based; from concrete to abstract, from spiritual to physical.  Each day, starting from January 1 and ending with December 31, has a question for your kids to answer.  And each day has three sets of lines for kids to fill out themselves with their answers, or for parents to fill in (if the kiddos haven’t mastered writing yet).

 

What kinds of questions will you find in The Daily Question?

There are a huge variety of questions in this sweet book.  They aren’t only serious at all; they’re fun-loving as well.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • What are 5 things you like that are yellow?
  • What new thing could you invent?
  • What do you think college will be like?
  • When did you last have to be brave?
  • What do you need most from Jesus today?
  • and 360 other amazing questions!

 

How could you use The Daily Question in your family?

So easily!  You could use it at bedtime, during those sweet moments right before your kiddo goes to bed.  Or in the morning when you get up.  Or, during a mealtime.  It doesn’t even have to be at a set time, although I think the book is so wonderful that it could easily become part of an enjoyable bedtime or mealtime routine.

Honestly, I’m using it with my high schooler!  He’s writing a lot this year (fiction, essays, journals) so this is an easy addition to our days.  Its calm, interesting, yet non-intrusive questions provide a way for us to chat or connect on thoughts or ideas that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of.  But it would be just as amazing to use with a toddler, kindergartner, elementary- or middle school-aged kid.

 

 

 

In closing…

I heard a speaker a couple of weeks ago at a teachers’ training seminar that talked about how the current group of American students (elementary to high school) is more connected online or via cell than any other generation.  However, at the same time, they’re actually less socially connected in real life.  And they are absolutely longing for that connection.

Then, just last Sunday our pastor spoke of the importance of being involved in community.  Clearly, we all need that; human beings thrive via connection and community.

If you’re looking for a lovely, easy-to-use tool to engage with your own child, and provide some of that connection, I recommend The Daily Question.  It is just a fun, beautiful way to connect with your kiddos…and have a lovely keepsake of their thoughts and dreams in the process.

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

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

 

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