My Fitness

Monday, November 7, 2016

insignificant me

My prayer for you tonight is that you will waken with refreshened zeal and surplus of faith that you will realize how insignificant tomorrow is. 


Here in North Texas we are surrounded by many cultural Christians. I say cultural because of their dependency on culture to define their christianity. They are Republican. They are Democrat. They need freedom. They need government. They need guns. They need to homeschool. They need to speak. They need to be helped. They need high tax. They need low tax. But don’t be mistaken. There will be no Republicans in heaven. There will be no Democrats in heaven. 

For two thousands years Christianity has survived. Only ten percent of that has been with America. The Republican Party does not carry the Christian message. The Republican Party does not speak the words of Christ. The Republican Party does not live off the platform of Christ. There’s a simple test to see how I know this: The Republicans has dozens of pages outlining their platform. Christ summed his message in one simple breath in two thoughts: Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. 

The Democrats do not speak for Christ either. If you are getting your religious dogma from a politician, you are looking in the wrong direction. 

Do not overestimate the importance of this election.

For two thousands years Christianity has survived. Christianity has survived because of Christ. Christianity has not survived because of the saints and martyrs, men and women, rulers and conquests, popes and sinners, or democratic republics and kingdoms. 

You don’t need free speech to share the love of Christ. My prayer for you tonight is that you will waken with refreshened zeal and surplus of faith that you will realize how insignificant tomorrow is. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

a nice day with gals from church

This morning the women of Denton Bible Church met for a "Mugs and Mentors" brunch at Ann Little's house. It was delightful. I didn't know anyone but thought it would be a great way to meet new people. I met many wonderful gals and officially met a few people that I've had limited interactions with at church.

It was fun, challenging, encouraging, and grace-filled.

I chatted with various people for over an hour after it ended, which, if you know me, is not something I've done since having kids. (Something about being too tired for human interaction)

I then gathered my family together and we headed to the mall. I only have one pair of shorts. I know that it's November and here in the Northern Hemisphere we are about to enter Winter, but no one has told the weather this. Thus, it is still shorts-wearing weather. I was able to find a pair of shorts! Amazing! Not only that, but I was able to find a "workout jacket" as I call it - it's the thinnest jacket available and I wear it to Pilates and Ballet to give an extra ounce of warmth without overheating. I found both these items at very discounted prices. I would not have bought them otherwise!

Also, Felipe found a jacket that he said was very "Lauren-looking" at Zumiez along with a couple of beanies. So fulfilling!

Finally, I found the perfect "purse" but it was close to $30 and you know I'm not spending that much. Felipe found one for $6 that he thought looks right for me and I said that definitely the price tag looked like me! ha!

So I found every item I was looking for at discount and now I own two pairs of shorts for this Texas winter.

I remembered to write a Thank You Note to my host this morning and got it in the mail already. That was amazing - when do I remember out-of-the-ordinary things like that? When Micah, 5, saw me put it in the mailbox we had a mini-homeschool lesson about what I was doing and why. He then said, "Well, maybe I can write a letter to Kirsten about her buying me a dragon ball." Um, ok. More opportunity to educate and what's 50 ¢ for his happiness? Ha! So funny!


More good news: yesterday we bought a new (to us) washer and dryer for significantly discounted and it's working great. I am hopeful that we can give our old washer (kinda works) and dryer (works perfectly) to someone who needs it. I posted to the DBC city page and was immediately called by a gal who's daughter had just been texting me about something completely unrelated. Then I saw this gal at Mugs & Mentors and it was so refreshing. I love being part of the Body of Christ. I love helping and being helped by people who aren't looking for anything in return.

Nothing amazing happened today, but it was filled with grace and peace. And while these gals might have thought this event was no-big-deal, to me it was invaluable.

Thank you, new friends. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

are you good at defending God?

I am currently wearing this shirt:

In the diamond it reads, "We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19"

I ran an errand and a cashier complimented my shirt. She said it was her favorite verse. I replied that we all needed the reminder. She said, "Yeah, we need more people defending him. That's what's so wrong with this country."

She had to help other people who needed her attention but I was tempted to ask her what she meant.

God doesn't need you to defend him. He doesn't need you to believe in him. He doesn't need you. He doesn't need.

Perhaps she means something more along the lines of "defending her faith" which would be defending herself and not God. But the impression I got was that she felt we needed to take care of God and protect him. If that is actually what she meant, then I think we found our country's real culprit: bad theology. Decades and decades worth of theologically illiterate people.

Theology matters. If you're a cultural Christian, you're not a Christian. If you're really a Christian, it doesn't matter what the culture is like. We are so heavily influenced by our culture that we usually can't see where our Christian Culture ends and our Redemption begins.

There are thousands and millions of people who think they are good Christians because they don't drink alcohol. They explain that when Jesus was drinking the Bible got it wrong. Jesus would never do something that their culture says is bad (never mind the entire point of the Good Samaritan).

There are others who think that not smoking is a bonus point with God. Lots of people think homeschooling is what Real Christians do. Millions are being deceived right now into thinking that the only option for a Christian Voter is to vote Republican. -This last one is so obviously wrong and you'll see why when I point out that most Christians are not allowed to vote for US elections because they're not American.

We are so blinded by culture that we don't even consider non-American cultures.

Theology matters. God doesn't need your help. You need his help. You will fall for anything if you don't start studying different theologians. If you only listen to Brother Wilson (made up name) from your small hometown and shout "amen" at every service no matter what he says, that is foolish. If you only listen to Pastor Chuck (made up name) from your huge city megachurch and you discount every naysayer without looking into the matter, that is foolish.

Get a good Lutheran theologian, like Luther (duh). Get a good Calvinist theologian, like Calvin. Get some Augustine. Get some Piper. Get some Stott. Get some Lewis. Read their books and blogs. Listen to their sermons and podcasts. They don't all agree. Find out where they do agree. Read their Biblical analysis and start forming your own opinion. Don't be foolish but rather be like the Bereans who tested everything that Paul the Apostle taught them.

[The one stipulation that I can think of is if you are having difficulty following their reasoning and discussions. We are all weak in some areas. Some basic theology might be too much for you to understand. That's ok. Jesus didn't say, "Understand all things and you will be saved." We simply can't know all things. We are simple. What you need to know at the most basic level is that God loves you and sent his son, Jesus, to die so that those who believe will enter heaven in the after-life. Love God and love your neighbor; everything else falls under those two statements. ]

A God who needs your help is not strong enough to save you. Don't worship that God.

My help comes from God (Psalm 121:2). Not the other way around.


SaveSave

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Where Jesus Slept review and free gift


This children's book is in the genre of Green Eggs and Ham in that it builds on the previous page until the final page has every phrase. I think this book would make a great children's skit. I want to work on it for 2017 - have each kid assigned a phrase telling the whole story of Jesus' birth. Just an idea. 
Leave your email address for a chance to win your own copy from the publisher!

“This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” From here, the story builds with each spread, adding a new element and explaining the relationships among the participants and witnesses to the first Christmas. From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers young and not-so-young of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmastime. Children will love the delightful illustrations and the engaging repetition in this cumulative tale.

About the author:
Norma Lewis is the author of ten books. She lives in Grand Haven, MI, with a marmalade cat named Scalawag. They both love spending time with her six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to twenty.
Illustrated by Katy Hudson.





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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

say & pray FREE GIVEAWAY

This devotional might be fun for those of you with really little ones. I can imagine baby crawling into mama or dada's lap and points to different pictures making sounds that vaguely resemble the objects. You can read the entire devotion in less than a minute before baby gets distracted and wonders away. 

Bestselling children’s author Diane Stortz has sold nearly 300,000 books—Bible storybooks, devotionals for children, and more. This brand-new title, Say & Pray Devotions, is the perfect beginner devotional for little ones.
Parents who already know and love the Say & Pray Bible will love Say & Pray Devotions as it helps their youngsters continue to engage their faith in a personal way. Featuring the same fun style of artwork and the educational elements as Say & Pray Bible, this devotional for little ones will teach the basics of identification and comprehension while sharing biblical principles for life. Each devotion offers a topical message to help little ones learn and follow biblical principles.

OFFICIAL  WEBSITE TO PURCHASE: http://store.faithgateway.com/say-pray-devotions 

Enter your email address in the rafflecopter and you could win a free copy from the publisher!
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, 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.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Paul Tripp parenting book review and giveaway

I thought I'd get a chance to read this book but every chance I get is interrupted...by my kids. Even as I write this sentence I am still being interrupted by children that were supposed to be asleep an hour ago.

Some of you know the trouble I have been having with my oldest. I don't know what it is about oldest children that they always think they know best. They don't, but they think they do. All knowledge with no wisdom. It's very frustrating. What do I do with this kid? When I was asked if I'd be interested in reviewing this book, I begged to be considered.

There's also this link to a 14 day video series from the publisher. I plan to sign-up for that as soon as I finish this post! My heart is breaking and my soul is heavy. I don't know how to be a good parent. I don't have a good model and when I do what was modeled to me as a child I realize how unbiblical it is.

I'm often torn between wanting God's best for my son and wanting the world's best for my son. I want God to win his soul but I also want him to be the best at everything he sets his I set my mind to for him. See?

Our troubles are more than only me. Much more. The kids is so smart and clever without a drop of wisdom. I don't know what to do with him. I cry every day because of him. I want him to behave, but more than that I want him to want to behave. I want him to have a genuine relationship with Christ which I do not believe he does. He is breaking my heart with his choices.

So I read the introductory chapter of Tripp's book. I cried a lot. He describes a parent as either an owner or an ambassador. I see myself with desires in the latter but many actions in the former. When Felipe and I started this journey together we said we'd hang our culture and turn only to the Bible for instruction. To make decisions we would follow Proverbial wisdom and Jesus's words. The problem with this technique is that we are both so saturated with sin as are our children. And without realizing it, I find my thoughts echoing my sleeping brother's:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:15-25 ESV)

Enough about me. This will be an awesome book.
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.  Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy. 
Enter your name and email address and I'll email you if you win! Email is only used for winner notification.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can purchase here on AMAZON.

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, 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.

Friday, September 30, 2016

micah and the venus fly trap

[UPDATED below]
Last year my then-four-year-old discovered Venus Fly Traps. He wanted one. I've wanted one too because they're cool. I had some seeds that never grew once. I didn't want to purchase one of those kits again because then you have to wait for the plant to grow and so much can go wrong in the meantime. So I told Micah that if we ever saw one at the store then we could buy it. TODAY WAS THAT DAY!

Adventures in homeschooling!

Now we get to learn about plants. My teacher-mind is going nuts with all the plant cell pictures we can draw and learn about the anatomy of VFTs. Plus we learned what a "nutrient" is! I think I may even get David Attenborough to help us.




Here's Micah's drawing, aka Kindergarten report:
Micah explained that his plant is on the left with a heart on the top left side. You can also see a fly in his jar with a smiley face. "Venus fly trap" is titled across the top. He signed his name and drew a picture of himself above his signature. The plant on the right is Holly's. He drew it for her with a heart, smiley fly, and picture of Holly above her "name". The scribbles are his attempt to write, "This is Holly's Venus Fly Trap" but he doesn't know how to spell, he clarified for me.

We captured a fly and trapped him in the jar but the little bugger found a hole to escape. That fly even landed on Micah's head at one point as if to mock us in our efforts to feed him to our pet plant.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Veggies Tale Devotional review and giveaway

The Veggie Tales devotional has two versions - one for boys and one for girls. We received the girl version and immediately my two-year-old, Holly, declared her book came in the mail! ha! We have only recently started watching Veggie Tales DVDs and the kids love them. All the kids were excited to see the devotional with their favorite characters. My daughter often brings me the book to have me read from it. The Bible verses are in random versions from NIV to The Message and others. The devotional part of each page is short and (as far as I can tell) Biblically accurate. I'm not sure what the difference is between the two versions. Probably just the characters on the page and pronouns.

If you win my giveaway, let me know which version you want! Enter your email address in the Rafflecopter below. I only use your email to contact you - I don't have time to sell it or spam you! Promise!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Book:
Every Day with God is the latest 365-day devotional (one for boys and another for girls) from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer. The content will help children learn more about God and develop a daily practice to keep Him close in their lives. The book is perfect for bedtime reading, family devotion time, or as a fresh way to start each day!

Amazon retail links:
Every Day with God Boys: link
Every Day with God Girls: link


"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, 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.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

baby baby! giveaway

I read Baby, Baby to my almost one-year old. She loved it! There's a tiny mirror on the front cover that made her gasp and she moved the book out of the way so she could see the "other" baby - I guess she thought it was a window! We went through several pages but she then skipped to the end and thought seeing her reflection was SO FUN! It was adorable. I knew from my older children that books like these are a huge hit! Babies really enjoy seeing other babies. If I'm on Instagram and my baby sees one of your photos of your babies it makes her giggle and she tries to steal my phone so she can see better!




If you want a chance to WIN, enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Purchase on Amazon HERE



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, 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.

A sweet, colorful board book that appeals to a baby's interest in looking at other babies
Babies enjoy books, looking at other babies, and their own flowering abilities. This short rhyming poem combines all three in a sweet and happy way, while introducing babies to God's love for them. The simple words are paired with colorful images of babies engaging in familiar activities, allowing the book to be used as an introductory concept book as well. And it ends with a reminder that Baby is always loved by God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Biggest Story review and giveaway




I am excited to be talking about The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung and illustrated by Don Clark. We have the book version and one day last week my two-year-old brought it to me to read to her for thee first time. Surprisingly, we were able to read through the whole thing in one sitting. I loved the theology and the jokes and the readability. Often children’s Bibles are so far below acceptable that you may as well sing about ducks for how much theology they get right. The art is beautiful. I love it. The book is great!



So when I was asked to review the DVD version I was stoked! It has the same beautiful art. Plus! It has the same wording. Plus! Comically though I was surprised at the voice. It took me awhile to figure out why. I was expecting my own voice! ha! Kevin DeYoung and I sound nothing alike.


My kids prefer me reading over watching the DVD but I still loved the DVD. I didn’t think any children’s Bible could compete with Jesus Storybook Bible but with this Bible you can read through in one sitting. If you are looking for a DVD Children’s Bible, this is a good one! The Audio Book on CD is the exact reading of the tale! Perfect for car rides!


I’m going to try using Rafflecopter for this giveaway. All you should need to do is enter your name and email address and I’ll pick a winner on Sunday morning!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



The Animated Short Film: Featuring beautifully animated illustrations adapted from the book, The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film will captivate children and parents alike as they see how all the classic stories in the Bible connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people.

The Audio Book: This audio book of The Biggest Story—written and narrated also by the best-selling author Kevin DeYoung—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ's death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.

Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI, husband to Trisha, and father to seven children.

"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, 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.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

family christian online store GIVEAWAY and review

It always surprises me that people don't want FREE items. You only need to comment to let me know you want the item. That's it. I don't know how to make it any easier.

This giveaway is for $25 at FamilyChristian.com to use how you please simply comment below. I'll draw a winner at random on Monday. YOU GUYS ~~ THE CUSTOMER SERVICE AT FAMILYCHRISTIAN.COM IS UNPARALLELED THESE GUYS ARE AMAZING!

Currently they have a buy on get one 50% off deal that might interest you. They also have highlighted several discounted devotions and Bibles.

They have those cheeky active faith apparel for you fitness lovers. I love these shirts! They're always a bit outside my budget, but perhaps with their bogo deal you might be able to afford a couple.

I checked out the site with a $25 gift certificate but I had no idea what I wanted to buy. It was fun to browse the sale and clearance section. They have a $5 section that has a few items of interest.

One thing that I didn't like was, for instance, when selecting the educational section the page showed eight options. At first I thought there was only 8 options. Once I chose one of those, there was actually closer to 100 options of that category but I couldn't find the one that I thought I was selecting. Ha! I did a search for the title and came back similar results but the actual book is not there at all.

The book that wasn't available gave me an idea to search for something to help me and the kids memorize scripture. The first thing I selected sounded AWESOME! I couldn't figure out which version of the Bible was used though. Also, the video that was linked was unavailable. Also, this item is only available in-store.

I searched for a book that I will be needing in the Navigators 2:7 series but it was only available in-store. It's the same price as Amazon and Amazon has free 2-day shipping so it's unlikely that I will pack-up my tribe just to go get one book.


A nice feature is the "google preview" look inside option. I was looking at a kid's devotional and was able to look inside to make sure it was up to my standards. It has good thorough reviews and the preview looks good. And it's only $12.99. Nice!

I went to Tees next and was sad to see only 25 options that were all patriotic and not really faith oriented. Hopefully they'll expand this section to include tees with scripture on them.

Well, onto whatever they have in Adventures in Odyssey. It'd be nice to have a download. I found a Platinum Collection for $13 more than amazon has it listed. I ended up getting a "sampler".

When searching "christmas" I got a 404 error. Eventually I found an advent calendar that I tried to purchase but got an error after I put it in my cart that it wasn't available. Almost everything was a "special order" or available in-store only. I wish they'd have a list of what I could actually buy from the website.

I found another 52-week devotional that wasn't on special order status and decided on that one. It's a bit more. I have to pay for shipping too. Shipping will probably be about $5.

I rounded out my shopping with some tracts for Halloween and with shipping the cost came to $26.

I could not get the shopping cart to accept my gift certificate and had to call customer service. The gal who answered was awesome. She took care of me and saw that I had a balance of less than a dollar from my $25 gift certificate and just comp'd it.

So the site has some bugs but their customer service is super helpful to get you through it all. I hope you find something awesome! Comment below for a chance to win $25 gift certificate. (it cannot be combined with the bogo deal.)

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, 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.



Product Recommendations (from FC)
Whether you’re road tripping, vacationing with the family, lounging on the beach or staying close to home, Family Christian has you covered! Here are some items we suggest you check out this summer:

Bible: Journaling Bibles
Description: Select journaling Bibles are now 30% off through August 25! Ignite a renewed passion for exploring God’s Word, whether you’re jotting down notes from a church sermon or recording prayer requests from small group—you’ll have all the space you need. And many of our journaling Bibles are filled with illustrations to inspire and get you started. Choose from 26 styles, and save now!

Book: For the Glory by Duncan Hamilton
Description: Eric Liddell, hero of Chariots of Fire, ran and lived for the glory of God. This compelling narrative is his untold and inspiring story of athletic heroism and faith in the darkest circumstances—from his Olympic medal to his missionary work in China to his last, brave years in a Japanese work camp during World War II.

Book: Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
Description: When Evie Blackwell arrives in Carin, Illinois, it’s to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining two of the city’s unsolved crimes. As she dives into evidence and develops new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly a third cold case. She’s determined to solve them before she leaves town, and Sheriff Gabriel Thane and his family will be key to those answers. Book #1 of the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series.

Music: H A R D L O V E by NEEDTOBREATHE (available July 15)
Description: This sixth studio album from NEEDTOBREATE finds the group reflecting on the tumultuous seasons behind their recent albums, Rivers In the Wasteland and The Reckoning, and enjoying extraordinary success while experiencing personal conflict. “We were in a dark place when we made the last record, but to me this album is mostly a story of redemption,” Bear Rinehart said. H A R D L O V E delves into the world of electronic effects and instrumentation, resulting in a sublimely crafted and expansive sound that reflects the band’s unforgettable live show. Includes lead singles “Happiness” and “Money & Fame.”

DVD: Miracles from Heaven (available July 12)
Description: Upon discovering her 10-year-old daughter, Anna, has an incurable disease, Christy Beam becomes a ferocious advocate of finding a solution. After Anna has an accident, an astonishing miracle unfolds in the wake of her rescue, restoring her family’s faith. Based on a true story. Stars Jennifer Garner and Kylie Rogers with Queen Latifah.

DVD: Risen
Description: Risen tells the story of a powerful Roman military tribune and his aide seeking to solve the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the Crucifixion. Their goal: to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem. Stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton.

Kids’ Items: Summer Reading Club
Description: Encourage kids 12 years and younger to take their reading to new heights by joining our Summer Reading Club. When they read six books, we’ll give them a free book of their choice. Jump start their reading now with our Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off sale on all Kids’ Books! The Club is going on now and ends August 25, so get them reading! 

Kids’ Items: VeggieTales
Description: Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, Junior Asparagus and the rest of the VeggieTales gang will keep kids giggling and learning with their silly songs and life lessons on a wide selection of DVDs, books and CDs! Introduce kids today to some fun and hilarious new friends by inviting them on an adventure with the VeggieTales.  


New Product Line: Active Faith
  • We’re thrilled to be the exclusive retail partner for Active Faith Sports! Formed by a group of Christian athletes, Active Faith offers apparel with Christian-inspired designs and messages, encouraging you to share your faith whether you’re on the court, out for a jog or running errands around town.
  • Pro athletes seen wearing Active Faith apparel include Stephen Curry, Demaryius Thomas, Clayton Kershaw, James Harden and more!
  • Men’s apparel is available now in stores and online. Women’s and youth apparel will be available mid-July.
  • Here are some videos we filmed with founder Lanny Smith about Active Faith to help inform you about the line:
  • Watch Active Faith’s promotional video about the line and feel free to link to:


About Family Christian
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Night Night Farm children's book review and giveaway


Nigh Night, Farm is a basic children's book full of colorful animals. My two year old loved pointing to each animal. It was cute. The prose was less than stellar but the book doesn't claim to be a magnificent literary masterpiece. I don't think I've read any of Amy Parker's other books except A Pumpkin Prayer. We've owned quite a few animals over the years so I had high hopes for a book that would talk about them. I enjoyed being able to say, "Remember our chickens?" Maybe you've visited a farm or petting zoo with your kids and this book will help you remember those fond memories. If you want your own copy comment below and I'll draw a name on Friday!





About the book:
Moo moo, cows!
Baa baa, sheep!
When the sun sinks low down on the farm, the animals are all tuckered out from the day’s adventures. Join these adorable farm animals in pajamas as they say night night to the farm, to their mommies and daddies, and to God.
Your little ones will sleep until the rooster crows knowing that the God who made them loves them too.
Night night, farm!

About the author:
Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

Social corner:
official website to purchase – http://bit.ly/Blogging-NNF
Facebook @AmyParkerAuthor
Facebook @TommyNelsonBooks
Twitter @AmyParker
Twitter @TommyNelson
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

bible study drawings

Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

I started reading ESV Family Devotional Bible to my kids every day starting 3 weeks ago. After the short devotional, I would have them draw a picture of what we learned. They almost always draw something else. I would draw too and tape my pictures up on the wall so they can see them and maybe remember a bit of the stories.

As you can see, they started to tape their pictures too.

Then today, finally, all three kids drew pictures of what I asked them to draw! I don't know if week 3, devotional 21, is the magic number, or if there was something about the story that especially resonated with them. We learned about Moses being hidden in the River. I asked them to draw Phaoroh's daughter finding the baby Moses in the river.

Can you guess whose picture is whose? The answers are below:


The top left is Holly's picture. She told me that the two blue lines on the bottom is the river and the lighter blue across the middle is the basket. I think the pink scribbles are the people of the story. Top right is Micah's. Blue on bottom is the river, the orange is the basket, the baby is clearly visible, and the green lines are the reeds. Bottom left is Caleb's. The blue line is the river, the basket with the baby is obvious, the person on the left is Moses's mother and to the right is Pharaoh's daughter. Mine is bottom right.


mourn the life

Sometimes I weep over not being able to still do what I once did. Sometimes it's because of the money involved - pointe shoes are expensive. Sometimes it's the time involved - having a family restricts the amount of freedom I have. Sometimes it's my physical health - injury and lack of rehabilitation time means I am constantly struggling with fitness. It's frustrating. And I feel like I'm not allowed to be upset about my life. Someone else will come along and say, "at least you have..." So now I feel guilty and mournful. It's not a competition. We can both feel bad.


Thank you, John Piper, for giving me permission. He articulates it well. It's ok to cry. And like Matt Chandler says, "It's ok to not be ok. Just don't stay there."

Remember in Romans we are commanded to weep with those who weep. I like to remember this when my child is weeping over something I think is trivial. Scripture doesn't say to judge and see if the weeping is worth it. But rather, be sympathetic. With my child, I help him to move past it. With myself, I don't know how to move past it. There was so much left undone.


Christ tells me that I am blessed for my mourning. Perhaps that is because Christ also mourned. God weeps at the souls lost to evil having never lived to their full potential. There was so much left undone.





Let me have my time to mourn since my time to dance has come to an end.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

empty nest...and terrarium...and cage

Well, not exactly empty. But not here.

My foot isn't getting better. I don't know what's wrong. I have a follow-up appointment next week. Meanwhile I cry a lot. I've stopped doing school work with the kids so that I can try to relax and stay off my foot. I'm not going to Bible study tomorrow in hopes that the break from driving will help.

We got rid of the chickens. I thought Felipe wanted them. He thought I wanted them. I don't know where the first three came from since Felipe didn't want them. I didn't get them. I didn't put a coop and run in the backyard. But I did follow this mystery's lead and get the babies. That was fun watching them grow up. And the ducks too! That was really fun. Albeit loud!



Then I had had enough trying to take care of the guinea pigs. I'm the only one to care for them and my foot hurts. It's stinky to clean up after them too. And actually it was hard to care for my tortoises too. So I put them all on craigslist.

The tortoises sold immediately. I probably could have asked for more for them, but I was already asking for more than what I paid for them. I think they will thoroughly enjoy their new home with their retired hobbyist owner. I cried when they left.

Bubbles
The guinea pigs took a drastic price reduction and a couple extra days. But they sold. I did not cry when they left.

And just like that we are left with Raymond, our betta fish, and Bubbles, our snail who cleans up after him.

Pets are a lot of work. So are kids. Some of you are gifted to care for both. I am not. At least not while injured. Hopefully it will only be temporary.



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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

all things Review and Giveaway

All Things Bright and Beautiful is a popular poem and now a children's book with beautiful art that will capture your children's eyes. My two year old loved it! She pointed to each animal and named them. She enjoyed the pictures. They are quite beautiful. If you'd like your own copy, comment below and I'll select a winner at random on Saturday!




"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, 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.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

come rest

This morning I awoke to the thought that I am doing enough as "just" a mother.

Saturday morning I met with my mentor (everyone should have a mentor). We discussed many things and at one point the ridiculous standards that the world places on people came up. A friend posted a video to Facebook about foot contouring in case your feet aren't shaped optimally you can use make-up to create the optical illusion of the best shaped foot. [I feel like I shouldn't have to explain how absolutely stupid that is, but just in case: that is absolutely stupid. If you have sandals or flip-flops on then that means you are either near water and thus make-up will wash off your feet or you are walking around and your feet will be getting dirty and thus the make-up will have little to no effect. And if you have closed shoes on, then no one will be able to see your feet.] The world will always tell you to be discontent. The world tells you that your feet aren't shaped correctly. The world tells you that as soon as you have obtained pretty that the definition of pretty has changed. Fashion trends change because of the discontentment of the world and their ever shifting eyes from what we have to the new. The world is searching for something to complete itself but refuses the one answer that will satisfy.

The world's goal post moves. The world cheats.

The only way to win is to not play.

Even the church can get caught-up in the game. I homeschool. I work. I clean the house and clothes and make food. I have my personal devotion time. I have a mother's church group. I have a more intense Bible study. I teach homeschool ballet. I'm also someone's wife. I have a couple of hobbies that I enjoy pursuing. My plate is full. My plate might actually be heaping. Felipe often comes along and removes bits that I've placed on my plate saying that I'm doing too much. I feel that if any part of my analogical plate is showing then I must fill it or be burying my talents (!!!) and thus not doing enough. I must help. I must do. I must do more. I'm sure it isn't enough. I must do more. And more.

But it's a lie!


Saturday evening I met with some gals for Miranda's birthday. She shared how she thought once that she had to fulfill all these missionary roles but finally God showed her otherwise, in a story that she tells much better than this. This thin spread has a lot to do with why I'm letting go of the DCHSA presidency, why we got rid of the chickens, why I'm not beating myself over not completing other gals' needs [why I unvolunteered for VBS]. Just because there is a need, doesn't mean I need to fill it. Just as Miranda shared about how she wasn't God's only tool for spreading the gospel, I have a small part in the body as well. I am not the entire body by myself.

I knew it all along but I didn't grasp the extent that I believed the lie and perhaps still believe the lie. until now. Where is this pressure coming from? Perhaps June Cleaver. Well, Hollywood and modern culture not exactly poor June. It isn't enough to be a stay-at-home mom. You must also have a career. If you don't have a career, you're a second-rate citizen. You aren't contributing! You're not contributing to society which a sin in the eyes of the world; and you aren't contributing monetarily to your family which makes you little more than a child and only a consumer which is a sin in the eyes of the church. You should at least volunteer somewhere. LIES!

This is probably why I have a broken foot right now. It hasn't properly healed since February. I. Need. Rest.

What is my calling? I am a wife. I am a mother. This is my calling and it will only be here for a little while. I don't have to be anything more than what I am. If you have a bigger calling, and if your plate is bigger than mine, then I need to be secure enough in Christ to not let that affect my role and my self-image. If you try to make me feel small, that's on you. Satan once tried to make Eve feel discontent and as if she wasn't doing enough to better herself too. Don't be like Eve. Don't be like Satan. Be like Jesus: he told Satan to be gone!

So my mantra this morning looks like this:
ah, to be so completely at peace