God Bless My Family (Giveaway)

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If you asked my older son what his favorite thing in the world was: he would probably say dogs.

What is so funny is I think every one in his class knows it.  Such a sweet little friend as his school brought him a stuffed animal doggie because he wanted him to have it.  So, sweet, right?

The hearts of little preschoolers!

We’ve enjoyed the God Bless My (Series) by Hannah Hall.  The latest one is a sing-songy rhyming book about family and it is illustrated with dogs.  So, even though this book is definitely more for babies and toddlers, I knew I had to get it because of my son’s affinity for dogs.

So, thanks to Tommy Nelson Mommies, you have the opportunity to win a copy.  So, whether you have babies or toddlers or even older kids who love dogs – this would be a great book for your family.

Just leave a comment here to be entered!

Thanks Tommy Nelson for the book and the giveaway!

January Read Aloud Favorites

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One of our favorite times is sitting on the couch and reading together with our boys.  Mostly me, as we are killing time in the middle of the day, or waiting to go to school in the morning – we will pull out our pile from the library and read through some.

Here are our January favorites.  I hope you find some here that your children love as well.  Reading with your children bonds them to you, promotes snuggling, and engages their minds.

Waiting for Winter : I love the unique illustrations in this one.  And it builds so much anticipation for snow.  We live in the South, so every snow fall is greatly anticipated!

The Wish Tree – What you wish for may actually come true in new ways that you’d never thought of.  Helps kids think about other people other than themselves.

Blizzard

Pete the Cat Snow Daze (we love all Pete the Cat books)

Pug and Doug : Anything with dogs is a favorite of one of our boys.  If you find what interests your children, I guarantee they will read!

The Reverend Thomas’s False Teeth : This is one my husband read with our boys, they thought it was great.

Arthur’s Dream Boat : I love books that encourage imagination and creativity.

Too Many Chickens 

Emergency (Carry-Me) : I found this at Goodwill and we read it all month.  Frequent your local Goodwill – you will find some great books and chapter books for your kids.  I’ve collected almost 2 entire Little House sets just from Goodwill trips.

I hope by reading to them early, that when they learn to read, they will love to read.

Why Biographies Matter

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My favorite genre of books is (well, besides cook books) memoir or biography.  I think they are important for so many reasons, but today I just want to tell you the most important one.

For believers, memoirs/biographies matter so future generations will know your life and what you believe.

In an age of social media, we often get so wrapped up in taking a pretty picture or engaging SEO stats, that we forget about what really matters.  This life is not all there is.  There is life after this life and that is eternal.  So, what we believe about Jesus and the Gospel in this life will determine (based on the grace of God) what our next life looks like.

Jessica Ronne, in her book, Sunlight Burning at Midnight, not only decided to tell her story, one mixed with pain and smiles, but decided to keep Jesus in it.  Since He is clearly the author of our stories, we need to know what He does in them.  What does His word say?  Where does He move us?  What does he bring to our lives that make us look directly at Him?

And what I’ve known now for the last 6 years is so true, in reading this book, and in living my life since those last 6 years: God is big enough to wrestle with us – when we bring to Him our questions, our misunderstandings, our unbelief.  As Aslan would say “draw near”.

Jessica is giving one of you readers a chance to win your own copy.  To enter: just tell me what memoir/biography is your favorite.

 

 

100 Favorite Bible Verses for Children

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Our boys are 5 and 4.  And if there are a few things we’ve learned over the years it is that our boys are different…and our boys are always changing.

What works one day may not work the next and yeah, most of you will understand.

Some nights our evening family worship time (right before bed) works great. Other nights it is a complete disaster.  That doesn’t mean we give up.

It might mean we change things up a bit.

And this book right here has helped us change things up a bit.

In the morning, my mister gets up with the boys, get the older one off to school on the bus, then eats breakfast with the younger.  And this book has been a great addition to the breakfast table.  It shares a verse and a short devotion, perfect for his preschool attention span.

And you can use it in whatever way suits your family:

  1.  If you are homeschooling, you can trace the verse, have your kids journal this verse, memorize the verses, etc.
  2. You can write it on a home chalkboard for your kids to see throughout the day.
  3. You can read it together over a meal or at night.
  4. You can pray it over your children as they go to bed.
  5. You can journal these verses as their mama and give it to them when they are older for them to see how you prayed for them and how God answered.

However you choose to use it, know that it is the Word of God, and it is powerful to bring about change in your kids’ lives (and yours).

And you can win won from Tommy Nelson Mommies.  Just share with me which one of the above ways you would use if you had this book. I’d love to hear!

Thanks Tommy Nelson for this book and for the giveaway book.  All opinions are my own.

Books Read in 2017

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Well, this may be the first year that I’ve ever set a book reading goal – and surpassed it!

So, next year I’ve upped the number by just saying “I want to beat this year”.  I’ve got some reading goals for next year, but that’s for next year – so stay tuned.

Below are the books I read in 2017 and the ones with the talk are the ones I enjoyed the most.

What was your favorite you read in 2017?

What are you looking most forward to with reading in 2018?

The Magnolia Story

Nothing to Prove: This was my first Jennie Allen read and it was what I needed at the time I read it.  I thought it was great!

Magic of Motherhood

Martha Washington: An American Life: This was the first in my First Lady bio books.  I really loved how it focused on her and not her husband.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

You Are Free

A Letter from Lancaster County

Fools Rush In

Between Heaven and the Real World: Definitely my favorite of the year.  I sobbed all the way through it and I’m not allowed to mention SCC’s name in our home I don’t think for a while.  So good! I love biographies!

Dreamland Burning.  Another great one.  YA.  Injustice.  Racial terror.

Dear Mr. Knightley.  First of three I’ve read by her this year.  And I really enjoy her writing.  Weaving faith, romance, literature, travel.  This one was my favorite

Gracelaced

The Bronte Plot

Winter Kisses

A Change of Heart

Trusting Grace

Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Seeds of Hope

Austen Escape

The King’s Locket

Hidden Christmas . Tim Keller.  Easy to read Tim Keller.  Fabulous look on Christmas.

Kinfolk Table.  I probably have notes on every page of this biographical compilation cookbook with stunning photography.

She Reads Truth.  If you need a book to encourage you in truth right where you need it, this is it.  But, word to the wise, don’t read it in public.  There were many chapters I sobbed reading it while on the bike at the gym.

Letters to Grief

Earth Psalms

Growing Up

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing.  I love this.  Its a re-read.  And I’ll probably re-read it every year.

December Picture Books

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I have really fallen in love with reading to my boys.  It is a sweet time on the couch or on their bed.  We read chapter books or picture books.

But, I also let them pick out many of their own books at the library.  They like to wander through the picture book section and find books that have dogs and fire trucks – at least for now.

I also like to get as many from this list.  It is super helpful.  I’ve not found we like them all, but it gives us new ideas and brings us new authors I wouldn’t have known about.

So, here are our favorites from December.  We probably read over 60 picture books.  These are our favorites because the boys picked these over and over.

Pirate Boy.  I’ve read this so much the last two months.  And it is mommy’s as heroes – so its a perfect one to read with your boys.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.  My boys laughed at the animals wearing clothes.  But, it talks about being who you are supposed to be. As believers, we don’t necessarily need to tell our boys to “be all that they can be” but we need to point them to God’s plan for their lives.

Can You Growl Like A Bear?

This was definitely the funnest book because they boys were acting out every animal in this book every time we read it!

Snowmen All Year: This is one we got from the RAR list.  And the boys definitely loved it.  Even if we didn’t see any snow this year.

Oliver Finds His Way.  A bear and a journey.  And talk of home.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

A friend of mine gave us this book, after we read it all weekend our friends were here. So fun!  Believe me!

 

Imperfect Justice

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I heard recently that if we are believers we have to think about and do something about injustice in the world, because our God is a God of justice.

This world will never be perfect in justice – for that we get to wait for Heaven.

But, Cara Putman, works hard to bring out these thoughts of justice in family relationships and family messes in her book, Imperfect Justice.  Being that I love legal thrillers in the movies and netflix, this was a good choice.

So, if you love justice, Christian fiction, and a well-written legal thriller, this would be a good book for you.  And if you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t worry – this one is a good stand alone.

Thanks Litfuse for this book.  All thoughts are my own.

Seeds of Hope

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I’ve read a lot of fiction this year.  And mostly, I’m a non-fiction/biography person.  But this year has taken up a lot of mind space and heart space, so when the heart work is heavy, I want to get lost in a good story.  And if you choose the right fiction, you can still do heart work while reading an engaging story.

One of the genres I’ve been enjoying is Christian Amish Fiction.  And the latest one was Seeds of Hope.  I really enjoyed this.  Going back and forth from English world to Amish world, Barbara Cameron weaves a good story with yes, a predictable end, but there are twists and turns along the way that you wouldn’t expect.

One of the things I love about Amish fiction is entering into a world that I don’t know much about it – but is still real.  Dystopian books are very popular, but it is hard for me to get into those because they are so far from what is real now.  Amish living actually is right now, just not where I live.  So, it is interesting.  Not ideal where everything always works out, but just a bit of change from my norm, city-life.

Thanks to Litfuse for this title.  All opinions are my own.

The King’s Locket

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I’m always eager to get good books in my boys’ hands.  And for boys, I can’t anticipate that they will love Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.  Though they might.  And I will read those books to them (or have them watch the movie.)

But, as they get older, they probably would like stories that contained adventure, battles, journeys, animals, and heroic tales.

The King’s Locket I think would be really good for young boys, a short chapter book that is an analogy of the themes in the Gospel story.

The story of a family dwelling in perfection.

The Fall of someone who wanted everything for himself.

The adoption of those outside the family.

The betrayal and hurt of going outside the realm of good.

The rescue that the Prince had to engage in to defeat the sinful presence.

The welcoming home celebration.

And even the groaning of all creation under the weight of the sin that crept into everything.

I loved the conclusion of this book: adoption, wholeness, celebration, glory, beauty, friendship.  Just what the Heavenly Father anticipates for His adopted children.  These things we may not experience here, especially in their fullness, but we can anticipate.  And wait with eagerness.  And teach our kids how to anticipate well.

Thanks to Jacob for passing this book to me.  Your kids will like it – especially as a read aloud. It gives you opportunity to talk to your kids about biblical themes from a short chapter book filled with lovely illustrations.  It would be good for a family read aloud and would capture even young readers.

I’m Not A Scaredy-Cat

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Seriously, a book with a donut on the cover?  Yes, give me that book!

My kids loved this right away for the very same reason.  And because we ate donuts while reading it for the first time.

I’m definitely a Max Lucado fan, and have been ever since high school when I started reading his books.  He encouraged me in my faith so much during those first years of really growing in the Word.

And, raising boys, I think my boys need this book.

Boys need to be brave to grow into men.

Boys need to be brave to fight injustice in the world with the justice of God

Boys need to be brave to stick up for their siblings on the playground, or that boy who is getting picked on, or that girl who is getting teased.

Boys need to be brave when its not cool to do the right thing.

Boys need to be brave to work hard when it is more popular to be lazy.

Of when they are afraid of the dark and want their door cracked at night.

And this cat in the book reminds us, and our children of great truths:

God is good – always. (Our older son’s life verse says this very thing)

God is near – so good to know that.  When we pray we acknowledge that.

God is here – part of his perfect character.

And that He loves you.

If you’d like to win a copy of this book for your favorite little person – makes a great Christmas gift – then just leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of donut.

Thanks to Tommy Nelson Mommies for this book and the giveaway book!