Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Jelly Bean Blessings

Jelly Bean Blessings
Illustrated by: Maddie Frost

Book Overview:

Jelly Bean Blessings is a cheery seasonal board book that celebrates all springtime blessings! Kids will be drawn to the charming cover and whimsical art, and they'll love the idea of exploring the many reasons we love spring.
From picking flowers to jumping in puddles to eating delicious jelly beans, these activities are a fun way to thank God for the beautiful parts of the season that we get to enjoy together!
With charming art and an adorable cover, Jelly Bean Blessings is the perfect way to celebrate all the wonderful blessings of spring.
My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book to my niece. She is 10 months old.  The book held her attention with all the bright colors. The story begins with jelly beans and how fun they are to eat.  It expands on other spring time blessings.  I liked the fact that it set forth a great example of counting out blessings.  I think it is important that children learn that early on.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review through opinions are my own!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Arcade and the Triple T Token

Arcade and the Triple T Token
Written By: Rashad Jennings

Book Overview:

The Coin Slot Chronicles series, by former NFL running back and Dancing with the Stars champion Rashad Jennings, is a humorous and imaginative series that explores the power of friendship and imagination, the challenges in finding your place, and the reality of missing home.
Eleven-year-old Arcade Livingston has a problem. Several, actually. The Tolley twins, a.k.a. neighborhood bullies, are making Arcade’s move to a new city even harder than it needs to be. They expect him to do their research papers and interactive displays for the sixth-grade career expo’s theme: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Besides doing their work, Arcade doesn’t even know his own answer to that question.
Then at the library—Arcade’s favorite place to chill—a mysterious old woman gives him a golden arcade token that grants him a unique gift. A gift that allows him to time travel between different places including his own future. From sitting in the dugout with Babe Ruth, to hanging on to the back of a bucking bull, to performing life-saving surgery on a dog, Arcade has no shortage of adventure! Together with his older sister, Zoe, Arcade explores life’s biggest thrills and challenges, and the two also have a big mystery to solve. Who is the rightful owner of the incredible Triple T Token that leads to such astounding adventures?
Arcade’s circle of friends begins to widen as the Triple T Token hangs from his neck. Pulsing. Beckoning another adventure. The question for Arcade, Zoe, and their new friends is no longer, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s, “Where will we go next?”
My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading through this book.  This is a captivating story, overflowing with imagination and endless possibilities.  I think it would be great for an elementary aged student.  I read through it with my 8 year old and he enjoyed it.  I like how the book addressed difficult issues and overcame adversity.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review but my opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

I Love You, Funny Bunny

I Love You, Funny Bunny
Illustrated By: Sean Julian

Book Overview:

Together, parents and children will giggle their way through I Love You, Funny Bunny as they discover the fun and loving parts of their own relationship. Illustrated by Sean Julian, I Love You, Funny Bunny is a picture book perfect for sharing at bedtime or any time of day. With read-aloud rhymes and adorable illustrations, readers will have fun turning the pages to discover all the ways this parent bunny loves little funny bunny.
I love you, Funny Bunny, from your whiskers to your toes.
I love the way you hop around and wiggle your cute nose.
I love the way you make me laugh, then melt me with your smile.
And no one in this great big world can match your sense of style.
Ideal for baby showers, birthdays, or Easter baskets, this jacketed hardcover book adorned with spot gloss and foil is the perfect gift for the funny bunny in your life.
My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book with my niece.  She enjoyed all the bright colors and lively images.  I love the way the story reads.  I love the message.  It is easy to follow along with.  The book is a great segue into further things you love about each child if you were to use it in a Sunday school setting with young children. However it is also short enough to hold the attention of younger children. I would recommend this book.  It would make a great gift. I received this book in exchange for an honest review through the booklookbloggers program, but my opinion is my own.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Gift That I Can Give

The Gift That I Can Give For Little Ones
Written By: Kathie Lee Gifford
Illustrated By: Julia Seal

Book Overview:

God, will You show me The gift that I can give As I grow and love And learn how to live?
Help your children discover that they don’t have to wait until they are grownups to make the world a better place! The Gift That I Can Give for Little Ones by Kathie Lee Gifford helps children find unique ways to make a difference today in the lives of those around them. The beautiful board book is durable and will hold up in the most active homes.
The Gift That I Can Give for Little Ones is a heartwarming story from Kathie Lee Gifford of how children have something they can do today to make a difference. Whether it is being kind, giving a family member an extra-big squeeze, visiting someone who is sick, or cheering on a friend, this story will inspire children, leading them to want to read it again and again.
Kathie Lee Gifford is a trusted voice who feels like a friend for countless people. With her strong faith, enthusiasm, and playful writings, she appeals to young hearts and empowers them with the message that no one is too young or too small to share their gift with others.
Kathie Lee Gifford has enjoyed a diverse and successful four-decade career as a television host, actress, singer, playwright, songwriter, and author. She is best known for her 15 years on Regis and Kathie Lee (11 Emmy nominations), and she’s currently acting as the three-time Emmy-winning cohost of the fourth hour of the Today show with Hoda Kotb. Gifford has authored three New York Times bestselling books.
My Thoughts:
 I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It has such an amazing, timeless message.  While this book has been written for 'little ones,' and is very age appropriate, it is powerful for everyone at every age.  I find myself reading through the book on tough days when I am confused about my gift and what God want me to be doing at this point in my life.  While it is written for little ones, sometimes as adults we need things put in simple terms. This book is full of beautiful illustrations that hold a little ones attention while also filling them with such great wisdom.  They are never too young to help others and that God's love is the gift we can give
.  I received this book in exchange for a review, but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ellie Claire Journals

Ellie Claire Journals 

Illuminate Your Story Journal - Illuminated letters once adorned the pages of books and Bibles giving them rich color and gilding that made the text come alive. Today, illuminated letters are enjoying a renaissance, encouraging beautiful illustration in planners, journals and personal art. Illuminate Your Story features easy-to-follow instructions, inspiring quotes, and practice space to help you create amazing letters, flourishes, and more. Whether you draw in your journal, Bible, or elsewhere, this how-to guide will help you develop gorgeous images that add beauty to your story. 

The Illustrated Word: An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal - Just as medieval monks brought Scripture to life through intricate handwritten and illustrated manuscripts hundreds of years ago, you can now create your own keepsake to be treasured for years to come. Forty illustration have been recreated as line drawings to color. Full-color illustrations from the archives of the Museum of the Bible make this journal a true masterpiece. 

Faith & Lettering Journal - Reignite your devotional time, imprint Scripture on your heart, and dig deep into the Word of God through the art of lettering. Expert tips will help you pursue a deeper faith by expressing your God-given creativity. We are God's masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10 

Peace begins with Me: A 365-Day Devotional Journal - I will listen to what God the Lord says, he promises peace to his people. Psalm 85:8  We all long for peace. We pray for it. We even make speeches about it. It may not come easily. Yet if our God can calm a stormy sea with a simple word, just imagine what He can do to ease our anxieties. We can pursue peace by pursuing the Prince of Peace. These daily devotions and prayer prompts will inspire you to find peace by praising God. The journaling lines give room for personal thoughts, reflections, and prayers that will uncover the miraculous peace that arises in our souls when combined with thanksgiving and praise. 

The Earth Is the Lord's and Everything In It: 365 Day Devotional Journal - From the small whisper of a snowflake to the large circumference of a redwood tree, all of nature is the creative expression of God. When we embrace His nature by taking the time to stop, notice, and connect, our hearts are encouraged and souls refreshed. Explore your own creativity as you read through a year of devotions by responding on the journaling lines with questions, notes, prayers or lettering. 

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional Journal - When life gets busy, it's easy to be so focused on the urgent that we miss the glimpses of grace that God puts in our day. this 365-day devotional journal offers encouraging meditations to help turn our eyes upon Jesus and trust Him with our lives. Each short devotion begins with a line from a beloved song or hymn and his followed by Scripture readings and prayer.  Let the melody of God's love wrap itself around your heart as you record your thoughts, hopes, and prayers in this keepsake journal. 

My thoughts:
I enjoyed receiving these journals to review.  This was my first time reviewing journals so it was a little different than what I am used to.  I usually review books.  Being a perfectionist by nature, it was hard for me to have so many fun journals to look at but not finish from beginning to end.  I love the vibrant colors and the soft backs of the devotionals. The devotionals began with scripture, a small article to read and then ended with a prayer.  Half the page was reading and half the page was writing.  I enjoyed them because if I didn't have a lot of time, it was ok.  There were other days that I had more time and could dive deeper into it.  The devotionals were very versatile. The lettering and coloring journals had a great feel to them.  The covers were indented lettering and designs on hard back covers so you could feel and see the beautiful covers.  The spine was a type of material which made it nice to be able to lay out the journal and work with it flat.  There was also a fun loop that was perfect for placing a pen. I enjoyed the coloring pages and pages for random thoughts.  Overall I enjoyed reviewing these journals.  It did seem a bit overwhelming at first but I am really amazed at all aspects of these journals - the look of them as well as the content of them...I checked out the website and am thinking about purchasing some of these journals as gifts. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Unexpected Places

Unexpected Places: Thoughts on God, Faith, and Finding Your Voice
By: Anthony Evans

Book Overview:

Unexpected Places is the personal story of gospel singer Anthony Evans, son of well-known pastor Tony Evans and brother of author Priscilla Shirer. In this intimate and moving memoir, Anthony shares the details of his struggles with depression and doubt, and encourages readers with the unique story of his search for purpose and identity.
From growing up duty-bound to his name, to his time as a finalist and then talent producer on The Voice, Anthony explores the pressures he experienced as a child and as a young man in Hollywood. He describes the journey to his renewed faith in God and exposes the vast differences between what the world teaches us to value and how God values us. Anthony examines what his parents did right in raising him but also describes how they unknowingly missed his pain. Finally, he reveals how God orchestrated His plan to grow Anthony into a man who is in love with his life, his heritage, and his individual calling.
Anthony has learned to embrace the incredible beauty of his unique voice. In Unexpected Places, he invites readers on their own journey to do the same.

My Thoughts:

I chose to read this book because of his association with one of my favorite authors, Priscilla Shirer.  Anthony Evans is her brother.  I also chose to read it because of my personal struggles have been similar to his.  There is something powerful about reading how others have overcome dark days to find some light.  This book was hard for me to get into at first.  It seemed like day to day, simple life events and they didn't finish with some connection to a bigger meaning but I realized that part of that might have come from me expecting his writing style to be similar to Priscilla Shirer's even though they are different people. I like how this book was a mix of easy reading and also some thought provoking sections.  Not all the chapters were long so it is a good book to be able to pick up and read when you have a few spare minutes.  Overall I enjoyed reading this book and what stood out the most was when he talked about how we can't run from our self.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review but my opinions are my own. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Cow Said Neigh!

The Cow Said Neigh!
A Farm Story
By: Rory Feek
Illustrated By: Bruno Robert

Book Overview:

From New York Times bestseller Rory Feek, one half of the singing duo Joey+Rory, comes The Cow Said Neigh!, a fun and humorous tale of farm animals who wish they were like the other animals . . . which leads to a farm-full of confusion! This delightful book will be a family favorite for years to come.
The Cow Said Neigh! is the story of some peculiar farm animals who wish they were like other animals on the farm. The cow wants to run free like a horse, the sheep wants a snout like a pig, the dog wants to be inside like the cat. Soon the entire farm is in chaos!
With silly farm animal sounds, clever rhymes, and adorable art, The Cow Said Neigh! will have kids of all ages laughing out loud as they celebrate the unique strengths in each of us.
This delightful board book is sure to be read time and time again.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this book to my niece.  She enjoyed looking at the bright pictures and touching the boardback pages of this story.  The Cow Said Neigh! is a lighthearted funny story for a toddler learning about farm animals.  The farm animals making other noises was silly to the toddler I shared the story with.  I enjoyed reading this book.  If you want to dig for a deeper meaning - you could stretch it and say that we are each made with a unique voice.  Sometimes it is good to just have a lighthearted funny story to listen to or read.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review through the booklookbloggers program, but my thoughts are my own.

Monday, October 22, 2018

not again...

Today started like any other day.  
It ended a bit different....but not really
Its a familiar different...
but one that you never really want much knowledge of.

12:25 this afternoon I picked my sister up to go car shopping.  She is in the market for her first new car, and I have been known to get some good car good that the guy who sold me my car 3 years ago, remembered me! Not sure that was a good thing for my sister....

12:27 this afternoon her phone rang - her husband at the other end - we had just left him at the house... 'dads having a seizure'......we turned the car around and went back home.  I thought to myself, I guess its good that I was late to pick her up, so that we were not far away.  He tried the magnet for my dads VNS and it didn't stop it.....his entire body continued to shake....he was looking up and to the right...called rescue...waited....seemed like he quit shaking a little so we started singing, 'you are my sunshine'....he started singing in between seizures...getting him out the door proved challenging and the paramedics probably didn't like me telling them how to do their job - I'm just a worried daughter and hopefully they didn't take it personally. Thank God for emergency rescue personnel, EMT's and paramedics. 

Then came the hurdle of getting him stable enough to be transported to Mayo...that isn't the closest hospital to our house but it is the one who has seen him and treated him since November of 2015 when he had his stroke. Felt like time stood still while we waited to hear where they would take him.  Most of the time I find myself wishing time would slow down...but in that moment I just wanted them to get on their way and get him to the hospital. He was cleared for transport to Mayo.  Thank God for enough stabilizing that he could be transported to Mayo Hospital.

We left and as we approached the end of the street we saw the ambulance come up behind us.  I have always been one to yield to emergency services, thinking I would want somebody to do that if my loved one was being transported....and then before our very eyes as we sat at the intersection we watched the ambulance make it through safely while everybody stopped.  It sucks knowing that somebody you love is in that ambulance.  I cringe every time I hear a siren.  If an ambulance has been anywhere near our street I have to check the number.  72 is the one that always comes for dad.  Thank God for drivers who pull over when an ambulance is approaching.

We made it to the hospital before the ambulance did.  Noticed Mayo Emergency Room is undergoing some construction.  That is new since dads last seizure episode. I wonder what they are doing, are they expanding?  If only the walls of this place could talk...I think of the stories held within these we have known quite a few of the rooms in the ER department and most of the rooms on the 5th floor. Seemed to take a while for anybody to go back and see him...minutes felt like hours as we eagerly waited to see him....because that is how we humans are wired - we need to see ....Thank God for the Mayo ER staff who took care of my dad.

At the end of the and dad are spending the night at a non profit academic medical center focused on integrated clinical practice, education and other words, Mayo Clinic.  We all stand a bit shaken but no worse for our wear. We are still standing.  In some ways I suppose trials make us stronger, odd thing is how weak they leave us feeling in the moment. But then I wonder is it weakness we feel or a sense of powerlessness?  To see somebody you love in a state that you can do nothing about?  Yeah, maybe thats it - maybe its not weakness we feel but a humble reminder of the fact that we are not in control, some things we must endure are beyond our ability to fix or change...  We have hope for this trial, that all will end well... because we have endured similar tests in the past.  So I guess that is something to be grateful for. I find myself feeling a great deal of anger and asking why, though I know my feeble mind is not capable of comprehending the 'whys' to what we have to endure this side of eternity.  Funny how even though I know my mind can't comprehend the why, I still want to know if knowing why would make anything better?  I know God is a big God and He can handle my anger, I just have a hard time comprehending how this can be used for good. I'm grateful my dad is still here and that God isn't finished with him, I just don't understand why good people must endure such difficult paths in life. It's hard to trust God through all this, but I know we must. I know His plan is a good plan (even when it doesn't feel good) , that He can see the bigger picture (when all we can see is whats happening right now), that this pain has purpose in each of our lives... but when these difficult days strike it sure is hard to keep all that in mind.... To my family - a song of encouragement - Trust In You....

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9