Saturday, December 31, 2011

Win a 25$ iTunes card

Want to buy some great apps for your homeschool?

Jump to Apps for Homeschooling and follow the instructions.    You can be blessed with a 25$ iTunes card to buy the apps you would like to have!

Click on the Apps for Homeschooling image below to get to the contest page.  Good luck!

appsforhomeschooling-l

Friday, December 30, 2011

Common English Bible Giveaway

Common English Bible
http://www.commonenglishbible.com/

Are you looking for a new bible to read in 2012?  If so how about considering the Common English Bible…

This Bible is the result of a collaboration of 120 academic scholars and editors, 77 reading group leaders, and more than 500 average readers from around the world who joined together to clearly translate the Bible’s original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages into 21st century English.

I received a Thinline DecoTone Tan/Brick Red CEB.  I love the smoothness of the cover, the size of the Bible and the fact I can carry everywhere I want to.    The CEB Thinline edition is highly portable yet easy to see with generous 9-point type and a convenient trim size that is also thinner than an inch.   It also includes full-color maps that are exclusive from National Geographic.

I have skimmed through it to see how the reading would go and I am quite impressed with the facility of understanding of the scriptures.    Even my husband looked at it and said that this Bible would be great for a new believer.    I personally think that it is perfect for a child as a first Bible.   

In our house, we have a tradition that is meaningful.  When a child is able to read by himself/herself, he/she has a date lunch with dad and receives a Bible.    My kids are looking forward to have their own Bible and it is nice to see them reading regularly from a young age.

My only disappointment with this Bible is that there is no concordance at the end.    Nevertheless, this translation is a jewel for someone who has just trusted in the Lord or for a young reader.

Have I picked your curiosity?   You can read passages of the CEB from their website or download the book of Genesis and the book of Luke

The Bible is available in softcover, DecoTone simulated leather, and bonded EcoLeather bindings.

The Common English Bible Thinline Tan/Brick Red DecoTone is available at your favorite bookstore, even amazon.ca

GREAT NEWS!

One of my readers will win softcover edition of the Common English Bible.

To participate to this giveaway, simply tell me who you intend to give the Bible too.  Leave your email address in the comment as I need it to contact you to get your mailing address.

Deadline is January 7th, 2012 as I will draw the winner using random.org on January 8th.

Open to US and Canadian residents!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eyewitness DVD Ocean

9780756623708HEyewitness DVD – OCEAN
From DK Canada

About the DVD

Ocean visits the alien world of the deep, bringing readers face to face with some of the most bizarre creatures on our planet. Ocean inhabitants have always remained mysterious, yet oceans contain 99 percent of the living space on the planet – an enormous habitat for an amazing aquatic population.

Our Thoughts

This DVD is fabulous to discover the wonders of the oceans.  When you think that oceans covers more than 80% of the surface of the planet, you can’t help but wonder what is under the water.

This eyewitness DVD will bring you as far as humans can go to the bottom of the oceans.   You will learn about the history of exploration under the waters as well as what kind of animals lives in it.     It is definitively a great way to explore the oceans without living your house…  

It is amazing how much still needs to be explored when you think about it.    While watching the DVD, I realized that we have not finishing discovering what is under the blue oceans.   It also made me think on the possibilities to build cities under the water.    I think it would be fantastic to live under the water and see the  species swimming near you all the time don’t you think?   

I think this video is well done and the quality is worth considering it.   I will admit that this DVD is not based on my belief on creation but still it is wonderful to discover the oceans through the lenses of a video camera.   The images are stunning and makes you want to go scuba diving in the midst of all the animals living there.  The oceans are worth discovering and this DVD will allow you to do this from the comfort of your home.

I highly recommend the eyewitness DVDs for homeschoolers.   They are simply fabulous to have and watch over and over again.

The Eyewitness DVD Ocean is available at your favorite bookstore, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoyed these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you missed a few posts, I hope you'll be able go back through and read them on this blog over the next few days. If you'd like to keep up with Pearl Girls and our new book project, Mother of Pearl, coming this spring, just click this link and sign up for our newsletter (lower left sidebar).

Also, just a reminder that today is the last day for the pearl necklace and earrings giveaway! Enter now by filling out this {form}. The winner will on 1/1 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
***
Jesus -- The Reason For the Season
By: Rachel Hauck

Through the narrow scope of 2000 years, Mary, the mother of Jesus, appears to be one lucky woman. Chosen by God to give birth to His son, the Savior of the world? All right, Mary, way to go.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you,” Gabriel said.

How many of us would like a declaration like that? Highly favored. The Lord is with you. But Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

The angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Mary’s seems confident and resolved when she responds, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

She’d just been told the Holy Spirit will come upon her, that God’s power will overshadow her, that she’d become with child even though she wasn’t married, and she said, “I’m the Lord’s servant. Let your words be true.”

I find this amazing! A young woman. Ancient Bethlehem. Unwed mother. They stoned women for such things in her day. But Mary believed in God. And submitted to His will. He gave her the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit given to us. If He gave her confidence, He will give us confidence. Even though, like Mary, our situation seems impossible.

Listen to Mary’s song later on in the first chapter of Luke.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me Holy is his name…”

Conceiving a child out of wedlock, by Divine intervention. Not a girl’s every day existence. Yet she had a Yes in her heart to God. She rejoiced. She boldly said, “Generations will remember me!”

How we struggle to trust God with our children. Our finances. Our emotional well-being. We worry. We fret. And wonder why we have no peace.

Christmas is the season where words like joy, peace and love are bantered around like Christmas candy. Let’s not take them as just words, but as truth. Let’s be like Mary and embrace God’s favor on our lives. Boldly declare "He’s done great things for me!”

Out of the grit of our own souls, we can reach His heart, and feel Him reaching for ours. No matter the pain of our past, present or future, God is there for us. He is able. Best of all, He is willing. “My soul glorifies the Lord this Christmas!”

***
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling author who believes God has done great things for her. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and ornery pets. Her next release is Love Lifted Me with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, January 2012. Then in April, look for The Wedding Dress. www.rachelhauck.com.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Courageous Living

12-15-2011 1-23-45 PMCourageous Living – Dare to Take a Stand
Written by Michael Catt
Published at B&H

About the book

In the new film COURAGEOUS (from the makers of Fireproof), four police officers are confident and focused when it comes to facing danger on the job. But leading their families at home in a God-honoring way? That takes courage.
Because it is important to take a faithful, fearless stand in so many areas of life, pastor and COURAGEOUS executive producer Michael Catt offers Courageous Living as a closer look at biblical themes and characters that inspired the greatly anticipated movie.
Catt brings fresh insight to "stories of people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe... (who) challenge me to keep moving forward. They demand that I examine my priorities and deal with anything that brings fear to my heart."
Readers will catch a new wind of bravery in the bold accounts of Abraham ("The Courage to Get Going"), Nehemiah ("The Courage to Face Criticism"), and Ruth ("The Courage to Face an Uncertain Future"). There are also growth opportunities in the stirring stories of Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Daniel, Gideon, Nehemiah, Stephen, and Paul and Timothy.

Who is Michael Catt?

Michael Catt

Michael Catt has served as senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, since 1989 and is executive producer of the popular Facing the Giants and Fireproof films that originated from the congregation. He is the author of Prepare for Rain, Fireproof Your Life, The Power of Desperation, The Power of Persistence, and The Power of Surrender and is also founder of the ReFRESH™ revival conference. Michael and his wife, Terri, have two children.

My Thoughts

Whether you are a man or a woman, this book is a must read for 2012!    Though the book was written as a a follow-up of the movie Courageous you don’t have to have seen the movie to enjoy the book.  How would I know?  Well simply because I have not watched to movie yet but I am enjoying the book quite a lot.   It is so good that I am planning to go through it again when 2012 comes around…

Courageous Living will guide you through stories of Bible characters who have been courageous in the midst of difficulties, criticism, uncertainty and much more.  

This book will encourage you to find the courage to get going, to choose and refuse, to lead on all levels, to be a humble hero, to face an uncertain future, to make up your mind, to face criticism, to stir up the fire, to face persecution…   In one of the chapters, the author is portraying the person as being either an eagle, a chicken, or an ostrich.    I really loved this picture and I am hoping that I am seen as an eagle who is teaching her eaglets to fly.   Yes I will push them out of the nest and will expect them to soar.    I am investing in them by homeschooling them.   I hope that they will be above and beyond their peers and demonstrate that they can be responsible when I am not there.

Through each chapter I am stirred inside to make a difference no matter what.   I have a tendency to worry about what other people say.   But this book is teaching me that if I am doing what God wants me to do, I shouldn’t worry about anything.  He is in control and He is with me.  I am not alone.  I particularly applauded when the author is encouraging the next generation to be leaders and to stand up for what must be done.    We are reminded again that the word teenager wasn’t existing until the 1941 when it appeared for the first time in the Reader’s Digest.   Before that kids would move directly from being children to manhood/womanhood.   Now don’t take me wrong.  My kids are not working all the time.  They have some downtime and play together.   But slowly we are teaching them to become independent and to be an active member in the family by helping out in the house.     Not only is it good for them but their future spouse will be blessed as well.

Now the book is a real motivator in encouraging you to take a stand on various aspects in your life.   It takes courage to stand up for justice, to be totally honest about something and to trust God with everything in your life.

Are you reading to be transformed?  If so, I strongly encourage you to read Courageous Living – Date to Take A Stand .   I would be a great book to go through with a small group after watching the movie Courageous

Courageous Living is available at your favourite bookseller from B&H Publishing Group, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of David C Cook and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

The Resolution for Men

12-15-2011 1-23-15 PMThe Resolution for Men
By Stephen and Alex Kendrick
Published at B&H

About the book

“A man cannot be passive about what Scripture tells him to do for his family and expect to be found faithful to God in the end. He must see with spiritual eyes and realize that future generations are directly impacted by his daily decisions.”
—The Resolution for Men

The Resolution for Men is the inspiring book born out of Courageous, a new film by the makers of Fireproof coming to theaters nationwide in fall 2011. The movie, which presents a powerful story of strong male leadership, is an emotionally charged wake-up call to fathers whose influence upon their children and society is immeasurable. The Resolution for Men follows to challenge men of all ages to become as bold and intentional about embracing their responsibilities as leaders of their homes, marriages, and children.

Written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, screenwriters of Courageous and authors of New York Times No. 1 best seller The Love Dare (five million copies sold), The Resolution for Men strategically inspires men to reconcile with their past, re-engage in the present by taking full responsibility for their wives and children, and then move forward with a bold and clear resolution for the future. Written in partnership with the movie and Priscilla Shirer’s new book, The Resolution for Women, it is designed to inspire a revolution.

Who are Stephen and Alex Kendrick?

Stephen Kendrick

Stephen Kendrick is senior associate pastor of preaching and prayer at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. He is also a screenwriter and movie producer and co-wrote the New York Times No. 1 best seller, The Love Dare, with his brother, Alex. Stephen and his wife, Jill, have four children.

Alex Kendrick

Alex Kendrick is associate media pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, and coauthor of The Love Dare. He helped establish Sherwood Pictures in 2003 and has directed and co-written each of its films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof, playing the lead male role in those first two productions. Alex has appeared on ABC, CNN, FOX News, American Family Radio, The Glenn Beck Show, Janet Parshall's America, and many other national programs to discuss his award-winning work and ministry. He lives in Albany with his wife and five children.

My Thoughts

I originally asked my husband to read some of the chapters and give me his opinion on this book.  Unfortunately he is relatively busy with other things to have the time to do it.   So I decided to read some of this book myself to give me an idea of what the book is all about.

Now before I start giving you my opinion I must tell the ladies out there, that if you find this review interesting and you would like your husband to consider the book, please do let him read the review and consider it himself.  I recently learned that buying a book that will strengthen the marriage or a book that is suggesting how to be a better man/husband should not be considered for women.   Consequently, I would strongly suggest that you watch the Courageous movie together and let him decide if he wants to go forward in reading/applying the concepts in The Resolution for Men.

Now I have previously reviewed the women version of this book – The Resolution for Women.   This review is for the book geared for men.

The Resolution for Men will challenge the man in your life to step up to the leadership role he was originally designed for.  The book has two parts and a series of appendices that will  guide your man into becoming the husband/father God intended him to be.

Part one of the book is call to decide to become a man of resolution, to be a strong father as well as chain breaker.   The chain breaker itself is a jewel in the book as it explains the importance of breaking away from whatever is holding the guy off from becoming who is is suppose to be.   Part two of the book will guide him through each resolution – be a man of responsibility, lead your family, love your wife, live with honor, fight for justice, demonstrate love, provide for your family, reconcile with your past, live with integrity, be found faithful and leave a legacy.  The appendices will also provide more information on specific subjects like:

  • How can I find peace with God?
  • Six powerful influences you must guard in your children’s lives
  • Ten potential consequences of a man who commits adultery
  • Seven steps to better sex
  • Resolution groups – accountability for men
  • Scriptures to memorize with your children
  • How to pray for your family
  • Avoiding pornography
  • Final speech from Courageous

Now I find myself blessed to have a man who is not the typical kind.   By that I mean that my husband is quite involved in the family and he leads us as God is guiding him to do it.   But as I read through this book, I realized that not all men are like him and that he is an exception to the rule.    I know that I am not alone in raising the children and that I can count on him to chip in with household chores if needed be.    Though he is not the man who won’t stand up I am sure that this book will also highlight things that he can grab and apply in his life.

So if you are a men reading this review and you feel like you want to become a better leader for your family, please seriously consider purchasing this book in 2012 and let God transform you in the man/husband/father He intended you to be.   You won’t regret it!

This is definitively a book I would recommend for a majority of men.  I pray that my boys will become strong leaders in their own family.   I will definitively make them read this book when they are older.

The Resolution for Men is available at your favourite bookseller from B&H Publishing Group, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of David C Cook and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.


***
The Panhandler's Breath
By Robin Dance

He slipped in sideways between the closing elevator doors, as if he were late to a meeting; he pressed the "5" without looking. Instead of suit and tie, though, baggy pants and faded navy hung on his tall, slim frame...and his stealth entry stiffened the hairs on the back of my neck.

I had noticed him a few seconds earlier, just after we had parted a sea of clamorous teens. He was smiling, grandfatherly, standing maybe 30 feet away where the electric shuttle picks up.

I had no idea he had been watching us, studying us, predator patiently awaiting his next prey.

The four of us were sealed in a four- by six-foot metal tomb. Tomb--that thought really scampered across my mind. I wondered if he had a knife in his pocket. I wanted to protect my son. Fight or flight pumped adrenaline but there was no where to run.

Extreme and ridiculous, these thoughts - and more - flashed through my mind. The Stranger began speaking.

"Yessir, I see you're a family man with your wife and your son here..." and he nodded in my and my son’s direction.

"...you see I'm homeless and all I've got..." and on queue, he reached into his left pocket and pulled out two old pennies blackened with age. Two cents to his name?! It was all too contrived, too practiced, and I didn't believe a word he was saying.

It was then I smelled it ~ the small space lent itself to that ~ and I doubted my doubt.

His breath.

It wasn't the scent of alcohol. His eyes weren't red, his voice didn't waver; his wizened face matched his graying hair.

His breath was morning's, zoo breath, the pet name I'd given to the scent inhaled when kissing my children awake when they were little.

He needed to brush his teeth. I wondered how long it had been since he brushed his teeth.

The elevator door opened and I handed him my leftover pizza as my son and I brushed past him. My husband handed him a bill and the Stranger thanked and God blessed him.

The elevator door closed behind us. Conflicted, I was relieved.

We got in the car and blurted first reaction--

"I didn't believe a word he said."

"That made me nervous."

"I wonder if he'll really eat the pizza."

In the quiet, we were left to our own thoughts, contemplating the right thing to do. At the end of the day, this is what I decided: It doesn't matter whether or not his story is true; for an old man to resort to begging, he has to be desperate. The money my husband gave him will never be missed. It was a reminder we've been entrusted with much and given much. Materially, yes, but more so spiritually. Loved, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, graced, lavished--every spiritual blessing. E v e r y.

There's a part of me that wishes I would have been brave enough to ask the man his story, made sure he knew he was loved...and bought him a tooth brush.

Later, it occurred to me he could have been an angel. Doesn’t that mean generosity, kindness and hospitality is always the right response? Then it's not about you or the stranger or the circumstance, it's about a simple, God-glorifying response.

Had we entertained an angel unaware? We'll never know.

But it wouldn't be the first time the Breath of Heaven smelled like a zoo.

***
In a decades-old, scandalous affair with her husband, Robin also confesses mad crushes on her three teens. As Southern as sugar-shocked tea, she’s a recovering people pleaser who advocates talking to strangers. A memoirist, Compassion International Blogger, and Maker-upper of words, Robin writes for her own site, PENSIEVE, and also for (in)courage by DaySpring (a subsidiary of Hallmark) and Simple Mom. She loves to get to know readers through their blog comments and on Twitter and Pinterest. www.pensieve.me

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Inside Out Christmas
by Debora M. Coty

My veterinarian friend, Dr. Katie, tells the story about the December when a woman brought a very sick black lab into her clinic. The dog was only ten months old, so she was really just a big puppy, but she’d been vomiting incessantly and her worried owner didn’t know what was wrong.

“Why don’t you go on home?” Dr. Katie told the owner. “I’ll need to run tests for about four hours. We’ll give you a call when we’re finished.”

Dr. Katie’s assistant took x-rays and hung them on the light panel for Dr. Katie to examine. Hmm. Something looked a little peculiar. Dr. Katie called her assistant over.

“Is it just me, or does that look like a … a camel to you?” she asked incredulously.

“Matter of fact, it does,” replied the astute assistant. “And look, there’s an angel here, a shepherd there, and down there in the colon, it’s Baby Jesus!”

At that moment the phone rang. It was the dog’s distraught owner. “I can’t believe this! I just got home and glanced at the coffee table where I put my manger scene yesterday. There’s nothing there but an empty stable!”

As I thought about this quite literal technique for internalizing the true meaning of Christmas, it occurred to me that sometimes I have the opposite problem. With all the bustling busyness, my inner joy in celebration of my savior’s birth never really makes it to the outside.

Oh, I have plenty of glittery, festive evidences of the holiday in decorations, baking galore, and gifts under my tree. But those things are for show. They’re merely the pretty wrappings, not the gift itself.

Can people really see the core-deep joy that radiates within me when I think of the true gift that Papa God sent the world in his son, Jesus? Is my immeasurable gratitude for eternal life evident as I dash through this hectic season?

I’m afraid all too often, the answer is no.

I’m just too preoccupied to allow my outside to reflect my inside so that nonbelievers recognize that I rejoice because of the hope that is within me. My joy is obscured by the mounds of clutter. Gratefulness is sucked out of my soul by the vacuum called urgency.

“But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy” (Psalm 68:3, NLT).

This verse has become my prayer this Christmas season – that I would make the time to give priority to rejoicing, being glad in God’s presence, and letting my inner joy show for those who may be silently desperate to know the giver of true joy.

Yep, there’s a better way to internalize the gift of Christmas than the black lab technique. We can lodge the Little Lord Jesus in our hearts rather than our colons.

***
Debora M. Coty is a humorist, inspirational speaker, and award-winning author of twelve books, including Too Blessed to be Stressed, and coming in March, More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre. Debora would love to swap Christmas hugs with you at www.DeboraCoty.com.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Simple or Sparkle?
by Tracey Eyster

It’s a simple ornament made of thin cheap metal and it looks quite out of place on our CHRISTmas tree. But each year I lovingly and safely nestle it amongst its expensive and sparkly peers, without a care as to how unglamorous it appears.

Many of our CHRISTmas ornaments have a story and an uncanny way of welling up emotion in me, but this certain one causes an intense stir.

You see the ornament is engraved with the name of my grandmother, Sara, and was given to me by my mother, who ordered it from Hospice, after Grandmama’s death. Yes, the months leading up to her death carry memories of a frail and failing grandmama, but that ornament carries my thoughts to sweet CHRISTmas memories of the past.

CHRISTmas Eve dinners in her home, laughing, singing, gathering and celebrating a year filled with blessings as we remembered the birth of our Savior. CHRISTmas mornings, she was always there participating with glee, in our raucous CHRISTmas happiness. Her gifts were always bank envelopes gently tucked into the pine needles of our CHRISTmas tree, fresh cut from the property she grew up on.

All memories of my Grandmama make my heart swell. You see she was my Jesus with skin on. She lived her life full of joy, serving others and approached life selflessly with an attitude of, “What can I do for you?”

Just months before she left us, even as the Alzheimer’s was robbing her mind she shared her love of Jesus with a sweet little old lady friend, who came to know the Lord – a divine appointment.  The very next day that little old lady silently slipped away to meet in person the One Sara introduced her to just the day before.

At the time I wept, realizing that regardless of our own frailties and failings, God can still use those of us who are willing to do His work and are well practiced at hearing His voice...no matter our lack of sparkle in comparison to others.

A simple life lived for Him, a simple ornament in memory of Sara...a simple truth for you to ponder.

***
Tracey Eyster wife, mom, relationship gatherer and Creator/Editor of FamilyLife’s MomLife Today is a media savvy mom making a difference where moms are, on-line. Through speaking, writing and video interviews Tracey is passionate about encouraging, equipping and advising moms on every facet of momlife. Her first book, Be The Mom will be released August 2012. You can connect with Tracey at www.momlifetoday.com, her personal site www.traceyster.com or www.twitter/momblog.com.

Family Game Night 4–The Game Show

51aqqhR4sIL__SL500_AA300_Family Game Night 4 – The Game Show
From EA Games

About the game

Your living room becomes the board and you are the controller in this larger than life experience.

Now you’re part of the action! In FAMILY GAME NIGHT 4: The Game Show, you can experience the fun and excitement of the popular TV show right in your own living room!

This time you’re playing with larger-than-life pieces in re-imagined versions of your favorite Hasbro games. CONNECT 4 Basketball is more fun than ever as you shoot hoops to get 4 balls in a row and YAHTZEE! Bowling puts a whole new spin on the popular dice game. You’ll also find fun new versions of SCRABBLE Flash, SORRY! Sliders, and BOP-IT Boptagon, and win MONOPOLY Crazy Cash, just like the game show! Play with friends and family and compete to prove your family is the best!

Our Thoughts

fgn4_logo_125I had the chance to review the Family Game Night 3 in the past and we thought it was very creative.   We knew that there are also the Family Game Night as well as Family Game Night 2 available on the market.     When I saw that a fourth one has come out on the market, I was curious.   I requested it and EA agreed to let me review it.  

So on my husband birthday, we decided to try out the Family Game Night 4 – The Game Show and discover what was in store for players on this Wii game.  As the title suggest it, the game is based on a family game show.   Only two controls can be used but that doesn’t stop you to create teams to play.   

Five games are included in this one;  Connect 4 Basketball, Yahtzee! Bowling, Scrabble Flash, Bop It Boptagon, and Sorry! Sliders.   Though one might wonder why putting a bowling game with Yahtzee, a basketball with Connect 4 as well as a curling game with Sorry! Sliders, you can’t stop and wonder at the creativity of the programmers behind the game.    The winning team for each games gets a Monopoly Crazy Cash card that you will use at the end to discover how much money you won.

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The host of the game show is Mr. Potato himself and his costumes for each game are very creative…

Apart from the creativity behind this game, we found that the game was somewhat slow to load and that the controls were difficult to manipulate.    My husband was less than impressed with it.    To make sure that the controls were working properly, he went to get another game to play with.  Everything was working fine with the other game.  So we have to assume that the response time of the game with the controls is not as great as other games we have.

This game is original but it was disappointing to have to wait numerous time for the game to change from one game to the other as though you were in a family game show.    When Mr. Potato Head removes the bowling ball in the Yahtzee! bowling it was slow and repetitive.   I think it would have been more fun and entertaining if he would do something different each time you remove the bowling ball.   My husband had much troubles with the Connect 4 basketball because of the slow response of the controls…   Seeing that this is the fourth installment of the Family Game Night games, I am partly wondering if they released this one a little bit too fast…

Thought I must admit that this game is family friendly.  You won’t have to worry much when your kids play with it…    It is clean and very colorful.  And to top it off, it brings to life popular games from Hasbro.   I personally love the Connect 4 Basketball and the Sorry! Sliders with the curling theme.    

The Family Night 4 – The Game Show is available for purchase at your favorite store, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Enjoy the Ride!
Susan May Warren

We sit poised on the top of a cliff, a near drop off before us, that falls to a rushing river. In the middle, a bridge of snow and ice hints at our destination. My husband guns the snowmobile engine. “Ready?”

Ready? For a face plant into a tree, maybe reconstructive surgery? To feel my stomach ripped from my body as we plummet down the mountain? Let’s do it!

We live on five acres of woods in northern Minnesota that butts up to a national forest. Hence, our backyard is about a hundred thousand acres. Aside from harboring deer, lynx, fox, cougar and bear, it also makes excellent snowmobile terrain. And not long ago, Mrs. Claus gave her Santa a snowmobile for two.

I love snowmobiling. Flying over the snow, catching air over drifts. I love to drive, to be at the helm of the beast as I weave around trees and over hill and dale, my husband sitting behind me. I also love riding behind my husband as he drives, feeling those powerful arms as he’s muscling the snowmobile into the wilds. We follow unknown trails, driven by a Magellan spirit, hoping that we have enough gas to get us back to civilization. I love hanging on, simply trusting him, knowing that wherever he’s taking me, he’s going first.

But there are times, when I see where he’s taking me, and I just have to bury my head in his back. Like straight down a cliff.

However, my heart cheers, despite the terror as we gun it down the hill, over the river, up the opposite side. And, if we hadn’t let ourselves go, we would have never discovered the beauty of a winter river, a hidden jewel buried deep in the forest. Nor the exhilaration of facing the challenge together.

Further on, we find an enchanted forest of towering white pine. Catch a view of Lake Superior, discover an old cabin in the woods.

It occurs to me that snowmobiling is much like my spiritual life. Occasionally, I drive, and it’s me setting our course, weaving through the trees, getting us hopelessly lost. But when God takes the “wheel” and I hang on, trusting Him for the speed and destination, I see the scenery. I trust him to keep me safe. I trust him to bring me home, where there is an eternal supply of hot chocolate.

As Christmas season becomes more hectic, what if I let God drive?  Maybe everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and maybe I don’t have to control every tradition, every holiday nuance. What if I just held on for the ride?

I’ll bet I’ll still get there, and I might even enjoy the scenery along the way.

How have you let go, and “enjoyed” the scenery of this hectic, exhilarating Christmas season?

Merry Christmas!

***
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of thirty novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press.  A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.  A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.  She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

The Resolution for Women

12-15-2011 1-22-46 PMThe Resolution for Women
By Priscilla Shirer
Published at B&H

About the book

Written in partnership with Sherwood Pictures' upcoming film, COURAGEOUS, in The Resolution for Women, popular speaker and author Priscilla Shirer challenges all women to be intentional about embracing and thriving in God’s beautiful and eternal calling on their lives.
Like the men in the movie who resolve to fully accept their responsibilities before God, Shirer explains how today's women can and should live out their own resolution. It is "a defining banner that hangs over your life, written in the ink of your own choices." A woman's banner should be an accurate reflection of who she desires to be-someone completely Christ-centered who blesses and changes things in her world for the better.
The Resolution for Women inspires women with intentional, spirit-filled living from three unique angles. Section one, entitled, "This Is Who I Am," helps a woman define herself as "authentically me, purposefully feminine, surprisingly satisfied, and faithfully His." Section two, "This Is What I Have," invites her to value "my best, my blessing, my honor, and my heart." And Section three, "This Is What Matters To Me," focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy. The Resolution for Women is designed to inspire a revolution.

Who is Priscilla Shirer?

Priscilla ShirerPriscilla Shirer is a Bible teacher and conference speaker with a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She is also the author of popular books including A Jewel in His Crown, He Speaks to Me, Discerning the Voice of God, and One in a Million. The daughter of author Dr. Tony Evans, Priscilla is married to Jerry with whom she founded Going Beyond Ministries. They have three sons and live in Dallas, Texas.

My Thoughts

I will admit that I have not seen the movie Courageous at this point in time.  But I am looking forward to discover it as I am slowly reading the Resolution for Women.   

Starting in January, I am going to re-read the book at a much slower pace  - about one chapter a week – to take the time to apply what I am reading through its pages.    The book is divided in three main parts containing each a number of themes.

This is who I am section will teach you about the gift of contentment, how to become biblically feminine, how to value yourself and celebrate others as well as how to be devoted to Christ and be defined by His Word.

This is what I have section will guide you in seeing God’s priorities in your life, how to be available for others with your time, concern, and full attention, how to help others to get out of their prison of hurt and anger,  how to live with high standards of virtue and purity as well as how to care.

This is what matters to me section will provide insights on how to bless your man, how to train your kids in righteousness, how to make your home a welcoming place and how to live today with the future in mind.

Each chapter contains scriptures reference to help you discover what the Bible has to say about the subject in hand as well as thought provoking questions on the theme covered.  At the end of a theme, you will be encourage to re-read your answers to the questions asked as well as take a step of faith and proclaim the resolution to yourself.  It is strongly suggested that you proclaim it out loud and preferably in the presence of someone who can held me accountable.   You will also have to sign the resolution once you have grab it to yourself…   At the end of the book you can read through all the resolutions for Women in one glance. 

It is also possible to purchase a Resolution for Women that you can sign and hang on your walls for a reminder to stay true to the amazing woman God created you to be.

I am not perfect and I know it.  But having this book in my hands, I realize that I can change and become a better wife, mother, daughter, friend.    I am willing to start the process of a new me in 2012.   I strongly encourage others to consider getting the Resolution for Women and embark on a journey with me.  

The Resolution for Women is available at your favourite bookseller from B&H Publishing Group, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of David C Cook and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Family Traditions: A Glimpse into Christmas Future
by Tricia Goyer

Have you ever thought about family traditions? As I helped my 1-year-old place ornaments on the Christmas tree this year I imagined her doing the same thing with her children—and maybe even grandchildren—one day. Traditions are beliefs and customs handed down through generations. By sharing meaningful moments with your kids you're sending yourself into the future. How amazing is that?

Sharing family traditions cause us to slow down from the busy, adult world for a while. We ignore the laundry to set out the nativity set with our kids. We set aside time in our schedules to drive around and look at Christmas lights.

Holiday traditions aren't only fun, they also help strength family bonds. Through traditions kids trust in the security of family unit. They think, “This is our family and this is what I do.” Of course, the most important thing to share isn't just what we do ... but why. Why do we put out a nativity? To remind us the real meaning of the season—Jesus coming to earth. What do the Christmas lights represent displayed on homes and on trees? They represent the Light of the World, Jesus.

Using traditions to bond our families and share our faith isn't new. I love these two Scriptures that talk about that very thing.

Exodus 12:25 says, “When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.”

Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

What are you're traditions? Here are a few of ours:
Baking a Birthday cake for Jesus
Buying a new ornament every year for each child
Acting out the Christmas story (with props!)
Praying together before opening presents

What are your traditions? Write a list and appreciate them in a new way this year. Then ask, “If I could add one new tradition this holiday season, what would it be?” I'd love to hear what you choose! It also makes me smile to think of your children's grandchildren doing the same.

***
Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. www.triciagoyer.com

Yahtzee Flash

8FCAEDE65056900B105A9DDFBE076CF4Yahtzee Flash
From Hasbro Canada

About the product

Thanks to innovative Wonder-Link technology, these super-smart dice know what you rolled, what you decide to hold, and automatically re-roll the rest. Rack up the scores in four addictive, fast-action games!

Your favourite game with a high-tech twist! Electronic YAHTZEE Flash will seem to read your mind as you play – drop the dice, line up the numbers you like, and YAHTZEE Flash re-rolls the others. Choose from four ways to play – Poker, Max, Wild or Flash. Wow your friends or play on your own – and the portable game case lets you play on the go.

Comes with 5 Electronic YAHTZEE “dice,” game case, Rules and Quick-Play Card.  Includes 5 button batteries.

My Thoughts

After the Scrabble Flash and the Simon Flash, here comes another addition to the Flash technology of Hasbro – Yahtzee!   I love to play the dice game and now I can do it without worrying of loosing the small dice when I travel with the RV.   This Flash technology will open up possibilities for you if you travel often whether for pleasure of business.

Like the other games in the Flash technology, the Yahtzee has a game menu.  Choose between the four games to start one.

Yahtzee Poker – This game is for one player.   As this game suggest it, the combinations of dice is similar to poker.    The various combos available to you while playing Yahtzee Poker are: 2 of a kind (1 pair), 3 of a kind, 2 Pair, 4 of a kind, Full House, Small Straight, Large Straight, First Yahtzee (5 of a kind) and Additional Yahtzee.   You can reroll any die up to two more times.   The goal of the game is to score as many points as possible.

Yahtzee Max -  This game is for one player. This game objective is to score the most ones, twos, threes, fours, fives or sixes as possible.   You can reroll each die up to three times to accomplish this game.   If by the end of the game you score 63 points, you get a bonus of 35 points!  You have to keep going until you have scored for all numbers.

Yahtzee Wild – This game is also for one player.  The objective of this game is to roll three Yahtzee in the least possible time.   As you probably know a Yahtzee is scored when all five dice are the same number.   In this game you have a WILD dice.   Wild dice represent any number and you can hold up to five WILD dice.  After you have rolled three Yahtzee, the game will end and your time in seconds will appear on the dice.

Yahtzee Pass – This game is for two or more players.  Take turn to try to roll a Yahtzee before the time runs out.   If you roll a Yahtzee before the time runs out, the dice will display the YAHTZEE! and then ask you to pass it to the next person.    If you can’t roll a Yahtzee before the time runs out – you are out of the game…

The dice also comes with a fun storage case which will allow you to carry them anywhere you are going.   

My only disappointment is that there are so many game for one player and that you can’t play the original Yahtzee with others.   I was expecting to have the ability to play the regular Yahtzee game with at least another person but it isn’t the case.   I guess you can’t beat playing Yahtzee with others without rolling the dice in your hands…   Nevertheless, this game is great for a down time for the kids or for entertaining yourself when you are on lunch time or travelling alone.

Yahtzee Flash is available at your favorite toy store.

Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
Let The Baby Grow Up This Christmas
By Shellie Tomlinson

When I was a little girl, Christmas seemed to take forever to make its way back to our little house on the end of a dirt road called Bull Run in northeast Louisiana. We kids started counting down the days before the leaves ever began turning. Sure, the adults said it came once a year but I wasn't so sure. Once Santa Claus left our humble abode it seemed like light years before he found his way back to the Delta.

That was a child's perspective. I imagine it hasn't changed all that much for today's kids. On the other hand, I'm operating under a completely different time frame these days. It seems like it was just yesterday when I pulled the boxes down from the attic and began pulling out the nativity scene, the miniature lights, and the keepsake ornaments. And now, just that fast-- Christmas Day is right around the corner. Soon the tree will be striped naked and the piled up presents will all be distributed. After a few more day it'll be hard to remember who got what from whom, and once again, I'll start packing all the decorations away for another year.

I was thinking about how bare and cold the house always looks after the holidays when I realized that, sadly, this  scene would play itself out in many hearts as well. A lot of people will have had expectations that weren't filled and many of those same souls will be left with hurts that don't seem to heal. Unless this year is remarkably different from past seasons, my bet is, the New Year will bring magazines full of articles on combating depression and the talk shows will have experts on offering ways to fill the long days ahead and cure the winter blues.

I'm no expert, dear readers, but I'd like to offer you a suggestion that will go far beyond the creature comforts of a nice warm bath or a delicious bowl of hot soup. Your heart doesn't have to be bare and naked after the holidays. Do you want to know the real secret? It's simple, really. Don't pack up Christ with Christmas! As beautiful and special as the Christmas story is, it's only a part of heaven's miracle. The Christ child grew into a man and the man became a Savior.

This year, may we be determined to let the babe from Bethlehem live on in our hearts. If we'll allow Him to become the Messiah He was born to be, the joy of Christmas can be ours all year long.

***
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is an author, speaker, and radio host from Louisiana. Her latest release Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy was endorsed by Jeff Foxworthy as "laugh out loud funny!" You can find Shellie's weekly southern features, podcasts, video chats and more at http://www.allthingssouthern.com/ Make sure to get by the blog  and read about the Super Christmas Giveaway Shellie is hosting for her readers and secure your chance to win a Mort Kunstler print valued between $700 and $1400. www.allthingssouthern.com

missiolife

img-1missiolife – living into the mission of God

About missiolife

A multi-generational approach to spiritual formation!

As leaders in the church, it’s challenging to equip people to be formed spiritually, to have the story of God become a practical reality and to actively become storytellers. MissioLife was created to do just that—to guide adults, youth and children on a pilgrimage through Scripture from understanding to participation in the mission of God.

One of the most unique features about MissioLife is that it is a digital resource. This means you can easily access and download the materials through the MissioLife website. From everything you need to lead a MissioLife group, to posters and other promotional materials, it’s never been easier to organize and lead a community-wide experience.

Essentially, MissioLife is a wonderful resource to will deepen you  passion about God and will help you to become more involved in what He wants you to do with your life.

What is MissioLife? from MissioLife on Vimeo.

 

MissioLife is divided into three learning groups: children, youth and adults. With the entire church community journeying through MissioLife together, families and multi-generational communities will be able to share in this formative experience.

Breathe

Breathe is the MissioLife small-group resource for adults. Each week of Breathe has three components: a biblical reflection to equip the facilitator with a background of each week’s scripture passage, a facilitator’s guide to help guide discussion, and a participant’s guide to encourage interaction and reflection. At the end of each 6-week module there is a communal experience activity that is designed to be a hands-on practice to reinforce the message of that particular module.

One year of Breathe is divided into six-week modules. Each module is designed to take you through the story of God using the spiritual formation method explained here.

Each week of Breathe will explore a different scripture passage that both builds on the week prior and continues the spiritual formation journey. To begin each community discussion time, Breathe incorporates the same four questions each week.

What does this passage say about God?

About ourselves?

About others?

About the world?

Image

Image is the MissioLife small-group resource for students, grade 7-12. We were each made in the image of God, which means we are already part of His story. Through conversation and discussion, Image will help students discover how we all fit into God’s story and explore what Scripture says about God, others, ourselves, and the world.

Like Breathe, both Image and Rhythms have three components and follows the six module per year format. All age groups will explore a different passage each week that builds on the week prior.

Rhythms

Rhythms is the MissioLife small group resource for children. God’s heartbeat is the rhythm of a child’s life. Rhythms invites elementary children, ages 6-12, into the story of God.

Using an easy-to-follow small group plan, Rhythms will help children explore a Bible story, be informed by the narrative, and be transformed through reflective questions, deeper thinking, and purposeful prayer to live into the mission of God.

Each week of Rhythms will explore a different scripture passage in four parts that both builds on the week prior and continues the spiritual formation journey.

Part 1: The Story. This is the narrative of the session’s Bible story.

Part 2: Teaching and Reflection. This section contains various activities, such as journaling and handouts, to help the children respond to and understand how God’s mission becomes their mission as followers. The students will explore what the Bible story had to say about God, ourselves, others, and the world.

Part 3: Deeper Still. This includes a variety of activities for children to respond, journal, use student handouts, and understand how God’s mission becomes their mission as His followers.

Part 4: Prayer. This will engage students in significant and focused time for conversation with God.

My Thoughts

To be honest, I am impressed with the quality of what I have seen so far.   I am also glad to see a small-group product that is touching multi-generations in a church.

Each week you get a in-depth biblical reflection to help you engage in the story of God as well as community discussions and a handout for each participants.  However, the Rhythm's resource for children ages 6-12 seems to be a little bit heavy for the younger ages in the group age.    Not all children are advance at the same level during those year.   I know because I have four kids myself ranging from 4 to 10 years old.   I find that my 6 and almost 8 years old boys will be overwhelmed with the curriculum found in this small group resource for children.  However, it is a great product for kids ages 10-12 to prepare them for a more in-depth study of the Bible when they will reach the youth group.

This unique journey for the whole church family is only available online.    Prices vary depending of the size of the church as well as what you purchase…  

Pricechart

As interesting as this multi-generation small-group product might be, I am disappointed that each available learning groups have to be paid separately.    If a small church decides to purchase the whole package for next year, they would have to pay 900$ in total (if they are anywhere between 0-25 members).    A small church doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in the funds it has sometimes and it is sad that if this product interest them, they won’t be able to afford it.

MissioLife is only available via the website - http://missiolife.com/.

Disclaimer: I received samples of the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Happy Fourth Birthday Jasmine!

My sweet daughter is turning four TODAY!

Here’s a little something to celebrate her birthday.

I love you sweetheart!  Continue to grow and love God the way you do.

XOXOXO

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One Thousand Gifts–Week 28

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281. Going through the book Tabitha’s Travels by Arnold YTreeide with the kids during Advent.

282. Doing our Jesse Tree at the same time

283. Doing my daughter’s cakeIMG_1979

284. Being creative in finding items for a mermaid cake…

285. Receiving an A+ for the last course of my Social Media Certificate

286. Finishing the Social Media Certificate

287. helping a friend in need

288. blessings from above – especially the ones that are surprises

289. Numerous Canadian Geese flying above our house – it’s the time of the year!

290. cookie social at church yesterday

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harvey’s Restaurants

Harvey’s

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Back in November, I have received a gift card from Harvey’s.   Since our third son’s birthday was just coming around, we decided to go to Harvey’s to celebrate his birthday.   It was a first for the kids as we had never brought them there before.

What is special about this fast food chain is that you can build your burger the way you want it to be.    After each kids had picked their meal (as well as the adults), we instructed the Harvey’s employee on what each of us wanted in their burgers.     You can pick onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, hot peppers as well as various condiments.    Don’t like pickles in your burgers but adore them nevertheless?   Not a problem as you can ask them to put some on the side for you.  They will wrap them in an individual paper and put them in your tray. 

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Personally, I am not a big fan of the regular hamburgers.  Somehow, I never liked them.   However, I am a huge fan of their grilled chicken one and I even try a new sauce – Spicy Mesquite.   It was delicious!   Below are all the selections you can add to your burger.

garnishes

Though the younger kids tried the Kids Combos, my oldest chose to eat a Great Canadian Burger which he loved..  My husband chose the Great Canadian Spicy Onion Bacon Burger and was a bit disappointed with it.     We had frings (a combination of fries and onion rings), fries and onion rings to eat with this as well a drinks.   With the Kids Combos,  the younger ones also have a toy.    If you compare the quality and the originality of the toys at Harvey’s with another fast food chain, it is a bit disappointing to see what they are offering.   When we went they only had cardboard built your own dinosaur or a plastic building toys that didn’t have enough pieces to build something interesting…   The dinosaur were broken within a day or two and the other toys quickly found its way in the recycling bin.    The kids were disappointed but quickly got over it.   

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We had a great time at Harvey’s to celebrate our son’s birthday.   The place was quiet though.   Not many people were in the restaurant on Nov 21st.   We had picked one that we knew that not many people go there in the evening.   I think when we arrived there was only one person in the restaurant.  When we left two other families had arrived…  

Though the food is great and that you can find many Harvey’s throughout Canada, we find the prices a bit expensive.   For a family of six the total amount was slightly over 50$.   Not everyone can pay that much to take the family out to Harvey’s.   There are many other possibilities for take out/restaurant that is cheaper than this for a big family like ours.    We appreciate the fact that we had a gift card to enjoy our outing to Harvey’s but I would like to suggest the chain to consider putting cheaper meal options for big families or at least create a family meal option.

Disclaimer: This post was possible because I received a 50$ gift card from Harvey’s for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia

9780756686970HLEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Includes exclusive LEGO® Star Wars® minifigure!

DK is bringing two of the world's most popular properties together again in a fun, chunky format that kids and adults are sure to love! This illustrated encyclopedia features in-depth profiles showing interesting and never-before-seen elements of all your favorite LEGO® Star Wars® minifigures.

With more than 400 captivating images and tons of fascinating facts, the LEGO® Star Wars® Character Encyclopedia is sure to keep both LEGO lovers and Star Wars fans reading for hours!

My Thoughts

Do you have a fanatic of Lego Star Wars in your household?   Do you know someone who collects them?  If so I have the perfect 31Ovl HzwFL__SS400_Christmas gift for that person!   DK has recently released the LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia for the fans everywhere…

What is particularly interesting about this book is that an exclusive minifigure is also included – Han Solo Decorated Hero.  

The characters are presented based on their appearance in the movies.   The book is divided according of the movies – Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, Clone Wars and Expanded Universe.

Just for fun, I decided to go to the page where Han Solo Decorated Hero was shown. As Star Wars fans would know, Han Solo receive the highest medal of honor for his role in the destruction of the first Death Star in Episode IV.  On this page, you can see the figurine and various information linked to it.  For example, one of the boxes is linked to the medal and you can read – Princess Leia Organa has awarded Han with this medal of honor for his heroics in the Battle of Yavin.    You can also learn that this is the fifth version of Han Solo in LEGO form but the only LEGO Star Wars character available in more versions is Luke Skywalker.  Also it is interesting to know that there are three characters that match Han Solo’s number: Anakin Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

For the other figurines you can discover in which set of LEGO Star Wars they have been released. Each character has also a data file which gives you information about the set, year, pieces, equipment and the number of variants.

I know that my kids will dig into this book quite a bit and dream of battles they could have with these characters if they had the LEGO Star Wars sets for them.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them going through the book with the ones they already have to learn more about them….

The LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia is available at your favorite bookstore, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.