Friday, September 22, 2017

CD Review and Giveaway: All In by Matthew West

All In
Matthew West's brand new album "All In" is releasing today! This album is different than his other albums. In this album, Matthew West, a gifted musician, singer-songwriter, and story-teller, shares lots of his own personal stories. The listeners will get to know better who he is and the God he lives for. This album will inspire and challenge you to go all in with your faith, family, and community. "These songs are written in the hopes that they will be arrows straight to your hearts reminding you that the goal is to reach the end with no regrets." (Matthew West)

Below is the list of songs:
1. All In
2. Broken Things
3. Mercy Is A Song
4. Amen
5. The Sound of A Life Changing
6. Something Greater
7. Jesus & You
8. The Beautiful Things We Miss
9. 1 Song
10. Power Love Sound Mind
11. Never Ever Give Up
12. Dream Again
13. Becoming Me
14. You Are Known

All In is a song of resolution to surrender all to Jesus and to be fully devoted to Him. "Turns out safe is just another word for regret." (from the song "All In") Broken Things is a song about God's redeeming & restoring grace and how He uses imperfect, broken people for His glory and His kingdom. One of my favorites on this album is Mercy Is A Song. It talks about mercy vs. guilt and the freedom that comes with God's mercy. Amen is a fast-paced, gospel music-styled song that exudes excitement of being saved and wanting to tell the world about the Good News. The Sound of A Life Changing is Matthew West's personal testimony of a life transformed. Something Greater is a song about God's greater plan for our lives...greater than anything we can ever imagine. I love the song, Jesus & You. It's a sweet song of gratitude Matthew West expresses to Jesus and his wife. Another one of my favorites is The Beautiful Things We Miss. This is a song of reminder and conviction to not take our family for granted. "I don't wanna miss it. I don't wanna look back someday and find everything that really mattered was right in front of me this whole time. Open up my eyes, Lord. Keep me in the moment just like this before the beautiful things we love become the beautiful things we miss.1 Song explains what he would sing about if he only had one last song to sing. Power Love Sound Mind is a catchy song about 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Never Ever Give Up is a tribute song for all the brave survivors and fighters who never give up. Dream Again is an encouraging, hopeful song about Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I also really like Becoming Me, a song about moms and the influence they have on their children. You Are Known reminds us all that we are known by God, loved by Him, and belong to Him. There's a bonus track of Matthew West having fun singing with his young daughters. Adorable. If you're looking for upbeat music that contains uplifting, meaningful messages, check out this wonderful album!



GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD! The giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. only. Ends 9/30 at midnight Pacific time.
To Enter: Please share in the comment one of your current favorite Christian musicians or songs.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Living for God" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest- Follow me on Instagram
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Pin it on Pinterest 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

~ Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Book Review: The Mediterranean Love Plan by Stephen & Misty Arterburn with Becky Johnson

Picture
I think we can all agree that marriage takes work. But some people forget that it can and should be lots of fun, too! Even a happy marriage (like mine) can benefit from getting a refresher course in passion every now and then. I love this unique & inspiring book and eat it up. The Mediterranean Love Plan is unlike other marriage books. The authors (husband and wife) share 7 secrets to life-long passion in marriage and how these secrets are regularly practiced in the Mediterranean cultures/countries like Italy, Spain, France, Greece, and Israel. My husband and I are pretty romantic and playful. We have done several things mentioned in the book but I still found some fantastic, romantic ideas that I can't wait to apply. The book aims to help married couples enhance the joy of living and deepen the intimacy in their marriage. I like and appreciate the authors' candidness as they share their own experiences and thoughts on sex, food, fun, faith, beauty, creativity, health, and more. The book is filled with practical & helpful advice/ideas and insightful quotes. This is a book that I will definitely revisit again and again. I highly recommend it to every couple.

"What we prioritize will grow and blossom. This is a lifelong adventure in understanding one another, staying open, and reaching for humility. Reaching for each other. Creating attunement and connection is thrilling when achieved. Joy-filling, awe-inspiring, love-growing marriage is available for all who participate." (p. 29)

"A woman with inner confidence who believes she is beautiful, feminine, sexy, fun, and smart can be alluring to her husband (and everyone else) all her life." (p. 40)

"Their attitude and body language convey to each other, 'You matter. I'm fully present and enjoying every single aspect of being with you, delightful person that you are!' Who wouldn't swoon over that sort of attention? Who wouldn't feel cherished, valued, and loved?" (p. 40)

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Wonder-Filled Week of Family Vacation

Only one of five members in our family is a planner (our daughter). I can plan but I usually don't unless it's necessary. When it comes to a family vacation, planning seems necessary so I planned a little here and there and made our packing list two days before our departure. However, my husband is extremely spontaneous (he makes life more exciting :)). In a way, he literally walked by faith step by step. He did not make any hotel reservations (very hard to find availability in summer) or ferry reservations until a day or so before arrival at each destination. God has been so good and gracious to us. We're truly grateful for His provision and protection throughout the whole trip! Thanks to Annette (Eric's sister), we slept 3 nights at her place while we were in Washington and she was our tour guide in Seattle.

Thursday, Aug. 10: Olympic National Park: Quinault River-Pony Bridge (5 mile hike on Graves Creek trail), Lake Quinault, Stayed the night in Ocean Shores

Friday, Aug. 11: Mt. Rainier National Park: Hiking on Glacier Vista trail seeing a marmot, a fox, and a chipmunk

Saturday, Aug. 12: Snoqualmie Falls, Leavenworth

Sunday, Aug. 13: Seattle: Time Escape (Presidential Assassination), Pier 57, Space Needle

Monday, Aug. 14: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
 Tuesday, Aug. 15: The Empress Hotel, Parliament/Legislature, Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park

Wednesday, Aug. 16: The Butchart Gardens, San Juan Island: Friday Harbor

Thursday, Aug. 17: Roche Harbor, Lime Kiln Point State Park/Lighthouse, South Beach
We drove a lot and walked a lot (hiking, walking in Leavenworth, and walking practically everywhere in Victoria). We also took a ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, Canada, another from Sidney to Friday Harbor, and then another from Friday Harbor back to Anacortes. We had to abandon our stun gun and pepper spray at the Canadian customs. We ate American food, German food, English food, Chinese food, Irish food, Italian food, Greek food, Korean food, etc. We discovered yummy Canadian snacks: Coffee Crisps, Ketchup Chips, and Maple Cookies. And Bubble tea was our staple, We took over 2,000 photos. On our last ferry, Josiah saw a whale.
So happy and thankful that we got to enjoy a week of family vacation (8 adventure-filled days) before Alyssa leaves for Texas (next Friday). Lots of firsts, foods, ferries, flowers, fun, fond memories, and photos!

Monday, July 31, 2017

CD Review and Giveaway: Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman

Every Mile Mattered
Nichole Nordeman's new album, Every Mile Mattered, is now available in stores. Nichole Nordeman is a gifted song writer and she has a beautiful voice. This new album is filled with reflective songs from her heart. They tell stories of her life's journey with raw emotions and with gratitude to God.

Below is the list of songs.
1. Every Mile Mattered
2. You're Here
3. Dear Me
4. No Longer
5. Lean
6. Hush, Hush
7. Listen To Your Life
8. Beautiful Day

9. Sound of Surviving
10. Anywhere We Are
11. Slow Down (feat. Pepper Ingram)

Every Mile Mattered is a meaningful song that reminds us to let go of the past and not let our past mistakes and/or regrets define us but to rely on God's mercy and grace, instead. You're Here is a comforting & encouraging song about God's presence that makes all the difference in the world. Dear Me is a letter to one's younger self that tells her the importance of putting love into action. No Longer encourages listeners to no longer be afraid or ashamed but to boldly and fearlessly be on fire for God. One of my favorites on this album is Lean. It's a beautiful song about leaning on God and trusting Him, instead of striving on our own performance. "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10a) Hush, Hush talks about God's mercy through trials. Listen To Your Life is a catchy song helping us realize that when we are in Christ and live by the Spirit, nothing is wasted. You may be familiar with Beautiful Day sung by U2. Nichole's rendition is a slower tempo. Sound of Surviving is a song of resilience that urges us to keep fighting and pressing on. I really like Anywhere We Are's haunting music. It's a love song that talks about loving through any storms in life. The last song, Slow Down, is another one of my favorites. As a parent/mom, I can totally relate to this song. Kids grow up too fast; parents want them to slow down :). If you're looking for an inspiring & introspective music, check out this wonderful album!


GIVEAWAY
: You can win a copy of this CD! The giveaway is open to 

residents of the U.S. only. Ends 8/8 at midnight Pacific time.
To Enter: Please share in the comment one of your current favorite Christian musicians or songs.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Living for God" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest- Follow me on Instagram
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Pin it on Pinterest 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

~ Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: Israel--God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel

Israel is one of the countries I've always wanted to visit. Photography is one of my hobbies. Therefore, I really enjoyed reviewing this book. Ron Gafni's aerial photography is remarkable. Kathleen Barrett's Biblical narratives are insightful. In this book, the Holy Land's ancient landscapes are beautifully captured while its legacy of God's redemptive love story is clearly told. It is indeed a rare treat for anyone to be able to experience Israel from a bird's eye view. It offers a unique perspective. The book is divided into five sections: Beloved Jerusalem, Divine Design, Landscapes of History, Marvels of Modern Israel, and Salt of the Earth--The Dead Sea.

Each of the color photographs has a caption describing location and interesting fact. You will see photos of historical landmarks, birds, wildlife, flowers, landscapes, modern life, and more. Some of my favorites are rocks formation at the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, Dead Sea sinkholes filled with different mineral water, Sedom Mountain above the Dead Sea, the Bay of Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea, and the Arbel Cliff above the Sea of Galilee. 
The breathtaking beauty of God's magnificent creation abounds! Israel is rich with Biblical history as you can see in this book. There are Scriptural references throughout the book. The narratives enhance the photographs and vice versa. They work together so well to make the Bible come alive. I've learned quite a bit about Israel's history and geography from this small book. I highly recommend this visually stunning coffee table book!
 




~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.
About the authors:

Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company, Skypics.co.il, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel. 


Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.
Find out more at http://skypics.co.il.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: The Good Book by Deron Spoo


The best and greatest book in the world is the Bible (God's Word)! It's definitely life-changing! For new Christians, it can be daunting to read and understand the Bible. Often they feel overwhelmed and don't know where they should start. The Good Book by Deron Spoo is an excellent book that gives readers 40 highlights from the Bible. Hopefully, it will encourage and motivate readers to read the rest of the Bible. Even for those who have read the Bible regularly for years, it offers fresh insights and fuels the passion and appreciation for God's love letter even more. The book is divided into 8 main sections: In the Beginning, God Is Good When Life Gets Messy, God Is Big, Tough Love; Troubled Times, Jesus Has Just Entered the Building, Jesus Won't Leave Us as We Are, Following Jesus, and God's Message for You. There are five chapters in each section. Though I am familiar with all 40 chapters (half from the Old Testament and half from the New Testament) that the author selected for this book, I enjoyed reading and learning from the book. These 40 chapters cover important (every Christian should know) themes in the Bible such as creation, faith, grace, salvation, suffering, spiritual growth, wisdom, obedience, integrity, worry, death, agape, Heaven, and more . Each chapter starts with Scriptures and ends with thought-provoking questions for reflection. It's theologically sound and easy to understand. The author often uses real life stories, historical facts, or scientific facts to demonstrate lessons/truths from the Bible. He shows how God's Word is valuable and applicable to our daily life. The Good Book will help new believers gain a solid foundation in God's truths. I highly recommend this book! May you know God more through His Word and make Him known to the world!

"God's presence is our greatest source of confidence and courage." (p. 109)
"Grace is God's decision to outlast our every attempt to avoid him, to outdistance our attempts to run from him, and to outwait our stubbornness in resisting him." (p. 210)
"Love is sacrificial in its protection, optimistic in its trust, positive in its hope, and unflinching in its resolve. Far beyond mere emotion, love is a decision to will and work for someone's best interests--always." (p.359)
"The best measure of spiritual maturity isn't one's spiritual gifts but one's spiritual fruit." (p. 366)

About the Author:


Deron Spoo is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoo has guided the church as it transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as "down to earth" and "authentic." His television devotionals, "First Things First," reach 100,000 people each week. Spoo is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Find out more about Deron at http://www.readthegoodbook.com.


~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Book Review: The Joy of Letting Go by Vicki Caruana



As a mother of three who are 23 (about to graduate from college), 18 (working and deciding whether to go to college), and 15 (homeschooling), I have been experiencing both the joy and the anxiety of letting go. I want to help my children spread their wings and soar successfully in this wide world. Yet sometimes I don't want them to grow up too fast or too independent. This book aims to help ease the letting go process so that it will be not only effective but also enjoyable. Each of the 52 devotional readings begins with an insightful quote and ends with Thought Poke (including great questions for reflection), and a relevant Bible verse. Each devotional reading is short and concise. The author offers valuable lessons from her own personal experiences and practical advice. The Joy of Letting Go helps parents be prepared mentally and emotionally as they equip their children for independence and adjust themselves to changes. It's an easy, encouraging read!

"You know your children better than anyone else. You know what they can and can't handle. When deciding how and when to let go or to at lease loosen your grip, make sure your decision is based on what they can and can't handle and not on what you can and can't handle." (p.33)

About the author:
Dr. Vicki Caruana is the author of 20 books and the blog Apples & Chalkdust-named after her bestselling book that has touched the lives of a million educators around the world. Caruana is one of four parenting experts on "Starting Points," Focus on the Family's parenting DVD series. Formerly a public school teacher and a homeschooling mom, Vicki is now an assistant professor of education at Mount Saint Mary College in New York. She lives with her station wagon loving husband, Chip, in Newburgh, New York and has two grown sons in Colorado Springs.
Find out more about Vicki at http://vickicaruana.blogspot.com.

~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.