Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 Days of Thankfulness 2013

For the month of November, I posted on Facebook daily what I was thankful for. I'd like to be able to look back someday so I'm reposting all of my 30 thankful status here.

1. I'm thankful for the peace that Yahweh Shalom gives me! The Lord is Peace. He is the Source of true peace. When I fix my thoughts on the power of God, the promises of God, & the purposes of God and give thanks continually for His presence, provision, & protection, His peace guards my heart and mind. I pray. I trust. I rest. Inner peace.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ~Jesus (John 14:27)


2. I'm thankful for the complete, irrevocable, and eternal forgiveness I have in Christ. My past, present, and future sins are all forgiven.

"In Him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8


3. I'm thankful for JESUS CHRIST, my Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Rescuer, Advocate, and Best Friend Who loves me and gave His life up for me so that I may live! He washed away all my sins and shame. I know that my Redeemer lives! It's all about Him. May my life, words, attitudes, and actions always honor & glorify Jesus and point people to Him!

"Thanks be to God, Who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:25

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty (futile) way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20


4. I'm thankful for my Christ-centered, mission-minded, joy-filled, grace-saturated, God-dependent family that majors in unconditional love, kindness, forgiveness, and encouragement ! God gives me the best family for me . I'm blessed beyond words.

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!" ~Albert Einstein

"O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever." Psalm 30:12b


5. I'm thankful for God's provision. God has faithfully provided for me and will always provide for what I need. He already provided my greatest need, the need for a substitute to pay for the penalty for my sin and die in my place. He provided His one and only Son, Jesus Christ!

"God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

"My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

6. I'm thankful for God's gift of music. Music can be powerful, meaningful, worshipful, insightful, inspiring, encouraging, or soul-stirring. It can trigger our memories, speak to our heart, cheer us up, make us want to dance, refresh us, remind us of God's goodness, etc. I enjoy listening to music. In our family, we have 2 composers, 4 piano players, and one very grateful fan, me . I'm thankful that God cares about the heart of His worshipers, not the voice :). I love to sing to the Lord.

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Psalm 95:1-2
"Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds." 1 Chronicles 16:9
"Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us." ~Martin Luther

7. I'm thankful for my husband who is also my best friend and spiritual mentor. He loves me unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially...and makes me feel loved. He still thinks I'm the best (the truth is he's the best even though he doesn't agree!), enjoys spending time with me, makes me laugh, values my opinions, opens the doors for me, says "Please" and "Thank you", kisses me like there's no tomorrow ...the list goes on. More importantly, he loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength! I thank God for allowing Eric and me to walk together as husband and wife on this life's journey. What a blessed wife I am!

8. I'm thankful for simple joys in life. Laughing so hard that my belly aches or my eyes are watery...holding hands with my beloved hubby... discussing with my kids about God's Word...spending my quiet time with my Heavenly Father...having great conversations...serving others...making others smile and laugh...singing Shout To The Lord with gusto...playing games with family and friends...playing basketball with my boys...Skyping with my daughter... cooking & eating Thai food...baking cookies...taking pictures/capturing moments... admiring gorgeous sunsets...sipping coffee in front of the wood stove...reading insightful books...being around thoughtful & thankful people.........

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20


9. I'm thankful for God's steadfast, unshakable, & everlasting lovingkindness ! I'm so loved by God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe! You are, too! I'm thankful that God graciously sends me daily love notes, making His presence known to me in a personal way.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions (mercies) never fail (cease). They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever
." Psalm 136:1, 26


10. I'm thankful for the Body of Christ near and far... all around the world. I'm thankful for the beautiful bond we share--the bond of Christ--which can never be broken. I'm blessed to know so many brothers and sisters in Christ in real life and via Facebook (you know who you are :)).

"May the God Who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6

Today is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please join me and others in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who suffer persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:3


11. I'm thankful to be living in America, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. I'm thankful for all who have ever served and sacrificed for this country.

12. I'm thankful that my sons are best buddies. They practically can read each other's mind . They've always shared one bedroom and they still want to at age 15 and 12 (even though we now have a spare bedroom since Alyssa is in college). They talk about everything under the sun. They play together and love to make each other laugh.

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1


13. I'm thankful for homeschooling. This is our 15th year of homeschooling and God has sustained and blessed us through it all. I'm also thankful that my kids are thankful for homeschooling. Those who homeschool their kids would know what I mean :).


14. I'm thankful for Skype . I'm glad I'm able to talk with and "see" Alyssa who is in college...via Skype. I miss her!!!


15. I'm thankful for the privilege of prayer. I'm so glad that God never gets tired of listening to me . I'm also thankful for people who pray for me and my loved ones.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2

P.S. Please pray for my daughter. Here's her prayer request: "I'd really appreciate prayers for my PFA (physical fitness assessment), which is on the 19th, to go well. I'll be running with an injury so please pray that it won't get significantly worse as well. Thank you so much!"


16. I'm thankful for our family's devotion time. We sing hymns/praise songs, read & discuss God's Word, and pray together. Christ is the Head of our family and we desire Him to be the Center of our lives and our family always.

17.
I'm thankful for the gift of God's unconditional, undeserved, and unending grace. I am daily dependent on God's grace and it still amazes me. His grace is always sufficient for me. I'm forever grateful that I've been saved not by works but by His grace alone.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2

18.
I'm thankful that God allows me to experience Him intimately and see His fingerprints on my life and the lives of others over and over again. Today is one of those days with "Wow! Thank You, Lord, for that!" moments. He cares even about the little details of my days. Praise Yahweh Rohi (The Lord Is My Shepherd)! He leads me, guides me, and refreshes my soul. His presence makes all the difference in the world! I can and I will testify of His goodness, faithfulness, power, love, grace, and mercy forever. The more I know God, the more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him. The more I love Him and the more grateful I am for Him, the more I want to know Him and to make Him known.

"Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6

"Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

19.
I'm thankful for God's Word in which I take delight. I ardently cherish God's Love Letter to me. I'm excited to read it each day...to hear His whispers of love, hope, and encouragement. I don't want to miss out on anything :)! I'm thankful for my nourishing Daily Bread and guiding Light.

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deuteronomy 8:3b


20. I'm thankful for our home sweet home...a modest house with a million dollar view :). It's actually not our house; it's God's. I'm thankful that He allows us to use this home to offer hospitality to people.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:9

21.
I'm thankful that this month I have less pain-filled days than usual. Praise Yahweh Rapha (The Lord Who Heals)!

22.
I'm thankful that my sons are thoughtful and responsible. In the morning, they bring in firewood & make fire in our woodstove and diligently do their homschool work...sometimes even before I get up (like today) :).

23.
I'm thankful for insightful books that drive me to dig deeper in God's Word...that inspire and challenge me. I'm thankful that I never run out of great books to read (since I'm a book reviewer besides having a mini library at home :)). I enjoy receiving books/packages in the mail...it's like having Christmas presents delivered here pretty much every week :).

24.
I'm thankful for the occasional bursts of energy and strength God has graciously given me between my debilitating pain episodes. Praise El Sali (God My Strength)!

"I love You, O Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold." Psalm 18:1

"The Lord is my Strength and my Shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him." Psalm 28:7

"You are my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my Fortress, my God on Whom I can rely." Psalm 59:17

25.
I'm thankful for opportunities to take my family to free advance screenings of Disney's movies (I'm one of their review bloggers). Tonight we enjoyed Frozen :)!

26.
I'm thankful for my mother-in-love, Juanita. She is one of the kindest, most generous, & most loving people I've ever met. Her love for Jesus is always obvious. I'm very blessed to have her in my life!

27.
I'm thankful for my delightful daughter, Alyssa ! So thankful that she's home!!! I'm spoiling her with all her favorite foods :).

28.
I'm thankful for God's bountiful blessings...abundance of family love...abundance of helping hands...abundance of delicious food...abundance of laughter and fun! Also thankful that I probably won't have to cook again until next week (due to an abundance of leftovers) :). Another thing...I'm thankful for thankful people.

29.
I'm thankful for my sister-in-love, Annette. She is patient and kind...lovely in every way! She is my "adopted" sister and one of my dearest sisters in Christ! Also thankful for the early birthday gifts she gave me :)! She is always sweet and thoughtful.

30.
I'm thankful for God's protection. So thankful that He watches over my family and me...over our daughter when she is away at college.

"He will not let your foot slip--He Who watches over you will not slumber... The Lord will keep you from all harm--He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:3, 7-8


Happy Thanksliving
:)! Thanksgiving doesn't have to end and in fact, it should never end.
May our every day be a day of thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for! May our hearts always be overflowing with gratitude! May our lives continually be Thank-You cards to God!

Book Review: The One Year Book of Amish Peace by Tricia Goyer

I've always admired the Amish's simple way of living. I'm quite happy to add The One Year Book of Amish Peace to my devotional collection. Are you struggling with busyness? Do you find it hard to slow down and just be still before God? Are you being bombarded with online information, social media, and million other distractions :)? This book will help encourage you to set a slower pace of life and take time to spend with God and to enjoy His blessings each day. Simple joys are truly the best! Simple peace, too :)! Jesus is our Peace and He shows us that we can always find joy and contentment in Him and in the simple things He blesses us with. There are 365 devotions; each is only one page long. Each devotion starts with a Bible verse and ends with a prayer. It helps keep my heart and mind focused on God and His Word. I also enjoy learning more about the Amish, including their customs and their proverbs. Their proverbs are wise and witty.  A few of my favorites are "True Thanksgiving is thanks-living," "Patience is a quality most needed when it is exhausted," "There are no degrees of honesty." The author also includes one recipe for each season. I like the one for summer the best :). Want peace? Check this one year devotional out and let it draw you closer to God each and every day!

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

*You all are invited to the Amish Peace Facebook Party on December 4th! Hope to see you there!


The One Year Book of Amish Peace Simple Things Facebook Party Tricia Goyer Tyndale
Pin to Win Today - 11/14 - 11/30!
The One Year Book of Amish Peace Tricia Goyer Tyndale

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Movie Review: Frozen in 3D

FROZEN(In 3D)
DISNEY
Website: Disney.com/Frozen

Genre:                                     Animated Comedy/Adventure
Rating:                                    PG
Voice Cast:                              Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, CiarĂ¡n Hinds
Directors:                                 Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Producer:                                 Peter Del Vecho
Screenplay by:                        Jennifer Lee

The film is directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan,” “Surf’s Up”) and Jennifer Lee (screenwriter, “Wreck-It Ralph”), who also wrote the screenplay. It is produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Winnie the Pooh,” “The Princess and the Frog”). Featuring original songs from Tony® winner Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q”) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Winnie the Pooh”), and an original score by Christophe Beck (“The Muppets,” Oscar®-winning short “Paperman”), “Frozen” hits theaters in 3D on Nov. 27, 2013.


MY REVIEW:
Frozen turned out to be better than I expected. It's a tale of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, who are princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa was born with a special power: she has the ability to create ice and snow. This special power could be seen as a blessing (she can create most spectacular ice sculptures or wonderful fluffy white snow just by waving her hands) or a curse (whatever she touches with her bare hands becomes frozen). When her icy power traps her kingdom in frozen condition during summer and she flees, Anna teams up with an ice salesman, Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven to find Elsa, hoping to convince her to help their beloved kingdom. Along the way, they meet a funny, friendly snowman named Olaf. My family and I really enjoyed this movie. We laughed out loud quite a bit. We also love the music and songs in Frozen. Remarkable animation! I'm glad that the movie does not put much emphasis on magic but instead, it focuses on love vs. fear. True love is sacrificial love. Fear freezes and isolates us while love frees and bonds us. The film highlights the beautiful relationship between sisters! We definitely want to get a DVD of this one to add to our Disney collections :)!



















~Special thanks to Allied-THA Marketing for the opportunity to attend an advance screening of Disney's Frozen for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DVD Review: When Calls the Heart



When Calls The Heart
DVD Price:                                           $19.98 U.S.
Release Date:                                       November 19th, 2013

Total Running Time:                              89 minutes


Michael Landon Jr. – Director:
  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years. With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.
  


My Review:
When Calls the Heart
is a beautiful, heartwarming Hallmark movie directed by Michael Landon, Jr., based on the book by Janette Oke (my mother-in-law's favorite author).
It is the story of a 22 year old cultured and pampered young teacher in 1910, Elizabeth Thatcher, who received her first teaching post in a coal mining town in the Western Frontier. She struggles with her fears and doubts but at the same time desperately wants to prove to her family that she could survive on her own. Her sister, Julie, doesn't make it any easier, either. The discovery of her aunt's secret diary helps unlock Elizabeth's own courage and determination to leave the comfort of her home and face the adventures and obstacles ahead. Her aunt (also named Elizabeth) was a teacher in a prairie town who had her own struggles and fell in love with a Royal Canadian Mountie. Using her aunt's diary as her guide, inspiration, and encouragement, the young Elizabeth took a step of faith to follow her dream, escorted by Edward, a Royal Canadian Mountie who is her childhood friend.

I enjoyed the movie and I'm glad that it is made into a television series (coming out in 2014). I really like the old-fashioned love story that involves chivalry and gentlemanliness :). The movie is also about overcoming fears, seeing purpose of pain and hardship, trusting God, using your God-given gifts to make a difference in the world, and discovering that "assuming" is to be avoided. Remarkable performances by the cast. Elegant and graceful costumes (modest, too). The special features on the DVD include cool deleted scenes, trailer, and exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie. Check out this wonderful family film! 
          




~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Noah's Trailer

I'm excited about this new movie, "Noah" starring Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. I hope it's Biblically accurate. Check out the trailer below!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: The Little Book of Great Dates by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley


Do you and your husband have regular scheduled dates? My husband and I don't but wish we could :). However, we're thankful that this year we have had 2 different weekend getaways at the beach. We had a fabulous time! The Little Book of Great Dates is filled with 52 fun, creative ideas for affordable dates to help strengthen your marriage. It's a beautiful gift book--little in size but great in content! It aims to help couples be intentional about deepening their relationship, connect with each other more intimately and more frequently, know each other better, enjoy new, exciting activities together, and discover that dating your spouse is tons of fun. Think of dates as investments with great benefits for your marriage relationship.

The beginning of the book talks about why marital dating is so important. The rest of the book shows readers how to get it done. Some of my favorite ideas are #10 making the "cherish list" (a list of the things you value about your spouse); #12 viewing your dates as opportunities to invite God into your activities...to connect spiritually as a couple; for example, volunteering at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter or going for a hike & admiring God's handiwork in nature; #13 reminiscing the early years of your relationship and revisiting the places you visited during your dating or courtship; #18 working on some house projects together to beautify your home and build happy memories at the same time; and #41 serving in your community together (the authors offer several ideas/activities for readers to choose from).  The book also covers date plans for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, New Year's Eve, Christmas, and milestones. Want intimacy, excitement, and fun in your marriage? Need to rekindle your romance? Check out this book and then put the ideas into action! I'm looking forward to trying these ideas out with my beloved husband soon.

""Cherishing" is an attitude that involves recognizing your mate's inherent value. "Nourishing," on the other hand, is an action in which you treat your spouse in ways that show you value him or her." (p.33)



~Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: Just One More Thing Before You Leave Home by David Gudgel


Meet the authors: Dave & Bernice Gudgel are committed to walking intentionally with God and helping others do the same. Bernice has a degree in Psychology and has focused her adult life on raising three kids and leading various ministries in the church where people can connect with God and each other. Dave is a pastor and teaches for Walk Thru the Bible.

Learn more at: http://davidandbernice.com

MY REVIEW:
I wish I received this book sooner because I would have gone through it with my daughter before she left for college in September :). I definitely want to go through this book with my sons in a few years before they leave home. This book is a valuable guide to help young adults make wise decisions and be better prepared to live a productive life on their own with confidence and with integrity. It's an easy-to-read book. I enjoyed the conversational style; it seemed like I was just "listening" to some loving advice/insightful counsel from people who really care (I think it's because what they wrote was what they shared with their own children). Great stuff for discussions with your teenagers!

The authors cover 30 important topics and group them into 10 parts. The topics range from roommates, money management, priorities, car maintenance to drinking, gambling, pornography, and safety. At the end of each chapter, readers will find a takeaway point, relevant Bible verses, and thought-provoking questions. I really appreciate the Biblical worldview and practical application offered in this book. I also love the fact that the authors encourage readers to live for God, not self, and to be other-centered, not self-centered. I highly recommend this excellent book to all parents whose kids will be leaving home soon and to young adults who just start out on their own.


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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: NIV Homeschool Mom's Bible


I have homeschooled my kids for over 15 years. And I have used NIV Bibles for much longer than that. I was thrilled to receive this beautiful NIV (New International Version) Homeschool Mom's Bible to review. Are you a homeschool mom who feels exhausted or unmotivated or inadequate or ready to give up? Have you neglected spending time in God's Word? We, homeschool moms, get discouraged, stressed, or anxious from time to time. We desperately need consistent spiritual food for strength, stamina, encouragement, wisdom, and guidance. Let's take care of our soul first so that we'll be able to properly care for our children's spiritual well-being.

This Bible is designed specifically for you. It contains 365 daily devotions written by Janet Tatman, a veteran homeschooling mom with 25 years under her belt. She's one of those who has been there done that. Her messages will encourage & inspire you and will help you feel more confident & committed in your calling.
Each devotion starts with a Scripture passage and ends with a prayer. Each devotion is only one page long. These devotions are insightful and Biblically sound. I enjoyed reading them and could relate to what Janet talks about. You will be nodding your head or smiling while you read them because you likely share the same or similar experiences. I really appreciate the topical index in the back of the Bible. Conveniently, readers can find a topic that they are interested in or curious about or that is relevant to their current situation. There are various topics such as reason for homeschooling, weariness, priorities, perseverance, motivation, training children in faith, feeling overwhelmed, learning styles, reward for homeschooling, and more.

~I received a free copy of this Bible via Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.