Sunday, November 30, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness 2014

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.

Day 1Today I am thankful for the wonderful visit that my husband and I had with our daughter (who is away in college). We enjoyed sushi and Starbucks S'mores Frapp and just hanging out. I'm so thankful for a blessed relationship we have with her. I'm so thankful for my delightful daughter who loves the Lord and lives a life of faith, love, grace, obedience, and integrity. She is an overachiever for Christ and an outstanding example of servant leadership.

Day 2: I am thankful for salvation by grace, justification through faith, Christ's righteousness imputed upon me, peace with God through Jesus, access into God's grace in which I now stand, and never-disappointing hope of the glory of God! (Romans 5:1-2) I could keep going but I will save for another day :).

Day 3: I am thankful for my Godly husband who is the love of my life, my best friend, and my spiritual mentor. He is God's gift for me. He's an encourager & evangelist extraordinaire. I'm so thankful that he loves me as Christ loves His Church. I'm so thankful that he loves God and puts God above all else. And I'm so thankful that he puts 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Philippians 2:3-5 into practice day in and day out. It's been such a joy, blessing, and privilege to share life with him, and to love, serve, honor, and respect him.

Day 4: I am thankful for the fun evening we had at a free advance screening of Big Hero 6 (3D). I'm thankful for this kind of opportunity as a review blogger. I'm thankful for laughter which is so good for everyone.

Day 5
: I am forever thankful for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, my Rock and Refuge, my Hope and Anchor of my soul, my Peace and Joy, my Deliverer and Defender, my Redeemer and Righteousness, my Reconciler and Restorer, my Shepherd and Best Friend, my Creator and King, my Burden Bearer and Intercessor, my Strength and Shield, my Healer and Help, my Life and Light,...Christ my All ! It's all about Him. I'm all about Him.Christ Alone I will proclaim, praise, exalt, and glorify!
"Thanks be to God, Who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:25
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

Day 6: I am thankful for my health and the health of my husband and kids. We're generally healthy and strong. I never want to take that for granted. I struggle with intense pain each month for 2-3 weeks due to Adenomyosis. It makes me appreciate each painfree day much more . It's a jumping-for-joy, dancing-around, feeling-quite-energetic kind of appreciation/gratitude! I'm so thankful for any reprieve.

Day 7: I am thankful for the Body of Christ all around the world. We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord. There's a beautiful bond among us. I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are fellow servants of God. It's been such a joy to serve God alongside several wonderful people in our LJ Fellowship. I'm so thankful for opportunities to share Christ's love with some international students who attend our local university.

Day 8: I am thankful for God's sweet, amazing, glorious grace! Grace that has been freely given to me in Christ. Grace that is greater than all my sin, guilt, and shame. Grace that transforms me and sustains me. I'm thankful for the daily abundant, inexhaustible, all-sufficient grace God has poured out on my life. By the grace of God I am what I am...born again and blessed, forgiven and free! I see God's fingerprints ("grace notes") all the time; my soul just smiles with a grateful heart. I don't deserve anything yet God keeps blessing me. Grace upon grace!

Day 9: I am thankful for the privilege of prayer. What a privilege we have in Christ to have a direct access to the throne of God! I'm so thankful that God is always available 24/7; I can always have a heartfelt conversation with my Heavenly Daddy anytime about anything.

Day 10: I am thankful for God's Word which is my joy, my heart's delight, my treasure, my daily bread, and my guiding light! "Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path." Psalm 119:105

Day 11I am thankful for the freedoms we have here. I'm so thankful for all who have served our country and their families....who have sacrificed so much in order for us to have our freedoms.

Day 12: I am thankful for fire/heat from our wood stove, hot water, hot soup, hot cocoa, warm clothes, warm blankets, warm fuzzy socks & slippers, got the idea . Please join me in praying for the homeless to be able to find shelter and stay warm through this cold weather. Please also donate extra coats, blankets, socks, gloves/mittens, winter hats, etc. to the homeless shelters.

Day 13I am thankful for electricity. We had no electricity for a few hours today. We had fun cooking on our wood stove, reading, and talking in candlelight. However, electricity does make our lives easier in many ways . I am thankful for light (whether it's from electricity, flashlights, or candles) which enables me to see. It also reminds me that we definitely need Jesus, the Light of life/the Light of the world, in this world of darkness and that we must let our light shine before others so that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Day 14I am thankful for sleep and naps. I'm thankful that I hardly ever have trouble falling asleep . "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)

Day 15: I am thankful for my church's livestreaming. When I cannot go to church because of my intense pain (like tonight), I can still listen to the sermons via livestream. I'm thankful for our pastors who are faithful servants of God and caring shepherds of God's flock. I'm thankful that the preaching is based solely on the Word of God with no sugar-coating and no people-pleasing.

Day 16: I am thankful for a childlike faith God has blessed me with. It's truly one of His greatest gifts! My M.O.: I pray. I trust. I rest.

Day 17: I am thankful for God's unconditional, unlimited, unending, unfailing, unchanging love for me who is unlovable and undeserving. I am so loved, treasured, and cherished in my Heavenly Daddy's heart of love. "Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your Name I will lift up my hands." (Psalm 63:3-4) "I will be glad and rejoice in Your love." (Psalm 31:7a) "For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead." (Psalm 86:13) "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever...Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind." (Psalm 107:1, 8)

Day 18: I am thankful for my 16 year old son. He was God's answer to our 3 year prayers (like God gave Samuel to Hannah). Josiah's middle name is Samuel . He has grown in maturity and faith by leaps and bounds. I'm thankful that God has molded him into a Godly gentleman of integrity and chivalry. God has blessed him with many gifts, including extraordinary musical talent and great sense of humor.

Day 19: I am thankful for my 13 year old son. He's absolutely a joy and delight. He must be one of the easiest kids to raise in the whole world . I'm thankful that God has blessed him with a tender heart full of love, grace, kindness, and compassion. He is always ready to lend a helping hand. I'm also thankful for all the hugs and kisses I still receive from this terrific teenager everyday.

Day 20: I am thankful for my eyes. I really value the ability to see. I'm even more thankful that the Holy Spirit has enlightened the eyes of my heart so that I can know God, understand the truth of Scripture...truly know/understand the Gospel of God's grace, and grasp & appreciate the fullness of all spiritual blessings God has given me in Christ Jesus. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart!

Day 21: I am thankful for God's ever-presence and omnipresence. Knowing that God is always with me and at the same time He is with my loved ones (no matter where they are) brings me peace and comfort. In God's presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)!

Day 22: I am thankful for the Christ-centered Christian organizations such as Gospel For AsiaThe JESUS Film ProjectSamaritan's Purse (which includes Operation Christmas Child), Compassion International,HeartCry Missionary Society, etc. that are working tirelessly for the Kingdom of God, sharing Christ's love and His Gospel with the lost in different areas of the world where I cannot go myself. I'm thankful for opportunities to partner with them by giving, praying, and helping spread the word about them. I'd like to encourage y'all to get their Christmas catalogs and give generously to those in need. Invest in eternity!

Day 23: I am thankful for God's protection (physical and spiritual). I'm sure there are countless times that He has protected me and my loved ones without us even knowing or being aware of. "The Lord watches over you--the Lord is your Shade at your right hand...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 121:5, 7-8) "You, Lord, are a Shield around me, my Glory, the One who lifts my head high." (Psalm 3:3)

Day 24: I am thankful for my mother-in-love, Juanita. She loves Jesus and loves people like Jesus does. She is very kind and generous. She's also a prayer warrior. I'm so blessed to have her in my life.

Day 25: I am thankful for my sister-in-love, Annette. She is always sweet, caring, kind, and thoughtful. She is the type of person who would go extra miles for you. Since I don't have any sisters, I've adopted her as my own sister .

Day 26: I am thankful for helping hands and thankful hearts. My family is the best !

Day 27: I am thankful for a blessed day full of feast and fun with family and friends. I'm thankful for loads of leftovers, too .

Day 28: I am thankful for God's healing. Praise Yahweh Rapha (The Lord Who Heals)!

Day 29: I am thankful for God's provision. Praise Yahweh Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)! We are abundantly blessed. We lack no good thing.

Day 30: I am forever thankful for God's forgiveness! I'm thankful that I am completely forgiven and free for eternity. I'm also thankful that my family is great at forgiving and fast to forgive .

30 Gratitude Quotes

"God's goodness should drive us to our knees in gratitude." ~Anne Graham Lotz 
 "Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends." ~Steven Furtick
"Be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your answers." ~William Culbertson 
 "Gratitude arises from the lived perception, evaluation and acceptance of all of life as grace--as an undeserved and unearned gift from the Father's hand." ~Brennan Manning
"The heart that is constantly overflowing with gratitude will be safe from the attacks of resentfulness and gloom that bother so many persons." ~A.W. Tozer 
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~William Arthur Ward 
"True gratitude is not sporadic. It cannot be spent or exhausted. It is the transformation of a mind that is more grateful for the Giver than for the gift, for the purpose than for the present, for life itself rather than for abundance." ~Ravi Zacharias
 "A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution." ~Billy Graham
"Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict.
Be grateful and you won't grumble. Grumble and you won't be grateful." 
~Billy Graham 
 "When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." ~G.K. Chesterton 
"I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it." ~John Gresham Machen
"It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better." ~Matthew Henry
"Even though we can't have all we want, we ought to be thankful we don't get what we deserve." ~Unknown
"If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday, and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful." ~Unknown
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank You?” William Arthur Ward
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~W.T. Purkiser 
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." ~John Milton
"O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness." ~William Shakespeare
Expressing gratitude on a regular basis, whether to friends and family or to the Lord, can bring a joy into our lives that will make each day a happily anticipated experience.” ~Unknown

"We need a theology of Thanksgiving: we need hearts that are continually thankful. Thanksgiving is a matter of perspective. Having a thankful heart is to remember just how blessed we are. We often have a tendency to think about what's going wrong, what burdens and bothers us. But God wants us to be thankful, to remember all that God is doing for our good, to keep our faith strong by being grateful for all that He has done...Being thankful is directly connected to our faith--believing that God is working in our lives for our good, that He is for us and that He wants to build and edify our lives." ~Pastor Rich Jones 
Most of us are not grateful for things until we lose them.” ~Unknown
"Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there." ~A. J. Gossip (1873-1954)
"It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." ~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), Thanksgiving proclamation, 1863
"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven." ~Johannes A. Gaertner
He who does not reflect his life back to God in gratitude does not know himself.” ~Albert Schweitzer

When God is our Holy Father, sovereignty, holiness, omniscience, and immutability do not terrify us; they leave us full of awe and gratitude. Sovereignty is only tyrannical if it is unbounded by goodness; holiness is only terrifying if it is untempered by grace; omniscience is only taunting if it is unaccompanied by mercy; and immutability is only torturous if there is no guarantee of goodwill.” ~Ravi Zacharias
"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." ~Henry Van Dyke
"We may not always have what we desire--but we certainly have what our God thinks is best for us. Every mercy we have, is directed by His infinite wisdom and eternal love. Let us therefore remember, that our God has chosen our inheritance for us, and it befits us to be content; yes, to be very grateful." ~James Smith
 "Thou hast given so much to me. Give one thing more-a grateful heart: Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if thy blessings had spare days, But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise."   ~George Herbert (1593-1633)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DVD Review: Jesus Boat: Witness to Prophecy

Jesus Boat is a documentary that tells about the destruction and the rebirth of Israel through the unlikely discovery of an ancient first century boat under the muddy shores of the Sea of Galilee. This boat is identical to the fishing boat that Jesus used when He walked on the earth. It was destroyed in the same years that Romans destroyed Israel but was miraculously discovered by two fishermen brothers 2,000 years later in 1986 (during the fourth year of drought). It's the oldest surviving freshwater boat in the world! Astonishingly, the boat survived decomposition, the excavation, and the preservation efforts even though many challenges arose along the way. Even scientists are stunned. It is now resting at the Yigal Allon Museum located nearby which was built just the year before the boat was discovered. They also discovered that the boat was made out of 12 types of wood which is extraordinary. Isn't that cool? 12 is a significant number in the Bible that symbolizes completeness, God's power and authority. 12 tribes of Israel. 12 disciples. This DVD features commentary from Franklin Graham, Jay Sekulow, Chuck Smith, Skip Hietzig, Joel Rosenberg, Ken Ortize, and more. There are also interviews with the two fishermen discoverers and archaeologists. Throughout the DVD, you'll also see prophetic verses from the Bible which have already been fulfilled. Beautiful cinematography and intriguing message! If you enjoy history, archaeology, and Biblical prophecy, you'll enjoy this DVD and be glad to learn about this amazing artifact, "Jesus Boat." 

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

DVD Review: When Calls the Heart Rules of Engagement

When Calls the Heart--"Rules of Engagement" is the latest DVD (#7) in the When Calls the Heart television series based on the novel "When Calls the Heart" written by Janette Oke. On this DVD, Jack (Daniel Lissing) is back. Unexpectedly, his ex-fiance, Rosemary, shows up in Coal Valley. She's a theater actress and uses her charms to attract people. She especially tries very hard to win Jack over. The relationship between Jack and Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is tested. Jack has to rebuild Elizabeth's trust in him. Elizabeth receives a teaching offer in the city and has to make a decision. Bill Avery (Jack Wagner), a forensic investigator, comes to investigate the mine explosion that took place six months ago. He is smitten with Abigail (Lori Loughlin) and works closely with her in the investigation. Mr. Gowen (the mine company's owner) is irritated and tries to bribe people in Coal Valley to stand against Abigail by offering to fund the construction of a new church and school. Quite a few new characters are introduced in this episode including Wyatt, a young genius and Judge Jedidiah Black (James Brolin). As usual, I enjoyed watching the DVD and did not want it to end :). Can't wait to find out how the trial goes. When Calls the Heart--Rules of Engagement" is a beautiful story of love, loyalty, friendship, courage, hope, encouragement, truth, and generosity. Check this entertaining & inspiring family DVD out!

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

DVD Review: Rumors of Wars

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." Matthew 24:6
Rumors of Wars is an intense end-times film with two converging story-lines, one from the past and one from the future. A college student, Roxy (Jennifer Cooper), investigates end time prophecies and records her discoveries in her diary. Years later, her diary is found and falls into the hands of Shaw (Ben Davies) who is an agent in the New World Alliance. He works for the One World government and hunts down rebels while trying to find more recruits. He believes that religions breed wars and that the rebels who put their faith in God would lead the world back to destruction and thus they need to be eliminated. But when he starts reading Roxy's diary, he has to confront the lies he has been told and decide what to do with the truth. Roxy's life is in danger when she refuses to receive an implanted chip which tracks people's movements and purchases. She begins to look into Zurn Global (the company behind the implanted chip) and its founder, Mr. Zurn (Eric Roberts). I found this film quite interesting, attention-grabbing, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Great performance from the cast! I really like the Discussion Guide based on Roxy's diary (one of the special features on the DVD). Fear, temptation, sacrifice, forgiveness, pride, suffering. Rumors of Wars will make you think and face the ultimate question regarding whom you will worship and follow to the very end of the age because "in the end, we all worship something." Check this faith-filled movie out! Rated PG-13 for violence.

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Parenting Unchained Giveaway

Parenting Unchained Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway
I am currently reading Parenting Unchained by Dr. James D. Dempsey. Dr. Dempsey is a presenter and Family Ministry Consultant for the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Biblical parenting is very important to our family. I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this book. I really like what I've been reading so far. I'll have a review coming soon.      

To celebrate the release of Parenting Unchained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions That Shackle Christian Parents, we are joining other members of the Launch Team in a wonderful giveaway filled with a Kindle Paperwhite, $25 Amazon Gift Card and several biblical parenting products! A value of more than $300! Here's what you could win: 

Kindle Paperwhite 6" eReader ($119 value)  

Unlike tablets, Kindle Paperwhite is designed to deliver a superior reading experience:
  • No screen glare in bright sunlight
  • Read with one hand—over 30% lighter than iPad mini
  • Battery lasts weeks, not hours
  • Built-in light—read without eyestrain
Your Kindle comes loaded with 2 biblical parenting books right at the start: 

Parenting Unchained Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

In Parenting Unchained – Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents, Dr. James D. Dempsey reveals the ten most destructive lies about parenting. He writes from the heart about the way these lies infected his own parenting, and illuminates the Bible's powerful truths that counter each lie. Both Biblical and practical, each section ends with home activities to help parents take immediate steps to develop their kids' character--character that lasts when they leave home. 

Home Improvement Kindle Edition ($4.99 value)

This book contains eight principles every family needs written by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. You'll learn practical, handon ideas for helping your kids deal with their anger, constructive ways to end discipline times, and keys that will help children change their hearts, not just their behavior. Turansky and Miller offer tried and true strategies in a refreshingly new family-friendly format. This is the parenting book you can read to your kids. 

$25 Amazon Gift Card 

Buy even more books for your new Kindle!

The Christian Parenting Handbook and Companion Guide ($39.85 value) 

The Christian Parenting Handbook contains nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.  The Companion Guide is a workbook of 50 lessons along with 50 audio tips to take you through The Christian Parenting Handbook step by step. Each lesson contains advice from Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller in a 5 minute audio tip and then offers teaching, an assignment, a Bible verse, and a prayer to help you apply each idea or strategy in your family. The tips are available to you as MP3 downloads and access to them comes in the workbook.

The Family Toolbox ($99.95 value)

The Family Toolbox has 8 lessons. Each one has a 1-2 minute scene of a family living life and experiencing common challenges in their relationships. A discussion guide prompts dialogue between parents and teens and a 10-minute teaching session for parents featuring Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN gives practical tools to use right away. As your family works through the lessons, teens learn 16 Life Success Principles and parents learn valuable tools.

Philippians in 28 Weeks Digital ($18.95 value)

It is easier to share the Word of God when it is etched upon your heart. Philippians in 28 Weeks™ is a delightful and painless way to commit the entire book of Philippians to memory. This streamlined approach uses memory cards carefully constructed to present Philippians thought-by-thought, copywork versesjournal questionsweekly reflections,recitation charts to test your retention, and an optional tracking tool called “The Log.” To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below. U.S. residents, age 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law. a Rafflecopter giveaway Join us for the Parenting Unchained Facebook Release Party. There will be even more prizes and giveaways there and the author of Parenting Unchained will be present to answer your questions!  RSVP today so you won't forget!
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Friday, November 7, 2014

CD Review and Giveaway: Manic Drive's VIP

VIP is Manic Drive's latest album. This Canadian band is new to me but I'm glad I was given the opportunity to review this album. I enjoyed listening to the CD even though it's not really my style. The music is upbeat and fun to dance along. The lyrics are faith-filled, God-centered, and encouraging. I'm impressed that they wrote all their music themselves. The band members are all in their twenties. They bring vibrant pop (plus a little rap) music and creatively present the message of the Gospel and Christ's love to the young generation. "At the end of the day, we are on a mission that far exceeds entertainment; our driving force is our desire to reach those who don’t know Christ with His message of hope as well as to encourage believers to a closer and real-life walk with Christ...Ministry comes first as we strive to encourage each other especially in our walk with God. This is an unprecedented time in history and we are all tired of the stale and mindless. A genuine experience with God is paramount to walking out this life of faith. So many people feel useless or out of place, but we are here to say that we as a generation can shake the world in amazing ways... even through the smallest actions.” ~Michael Cavallo (one of the band members, quote taken from their Facebook page)

There are 10 songs on this album:
1. Electric (featuring Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch)
2. VIP (featuring Manwell)
3. Street Lights
4. King of Mercy
5. Good News
6. I Hide You Seek
7. Song to Sing
8. Fire
9. Indestructible
10. Rhythm

My favorite songs from this album include King of Mercy (talking about the depth of God's grace, mercy, and kindness), Fire (shining the light of Jesus), and Indestructible (God's protection, power, and strength). I also like Street Lights (a prayer asking God to lead us) and Song to Sing (it includes a few lines from familiar hymns). Good News is a joyful song that is fun to sing. The title song, VIP, is about who we are in Christ, made on purpose for a purpose. If you like fast-paced, contemporary Christian music, check this album out. Catchy tunes and meaningful messages! It will make a cool Christmas gift for teens and young adults. 

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this CD! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 11/20.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing who your favorite Christian musician or band is. 
For Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow Manic Drive on Twitter
- "Like" Manic Drive's Facebook page
- Subscribe to Manic Drive's YouTube channel
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook 
- 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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Opening Date:                  Friday, November 7
Rating:                               PG
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring breathtaking action with all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”). 

Thanks to Allied-THA, my family and I were given an opportunity to attend a 3D advance screening of this film. We really enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. Hiro Hamada is a 14 year old genius who lives with his older brother, Tadashi (voice of Daniel Henney) and Aunt Cass (voice of Maya Rudolph). His brother encourages him to put his gifts to good use. After Tadashi dies in a fire, Hiro is in turmoil. Baymax steps in to help Hiro. Friendship blossoms between Hiro and his brother's invention, Baymax (a caring, huggable inflatable robot who's made to be anyone's personal healthcare companion). His brother's four best friends join Hiro and Baymax to find out who the man with the mask trying to kill them is. They discover that the villain steals Hiro's invention (microbots) and uses it as a weapon. Revenge creeps in but goodness prevails. 

Big Hero 6 is a wonderful, entertaining movie about brotherly love, benevolence, friendship, teamwork, courage, compassion, and sacrifice. Heartwarming and funny! We laughed a lot. You are going to love Baymax. I wish I could have one :)! The animation is excellent. The setting which is the city of San Fransokyo (San Francisco+Tokyo) is captured brilliantly. Big Heroes with big hearts! 8 thumbs up from 4 of us for Big Hero 6!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

About the book:
Discover how to live out a sacred marriage. You believe your marriage has eternal purposes. you long for it to reach beyond your home and encourage others. But what does it look like to have a spiritually intentional relationship in the midst of dirty dishes, work deadlines, and car pools? In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas showed us that God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy. Now, in A Lifelong Love, Thomas gives us the practical tools to craft our marriages into inspiring relationships that breathe spiritual life to others. Whatever season of marriage you are in, A Lifelong Love gives your the practical help you need to infuse your marriage with a spiritual passion that will not only change you but will change the world around you.

About the author:

Gary Thomas is writer-in-residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and FamilyLife Today radio, and a popular speaker. His award-winning books, including The Sacred Search, have been translated into over a dozen languages and together have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Thomas and his wife have been married thirty years and have three children.

My Review:

Marriage according to God and His Word is meant to last for a long as we both shall live, not as long as we both feel loved. Our society treats marriage as a casual relationship that can end in a divorce whenever it doesn't work out the way one spouse (or both) feels/thinks it should. This book shows how to live out a sacred marriage that is pleasing to God and honoring Him. The secret or key to a lifelong love/a lifetime marriage is not found in a formula or 1-2-3 steps, but rather in God who is Love and who designs marriage. The author presents marriage from an eternal perspective and from God's principles. The book is divided into 3 main parts: The Magnificent Obsession, Growing Together, and The Journey Toward Love. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions for reflection & discussion and a prayer. At the end of the book, there is an appendix titled, "God Hates Domestic Violence".

Have you ever thought of God as your Father-in-Law (assuming your spouse is a believer)? The author helps readers see their spouse through God's eyes and treat him/her as God wants His precious child to be treated (with love, benevolence, honor, and respect). The focus of marriage should first be a magnificent obsession with God and His kingdom. A Lifelong Love will help you and your spouse grow closer to God and to each other. The book will challenge and encourage you to rely on God, obey God, glorify God, and rest in God no matter how your spouse responds. You will find practical, Biblically sound advice on how to improve your intimacy. It does take work and effort; you have to be intentional and prayerful. When you put God first and aim to please God in everything you do, your spouse and your marriage will greatly benefit and be blessed. It will change self-centered marriage (which is doomed to fail) into God-centered marriage (which will last for a lifetime). I highly recommend this book to any couples who desire a spiritually rich & satisfying marital relationship!

"When God becomes part of the equation, it's not what we get from or even bring into our marriages, but it's what we do with His empowering presence that creates a rich intimacy and a beautiful relationship." (p. 18)

"Since marriage is one of the most profound acts of worship any two believers can ever share, it is impossible to be married in a sacred manner without the Holy Spirit being active in our lives, helping us to understand what it means to love, giving us the power to love, convicting us when we fail to love, renewing our hearts when we grow weary in love, and pouring out hope when we grow discouraged in love." (p. 74)
"And that's the miracle of marriage--it forces us to depend on God, and all of life is transformed when we live in dependence on Him." (p. 76)
"Creating a marriage worthy of my calling means creating a marriage where the character of Jesus is displayed for all to see." (p. 110)

"Love is a disposition to do what is best for the other, out of the inner compulsion from the Holy Spirit, to serve this person's best interests." (p. 256)
"Biblical love isn't a feeling to be felt; it's a commitment to be kept." (p. 263)
"The Biblical goal is a shared experience of God living in us and God's love being made complete in us." (p. 281)

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this excellent book! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 11/15.
To Enter: Please share the best marital advice you've ever received. 
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~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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.