Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Top 10 Reads of 2014

Here are my top 10 reads of 2014 (not in any particular order). 

You can click on the titles to read my reviews or to get more information about the books. What are some of  your favorite books this year?  Please share.

Top Ten Highlights from 2014

We are thankful for God's blessings in 2014 and are excitedly looking forward to what He has in store for us in 2015!

1. Alyssa spent a month on the Summer in the City Cru mission trip in Seattle from June 21st to July 19th.
2. Alyssa is the AAS (Arnold Air Society) squadron commander and the Beaver News Director.
3. Alyssa directed the first season of Split Screen.
4. This year, Alyssa won the Outstanding Squadron Commander Award, the Drucilla Shepard Smith Award, the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award, and the Academic Honors Award from AFROTC.
5. Josiah played in Hoopla with Eric and his cousin, Alex. 
6. Josiah did very well on his PSAT.
7. Isaiah raised $1,815 for Steps for Life this year.
8. "A" joins the GFA's Blog for Asia blogger program.

9. We had a wonderful vacation at Sunriver. On the way there, we hiked to Pamelia Lake. Eric and Josiah also hiked to Green Lake. We did water slide and tubing hill at SHARC. We also enjoyed billiards, bowling, miniature golf, and bumper cars. We visited Goody's, Powell's Sweet Shoppe, Sweet Saigon, and World Market.
10. 
Eric and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary in September at the beach. 

Here are some snapshots of our 2014. Happy New Year from our family to yours 
!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Game Review and Giveaway: Wisdomantics

 
I collect board games (I think we have almost 80 games at the last count). I'm glad to have added Wisdomantics to our collection. Wisdomantics (New King James Version) is an interactive DVD boardgame based on Proverbs. It is for 2 to 4 players and for ages 12 and up. It's like a combination of Monopoly and Bingo but players get to gain wisdom as a bonus. The box includes 1 game board, 2 DVDs with 400 multiple-choice questions, 4 score cards, 4 game tokens (Angel, Cross, Dove, and Ten Commandments), 132 colored tiles, 50 blessing cards, and 50 advancement cards. It's easy to play. It's a fun game of knowledge, strategy, and probability. The first player to complete his/her Solomon's temple scorecard (with gold, cypress, and cedar tiles) wins! We are not familiar with NKJV (we mostly use NIV Bibles) but we (my 3 kids and I) still could answer the questions correctly. We are usually competitive but we have been sick with a nasty flu so we were taking it easy and nobody wanted to be in the picture :). If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your kids that will help make them wiser with Biblical truths, check this game out! You may notice from the picture that we muted the volume. We didn't like to hear "Solomon" saying "Hallelujah" every time we answered a question correctly. To us, it's being used in vain.

GIVEAWAY: You can win this game! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 12/28.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing what your favorite board game or DVD game is.
For Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- 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 FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network 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.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: Parenting Unchained by Dr. James D. Dempsey

About the Author:
Dr. James D. Dempsey hails from a small farming community in west Texas and credits his success to great parents and the values learned among those hard-working, friendly, but fiercely independent folk. He graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock with a BA in Psychology, and holds both a Masters and PhD in Early Childhood Education from the University of Texas at Austin. He served two years as the director of the childcare center at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Austin, and has also taught classes at both UT Austin and the University of North Texas in Denton. He has taught in early childhood programs in Lubbock, Austin, and Keller, Texas. As an expert in children and learning environments, he has led more than 150 training seminars at various universities, churches, and childcare conferences through the years. He continues to train church and childcare staffs around the state of Texas. Beginning in 2008, Jim joined First Baptist Church of Keller (TX) as Children’s Minister. Jim was ordained in ministry in 2012, and recently joined the staff of Anderson Mill Baptist Church (Austin) as Associate Pastor to Families. He enjoys writing curricula for churches and maintains a blog for both parents and church staff on his website, www.D6Culture.com. He provides parenting advice and a monthly newsletter to the parents of Young Leaders Campus Network in the Houston area. He is a frequent speaker for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention on children's and family ministry. He is a certified trainer for the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and one of only 5 certified consultants for this organization. After publishing articles in educational journals and contributing to education textbooks, he wrote his first book on parenting titled Parenting Unchained-Overcoming the Ten Deceptions That Shackle Christian Parents. He admits that his degree and his experience teaching young children led him to be a bit cocky about his parenting, and that arrogance led to more than a few mistakes as a parent. Jim uses these lessons plus intensive Bible study to reveal the ways Satan deceives Christian parents, and the Biblical truths that set parents free from those deceptions. In spite of Jim's parenting foibles, he and wife Gail have three lovely and well-adjusted daughters and three grandchildren. 
My Review:
Parenting must be the most difficult job yet most rewarding one in the whole world! 
Christian parenting or Biblical parenting is even more challenging because Satan 
does not want to see Christian families living for God, serving God, and making an 
eternal impact in the world. In this book, the author warns readers about the ten lies 
that Satan wants Christian parents to believe. He shares from his own experiences 
and points parents to Biblical truths that will help them overcome these deceptions 
and break Satan's chains. He offers practical ideas and activities to help parents 
connect with their children and equip them. Some topics include relationship vs. rules,  
quality time vs. quantity of time, discipline, faith talk, heart change vs. behavior 
modification, adaptability/flexibility, and more. God is our Model for parenting. 
God's Word is the best parenting guide. Parents must live out what they believe 
authentically before their children. Parenting Unchained is insightful and Biblically 
sound! At the end of the book, you will find Appendix A: The Primacy of Relationship 
and Appendix B: A Catalog of Jesus's Teachings in His Later Ministry. I highly 
recommend this valuable resource to all Christian parents. I wish I had read this book 
when my kids were younger! 

"Satan wants us to see God's rules as arbitrary and restrictive. Satan's seduction 
captures us when we focus on God's limiting rules, yet overlook the truth that God
 is a God of relationship. We bring Satan's false view into our parenting when we 
focus on the behavior of our children and not on our relationship with them." (p. 30)

"The grand purpose of God for us is  a love relationship, first with Him, then with 
other people." (p. 35)

"Your child copies your behavior; not your lesson plans. Modeling is the most 
powerful tool in the parent's toolbox, whether you intend to use it or not. Modeling 
is not an option--it is commanded by God both to use Him as a model and to be a 
particular kind of model for our children." (p. 67)

"So the first and primary reason God disciplines us is to provide us with spiritual
safety. The next reason, or perhaps just a deeper expression of the first, is that He 
loves us." (p. 90)

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

NOTE: The Kindle edition of this book is only 99 cents from today to December 12th 

on Amazon!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DVD Review and Giveaway: Susie's Hope


"The righteous care for the needs of their animals." Proverbs 12:10a
My Review:

This movie is based on a true story about an abandoned, beaten, and burned pit bull-mix puppy that was rescued & adopted by Donna Lawrence and given the name Susie by her. Donna herself barely survived a brutal pit bull attack 10 months earlier but she was determined to save the life of this half-dead puppy which she and her friend/neighbor, Ramona Hodges, found in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her husband, Roy, could not understand her action but eventually gave her his support. The fight against animal cruelty led to Susie's Law in North Carolina that enforces a stricter punishment for people who abuse animals. Great performances from the cast (including Susie who plays herself)! I was saddened by the couple's loss and by the animal abuse. I think it's wonderful that lots of people came together to help save this puppy. I only wish more people would be as enthusiastic about saving the unborn, the orphans, and human-trafficking victims. Susie's hope is a beautiful, emotional film about grief, healing, forgiveness, compassion, courage, and hope. If you are a dog lover, you will appreciate this movie. This DVD is for ages 12 and up and it contains some graphic images and a bar scene with alcohol. Susie is now a certified therapy dog and won the American Human Association's American Hero Dog this year. Isn't she sweet :)?


GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this DVD! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 12/17.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing what your favorite breed of dog is
or what your favorite pet is. 

For Extra Entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- 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.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Film Review: The Gospel of John

FOUR GOSPELS. FOUR FILMS. ONE JESUS STORY. FOR EVERYONE.
The Lumo Project is a ground breaking, multi-language Biblical film resource transforming the way we discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels: redefining the standard of visual Biblical media. The Lumo Project presents four films – one for each Gospel account – that will revolutionize the way we all experience the story of Jesus and the world of First Century Palestine in which he lived.
My Review:
Thanks to FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network, I was given an opportunity to watch the Gospel of John (NIV) online in exchange for my honest review. I've always loved the Book of John. The message is so powerful! This full-length feature film covers the birth, life, miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is narrated by David Harewood (British actor). He did a fantastic job! The narration is from the Gospel of John text word for word (21 chapters altogether). Beautiful cinematography! Breathtaking scenery! Epic background music. Excellent performance (the actors and actresses were so natural that you wouldn't think they were acting). I enjoyed watching this film (2 hrs. 40 mins. 38 secs. long). It made me feel like I was there :). The only things I didn't like about the film are: The wise men should have not been present at the same time with the shepherds when Jesus was just born and "Jesus" in the film was portrayed as being angry/upset often. I understand about His righteous anger but I'm talking about the actor's expressions as being out of control which I believe not to be in Christ's character. I still do recommend the film because God's Word will not return void. Check it out on Netflix!





Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Awaken Love the Song by Kyle & Desirae Idleman


About the Author:
Kyle Idleman is the Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the fourth-largest church in America. Author of the award-winning and bestselling book, not a fan., and presenter of eight of City on a Hill’s curriculum series, he regularly speaks at conferences and events around the world. Kyle and his wife DesiRae have four children.

My Review:
This book is a couple's devotional based on the Song of Solomon. There are 6 week devotionals (5 day readings for each week). The topics include: Deepening Desire, Increasing Intimacy, Fighting Fair, Rediscovering Romance, Cultivating Commitment, and Fostering Faith. The book aims to help awaken love in marriage by strengthening couples' relationship and encouraging deeper spiritual, physical, and emotional connection. Each devotional ends with "The Bridge" which suggests action steps and prayer points. This thin book is easy and enjoyable to read. The authors share from their own experiences with transparency, sense of humor, and Biblical insights. The authors challenge us readers to pay close attention to our two most important relationships--our relationship with God first and then the relationship with our spouse. I highly recommend this God-centered devotional to any couples who want to rekindle their love, romance, and connubial bliss. Great for dating or engaged couples, too! By the way, The Song is a full-length movie inspired by the Song of Solomon. You might want to also check that out :).

"Instead it (Song of Solomon) helps us understand that sexual intimacy is much more than a physical act. One Hebrew word for sex is literally translated, 'a mingling of the souls.'" (Week 2, Day 2)
"Intimacy grows as we nurture one another rather than simply taking selfishly. That requires saying it clearly and listening carefully...Intelligent romance is the way to go, my friends! Talk about it. Listen to each other. Then focus on pleasing one another rather than on personal pleasure, and you're going to like how it turns out." (Week 2, Day 4)
"We experience true intimacy when we give ourselves completely to our spouse. In doing so we put each other's needs ahead of our own...There is incredible sexual satisfaction in a marriage when two people are selflessly seeking to satisfy each other. That's how you increase intimacy. That's also how our marriages can model the love and grace of Jesus. We are never more like Him than when we serve selflessly and love completely." (Week 2, Day 5)
"Jesus is a source of life and love and adventure, a spring of living water that never runs dry." (Week 6, Day 1)

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this devotional! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 12/12.
To Enter: Please share the best marital advice you've ever received or the best couple's devotional you've ever read.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow The Song on Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/SeeTheSong

- "Like" The Song's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSongMovie 
- 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.