Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Live SoulFULL: A Music-Driven Study of How God Fulfills your Deepest Needs (Book, CD, and Album Download Card)



I love studying God's Word and I love listening to music so I was excited to review this Bible study that combines both. This unique Bible study includes a book, 13-song CD, and digital album download card. All songs were written and sung (except two) by Ginger Tabot. She's a gifted singer and songwriter. Scott and Ginger Tabot (husband and wife) both have a passion to be used by God to help people know and love Him more. They want to use their God-given gifts for God's glory and God's kingdom. It's clearly shown in Live SoulFull which is a music-driven, gospel-centered, immersive Bible study. Ginger's original songs beautifully reinforce messages in each chapter. The lyrics and text in the book present Biblical answers to some of life's common questions, such as "How can we know that God is real?" and "Why does God allow evil and suffering?" Some important topics covered in this Bible study are soul needs, creation, God's grand love story (rescue & restoration plan), newness of life, the Trinity, God's presence, spiritual growth, Christlikeness, prayer, spiritual warfare, evil and suffering, and Christ's return. The book offers practical ways to put what you learn into action: Take a Selfie (challenging questions for reflection and discussion), Reach Up (prayer), Reach Out (share the songs and lessons with others and interact with others), and Sound Waves (listen to the songs again and focus on specific parts of each song). Each chapter has a box of key idea. I enjoyed both the CD and the book. God often uses music to seal His truths in our hearts. What a fun way to study the Bible! You will learn how God, the Giver and Filler of Life, fulfills your deepest needs and how you can live a vibrant, authentic Christian life full of hope and joy. Live SoulFULL is great for either personal Bible study or small group Bible study. Christmas is just around the corner. This book would make a wonderful, meaningful gift.

Below is the list of songs:
1. SoulFULL
2. Masterpiece
3. History
4. Let Me Love You (Feat. Jason Fowler)
5. I Invite You In
6. Alive in Me
7. Ordinary Miracle
8. Beautiful Like You
9. Raining Down
10. When We Pray
11. God of Mystery
12. All Things New (Feat. Monte Hunt)
13. I Choose Joy
You can enter a giveaway to win a copy of Live SoulFULL at http://www.blessedfreebies.com/soulfull.html .





~I received a free copy of this book and CD from the FrontGate Christian Blogger 

Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: She's Got the Wrong Guy by Deepak Reju

I'm so glad and thankful that God gave me the right guy. I am blessed with an awesome husband, a man after God's own heart. We've been blissfully married for over 26 years. I chose to review this book because I am concerned about my 24 year old daughter who is single and wants to find the right guy to date and marry. She is smart and wise but her dating choices have not always reflected that. This book is just what I want her to read :). She's Got the Wrong Guy is divided into 3 parts: 1. From Problems to Faith, 2. Am I Dating the Wrong Guy?, and 3. The Quest for a Godly Man. Each chapter starts with relevant quotes and Scriptures. The author pulls no punches when he discusses about the ten wrong types of guys single women should avoid. The ten types are: the Control Freak, the Promiscuous Guy, the Unchurched Guy, the New Convert, the Unbeliever, the Angry Man, the Lone Ranger, the Commitment-Phobic Man, the Passive Man, the Unteachable Guy. As a pastor and counselor, Deepak Reju has heard and seen all sorts of dating and marriage problems. He shares from his experience why smart women settle, how to recognize the wrong kinds of guys (how to spot red flags), how to break up for the glory of God, what to do while you wait for the right guy, what to look for in an authentic Christian man, and how to trust God and rely on His grace for your relationship. Remember that being miserably married is worse than being miserably single. Marriage will not solve all your problems. Jesus is your only solution. Reju's story examples are relatable to single women and dating scenes in today's society. He backs up his discussion with Biblical reasons and wisdom. The practical advice and prudent insights in this book are truly valuable and must be heeded. The book is written with compassion and understanding. Choosing whom to marry is the second most important decision you'll every make (only second to your decision to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior). Choose wisely! I highly recommend this God-honoring, Christ-centered book to all single Christian women! My hope and prayer is that they (including my daughter) will neither settle nor compromise but will patiently wait for God's best for them.

"Treasure Christ. Hope in him. Don't build your heart around temporary treasures, like marriage to a godly husband, raising children, or the dream of a future together. Let your heart be captivated with Christ. Make Christ your greatest of all treasures." (p. 24)

"The most important ingredient of a happy life is not finding a husband, but in giving your life to Christ. Make Jesus your greatest treasure...Pour yourself into loving Christ and let your love for him overflow in loving and serving the people around you. The best way to prepare for your future is to focus on becoming a woman whose greatest desire is Christ." (p. 30)

"Life does not go well when you make earthly things your hope and treasure. When you look for your ultimate happiness in a husband, children, a beautiful home, or a wonderful life now, you'll be disappointed, anxious, confused, or even hurt, because none of these things are meant to carry the weight of your ultimate hopes. Putting your hope in earthly treasures shows that you are not letting your heart rest in satisfaction with the Lord. An already hard life is made harder when your desire for happiness takes center stage in your life." (p. 142)

"A bad marriage is not better than struggling through singleness. For many women I know, the problem isn't so much convincing them that it's better to choose the right guy than the wrong guy. Often there doesn't seem to be a 'right guy' around. The problem is convincing them that it's better to be single than spend their life with the wrong guy. So that sends us racing back to a few pivotal questions--Is Christ enough for you? Can he be all that you need? Can you build your entire life around him?" (p. 150)

"The goal of a Christian single woman is not to find a husband, but a Savior. The ultimate destination for Christian single women is not marriage, but heaven. Build your life around preparing for heaven by growing in your godliness and love for the Savior. You will never be disappointed." (p. 162)

~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.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Total Christmas Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra



I collect devotional books and I love Christmas so I was excited to review this book. During Christmas season, do you feel like flustered Martha (in the Bible)...having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done? Let's not get swept up in the hustle and bustle. Instead, may we prepare our hearts to celebrate this Christmas with joy and purpose. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ; it's not about perfect planning or fantastic festivities! Pause and become more like Mary who focused on Jesus. Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said while Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Jesus said to Martha,"You are worried and upset about many things, but only ONE thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42) Total Christmas Makeover has 31 devotions that will help you pause and prioritize, ponder and pray. The book is divided into 3 sections: Ritual (Day 1 to Day 10), Relationships (Day 11 to Day 20), and Rest (Day 21 to Day 31). Each devotion starts with Bible verses and ends with a prayer, questions for reflection, and practical ideas. The author shares her own family Christmas experiences, including what works and what doesn't work. She shows how to incorporate Biblical meanings into traditions; she helps readers think why they do what they do. The book covers many important topics such as giving, serving, forgiveness, humility, patience, love languages, spiritual gifts, worship, balance, obedience, gratitude, and more. I've enjoyed reading this book and will continue to read as Christmas approaches. Total Christmas Makeover is a Christ-centered, gospel-focused, grace-filled devotional that will help you and your families enjoy a meaningful celebration this Christmas. May the activities we do help us remember what God has done for us, may the people we interact with be blessed and touched by Christ's love, and may we learn to rest in our Lord and reflect on what, Whom, and why we celebrate Christmas! 


~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.




Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet

In today's society, many people (including those in the Body of Christ) seem to be struggling with mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on. There are different opinions about psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, even among Christians. Some rely too heavily upon psychiatric labels and medicines while others totally disregard them. Neither of these extreme positions are helpful. Descriptions and Prescriptions offers a Biblical perspective on psychiatric diagnoses and medications. It's well written with a Scripturally & scientifically balanced approach. Dr. Michael R. Emlet, a Christian counselor, author, and retired physician, presents this challenging topic with humility, compassion, and understanding. The book is divided into two main parts: 1. Understanding Psychiatric Diagnoses, and 2. Understanding Psychoactive Medications. The author addresses some misconceptions, explains difficult medical terms, gives clear examples of various cases from his personal experience, talks about pros (value & effectiveness) and cons (problems & pitfalls) of psychiatric diagnoses and psychoactive medications. I appreciate his emphasis on the relevance and significance of Scripture in helping the suffering because I, too, believe that Biblical wisdom is needed for soul care. From this book, you will learn about the different diagnostic categories found in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a brief history of psychiatric diagnosis, classes of psychoactive medications, how suffering affects spiritual growth, how we should appreciate medications as God's gifts but not idolize them, and several excellent tips and advice. Descriptions and Prescriptions is a small book (only 100 pages long) but it's packed with valuable information and practical insights. Mental illness is a complex issue. Biblical counselors need to take into account spiritual, biological, relational, situational, and societal-cultural factors. Whether you are counselors, pastors, youth pastors, or laypersons who want to help those with mental distress, this book (first in the Helping the Helper series) is a useful resource for you! 

"This means that attention to both physical and spiritual aspects of our personhood is mandatory in ministry. It is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the 'heart'--our moral-spiritual disposition and the responsibilities that go with it; and it is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the body and the strengths and weaknesses that go with it." (p. 71)

"While relieving suffering is a kingdom priority, seeking mere relief without a vision for God's transforming agenda in the midst of suffering may short-circuit all that God wants to do in the person's life. Another way of saying this is that we should be glad for symptom relief but simultaneously look for the variegated fruit of the Spirit; perseverance in the midst of suffering, deeper trust in the Father's love, more settled hope, love for fellow strugglers, gratitude, and more." (p. 76)

"Even if we do view medication as a potential piece in a comprehensive ministry approach, we always seek to bring the riches of Christ's redemption to bear upon people's lives. Sinners will always need mercy, grace, forgiveness, and supernatural power to love God and neighbor. Sufferers will always need comfort, hope and the will to persevere. Ultimately, these blessings are found not in a pill bottle...but in the person of Jesus Christ." (p. 94)



About the Author:

Michael R. Emlet, M.Div., M.D., practiced as a family physician for twelve years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He is the author of many counseling articles and the booklets, Asperger Syndrome, Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control, Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength, and OCD: Freedom for the Obsessive Compulsive.


~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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Thomas Nelson's "KJV Know The Word Study Bible" plus Kindle Fire & Bible Giveaway

I love studying God's Word because I want to know God more. I like using a variety of different Bible versions because they help me gain a better understanding of the Bible. I was excited to receive this KJV Know The World Study Bible for review. It features three easy approaches to studying the Bible: book by book, verse by verse, and topic by topic. I was glad to see words of Jesus in red; they stand out as they should :). This study Bible includes a comprehensive list of theological notes, full-color maps, and concordance. It covers 21 theological topics such as Trinity, Covenant, Sanctification, Purpose, God's Will, Suffering, and Evil. I'm currently studying Philippians so I've been using this study Bible to give me a deeper, clearer understanding. I appreciate the concise book introductions which offer insight into each book's background, author, audience, purpose, and message. The Study the Book sidebars are great, too; they expound each book's major themes and teachings. The verse by verse footnotes are extensive and very helpful. This Bible is a hardback book. The overall format is plain and easy to use. If you want to study the Bible in depth but feel somewhat intimidated or do not know where to begin, check out this KJV Know The Word Study Bible. Christmas is just around the corner. This Bible would also make a wonderful, meaningful gift for anyone!

~I received a free copy of this KJV Know The Word Study Bible from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.
Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Driving Research and Saving Sight

I personally experienced a temporary (partial) blindness in my left eye due to vitreous hemorrhage. It's very scary! I value the gift of seeing so much. I enjoy taking pictures of God's beautiful creation. Sight is precious to me! While we care about eating right and staying fit, we should also care about keeping our eyes healthy. I'd like to encourage you all to learn more about Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by listening to the video below about AMD from a grandmother's perspective and downloading a free educational packet on AMD (provided by Foundation Fighting Blindness) from this link. AMD is a common curable eye disease. Feel free to share this post and help spread the news about the efforts that are being made to fight AMD and in some cases, reverse the disease. Please use #ffbamd when posting about AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration). Thank you!
Every year nearly 10 million Americans go blind due to AMD or Age-related Macular Degeneration. The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, they need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures. Their campaign focus is on ‘Driving Research & SAVING SIGHT!’.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen

I've always respected Martin Luther and interested in Biblical counseling so I was excited to have an opportunity to review this book. Most people (me included) know Martin Luther as the champion of the Reformation and theologian but probably not so much as a pastoral counselor. Counseling Under the Cross is a thorough, well-researched case study on how Martin Luther applied the gospel of Christ's grace to daily life, to suffering, sin, and sanctification. The book is divided into two sections: I. What Shaped Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling? and II. What Is the Shape of Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling? In the first section, Bob Kellemen helps readers understand the background of Martin Luther's faith journey which shaped Luther's life and ministry. Luther severely suffered soul anguish and eventually realized that his own works of righteousness only led to hopelessness, despair, and uncertainties. He discovered that man-made remedy is futile and impossible. Once he saw and embraced the light of God's infinite grace, he experienced joyful, sweet, soul-freeing peace and comfort. His view of God changed from an angry Judge to a loving Father. Luther wanted to help others experience the same so he shared with others what he found helpful to him. "Justification/reconciliation by grace through faith was the core of Luther's pastoral care--not only for salvation--but for daily Christian living." (p.26) Luther drew people back to the Cross of Christ by weaving God's Word and grace in his counseling ministry. I really admire how Luther personally cared for people's soul with compassion and tenderness yet at the same time with strong conviction and straightforward admonition. He cared not only about people's external suffering (diseases and misfortunes) but also their internal suffering (distresses and doubts). "For Luther, we must look at everything in life, including our suffering, through the lens of Christ's gospel victory narrative." (p. 68)

In the second section, the author explains how Luther approached the four areas of pastoral care: sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding. Luther's personal experiences of deep spiritual quest and soul torment enabled him to empathize with others who suffered. Luther showed how gospel truth transformed and freed soul sufferers. He believed in the sufficiency of Scripture and of God's grace for all our trials and sufferings. This book is filled with Luther's personal accounts, excerpts from his books and letters, and quotes from many who wrote about Luther. At the end of each chapter, you will find a tweet-size summary of the main message from that chapter. There are so many valuable lessons and practical applications we can glean from Luther's loving, insightful, hope-giving words of wisdom and ways of counseling. Counseling Under the Cross is a great resource for pastors, Christian counselors, and anyone who wants to offer Christ-centered, gospel-saturated, grace-based counseling to those who need to hear (including ourselves).

~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.

CD Review and Giveaway: The Answer by Jeremy Camp

Update: The giveaway winner was randomly chosen using random.org. The winner is Becky Smith. Congratulations!
The Answer
Are you a Jeremy Camp's fan? He is releasing his new album, "The Answer" today! Jeremy Camp is a gifted Christian musician and songwriter. He has had 5 RIAA Gold albums, over 3.5 million albums sold, a GRAMMY® nomination, 3 American Music Award nominations, 5 Dove Awards, 4 ASCAP 'Songwriter of the Year' Awards and a total of 32 No. 1 radio hits across all formats. This new album is filled with upbeat, uplifting songs that will make you want to sing along. All songs except one (the last song) were written by Jeremy Camp.

Below is the list of songs:
1. Word of Life
2. My Defender
3. The Answer
4. Storm
5. My Father's Arms
6. Never Stopped Loving
7. Tell the Whole World
8. Heaven's Shore
9. Carriers
10. Love So Great
11. Awake O Sleeper

One of my favorite songs on this album is the first song, "Word of Life". It's a song about living a transformed, Spirit-filled life because of Christ and His Word of Life. "My Defender" encourages us to confidently trust in God who is our Defender and Healer. "The Answer" is another one of my favorites. It's a wonderful song that proclaims Jesus, our Hope and Rock, as the Answer to all life's problems. This world is filled with pains and sufferings. I wish everyone would truly see that Jesus is the Answer/Solution. "Storm" is a song of prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to come wash over us. "My Father's Arms" is a self-talk song that speaks to one's soul to lay his burden down and rest in our Heavenly Father's arms. "Never Stopped Loving" is a beautiful song about our faithful God and His faithful, never-ending love for us. I also like "Tell the Whole World", a testimony song. May we tell the whole world that Jesus is our Savior who saves us, frees us, and makes us alive. The world desperately needs Jesus! "I will testify about a love that lasts forever that forever changed my life." (from the song "Tell the Whole World") "Heaven's Shore" is a song about looking forward to our forever home, Heaven. "Carriers" calls Christians to be carriers of Christ's Name for His glory. I really love singing "Love So Great" because it is how I feel, too :). It speaks of how great God's love is and how we cannot help but sharing this great love with others. "Awake O Sleeper" is a rousing anthem that urges sleeping Christians to wake up and fight the war. I enjoyed this album and highly recommend it. Christmas is just around the corner. This album would make a great gift for any music lovers in your lives.



GIVEAWAY
: You can win a copy of this CD! The giveaway is open to residents 
of the continental U.S. only. Ends 10/15 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.

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

The giveaway winner was randomly chosen using random.org. The winner is Mandy Bamford. Congratulations!
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.
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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 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.