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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Great Family Listening

This month as a Gabby Mom we got a great bonus, the complete audio of The Swamp Robber from The Sugar Creek Gang series. In exchange for the CD I’m giving you my honest review.

We really enjoyed the story. We’ve listened twice now, some while riding in the car, some while weeding, some while sorting out the book shelves to get ready for school. The story is told by a young boy who very honestly shares his thoughts about family, friends and faith. Even better it’s all set in an exciting adventure that keeps the kids listening. The story teller is a Christian and has a group, The Sugar Creek Gang, of mostly Christian friends. They encourage and challenge each other in their faith in the midst of real life events and adventures. I see this being a good conversation starter with my children about their faith and feelings because there is someone their own age voicing feelings and beliefs.

My family was given some movies of the Sugar Creek gang a couple of years ago. We have enjoyed them, watching them more over and over. All of us enjoyed these audios, readings of the actual books more than the movies.

The audio came on 2 CDs. At the beginning of a couple of chapters there seemed to be a little bit of a glitch, it would play a little and then jump back to the beginning of the chapter, nothing missing from the story. There are 36 books in this wonderful series. I see lots of great listening in our future.

You can listen to this story for yourself, FREE. You can get your own copy from Beloved Books.
Beloved Books is also offering $12 off each CD set with this code: Lorrie12 Each set contains 6 books.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rest - Not in Feelings

Rest - v. 13. To continue fixed.
16. To abide; to remain with.
17. To be calm or composed in mind. (from Webster’s Dictionary 1828)
I’ve been feeling far from these meanings of rest lately. Especially the calm, composed mind!
When I look more clearly though I can see I am fixed. I know my only hope of answers and lasting reset is God himself. One day last week when I felt miles from rest I found myself singing that song:
Lord I look to You.
I won’t be overwhelmed.
Give me vision, to see things like You do.
Lord, I look to You.
You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do.
So I was resting, just didn’t feel rested, until I listened to my own prayer and refocused on God instead of my trouble. I abide and remain in Him because He alone is faithful, of calm and composed mind for sure!

I have the mind of Christ so I too have a calm and composed mind. I rest in this promise instead of my roller coaster of emotions.
 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:16 
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Phil. 2:5
 Question: Do your emotions determine your outlook instead of the other way around?
Challenge: Take time to fix yourself to God’s promises, abide with them and enjoy peace of mind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

AUTHORS & Artists Review & Giveaway

This month’s Gabby Moms review is a little book that focuses on big things.  I received the book in exchange for my honest opinion. Giveaway links at the bottom :)

AUTHORS & Artists is a book by Lorrie Flem to help teach children about character qualities. I’m not sure where I got my impression of what I was getting, but it wasn’t what I expected. The subtitle says “Learning Character Through Writing”. Somehow I missed it! Lorrie also has a book ARTISTS & Authors, which is for younger children or those who like to draw. I thought each book would have some activities for artists and authors only more of one or the other depending on which book you got. I was wrong J The AUTHORS &Artists is only writing. Drawings would have to be done over the lines or on separate paper.

Once I figured out it wasn’t what I was expecting I really liked the size and the variety of topics touched on. Lorrie offers suggestions on making the book work with your family and lifestyle – one of the great things about Lorrie and her resources – always practical. Suggestions include where to use it, when to use it, and even how to use it by topic. Each page has a topic and basically a very short devotional thought or teaching on the topic. Most pages refer to a passage of scripture that would be good to look up in light of the topic. Some of the passages were a little too long and got hole punched for the spiral binding. Those might need mom’s help to find the scripture. There are lines for the student’s response. The book is small so the writing space is not intimidating.

I have not had the opportunity for my children to try it out yet, so I don’t have their expert feedback for you. I think it will be part of my daughter’s routine as we get geared back up for lessons this fall. I think it will be a good tool to lead her to more independent time with God and also more focusing of her thoughts. The book is written to the child and includes questions in the passages for them to respond to in their writing.

If you are looking for a simple to use devotion these would be worth checking into. You'll find them and many other practical encouraging resources at Eternal Encouragement.

You can enter to win either or both of these books at Lorrie's new blog, Randy's Rib.

Here are the DIRECT links to enter the giveaways:
AUTHORS and Artisits linkhttp://www.randysrib.com/authors-artists-giveaway/

ARTISTS and Authors linkhttp://www.randysrib.com/artists-authors-giveaway/

I wish you the best and thanks for reading!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Easter Is About Jesus Blog Tour Line-up

I am so excited to share with you the great line-up of bloggers who are sharing with you about Easter is About Jesus!
First up is Cindy @ For One Another on August 18. She's a writer, artist, and homeschooling mom. Here you will find musings on life, readings, and a relationship with God. Cindy shares her thoughts on Easter is About Jesus, a guest post from me and a chance for you to win a free signed copy!

Stop 2 - Jenifer moved to September 10. There will be 2 places for you to enter that day!
Stop 3 - Author Kelly Hagen @ Christian Author Book Reviews August 23 Kelly offers her review of Easter is About Jesus.
Stop 4 - Shari Lynne @ Faith Filled Food for Moms with  August 28. Shari is a stay at home faith filled Christian midlife wife,  Mom,  Step Mom, and Grandma! She will be sharing her review of Easter is About Jesus, a guest post from me about where these books came from and she'll be giving away a free signed copy!

Stop 5 - Lisa Tortorello @ The Moose at the Manger August 30. Lisa is the author of two books, teaches school and enjoys reading, writing, computing, and playing guitar in her time off. Lisa is reviewing and giving away a free signed copy of Easter is About Jesus.

Stop 6 - Sherry Rossman @ Sherry Rossman's Blog September 4. Sherry is the author of the The Miracle of Rain and a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Author, artist, pet lover and ardent lover of chocolate. Sherry interviewed me for her blog. Sherry is also giving away a free signed copy of Easter is About Jesus.

Stop 7 - Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur @ SpiritualWoman Thoughts  September 7. Patrice shares her thoughts on Easter is About Jesus.
Stop 8 - Betsy Price @ Mrs. Price is Right about Homeschooling September 10 Betsy describes herself as a stay-at-home wife & mom and homeschool teacher and I enjoy it all (most of the time!). Oh, and no, I don't get bored! And what is my purpose? "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever!" Mrs. Price shares her thoughts on Easter is About Jesus, a guest post from me and a chance for you to win a free signed copy!

Jenifer Metzger @ Sweet Blessings September 10. Jennifer shares daily devotions, keeps her home and schools her children. She will be reviewing and giving away a copy of Easter is About Jesus.

Stop 9 - Gretta Johns @ The Johns Family September 12.Gretta and her family have just moved to become missionaries with To Every Tribe. She homeschools and loves handmade crafts and sewing. Gretta will be offering her review, a guest post from me and a free signed copy!

Stop 10 - Victoria S. @ He Holds My Right Hand September 14. Victoria has written What is Communion? as well as homeschooling her children. Victoria will be reviewing Easter is About Jesus and sharing a guest post from me.

Stop 11 Troy Lewis @ Another Second Chance ...God's Story  September 17. Troy is the author of Another Second Chance ...God's Story how a stranger's kidney saved his life ...And his brother's too! (A book I want to read). He will be sharing some thoughts on Easter and reviewing Easter is About Jesus.

Each of my guest posts are unique. I value your time so I wanted to be sure there was something new to read on each stop.

I hope you will enjoy the tour and invite your friends!

If you want to be sure of getting a free copy check out this link: Book Parties
Books are always available from me at Kove's Cove (I have them now) as well as most online retailers, well will be after September 18th anyway.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Intimacy in Rest

I have an image I often see, but can never draw, of me sitting on God’s arm, leaning against His chest.I am very much stretching my longing to have everything “just so” posting this sketch! I only let myself erase once. It’s about the message – not my artistic talent – or lack there of.

This image used to make me think I was close to the Father. Most certainly it is my favorite place of rest.  Awhile ago though he showed me that while I was close we were not all that intimate. In my position of rest on His arm I do not look at His face. I do not gaze into His eyes. Why?
Intimacy requires trust. Closeness does, too but it’s different. I avoid the eyes because eyes reveal so much, expressions speak so strong. What if those eyes are hurt? Disappointed? Judging? What if He doesn’t like what He sees in my eyes? What if He doesn’t like me anymore than I do? Those are questions I tend to stay away from, but because I have I have also stayed away from His gaze.

Looking in the eyes of my husband over our anniversary weekend made me realize in a new way what I was missing out on by avoiding God’s eyes. I am blessed to start every day in my husband’s arms. We sit together and drink our first cup of coffee. The way we sit I lean against him as my back rest and don’t see his face. On our weekend we had more face to face time than normal. It was amazing to me how powerful the love in his eyes was. Instead of just resting in his arms knowing how much he loves me I could see the love he has for me. Yes sometimes those eyes are showing how I have hurt or disappointed him, but that weekend it was love, acceptance, pride, respect, and honor. It was overwhelming.

I now know I am missing that in my Father’s gaze. Yes, I risk seeing hurt or disappointment, but I am missing the empowering love that flows from His eyes, the expressions of love on His face.

I’m pondering too many thoughts to get sorted out for this post so I went looking for verses on His face. I’m simply listing the ones that spoke to me. I pray they will speak to you as well.

Numbers 6:24-26 The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Psalms 11:7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Psalms 27:8 You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."

Isaiah 54:8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer.

1Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.

Question: Do you seek His face? Do you look into the Father’s face? Do you allow His gaze to search your eyes?
Challenge: Make Psalms 27:8 your prayer today. 

~ You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."~

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Holding onto Rest

I shared a wonderful, restful weekend with my husband of 18 years. The plan was to do nothing; at least unless we decided we wanted to do something.
It was wonderful to rest, no cooking, no schedule, no cleaning, no interruptions, just rest. So peaceful.
As it neared time to return home, back to schedules and responsibility I could feel my peace slipping away. The worry of being able to get everything done was attacking. Really the knowledge of not being able to get everything done; so the worry of choosing right to get the most important things done was assaulting my peace.
How am I still here?
 I know there is no faith in worry. It’s fear.
I know there is no fear in love.
My focus so easily slips; derailed by a passing thought. I must choose to refocus. God is my peace. He has not slipped away. He is my resting place. To rest I must go to Him, over and over again, sometimes multiple times a minute.
I do hear His voice.  I will follow Him. (John 10: 3,4)
He leads me in places of peace and rest, provision even in the midst of hard times. (Psalm 23)
My body needs to be far busier than this last weekend, my mind more productive. This is no reason to let peace be run out of my life. I will hold onto rest. I can be busy without panic and fear. I can let go of my expectations and hold the hand of Jesus, my Savior, my Prince of Peace.
Question: What attacks your peace?
Challenge: Hold onto rest, peace or whatever promise of God is being attacked in your life right now.