Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"The Utter Relief of Holiness" Book Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Congrats to the winner, coleycoupons!
From the Book:
"It may seem strange at first because most folks don't think of holiness as an utter relief. Hard perhaps, boring if we're honest, necessary like flossing, a level of spirituality we might attain to one day. But a relief? Look at it this way: Take the things you struggle with and ask yourself, 'What would life be like if I never struggled with this again?' It would be an utter relief. An absolute utter relief."

About the Author: John Eldredge has written 12 books, including Beautiful Outlaw and New York Times bestsellers Wild at Heart and Captivating (written with his wife Stasi). His books have sold more than 8 million copies. He is the Director of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God. It has become a grassroots phenomenon with millions of followers.

My Review:
My husband and I were given John Eldredge's books Wild at Heart and Captivating as gifts a few years ago and we both enjoyed the books so much that we wanted everyone to read them.  I have to say that I feel the same about The Utter Relief of Holiness.  I'm not sure that I've ever taken the time to think of what it really means to be 'holy' before.  I know I never thought it was something that I could be personally...I must have thought it was something reserved for religious leaders, angels , etc.
After reading this book, I now know that "God's love seeks to make us whole and holy".  Being holy is something meant for everyone.  In the book, John Eldredge makes the whole concept easy to understand and describes many aspects of what it means to be holy to help you know that it is something truly attainable.

Buy It:
The hardcover book sells for $13.99 and the audio book is also available in CD as well as a download for prices ranging from $18.99 to $24.99.  Through February 28th, at the Ransomed Heart store, for every book you purchase they'll send you an extra copy to give away!

Be sure to visit these sites to learn more about "The Utter Relief of Holiness":

Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and Ransomed Heart Ministries for providing me with this book to review, as well as another to share with my readers! :-)

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of "The Utter Relief of Holiness"! To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Giveaway will end Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 10:00pm EST. Winner will be chosen that night and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Abel's Field DVD Review & GIVEAWAY *CLOSED*

 Congrats to the winning comment left by Anonymous! :-)

About Abel's Field
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.

My Review
I was excited at the opportunity to review Abel's Field.  It's always nice to watch a movie with a great Christian message as opposed to many other movies that are out there right now. Abel's Field was very inspiring!  I couldn't imagine having the responsibilities and struggles that Seth had as a senior in high school.  It was great to see Seth's determination to take care of his house and sisters despite his circumstances.  When his situation went from bad to worse, he finally turned to the only One who could truly help him.  It was also inspiring to see how Abel not only helped Seth, but also learned from Seth.  Even though this is a family movie, I wouldn't recommend it for young children due to some intense scenes, but it would be great for upper elementary aged kids and beyond. :-)

Buy It
Abel's Field releases January 22nd, 2013.  It is available for purchase at several places including Amazon.com, FamilyChristian.com and Walmart.com and runs anywhere from $18.48 to $19.99.

Be sure to stop by the following sites to learn more about Abel's Field:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbelsField

Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and AFFIRM Films/Provident Films for providing me with this DVD to review, as well as another to share with my readers! :-)

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of Abels' Field! To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Giveaway will end Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 10:00pm EST. Winner will be chosen that night and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Girls Weekend 2013: Finding Fairy Doors

The girls in my family enjoyed our annual girls weekend this past weekend.  The last couple years we've spent the weekend with my sister, so in researching things to do down by her my mom found that a neighboring city has fairy doors at several of the businesses.  Well, how fun for a 6 year old girl!
We started off by going to another town so I could pick a couple things up at a cross-stitch store...I could have stayed all day in that place coming up with a million projects to do ;-)  Then we went to the city with the fairy doors for lunch and to hunt for fairy doors.
On our way to the restaurant Morgan found her first fairy door.  She couldn't have been more excited!

This was at Alexander's Custom Clothier, but the Fairy Proprietor is "Taylor Hemalot" of "Hemalot's Custom Fairy Clothiers"

A poster of several of the fairy doors.

This was in the building with the restaurant.  Such a beautiful idea!

After lunch we continued on the fairy door hunt where Morgan actually caught sight of a fairy by one of the doors!

This was at the Great Harvest Bread Company where I couldn't help but stop in and taste, then buy, some Cinnamon Chip bread! Of course in the fairy world, it is actually "Twinkle Biskett Bread Co." and the baker is "Barley Biskett".

It was always exciting to catch site of a fairy near the fairy doors.

As you can see Morgan thought they were pretty special! :-)
As we neared the end of the little hunt (or so I thought), we found that some fairy doors were actually inside the store!  This was at Uniquely Yours, a flower shop.  The fairy there was "Lilly Bokay" of the "Flowers & Seeds Store".
The woman working there was trying to close, but took the time to get a rose together for Morgan and give it to her. :-)
The next place we went was Stampeddler Plus Memories or "Old Church Craftalot" (it was located in an old church), Proprietor "Mother Stamperior".  A woman there played hot & cold with Morgan to help her find the fairy door.  We also learned that there was a coloring book to go along with finding the doors with places in the book to have stamped at each of the businesses when Morgan found the door.  Since we were nearing the end, and I had taken pictures at each place, I decided we'd be okay without it, but my mom purchased it anyway....then of course we had to walk all the way back around town trying to get all the stamps we could!  Morgan ended up with 17, but several businesses were closed and we missed a few as well.  (As you can see by the pictures to far the weather was unseasonably beautiful!  Sunny and 60 on a day that would typically be snowy and freezing.)

We stopped at the Northville Gallery on our way back through town collecting stamps and discovered the husband of the fairy door creator.  He told us all sorts of fun facts, including there had been 700 doors made (some to paint yourself, others pre-painted and then the custom made ones.)  65 businesses in town have or have had a fairy door.  Some doors have sold on eBay or at auction for $300 and $465!  (They sell in the store for $65 pre-painted or $85 custom made.)  Since the creation of the doors, the town has started a Fairy Board, has fairy festivals and will be creating a fairy garden walkway in the future!
In the Northville Gallery with a Fairy House.  After looking at other fairy houses in another business where signs were posted I realized I wasn't suppose to take a picture here...it scares the fairies away :-/

These are Morgan's Coloring Book, the Fairy Flight Path (map of where she could find doors) and the fairy that she brought home.
If you look at the bottom of the map, you'll see the "Roaming Troll".  Apparently he moves from business to business and if Morgan were to have found him, she could get a special stamp in her book.
The rest of the time spent on our girls weekend was talking and crafting at my sister's house.  We tried watching a movie together, but after the long day of finding fairy doors, we all fell asleep shortly after it started.
Definitely a fun and beautiful weekend! :-) 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas 2012

When I thought back on our Christmas season, the word that came to mind was 'busy', but after looking through the picture and reminiscing about all that we did 'busy' doesn't seem as fitting as maybe 'fun-filled' or 'memorable' :-)
Morgan was able to have a friend over at the end of November, which turned out to be the only time that we took the time to be creative together.  We made these reindeer and the hands and feet angels as fun activities although they played enough that they really didn't need anything else to do. ;-) 

 These angels made cute gifts for my mother-in-law for Christmas since she loves angels.

Blake finished up his art class.  He truly enjoyed his class and this seemed to be his favorite thing he made.  We're hoping he can get into another class soon, but with basketball coming up it'll be tough fitting something else in.

We found our Christmas tree by the side of the road this year.  I'm not kidding.  We literally stopped at the side of the road, crossed the ditch, cut down a tree and took it home!  LOL!  It did happen to be a tree that was at the corner of a field the family farms and was going to be cut down anyway since it was in the way.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but the tree was super uneven and looked goofy, yet it was my favorite so far.  I loved the imperfection of it and it always made me smile :-)

We attended a local hockey game to see my nieces figure skate between periods.

The fire Christmas party was nice as usual and kids enjoyed their gifts from Santa!

The next day was the kids' Christmas Sing at school. Blake's was first, then Morgan's.  I thought the scene/backdrop was pretty!  They both sang Away in a Manger as part of their programs and it felt wonderful to hear it sung in a public school.  Made me love our schools even more :-)

 The kids hamming it up for the camera after they were done and had enjoyed the cookies and punch.
The kids got out of school a little early from their Christmas sings, so we came home and decorated the Christmas tree.  Rich had taken the day off to see them sing, so it worked out great not having to wait until after dinner and rush to do it before bedtime :-)

That Wednesday, was 12-12-12 and my Uncle and his fiance decided that they were getting married that day at noon.  It was a super small event, but very nice :-)

Much of my spare time was spent making gifts.  These are bird feeders that made wonderful gifts for Rich's grandma and mom who really enjoy feeding the birds during the winter.
I cross-stitched these for my nieces.  One loves turtles and they both figure-skate, so I thought these were perfect for them :-)  I also cross-stitched and sewed Blake's Christmas stocking this year, and sewed a few rice heating pads as well as make a fabric book sling for Morgan to match her current bedding.

I had an annual cookie exchange that is always enjoyable.  On top of that my sister and my friend/roommate from college (one I went to see get married in Vegas) attended Greenfield Village's Holiday Nights.  We're hoping to make that an annual tradition as well.

The kids both had their Christmas parties at school.  Morgan's was the Wednesday before break and Blake's was that Thursday.  I'm thankful that they still had school despite all that was going on at that time between the school shooting and the end of the Mayan calendar.  Many schools in the area ended up closing due to threats or rumors of threats.  I'll admit I was skeptical about sending the kids to school, but there was definitely a police presence that week which put my mind at ease.
I thought this was a nice addition to put under the tree this year...to remind us what the best gift of all was. :-)

 We have been enjoying a lot of hot cocoa and popcorn with the snowy weather...this was the treat the last day of school starting Christmas break.  (We got our first real snow that day.)

We had all our usual parties to attend, plus one, and they were all crammed into the weekend before Christmas through Christmas day.  Seven all together!  I did a lot of baking, cooking, preparing food and trying to make sure we were on top of things at home since we were going to be gone so much.  I was asked to bring a pretty dessert to one party and made this.  Looked neat, but when it was cut it looked terrible!  LOL!
Blake received a dino egg that he had to dig a baby dino from at a Christmas with Rich's aunt and cousins.  He was a MESS from the plaster....
...but he finally got that baby dino out!

 At the Christmas with my family we always have a cake to celebrate Jesus's birthday.  I try to make it so the kids can help each year, but I decided with all the other things that were already planned for that day to keep it simple and just make the cake myself and just talk about the meanings with the kids.  Each thing on the cake has a meaning even the type of cake and the frosting.  I did forget the star, but those spruce pieces on the top are there to make up for it ;-)

The kids with their cousins.

This had us laughing pretty good!  Blake loves Hulk right now and he got these from my parents.

Morgan received her own camera and didn't stop playing with it until the batteries went dead ;-)

Christmas morning before looking in stockings, but after finding the pickle on the tree :-)
Blake with his brand new Christmas stocking.

 Morgan loved her fairy wings that Santa brought her.
Blake loved his Hulk plush and was his choice to take with him that day when we went to Rich's grandma's for breakfast...it's a Christmas tradition in his family and Grandma thinks they counted 43 people this year!  It was packed! :-)
Our final Christmas gathering with Rich's parents and brothers on Christmas day.  Blake decided we were opening one present at a time and directed who was next.
 Morgan was so happy with the presents she got from her uncles that she ran and gave them big hugs. :-)
After Christmas was the usual finding places for all the new things.  The day after Christmas we went to see Rich's brother off...he in now on his second tour in Afghanistan if you would like to keep him in your prayers.  Thursday we went sledding. Friday Rich and I went to see The Hobbit with some movie tickets I had won and did some shopping that Rich had been looking forward to doing.  Rich's brother watched Morgan and Blake for us...when I say watch, I mean played with them like he was a little kid again ;-)

The weekend was slower.  Rich had a class Saturday, but I spent most of the day cleaning up and recovering ;-)  Sunday and Monday my parents and Rich's parents & brother stopped by.  We spent New Years Eve at home this year then went for breakfast at Rich's parents' New Years Day and to see Rich's brother off before his long drive to Pennsylvania.

The rest of Christmas break was spent visiting friends and the kids having friends over...plus taking down Christmas decorations of course.  Always sad to see them go, but I'm also aways in awe at how much more room we have without the tree! :-)

That was the gist of our Christmas!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well and have a Happy & Blessed New Year! :-)

Snow Fun!

With the kids back to school Monday I was finally starting to get back into my regular routine after the busy Christmas season.  I planned on blogging sooner, but I couldn't load pictures from my computer through blogger,  so I waited a couple days to see if it would be fixed.  Since there seems to be no change yet, I ended up downloading Picasa so that I could share pictures...my blog posts would seem kinda boring without them ;-)
We ended up getting some snow the day after Christmas lasting into Thursday, so we met up with Rich's cousin's kids who were here from Virginia.  The kids (and Rich) went sledding on the hill at his Grandma's and had a blast!
Morgan and Blake enjoy getting together with their cousins, although a they're like 3rd cousins, they're the only cousins on Rich's side that are close to their age. 

When the weather warmed up a bit and snow was better for making snowmen, the kids were busy in our yard getting creative!  This is Blake's little snowman.  Bear felt the need to sit in on the picture...just plopped down next to Blake like he belonged there ;-)
Morgan very proud of her snowman.

I love this of Blake...carrying it around like a baby :-)
It was nice to have snow this winter for the kids to play in unlike our very warm winter last year.  And the fact that they got it over Christmas break when they had time to enjoy it with family made it perfect! :-)
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