Category Archives: Review

Keep Searching

I can hardly believe it is almost Christmas. I don’t know what happened really, I blinked and December was gone. The reality was that late in November our son was sick, then I got pneumonia which wiped me out for days and days and then he was sick again. We had a weekend stuck indoors because the straight temp outside was -25 degrees and now here we are a few days away from Christmas and all the plans I had to slow down and seek God through this month feel a lot like defeat.

And I guess there may be many of you that have found yourself here as well.

We start the season with the best of intentions. This year will be different and then, well LIFE happens, and we come through Advent just hoping to survive until the new year. Can I just say that we should all take a collective deep breath and relax?

I still have gifts en route that will need to be wrapped by Saturday morning. I have cookies to frost and clothes to organize. Our kids are still in school (I KNOW, WHAT IN THE WORLD?) and we have meetings at our office through noon tomorrow.

Yes, Christmas will come and go just as fast and I will wonder what happened there too…but I realized something this morning that helped me to accept where I am at today.

Just because the season will be over in a few days doesn’t mean we have to stop searching for the One, the Gift, that we celebrate during this time.

The story didn’t end with Christmas, we know that. And while we make attempts to focus and slow down during Advent it is still important that we keep seeking Him all year through.

I shared back in November about the Shepherd on the Search kit that I received from Dayspring. I knew it would be something fun that I could use to be intentional with my kids in December. I was excited about the daily activities they had on their web page and had plans to take even 15-20 minutes a night to be engaging in the Christmas story with them.

And then, you know….LIFE.

But like I said, the story doesn’t end after this weekend.

Yes, it is important to teach our kids about the significance of Christ’s birth at Christmas…but they need to keep searching for Him throughout the year as well. I want my kids to seek Him in all things. In all seasons!

Using these recipe cards is one way that I can do that. Day 15 is a lesson on the importance of giving to others. Day 21 encourages us to find ways to bring Joy to others, our neighbors or friends. And throughout the month you will find memory verses that will help place the Christmas story on our hearts over and over again.

I am learning more and more that if I want to know God, I have to seek Him out. I have to spend time with Him, learning about Him, being His light to others. Not just at Christmas but always.

It was a challenge my own heart needed this morning. I could feel frustrated that my Advent season didn’t look like I thought it should….or I can celebrate that the story is ongoing, and so is my search for Him.

My prayer for you friends is that you will be able to give yourself grace today. Enjoy time with your family this weekend, celebrate the Christ child and then continue to seek Him throughout the year! Merry Christmas!

Original Photo Credit: Dan’l Burton

Walking The Path We Are Given

I don’t remember when I first heard the story of Rory and Joey Feek, but once I found their blog This Life I Live, I knew these were people with an incredible story to tell.

If you read anything that Rory has posted you will know without a doubt that he loved his wife. Theirs seemed like that timeless love we all hope for. And yet they found themselves walking a path they didn’t see coming.

In the new documentary movie, To Joey, With Love, we are given a glimpse into their real-life, day to day as they journey into parenthood and then an unexpected cancer diagnosis.

Not realizing the significance of his decision, Rory decided to start capturing their life on film as they waited for the arrival of their daughter. Soon after her birth they discover that their daughter has Down Syndrome. Unexpected yes, but they knew this was the path they were walking on and they trusted God through all of it.

Being a new mom can be difficult enough, but at her 12-week check-up, Joey receives some devastating news.  Cancer.

I can’t imagine the fear she must have felt, and yet Rory and Joey walked this path with hope and trust in God’s plan. The new media caught wind of what they were dealing with and soon their story had spread like a wildfire.

People all over the world were praying for Joey and reading Rory’s blogs. We all hoped for a miracle. But sometimes those miracles don’t come in the way we would hope or expect.

As was true with this story.

While the outcome wasn’t as so many prayed for….it doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there. The love Rory and Joey had for one another inspired others. The faith they had encouraged the weak. Their choice to celebrate the joys in the journey remind us all that even when it is dark, blessings abound.

To Joey, With Love was a beautiful, intimate film and I was a bawling, hot mess once I finished it. It is available for purchase on December 20th but I have a free copy to give away to one of my readers!! Just leave a comment below and you will be entered to win!

For more information about this new movie, watch the trailer below (Email subscribers click here to view)

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Thank you to the Icon Media Group for the opportunity to view and review this movie in advance of its release.

All pictures and media found on the To Joey With Love website.

Writing God’s Word on Their Hearts

ESV Bible 4

This week we are doing something that is a first in our almost 20 years of marriage….we are getting new carpet installed! It is a pretty big deal to us, our first home had newer carpet when we moved in and after 13 years it probably needed to be replaced, but we couldn’t afford it. Then we moved to MN and the carpet needed replacing in many rooms, but again it wasn’t in the budget after buying a new home!

So we started talking about it months ago and finally decided to go forward and make the investment. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. I didn’t realize just how much work was involved in the process! Clearing out all the rooms, ripping the old carpet out and removing all the staples…that’s just the “prep” work.

Today the installation started and we started talking about how we hope really like the new color because it is going in multiple rooms! 🙂

When I was 14 my parents replaced their carpet and before the new was put down, they let us write all over the sub-floor. I have always remembered how cool that was and recently saw a friend who did Bible verses in their home and I decided to do the same.

So yesterday we spent sometime writing God’s Word on the floors in our rooms. I love the idea that we can stand on His Word in a tangible way each day.

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Dominic wrote out some of his favorite verses and I will always know that in our front living room we have a reminder to put on God’s armor each and every day. It is another way to remember to be prepared for the battles we will face every day.

I took pictures of all the places and verses we wrote because I want to have something to show our younger kids when they are older. Our family isn’t perfect by any means. We mess up and face difficulties like every other family. But my prayer is that we can be a family that is established and rooted in the Word of God. And that we might be able to use that foundation to be a light and an encouragement to others.

As a parent I have struggled with how best to teach our kids about God. We are so grateful for our church and the Awana program there. But I can’t expect that others will always do the work for me…we have to continue to encourage them and instill them with His Truth in our home.

For a long time I have looked for a devotional that might be appropriate and just haven’t found something that works for the varying ages in our family. Recently though I was sent the ESV Family Devotional Bible from #FlyBy promotions to review. What I love about it is that it is a full Bible, but among the pages are pictures and short devotional readings.

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At the end of each reading, there are questions to ask the family to discuss and a verse that could be used as a memory verse! It is something that my 5 year old could listen and participate in, but it isn’t too young for my 12 year old either.

These are the kind of devotionals that wouldn’t take much time, but would provide opportunities for deeper discussions and also the chance for our kids to once again hear the Truth of God’s Word. And I love that at the end of each devotional it points you to the page where the next one can be found!

I want the Word of God written on their hearts, and what a perfect way to encourage that by including these devotionals in our weekly routine.

I know it can be hard to take time out as a family to do things like this, but just like we took time to write out those verses on the floor…we need to find time in our busy schedules to stop and spend time with God. This Bible is going to help us get back on track and I am excited to see our kids!

But even more exciting is the fact that #FlyBy has another Bible to give away to one of my readers! YAY!! So to enter just leave a comment and share either why you would like this, or tell me what is something you do in your family to teach the Word of God to your kids? I am always looking for new ideas! Giveaway will close on Friday May 20th!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): 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.”

Searching for Answers – Wildflower DVD Giveaway

Wildflower DVD

There is a large part of my childhood that I don’t have any memories of. I know that we took a special family vacation every summer, I remember playing kick-the-can at night in the summer with our neighbor friends, riding bikes around and around the circle and going to the pool for family swim. But the majority of my most vivid memories are ones that felt significant to me. Things that shaped the way that I have processed life even as an adult.

Being embarrassed in first grade because I got a huge black eye when I fell and hit the bike rack at school. Sadness at not being good enough to be invited to the boy-girl party that was the talk of 6th grade. Disappointment when I didn’t get picked for the cheer leading team…

Many of the things I do remember seemed to reinforce the idea that I didn’t measure up. I wasn’t good enough. I have been processing through that a lot lately, trying to determine what was truth and what were lies. And I have been praying that I would remember more.

There are things locked up inside of me, that likely hold a key to why I am the way I am. Why I think the way I do, and react the way I do. It is frustrating when you are seeking for understanding and yet God isn’t revealing the lost memories.

Aren’t we all in some way searching for answers about who we are?

In the new movie Wildflower, Chloe is a young girl who also has a “lost” past. She starts to have dreams that seem to be a premonition to a future event that might take place…until she discovers that it is a long locked away memory of something she witnessed as a young girl.

Desperate for answers she seeks help from a young man who is struggling himself. Together they discover hope in finding answers and freedom from darkness in their past.

I enjoyed this movie and the reminder that we are not ever alone. Sometimes the path to finding freedom is a difficult one, but God is present through it all and the healing and hope that comes from the process are worth the difficult journey.

You can pre-order Wildflower over at Amazon, or watch the trailer here.

I was given a copy of the movie to review from Icon Media in exchange for my honest review. And as an added bonus they sent me an additional DVD that I can give away to one of my readers! It isn’t even available to purchase until April 5th – so this is an advance copy!

So for a chance to win the DVD please just leave a comment below! I will pick a winner on Thursday the 24th and have the winner’s copy in the mail on Friday!

No Longer a Captive

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Sometimes life can be too much can’t it?

One wrong choice, a medical diagnosis that feels without hope, the loss of a loved one or a revelation from the past that seems unbearable.

I don’t know about you but when I find myself in those fear-filled moments of uncertainty it is often a crossroads moment. Am I going to trust God, seek His purpose despite the pain or run from it, try to control in my own way and let fear overwhelm?

I have found myself again and again running from the difficult. I recognize my weakness sure, but I also fear the refining of letting go and trusting God….so I avoid the hard work of change until I reach that breaking point.

I would love to tell you that I am one of those people that runs toward God the moment the hard comes. So often after a trial I find myself overwhelmed at how God’s hand got me through…but it is always in hindsight. I write about how faithful He is, how we should trust Him. But somewhere along the way I forget, I get comfortable with the routine of my patterns of behavior and I stop fighting to see His purpose in ALL things.

You see, my own thoughts hold me captive more than anything else in my life.

Lies that I am not good enough, that my sins can’t and shouldn’t be forgiven…that God couldn’t really love a girl like me, someone who can’t get off of the merry-go-round of mistake making.

If I were writing to you I would tell you that is crazy. Of course you are forgiven, your sins were nailed on that cross with Christ and you can walk today in freedom. No longer a captive, but  free.

I believe it fully for you, but if I am being honest…I haven’t really believed it for myself.

I haven’t walked in the freedom that I write about here. And I really don’t know how.

Typing those words make me feel like a fraud. Sharing messages about hope and redemption but living bound by chains…

I want to live authentically, to share the good and the bad…and then believe in God’s promises for myself. I read His Word in John 10:10  where it says, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.We all want an abundant life don’t we? And the enemy wants nothing more than to keep us as captives.

But if I seek God and His purpose in ALL things. If I press into Him in the good times and the bad…I think I will find the freedom that I am so desperate for.

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Captive is a movie based on the true story of Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols. Two people that found themselves caught up in life. Believing that they could each control their own circumstances when life dealt them a raw deal, and yet finding themselves out of control.

When their lives intersect it seems as though there couldn’t possibly be purpose in the difficult….but some truths from a book, The Purpose Driven Life, bring clarity and hope even when all seemed lost.

Captive-Character

How would they each choose to respond when everything was on the line? In their own “crossroads moment” what would they do?

I’d love to tell you more but I don’t want to give it all away! You are going to have to watch it yourself to find out!

I was given a copy of the movie for free from #FlyBy promotions and asked to watch it and review it. It is a powerful movie and one that begs the question…does God have a purpose in everything?

I am excited because the wonderful people at #FlyBy have a copy of Captive to send to one of my readers! To enter leave a comment sharing the last movie that you watched! Share this post via social media for additional chances to win. Leave another comment for each share! I will choose a winner on Friday January 22nd.

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For more information check out their official website, their Facebook page and Twitter!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): 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.”

Unstoppable – Review and Giveaway!

unstoppable dvd

 Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?

That is the question that Kirk Cameron sets out to answer in his newest movie Unstoppable.

I was given a copy to watch and review from Flyby Promotions Blogger Network and Dominic and I sat down together to watch it a few nights ago.

I had heard a lot about the movie before it came out and was interested to say the least.  The question “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people” is a question that I have asked myself on occasion!

The movie was made because Kirk faced the death of a 15 year old friend of the family. Interestingly, Matthew Sandgren, the child who passed away, grew up in South Dakota. He got cancer when he was 5 and fought it for 10 years until he went home to meet Jesus.

Apparently Matthew was a strong Christian and made it his goal to share Jesus with others so that they could meet in Heaven again someday.

So why then? Why does God “let” someone like that die at such a young age?

That is what Unstoppable tries to answer.

The movie starts at the very beginning. The creation story. God and man, and then a woman. But sin enters in….It was interesting to me how they chose to depict the serpent in this movie (I won’t spoil it…you will have to watch for yourself)

Because of the fall, sin and evil, and a recognition of shame enters the perfect garden.

It is the start of the answer to the question….

I will say this – for someone who knows the Bible, attends church etc., this movie was pretty “basic”. It covered some of the more well known stories of the Bible, but in an understandable way – to reach a  wider audience. After watching we both felt that this was possibly made to target that specific audience.

At the very end of the movie Kirk tries to wrap it all up – to answer that question. I understood where he was going and what he was trying to say…but I have to be honest I felt like I wanted more.

If I were the parent who had just lost a child and came to this seeking an “answer”….would I have walked away from this movie confident in God’s plan? I don’t know.

Dominic has read a lot of C.S. Lewis books and he tackles this issue from just about every angle there is, in a very detailed way. I guess that is what I expected in this movie.

I agree though that “spin”, if you will, would be too much for a non-believer and may turn them away….so this movie is a start.

Having said all that, I do know this. God’s love for us IS Unstoppable. The movie touches on that. Having been through trials and hardships and come out alive and praising God – I believe He is a God that is for us…not against us.

 **Contest has ended – Congrats to Kate!! You are the winner of your own copy – I will be in contact with you! 🙂 **

Have you seen Unstoppable yet? Would you like a copy for yourself? Flyby Promotions has one copy to give away here! Just leave a comment why you would like to see the movie – or who you might give it to and your email address! A winner will be chosen on Friday February 7th!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): 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.
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