Monday, January 18, 2016

The Plans I have For You Devotional and Journal: GIVEAWAY!

If you have children, I can’t recommend this set of devotional materials enough! 

Although the Devotional is geared for 8-12 year olds, and the journal for 11-14 year olds, I believe the set could truly be used by anyone who can read. 

As I went through them, they spoke to my heart and I found myself itching to doodle my own thoughts in the journal.  The only reason I didn’t is because I want my son to be able to jump into them as soon as I finish with this review!

My mom, 75, read them and said the same thing.  “I really enjoyed these!  I think they would be good for any age.  They reminded me of so many things I needed to hear.”

They are both beautifully written, illustrated, and put together.  The Hardcover Devotional uses Bible stories to bring out important truths about God’s plan for each one of us.  It makes it plain that we are gifted for a purpose, and He longs for us to trust Him as we explore what that purpose is.

The softback Journal creatively illustrates the same key verses and gently invites us to reflect on them in a personal way.  It is SO inviting!  I love how the spaces for doodling, writing and drawing are scattered among the verses and illustrations.

Truly, this set will bless anyone who reads it!

If you would like to win your own set, please leave a comment below.  This set would make a wonderful gift for children and adults of any age!  I plan to get a few more sets so I can use one myself and give several as gifts!


Here is a bit about the author and illustrator:

About author Amy Parker:
Amy Parker has sold more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults.  She has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son.  Two of these collaborations are recipients of Christian retailing's Best Awards, and she has also won three Mom's Choice Awards.  But Amy's greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan.

About illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton:
Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter.  Her passion for children's books began when she came across The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as a child in the 1960s.  Growing up in a musical family who love to sing, Vanessa's illustrations are as fun and whimsical as a beautiful melody.  Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, NC with her husband of 20 years, their daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.

To learn more, visit:
The Plans I Have For You Devotional Official Website
The Plans I Have For You Journal Official Website
ZonderKidz Facebook
ZonderKidz Twitter

The small print…
"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.”

This is a giveaway I hope you all take advantage of! 
Leave a comment by midnight Friday, January 22, 2016 and you will be entered in the random drawing Saturday! Please make sure your comment is linked to an email or a profile with an email so I can contact you should you win.   Best wishes!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Raise Them Up: 2016 Brings A New Phase

Life seldom warns you when one phase ends and another begins.  More often than not, you wake up one day and realize that things are not as they were.  The rules have changed, and so has your role in your family. 
Others can see it quite easily as they see changes in your children.  But the changes are not so obvious to a mother.  We are too busy packing lunches, picking up socks and going about all the things a mom does.  Until one day we look up, literally, to see grown children.
I started blogging when my boys were all young.  This picture was taken that year, in 2008.  There were countless stories to share about our daily life, then.  I would sit down with a cup of coffee while they played in the other room, and share all of the funny stories with you.  We would laugh together and comment on each other's lives, give advice where we could, and prayers when there were no words.  The blogging community was such a blessing to me.  God used so many of you as you encouraged me each day.  As a stay-at-home mom, I looked forward to that time I set aside to share and catch up!
Only fellow bloggers can understand how real blogger friendships become.  I would talk about one or another of you in this state or that, and my boys would chuckle and shake their heads saying that for a minute, they thought I knew you.  In real life.  As though it were different somehow. 
But it wasn't.  Not for me.  You all were very real.  And still are.  I don't know how many times I think about you and wonder how things are going in your busy lives.  Is your life as crazy as mine?  Are you in a different phase as well?  Are you still blogging?  Are your children changing as much as mine are??
* * *
My family is entering a whole new phase.  This picture was taken a few weeks ago on a visit to Longwood Gardens while we were out East to pick up my mom.
My oldest graduates this year.  He played soccer in the fall, is a swimmer now, and will run track in the spring.  He has a part-time job, plans for college, and a girlfriend who is truly beautiful both inside and out.  He has changed so much!  I barely see him these days.
My middle son has grown up, too.  He is a junior in high school and working very hard to put himself in a position to play soccer in college.  He just got his driver's permit and is looking for a job in order to save up for a car. But he still makes me giggle.
My little guy is now in the fifth grade, and not so little anymore.  He still loves soccer.  But this year, he has added basketball to his life and is loving it!  He no longer needs me in the same tangible ways that all three needed me back when I started blogging.  He has left his shy little box behind like a locust leaves it's shell.  I LOVE seeing his little personality blossom!  And I'm going to treasure the time I have left before he, too, moves completely into a new phase.
My mom, as I said, is staying with us for a few months.  It has been several years since Dad went home to be with the Lord.  And she is taking things one day at a time.  We've been having a Downton Abby marathon since Christmas, trying to watch all 5 seasons again before the last (sniff, sniff) season begins.  It's so nice to have her here!  :)
My husband is still working hard at the same job.  His responsibilities have grown, along with the hours he puts in each day.  Finding time together is something we need to be intentional about if it is to happen.
Knowing so much has changed, makes me sad and nostalgic sometimes.  However, I do enjoy the new relationship I have with my nearly grown sons. There are lots of things to balance.  And landmines to navigate, for sure.  But it's such a blessing to remain their sounding board and prayer warrior.  I will always cheer them on, even when sports are left behind. 
* * *
My older boys aren't the only ones entering a new phase of life.  After 18 years at home raising my boys, I am reentering the classroom!  Boy! So much in education has changed!  But the children are still the same.  And teaching still makes me happy! 
I started substitute teaching in our district this fall, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has fallen into my lap.  I will be taking my little guy's 5th grade class for 7 weeks during his teacher's maternity leave starting in February.   I'm am so excited!  I'm also worried about whether I'll be able to step so quickly back into full swing.  Substituting is one thing.  Long-term substituting is quite another. 
The only thing that keeps me steady is the fact that I've watched God work throughout the last few months, opening doors, and rekindling my love for teaching.  Will it be a lot of work?  Absolutely.  But my mom has promised to help me grade papers.  :)  And my husband has promised to help share the taxi service we provide for our boys and all of their activities. 
Will my youngest be embarrassed to have his mom teach the class?  Probably, lol!  But this is a gift that I think both of us will remember and treasure for the rest of our lives.
Where will blogging fit into this new phase?  I have no idea!  But I'd like to figure it out, and I hope you'll join me.  Maybe I'll even be blessed with new friends as I begin this new phase of my life. 
Happy New Year, friends! 
May we each trust God
with the plans He has for us
in 2016!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Apologetics Study Bible For Students HCSB: Winner

ApoSB_WebSlider_B1Congratulations to Julieanne!  I’m happy to announce that you have won a copy of this great Study Bible!  Please email me your mailing address a.s.a.p. so that I can have your copy sent to you.