- With the popularity of fairy tales and Disney animation, and especially with the new release of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast on March 17, Zonderkidz wanted to publish a storybook Bible and full -text Bible (Holy Bible offered in hardcover, and pink leathersoft editions) that would resonate with children and families who loved those types of movies, and loved reading a great story.
- What Christian parent doesn’t want to tie in Bible learning fun with what their kids already love, but also have the opportunity to teach them that the real heroes and stories of our faith come straight from God’s Word.
- The Storybook Bible utilizes even more of the captivating art style and beautiful narrative to tell the major stories of the Bible (http://www.zondervan.com/once-upon-a-time-storybook-bible) , and the Holy Bible (http://www.zondervan.com/nirv-once-upon-a-time-holy-bible-hardcover & (http://www.zondervan.com/nirv-once-upon-a-time-holy-bible-imitation-leather) includes the full-text of the bestselling New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) translation, and highlights 6 great stories of the Bible in full-color tip-in pages. (there will be 6 stories, and each story is told on 4 illustrated pages.)
Oh how I love doing giveaways. Laura Story is one of my favorite artists. Her new CD is called “Open Hands” and it does not disappoint.
I firmly believe that music speaks to certain seasons of a person’s life and Laura’s song “Blessings” was my song for the season during out adoption.
I was able to sit and listen to this song and it was healing for me during this difficult time. I learned to look for blessings during one of the most trying times of my life.
I will be drawing a winner for this CD on March 23, 2017.
About Laura Story
GRAMMY® award winning artist, speaker, songwriter, author and worship leader Laura Story has a gift for penning songs that connect with people all around the world. Among her successes as a solo artist with her smash hits “Mighty to Save” and “Blessings,” Laura has also penned hit songs for other renowned artists including Chris Tomlin’s “Indescribable.”
Her solo artist music debut in 2008 with Great God Who Saves led to four Dove nominations and the award for “Inspirational Album of the Year.” In 2011, Laura released her sophomore project Blessings. The album and the emotionally powerful title was inspired by her real life trials and adversities, primarily her husband Martin’s diagnosis of a brain tumor. The album resonated with a huge audience and led to whirlwind career highlights for Laura, peaking at the No. 1 album spot for three consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Contemporary Christian Overall chart, topping the iTunes® Christian/Gospel Top Songs chart and holding the No. 1 spot for an impressive 28 consecutive weeks on the Christian charts.
The success of the single “Blessings,” which was certified RIAA Gold, includes the GRAMMY® Award for Best Contemporary Christian Song, the Billboard Music Award for Top Christian Song and the Dove Awards for Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. The song inspired Laura’s first book, “What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?” in 2012.
God Of Every Story released in 2013 to much acclaim, and her first ever Christmas project God With Us, released in October of 2015. Laura recently released a new book and bible study curriculum When God Doesn’t Fix It; Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without. She has a graduate degree from Covenant Theological Seminary and has served as a worship leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta since 2005, but her greatest joy is being a wife to Martin and the mother to Ben, Griffin and Josie.
Buy Link: http://smarturl.it/OpenHandsiTunes
Web and Social Links:
Open Hands (Official Lyric Video) – https://youtu.be/AABE–YR1No
Open Hands (Song Devotional) – https://youtu.be/NWWiyFlXdi0
In addition to being an artist, mom and author, Laura Story is also a worship leader and is gifted at teaching the truth of God to others. Below are some devotionals that she wrote, and you are welcome to use as content if they have any use for them…
I love music, yes I do….I love music how’s about YOU?????????
**Picture me singing that with my hair up in pigtails and my pom poms**
I love music.
Now, Big Daddy and my children REALLY love music, so this is a win win.
The songs of this CD are written out of my pain, sadness, joy, and reflection of how great our God is and how simple we are….that we have to live by faith when what we see is too much for us to handle.
What a journey.
I will be drawing a winner for this CD on my son’s 3rd birthday, February 13, 2017….that day holds much joy for his birthday celebration, but that day will also be a very difficult day due to his circumstances and we are also dealing with a very frightening thing for my daddy on this day…….pain, sadness, joy and reflection….this day will hold.
I know this is a lot to read…but it is better then any review I may have….actually, we give it two BIG thumbs up 🙂
KARI JOBE: THE GARDEN
It’s said for everything there is a season. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. One by one, we experience these seasons throughout our lives. Our souls grow dark and weary in the thick of winter, and just when we think we can’t endure another cold night, we recognize the first signs of spring. Slow and unexpected, welcome shades of green break through the frozen ground. Sometimes our Creator uses His own creation to remind us that even amidst winter’s chill He is always at work. For it’s in the unseen where life’s most beautiful moments take shape.
Worship leader Kari Jobe knows this to be true in her own life, and on her fourth album, The Garden (Capitol CMG), she invites listeners to drink of the wellspring of hope she’s found in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.
Jobe has earned the right to speak from experience. She’s become a trusted friend to listeners throughout a career that includes more than 1 million albums sold, a GRAMMY® nomination, multiple Dove Awards and praise from the New York Times. She’s amassed 173 million career streams and is the most-followed female CCM artist on social media with a following that exceeds 3.5 million. Beyond the stats, Jobe’s timeless songs have carried countless listeners to the feet of Christ over and over again. Her voice has become a soundtrack to people’s lives, and The Garden is well-equipped to bring healing in the midst of pain.
While The Garden planted the songwriter back in the studio following 2014’s critically-acclaimed live recording, Majestic—which won a GMA Dove Award for Praise and Worship Album of the Year—the new album is also rooted in a series of personal transition and remarkable grief for the singer and her family. In the past two years, Jobe married her husband Cody Carnes and moved from her hometown of Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, where the couple bought their first home and had a baby. With due dates three months apart, Jobe and her sister, Kris, were excited to be pregnant at the same time. Yet, in the midst of happy life changes, heartbreak struck. Seven-and- a-half months into her pregnancy, Kris gave birth to a stillborn daughter, James Ivy. Jobe, four months pregnant with her son at the time, was devastated.
“It just shattered my heart. It was so, so hard,” Jobe shares. “It wrecked me—just the weight of unanswered prayers. I was trying to walk in peace when I didn’t feel peaceful and find my rest when my spirit didn’t feel rested.” Aching for her sister, Jobe was simultaneously anxious for the safety of her own child. On February 18, 2016, a healthy Canyon Carnes entered the world. “It’s hard to celebrate life, but to be grieving with your sister,” Jobe admits, adding that knowing Canyon’s name ahead of time gave her strength through the remainder of her pregnancy after the loss of her niece. “God gave us his name even before this whole thing took place,” she says. “Canyon means a deep ravine for water to flow through. Canyons are formed through storms, so the fact that God gave me his name was so peaceful to me… I was thankful He gave me his name for that season.”
While the birth of her son was undoubtedly a milestone to celebrate, her sister’s loss weighed heavy on her heart. Yet, a reminder of God’s kindness came in a surprising way. As Jobe held Canyon in her arms, she stood looking out the kitchen window of her new home. And there in her backyard, she glimpsed the first signs of spring. When she and her husband purchased the house, a garden that resided on the property was overgrown; and though they knew it needed to be tended, they were advised to wait and see what it produced. The result was a breathtaking bounty of harvest. That day, Jobe made her way through the garden—a stark reminder of God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Looking up, interwoven in the archway, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw what only God could produce: thick, green ivy lacing its way overhead, immediately reminding her of her niece’s namesake.
“Ivy is the most resilient plant there is. It can grow in the harshest of climates; it can grow in the harshest of situations,” Jobe explains, adding, “I’m standing in this garden. There’s ivy growing, and I just started to realize, ‘God, You’re moving in a way that is different than what I asked for, but You are moving.’ He’s at work and doing things we can’t see.” The experience yielded the title track for Jobe’s new album and fresh healing for her soul. “Those seeds were planted years ago for it to be the way that it was that day for me, because it wasn’t just last year that they planted all this beautiful ivy. That took years,” she observes. “Something in my spirit started to rustle. Life was coming back. What felt dead in my heart was starting to wake up. It was like I’d been in this place of being numb in my walk with the Lord, but something just started blooming in my heart.” Her unanswered questions began to grow into songs. As Jobe declared God’s goodness over her own circumstances, He began to transform her heart. “These raw things were coming out of my mouth, so I just started writing,” she shares.
“I Will Sing,” written while she was still pregnant, became the first song she penned for this album. Jobe spent the next several months pouring out her emotions one track at a time, collaborating with friends, and eventually recording half of the album in Redding, California, and the other half in Nashville. She and her husband wrote together frequently, and Cody adds vocals on numerous tracks. In addition, Jobe co-wrote with acclaimed songwriters, including Jacob and Amanda Cook of Bethel Music, Brooke Fraser Ligertwood, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram, Mia Fieldes, Martin Smith and Josh Silverburg, among others. In addition, she covered two songs that she claimed in the midst of loss: Jesus Culture’s “Miracles” and Elevation Church’s “Here As In Heaven.” Jeremy Edwardson (Jesus Culture, Bryan and Katie Torwalt), who helmed Majestic, produced the project. While songs like “Fall Afresh,” “Heal Our Land” and “Closer to Your Heart” reveal congregational anthems like many of the offerings that have defined Jobe’s career, most of The Garden’s 14 tracks speak to hope in the midst of loss, peace in the midst of uncertainty and God’s presence in the midst of pain. “Oh The Power” vividly recalls another garden where suffering took place, the Garden of Gethsemane. “Jesus went to a garden in His last moments to have intimacy with the Father. It was like He wanted to be surrounded with something that reminded Him of when there was no sin and there was no separation from God,” Jobe says, referencing the garden where mankind began—in Eden. It’s a heavenly space she hopes to invite listeners into with her new album, which, on a sonic level, feels like an overarching narrative backed by a sweeping cinematic score, meant to be savored from start to finish.
“The garden is true intimacy with the Father, and it’s a place where He intended for us as humankind to be surrounded with His creation. There’s life in things that He’s created,” she offers. “I want to lead people into intimacy with the Father. It’s something that’s so important as we walk through stuff in our lives.” Today, Jobe and her family continue to discover restoration through glimpses of God’s goodness. “The healing that He’s been bringing to my family and the way that He’s met us in our pain, it’s made me realize how many people are going through really intense pain and disappointments and trials,” Jobe offers. “There’s a lot of people who have lost babies or family members out of traumatic experiences. My eyes have been opened to that in a whole new way.”
She’s also viewing her platform in a new light since giving birth to Canyon. “I feel more of a maternal instinct now in my worship leading, even declaring things over people,” she shares, adding, “At the end of the day, my favorite thing now is just to be on the floor playing with blocks and reading books. Nothing else really matters. If I just became his momma and a wife, I’m fine with that. I just feel more settled than I’ve ever felt in my life.” In the time leading up to The Garden, Jobe has experienced both indescribable joy and unimaginable pain. Life and death, side by side. Yet, through it all, she’s found God to be inextricably faithful because she’s learned to trust the Gardner and the beautiful, unseen ways He tends to our hearts. “Everyone who’s seen something grow out of the dust realizes God was up to something in the midst of pain and questions. He never promised that it would be easy or that it would be pain-free, but that He would never leave us or forsake us,” Jobe offers, adding, “I’m more aware of His presence than I think I’ve ever been. God has surrounded us with things that will be life-giving if we take a moment to realize it. God’s always at work in our lives. He truly does go before us and prepares the way for the journey ahead.”
“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 on the same blog, 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.
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I. Love. Popcorn.
Not just any popcorn.
Air popped or stove popped popcorn.
Not just any air popped or stove popped popcorn.
With a schmitz of butter….a pinch of garlic…some white cheddar powder…some nacho cheese powder and smothered in parmesan.
I eat this, alone, in my bed almost every night…….
It is freaking glorious.
Now, back to your regular lives.
I absolutely, positively hate you.
“If you restore all my privileges, I’ll be good.”
“Yes, this is the rule XYZ, no I did not obey it because I did not want too.”
“Brother spies on me and then gets me in trouble. I hate that. Yes, I did exactly what he said, but I wanted too and I did not want you to find out.”
“I won’t do what you tell me to do because I do not have too.”
“You must respect me.”
“I don’t care what you think, I can make everyone believe you are crazy.”
“I need attention….I demand attention and I do not care how I get it.”
“No, I did not eat that last roll…these are crumbs from this morning when I ate cereal.”
“There is no chocolate shoved in my pillowcase…..it is caramel.”
“I lie because I can.”
“If you would just listen, I can explain why I stole sister’s tablet and looked up ways to murder you all in your sleep. I was learning proper technique.”
“I did not steal the money, just the change.”
“I do not want to obey because it is not fair to do my chores.”
And the music goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on…..tis a day in the life. This is how my week is going and it is only Tuesday….hope everyone else is having a spectacular week.
When you have never struggled with depression, you will truly not understand it, no matter how I can describe it. For me, when I get in a funk, I fall into self doubt, I like to sleep, not get out of the house, I do not answer the phone, I do not get dressed, I feel like I am in a well and when I look up, I can see a faint light that looks like it has a bit of a fog over it….I get angry.
I had a great childhood. My parents, extra parents, and grandparents were wonderful. My feelings began to come to light in grade school. I couldn’t seem to keep up with my school. I struggled and was isolated by my teachers because of my struggles. I was separated from my peers and put in a “special class” and that caused them to treat me way differently. I was made fun of, a lot. I was picked on….laughed at….No one wanted to be a friend to the girl in the “special” class. When we got into middle school, I was further ostracized. I didn’t wear the right clothes, say the right things, belong to the right group of people, therefore, I was targeted even moreso than I was in grade school. High school was even worse. I became very bitter and angry. Some things had come to light, in my life, and I harbored such anger and bitterness towards my parents and pretty much anyone that was around me. I retreated into my own little world.
I really have no desire to tread anymore into that aspect of my life because I do not want to hurt anyone and I’m teetering on the edge of falling into that pit, so I am listening to myself and stopping.
I can, however, say that depression has moved into my adult life and it has wreaked havoc on days, months and even years. The loss of children, the loss of my granny, loss of jobs, friends, churches, raising a difficult child, so much. My husband does not understand. In our early years, he ignored it…then he tried to fix it…now, he just lets me be and hugs me when I need it. It hurts him to see me hurt. He has been deeply concerned for me, at times in our marriage. I hate that I put him through that and my children.
I now use medication, writing, talking to him and my Lady to keep myself on the up and up. I still have days (or weeks) that I’m in a funk, but I try to take that depression and focus it outward. I try to find someone to serve to get my mind off of myself and onto helping others. I listen to praise and worship music (or 60s music). I hibernate in my room on Sundays and I do not parent that day. I pray, I read the Word….I am blessed that i know myself so much better now and I can see the triggers, I can feel those feels when they are coming and I can either allow myself to wallow in it or I can grab the rope and hang on.
I stumbled on this lady’s vlog awhile back. Her name is Itsjustkelli on youtube and I watched this vlog of hers…..I sat and watched it. I cried and agreed with everything she said and was feeling. It is only about 30 minutes, but it gives you insight into the minds of those who struggle with depression. Insight into Depression
Depression is real. It does not care about your social status, your money, your color, gender, sexual orientation, or your age…..people do not talk about it because of the stigma that surrounds it. Stop judging those who are having a bad day. They may look like they have it all together and then underneath the surface, they are unraveling. Be gentle and kind to others and if you notice something is not right, direct them to a counselor, friend, or pastor….this is the suicide hotline number. It is open 24 hrs a day. Live, love, hug, we are all trying to do life together….no one should suffer depression alone. Be a friend.
Well, after taking a blogging break in 2016 (with the exception of the many great giveaways)….I am back 🙂 I have realized that writing is very healing and therapeutic for me, so I am determined to get my blog rolling again.
Our New Years Eve was good….we made a bunch of soups and finger foods, because I didn’t want to “cook.” I had all 7 of my kiddoes, with one of my bonus girls and my oldest daughter’s person. We also had some friends over, who have 4 kiddoes of their own and we ate, laughed and played games. It was so nice to just enjoy the company and the good food.
2016 had some incredible highs. Our family spent 10 days traveling to the east coast. My kids got to see the Atlantic Ocean. We adopted our 7th child. Our oldest had a big year, graduating college, getting a new car, getting a new job, and getting engaged. Our second daughter finished high school and did fantastic her first semester in college. Our oldest son is flying through his sophomore year and he has had the opportunity to work with a friend, who is a contractor, so he is been able to earn money, save it, and spend it. Our second oldest son is reading so much better and he is doing so much better in school.
We were able to get him an official dx, so that has helped to guide us through his education. Our next son, has blossomed in sports (baseball and basketball). He was approved for a bone conducted hearing aid, so he will have that surgery at some point this year. And our baby is growing like a weed…he is such a joy. We have also found our forever home church wise. And to top it all off, my Lady is doing wonderfully! There have been lots more highs…but that is just a beginning.
There have also been some significant lows….one of our daughters is still struggling and we have had to make big decisions regarding her future. It has brought lots of hurt and tension to our home. Our adoption of our 7th child did not come easily and the circumstances around his adoption are still tender. My daddy had a stroke this past summer…thankfully, he is doing well. We had to put 2 of our beloved pets down, Sadie and Little Buddy. That is always difficult.
This year is full of promise. Full of intention. Full of purpose. 365 days to make a difference for the Kingdom of Christ. I do not make resolutions because, frankly, I think they are super stupid. I do, however, make some changes and more times than not, I stick through them and then they become a habit. This year, I plan to stop making excuses for myself or my family. I plan to start saying no. I plan to stop apologizing for who I am and how I do things. I just want to live. I realize that 1/2 my life is over…done….I cannot get that part back. Now, what do I want my second 1/2 of life to be like? I want to love my family without abandon. I want to be intentional with my relationships with my siblings, nieces, nephews, parents, husband, and children. I want to love my husband more and submit more to him. I want to dig deeper in the Word and see what new jewels Jesus is waiting to show me. I am going to plan a wedding 🙂 I’m going to send a kid off to a school that can help her. I want to get involved in our church. We are going to Hawaii, so I need to plan for that plus our family vacation. So many possibilities and so little time!
365 days….what are you going to do with your new year?
Good gracious…..I love giveaways and I am always blown away by the things that I have the opportunity to review…but this one….geez Louise.
My first thought, upon hearing the title of the book, “When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette,” I thought this book was on coveting…jealousy and how to overcome it. I was mistaken in a huge huge, like BIG way. This book….again…I had feels all over my feelings when I read this. I was surprised and in awe of how Jesus spoke to me through this author and his experiences.
When I was suffering through my Master’s classes…one professor said something that still sticks with me and has shifted my mindset. She said “we are to be Jesus with skin on.” I never saw myself as that because Jesus is the only perfect Person to walk the face of the earth and I will never be perfect…like ever. Then it resonated on me that to be “Jesus with skin on” means that whomever I am around, I am an ambassador for Christ and I may be the only person, who knows and loves Jesus, that some people may encounter in that day. How am I going to best represent Him? This is what this book is about.
One thing that the author says is “What could God do if we just gave Him what we have? What could He do if we game Him…our faults and failures..our circumstances…our struggles…our prisons…our one finger.” He talks about Jesus reaching into the deepest darkest parts of us and revealing His plan and His glory and His Name is always glorified. Our job is to give credit where credit is due….it is all about Him and not about us.
God can take what He has allowed…what He has ordained….and our freewill and He glorifies His Name through it all. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing. There is nothing that you have done, are doing, or will do that He does not have knowledge of, but if we allow it…He can and will create something beautiful.
This book………dangit people………just dangit. I will be drawing a name on Monday, December 26, 2016 for someone to win this book….if you do not win it…buy it. If you cannot buy it, go to your library.
About the Book:
When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. Best-selling author Max Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive God’s grace—we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus, much like Davis did, when he found Him living in a green-eyed brunette. As Davis puts it, “Jesus is very much alive today and still does incredible things—sometimes supernatural things—through us!”
List price: $15.99
About the Author:
Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publishers Weekly and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.
Here are the winner guidelines for you to use in 2016:
“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.”