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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Loved+Blessed Box Review

It's so nice when encouragement arrives on your doorstep.  Especially when all you've been dealing with for weeks is brown moving boxes and this one is a petite pink box with the words "loved + blessed" on the outside.  Even the mailing label says, "Encouragement Delivered."  And that's exactly what the Loved+Blessed Box is-encouragement delivered to your home.

Last month's theme was "Speak Life."  The box contained a mini poster reminding recipients not to believe everything they think, and then providing positive encouragement (you are loved, you are blessed...), a removable, repositionable sticker, two scripture cards (one was a bonus), a theme card, which is mounted inside the box to explain this month's theme, and a journal for recording encouraging scripture, quotes, or positive thoughts.  Here's what it all looked like:
Loved + Blessed Boxes can be bought in month to month, and 3, 6, or 12 month pre-paid subscription plans.  They are $10 each month to month, and less for the pre-paid.  You can also purchase them as a gift for someone else at the same price.  Previous boxes are available for purchase as well.  The price is slightly higher ($12), but you know what you are getting, so that's helpful if one box looks particularly appealing or encouraging for someone you know.

OBM says:  The idea of these little monthly subscription boxes is so popular right now.  And I love that this one is Christian and positive and NOT full of a ton of junk that I just feel guilty about throwing away because I paid for it.  They'd also make great, inexpensive, "I was thinking of you" gifts to send.  As to the box I specifically received, I wish the mini poster had stuck exclusively to affirmations that were Biblical and then put the citation beneath the saying, i.e. "you are wonderfully made...Psalm 139:14" and skipped the "you are smart" type things because I'm not sure that's among God's promises for each of us :).  Other than that, I loved the box, and I think it came at a perfect time for me.  Ephesians 4:29, the verse on the scripture card, is one of my favorites to be reminded of, especially in the stress of moving!  I am truly loved and blessed-it's a good reminder.

For you Facebookers out there, Loved+Blessed has a FB page where they post encouraging things on a regular basis.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

So, We Bought a House Today :)

This is the new home on the range ;).  It all came together rather quickly, and we've been crazy making everything fall into place between the time we made the offer and today when we closed, but it's officially ours.  There's some drama over the fence you see in the picture-it *should* be tethered to the back corner of the house according to the HOA guidelines, not the front corner.  So the HOA tried to stop the closing, but we have a fence company coming to move it, and the sellers under contract to pay for that fee plus any HOA fines, so we went on and closed because we need to get out of our rental house.

I'm super excited to say that we have plenty of room for guests to stay, and .79 acres of land for kids to run around.  A wood playset stayed, and we'll have a volleyball net up soon enough.

After living in a house built in 1883 for over a decade, and this "stuck in the 80's" rental for the past 2 1/2 years, a 3 year old house sounds really, really amazing to me.

I'll post some more pictures as soon as I take some of my own, although it won't look nearly as impressive with our stuff in it as it did with theirs :).

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker {A Tyndale Review}

Back in May of last year, I had the opportunity to review The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker.  Ever since that time, both my son and I have been eagerly awaiting its sequel, and so when the chance to review The Calling finally came up (you know how long it seems when you are waiting for that next book!), I jumped at the opportunity!

About The Calling:
Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.
As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels—he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.
With dissension in his own camp—and the CityWatch soldiers closing in—Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.
About Rachelle Dekker:
 The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing was her critically acclaimed debut novel. Rachelle graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at
Some Q&A with the author:
The Calling is the second book in The Seer Series. Does it pick up right after The Choosing leaves off? No, a year and a half has passed when we rejoin the characters in The Calling.

 In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid? I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.

What do you hope readers will take away from the story? 
I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

What can readers expect in the final book of the series?
Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well.

OBM says:  I was so looking forward to this next book in the series.  I had really, truly enjoyed The Chosen, and waited almost a year to find out more of the story for Remko, Carrington, and the others.  But almost a year is a long time to be out of a story, and so when I picked up The Calling, it took me a few minutes to re-acclimate. This book was so much about Remko and his struggle to just let go.  He's leading the Seers, but he's not really a Seer himself, at least not in a true believer sense of the word.  But Aaron, their spiritual leader, knows he just needs time, and trusts Remko even when Remko feels like a failure himself.  That struggle is one I believe so many people can relate to.  What I didn't love about The Calling, when I wanted to much to love it, was that it felt like a second novel...a middle book.  It didn't feel resolved, and it doesn't seem like it tells it's own engaging, stand-alone story.  Instead, it leaves me desperate for the third and final novel to see how the story will conclude.  Still, The Calling is a critical part of the story if you began the trilogy, and the third book promises to be full of surprises.

The Calling is available from Tyndale Publishing this month for $15.99.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey Preview {A Flyby Review}

It's not often I find myself without words, but this is one of those times.  Today, I'm asked to share a different kind of "review" with you.  

More of a personal story. 

But first, you have to understand Women of Faith
Over the last nearly 20 years, Women of Faith - - grew to become the largest non-denominational Christian women's conference, touching over five million lives with personal stories full of laughter and tears.  Stage events have included such inspirational and spiritual luminaries such as Campus Crusade for Christ's Mary Graham, author & reality TV star Corie Robertson, author & popular speaker Luci Swindoll, author Sheila Walsh, and others. 
My personal story with Women of Faith begins in Orlando, FL.  I had heard of WoF for years from some sisters in Christ, but they always went with their church groups, and I didn't go to those churches so I always seemed to miss out.  Then I got involved with MOPS, and there was talk about our steering team going.  I could not have been more excited.  I think I bullied the group into was the driving force behind our attendance simply because of my persistence, but God had a bigger plan.  See, that year one of my best friends, who was also our MOPS coordinator, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  And she was part of the group that had committed to going to WoF.  Unbeknownst to us, the dramatist, Nicole Johnson's, skit that year was about "Stepping into the Ring" to battle cancer.  There was not a dry eye in our group.  God had surely brought us there, as surely as He brought me to here the message the year her skit began "I called her Amy, it means beloved..."  and I sobbed openly in an arena full of people as God showed me again not only His love for me, but my mother's love through this stranger's skit.  I've loved and laughed with Luci, nearly peed my pants with Patsy, and been mothered by Marilyn.  It's safe to say that Women of Faith changed my life and brought me closer to my Savior and my Lord, and showed me how beautiful corporate worship with tens of thousands of Sisters in Christ can be...and how amazing it will be someday in heaven.

My friend with cancer?  She bought some little boxing gloves they were selling at WoF that year, and hung them in her car.  They reminded her she fought a bigger enemy than just cancer.  And she won that battle, both with cancer and against the enemy.  She passed her gloves and the story behind them on to another friend who found herself dying of melanoma in her 30s.  Sadly, my friend needed them again for her second trip "into the ring."  This time she was victorious in a different way, and her life and death both shine as a testimony to God's ability to touch so many people through one special person's life.

And so now the "review":
If you've never experienced Women of Faith for  yourself, here's your chance  Or if you have, and want to relive it, now you can.  On February 18 and 20 and March 3 and 5th, Women of Faith is coming to theaters around the country!

The cinema event will take viewers on a journey of Women of Faith through the years, on stage and off, on their travels with World Vision, their impact on audiences, in short the way they've changed the world.  Partly historical, and frequently hysterical, this unique cinematic experience will be packed with some of the most popular pieces from the beloved speaking team to include Anna Trent, Thelma Wells, Mary Graham, Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, Jen Hatmaker, Sandi Patty, Patsy Clairmont, Nicole Johnson, and Marilyn Meberg as well as music and performances from Christian contemporary artists that appeared on the tour.  Featuring never-before-seen interviews, outtakes, and behind the scenes footage, this event presentation will bring back memories for all those who have attended a Women of Faith weekend as well as create new memories for those experiencing it for the first time.  

I'm super excited, and fully expecting to need to bring my Kleenex ;).  For information about the Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey experience and to see whether it is coming to your town, check out the social links below.  So join me at the movies (I'm going February 18th) and see Women of Faith!

Official website
Instagram: @WomenofFaith

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jesus Today-Devotions for Kids {A FlyBy Review}

When I moved from Florida, my home for over 20 years, to North Carolina, a sweet older sister in Christ bought me a devotional book called Jesus Calling.  What a treasure that book was (and still is!) to me as I struggled to establish myself and my family in a new town and with new friends.  It was great to have a reminder that while a lot had changed, who I am in Jesus remains constant.  So when I received the opportunity to review a devotional book by the same author written for children, I jumped at the chance!

About Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids
Jesus is the Friend who is always with you.  Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids will pour this powerful truth into your children's hearts as they learn that He knows everything about them and loves them more than they can imagine.  Each devotion is based on Scripture and is written as though Jesus is speaking directly to you, assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that an amazing future awaits all who put their hope in Him.  Adapted from the ECPA 2013 Christian Book of the Year-winner Jesus Today, this devotional has the same themes as the adult version, as well as written-out scriptures.  It is a great choice for families to read and discuss during devotional time together.  

Hardcover: 368 pages

Age Range: 6-10 years 

About Sarah Young: 

Sarah Young's devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying and writing in prayer journals.  With sales of more than 14 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling has appeared on all major bestseller lists.  Sarah's writings include Jesus CallingJesus TodayJesus LivesDear JesusJesus Calling for Little OnesJesus Calling Bible StorybookJesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence -- each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ.  Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years.  They currently live in the United States.  

OBM says:  This devotional is everything I loved about Jesus Calling and more.  It has that same conversational tone as if Jesus is speaking to the reader directly, but is written in language that a 6-10 year old can understand.  And the Bible verses that each devotional takes it's inspiration from are written out so they are easy to read right along with the daily message.  It makes it easy to have meaningful, intentional time with your children discussing who Jesus is and what He's done for them.  My 10 year old enjoyed it so much she suggested we do it with her older siblings as well. :)

Nowadays, it seems everyone and everything is on the web, and even books have more social media links than I do, lol.  But here are all the different ways you can connect to learn more about Jesus Today.

If you'd like to have a chance to win a copy of this awesome devotional for yourself, just enter the drawing below (U.S. and Canada only please).

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Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm Happy For You (Sort Of...Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma {A FlyBy Review and Giveaway}

Sometimes, over the course of reading a book or watching a TV show, you really connect with the author or TV personality.  You think, "If we ever had the chance to meet, I know we would be fast friends."  That is exactly how I felt reading, I'm Happy for You. 

About I’m Happy For You (Sort Of…Not Really)Our cultural obsession with comparison is undercutting relationships and sapping contentment. With disarming candor and humor, Kay Wills Wyma explores how to trade comparison for compassion and rediscover what life is all about.
It’s easy to get caught in the comparison games we play with our appearances, our kids, and our homes. Kay reminds exhausted families about tried and true remedies from the pressures of competitive living.
In her warm, relatable style, Kay confronts the comparison epidemic raging in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our social-media feeds, offering remedies along the way.
With candor and humor, I’m Happy For You (Sort Of…Not Really) explores the troubling effects of living in an excessively competitive culture—and reveals simple yet effective ways to escape the comparison trap.
 About the AuthorKay Wills Wyma is a blogger, mother of five, and the author of Cleaning House through which she has appeared on The TODAY Show, CNN, Glenn Beck, The New York Times, Focus on the Family, and more. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company, and Bank of America. Kay lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Jon, and their family.

OBM says:  I've been dog-earring pages in this book left and right.  It's like Kay Wills Wyma is speaking what is in my head.  Comparison is something I really struggle with, and so many things really spoke to me like, "We measure ourselves against other people who are measuring themselves against other people."  I had never thought of it that way.  And that's just one tidbit-there are so many more.  I'm really trying to be intentional about being happy for other people now.  Removing myself from the equation and making it not a competition, but something I can be glad for them for.  It takes effort, because it's contrary to the default setting of my brain, but it's part of taking every thought captive, and SO necessary for finding contentment.

If you want to read more of Kay Wills Wyma's writings, you can follow her blog.   Kay is blogging about how she has started to #HydrateForTheHolidays, so you want to check that out.  Or follow the MOAT Blog on Facebook or on Twitter.  Go to Amazon to buy I'm Happy For You (Sort Of ...Not Really). 

U.S. and Canada residents can enter below to win a copy of I'm Happy For You (Sort Of...Not Really) below.

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Adore by Chris Tomlin {A FlyBy Review and Giveaway}

I'll let you in on a little secret...this year, I was listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and it was awesome.  Adore by Chris Tomlin is the perfect mix of traditional classics and original Christmas songs.
1. He Shall Reign Forevermore
2. Adore
3. Midnight Clear (Love Song)
4. Noel featuring Lauren Daigle 
5. Hymn Of Joy 
6. Silent Night featuring Kristyn Getty 
7. What Child Is This? featuring Sons & Daughters 
8. It's Christmas
9. A King Like This
10. Bethlehem

11. A Christmas Alleluia featuring Lauren Daigle & Leslie Jordan of All Sons & Daughters 

Chris Tomlin is an American contemporary Christian music artist, worship leader, and songwriter who has sold nearly 30 million records.  Some of his most well-known songs are "How Great Is Our God", "Jesus Messiah", "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)", "Our God", and "Whom Shall I Fear".  His 2013 album Burning Lights debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, only the fourth Christian album ever to open at No.1.  Throughout his career, Chris has been nominated for 32 Dove Awards (6 of them collaborative efforts) and he has won 19 of them.  
OBM says:  Just today, I was listening to the radio, and "Adore" came on.  I was so excited.  But I have to say our favorite from this album is probably Silent Night.  Kristyn Getty is just enchanting.  And I did NOT know she was the writer of one of my favorite hymns of all times, "In Christ Alone."  What a wonderful collaboration, as are the songs with All Sons and Daughters and Lauren Daigle.  Adore was just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season, and it's living in my car's CD player right now so that whenever our local station isn't satisfying our need for Christmas music, we just "press play" and are transported to Christmas.

You can check out Adore on Facebook or Chris Tomlin on Twitter.

If you'd like a chance to WIN this album, just enter below.  But if you want to know for sure that it's yours, hop on over to iTunes and buy Adore.

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