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Monday, October 5, 2015

FINDING NOAH {A Flyby Review}

Guess what I was watching Sunday night?  This super-cool new documentary called FINDING NOAH, coming to theaters for ONE day only on October 8th.

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark.  Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.
 Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit.  There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question:  did Noah and his Ark actually exist?
 Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.  

 OBM says:  FINDING NOAH was such an eye opener,  First, to hear about so many eyewitness accounts of the ark (some of which I had heard before, but some were new to me).  Second, to see such a diverse team come together for the spiritual and scientific purpose of finding the ark on Mt. Ararat.  Third, to learn of all the turbulence in the area, and the extreme difficulties of getting up there at all.  And finally, to learn that this group has been pursuing the ark with trips up Ararat for years.  The end of the movie is a great reminder of the sovereignty of God in all things.  I enjoyed it so much, I went back and rewatched the beginning now that I knew who everyone was on the mountain, just to again be reminded of their backgrounds in everyday life, because they all really work well together against incredible odds to get the job done that they need to do.  While vastly interesting to me as a Christian, I think this movie is interesting to anyone who enjoys mountain climbing or history or just seeing people try to find proof of something that is thought to exist, but can't be found today.  I'd highly recommend you go see it on the 8th!

You can purchase your tickets for FINDING NOAH here.  Or visit the FINDING NOAH website of more information.

FINDING NOAH on Facebook
and the FINDING NOAH YouTube Channel

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

'Til We Meet Again {A Tyndale Book Review}

I can't wait to share with you a wonderful new book I reviewed recently!

The official blurb:
Ray and Betty Whipps both served in Europe during WWII: Ray as an infantryman under General Patton in the trenches of Normandy, Paris, and Belgium, and Betty as a field nurse in Cherbourg, France. The two met when Betty tended to Ray after he was injured in a mortar blast. Both strong Christians, the two bonded over their shared faith, and as Betty nursed Ray back to health, they fell in love and vowed to marry after the war. However, soon after Ray returned to his unit, he was captured by German forces and held captive in Stalag VII, Germany’s largest prisoner of war camp. It was there that Ray’s faith was put to the ultimate test as he endured the most horrific weeks of his life—weeks marked by brutality, malnutrition, back-breaking labor, and near-constant death. The only thing that kept him alive was the dream of someday reuniting with Betty.

Told in first person from Ray’s perspective, with personal wartime letters from Betty interspersed throughout, ’Til We Meet Again is a sweeping love story set amid the backdrop of WWII. The perfect combination of “in the trenches” battlefield accounts and classic 1940s romance, this memoir reads almost like a novel. It is an epic story of faith, hope, and love, and a nostalgic look back at one of the most memorable periods in American history.

 OBM says:  I loved this book.  I'm a huge historical fiction fan, And this book, though a true story, and written as a memoir, reads every bit as engagingly as a fiction novel.  Ray and Betty's story unfolds mostly through Ray's narrative, and, unlike most war dramas, this one is written with no "bad language."  Ray's military career did not go as he thought it would, but it did go as God intended, resulting in him meeting Betty when she was his nurse.  Her letters punctuate the novel as well, and at first that "change of voice" took my by surprise, but it was nice to get an occasional glimpse into a first hand account of what she was thinking at the same time.  Betty and Roy seem destined not to be together because of the differences in the military ranks, but again, God has a different plan, and their reunion was all the more sweet and sure because of the trials they faced to get there,  It was a beautiful story, but more than that, an engaging enough one that I passed the book on to my 18 year old son who loves war dramas as soon as I was done so he could read it too.  I wholeheartedly recommend 'Til We Meet Again to anyone who enjoys WWII novels, historical nonfiction, historical autobiographies, or just plain old great stories.

Ray and Betty Whipps.  Aren't they adorable?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Captive- A FlyBy Review

CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols - on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son - takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.  

The movie stars David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma.
Click HERE for a special greeting from David Oyelowo.

OBM says:  The book Captive was originally published as Unlikely Angel, but will be released in just a few days in theaters as a movie under the title Captive, so now the book title matches the movie.  I have not had the chance to view the movie yet, but I was given the opportunity to read the book, and have another copy to give away to a lucky reader.  The book is written by Ashley Smith, the one who was taken hostage by Brian Nichols along with Stacy Mattingly, an Atlanta based writer.  It was not an easy read, to be sure, as the subject matter is challenging-flashbacks to drug use and life changing violence in addition to the main story of the hostage situation, but the overarching theme of God's sovereigty in the whole situation and being able to watch His plan unfold as the story plays out makes it worth persevering through.  I personally can not wait to see the movie.

Because The Purpose Driven Life played such an integral part in the Captive story, people are being invited to share what gives them purpose at #FollowYourPurpose.

Here's the official Captive movie trailer:

You can follow Captive, the movie on Facebook.  Or follow Captive on Twitter.

To win your own copy of Captive, the book, just enter the giveaway below.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last Call of Trades of Hope!

My party ends today.  Here's one more message from my friend Melissa:


JOIN - You can join Trades of Hope like I did and become a Compassionate Entrepreneur. You too can be in the business of employing women in impoverished situations while earning an income for yourself. The online training is excellent, and the sisterhood of women, local and online through Facebook is fabulous! Please comment or private message me if you would like more information.

HOST - Hostesses are the lifeblood of this missional business! As a party plan company, our hostesses allow this business to continue - providing continued employment for impoverished women and employment for women here in the US - a ripple effect of women helping women, helping women. Hosting can take on many forms - a home party, a Facebook party, a few women gathering in a cafe, a fund-raising event, etc. If this business has touched your heart, please say "yes" to hosting. We will discuss the details and determine what type of party would be best for you. It's my job to make it as easy for you as possible.

SHOP - Well,, that is easy! Amy's shopping link is : 

If you want more information about hosting or becoming a Compassionate  Entrepreneur, leave a comment below (it will be sent to me even if it doesn't show up immediately), and I will put you in touch with Melissa.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trades of Hope

Have you heard of Trades of Hope?  If not, here's the scoop:

Trades of Hope was founded in 2010 by 4 incredible women, mother/daughter duos Holly & Chelsie and Gretchen & Elisabeth, who believe that all women should be empowered and have a chance to create a better life for themselves and their families regardless of their circumstances. By creating jobs and sustainable, income-generating businesses, our artisans are able break the cycle of poverty, feed and take care of their families, and send their children to school.

This is not a charity—this is an opportunity to help women (and men) earn a living and also earn dignity and respect in their community!

The artisans, who hand craft our jewelry, scarves and home d├ęcor items are paid FIRST, at their FULL ASKING price. YES, 100% of what they need to earn a LIVING WAGE in their country. Through Fair Trade principles, they make an average of 4-6 times more selling their products through us than they would in their own country.

Trades of Hope products are sold as a home-show business, allowing them to provide self-employment for women in the U.S. as well.  Here's what my dear friend Melissa, a Trades of Hope Compassion Entrepreneur, has to say:

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this missional business. I employ women in impoverished circumstances, and they employ me!

When you Shop, Host, or Join, YOU are a part of TOH, too!

That's Melissa above wearing the Kayla ToH necklace and the Inverted Capiz earrings.

So, I'm doing a Trades of Hope online party until August 30th-you only have a few days!!!  Please, take a look at their gifts with a purpose.  Even if you aren't a big accessory person, they have some decor goods (and holiday items) AND their wares make beautiful, unique, meaningful gifts that benefit the receiver and the one who made them as well.  The link to my party is:

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

August! How'd We Get to August?

Oy!  I had intended to blog every day this month, but then life happened.  I'm not sure where to start, so I think this will be very stream of consciousness sort of stuff.

1)  This is our first week back to school.  Sari's in 5th grade, TJ's in 9th, and Mimi's in 10th.  He got a bump up when we moved to NC because they drew the "cut off date line" in a different place the year he was born than FL did, so we'll see how it goes as the year goes by, but I think he'll be fine.

2) Mimi has her learner's permit, but has spent about 20 minutes behind the wheel of my car total because the van intimidates her...that has to change.  We live in the car, by now, she should have enough hours logged to drive to the moon and back!    Where is good, positive peer pressure when you need it?

3)  Scott has a job coach who is meant to be helping him find a job, but that's a super-slow process.  They have filled out a few applications, but apparently I flubbed the first call for an interview by not understanding how the whole process was supposed to work, so he has no leads yet.  That's okay, because to be frank, they are barking up the wrong tree with the jobs they applied to.  His old job coach is currently in grad school, and the new one is still figuring things out, so in the process, we're in the weeds a bit (which is how I didn't know what to do when they called and how the interview got flubbed, but since it's for a job that wouldn't be a good fit for him anyway, I'm not too worried).

4) My garden is totally a bust (again) this year.  We got 2 meals worth of dragon's tongue beans, and maybe 3 pea pods before the heat just burned them up, but my tomatoes may or may not ever yield anything worth eating.  Sigh.  I think until we are out of this house, a garden is just a dream.  The only area in the back yard that is flat enough for a garden just doesn't get enough light to allow plants to mature at any sort of normal rate.

5)  I had a kidney stone.  They seem quite (un)popular right now among people I know. Mine took 3 weeks to pass, and so I lost 3 weeks of my summer to lying around in pain.  On the plus side, I did get some pleasure reading done ;).   Two weeks in, during a period of intense pain (I had 4 kids naturally-one at home- I'm talking serious pain here) I went to the ER just to be sure it really WAS a kidney stone and it was the size that could indeed come out on its own and that I wasn't just putting on a brave face for nothing.  SOOOO glad that is over.  I think I got it from taking Airborne on my trip to Scotland.  I read high doses of Vitamin C can cause them, especially if you aren't drinking enough.  I drink more water than most elephants, but while traveling it's hard to stay hydrated, so I think it was a one-two punch.  Lesson learned!

6)  Scotland was fabulous and I do have pictures to post, I promise.

7)  For the first time ever, about half of what my older kids are learning this year I will not be teaching them.  It will be a HUGE adjustment for them, but good for them and for me, I think.  I need to work more with Sari one on one.

8) Sari has some sort of learning issue.  Her evaluator thinks it's an eye tracking issue.  Either way, though she's made huge strides in reading, she still reads below grade level, and fluency-wise (speed wise) is equal to a kindergartner.  That has to change, so this year we will focus on some intensive therapies for her...I'm just not sure what that looks like yet.  First up is an eye appt.

9)  Em is playing volleyball right now.  She has practice 3-4 times a week.  Right at dinner time :).  Tonight is 5:30-8.  But really 5:15-8 because they need to get there early to set up.  So that's another reason she needs to get cracking on this driving thing.

10)  TJ's soccer will start soon too.  Just to add to the crazy.

I have other things I'm sure, but I'll stop there.  This listing thing makes everything seem kind of like a downer, but it's not really.  It's just busy, and crazy, and, I think, pretty normal for just about everyone I know.  I'll leave you with two pictures from last week's service project at church.  We were packing bags (care packages) for our missions team to take to India with them.  Mimi and TJ are at the far left below, and Scott is in the bottom picture making a card.  Each bag had a personal card that said something like, "You are special" or "God loves you" or something like that.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Patterns of Exidence-Exodus (A FlyBy Review and Giveaway)

I'm a total history nerd.  And a Bible nerd.  So combine history and the Bible?  I'm in.  ALL in.  Patterns of Evidence Exodus was everything I love and more.

About Patterns of Evidence Exodus:
For more than 50 years, the vast majority of the world's most prominent archaeologists and historians have proclaimed that there is no hard evidence to support the Exodus story found in the Bible.  In fact, they say that the archaeological record is completely opposed to the Bible's account.  This view of extreme skepticism has spread from academia to the world.  The case against the Exodus appears to be so strong that even some religious leaders are labeling this ancient account as historical fiction.  Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney begins with the questions, "Is the Bible just a myth, or did the archaeologists get it wrong?"  He decides to tackle this issue wit a deliberate scientific approach.   After examining the details in the biblical text, he journeys across the globe to search for patterns of evidence firsthand.  The result is the most in-depth archaeological investigation into the Exodus from Egypt ever captured on film.   This scientific documentary's goal is to communicate the TRUTH of the Bible and help equip believers with defending their faith and the Bible.
 The DVD features stunning animations and a cast including narrator, Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), interviews with leading archaeologists including Israel Finkelstein, Kent Weeks, and David Rohl, and guest appearances by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres

I enjoyed this DVD immensely, although it's not the kind of movie young children would enjoy.  It's more of a documentary that explains the evidence that exists for the proof of the Exodus as a real historical occurrence. My kids and I are going through Genesis right now and when we get to Exodus, I'm looking forward to watching this with them.  I want them to understand that while we take the Bible as truth on faith, there is real evidence that supports Biblical truth as well, and they can use that truth to defend their faith when it is challenged.

Patterns of Evidence Exodus was released today, and is available from the Patterns of Evidence website.  It's 119 minutes long and not rated (although there was no objectionable material that I remember).

If you'd like a chance to win a copy, and you live in the U.S. or Canada, please enter below.

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