Friday, February 23, 2018

Encouragement and Pictures

This world seems loud at times and there are times we just need to take a break from it all, so I have been stepping back some from the news and social media the last couple weeks, and it has been so refreshing. I think I may need to do this more. My mind is more focused and the quiet has been refreshing to my soul. Boundaries are a good thing and I need this to hear better from God, so I am doing what I am called to do without all the distractions.


This has me praying and pondering as I write. In the book I am reading currently (Unseen), the author writes "We tend to be a people of quick glances-even with God. Life at warp speed allows for little beholding. We are increasingly accustomed to 3-minute waits and 1-click purchase. And in our approach to God, we follow the same pattern. We want the soundbites. Speed and beauty rarely coexist." She also writes and this just really clicked with me "We are, all of us, created to be image bearers. It is written in our DNA-God made us to wear another's likeness-His (Genesis 1:26). But naturally, we search within our stories for images to bear-and we mimic what we see. We either begin to work the room in search of another image to bear-often it's a little of both." As I read that I thought of what is it I look to, what gets my attention, what about my children, how am I representing Christ, what images are they looking to mimic? What is it that is influencing us? Truth is and I have read it before, we become what we behold. "The lamp of the body is the eye (Matthew 6:22). So that causes me to be mindful of what I am looking at, what I am reading, and hearing. What is influencing me, my children, the people I know? We people are able to get answers quickly from Google, we can scroll 100s of pictures within minutes, and read all these bits of peoples lives, opinions, and news on social media. What is this doing to our minds, how is it affecting our hearts and souls? This causes me pause and to seek out Truth and His beauty. Oh Lord, when we have gone astray, may we seek You above the noise and guard our hearts and minds. I don't know if that encouraged you or not, but it does me! I am encouraged to grow in my faith, to seek out God more and know Him. Encouragement doesn't always come across with a big smile and/or loving nudge, sometimes it comes across as something that causes us to seek what is good, beautiful, and true.

This week, I thought I share a little bit of what we have been up too, and when I say little, this truly is a little bit. There is so much unseen, but I am learning those unseen moments are just as important and glorifying to God as the seen moments, because He knows all that we do, day in and out. However, my Lord also knows when I am not glorifying, yikes, yes those moments, to which I need to repent and learn from. This journey of faith truly is a life long journey of growing and learning, so why I need God's Word and Jesus every day to lead me. Below I also share some encouraging links that I found around the web over the last couple weeks or so.

These two took a paint class at our local art center a month ago and I so love my little Monet's!
Some days a sucker and an unicorn helps make learning vocabulary oh so much more fun!
Little man lost his first tooth a couple weeks ago, he is growing up, sigh!

As always, Friday nights in our house is pizza and movie nights! This was taken on National Pizza Day, so it was so appropriate!
This girl has been designing her own patterns and sewing up a pillow storm. This is her owl she created all by herself!
Little man dressing up as a handy-man, he then had some fun pounding some nails into some wood!
Another design, this time a unicorn!
Science one day this last week included learning about how to keep our body health, one way is exercise, so of course, we did a little yoga! As a former yoga teacher, I have seen the benefits of this type of exercise and still do it at home daily.
This little man gave me the first "May" flower of the year, a little early this year, but it has been raining for days here!
So this is one of our books we have added to our morning time for Lent. We are so enjoying it! I am big on creating rhythms that create beauty in our home, in hopes that they carry on for generations! I resonated with why we need this from this book!
This is what our homeschool morning time looked like this week. Some really great books and the candle does add to it. I have found it really does help keep my boy's attention. Plus we are starting our day out right, God first!
A couple weeks ago I added some new books to my reading pile. I have recently started Why Motherhood Matters, and see this one being added to one of my favorite and top recommendations for all mom's! The other book is some homeschool teacher education.
True story, if you see this happening, don't worry it is normal!

We lost a great godly man this week, though He is now celebrating in heaven! I pray for more men like this for our world! Billy Graham's words are so true, I thought they were worth sharing to encourage us.

Good reads:


"Repentance is not so much an emotion as it is an attitude toward God. It is a reorientation of life from self to Him. It denotes a willingness to change and be changed." Bob Utley, Bible.org http://www.foundonbrighton.com/2018/02/lent-words-day-4-repentance.html
Live a Lent that lends. Live a Lent that lends more light, more hope, more courage, more grace, more Christ. http://annvoskamp.com/2018/02/when-cancer-gunfire-grief-lent-the-unfairness-of-god-wreck-us-free-lent-devotional-calendar/
If you want to know who your children’s teachers are, you must simply look at who they are becoming like. https://www.circeinstitute.org/blog/who-actually-teaches-your-kids?ck_subscriber_id=20675779
We celebrate as we behold His Glory; becoming more awake, defending ourselves from evil, and preserving our youth. Yes, and Amen, and thank you Jesus!! Keeping is bigger and deeper than notebooks, watercolors, and fancy pens. I beckon you to see this. https://ladydusk.blogspot.com/2018/02/beholding-and-the-keeping-hour.html
Four Biblical Encouragements for Those Making a Home Away From Home https://www.jenoshman.com/jen-oshman-blog/2018/2/19/gods-goodness-to-those-who-live-far-way-from-home
I am thankful this has happened to me yet, but I can see how it happens and I see it happening. When we become cynical readers – when we read in the disjointed, goal-oriented way that online life encourages – we stop exercising our attention. We stop reading with a sense of faith that some larger purpose may be served. This doesn't mean we're reading less – not at all. In fact, we live in a text-gorged society in which the most fleeting thought is a thumb-dash away from posterity. What's at stake is not whether we read. It's how we read. And that's something we'll have to each judge for ourselves; it can't be tallied by Statistics Canada. For myself: I know I'm not reading less, but I also know I'm reading worse. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/i-have-forgotten-how-toread/article37921379/

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

The STAR DVD release!!


A couple months ago when The Star movie was released in the theatres, we went as a family with our church to go see it! We all enjoyed it, from the young to the old! The movie is super cute and keeps you entertained, with some humor, but most importantly they focus on the message of Jesus coming to be our Savior. I enjoyed seeing it from a different perspective that you would not think of. We look forward to watching it again, now that it will be released on DVD!! The DVD includes some behind the scenes extras and awesome bonuses, that include a dance, sing-along and children's Bible discussion! 
You can start your family-friendly weekly Bible study with DeVon Franklin today at their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheStarMovie/photos/a.1958428107734532.1073741828.1855936074650403/2111080512469290/?type=3&theater)

Here is a link to The Star web-site and purchase page: http://sites.sonypictures.com/thestar/discanddigital/?hs308=TSR084D


Statement release from SONY:


“Full of humor and heart” – Huffington Post

The Star is destined to become a classic!” – The Dove Foundation

Golden Globe® Nominated for Best Original Song by Mariah Carey & Marc Shaiman

THE STAR

The Tale of Faith and Friendship Includes Six Sing-Along Videos from Mariah Carey, Fifth Harmony, Kelsea Ballerini,
A Great Big World, and Kirk Franklin

Includes a Dance Along, “How-to” Crafts Video and Much More

Available on Digital February 6 and
On Blu-ray + DVD + Digital on February 20

THE STAR is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the “Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends,” a dance along to “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from
THE STAR.  Families can enjoy crafting and baking with “how-to” videos “Star Mason Jar Votives” and “Sweet and Sparkly Stars,” and they also can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life.  In “Faith All Year Round,”
renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers
a fun and engaging children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.

THE STAR is directed by Academy Award® nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart, screenplay by Carlos Kotkin, and story by Simon Moore and Carlos Kotkin. The film is executive produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson, and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook. The Star is presented by AFFIRM films and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, Franklin Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The uplifting theme song, “The Star” by Mariah Carey and veteran songwriter Marc Shaiman was also nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. “The Star” song is now available on The Star: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which assembles new music from a bevy of powerhouse superstars.
Bonus Materials Include:

·         Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth and the unforgettable camels
·         "Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along
·         Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists
o    “The Star” by Mariah Carey
o    “Can You See” by Fifth Harmony
o    “Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini
o    “We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin
o    “Life Is Good” by A Great Big World
·         Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round
·         Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft
·         Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day
·         An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

THE STAR has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG: for some thematic elements






#TheStarMovie & #FlyBy


 “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 opportunity for review.  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.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reminder no matter what...


No matter your past or sin, God is always there waiting to welcome us! Thank you Lara Williams for this reminder from God's Word and congrats on your Bible study Rooted~Going Deep Into God's Transforming Love, releasing today!!!

For more on this study of Ephesians, visit Lara's web-site: https://tooverflowing.com/rooted/ and see my previous post about this study at https://ajourney4life.blogspot.com/2018/02/be-rooted.html


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Stepping away can be hard to do... and some good books to read in quiet time!

Do you ever just feel like running away and hiding from the noise? This world has become loud, so full of opinions! AND my heart breaks for the violence that keeps on happening. However, evil is nothing new. I have been praying and pondering on all this for some time. I share similar thoughts to some of them that are out there. But opinions are opinions and unless we know Truth it doesn't matter. We the people have a choice to make and it starts with each one of us, turning away from wickedness, praying, seeking God, walking in faith, and teaching our children the path of true life. People matter, our families matter, our children matter, our most important job is raising our children to know Jesus and share the Good News.

Maybe instead of reading all the opinions, we read our Bible's, where there is so much truth and wisdom that is for such a time as this and for the days to come. Evil isn't going to go away here in this world, until Jesus returns we have work we should do for Him. This is the only way to change things. In Jesus own words in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 

After much contemplation and prayer, I put some boundaries in place with Facebook, only logging in a couple times a week, instead of daily. So I appologize if I miss any of my family/friends important posts and prayer needs. I am not ignoring you, you are loved! However, for me it has become a loud place and if I don't watch what I read and allow into my mind, my anxiety will start to rise. I have a past anxiety disorder and panic attacks, but thankfully Jesus changed that. So posts shared there will be limited. I will continue to share posts via Instagram and do some linkups through there. I have Chatbooks linked with my Instagram account, so the pictures I post are turned into photo albums (It is a time saver and a way to print memories, I encourage you to check out that time-saving app.)! I will still be blogging, so feel free to check in here or subscribe so you don't miss a post. I enjoy blogging, I find it somewhat therapeutic as I journey about faith and homeschooling, and of course books! I do like sharing about giveaways, those are always fun to do! Blogging has also been a way to practice on writing skills and a place to connect with people and encourage others.

Facebook has changed so much in the last couple years. When it first came out it was built with the intention to connect with family and friends, oh and share what we ate, right?! I also like to think of it as a place to encourage and share moments with family and friends that they miss out on especially when they live miles away. Have you noticed it too, or am I the only one seeing this?  In the last year I have started to slowly limit my posts. I don't want to be someone who over posts and causes more distractions or for someone to think I have it all together because I am just a mess like anyone else and so why I need Jesus. I have allowed myself at times to get sucked down some Facebook rabbit trail, a hole I never intended to go in. So I personally need to step away and limit time. I do think there is something about stepping away and being quiet. Not everything needs to be said or seen. There is definitely something in the unseen (Psalm 91)! Lent is the time for me to do this, a time for me to sit quietly and connect on a deeper level with God without all the distractions. The more I read, the more my brain absorbs (and I am talking all these little snippets, posts, comments...that are read as we scroll, not books) and intakes so much, my brain gets tired, so how do we have time to really contemplate on the important things? How do you become still? If I am going to absorb things into my mind, I want them to be good things, worthwhile things, things that are worth learning and being concerned about, and doing something about. Because here is the thing and yes I am restating this because I feel it is important, people matter, our families matter, our children matter, our most important job is raising our children to know Jesus (I speak not just of my own children, but to be concerned for all children and lives, be a godly influence to someone, after all we are all God's children.) AND share the Good News. It starts with each of us, pointing at ourselves, and asking God to open our hearts and minds (Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.).


Good books:
I share this from the book Unseen, which I am currently reading. Her book has reminded me of the importance of the unseen work I do, the mundane things, things not measured as success in this world "Great Kingdom impact comes not just from actions that make a dramatic and observable impact but from all the accumulated moments we spend looking at God, bringing Him glory in private, and letting Him shape our insides. About a glory we can't always measure. It is the work that happens beneath the surface, deep int he soil of our hearts, that in time produces a great harvest of fruit and growth."

This new updated version of Lies Women Believe is a must read for all women, and they have a new Lies Young Women Believe that recently was released. I highly recommend them both! Only thing I wish, is I had these resources years ago. As I have had to relearn some lies I believed and learn the truth, but the real Truth will set you free!  

Good reads around the web: 
Have you ever noticed how things that were meant to be blessings (overflow) from God quickly become idols? http://durendawilson.com/his-love-is-greater-still/ 
Grab onto His grace and obey, and you will find that the grace is overwhelmingly abundant. https://www.feminagirls.com/2011/04/06/grace-on-the-fly/ 
One reason we look for spiritual shortcuts is related to our modern age where shortcuts and rapid results abound. We can quickly relieve pain with medicine, find our way to restaurants with our smartphones, and get immediate answers to our questions online. These aren’t inherently bad things, but they tend to foster false expectations. If technology can relieve our illnesses and make our jobs easier, it surely can give rest to our souls, right? https://www.ligonier.org/blog/there-are-no-shortcuts-growth/ 
It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/?utm_source=twb

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