Monday, November 28, 2016

Tennessee Christmas CD by Amy Grant ~ review with give-away!

A couple days ago I received in the mail a CD to review and share with y'all!! I love the title, Tennessee Christmas, because it is perfect, since we live in Tennessee! This will be our 2nd year celebrating Christmas in Tennessee. The children and I listened to this on our drives into town the last couple days. Her music reminds me of times at my grandma's house for Christmas and some of the records she played (yes, records!). Lots of great traditional Christmas songs on this CD! Some of my favorites are Baby, It's Cold Outside and O'Come, All Ye Faithful. The song Christmas For You and Me, could be a song I write (if I did write songs) "It's five in the morning the kids are awake, It's Christmas for heaven's sake, Pour a cup of coffee and we'll light up the tree, It's Christmas for everybody..."
The song on the CD~Tennessee Christmas was first recorded by Amy Grant in 1983 when she was 22 years old at the time and 33 years later she is still singing this song!

So for some fun....They are asking for fans to upload any videos they may have of them surprising loved ones for the holidays to social media. So readers post these to socials using the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise! They’ll be making a compilation video and posting it to Amy Grant’s socials – this specific video has not been announced yet though.



Those chosen will be part of a compilation video that Amy Grant herself will share on her large social media outlets!!!

I also have a give-away of one CD for one reader. So do the usual if you want in, like the comment or share a comment about your favorite Christmas song on any of my social medial posting or right here on the blog. The last day to enter is Friday, December 2, 2016. Continental U.S. residence only please.

  
Social – corner 



“To Be Together” Audio on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUpIwK5Bxn8 


Official Hashtags:  #TennesseeChristmas and #flyby @flybypromotions)






“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.



Friday, November 25, 2016

Preparing, counting blessings, weekly encouragement and snapshots!


http://kriscamealy.com/come-lord-jesus-weight-waiting/
Yesterday as you know was Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for this past year. It was wonderful having the husband home to celebrate Thanksgiving (which is rarity due to his job) and having our neighbor over for a delicious Thanksgiving meal! I sometimes miss spending time with all of my family, but through the distance and the years, I have come to be thankful for our new traditions, the friends and neighbors we have met during the last 13 years of living afar from our family.

As I was pondering on what Thanksgiving meant to me, I am so grateful for this month of November to remind me the importance of counting my blessings and to be thankful in all things. The kids finished their 12 day count-down to Thanksgiving and I finished 24 days of counting my blessings by posting a picture on Instagram each day and journaling. I am finding that it is the simple everyday ordinary things that are of most importance in our daily living. Yes, I am thankful for the big things, but I want to live moment by moment, not rushing, noticing God in the little things, finding everyday beauty in the ordinary mundane, learning lessons and growing in faith! Most important, none of those things would be possible if it wasn't for the sacrifice Jesus made for me (and you), to provide me the grace I need, which is usually daily!
Now we are just a couple days away from the start of Advent season and it seems Christmas is already in full swing by looking at my calendar and the things to be done. So now I am ready to focus on quiet and awaiting on the Lord Jesus. I want to remember not to rush through this season and get caught up in the things that distract me from what is important. I need to have my heart right and my focus right. I desire to be still, not frantic, to be at peace, not stressed. So today, we prepare our Christmas books, finish up cards, and prepare our Jesse Tree. Today I will set boundaries and remove things that distract me. What that all entails yet, I do not know, but I know with the Lord leading all will be good. If I end up stumbling, I know HE will pick me up. So thankful for this time of wonder and this season of giving and preparing the way for the Lord to shine through it all. O' Come Let Us Adore Him!

Weekly encouragement:
Dear friends…I know it’s loud out there. I know there is differing opinion and things look confusing. But none of this matters as much as this: at this moment, does Jesus have you? Does He have me? http://lisawhittle.com/if-jesus-just-has-you-an-open-letter-to-the-remnant/
Thank God, trusting pilgrims that we are http://www.creativeandfree.com/pilgrims-poetry-and-gods-goodness/ 
This is awesome, do good… http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/random-acts-of-christmas-kindness-advent-calendar/ 
Advent isn’t a spiritual, alternative name for ‘Christmas’; it is its own season, a season of preparation for Christmas. Advent is when the anticipated joy of Christ’s first arrival puts us touch with our anticipated joy at His return.  Advent is a joy that helps us hope. http://sallyclarkson.com/blog/2016/11/20/our-longings-fulfilled-a-new-podcast 
When our chaos reigns, Christ does not and we lose sight of what we are living for, the coming of Holy again. And dear hearts, Holy is coming again. http://kriscamealy.com/days-of-distraction/
Weekly snapshots:
The cold front moved in, along with some much needed rain. Great night for cuddling under blankets and movies!
Thankful for this Bible given to me 14 years ago, life changing!
These two are entering a contest at CN Railroad about what Christmas means to them. Thankful for my husbands job and company he works for!
Chilly frosting morning, thankful for heat!
How cool, Usborne-Shine-A-Light books in the children's meals at Chic-fil-A!
Put our tree up Tuesday, thankful for the hand me down tree, many home-made ornaments and ornaments received as gifts! Lots of memories in this Christmas tree!
Caught this girl late night reading! Book-worm!
Paining snowflakes with my littles, fun and messy!
Finished Thanksgiving count-down and our Thanksgiving tree!
My hubby home on Thanksgiving, he has my heart and soon the Christmas lights will all be up! Falalalala!!
Pie time! Pumpkin pie and pecan pie!
Oh Christmas lights, how you make me happy!
This seasons Christmas books and couple DVDs for our family!
My personal reading for Advent.
Made a few more prayer beads and prayer strands. It is a blessing to make these and pray over them to those that receive them, for more info go to this link here:  http://ajourney4life.blogspot.com/p/prayer-beads.html

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!




Thanksgiving is a moment to express profound, deep, sincere and genuine gratitude to the providence of God for a year’s worth of tender mercies that we have received from the hand of His benevolence. From His care, from His comfort, from His guidance, from His government of our lives, we are to take time to be grateful. —R.C. Sproul

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends both far and near!! May your holidays be blessed, full of love, and joy!! Think of all the wonderful things you have to be thankful for and count your blessings!! Peace & love from our family!! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

All The Pretty Things ~ book review


"We all have wounds, we can either open them up to the light of day so they can heal or we can keep them buried, where they will fester and one day wreak havoc on us." quote by Edie Wadsworth from the book All The Pretty Things. What a blessing to review this book for Tyndale House Publishers! I have been reading Edie's blog for the past few years http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/

This is her story, a story about how God redeems! She grew up living very poor in the Appalachia Mountains. She had a very complicated relationship with her alcoholic father. She was sexual abused by a family member at a young age. Thankful her story doesn't end there, and if you have a similar story or are going through a hard time, know that your story never has to end there. We have a heavenly Father who loves us, cares for us, and redeems us from all that is bad!

School was her lifeline, a place of safety, dependable place to belong and wonder to escape the disappointment, sirens, and alcohol. Church eventually became her home away from home, a much needed safe place, even though she struggled in her faith for many years. After sharing her story for the first time as a teenager she began to realize that the painful parts of our lives are often the very things that God will use as gifts to bless and change us and the people we meet.

It would still be a struggle and years before she understand true forgiveness and how God blesses us. She suffered through a broken marriage and later on a house fire that destroyed everything.
"Maybe it wrings us out and wears us down until we finally see the point of it all-that we have been snatched out of the fire of our brokenness in order to serve and love and bless the dear ones God has placed right in front of our eyes, the ones who need our very meager gifts and offerings the most-the featherless, the misfits, the prostitutes, the jailbirds, and all those whose despair has rendered them hopeless." That is the message from this book, how God turns ashes into beauty! That is my mentor's motto and I always replay that in my head when going through a hard time.

This book kept me up for three nights, I started reading it and had a hard time putting it down. The way she shares her story is heartbreaking, but in the end you see the beauty through it all. I am thankful she was brave enough to share her story, as we all should be. Oh how God can use them! So jump scared...as Edie said in her book!




To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, please mention as part of every Web or Amazon review that Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book.
 



Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekly encouragement and snapshots of our week!


I am blessed and exhausted that's all....I have much I could say but some quiet is good. Not everything needs to be said or shared. I am taking some time to be still, which is not easy. I think the next few weeks is a good time to do that. I am ready to start the advent study I am participating in with a few ladies, taking in the lights, sounds, and smells of Christmas and waiting upon Jesus! HE is good and I pray this season you will come to know HIM. Love and blessings! 💓💕💗

Ally shares from her study time from Come Lord Jesus..Preparing our hearts takes time. It involves digging deep and being honest with ourselves. It means taking a good look in the mirror, actually facing that thing God’s convicted us of, removing all the entertaining distractions that take our time and focus. We need humility to enter in to the places where we’re weakest, into the broken spots of our souls. Heart preparation will definitely require repentance. http://kriscamealy.com/preparing-the-way/


Encouraging Posts of the Week:

Hope will only and can only be found in Jesus Christ. He is the only person we can put our faith in. He is the only one we can cling to when we are lost. https://www.dailydwelling.com/we-have-hope/
We do our students a disservice when we concern ourselves so much with the tangible, the “practical,” and the measurable that we neglect to attend to their souls. https://classicalacademicpress.com/education-and-feeding-the-soul/
We are unsure how to live in kairos time — that big-picture awareness of eternity where time stands still. Outside of kairos, we miss the wonder of God, who is still here, still working, still setting things to rights. http://jenniferdukeslee.com/spiritual-practice-tucking-away/
Waiting isn’t meant to be a grueling process. What if we view it as a pause or an interlude, a place we can experience the peace of God while He works in us so He can work through us? He is actively working while we wait — a promise that never disappoints in the end. http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/fast-pass-please/
This made me laugh…because I often get the same response from my kids when asked….“What did you do today?” “Nothing.” I did nothing. We all did nothing. http://simplehomeschool.net/satisfying-homeschool-day/
Yes to this…. http://www.handsfreemama.com/2016/11/15/an-empowering-way-to-respond-to-hurtful-people/


Snapshots of the Week:
Learning about Veteran's Day

Thankful to witness a beautiful wedding with my husband. A beautiful reminder of our wedding day and journey!
Foggy morning sunrise
Beautiful afternoon for a long walk with these two! Thankful for November autumn days!
Collecting items from nature for a project.

Our leaf collection.
Leaf turkeys!
Thanksgiving count-down!
Thankful for the beautiful fall colors and tall trees, with sunlight shining through. Reminder of the Light that overcame!
Learning royalty words in Latin and having fun drawing them!

Woke up one morning to rainy weather and tired. God reminded me how awesome He is! The changing in the color of the leaves, the pinks and blues in the sky, and sunlight peaking through the clouds.
Someone got a new bed! We love this dog, even though he has anxiety and now recently diagnosed with allergies. Bless him!
Thankful for our homeschool co-op and our guest speakers, firemen. Learning about fire safety!
I have been working on an order! Being creative is soul-filling!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekly encouragement with school break and family visit!

My HOPE!
What a refreshing week! We took a much needed school break this week, this mama didn't realize how worn I had become. It wasn't planned, but when my mother-in-law said they be coming down, I new this would be perfect time to take a break from our regular school work. Really it was the perfect week to take a break with the time change and the late night election coverage, we had a few late nights and early mornings! So this week, we enjoyed family time and visited some antique shops. I am happy to report we also found some great deals too!! The children still attended their sport lessons and yesterday we had homeschool co-op! So in reality we still did complete some school time! Today, I plan to finish up planning the reminder of the 2016 school year.

I am glad I took back up the habit of counting blessings, it really does help me to focus on the goodness of God. So I would encourage you, if you are going through a hard time, struggling with the way things in the world seem to be going, instead focus on the blessings God gives you and His truths! It gives me so much peace, I would otherwise not have.  Psalm 118:21 I shall give thanks to YOU, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation. Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses ALL comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I also just finished reading a book, that is full of helpful encouragement of God's Word and His truths, you may read about it here: http://ajourney4life.blogspot.com/2016/11/guarded-by-christreview.html

Guarded By Christ
Weekly Encouraging Reads: 
According to the math, we are doing really good! So….. How much time is spent actually learning?   https://monkeymum29.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/time-is-precious/ 
I have a heart for mentoring and encouraging others, this is good and needed more.. We need to be willing and visible and humble enough to walk with young women in our local churches as they are growing and seeking spiritual guidance. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the spiritual mentors I had in my early 20’s and on through my life. http://sarahmae.com/2016/11/women-lets-get-to-it-on-mentoring-in-the-church/ 
What are we doing today that will matter in 100 years? http://womenlivingwell.org/2016/11/100-years-now/ 
In my relationship with God, information is not the goal. The goal is those moments in my day by which I recognize the very Presence of God Himself. The goal is what He Himself reveals to me; the insight I gain from Him and from His Word. http://www.joanneviola.com/2016/11/those-sacred-moments/ 
Receiving refreshment comes through giving. And sometimes, it’s in the simplest of ways http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/tired-of-doing-good/
You’re invited to an Advent book club. A sacred, communal journey starting Nov. 27. Each Sunday, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 18, gather around art, poetry, and beauty inspired by Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy at http://www.creativeandfree.com/come-lord-jesus-book-club/

Weekly Snapshots:


Friday Art Lesson Day: Looked at paintings about water and how artists use different colors and techniques. The kids then created their own picture showing water. We also learned in our Art and Bible lesson about Abraham.

I am thankful for these girls and the fresh eggs they supply our family.
This is one of our favorite things to do this time of year, Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes!

Thankful for Friday night movie nights, popcorn, hot chocolate and Christmas movies!! Falalala let the Christmas season begin!
Wow the pink in the sky was absolutely beautiful! What a reminder of our awesome God and HIS creation!
Thankful for Sundays and that we are able to worship at church!
Thankful for Happy Hour!
Grandpa Dick and Grandma Jo arrived, first things kids want to do is read to Grandpa! Retired teacher life!
Thankful for wide open spaces, where my family can play freely and for a little much needed rain!
Antiquing with the in-laws AKA grandparents!
Sweet pic of my in-laws!
Thankful for this big mug full of coffee on late nights, early mornings!