Monday, December 5, 2016

ScriptureDoodle

Experience the Word of God through creative expression with April Knight’s two new devotional experiences, ScriptureDoodle and ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises. 
More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle. ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art.

{MORE ABOUT SCRIPTUREDOODLE}

(David C. Cook, October 2016)
With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.
Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.
More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, ScriptureDoodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader’s imagination and helps integrate God’s Word into everyday life.

{MORE ABOUT SCRIPTUREDOODLE GOD’S PROMISES}

(David C. Cook, December 2016)

Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.
ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.
This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.
April Knight

{MORE ABOUT APRIL KNIGHT}


April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight’s work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.
Find out more about April at https://scripturedoodle.com.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Amelia Rhodes’ ‘Pray A to Z’ Guide to Prayer Prize Pack

Are you ready to change your community, one prayer at a time? Learn how to organize your prayer requests topically and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father with the help of Amelia Rhodes' new book, Pray A to Z. Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

Learn more about Pray A to Z and how to pray for your community, and enter to win Amelia's Guide to Prayer Prize Pack to get you started.

pray-a-to-z-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 20. The winner will be announced December 21 on Amelia's blog.

pray-a-to-z-enterbanner


{MORE ABOUT PRAY A TO Z}


(Worthy, November 2016)
Change the world one prayer at a time.
How would our community change if instead of absently saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually did pray–deeply, intensely, and purposefully?
Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.
With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter–three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God’s presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong–on His strong shoulders.
Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

Amelia Rhodes{MORE ABOUT AMELIA RHODES}


Amelia Rhodes is a speaker and author of Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break: Doing Life Together in an All-About-Me Kind of World. Amelia’s writing has also been featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, devotionals for the OneHope blog Undeterred and the international devotional “Upper Room.” Amelia has a growing speaking ministry and speaks regularly to women’s groups on topics of spiritual growth, friendship, and community, offering practical tools for living our faith in the everyday. She lives in Lowell, Michigan.
Find out more about Amelia at www.ameliarhodes.com.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tanika Fitzgerald’s ‘Miscarried Joy’

Are you in a season of waiting—waiting for an answer from God, waiting for a change? Be encouraged by Tanika Fitzgerald's new book, Miscarried Joy. Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God’s delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

Conquer discouragement with the help of Miscarried Joy and enter to win Tanika's Hope Fulfilled Prize Pack.

miscarried-joy-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 18. The winner will be announced December 19 on the Miscarried Joy blog.

miscarried-joy-enterbanner


{MORE ABOUT MISCARRIED JOY}


(Nyreepress Publishing, October 2016)
Faith over fear. Patience over frustration. Pain with a purpose.
In Miscarried Joy, Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. However, her journey through the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth and Naomi, revealed quite the opposite—God had allowed her pain for a much greater purpose. Each of these women had something in common: they learned to surrender their will and trust God’s plan beyond the pain. They were pushed to a posture of prayer that led them from questioning God to have total confidence in Him. Tanika discovered that this season of waiting didn’t show up simply to challenge her, but to change her.
With biblical depth, heart-filled transparency and a voice of passion, you will:
—Understand God’s heart in the midst of incredible pain
—Discover the importance of trusting God’s plan over your own
—Arm yourself with the strength to let go of bitterness and comparison to appreciate the beauty of your story
—Learn and implement spiritual principles and strategies to walk boldly in faith
—Embrace God’s delay and birth contentment in your season of waiting
What have you miscarried? What purpose have you had difficulty conceiving? Is it a calling you fear stepping into? A vision that has not yet come to pass? Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God’s delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

Tanika Fitzgerald

{MORE ABOUT TANIKA FITZGERALD}


Tanika Fitzgerald is a lover of Christ, a wife to her husband, Maurice, a loving daughter and sister. She is passionate about equipping women to grow spiritually, live balanced lives and helping them to be ARMED for victory in every area of life. Tanika has been called to minister to others through her passion and gift of writing to inspire women all over the globe. She is also the visionary behind “ARMED Magazine”—a publication created to “Spiritually Equip for you Victory in Battle.” Her inspirational writing has been featured in numerous publications including “Hope for Women Magazine,” “Black and Married with Kids,” and more. Tanika has also interviewed powerful voices in the Christian community, including Lady Serita Jakes, Sheryl Brady, Charles Jenkins, Earnest Pugh, and more! Tanika is a woman who is passionate about her relationship with Jesus Christ, family, giving to others, laughter, having fun, and enjoying every moment that life brings!
Find out more about Tanika at http://www.tanikafitzgerald.com/.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith

Part 1 of an interview with Champ Thornton,
Author of The Radical Book for Kids:
Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith


What images does the term “radical faith” conjure? The Latin origin of the word “radical” literally means “roots.” Today the word also means extreme or revolutionary — even excellent or cool. With The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith (New Growth Press), author Champ Thornton takes children deep into the ancient roots and origins of the Christian faith in both exciting and innovative ways.

Brilliantly illustrated and extremely kid-friendly, The Radical Book for Kids is an explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history and life, mixing practical and theological elements with fun activities such as a 3,000-year-old board game and a tutorial on how to make a (kid-safe) David-style slingshot. The hands-on approach will help kids grasp the Bible’s relevance for daily life and leave them with a curiosity driving them to learn more.


Q: Your new book is The Radical Book for Kids. What makes the book radical?

In this book, I introduce young readers to the stories of men and women who have lived out their faith in Jesus in radical ways. God sustained them to trust him despite great opposition and difficulty. The book also focuses on the radical roots of our faith. (The word “radical” comes from the Latin word “radix,” which literally means “roots.”) So in many ways it is a “root” book, leading young minds on a tour of the roots of their faith — a tour of the Bible, what it teaches, how to read it and why we should believe it and tell others about it. The Radical Book for Kids also includes radical fun with a 3,000-year-old game, a secret code, hands-on activities, fun facts and more. It’s radical strength, depth and fun.

Q: How did your children provide inspiration for writing this book?

My wife and I have three children, all currently under the age of twelve. So this age group is on my mind and in my heart regularly. I want them to grow up to know God, trust him, love him and serve him with all of their lives. This book is an attempt to point my kids and others toward that goal. In the background of this desire is that in 2003 I was diagnosed with a blood clot and a genetic blood disorder. When you’re 29 years old, you think you’re fairly invincible, but God brought into my life a daily reminder of my mortality. I’ve not had another scare like that since, but God has used this diagnosis to raise my awareness of the importance of passing along to the next generation the good news of Christ and the truths of His Word.

Q: The Radical Book for Kids is described as a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history and life. What are some of the specific topics kids will be able to explore?

In The Radical Book for Kids, readers of all ages will be able to explore topics such as:
  • The Bible in one sentence
  • How to read the Gospels
  • The names of God
  • How we know the Bible’s true
  • The secret to growing up
  • How to deal with parents who aren’t perfect
  • How to make good decisions

In addition to these topics, there are also fun-focused and practical application chapters too.

Q: You say you want to whet kids’ appetites for God and the Bible by giving them samples of various aspects of the faith. What are some of the samples offered in the book?

The Radical Book for Kids opens doorways to rooms to be explored later. It cracks doors and provides glimpses into the lives of faithful men and women through church history, such as Augustine, Martin Luther, Amy Carmichael and Sarah Edwards. Sometimes the focus is on someone famous, such as John Bunyan, or in contrast someone nearly forgotten, such as Hannah Faust.

Other open doors included are theological topics: the gospel, union with Christ, the mission of God, and the names of God. Daily Christian living is also explored: how to pray, how to grow as a Christian, a theology of work, how to deal with heart idolatry, what to do when you’re angry, what to do when you’re afraid and what to do when bad things happen. Then there are just practical matters of biblical wisdom, such as how to make good decisions and how not to apologize.

Q: What are some of the fun, hands-on activities included in The Radical Book for Kids?

Kids will find instructions and opportunities to do some fun stuff. Activities include how to make your own pottery, how to make a (safe) sling shot like King David’s, how to make a functioning sundial, how to make a miniature catapult and how to set up and play a game that’s as old as Abraham. In addition to hands-on activities like these, there are other fun elements: making a secret code, learning elephant jokes and trying to answer Bible trivia questions that are scattered all throughout the book.

Q: You also provide sections with practical advice, such as “How to Clean Your Room” and “What to do When You’re Angry.” How do those chapters fit in with the idea of the book as a whole?

In this book I aim not only to deepen the faith of young readers, rooting them in the Bible and its truths, but also to strengthen their daily life of faith in Christ. I hope to strengthen daily faith by introducing radical role models — the lives of men and women from church history. But this daily faith dimension also has practical, real-life aspects for kids. They have to learn to deal with heart issues, such as anger, forgiveness, guilt, fear, and disappointments. Kids also need to mature in more mundane matters such as being a good friend, avoiding harmful friends, making wise decisions and keeping your life (or room) organized.


Q: What is your hope for the children and families who read this book?

On one level, I hope those who read this book — whether children and teens or their parents and grandparents — would come to love, trust and follow the Lord Jesus Christ more. It’s my prayer this book will be used by God to grow deep roots of faith in all who read it.

In addition to this, it’s my hope that the middle schoolers and young teens who read about the spiritual disciplines, the names of God, biblical wisdom, union with Christ or men and women who gave their lives for the Lord will one day come back for more as they later decide to explore more deeply and widely the riches of God’s truth. In other words, I want to scatter a packet of assorted seeds across the minds and hearts and imaginations of the next generation, which in God’s time and by His Spirit will take root, sprout and bear much fruit. If this book makes children and teens (and adults) more curious and thirsty to know God and the good news of His Word, then it will have done its job.


Champ Thornton invites you to connect with him at www.champthornton.com, on Facebook (Champ.Thornton.7) and via Twitter (champthornton).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Letitia Suk invites readers to take a “Getaway with God”


How a simple day away can recharge

your soul and transform your life


Our spiritual lives can often resemble our cell phones at the end of the day. The battery is run down and in need of a charge. Sometimes we are down to 2% before we even realize it. It’s important we reconnect to our power source. Even a single day set aside to recharge fully with God can do wonders for the soul. In Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat (Kregel Publications/ November 27, 2016/ISBN 978-0825444159/$14.99), Letitia Suk offers women a step-by-step, no-excuses guide to getting back in sync with God.

Many women are desperate for more time with God, but with the demands of modern life, simply getting up earlier in the day to fit in a longer devotion is no longer a viable — or fulfilling — option. Every now and then, concentrated time alone with the Father is just what the soul needs to reconnect with Him and refresh for the journey ahead. Getaway with God provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman to plan time away — whether a work day, a weekend, or even a full week — on any budget.

“Time after time, year after year, I come away filled with a renewed sense of purpose, clarity of vision, trust in God’s ability to untie all the knots of my life and an overwhelming sense of being loved after my getaways,” Suk shares. “Many of us are familiar with the relationship boost a getaway with our spouse or family can provide, and a getaway with God has the same results for our souls.”

While the idea of pulling away for a night or two might sound enticing, the practicalities of such a venture are enough to stop most women before they even begin. Suk addresses many of the common questions that arise, such as: 

    Getaway with God Letitia Suk
  • Where should I go?
  • How long should I stay?
  • Will it cost a lot of money?
  • Should I fast?
  • What would I do? Pray the whole time?
  • Do I need a structured plan?


With a warm and inviting voice, Suk walks readers through exploring the type of retreat they need most (restorative, listening or goal-setting) and then provides all the details needed to plan and implement it, including templates offering ideas of what to do each hour.

The second half of Getaway with God focuses on designing a five-day life-review retreat, including guided questions and ways to bring the retreat home. The longer retreats are a way to reflect on the past, present and future, especially after significant life transitions such finishing school, job changes or children leaving home for college. The practical appendices provide optional retreat exercises, tips on how to change your picture of prayer and how to find retreat centers nationwide, as well as a checklist for what to bring.

Suk’s soothing and mentoring style will assure readers that sometimes the best thing they can do is retreat, and no matter their season of life, the time for retreat is now.


Advance Praise

“As women, we can get so caught up in taking care of others and in our to-do lists that we lose track of nurturing the most important relationship of all — the one with God. This book is a gentle, beautiful invitation to say yes to the Lord’s invitation to come with him to a quiet place. Letitia provides step-by-step instructions to those who desire them, but also encourages women to find their own retreat path. She shares her own journey with humility and grace. It’s a book any woman at any stage of life or spirituality will learn from and savor.”
~ Melanie Rigney, author of Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith

Getaway with God taps our deep longing for space of our own. In a world with lots of noise and little quiet, the personal retreat becomes a countercultural — and life-giving — choice. Let Letitia Suk walk you through your doubts, fears, questions, and reticence.”
~ Jane Rubietta, international speaker, author of 19 books, including Worry Less So You Can Live More


About the author

Letitia Suk is an author and life coach who is passionate about helping women create a purposeful life and experience the fullness God offers. She writes about intentionality in the day-to-day — family life, spirituality, holidays and friendships.

Suk received her Personal Life Coach certification from the Coach Training Alliance in 2003. She has served as a hospital chaplain for nearly a decade and is a sought-after speaker for women’s events and retreats. Suk has had more than 100 articles appear in various print publications and is the author of Rhythms of Renewal and Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat.

Suk lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Tom. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.



Learn more about Getaway with God and Letitia Suk at www.letitiasuk.com, on Facebook (Letitia.Suk.Author) and via Twitter (@LetitiaSuk).

Monday, November 28, 2016

The teaser about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

I wasn't a watcher of Gilmore Girls when it first aired, but I heard so much about it, a couple of years ago I started watching it on Netflix. Since then, I've watched it through four or five times. I'm not even sure anymore.

Like many others, I was excited to hear of the revival. I tried to not read spoilers as everyone started watching on Friday while I was on my way home. My normally busy life picked back up as soon as I got home, so I started the first episode on Saturday and finished about midnight Sunday while assembling my Christmas tree.

I WILL, at some point as soon as I have time (at this rate March), share my thoughts on the whole thing. I have lots of thoughts to share. I know you can't wait!

 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Lord's Army


Lord’s Army

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army! 
Yes, sir!

I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!
I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army! 

Yes, sir!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas in a box

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but this is the last of my vacation recaps. It wasn't just real exciting.

This is the tree at a hotel in Springdale, Arkansas my mom is kind of obsessed with. She had taken a picture of it a couple of years prior when she stayed at the same place.


Monday night, we went through Shepherd of the Hills to see their light display. They have lots of animatronics set in plastic boxes. It's really rather odd, and some of them are really old.



This is from the farm animal section.



There was even a frog section with really loud croaking noises.


An island themed section with a waterfall and volcano. 




And a trip up the observation tower. It was freezing up there. It reminded me of being on the winter youth retreat with no heaters.


On our shopping day, I did want a picture with the polar bear.


I made mom sit in Santa's lap.


The tree at the Sight and Sound Theater where we saw Moses. That was neat. I had never been before though I was begged to go see Noah and/or Jonah.


Branson Landing's big tree.


We ate breakfast here twice. It was really good. It's one of those Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives places.


We also went to Pasghetti's. Yes, it's how a kid says spaghetti.


Someone's car at Lamberts, home of the throwed roll. The rolls were the best part of eating there. I was disappointed after all the hype surrounding wanting to go there.


Friday, November 25, 2016

This is what fall is supposed to feel like

My posts of my time away aren't in chronological order. (Of course, I'm also days behind on posting and back posting dates because my time of relaxing is over! I rested up while I was gone, but I've been running in circles again since I got back.)

On Monday and Tuesday we shopped. On Wednesday afternoon we went to Silver Dollar City with the plans of going back on Thanksgiving afternoon when it opened back. The two day passes were just a little bit more. 


The park was so packed that we only got into one of the shows, and the line to one of the rides I wanted to go on was super long. No one would ride one of the other rides I wanted to go on, and I don't go on the big rides. 

However, we did get a taste of what I believe is holiday weather. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" just doesn't resonate when it's 75 degrees outside and people are wearing shorts and flip flops. 

Because it was packed as it was on Wednesday, walking the hills and fighting the crowds just didn't seem worth it on Thursday. I admit, I was kind of disappointed because Mom and Dad had been talking about two days at Silver Dollar City for weeks.

Oh well! So it goes.

Here is my obligatory picture of a squirrel. I have to have one every vacation. Yes, I take a picture of a squirrel, as common as they are around here. They must be a rarity to the others who saw him. Everyone else was in awe... of a squirrel. I hear them running across my roof daily.


The pictures don't do justice to the icicle lights on the trees. We stayed in one place waiting for the tree lighting and parade to follow, so I got a lot of pictures of the same trees.














Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Thanksgiving Goose


This year for Thanksgiving, we fled north. Opposite migration you might say. 

It was the only the second time in the memory of my entire life that I didn't have Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Normally, I spend most of Wednesday cooking.

There were most definitely positives of being gone for the week. It didn't really feel like Thanksgiving though. 

It's never my first choice to spend any time in Branson. As a side note to anything of relevance, the town has taken a swing down except when it comes to shopping. I'm not sure if the tornado of a couple of years ago wiped everything out or everyone took to the same opinion of the town that I've had. So many things were closed. Churches have taken over a number of theaters. Some of the hotels torn down needed to be torn down anyway.

So, back to Branson. On the way to some show one weekend, Mom mentioned how Stillwaters had been sending condo deals via email. Mom and Dad are always game to go to Branson. I have not had a week off in three years, but did have vacation time this year I thought had to be taken by the end of the year (I realized it didn't the first day of my vacation, but that's another story). Plus there was the added convenience of fleeing town to avoid family gatherings for certain reasons. 

It was so nice to get away. It was so nice to get out of the house. It was so nice to have downtime. It was so nice to not paint, "Be the one everyone wants to watch but no one wants to play against," on a softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer ball or baseball. 

Instead of cooking, we wandered out to the lake and observed the resident geese.





I did spend some time on the laptop sorting through some email and at one point came close to asking when we were going to head into town because goodness knows there was going to be a line to get into Cracker Barrel to eat. 

We eventually headed into town to get in line. There was a line. An hour and a half wait. 

That's where things got a little ugly. I'll skip that part of the story. 

After going back out to the condo, Mom and I went back out to shop around 4:00 while Dad watched the Cowboy game. We passed by Silver Dollar City and decided not to go back out there later because the lines of cars going into the park were insane.

We made it to Belk about 30 minutes after they opened and whole areas were wiped out from sales. We had been there a couple of days before and those sections had been full. 

We went by places such as Target before they opened. While not a long line, there was a line. 

One of the things I missed most was the "pink salad" aka Queen Salad. I'll have to share that recipe sometime. Part of the deal of me agreeing to go to Branson was that we would be cooking the Thanksgiving feast for Christmas. I want my own dressing at some point. There will be pink salad. Peyton will agree with me.