Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book review: Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, NKJV

A friend introduced us to the kids version of Jesus Calling a few months ago and we read it with the kids most days. I love how Sarah Young writes from the perspective of Jesus and it almost always relates to what we are facing that day. Because of this, I was so excited to see this book on Booksneeze.com to be reviewed. So far, I haven't been disappointed at all!

Jesus Calling Devotional Bible includes the entire Bible, in NKJV, plus 260 devotions from Ms. Young. I was a little skeptical of it being an ebook, but find I am enjoying being able to jump from scripture to scripture with the touch of my finger, highlight verses and make notes as I go (without having to hunt down a highlighter or pen), and have it all with me all the time. The personalized prayers and devotions are great, just like I expected. I also was pleased to see a topical index in the beginning and each devotion links up to others like it. This is great if you are wanting to learn more about a certain topic - just click on over to another post on it. It does not have any other study helps (maps, timeline, footnotes, etc) but if you know that going in, you will not be disappointed with this Bible. If you are like me, you have different Bibles for different needs. This is a great addition to that collection!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, December 23, 2011

1000 Gifts

No, that is not how many gifts we got our kids for Christmas. As a matter of fact, when we wrapped everything up last night, it all just about fits into one Cracker Barrel bag (except the stocking things). This Christmas, we have intentionally taken our family's focus off the material gifts and on Jesus.

We started Dec 1st going through a nightly devotional called the Jesse Tree with our family and I am happy to say that we are right on track to finish on Christmas. We missed a day here or there but caught up the next day and are on the 23rd today (even kept it up when my parents were here for a week!). That is big for us - we normally have good ideas but don't finish them. This has been a great look from creation to Jesus and nice to come together each night for this time.

A while back, there was a free app download called 1000 Gifts. I thought it looked cool so downloaded it but just glanced at it and forgot it. Earlier this month, our CC Mom's had a party and shared some of our favorite things. One sweet friend shared the book 1000 Gifts and it triggered the memory of the forgotten app. I came home and started looking at it again and fell in love with the idea of looking for God's gifts to us every day. I still haven't read the book but took the little bit I know about it and adapted it for our family. Today, I gave the kids and myself new journals. I didn't get one for Big Daddy, but he seemed interested when I told him about it so I hope he will pick one up for himself and joins us (*hint,hint*).

I challenged each of us to find 1000 gifts from God during the next year and write them in our journals every day. God gives us gifts every day but sometimes we don't even notice them. When people give you a gift at Christmas, do you accept it? Do you thank them? Do you leave it wrapped up and ignore it, stepping over it all day but never taking time to open it? I want the kids (and myself) to learn to see these gifts God gives us all day long and thank Him for those gifts. Terrific T came in this morning and was beaming because he had had such a great dream last night. I told him that dream was a gift from God and he wrote about it in his journal.

My goal is for each of us to look for God's gifts every single day, recognize they are from Him, and thank him for them. When the Lego set or Fur Real puppy they received as gifts are long forgotten, the gift of noticing God's gifts will still be there. To help achieve this....we have promised to give each of the kids $50 as a gift next Christmas if they have 1000 gifts in their journal from the year. Hey, I'm not above bribing them to get a habit like this started. I pray that next Christmas, they ask for not only their $50, but also a new journal to do this again next year.

If you think of us, please pray we stick with this. I'm excited for next Christmas. Who needs a bunch of gifts one day a year when you have already received 1000+ that year?!?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

my heart is treasuring today...

Princess P lost her third tooth yesterday, then she lost her first tooth. Confused? Read on...

Yesterday morning, P woke up with a dangling tooth and finally let me pull it. She carried it in a Ziploc all day (even to WalMart) so the Tooth Fairy wouldn't come get it before she could finish her note to her (thanking her for the money and asking her what her other name is). She was sure to remind me several times that her friend, Julia, got $6 and 6 candy corns when she lost her tooth. She talked about teeth all day long. Last night, Big Daddy and I were wrapping presents and she was at the table making a craft. She had set the tooth (out of the Ziploc) on the table...to keep her company? OK, I have no idea why she had the tooth there except that she could. In the process of cutting, gluing, asking us to slide 6 cotton balls under our bedroom door for her, etc, she LOST the above mentioned lost tooth. She was devastated, like only a 6 year old girl can be. To end the crying, the whole family jumped in to search. We tore apart the dining room and couldn't find it anywhere and we finally assumed that WonderMutt must have eaten it until.... (dun, dun, duuunnnn) we found $2, tightly rolled up behind a box of oranges. That silly TF must have snuck in, while she was crafting, and took the tooth and left her money. Phew, tears were ended and we were able to go to bed (and get a good night's sleep...not waking up to put on our wings). Captain C winked and said, "Nice job." He and Terrific T play along for Princess P sake about the TF and Santa but they know who pays up around here ;)

So, fast forward to this morning.

Princess P walks in my room, while I am still sleeping, and is carrying a handful of quarters and a note. She can't read cursive so asked me to read it to her. It said:

Hello Paige,
I watched the little "accident" last night and tried ever so hard to get your 
attention, but I'm too small. Maybe next time I can fatten up so you can see me 
with your mortal eyes. For now, give Caleb (such an awesome fellow) his money back (the $2 you found on the floor). I'll give you an extra dollar since it is Christmas time and for the "accident". Don't forget to give Caleb a scream-free day for his help. 
He is a very good assistant, as you know :) 
Well, gotta fly. 
See you next tooth!
Amanda (your tooth fairy ;) )

I think I teared up a little! C stayed up late last night making this up for his sister (we never did find the tooth!). He is going to be such a good Daddy! His loser parents took an easy out to stop the tears and he stepped up and made a little girl's day/week/month!

Pastor Randall preached on Sunday and I have been thinking about it all week. He talked about how Mary treasured all the sweet little things that Jesus did in her heart (Luke 2:19, and others). He said that THOSE things are what got her through the hard times, when things weren't as pretty and sweet (her son being beaten, crucified, etc). I had never thought about it like that but he is right that that is what we as parents need to do. Treasure all these "good" things in our hearts so when the kids are acting like little stinkers, we won't be as inclined to list them on ebay...for really cheap!

This one is going in the books to treasure for a long time. I know that Captain C is a great kid, but forget that sometimes when he is arguing about every.little.thing, or has rolled his eyes at me one too many times. Yes, this one is going in the books for sure and will buy him several more month ebay-free! I'm so thankful for him.