{Giveaway} All Things Bright and Beautiful

“All things bright and beautiful,  All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.” ~Cecil Frances Alexander

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Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and Ideals Childrens Books, I am hosting another giveaway.  One of my readers will win this adorable and beautifully illustrated book, “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”

About the book:  First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:  Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

The books is great for kids ages, 4-7 and retails for $15.99.  You can purchase the book here.

GIVEAWAY – For a chance to win a copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful, leave a comment about something that you find bright and beautiful.  For extra entries, tweet about this giveaway or share about it on Facebook, and let me know in the comments section.  Giveaway ends on Monday, August 1, 2016 at 11pm PST. (Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.)

“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.”

 

My Women’s Retreat Testimony – What God has been doing in my life and how I have been responding…

Earlier this year in January, I was asked to share a brief 5-minute testimony at our church women’s retreat.  I’m finally getting around to posting about it and it only took me six months!  In the months following the retreat, we find ourselves still waiting and trusting in God’s timing (it’s been challenging!), but we continue to lean on Him with hope and praise.

This was my introduction, before I went up to speak – I live in San Lorenzo with my husband Jason and am a stay-at-home mom to our kids Micah (8) and Rebekah (4).  We’ve been attending Creekside [Community Church] for almost 5 years.  I am a coffee and milk tea addict, [who] loves discovering new places to eat and fun things to do with my family, and am passionate about missions and service.

And here’s what I shared with the group – “So a little background about myself.  Before coming to Creekside, my husband and I attended a church in San Francisco, where we were active members since we were Junior Highers, so for about 20-25 years.  Coming from a church where you know almost everyone and all the ins and outs of what’s going on, to a church where you only know maybe only 1-2 families…well, that was a BIG change.  We stayed pretty low key at Creekside for awhile.  It took us about two years to even sign up for name tags and for some reason, it was a big step and a big deal for us!  Since then, we’ve been serving in little ways that we can and have been blessed to be a part of Tim and Jenny Sloat’s community group for the past couple of years.

Tonight, I’ll be sharing about what God has been doing in my life more recently and how I have been responding.

September 14, 2015 is a day that I will not forget for a long time.  The morning started out fine.  Jason went to work like normal, and we were expecting to hear from our real estate broker about signing new loan documents for our house.  Which was a huge relief!…because back in April, we found out that 1of our 2 loans was not a 30 year fixed loan like we thought it was, but actually a 10 year loan that was due on October 1st.  We had to either come up with ~$48K to pay back that loan or try to refinance, which we had NO luck in doing before.  But after a lot of research, days and nights of worrying and stress, lots and lots of prayer and a referral from a friend that led us to our broker…God provided a way out for us.  We were days away from signing our new papers.

Then that Monday afternoon comes around and I get a call from Jason.  He tells me that he got laid off from his job, a company that he had been with for almost 10 years.  This couldn’t have happened at a better time, right?  We already had accumulated all this debt, the Oct.1st deadline was coming up, we had very very little savings…what else can go wrong?  I’ll come back to this in a bit.

That night, some of the ladies from our small group met up for prayer time and I got to share with Jenny and Ashley about Jason’s job and some things that had been on my heart regarding our community group…things that I had been praying personally to God.  I wanted to experience more with the group…to grow closer and nurture authentic friendships, be transparent, really live life together, celebrate the joys like new babies and birthdays, and especially supporting each other during the bad times and struggles.  Jenny summed up it best when she said in an email, “we’re all looking to go deeper, to connect more, to risk more, and to support and love more deeply.”

Back to our refinance issue.  I’m jumping back and forth, because it all ties in together.  Praise God that Jason’s former employees agreed to keep him on the payroll until the end of September, which meant that Jason was technically still employed and we were able to sign the new loan documents that week.  It was a such a heavy burden that was lifted.

But, as God was showing me…when you ask Him for something, you have to prepare yourself for when He answers in other ways…

After sharing about my hopes for our community group with Jenny and Ashley and 5 days after Jason’s layoff…my mom gets into a really bad accident that left her with a subdural hematoma (which is some bleeding outside of the brain), a slightly collapsed lung, a fracture collarbone and fractured ribs.  My then 69 year old mom had fallen off the ladder in their backyard and I know that God watching out for her, because she was not knocked unconscious.  Somehow, she was able to crawl closer to the back door and started screaming for my Dad, who could not hear her screams, because he is hard of hearing.  Thankfully, their neighbor, who isn’t always around but happened to be around that day, heard her screaming.  He climbed over the fence and called 911.  If he hadn’t been there or if my mom was knocked unconscious, who knows what could’ve happened.  My mom spent the next 6 nights at Highland Hospital in Oakland, two of those nights were in the ICU.  Btw, my mom is doing well and has recovered from her injuries.

Needless to say, that was a stressful time.  But it was God’s perfect timing, because being unemployed allowed Jason to be at home full-time with the kids and I could focus on taking care of my parents.  We could have managed even if he was still working…it just would’ve been more stressful and inconvenient. 

During this crazy time, instead of focusing on all the bad stuff, God was teaching me to focus on all the good stuff.  Instead of focusing on Jason’s unemployment, God was giving us more family time together.  We also began to experience those deeper connections with our community group that I had been praying for.  I just didn’t expect us to be on the receiving end of things, because I like to be the giver and the encourager and the helper.  We are always willing to help, but we don’t like asking for it, right?    

An example of how we were on the receiving end.  The Men’s Retreat was coming up and Jason had decided, even before he lost his job, that he wasn’t going to attend for other financial reasons.  But the guys from our small group decided that they wanted to send Jason to the retreat and gift him with a weekend away, so he could rest and reflect and fellowship.  At first, Jason wasn’t sure if he should take the offer, but God reminded us that our friends really wanted to bless him with this.  If Jason and I find delight in blessing others, we should allow our friends to experience that same joy.  “Every good and perfect gift is from God.”  It’s not about who gives and who receives…it’s about God, the one whom all gifts come from.  So Jason went to the retreat, had a good time and was really blessed by it.

Since then, family and friends have been blessing us in different ways…dropping off meals, giving us gift cards for gas and groceries.  We have no other income other than the money coming from unemployment, but we’re focusing on trusting in God and making it work.

Author and speaker Brene Brown says in her book Rising Strong that “Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving. We need to give, and we need to need.”  “The bottom line is that we need each other, and not just the civilized, proper, convenient kind of need. Not one of us gets through this life without expressing desperate, messy, and uncivilized need — the kind we are reminded of when we come face to face with someone who is in a deep struggle.” 


It’s not always easy admitting our struggles and shortcomings, but God doesn’t want us to go through these things alone.  So I’m thankful that through our struggles, we are growing deeper connections and just allowing our friends to help and be there for us.  And when our friends need us, we want to be there for them too. “

Six months has passed since sharing my testimony at the retreat and my husband Jason is still looking for a job.  Though it’s been a difficult season in our lives, we cling to the hope we have in Christ Jesus.  In our weakness, He strengthens us.  In our weakness, He has blessed us with family and friends who pray and walk alongside us, sometimes even carrying us.  I hope to share in another post how God has shown us love through the hands and feet of other people. It’s been quite a journey with lots of highs and lows, humility and gratefulness.  Each day, I am reminded that God’s mercies are new every morning and Great is thy faithfulness.  :)

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Tea’s Biggest Sale of the Season is Here!‏

Shop Tea’s Biggest Sale of the Season & Save Up to 70%!

This Bay Area company is one of my favorite clothing retailers for my kids.  I especially love their dresses and tops for my daughter, Rebekah.

Starting just in time for the holiday weekend, take an extra 40% off hundreds of sale items, including tons of newly added styles! You won’t want to miss this! You’ll find knit dresses starting at just $10. Cool summer graphic tees as low as $7. As well as Tea’s rompers, which truly are the easiest outfit ever, now $10 and up. Don’t forget about lots of swim styles and accessories too! Tea’s sale has all you need for summer’s adventures.  The sale ends Tuesday, 7/5.
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Fine print:
Enter code EXTRA40 during checkout to receive an extra 40% off summer sale prices at TeaCollection.com. Discount taken pre-tax. Offer expires at 11:59pm PT on 7/5/16. No adjustments on previous purchases. Not redeemable for cash. Terms of offer are subject to change.

{Giveaway} Bible Belles – Bible Belles’ The Adventures of Rooney Cruz

I’m hosting another giveaway and this one is great for young girls.  Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.09.11 PM

Synopsis: Bible Belles’ The Adventure of Rooney Cruz is an original children’s series that presents real life heroes like never before. The series highlights five superhero women of the Bible: Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth and Deborah.

We’re setting out to present women in the Bible in a way that has never been done before. We want girls to connect with them and find out what being truly beautiful is all about. We want girls to remember their names, their stories, and how special they are. 

This book is second in the series, highlighting Esther, the Belle of Patience.

Bible Belle’s Esther: The Belle of Patience from Bible Belles on Vimeo.

To learn more about Bible Belles and to see the other books in the series, visit their website.

GIVEAWAY – Thanks to FlyBy Promotions, one lucky reader will win a copy of Esther, the Belle of Patience!  To enter, leave a comment.  Do you have a favorite bible belle?  For extra entries, tweet about this giveaway or share about it on Facebook, and let me know in the comments section.  Giveaway ends on Thursday, June 24th at 11pm PST. (Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.)

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.”

Phil Wickham “Children of God” Album

Long before I saw Phil Wickham live at the Worship Night in America event, in Sacramento last August, I was already so familiar with many of his songs played on Christian radio station KLOVE.  Though a fan of his songs, At Your Name, Glory, and This Is Amazing Grace, I had never previously owned a Phil Wickham cd.  Something changed after seeing him perform This Is Amazing Grace on stage and in person.  It was, to simply put it…Amazing!  The entire Worship Night in America was amazing…

The next day, I ordered my first Phil Wickham cd, The Ascension, because it had the song, This Is Amazing Grace, on it.  It quickly became a well-listened to album during our car rides.  When the opportunity came along to receive and review the latest album by Phil Wickham, I excitedly  jumped at the chance to score a copy of “Children of God.”  Thanks FlyBy Promotions!

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Children of God is becoming another well-listened to cd in our home…or in this case, my minivan.  Though my four year old would rather listen to her Awana Cubbies cd, I tune into Children of God almost daily and both my kids are witnessing my head boppin’ and body movin’ to the sounds of “The Secret Place” and “Your Love Awakens Me.”

My son especially loves Your Love Awakens Me and has asked me to “play it again, Mommy.”

Another favorite song on this album is “Doxology//Amen.”  I used to sing the Doxology at church every Sunday morning during my childhood.  I love this contemporary version of the song.  It feels like I’m sharing a very special part of my childhood with my own kids.

I am really enjoying this newest album by Phil Wickham and am so blessed that it has been added to our music library.  I hope to see him in concert again very soon!

The Children of God CD is available for purchase at –

 iTunes | Amazon | Amazon Spotify

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Todd Cartmell

“I love my child, but parenting is hard.”

This statement is so true.  If you feel this way like I often do, I would like to introduce you to the book, 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Todd Cartmell.  I also have a discount code that I will give you at the end of this post for 50% off the retail price.  =)

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About the book:

Whether you find parenting intuitive or impossible, we could all use a hand here and there. Let child psychologist and father Todd Cartmell walk you through the nuts and bolts of healthy, effective parenting.

Using examples from his home and 20 years of professional practice, Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:

  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
  • Develop a nurturing home culture
  • Correct behavior in lasting ways

Designed for busy parents, 8 Simple Tools breaks each tool into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions. Use even half of the tools in your parenting, and your family dynamics will thrive. Your relationship with your child will be built on love and trust, providing you with fertile ground for planting God’s wisdom in their heart, and ultimately, seeing them flourish.

The tools are Talking, Listening, Influencing, Connecting, Teaching, Encouraging, Correcting and Leading.

About the Author – http://www.8simpletools.com/author/

Dr. Todd Cartmell’s FB: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Todd-Cartmell-193405444025914/

I just started reading this book and am learning so much from it so far.  Each chapter is only a few pages long and ends with a practical tip and a follow-up thought or action to consider.  This is a great book for both moms and dads, single parents, Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other caregivers.  At the end, there is a Summary of Tips section that lists all of the tips from each Tool and a Notes section where you can find the verses and other resources that the author references throughout the book.

The 8simpletools.com website is packed full of information.  They also have two assessments that you can take, the Effective Parenting Assessment (how effective is your parenting?) and the Parenting Strengths Assessment (what are your parenting strengths?) After taking the Effective Parenting Assessment, it gave me two action steps to help me create a stronger sense of family connection.  The assessments are fast and easy to take.

Receive 50% off the retail price of 8 Simple Tools from Moody Publishers with Discount Code – GREATKIDS16.  This discount code is valid through May 15, 2016.

Plus, for a limited time with every purchase, receive access to download the Hearts At Home “Essential Workshop Collection For Parents” for free.  To receive access to the free downloads, fill out the form on this page.

Thanks to FlyBy for including me on this promotion!

{Giveaway} Under the Sea (Children’s) Bible

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up.  Can anyone else relate?  I love marine life, especially mammals like dolphins and orca whales.  During our honeymoon, my husband even surprised me with a “swim with the dolphins” experience in Hawaii.  It was amazing!  Visiting aquariums is also one of my favorite activities and I never get tired of them.  I really, really like (LOVE) this one…

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

I also love reading the bible.  So imagine my excitement when Zondervan came out with the The Under the Sea Holy Bible, in the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV).  

About The Under The Sea Holy Bible – It is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation.

The NIrV is a great edition for young children, because it contains words that are easier to read and understand.  Sometimes shorter words and shorter sentences are used as well.  Eye-catching, colorful inserts are scattered throughout this bible, with lessons on prayer, love, the Ten Commandments and other themes.  I also appreciate that the Under the Sea bible is in hardcover.:)

To Learn More: http://www.zondervan.com/under-the-sea-holy-bible-nirv

Purchase the Under the Sea Bible at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble | Walmart | Family Christian Stores

***The giveaway is closed.  The winner of The Under the Sea Bible is Cynthia!  Congratulations!***

GIVEAWAY – I am giving away a copy of The Under the Sea Holy Bible to one lucky reader!  To enter, leave a comment. Do you have a favorite bible story or do you have a favorite under the sea animal?  For extra entries, tweet about this giveaway or share about it on Facebook, and let me know in the comments section.  Giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 12th at 11pm PST. (Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.)

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

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Tea Collection! Save 25% off Sale Styles

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

Just wanted to share that one of my favorite Children’s clothing brands is having a sale!

It’s time to save big!  Starting today and for one day only, March 23rd, you can shop Tea Collection’s sale at 25% off with code SPRINGSAVINGS. Shop now and save up to 65% off our Citizen Blue collection. Plus, select Italy-inspired styles have just been added to Tea’s sale. It’s the perfect time to update your little citizen’s spring wardrobe. From graphic tees to leggings, you’ll find the perfect spring outfits for your little girl. For boy, you’ll find graphic tees with jogger pants to match! For baby girl and baby boy, you’ll find adorable rompers in bright prints and graphics, and lots more!
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{Giveaway} Nathalie Grant’s Glimmer Girls Series

“Glimmer is a light that is never extinguished. And sometimes it may glimmer a little bit brighter and sometimes it may glimmer a little bit dimmer, but it never goes out.” ~Nathalie Grant

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube 

Partnering with Faithgirlz, contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Nathalie Grant, has written two books for young girls, ages 9-12.  They are part of a two-book fiction series called Glimmer Girls.  My little girl is turning five in July and though she may be too young for this series right now, I’m always on the lookout for good books to share with other people.  When Rebekah is a little older, I look forward to reading these books with her and I know this will happen soon enough!

Nathalie Grant says, “We all have a light on the inside and depending on the day, sometimes it’s bright and sometimes it’s dim.  That is the message I wanted girls to get from this book.  You don’t always have to be shining bright, some days are going to be more difficult than others, but Jesus has put a light in you that will never go out.”   That is definitely the kind of message that I want my kids  and others to learn.  It’s the kind of message that is speaking to my heart while I type this.  =)

Thanks to Flyby Promotions, I am giving away two Glimmer Girls books to one of my readers. But first, let’s see what Nathalie Grant has to say about her books.

 

About Glimmer Girls:

In this new Glimmer Girls series, readers meet 10-year-old twins Mia and Maddie and their sidekick little sister, LuLu, as they embark on international adventure and mischief thanks to their famous mom who travels all over the world singing beautiful songs and a slightly wacky and sometimes negligent nanny named Miss Twist.

LONDON ART CHASE
In London Art Chase, the first title in the new Faithgirlz Glimmer Girls series, readers meet 10-year-old twins Mia and Maddie and their adorable little sister, LuLu. All the girls are smart, sassy, and unique in their own way, each with a special little something that adds to great family adventures. There is pure excitement in the family as the group heads to London for the first time to watch mom, famous singer Gloria Glimmer, perform. But on a day trip to the National Gallery, Maddie witnesses what she believes to be an art theft and takes her sisters and their beloved and wacky nanny Miss Julia, on a wild and crazy adventure as they follow the supposed thief to his lair. Will the Glimmer Girls save the day? And will Maddie find what makes her shine?

A DOLPHIN WISH
Join twins Mia and Maddie and their sidekick little sister, LuLu, as they travel the country finding adventure, mystery, and sometimes mischief along the way. Together with their famous mother, singer Gloria Glimmer, and their slightly wacky nanny Miss Twist, the sisters learn lessons about being good friends, telling the truth, and a whole lot more. In A Dolphin Wish a three-night stop in the city of San Diego seems like it might be just the break the girls need—lovely weather and great sights to see. That is until they hear animal handlers at “Watery World” talking about the trouble they’ve been having keeping the animals in their habitats. Mia and her sisters cannot resist a challenge and they talk Miss Twist into another visit to the educational amusement park to search for clues as to what or who is helping the animals escape.

The giveaway is now closed.  

Congratulations to lmdevine!  You are the winner of the Glimmer Girl giveaway!

GIVEAWAY – I am giving away a copy of London Art Chase and A Dolphin Wish to one lucky reader!  To enter, leave a comment. What is your favorite book/series for young children? For extra entries, tweet about this giveaway or share about it on Facebook, and let me know in the comments section.  Giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 30th at 11pm PST. (Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.)

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Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey Movie

Outrageous Joy was the theme for the Women of Faith event that I attended in 1999.  This was my very first Women of Faith experience and it was quite an event!  Thousands and thousands of women coming together to worship, learn and be inspired.  I was overwhelmed with so much curiosity and excitement, because I had never been to a gathering such as this before.  It was an exhilarating weekend!

Six amazing speakers – Patsy Clairmont. Barbara Johnson. Marilyn Meberg. Luci Swindoll. Sheila Walsh. Thelma Wells.  Strangers to me in the beginning, but then welcomed into my heart as I listened to each speaker share their stories and insights.

Since then, I’ve attended a few more Women of Faith events in Southern and Northern California.  Some of the speakers  have changed over time but each gathering was always filled with so much laughter and awe-inspiring messages of God’s love.

I’m so excited to share about the Women of Faith movie, in theaters February 18 & 20 and March 3 & 5.  Whether or not you’ve been to a WOF event, this movie would be a fun “girls night out” and there are group deals too!  For tickets and to find a theater near you, visit http://www.wofincinemas.com/.

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About the film: 
Over the last nearly 20 years, Women of Faith – http://www.womenoffaith.com/ – grew to become the largest non-denominational Christian women’s conference, touching over five million lives with personal stories full of laughter and tears.  Stage events have included such inspirational and spiritual luminaries such as Campus Crusade for Christ’s Mary Graham, author & reality TV star Corie Robertson, author & popular speaker Luci Swindoll, author Sheila Walsh, and others.
The cinema event will take viewers on a journey of Women of Faith through the years, on stage and off, on their travels with World Vision, their impact on audiences, in short the way they’ve changed the world.  Partly historical, and frequently hysterical, this unique cinematic experience will be packed with some of the most popular pieces from the beloved speaking team to include Anna Trent, Thelma Wells, Mary Graham, Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, Jen Hatmaker, Sandi Patty, Patsy Clairmont, Nicole Johnson, and Marilyn Meberg as well as music and performances from Christian contemporary artists that appeared on the tour.  Featuring never-before-seen interviews, outtakes, and behind the scenes footage, this event presentation will bring back memories for all those who have attended a Women of Faith weekend as well as create new memories for those experiencing it for the first time.

 

Official websitehttp://www.wofincinemas.com
Instagram: @WomenofFaith

 

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions, I’ll be seeing the movie next week with several girlfriends. Let me know if you plan to see the movie too!  Have a blessed day!