Are You A Hot Mess?

Hot Mess Prayer Guide Pic

 

 

Well, hello friend! If you are here because you saw the title of this blog post and answered in the affirmative, I have GREAT news for you. First and foremost, I want to tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Next thing I need to share with you is this…I have got a great book for you whether you know for sure you are a Hot Mess, and need all the help you can get, or whether you secretly believe you are a Hot Mess, and keep it covered up real nice for everyone, but long for help.

Friend, I have got you covered either way, because today I have a book to share with you and a long overdue book review. So, do me a favor, will you? Go get your cuppa, and get comfortable because this book review has a bit of a backstory…

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The War on Christmas Book Blog Tour and Giveaway!

 Today, I have the honor of taking part in a very unique Advent Season Book Tour which features the title, The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression by Bodie Hodge. What is unique to this blog tour is that twenty bloggers are participating and each one is reflecting and/or reviewing a specific chapter in the book. Overall, this book takes a look at many of our deepest held beliefs and traditions, weighing them against the biblical and historical record. It is beautifully laid out with colorful images, a welcome addition to your Christian library. This compilation of 23 chapters covers everything from Santa to the Magi, and Mary to the Manger. Mr. Hodge is the General Editor and brings together a beautifully united theme that ultimately leads us to the heart of Christmas. I am getting ahead of myself, let me share a bit about the chapter I was called to focus and reflect on on for this Advent season.

I was thrilled that I was chosen for the chapter that focuses on Creation, Genesis to Bethlehem: Why Creation is Important to Christmas Creation holds a very special place in my heart. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis offers up insight in this great chapter! I can still recall sitting in a 3rd grade public school classroom and hearing about the theory of Evolution for the first time. It stood out in stark contrast to my second grade Catholic school explanation of Creation. God as the Creator of all creation is addressed in this chapter. We start at the beginning with the first man Adam, in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Understanding Old Testament theology and prophecy is key to seeing New Testament Gospel truth, clearly. We need to understand the First Adam to recognize the Last Adam, and the need for him. If you have no idea who the Last Adam is, let me assist you, He was born in Bethlehem. But, long before he came, Genesis records the promise of his coming, and the role he will play in saving humanity from the First Adam’s sin which impacted all who followed. I can still recall hearing about the two Adams…the first Adam who brought sin; the Creator, who promised a solution, and the Last Adam, Christ who became salvation. From Sin to Solution, to Salvation that is Genesis to Bethlehem in a nutshell!

Consider: “If we discount the story of creation, we remove the need for Christmas. And sadly generations of young people are being educated by schools and in the media with evolutionary ideas about our origins. The erosion of Christianity in society is directly linked to the attack on the history of Genesis and the increasing indoctrination in a false history: that man is a result of millions of years of evolutionary processes.” 

This book packs just the right kind of reality punch, we as believers and truth seekers need. We don’t want to be sidetracked over secondary issues, while clinging, ignorantly to our traditions. After all, Jesus had a lot to say to those who did just that, when he walked on earth…and most of what he had to say was not very nice! Separating fact from fiction, this is a readable, comprehensible and enjoyable Christmas read, or teaching tool. I’m still enjoying it!

Sale on Downloadable Version: 4.99 (not sure how long that will last but as of this last proof read 12:30ish AM, it was available!

Check out the links below and join in for a chance to win the book and a #waronchristmas T-shirt- a great conversation starter…
Watch the Book Trailer  (for e-mail subscribers)
Check out The #WarOnChritsmas Blog Tour Website
Visit the Publishers Book Page +New Leaf Publishing Group

Please note: Open to all US readers 18 Years and older!

a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js

I received a copy of this book in return for participation in this blog tour.
Thank You to Handlebar Marketing and the New Leaf Publishing Group
for this great opportunity!



Reading List: Cozy Book Hop

Experiencing God at Home Day by Day: A Family Devotional by Blackaby & Osborne (Book Review)

I wanted to take the time to share this new Devotional by Tom Blackaby and Rick Osborne, in case you are looking for a great tool for your spiritual toolbox for the New Year. The Experiencing God At Home Day by Day hardcover devotional has a lot to offer families looking for something to share together that still meets the variety, complexity and diversity needed for each individual. It is written to serve as a smorgasbord where many can come eat, but also take something away that allows them to ultimately find spiritual nourishment on their own. If you haven’t shuffled off to find a snack yet, let me tell you more about this excellent resource published by B & H.

The book is small, yet packed full with devotions based on Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. I will share how it is organized so that you can get the sense of the material and how it flows. I actually appreciate the way the layout and structure are condensed well. The devotions are undated, so one could start anytime, or adapt easily for a family’s unique scheduling circumstances.

The devotions are broken into weekly themes, and cover six days, spanning 50 weeks. There are also special occasion devotions for holidays and birthdays. Some examples of the special occasion devotion topics are: Thanksgiving, Election Day, Salvation, War, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Christmas, Baptism; even Halloween is included  as well as a few more.

The Introduction and Instructions chapter lays out clearly how to have family devotional time with a number of ages present and also how to get the most from this time.

The weekly themed devotions begin with what is called “Parent Connection” and introduce scripture and topic. Each day takes up one page in the book. The print is smallish, but not overly hard to read. There are also some great recommendations of additional resources, tools and activities offered. Days 2-6 Begin with a Reading and follow with 4 parts:

1. Quick Start-is a short, focus point or springboard. A Tidbit to stir up the thinking and communication process.
2. Quest – this is the devotional portion which ties into scripture.
3. Quiet Family Prayer- A prompt for prayer also based on the topic.
4. Quiet Time- This section is further broken down into older kids and younger kids and each is encouraged to seek out their own quiet time in an age appropriate way. It’s kind of like individual “homework”, to encourage the child to seek God on His own.

If your family is is seeking to establish a devotional time or if you have grown frustrated in your efforts, this little book could be handy in helping you and yours  find a measure of success in planning and practicing, as you grow in living out this aspect of ministry together.

Practical, handy and helpful is how I would describe this Devotional.

From the Publishers:
Experiencing God at Home Day by Day features 50 weeks of daily devotions that takes families from Genesis to Revelations, allowing them to explore all books of the Bible in just one year. The daily devotions feature a passage of scripture, a parent connection section, a conversation starter, applications, and more. There are also special devotions for important family moments like birthdays, holidays, back-to-school and more, so God can be celebrated and incorporated into all seasons and stages of life. Experiencing God at Home Day by Day not only provides a basis for personal, daily time spent together as a family, but serves as a pace setter for the deeper study of God’s word, preparing children to develop their own habit of seeking God in their lives

Blackaby Ministries International was founded by Henry and Marilyn Blackaby to help people experience God. The ministry focuses on three main concepts: helping people experience God, helping people and churches return to God, and helping church, business and family leaders move people to God’s agenda. Through writing, speaking and teaching ministries the Blackabys share their unique message, drawing on timeless truths to show how God is drawing people close to Him, and setting them free. For more information, visit www.blackaby.net

 I received this book in return for a review from Shelton Interactive. All opinions are my own.
Thanks to the lovely folks at Shelton Interactive who continuously provide me the opportunity to review excellent books! 

Thanks to B & H publishing Group for making the book available. 

Linking w/TimewarpWife

The Beauty of Broken by Elisa Morgan (Book Review)

“There is no such thing as a perfect family. Every family is broken. Yours, mine and ours.”
Elisa Morgan

I couldn’t wait to receive Elisa Morgan’s book, The Beauty of Broken. I ordered it and knew it would live up to it’s promise…to “find beauty and hope for the messiness of family life”. I picture Jack Nicholson shouting, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” The fact is the longer we walk with Jesus, the harder, not easier it gets. I am starting to get this, and this book, so well timed for this season of my life reminds me, and you, the reader to be, that it is all grace. That who we are in the end, will not be who we were at the beginning…and yet we will be exactly who we are in His sight.

Elisa takes us on a journey. It is a rather painful, but beautifully real story of her childhood, journey to parenthood-and beyond, into grand-motherhood, through years of leadership with MOPS International. Bold and daring, I admire her as she shares an imperfect upbringing which includes every conceivable nightmare from Christian perspective, and how God revealed to her along the way his love, desire and goodness in it all. Including the ugly, painful, sometimes unexpected, always redemptive moments that began to be slowly, but surely grow her in grace and truth.

This is more than a look behind the scenes of a self-made leader. This is a courageous sharing, of the real messiness surrounding the life of one, that ultimately reflects the lives of us all. Elisa does not shy away from the exposed places, that God draws her to and through. No pat answers here, but something so much more worth our time. How one woman is conformed by grace- the story we all need to know- the one that helps us to know that our messed up lives are more common then we imagined. Elisa gives us hope, that even without all the answers, there is something good to hang on to after all.

“God uses the broken. It’s hard-at first- to understand. Isn’t it? Brokenness doesn’t disqualify us. Brokenness placed in God’s hands to redeem and re-form can actually qualify us for life and love and even leadership.” 

Through candid sharing of her own family growing up, as well as her family now, she leads us through some of the very rugged terrain of life many are also walking: A prodigal child, a gay brother, a teen pregnancy, alcoholism and divorce…I think there is none who will not find something to relate in the stories she shares. And none who will not find a safe and gracious place in the pages.

This book is a picture of Christianity today. Broken, poured out, to be shared and beautiful.

“We continue- each of us in unique and stumbling steps- the journey toward Jesus and Christ-likeness  Instead of the dreamed for final product of an unbroken family, I find my family and the people in it- myself included-still broken and in need of mending, and somehow likely looking more like we were meant to look all along. I come from a broken family. I still come from a broken family. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.”

Check out The Beauty of Broken Click Here if you are reading this via e-mail.
PS. You can pause the Beach Sounds by scrolling to bottom of site. 

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 review for BookSneeze®

She Fancied Herself a Reader (alas it was just a dream)

My head is spinning and I have been having a hard time focusing on reading with preparing for Home School, last minute Summer excursions and general randomness. Oh, did I mention we have had a huge decluttering going on in the house?  I still refuse to part with but a few books, despite Saturday yard sales for most of August! 
I did start a couple of books, but due to my focus factor have relegated them to the “to read” list!
They include:
Paris in Love by Eloisa James – I do love a good memoir- and picked up this book one wonderful night at Barnes & Noble. I sipped Starbucks, enjoyed my Rice Krispie Treat (standard order) while reading this little gem. Timing is everything and focus, as well.
  Borrowed Names by Jeannine Atkins- how can I resist poems about Laura Ingalls WIlder, Madam C. J. Walker and Marie Curie AND their daughters? Resisting due to timing again… this looks like a great winter curl up with tea read!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- My daughter read this and insists I read it. She made me read The Hunger Games, which I really could not put down. Fact is my daughter can read five times as fast as me. Anyhoo…
Meanwhile, I have a Giveaway for this sweet devotional going on: 1000 Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp. What more can I say than, it’s divine. But if you want to know more check out the Review and Giveaway.

Of course I did not read this whole book, but I am going to use it for my daily reading starting September 1. I reviewed the NIV Homeschool Mom’s Bible, so if you are in the market for a fresh start for the school year with a new Bible just right for you as a Homeschool mom- Here it is! 
Another devotional I read is Jesus Today by Sara Young. My thoughts are available at the link, but I am a fan of this faithful woman. I find her writing is spiritually rich and truly ministers grace. This one is great for anyone facing a long trial with health or discouraging circumstances. 
hand in Hand – A True Life Story by Holly Otten is a beautiful journey of faith from an incest survivor’s own first hand experience. I happen to know Holly as she is a local author and friend. This is a life changing book and presents some challenging, faith busting truth- by that I mean, it will push against denominational boundaries in a beautiful way…oh, goodness just read the review, and check out my interview!
One book I recently received for review was Board Book called Jesus Invites Me. It turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. Written for 0-7 year olds (and for kid at heart types like me) it takes Matthew 11:38, lays it beside beautiful photographs and matching explanation appropriate for young ones. I am looking forward to sharing this with my 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School class! 
How about you? What have you been reading over the Summer?
What is your favorite type of book?
I think I need to stretch my Fiction Reading Muscles over the Fall- any recommendations? 
What's On Your Nightstand

Reading List: Cozy Book Hop

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