Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Leather Earrings

This week's craft might be my favorite for the year. It was simple, cheap, and so far, I have worn them everyday since making them!

This craft was a super easy one for the moms to finish at our meeting. I prepped the leather, cutting it into 2 inch by 1/2 inch strips ahead of time (using a rotary cutter like this). I also pre-punched the hole at the top using this leather tool.

These cost us less than 75 cents per pair.


Using pliers, the moms separated the wire ring just enough to slip it onto the leather strip. 

The smaller the opening, the easier I found it to close up the ring. 

We had a pile of the rubber stoppers for them to complete the earrings. 

And, for an added bit of fun, we had tape and paint available. We used regular acrylic craft paint. 

The options are limitless. The earrings are lightweight and adorable. They would also make a super fabulous gift! 

I told my group that I had woken up in the middle of the night in a state of panic. It seems like worries multiply and situations are worse in the middle of the night. My mind wanders. I forget the truths that I know. I forget my God who is in control.

I woke up early, preparing for my meeting with my mom's group. I sent a panicked text to a friend, listing all my worries. She simply replied, "Don't panic."

The Holy Spirit brought to mind the verse that we have used as our theme verse for the year.

My God, who created the stars and controls them, can also take care of me. His great power and incomparable strength can solve any problem and take care of any situation. 

These leather earrings smell amazing. As my head moves, I smell the leather, and I am choosing to use that smell as a reminder of the goodness of our God. I am using these earrings as my reminder that God made me, chose me, and is in control of everything I encounter! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Read with Me

Hands down, the best book I've ever read on the Biblical view of Hospitality. As I read The Simplest Way to Change the World, I found myself making a mental checklist of the things I wanted to change about the way I view my home. It's so easy to want it to be a retreat from the world and those outside your immediate family - but God's plan all along has involved hospitality. It started with His making Adam and Eve the perfect home in the Garden of Eden, and it will one day end with His perfect home for His children in Heaven.

"We loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but OUR LIVES AS WELL." 1 Thess. 2:8

This book is easy to read and full of practical, doable tips for embracing the ministry of hospitality. It's not just a beautifully set table or a perfect home - it's inviting others into our lives so that they might see the Gospel lived out.

This book also contains study questions for small group discussion.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

I received the most adorable prayer and reflection coloring journal today: Tranquility. The colorful cover really resonated with my creative soul. Filled with fun coloring opportunities, Scripture, bits of encouragement and journal spots, this book is one that I play to work my way through on days when I need a little more "cheer" in my life.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

I have always loved the testimony and mission of Billy Graham. I was equally excited to receive Hope for Each Day, 365 Devotions for Kids filled with his writings. There is a Scripture for each day and a short devotional that corresponds with the the theme and Scripture of the adult version of this book. What a perfect pairing for family devotions!

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

I love the writings of Jill Savage, and I am happy to add No More Perfect Marriages to my book collection. Written with her husband Mark, this book helps couples "experience the freedom of being real together." There are  "Think about it" and "Talk about it" questions at the end of each chapter, promoting more communication between spouses. It's a great marriage resource.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

Balancing theological topics with interesting stories and examples, Lighthouse Faith was an interesting read. Living her life as a news correspondent has given her a different way of weaving her stories into a text that points you back to the Word. When understand who God is, and are able to follow that first commandment correctly, the rest of the commandments will fall into place. Everything hinges on that!

I received this book from Cross Focus Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing to Prove by Jenny Allen was such an encouraging read - It challenged me do quite a bit of self-examination on why I do what I do. What do I feel insecure about? What do I feel I am failing at? And why do I feel that way? It was easy to read and filled with words that reminded me what God can do with someone who is completely in love with Him.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

How to Overcome Worry is a small sized, non-intimidating book that would be the perfect item to tuck in an encouraging gift basket. Scripture and encouraging truths are sprinkled throughout the text, turning the worrier back to the One that in truly in control. I love that the back cover even states that scripture is the cure for this worry epidemic.

I received this advanced reader copy from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the Berenstain Bears books as a child. I love passing the stories of these characters on to my children. I also love that the Mike Berenstain Bear books seem to have more of a Christian viewpoint on stories. This Friendship Blessings Collections is 5 stories one one adorable hardback book.

Perfect Fishing Spot, Reap the Harvest, Faithful Friends, Kindness Counts and God Made You Special.

My kids love the books and I do too!
I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Although I am not an artist, I do love creative projects. Looking through Portrait Revolution educated me on many different styles of art and portraits. I especially loved the portraits made out of random objects. It's fascinating how some artists can put so much emotion into a painting or drawing.

I received this book from Blogging for Books  in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Paint Stick Frame Wall Hanging

Monday's craft for our mom's meeting was simple but well-liked. Using some paint sticks we had leftover from a previous craft, we were able to make these fun wall hangings.

In order to make the craft time run smoothly, I prepped the paint sticks ahead of time. Since the wood was super thin and flimsy, I was able to cut the sticks down to size with a sturdy pair of scissors. I stained one side of each cut paint stick as well.

We had four cardstock printables for them to choose from. You can find those to print here and here.

Two feet of jute twine was more than enough to create a hanging point.

To secure the twine to the sticks, we suggested tying a small knot around the paint stick. Then, the knot was secured to the back of the paint stick with a little bit of hot glue.

A line of hot glue along the top and the bottom of the printed cardstock held the paint sticks in place as the frames.

I have loved seeing pictures posted as the moms hang these in their homes.

This would also be a fun way to give your kid's artwork as a gift.

It was a fun, quick and inexpensive craft that they all seemed to enjoy. I love when a craft is easy enough that the moms feel empowered when the finish it!

And I love having another way to hang some Scripture around my home.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Read with Me

I have always loved the classic and thought-provoking writings of A.W. Tozer. The Attributes of God, Volume 2, Deeper Into the Father's Heart uses Tozer's sermons to help highlight different aspects of God. The second half of the book includes a helpful study guide that could be used in group discussion or for deeper personal study.

I love the deep, truthful writings of Tozer and I am glad to add this book to my collection. I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

From the Grave, another collection of Tozer's material, is a 40 Day Lent devotional in an easy to hold hardback book. There are seven weeks of devotionals, each week containing daily readings. What a great way to remember what Easter is all about.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

Be Bold is an adorable coloring devotional. There are Scriptures and quotes to color on one side of the page. The other side of the page offers Scripture and a devotional to go along with the picture. What a great tool for reflective and creative time with the Lord.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Adorned - I always get so excited when new books come out by Nancy Leigh Demoss Wolgemuth  This beautifully written text focusing on Titus 2 is such an encouraging and challenging read. I look forward to implementing this in the mom's group that I lead - using the principles with our mentors and moms. What a perfect description of this Biblical model. I love this book. The cover even felt encouraging and restful.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

We love the "God Bless Our..." books written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Steve Whitlow. The rhyming is always fun an engaging. The illustrations are adorable. My kids love naming which animal is on each page. God Bless Our Baby is just as adorable as the other books in this collection. It would be the perfect book to announce a new sibling's coming. What a perfect gift for the arrival of a new baby.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Long Days of Small Things was a book that I wanted to love. It promised encouraging tips to help moms see motherhood as a spiritual discipline. I know that the days are hard and that my time in the Word looks very different while I am a mother than it did when I was single. But - I want to read things that encourage me to still get in the Word. To still make time for the Lord. I felt like this book, although it encouraged celebrating and resting in the moment, seemed to say "Yeah, it's hard to have personal time with God while you are a don't even try." I wanted to love this book and wanted to benefit from its tips, but I didn't.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Paul Turner has released a new children's book, When God Made You. This a beautifully illustrated children's book is launching today. A hope-filled- rhyming text helps encourage children to be who God made them to be. I loved the reminder that each of us are made with unique abilities and gifts and creativity - when used the way God intended, incredible things can be accomplished.

The pictures are colorful and engaging. The wording is a little difficult for my toddlers to understand at times, but it gave us lots of talking points. And I am sure it is a book we will read over and over, continuing to celebrate their individuality.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Read with Me

It's easier to remember to prepare for Christmas...its the same day each year. You're purchasing gifts for loved ones and decorating your home. But Easter is equally (if not more) important to prepare my heart for. As I read Liz Curtis Higgs' The Women of Easter, I felt my heart begin to get ready to celebrate the resurrection!

The Women of Easter follows the story of Mary of Bethany (Lazarus' sister), Mary of Nazareth (Jesus' mother) and Mary Magdalene. The author does a beautiful job of telling the story, setting and details of these women based on Biblical accounts. I love that Scripture is mixed in the narrative. This was the perfect book to begin to think about the exciting holiday we will soon celebrate. And I feel like I know these women a little better! It's easy to read and easy to love.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

I love to store up tools to help my kids learn more about God's Word. The International Children's Bible with Devotions from Sarah Young's Jesus Calling is a welcome addition to our book shelves. It is a complete Bible, not just Bible stories. Mixed in the pages of Scripture are colorful, glossy devotionals that highlight key stories/individuals in the Bible. There are also key Scriptures highlighted in the text. You can find a topic guide at the front of the Bible for these highlighted verses. I love helping my kids understand the difference between a fairy tale and a Bible story. Seeing side by side the story and the verses that it comes from will be super helpful. The illustrations for the devotionals are colorful and eye-catching. I look forward to using this tool for years to come.

I received this Bible from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

I love when an author's name can be trusted. Tony Evans has written an amazing book, Kingdom Prayer, that has challenged and encouraged me in my prayer life. Prayer is so vital to the Christian life, yet so hard for me to do. Like the national anthem at a sporting event, we often view prayer as a way to jump start an event, not really thinking of the words we are saying. The language in this book is easy to understand yet challenging in concept. I better understand the value and need for prayer. This is a book I will re-read.

I received this book from Moody in exchange for an honest review.

The Domino Effect followed the familiar writing style of Davis Bunn. The subject matter dealt with the financial world. The story was too full of technical terms and not enough character development for me. For those who love a detailed fictional novel, this would be better suited for them. The story line was good, but there were too many technical terms for me to be able to jump quickly into the drama.

I received this book form Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

It's sad to see so many high schoolers choosing to follow their peers in a direction that does not lead them to Christ. Bombarded with social media and selfish ideas, many adolescents choose a path that exalts self rather than Christ. It was encouraging to read this testimony book, The Jesus Club, where Brian Barcelona tells of the good things the Lord did with a surrendered heart and a group of teenagers. He shared his story (former atheist) with a group of teens. He shared what God had done for him. And this was a perfect example of how when God is described as the super hero, others can't help but take notice.

I received this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.