Friday, December 19, 2014

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist - A Review

Note: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes all opinions are my own.

About the Book:

"The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness." 

"It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy."

 "This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke us and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty." - Taken from the back of the book.

Karen Says:

I have read several of Shauna's dad's books and enjoyed them very much. So when I realized this book was written by his daughter I knew I wanted to read this book. Her dad is Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church.

Bittersweet is a great book. It contains 40 chapters that stand by themselves. In each chapter Shauna takes a problem and by the end turns it around to something good. It can be used as a daily inspirational reading book or just as a normal book.

Shauna writes from her personal experience, but she has a way of bringing you in and feeling like you are living life with her. She did a wonderful job writing this book and I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Case For Christmas by Lee Strobel - A Review

Note: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes all opinions are my own.

About the Book:
"Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning? Some say he would become a great moral leader. Others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced he was the divine Son of God.

Who was he—really? And how can you know for sure?

Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, award-winning legal journalist Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence, including:

Eyewitness Evidence—Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
Scientific Evidence—What does archaeology reveal?
Profile Evidence—Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?
Fingerprint Evidence—Did Jesus uniquely match the identity of the Messiah?

The Case for Christmas invites readers to consider why Christmas matters in the first place. Somewhere beyond the traditions of the holiday lies the truth. Your customers will find this little book a timely product, perfect as a gift or for use in ministry during the Christmas season or any other time of the year." - Taken from the back of the book.

Karen Says:

I have seen a couple of Lee Strobel's videos, but I haven't read any of his books before. I thought this would be a great introduction into his books.

Since he is a reporter by trade, he dives right into investigating things. He doesn't just accept things, he wants to prove right or wrong before he believes something. So he takes his reporting skills and collects all kinds of facts about a topic, this one just happens to be about Christmas and Jesus.

Lee takes some of the questions people have asked and finds the answers to them. Some of the questions he answers are:
  • Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?
  • Does archeology confirm or contradict Jesus' biographies?
  • Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?
  • Did Jesus and Jesus alone match the identity of the Messiah?
At the end of the book he ties it all together in a chapter entitled The Verdict of History.

I liked some parts of the book better than other parts, but that could be said of any book. I liked the parts about archaeology and history the most. 

I did learn a few things from this book. Some of the things that he brought out made it clearer in my mind.

I think my husband and oldest son would really enjoy this book more than I did because they are more analytical than I am. Sometimes what was being said went right up and over my head, but they would think that was the greatest thing since fried chicken.

I think this is a great book for everyone to read. There is something in it for everyone. You will come away from it saying that you really did learn something.

Weekly Goals for the Week of December 14, 2014

This has been one heck of a week. I had a week planned full of stuff, but I was down for several days with a back problem, so I didn't get all that I wanted to get done this week.

But here is what I did accomplish this week.
  1. Finish reading Bittersweet by Shaunna Niequist.
  2. Finish 6 book review posts for the blog. (I did get 5 review posts done this week.)
  3. Work on a few sewing projects for Christmas presents this week.
  4. Write 2 blog posts for other sites.
  5.  Finish setting up all the Christmas stuff.
I am hoping this week goes a lot better than last week. So here is what is on my list of goals for this week.
  1. Finish reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.
  2. Write review post for Bittersweet.
  3. Work on a few sewing projects for Christmas presents this week.
  4. Write 2 blog posts for other sites.
  5. Do something fun as a family this weekend.
It is going to be a busy week as we get ready for Christmas next week and we try to get some things done before deadlines.

So how about you, what is on your goal list for this week?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to make a pine cone ornament

Pine cone ornament.

I recently went and collected a bunch of pine cones for crafts. One of the things I wanted to make were some pine cone ornaments for our tree. I originally wanted to put the bow on the bottom of the pine cone, but I just couldn't get the nails or the screws to stay in the bottom of the pine cone, so I improvised and decided to put the bow on the top of the pine cone. Which when it was finished I absolutely loved.

All you need for this simple craft project is some pine cones, brown string, a hot glue gun and glue sticks and a bow.

First thing I did was take the string and cut about 12 inches of it and tied it around the top piece of the pine cone. Then I put some glue around it to secure it.

gluing the string to the top

After that I took a bow (you could either buy one or make one) that I made these myself and glued it to the top of the pine cone right where I glued the string to.

adding the bow
Once I was finished with that I just let it dry.

Then it was time to put it on our Christmas tree.

finished project

I also did a few in other colors.

These were so simple and easy to do. They are the perfect compliment to our tree. They would also make great Christmas gifts.

The Christmas Story for Children by Max Lucado - A Review

Note: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes all opinions are my own.

About the Book:

"Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was the Son of God, the Messiah whom God had promised long, long ago. Bestselling author Max Lucado brings the events surrounding Jesus' birth to life in this simple yet profound retelling of the Christmas story." - Taken from the back of the book.

Karen Says:

This book is an excerpt from the larger book by Max Lucado, The Story for Children. This book is 32 pages long and is intended for kids ages 4-8.

This book tells the story of Jesus' birth all the way up to the beginning of His ministry. This book does not tell the whole traditional Christmas story, but it definitely does tell most of the story and gets you ready for the whole picture of Jesus' life.

I liked the pictures in this book, they are beautiful and well done.

This book would be a nice addition to your Christmas book collection.

Weird and Wonderful Creations - A Review

Note: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes all opinions are my own.

About the Book:
Learn about these creatures and more of the funny and ferocious plants and wildlife God made for us to enjoy. This 4 in 1 bind up of Made by God titles features amazing facts about God's creation, plus bonus material for extra fun.

The 4 title in this book include:
  •  Spiders, Snakes, Bees and Bats
  •  Big Bugs, Little Bugs
  •  Sea Creatures
  •  Poisonous, Smelly and Amazing plants
This book is intended for kids ages 4-8.
Karen Says:

This book is 123 pages long and is full of interesting facts about all kinds of animals and plants. Some of the things you will learn about is snakes, bees, bats, redwood trees and sequoia trees. As I was reading through this book I learned some interesting things that I didn't know. 

I love how this has a religious slant to it and how it ties one original book into the next book/section.

This would be a great book for younger boys who are very interested in snakes and bugs as well as other animals. Also this would be a great addition to your homeschool. There is so much to learn in this book.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Plush Bible NIV - A Review

 Note: Zondervan provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes all opinions are my own.

About the Book:

The Plush Bible Collection, NIV has the same convenient size and readability as the incredibly popular NIV Thinline Bible—now in fun and furry designs for kids and teens. Features include the words of Christ in red, an easy-to-read font size, and measures less than one inch thick.

Karen Says:

I received a purple zebra print NIV Bible to review. If purple zebra print is just not your thing, they do have a few other colors and prints that you might like. I really liked the purple zebra print, but some of my family members didn't like it. But hey, why would my male family members want a plush purple Bible anyway?

This Bible has a fuzzy type cover on it. It also has a purple presentation page on the inside cover. The print is a good size, so that kids can see it clearly as well as adults. To me and my failing eyesight it is a good size that I don't have to hold the Bible really close so that I can read it.

I think a young tween or teen girl would really enjoy this Bible. Some adults would also like this Bible. We all agreed a friend of ours would really like this Bible and she is in her late 50's.


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