The Jesus Bible (for kids): Discover Jesus in Every Book of the Bible

Jesus BibleBook Review (I’ve included photos below): I have viewed countless children’s bibles over the years, and The Jesus Bible (NIV), Discover Jesus in Every Book of the Bible is terrific! Although the stated age group is 9-12, this bible could also be shared with children a couple of years older and younger.

A few truly excellent features include:

  • 365 daily devotions which are located on every few pages.
  • At the beginning of each book there is a page outlining items such as, “Where is Jesus in this book?” “Who wrote this book?” and “What are some of the stories in this book?”
  • My favorite: super-short prayers on every three pages or so, which are extremely age-appropriate. These teach children to speak to God with gratitude and informality.

Other study helpers at the back of the book include:

  • Table of weights and measures.
  • An index of the devotions located throughout the bible for easy reference.
  • Index of “Hints of the Savior/Jesus Revealed” throughout the Old Testament.
  • Concordance and maps.

Being a hardcover, once you crack the spine, the bible lays open nicely. I was showing it to my 15-year old daughter and mentioned that a soft cover option would be nice. She reminded me that all my kids had hardcover bibles in their younger years, and she preferred them.

In summary, since Amazon does not have the “look inside” option, I have provided a few photos that I hope will be helpful. I requested this from Booksneeze (provided in exchange for my honest review) to share this with my godson. I believe he will love it! IMG_4748 IMG_4747 IMG_4746 IMG_4750 IMG_4749

Shhh…I’ve Been Doing “Nothing”!

Thayer Allyson Gowdy, via Real Simple

Thayer Allyson Gowdy, via Real Simple

My husband and I are both “A-” personalities. I know a few true type-A’s, and while I might admire their daily sanitized and shining kitchen floors, that’s not happening in my house! Therefore, I’m an A- to a B+ on most days. I share this with you to illustrate the truth that I am not the sort to “rest” during the day or “do nothing”.

 

So, you can imagine how I was reeling last year reading Martha Beck’s book, The Joy Diet. (This is mentioned in my June 2013 post, My Mid 40’s Identity Crisis.)  The book describes 10 activities (“menu items”) that if practiced daily, will lead to joy and help you discover your true purpose or career. Out of 10 daily practices, her #1 instruction to the reader is to “do nothing” at least 15 minutes a day.  Usually when someone wants to embark on a new career or unearth their true purpose, they are expecting to take action, not “do nothing”!

 

Before I read any words that followed menu item #1, I judged the “do nothing” recommendation as absurd. However, the further I read, the wiser her advice seemed. Even though it sounded great, I didn’t practice it for long.

 

That was, until January 1st, 2014. Something changed in my New Year’s routine. I didn’t plan it, nor did I feel entirely guilt-free as I practiced it. I didn’t expect it to continue, but it did – all month long. What is the “it”? Doing nothing. Often. In fact, sometimes more than twice a day. I thought it might be due to the two preceding months of holiday entertaining. But, after a couple of weeks of resting several times each day, I was plenty refreshed from the long Christmas season of serving. I was almost relieved two weeks ago when I came down with a cold, giving me an excuse to “do nothing” in between my hours of “doing something”!

 

This January, I found myself on three mornings waving goodbye to the kids at 7:20am, and (gulp) I crawled back into bed. I couldn’t fall asleep, but…I rested.  On several days, after chores, grading papers, checking emails, and the like, I sat on the couch. I didn’t turn on the television and I turned off my cell phone. I wasn’t tired. I just…did nothing. Can I tell you that typing this truth feels like I’m sharing something scandalous?!

 

One day I watched snow blow outside my window at 25 miles an hour for 15 minutes. Another day I sat in a chair staring at the family room curtains. I pondered how long it had been since I’d washed and rehung them. No, I didn’t take them down and toss them in the washer. On my daughter’s piano lesson day, when I usually blitz through the grocery store, I waited for her in the car and closed my eyes. I actually laughed out loud one afternoon, stunned by my own indulgence.

 

Normally, the only time in January I stop moving is to drop exhausted into bed. It’s a busy month in our house. My top 4 “usual” January activities look something like this:

 

  1. Make all returns at stores for my kids and all grandparents by January 3rd. This year? One lingering return bag for American Eagle is still sitting on my dining room floor.
  2. Throw my twins a family birthday party, followed by separate friend parties by the second week of January. Have I been that crazy for 17 years? This year? My daughter just had hers on Friday night and my son is still waiting….!
  3. Tear down all Christmas decorations, pack up over a 100 tree ornaments, re-organize the boxes in the basement, search out and vacuum every pine needle by January 5th. This year? Various ornaments lingered around until mid-January and after cursing my “do nothing” habit every time I hopped around with a needle stuck in my foot, I finally got into the nooks and crannies, vacuuming them all!
  4. Organize closets in all bedrooms. This year? I walked into each closet, and then walked out. I sat down on the closest bed and did nothing but stare into the closet for 15 minutes! Then, I got up and left. I suppose that will be my February project (when I limit my “do nothing” habit to the allotted 15 minutes a day).

 

The fascinating outcome is that for all of my “do nothing” time, I actually started an exercise routine. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year, but I’ve kept up with the dreaded sweat-fest 4x a week. I’ve read a book. This is a big accomplishment for busy Moms. Being me, I also almost feel a little mischievous, like I’m … gulp again … enjoying myself. If you’ve read anything I’ve posted, you already know I’m a bit of a deep-thinker, humor-challenged, and this “do nothing” experiment became “fun”, the further into January I traveled.

 

So, in conclusion, my do-nothing adventure was quite unintentional. I hadn’t thought about Beck’s book until I was well into the do-nothing habit. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue, but what I’ve observed is that the house didn’t come tumbling down, everyone still had clothes, food and water, and Mom just happens to be a little more relaxed this New Year!

 

31 Days to Happiness

After several years of listening to Dr. David Jeremiah on the radio, I was excited to read his new book, 31 Days to Happiness, How to Find What Really Matters in Life. What will give us the peace that nothing else can? The answer of course, is a relationship with God.

Using the book of Ecclesiastes, and countless real-world examples to illustrate his points, Dr. Jeremiah takes us through the life of King David’s son, Solomon. Although Solomon may have had more of everything than we do: wealth, fame, power, etc., his struggles largely resemble our struggles. Life is hard and we are frustrated. So, we attempt to comfort ourselves in a variety of ways.

We have a tendency to try and fill our need for God with excellence in our work, relationships with others, through entertainment, and many other distractions that cannot satisfy in us what only God can. While we enjoy what this world has to offer, Jeremiah shows through Ecclesiastes, that despite all achievements and pursuits, our right relationship with God is where the only true contentment can be found during our earthly existence.

Although I enjoyed the book, I also believe that the message could have been just as powerfully conveyed with a smaller volume. The text ends at 321 pages, which eventually feels very lengthy.

A fitting conclusion to this review is a quote from Chapter 19: Dr. Jeremiah states that, “God’s way may be the hard way, but it is always the high road…”

(In exchange for the book, BookSneeze has requested that I give an honest review.)

Downside Up

The essential theme of Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell is to deeply believe in our personal value despite varying forms of rejection.  Although we all experience rejection at some point, Mitchell determines for her readers to “not revisit the pain of rejection”.  Instead, she reminds us that “you are worthy of relationships where you feel loved, treasured and appreciated.”   

Mitchell covers relationships and a host of other practical, real-life examples where rejection can gain a strong hold on your mind and negatively affect your future.  She emphasizes being “selective in what you hear and speak.” Words are indeed powerful, and we should be cautious about who we listen to.

The book’s greatest strength is its foundation upon biblical truth.  If we strive to see ourselves as God sees us, we will be overcomers when faced with rejection.  This does not come naturally and requires “self-talk” that reflects His love and absolute truth. The end of each chapter contains Chapter Principles, Words of Wisdom, a Power Quote and Plan of Action.  These are worthwhile sections to read and meditate upon.

In summary, I’m not sure that the title of the book effectively previews the contents.  The writing is much more than “transforming rejection into your golden opportunity”. That tag almost sounds like a business proposal.  Instead, it’s a deeply meaningful read about a regular renewing of our minds, living life intentionally and growing in self-acceptance.  Mitchell shows us that if we practice her suggestions, our lives will be richer and more satisfying as a result. Thanks to BookSneeze for providing me with a copy of this text in exchange for my honest review. 

Billy Graham in Quotes

Billy GrahamCollected from his astounding 7 decades of boldly proclaiming the Gospel message, Billy Graham in Quotes, is a treasure.  Compiled by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney, this 400+ page book is a wonderful reference that anyone would want on their desk for wisdom and encouragement.

An “anchor verse” is provided at the beginning of each of the 107 alphabetized categories.  Subjects range from “Billy Graham on Abortion” to “Billy Graham on Young People” with 105 topics in between.  Examples of the book sections include: anxiety, character, God’s will, prayer, success, pride, encouragement, family and religion.  As stated by Franklin Graham in the forward: “The quotes contained in this book are taken predominantly from my father’s writings from 1947-2010…”

The book is well-organized for easy access to the variety of topics, and the majority of the quotations are brief enough for quick inspiration. I’ve highlighted several scriptures and quotations throughout this comprehensive reference.  This is a text that I will reach for again and again.

I’m confident that most people will enjoy reading Billy Graham in Quotes.  It provides guidance for living a life of integrity every day. This book will be on my must-give list this Christmas!  Thanks to Booksneeze for providing me with a free copy in exchange for my honest review.