Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Counting Our Blessings - LinkUp!


How have you been, dear friends? I hope your Easter was wonderful and that you've had blessings - large and small - each day.

30.  Everything has been blooming here and my lilac bushes were loaded with blooms. Every day, I  kept saying I was going to go out and cut some, but I never did. It was lovely seeing them, though, from our windows. Our irises have also been blooming and my sweet hubby brought me in a little bunch. Here's a picture of our really unique ones.



Such beauties! They smell really good, too! It's also such a sweet blessing when my hubby cuts flowers for me and brings them in. :)

31.  We did have a real scare last week! My youngest son called me from work and said, "Mom, don't freak out but I'm on my way to the hospital. Can you meet me there?" Never tell me not to freak out because that's exactly what I will do! I had images of mutilated body parts since he works with industrial machinery. I finally thought to ask him what was wrong and he said he was in horrible pain. So off to the Emergency Room we all went. He was suffering so much when we got there and I had no idea what was wrong. I thought perhaps it was his back but he said it didn't feel like that. After what seemed like forever, they finally took him back to be seen.


They gave him some pain meds but they didn't really touch the pain. They took him for a CT scan and then gave him other pain meds which finally gave him some relief. Eventually, we got the answer from the doctor - it was a kidney stone! I have never had them and they don't run in my family so I had no idea that they could create this kind of pain. This happened last Wednesday and he still hasn't passed the stone. He's not in a lot of pain anymore but we'll be glad when that stone finally decides to leave him. I'm so thankful that he wasn't hurt on the job or that it was his back - that is a blessing!


32.  I have been doing some drawing again. There was a time in my life when I didn't go a day without drawing and always had a sketch pad with me. I've missed it and decided to get out my sketch book a few days ago and just doodle. Here's what I came up with...


I will more than likely paint these little cuties on something. See that bunny? I learned to draw that in 2nd grade from my very favorite teacher ever, Miss Lowman. It's amazing how a teacher can have such a profound affect on us and, even after all these years, she is still my favorite teacher ever and I can remember so much of what she taught me. She was such an encourager and blessed me so much!

Please share your own blessings on the linkup below. You can share something good that happened, or something you made, a recipe or anything you think would bless others. Thank you for being  a part of my blog!


Blessings - Julie

Bible Review & Giveaway - NKJV The Woman's Study Bible

ABOUT THE BIBLE:

The Woman's Study Bible  poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God's truth for balance, hope, and transformation.

Special features designed to speak to a woman's heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman's identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

Now with a beautiful full-color redesign,The Woman's Study Bible, reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman's Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Features Include:
-Beautiful full-color design throughout
-Detailed biographical portraits of over 100 biblical women
-Thousands of extensive verse-by-verse study notes
-Over 300 in-text topical articles on relevant issues
-Insightful essays by women who are recognized experts in the fields of theology, biblical studies, archaeology, and philosophy
-Book introductions and outlines
-Hundreds of full-color in-text maps, charts, timelines, and family trees
-Quotes from godly women throughout history
-Set of full-page maps of the biblical world
-Topical index
-Concordance


ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

In business since 1798, Thomas Nelson is one of the oldest Bible publishers in the world and the largest publisher of the King James Version. Their mission is to inspire the world by using our talents, assets, opportunities, and influence to engage and equip people with Scripture and draw people to a deeper study and understanding of God's Word.

Find out more about Thomas at https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com.

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The NKJV Woman's Bible Study
 
MY REVIEW:
 
This is one of the most beautiful Bibles I own! In fact, I think it is the most beautiful! I received the hardcover (the one on the right in the picture above) and it's so feminine and so pretty!
 
The first thing I love about it is the larger typeset or font. This is very easy to read and made it great for reading without eye strain. The next thing that is gorgeous about this Bible is the pink foil on the edges of the pages! I have never seen anything but silver or gold so having pink is such a treat! Again, it made it so feminine which really appeals to me.
 
Since this is a study Bible, there are wonderful notes at the bottom of each page that get deeper into what you're studying. They are not so small that I couldn't read them and I love understanding what I'm reading. The study notes explain things in a way that I understood, too.
 
Then there's the prettiness of the pages - at the beginning of each book, there is a gorgeous flower border at the top. There is also charts and diagrams that have this same flower border. I absolutely love the charts! I have never seen some of these in any other Bible. My favorite is the one called, "The Emotions of Jesus". It shares Scripture and what His emotion was during that time. Loved this! There are just endless charts like this that bring the Scriptures to life!
 
There are little boxes of devotions or special thoughts and I loved reading these as I read through the Bible. I used them during my quiet time to study those Scriptures in depth.
 
The only down side to this particular Bible is it is quite heavy for me. Because it's the hardback copy, I find it hard to carry around for any length of time. I have made it my quiet time Bible and leave it on my table where I study each day so the heaviness has not really been an issue for me. However, if you do intend to carry this Bible to church or Bible studies, I wanted you to be aware of it's heft. You might consider the soft covers of this edition if you are going to carry it and don't want the weight.
 
I love this Bible! It's beautiful but more than that, it has so much to offer inside! I love the NKJV and how easy it is to read and understand, too. I highly recommend this Bible to you and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
 
*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group
 
 

Blessings - Julie

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway - Chasing Famous


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Have you ever considered your life as an audition?

Regardless of who or where we are, we are constantly, often unconsciously, auditioning for a part. Loving wife. Amazing employee. Crafting queen. Socialite. All we really want is to be loved, affirmed, and accepted. What if we could learn to live the life we have always been auditioning for without all the stress?

Chasing Famous is a redemptive book that teaches us how to take the focus off ourselves and shift it back on to the glory of God. Written by a professional actress who readily admits that she is the most self-centered person she knows, Chasing Famous provides practical and sometimes humorous examples of scriptural truth that will help you master the natural self-centered tendencies of life. Once you've mastered these issues, and you can, your story will turn the spotlight on God where, you'll soon discover, what it means to truly live.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa is a speaker, emcee, actor, and writer. Since receiving her bachelor of fine arts in theater from Southern Methodist University, Lisa has been featured in many major performance mediums. Her television credits include What Would You Do?, Prison Break, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful. You may see her on television commercials, highway billboards, or TV screens at the local airport. She has performed with many theaters, including the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Montana Shakespeare, the Dallas Theater Center, and Casa MaƱana Theater. She is a highly sought-after speaker at women s retreats, conferences, and events across the country. She and her husband Markus live in McKinney, Texas, and have two boys.
Find out more about Lisa at http://www.lisalloyd.org.

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Chasing Famous Lisa Lloyd

MY REVIEW:

This book brings a new concept to many of us - taking the spotlight off ourselves and putting it squarely on God. If you're like me, you enjoy a bit of the spotlight now and again and that pat on the back, too. However, Lisa shares with us how we can live a more fulfilled life by putting the spotlight on God.

It's quite fun the way she has set this book up. The font and the way it reads is somewhat like a script. Since Lisa is an actress, this makes sense, and it also keeps that reminder that we want and need to keep the spotlight on God. It reminded me that God has a script (plan) for my life, too, and that I can trust Him to guide me through, much like a director.

I love the questions at the end of each chapter. They bring into focus what I read in the chapter and helped me to really apply it to my life. I liked using a separate journal for this as it gave me more area to write than the book provides.

Each and everything in this book is about God. It has so much beautiful Scripture and focuses on the Word of God. I also love how open and vulnerable Lisa was in this book. It makes it more real and gives you that feeling that you're not alone in your feelings. So much of what she wrote, I related to.

I loved the whole book but there were a couple of chapters that absolutely stood out to me. Chapter 8 is called, "Finding Your Light" and focuses on our God-given gifts or talents. I was so inspired by this chapter and realizing that my gifts are what God gave me to use for Him! The other chapter I loved was 11. It was called, "On Hold". The minute I read that, I knew this chapter was going to speak profoundly to my heart. She asks if we have put ourselves on hold in not doing what God has called us to do or set aside the task we know we should be doing for Him. This gave me a whole new feeling about not setting my God ordained tasks aside! If He calls me to do it, I need to do it and finish it.

This is a wonderful book! It inspires, refreshes and brings a whole new feeling into what we do in our lives. All the things we do matter - the little and the large - and as we do them, we need to do them for the glory of God and not focus on ourselves. I love this book (and intend to read it again!) and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group


Blessings - Julie

Book Review & Giveaway - Unsinkable Faith


ABOUT THE BOOK:

For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle - especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.

For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. Eventually it doesn't seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don't sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie Miles is a national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and a bestselling author who's spent the last twelve years inspiring women to become who God called them to be. She's the author of "Your Life Still Counts" and "Stressed-Less Living," and a contributor to Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotions.

Find out more about Tracie at http://traciemiles.com.

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Unsinkable Faith Tracie Miles
MY REVIEW:

This book has encouraged me so much and given me so many excellent tools to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, and to remember God's promises regarding who I am.

I related so much to this book. I'm pretty sure every page has some highlighting on it because it felt as though Tracie was talking to me about my thought life. She shares how the things we have been told by others, since childhood, have shaped how we think of ourselves if we believe these things. So many times these negative things are said by people that we believe, like a parent, and it truly shapes how we see ourselves.

My favorite thing about this book is the end of the chapter reflections. These questions really helped me to really understand why my thinking has become so negative against myself and how to change it. She gives us so many Biblical strategies for changing our thought processes and helping us to see ourselves as God sees us.

Included in these end chapter reflections are memory verses that help us to remember who we are in Christ and to replace those negative thoughts about ourselves with what God says. The last part of each chapter has the challenge and it really will challenge you to be pro-active in changing how you think of yourself and others. I found having a journal to work this through was extremely helpful.

I really loved this book because it was so honest and easy to read. I liked that Tracie shared so much and was so real in her writing. She made me feel like she truly understands what it is to feel bad about things or yourself yet she helped me to embrace the positive and the new godly thinking.

This is a wonderful book and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by LitFuse Publicity Group


Blessings - Julie

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review - Pursued



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--until the crash landing at the airport.

When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. When she learns that Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial, Nikki wonders if her disappearance from the crash site means she's running from trouble--or straight into it. Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three children have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice" (Proverbs 31:8).

When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa, visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.

MY REVIEW:

This book was a definite page turner! It kept me guessing throughout the book and it's a new favorite.

I love the character of Nikki! She's strong, smart and is committed to doing the right thing. When she is in the plane accident, it completely changes her special plans of spending some time with Tyler, her love interest. This is book 3 in the "Nikki Boyd Files" series, and while you won't be lost if you haven't read the first two, I highly recommend you do. It gives you a deeper background into the characters and the relationships. Plus, they are really good books, as well.

Nikki is pulled into this new investigation when the woman sitting next to her on the plane, disappears. It comes to light that this woman is someone the FBI is trying to protect as she is a high profile witness. However, when she disappears out of their protective custody, they look to Nikki to help them as she is a highly experienced agent specializing in missing persons.

This story line twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of our seat as you follow Nikki through everything. I really liked this book a lot and enjoyed the thrills and mystery. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Revell


Blessings - Julie