It Is Well…

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Every time that there have been valleys in my life, I can think of a song that God used to carry me through those moments. Often it was a song that I had never heard before that specifically applied to the situation I was going through. During these times, I would play the song (or songs) over and over again, for days, weeks, or months. These songs have become life songs and I love listening to them and reflecting on how God has worked in my life over the years.

My all time favorite hymn is: It Is Well With My Soul. It was written by: Horatio G. Spafford while he was experiencing great tragedy. Like Job, he lost his property and his family. Back in 2010, I posted the history behind this great hymn and link to the song sung by 4Him. You can see that post if you click HERE. It is a good reminder that even when things go horribly wrong, we can look to Jesus to comfort us and carry us through the valley.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Keli sang a song at church that I had never heard before. The song was beautiful and powerful but then she sang my all time favorite lyrics… It is well, It is well, with my soul! and my heart leap for joy! I felt the Holy Spirit reassuring my spirit. I have been feeling that I have not really moving in my spirituality but still feeling content with my life. Right now, I am not in a valley. Nor am I on a mountain top. This song reminded me that Through It All… good or bad, mountain or valley, joy or sorrow, moving or not moving… It Is Well With My Soul… because I can trust in Jesus… Through It All!

It Is Well

By: Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

*****

Disclaimer: By posting this video and song lyrics, I am not endorsing all of Bethel’s songs and/or all of the theology that Bethel teaches at their church.

It’s a God Thing: Volume 2

This book is created by: Don Jacobson and K-LOVE. The subtitle is “When miracles happen to everyday people.” This book has 58 different stories from real people who give credit to God for the miracles that happened in their lives at these particular moments. The stories include physical recoveries or emerging unscathed from extraordinary circumstances (drowning, hit by a train, car accident, tornado), having moments of peace in the worst of circumstances (death, attack, diagnosis), and being at the right place at the right time, etc.

Overall, I liked this book but, without trying to open a can of worms, I do wonder about some of the stories and if it really was “a God thing” or someone reading too much into it. For example (not from this book), you may remember years ago when someone claimed the face of Jesus was imprinted on a grilled cheese sandwich. Was that really a God thing? Probably not. I think that the people who told the stories in this book really believe that God had a hand in their circumstances and I think that the majority of the stories really portrayed God’s intervention in the lives of these ordinary people. I would just caution readers or hearers of stories like these to make sure that what is being said lines up with scripture. We have what we need in scripture to believe in the Holy God of the universe. I absolutely believe that God can and does perform miracles today but He does not need to because He has already performed the greatest miracles of all… becoming man, becoming sin on the cross, conquering death and returning to life, all so that we might be saved and live with Him in eternity!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Thomas Nelson provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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It’s A God Thing, Volume 2
By Don Jacobson / W Publishing

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How To Catch A Prince

This book by: Rachel Hauck is the third in the Royal Wedding series and is a modern day fairy tale. Corina Del Rey is an American heiress and journalist. Prince Stephan of Brighton Kingdom is a professional rugby player and former Royal Military. They married in secret 5 1/2 years ago and walked away from the marriage after Stephan’s return from Afghanistan where several of his friends, including Corina’s twin brother, died tragically.  When the secret marriage certificate is found by a new Archbishop, the prince and Corina must face their past secrets and annul the marriage. Corina fights for the love of her life with guidance from supernatural help. Torn between guilt and shame, the prince tries to ignore the feelings that he has hidden in his heart for Corina.

I have not read the first two books in this series. I was expecting more of a historical fiction, but realized within the first couple of pages that it was modern. I really enjoyed it even though modern is not one of my favorite genres. Although there are apparent ties to the previous two books, I was able to follow the story without knowing anything about the other story lines. I am interested in reading them though and have added them to my reading list. This book had a very interesting story line. I loved the interactions between Corina and Prince Stephan. They clearly loved each other throughout the book yet both had personal struggles that kept them from fully understanding the other. There was also a secondary story line that involved mysterious people who helped Corina while she stayed at a mysterious inn. It kind of reminded me of a Touched By An Angel episode. While interesting, I felt like it was not really needed to carry the story line. I think that this book will appeal to those who like easy to read, clean, fun, Christian, romance stories.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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How to Catch a Prince, Royal Wedding Series #3
By Rachel Hauck / Zondervan

315506: Princess Ever After, Royal Wedding Series #2 Princess Ever After, Royal Wedding Series #2By Rachel Hauck / Zondervan
315476: Once Upon a Prince, Royal Wedding Series #1 Once Upon a Prince, Royal Wedding Series #1 By Rachel Hauck / Zondervan

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Frozen Birthday Party-Part 1: Food

My girls have birthdays that are 2 weeks apart in January. We have always had joint birthday parties for them which makes it more convenient for me! Until they start putting up a fight and insisting that they have separate parties, we are going to continue the tradition! On their individual birthdays, we allow them to choose a restaurant of their choice for their birthday dinner so that their day is special. For the parties, we always invite entire families who all of us spend time with on a regular basis (instead of random friends who get dropped of at the house). This allows for fellowship with our friends while we are celebrating the girl’s birthdays. We pick a theme (discussions for the next year’s theme usually starts soon after the party is over) and throughout the months leading up to the party, I keep an eye out in stores or online for decorating ideas. I always have a ton of fun decorating and making the party day special! I have finally gone through the hundreds of photos taken at my girl’s Frozen birthday party and narrowed them down to just… 55! So, I do not overwhelm you, I will post the pictures in different blog posts. This post will focus on food! Thank you to my friend Erin who took the photos for me!

Thanks to Pinterest, there are a ton of great ideas for a Frozen themed party! Many of my ideas came from Pinterest and other ideas are my own! Frozen allows for many great possibilities but way too many for one party on a limited budget.

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I started out with a purple plastic tablecloth. We bought a tablecloth roll about 5 years ago and we have used the same roll for every birthday party since then! A friend gave me blue and purple tulle after an event that she decorated for. I stretched them out over the length of the table as runners. We used paper plates (with purple & blue flowers), plastic forks, and purple & blue napkins from the local grocery store. The blue basket came from Hobby Lobby. The party favors, Frozen notebooks & pencils, came from the dollar section at Target. Frozen tattoos came from Big Lots. I found my blank food tags & water bottle labels from a pinterest post from Delicate Construction.

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Hallmark has a new product called Itty Bittys! I bought the entire princess line for the girls for Christmas. I saved Anna & Elsa for their party. They were very excited! Chocolate hearts were labeled “I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face!” Hershey Hugs were labeled “I love warm hugs!” I found the blue & white swirled lollipops and blue diamond gems  from Oriental Trading Company.

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Strawberries dipped in candy melts from Hobby Lobby are labeled as “Frozen Hearts.” Sandwiches labeled as “We finish each other’s sandwiches.” I made chicken salad, scooped it on hamburger buns, and cut them in half.

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Powdered donuts are labeled as “Snow Balls” and the veggie tray is labeled as “Troll Food.”

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I set up several snacks (marshmallows, pretzels, carrots, raisins, snowflake candy, and labeled them “Do you want to build a snowman?” The kids had fun and were really creative!

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The “Stormy Seas” Punch is made from Blue Hawaiian Punch, Sprite, raspberry sherbet, and vanilla ice cream. There is not a set recipe, just make it to taste. Pour the sprite over the ice cream to get the fizzy look on top! Water bottles are labeled as “Melted Snow.”

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And of course, the Frozen birthday cake! There are many cool ideas for custom cakes on Pinterest. I did not have the time (or the talent) to try and attempt to make one. This came from the local grocery store. The decal is printed on edible paper. I told them the colors I wanted for the colored frosting (to match the rest of the party decorations).

Stay tuned for Frozen Birthday Party-Part 2: Decorating!

The Old Fashioned Way

This book by: Ginger Kolbaba is a 40 day Christian devotional based on the new movie Old Fashioned written & produced by: Rik Swartzwelder (who also plays the lead male role in the film). With all of the hype surrounding the 50 Shades of Grey film, people may not be aware that Old Fashioned was created as a wholesome alternative and released in theaters this Valentine’s Day weekend as well. It was the intent of Swartzwelder to go head to head with 50 Shades of Grey and help reclaim the lost art of romance. The devotional book is geared toward single adults who are looking for love either now or in the future. Based on 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter), the idea behind the book (and I assume the movie), is that old-fashioned ways of dating/courting can still work today. A person does not have to sleep around in order to find a compatible husband or wife. The book gives movie quotes, personal stories, advice, suggestions, and scripture. There are also prayers and journaling suggestions.

Like I said above, this devotional is geared toward single adults. I think that it had a lot of useful information and could absolutely be relevant to single Christians. I say Christians because it is definitely a Christianity based book. The author quotes scripture and refers to generally held Christian beliefs throughout the book. Old-Fashioned ideas of dating and courting can work for anyone, so people who are not Christians could glean useful information from this book as well. 40 seems to be a good number for the amount of days to commit to doing devotionals. Of course, one could read it much faster (like I did) or take their time and stretch it over a longer period of time. Since I have been married for over 12 years, the book was not at all relevant to my life. That being said, I love the idea behind the book and did agree with a lot of what was written. I plan to give the book to one of my single friends and will be interested in hearing how she likes it.

I have not watched the movies Old-Fashioned or 50 Shades of Grey so I cannot give movie reviews. Still, the  idea behind Old-Fashioned is much more to my liking than that of 50 Shades of Grey (which I will not be seeing at all). I will be watching Old-Fashioned at some point and hope that it turns out to be a great movie! I also have not read the 50 Shades of Grey books. You can read the reasons why on my post:

Why I Do Not Read Erotic Fiction

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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The Old-Fashioned Way: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance
By Ginger Kolbaba / Tyndale House

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By Alysa Posted in Life

The (Desperate) Diva Diaries~ Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters!

This book by: Angie Spady and illustrated by: Channing Everidge is a Christian alternative to the Dork Diaries. It portrays a Christian girl in public middle school (6th grade) who has to deal with the ups and downs of being a tween. Catie Conrad writes in her diary about all of the drama in her life. Upcoming school dance, her little brother whom she calls “Germ” and his pet skunk, the popular girl who is also a bully, art competition, upcoming mission trip, friendships, boys, etc. The book is written in a diary format, complete with lined pages, a font that looks like writing, doodles and drawings. Catie writes her honest thoughts, dreams, questions, prayers, and scripture. She learns how to love her enemies, follow her dreams, and how to be brave. Her best friend and her faith in God help her get through all the drama.

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I have never read the Dork Diaries, so I cannot compare this book to those, but I really enjoyed reading this book. I love the diary style (see photos above for examples) and the illustrations! I was a Christian girl in a public middle school, and I found some of the topics relevant to what I remember of my middle school years. The difference being that Catie Conrad has a more secure and stable home than I did. I also really liked how the author incorporated a mission trip into the story line. Catie has the opportunity to share Jesus to girls on an Apache reservation. I also like how the author let Catie be honest about her feelings towards her brother and the bully at school. She also had a struggle between knowing some of her thoughts were not pleasing to God and the story shows how she dealt with them by keeping a prayer journal. A few things to mention (not because they are bad but because I know that Christian families may have different viewpoints), Catie is interested in boys and she wants to go to the school dance with a boy. I think that the book tastefully deals with the drama of middle school crushes & friendships between girls & boys. I personally do not want to think of my daughters having crushes as early as 6th grade but it does happen and we as parents should not avoid the subject. I think that this book is an easy read and would appeal to tween girls. I will definately hang on to this book for when my girls are tweens! Parents will love the wholesome storyline and that Catie works through her drama from a Christian perspective.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that BHKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship and Fashion Disasters

By Angie Spady & Channing Everidge / B&H Kids

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Psalm 23

This book illustrated by: Richard Jesse Watson has colorful and unique illustrations. It is a board book but there is a hardback version available as well. The scripture uses the King James Version of the Bible. Lines of scripture coordinate with the illustrations. The back inside cover has the entire Psalm 23 passage.

While the KJV is not my go to version of the Bible, I did memorize this passage in the KJV when I was a child. I think that children will be drawn to the bold colors. This book is a great way to introduce young children to the 23rd Psalm which is a favorite passage of scripture for many.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that ZonderKids provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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Psalm 23, Board Book

By Richard Watson / Zondervan

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Love Without Limits- Free Book Giveaway!

UPDATE:

CONGRATULATIONS TO EMMA

WINNER OF THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

PLEASE E-MAIL ME WITH YOUR MAILING ADDRESS WITHIN 5 DAYS AT:

hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

*****

RESULTS FROM RANDOM.ORG:

There were 2 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Emma
2. Shannon

Timestamp: 2015-01-27 19:00:41 UTC

*****

This book by: Nick Vujicic with Kanae Vujicic is labeled as “A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All.” Many people are already familiar with Nick Vujicic’s testimony of being born without limbs. He is an inspirational and motivational speaker and is not shy about sharing his life story and how God has used him. This book shares the story of how he met his wife Kanae, about the birth of their son Kiyoshi, and the ups and downs that they have faced managing life in the public’s eye. It shares Nick and Kanae’s personal perspective, insight, and advice on a number of topics. They focus on how Christ has influenced their dating, marriage, and family life.

Although I knew about Nick Vujicic’s story from news articles and you-tube videos, I have not read any of his other books. He did a good job of sharing parts of his testimony, before meeting Kanae, that I assume were written in previous books. There were still times that I felt like I didn’t know the full story. This book is absolutely a stand alone book, I just found myself interested in knowing more about his life before meeting his wife. Both Nick and Kanae write throughout the book and the transitions from one person to the other are clear. The authors write as if they are speaking directly to the reader which makes you feel like you are having a conversation with them. I felt that this book was geared toward singles or newly married couples. I do not feel like I gained any new information or applicable advice for my personal life since I have already lived the dating life, have been married for almost 13 years, and have 2 elementary age children (as well as 2 teenaged foreign exchange students). Still their story was an interesting read and definitely inspirational. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a real life love story that has overcome the odds.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that WaterBrook Press provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All

By Nick & Kanae Vujicic / WaterBrook Press

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 *****

FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY

To be entered in the giveaway:

1. Post a link to my blog to your blog, facebook, etc.  

This post:  https://alysasawyer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/love-without-limits-free-book-giveaway/

or Home Page:  https://alysasawyer.wordpress.com

2. Comment on this blog post to let me know 1. where you posted my blog link! 2. Why you want to win this book! (Only one comment per person please.)

3. Entries will be accepted until midnight Sunday, January 25, 2015. I will insert all entries into http://www.random.org and whoever randomly gets the #1 spot will win the book!

4. On Monday, January 26, 2015 the top of this post will be updated with the announcement of the winner.

5. Winner must e-mail me with mailing address within 5 days of announcement otherwise the book will be sent to a new winner. hearttreasurescontact@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Remember this is a free giveaway at my expense, therefore, Heart Treasures Blog is not responsible for loss or damage of the giveaway item(s). Giveaway open only to residents of the United States (unless you have a US Military address such as APO, FPO, etc. -OR- I know you personally.)