Saturday, November 10, 2018

Celebrating Friendship With Precious Moments

We have so much to be thankful for throughout the year, and one of the most precious things to me is my friendships. The women in my life continue to play a vital role in my life. The holidays are the perfect time to show them how much you appreciate them with gifts from Precious Moments. I was happy to have the opportunity to partner with Precious Moments to review what they're unofficially calling their "Girlfriend Giving" gift line.

You can find the line on Amazon! I did some faux decorating with the frame so you could see how beautiful it is, but since I'm giving it as a gift to a friend, I didn't want to add a photo in case they want to add their own. Before I wrap it up, I may tuck in a photo of the two of us in case they want to use it though. lol


I chose the “Good Friends Are A Blessing” Ceramic Photo Frame & “She Is Clothed In Strength And Dignity” Ceramic Travel Coffee Mug With Lid to share with my readers! When you see these I have no doubt you'll know immediately which of your friends would love receiving them as a gift.



“Good Friends Are A Blessing” Ceramic Photo Frame

Frame your favorite 4”x 6” photo with a stylish home accent designed to inspire appreciation for the special bonds we share with friends. This lovely gift blends contemporary style with a timeless message about the gift of friendship
·         Carefully crafted of ceramic
·         Approximately 6.75”H


“She Is Clothed In Strength And Dignity” Ceramic Travel Coffee Mug With Lid

This stylish coffee mug is a functional and beautiful gift that features a flexible lid for sipping while you travel and an inspirational message about faith from Proverbs 31:25. She’ll be encouraged each and every day as she gets ready to take a nice hot drink with her wherever she goes!
·         Carefully crafted of ceramic
·         Approximately 6”H. Holds 11 oz. 
·         Microwave and dishwasher safe
Yes, we're coming up to the holidays when this line would be a sweet gift, but they're wonderful any time of the year. Do you have a friend who needs to be encouraged or to know that you've been thinking of them? This line would be the place to start. They're sure to be a blessing!


Just in time for the holidays I received my Precious Moments catalogue. I was happy to see this line was in it since I don't remember seeing them in the past. I've also started going through it finding other wonderful gift ideas as well. :)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sampling AriZona Fruit Snacks

I don't know if your family has this same issue, but we seem to go through snacks at the speed of light! I never seem to be able to keep enough things on hand. Not only that, I get tired of bringing home the same thing time after time. I've been asking my 15 yr old to think of some new items he'd like me to put into his lunch box.

 

This is where the new AriZona Fruit Snacks come in. I was offered a couple sample bags to try them out, and since my kids love both AriZona Beverages as well as fruit snacks, how could I say, "No."?

Well, it turns out these come in what I think of as a family size bag! lol I thought they were going to be your typical small bag, but nope, these are a large size, which is great because it will come in handy in more situations that just a lunch box.

Now, I'm not an iced tea person nor am I much of a fruit snack person. That being said, I did do my "duty" to at least try them, and guess what? I'm also the one who finished the bag! Kid you not, these were so addicting. I had to move the bag back to the kitchen just so I would stop myself from eating them.


Both my boys liked the taste of them as well. When your kids can agree on anything I'd have to say that's a success!

These will be great for the sporting events we go to like my son's baseball games or Fred's son's basketball games. I can even drop some into a baggie for my youngest son's lunch for a better choice for his school snack.


AriZona Beverages all natural Fruit Snacks are gluten free, fat free, contain Vitamin C, and made with real fruit! I also am thankful that they only have 70 calories per serving so they'll be a good snack while I'm walking on the treadmill if I just want to much on something.

The juicy flavors are fruit punch, mucho mango, and watermelon. For only $1.49 or 2 for $3 you can get this latest snack to hit the shelves!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Shelter Of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Shelter of the Most High
by Connilyn Cossette
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764219870

So, a little background into getting this book at exactly this time... First, I've never read any books by Connilyn Cossette, although I have 2 of her books on my bookshelves. Time just keeps getting away from me!

Second, I'm in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and this year we are covering The People of the Promised Land. We started in the book of Joshua and have read through it as well as the book of Ruth. We're now at the beginning of Samuel.

When I was offered this book for review, I jumped at the chance because now I HAD to read Connilyn's book and was very excited. What I didn't know was, this book was going to be set during the time of my Bible study! I can't tell you how amazing it was to read the description of the book again, realize the series name, and understand how well God works things together! I already understood what "Cities of Refuge" was because of what I'd learned in Joshua. I was SO ready to dive into Shelter of the Most High.

Summary:

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?


My Review:

Have you ever just devoured a book? I had no idea going into Shelter of the Most High that I was going to be so lost in the book.

As I previously mentioned, I hadn't read any of the author's books before, but her book covers compelled me to purchase her books. lol I had a feeling the stories inside would be just as incredible. I was right, but I had no idea how far off the mark I was. What was inside was even BETTER!

The story begins with the reader meeting Sofea and her cousin Prezi. They're out having fun like teenage girls will do, even back in Biblical times. Little do they know their lives are about to change forever. Kidnapped and taken to a foreign land, they only hope to survive, even if it's as a slave.

Connilyn's detailed description of almost every moment in the book gives so much life to the characters and Kedesh. After reading this time period in the Bible, it was incredible to see her pull into what was going on during that time and add it to what's going on in the story. We know that there were cities of refuge where people who accidentally killed someone could seek refuge. They would then have to stay there until the priest at the time dies. Kedesh is one of 6 cities named in the Bible.

For Sofea and Prezi you can feel their fear through the author's writing. When they're brought to this city, which they don't know anything about or understand the language, they don't know if they'll be sacrificed or enslaved for the rest of their lives. Can you imagine? As a reader, I could feel Prezi's helplessness and Sofea's desire to protect her.

We meet Eiten and his family, who are introduced in book 1, which I will absolutely be going back to read! There's such a mix of emotion and drama within this family you might wonder how they all live under one roof. What you do know is, there is a lot of love and reverence for God.

The way Connilyn Cossette describes nearly every piece of this story with such detail, you will think you've been transported to Kedesh! I could barely put this book down. I was up to the wee hours to get one more chapter in. I can't wait to go back to read book 1, and I can tell you I'm already impatiently awaiting book 3 when I've only just finished Shelter of the Most High!

About the Author:

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), bestselling author Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Starswon the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Our Yearly Mission Trip To Peru

I usually try to share several posts every year after we get back from Peru. I don't always do such a great job of it because life happens and I'm lucky if I get one up. So, that's what will be happening this time.

We've already been back for nearly 3 weeks! I can hardly believe it. The week we spend in Lima always goes by in the blink of an eye. I don't think that anyone who knows me knows how much I love Lima, Peru and the people of Lima. This being my 5th year there has made it almost like a 2nd home. So much is familiar there, the people are more like family, and those around us during that week are ones I just want to love on as much as I can!

Our first day down at Alcance we prepared care baskets for Venezuelan refugees who lived across the street. This pink building housed 60 families! The items in the basket won't last long, but hopefully our outpouring of love will!


The next day was a rather low-key one for us. It was a voting day, and in Lima, everyone is required to vote or they're fined. Everything is mandatory to be closed so we weren't able to do much until about 4pm. We went to the Inka market for some shopping, walked around the Presidential palace, went to church that night, and ate at one of my favorite places, Palachinkes!


Monday was a full day! One of the visions for the pastor at the Camino de Vida Alcance campus is to reach out to the neighborhood. A group of us swept the sidewalks while others cleaned and then painted a man's business down at the corner of the street. It was an incredible group effort!


A little surprise I had been cooking up since about March was to get a ring tattoo on my wedding band finger. Thankfully our friends were in on the secret and whisked me away to the tattoo artist. Paige ended up getting a tattoo as well. It was super cute, but I'd rather give birth 4 times in a row than get a tattoo on my finger again. lol The top was fine, but the sides and underneath were incredibly painful. The date of my wedding (underside of my finger) didn't take well, and I don't plan on getting it fixed any time soon. lol


On Tuesday we went to the main campus at Surco. We were able to learn more about Internship CDV, which one of our missionaries who went with us last year ended up participating in this year! Then we got to hear from Pastor Robert who started Camino de Vida 30 years ago! This was the first time we've been privileged to spend a chunk of time with him. From there we headed to Grace House, which is a home for women recovering from addictions and life circumstances. We've been there several times and this year we were blessed ones again to bring brand new leggings for them to have! It was SO fun watching them pick out their favorites.



Wednesday was another busy day for us. It started out with a lot of tears for our entire team. Several of them had to cut the strongest onions we've ever been in contact with. Those of us who were peeling the yucca at the opposite end of the room were crying as much as those who were cutting them! lol We were prepping the veggies for the soup we going to be serving at the hospital.

Now, I have to admit, visiting the hospital is one of the things I look forward to most! I thought I came seriously prepared this year with toys for kids and babies. Really, I thought I had more than last year. Of course, as every year has been different, we went to a different part of the hospital than we've been to in the past couple of years. We've always gone to a new section each time. It's remarkable how large it is. This time 3 of us were escorted by the director of the hospital. We went to the pediatric hospital and birthing wing! What an incredible experience! Putting smiles on children's faces or blessing a new mama with something small for their baby filled our hearts! We rolled around 2 suitcases full of items to giveaway!!


Our Thursday was one I'll never forget. We drove the furthest I think we've ever gone to the outskirts of Lima. A crew had spent a couple days digging a foundation and a hole for a water cleaner (I don't know what I should be calling it). The day before one of the men had been up until like 2am finishing the concrete foundation. He was there when we arrived helping with the rest of the building going up. It was a prefab structure so that went up fairly easily. The water tubs/containers came and we had to backfill the hole it went into. The other one had to have a little table built for it and the legs buried in concrete.


While that was all going on, we had 3 water trucks come up to the area to deliver water to families who had already been chosen. A lady walking by told us a man who was ill was out of water. These families live without electricity or running water. They have these huge tubs that water is delivered to. We helped hold the hoses as some of the water was delivered, and who knew they were so heavy?!


After the center was built, I was asked to help do the ribbon cutting. Actually, I had been asked to do it by myself. I tried to say, "No," quite a few times, but they were so insistent. I don't even know how I was chosen. To not offend them, I quit trying to reject the offer. I asked Jackie, who had managed the outreach to do it with me. What I should've done was recommend that the man who had done all of the hard work and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to do it with Jackie. I didn't even think of that until it was all said in done. I was incredibly humbled that I was asked to take part in something so special.



Another aspect that was incredibly special was that Rosita, who had cooked for years with Juanita at Alcance had passed away a couple days before, was honored by naming the building after her! It brought a lot of tears to the Peruvians who loved her so much. We ended the day with a celebration with many of the towns people & their children hanging out. Truly a beautiful day!


Sadly, our last day arrived much too quickly. We spent the day building 16 wheelchairs to distribute to people who had been already picked to receive them. Even though we've done them for the past 5 years, for the life of me, I never remember exactly how to put them together. Actually, if I think about it, I've only done them 5 times now.



The joy the people have when they receive a new wheelchair is so palpable. To us it seems like such a small thing, but to them it's freedom and opportunity! Being able to help them into their new chair, to love them for those brief moments, and to pray for them is something that I can never quite put into words. It's something you have to experience to understand.


We went out to dinner one more time, and celebrated Stalin's birthday... one more time (we'd celebrated it nearly every day at whichever restaurant we went to) before we headed to the airport. Our last day is always bittersweet. I'm thankful for the time we get to spend down there, but I also miss my kids. I love how we can do God's work every single day, but I also like the quiet of our home.


We said our farewells to Paige & Stalin while Moises rode the bus with us to the airport. I can't believe my 5th trip to Lima is in the books. As soon as we leave, I'm always ready to go back! Hope to see everyone again in a year!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lady Of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Lady of a Thousand Treasures
by Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1496426833

I feel like life has been so busy lately that I've had very little time to do one of my favorite hobbies...read! I think we can all agree that's a travesty. Thankfully, I was chosen to be part of Sandra Byrd's Influencer Team to help kick off the release of her newest book, "Lady of a Thousand Treasures." I was bummed that I was out of the country when her book officially released! On the other hand it was fantastic to see all of the great reviews she's been receiving. I was finally able to finish Lady of a Thousand Treasures after stealing bits of free time here and there!

Summary:

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.


My Review:

I love a good historical novel. When I read one with as much detail as Lady of a Thousand Treasures, I fall in love and get lost in the story! Not sure about you, but I adore antiques. They're such a tangible connection to the past. Author, Sandra Byrd, paid so much attention to the details, I figured she must've earned a degree in antiques! Is there such a thing? lol

The story starts off with Eleanor Sheffield learning that she has a huge decision to make. One that will make a difference in the life of the man she once hoped to be betrothed to. Have you ever thought you knew what was right and true, but then everything around you was pointing you in a different direction? That's what Ellie had to deal with throughout her decision making! That's a lot of pressure for a woman who's trying to keep her family's antique business running!

Unfortunately for Ellie, making the decision about the collection isn't the only pressure she has. A man who was brought in to help with the business seems to have an interest in Eleanor and seems to want to help keep the company afloat. Poor Eleanor has so much going on, how she's able to keep on top of everything seems impossible.

Sadly things start to come apart as we dive deeper into the story. No one seems to be who they claim to be. Thankfully Ellie has a couple of people in her life who are on her side who, without question, are for her! That doesn't help her world from crashing down around her as she tries her best to keep it all together!

Lady of a Thousand Treasures will have you hoping for the best in people, but finding out they're not always who they claim to be. God is always who He claims to be and unlike the people in the story, we see how faithful he is to Eleanor. Why does life have to be so difficult? Eleanor seems to wonder the same thing. For all of her trying and doing things on her own, nothing appears to go right. When God isn't in control and we're not letting others into our lives to help, things tend to take a turn for the worse. Seeking God and sharing burdens with others typically gives a better outcome. Read this book and see for yourself!

About the Author:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books. 

Sandra's delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. 

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.