28.11.16

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer Review & Giveaway

by Sally Matheny

Bible Basics 
My last book review and giveaway in November is a board book for toddlers. The content in Bible Basics is just as robust as its construction.

The author, Danielle Hitchen, and the illustrator, Jessica Blanchard, are mothers who care about the spiritual formation of little ones. Hitchen’s book grew out of her need to find books that teach theological basics of the Christian faith to the youngest members of the family.  


Bible Basics “teaches the Bible and core tenets of Christianity” using quotations mostly from the Bible (ESV) and (NIV). Also included is a quotation from St. Augustine and one from the hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

This is a meaty book. Babies and toddlers will enjoy the bright pastel illustrations while being exposed to theological concepts and six passages of scripture.

27.11.16

The Fears & Joys of Adoption (Part 2)

by Sally Matheny

Adoption
  (Pixabay Photo)
What's the adoption process like? I’d compare it to riding your first-ever roller coaster ride. While waiting in line, you see the process. Your desire to do it is beyond measure. But the excitement and eagerness mingles with an ever-increasing anxiety in the pit of your stomach. 

In honor of Adoption Awareness Month, I shared the first part of our adoption story in my last post.

Today, I'm sharing the rest of our adoption adventure. 

Just like waiting in line for a roller coaster, it helps to hear the excitement of others’ as they finish. However, ultimately, there’s no way to prepare fully for your first experience. When it’s time, you simply take a step forward, and away you go!

The First Call

Eighteen-months of waiting on a call from the adoption agency left me with ample time to wonder. Wondering how our lives would change with a new addition to the family. Wondering if we would measure up to birthparents’ expectations. Wondering if anyone would ever choose our family for their child.

The home study required for adoption is only valid for eighteen months. After our initial home study expired, we questioned if we were doing the right thing. The agency told us the eighteen months was the world’s timeline, not God’s. After much prayer, we felt at peace. We began the process of renewing the home study. 

Within three weeks, a call came from the adoption agency. A birthmother wanted to meet us! The baby’s due date was only a month away. And it was a boy!

What if we had given up and not renewed our home study? The adoption agency was right. It had been the world’s timeline—not God’s.

Our meeting with the birthmother was indescribably beautiful. At first, we were all nervous, but as we began to talk, an overwhelming peace and joy filled our hearts. We shared our story with the birthmother, what led us to adoption, and how God was working through it all.

The birthmother cried as she told us we were the answer to her prayers. Life had not turned out as she’d hoped. She had made unwise decisions but was working at getting back on track.

She said the baby’s father was also struggling. She spoke with love and compassion as she spoke about him. He never had a chance to witness what a good husband or father looked like.

Even though his life was tough as a kid, he “never chose to turn things around, to work, or show responsibility” as an adult. His choices in life continued to spiral downward until, for the safety of her and the baby, she finally had to leave.

She loved the baby but there was no way she could take care of him. More than anything, she said she wanted him to have a good daddy. He would not get that if she kept him. She wanted to protect her son from negative influences, from possible harm, and place him in a loving home. Her greatest fear was that the baby would grow up resenting her. Through my tears, I assured her that as he grew, he would hear how much she loved him.

My heart was totally unprepared for this part of the adoption journey. I had been praying in general for all birthmothers making tough decisions. Up until then, my perception of our child’s birthmother had been very abstract. Now, she had a face, a name, and a personality. Best of all, she had an enormous heart of love.

As we all sat in a circle, the adoption counselor asked my husband to close our meeting in prayer. I was sitting beside the birthmother. I asked if we could all hold hands. I desperately wanted to hold the hand of this precious woman. A woman who loved her son so much she would part with him in order to provide for him.

As my husband prayed aloud, I prayed additional, silent prayers for this woman. I prayed for God to protect her health, her mind, and her heart in the days ahead.

We hugged and cried some more before leaving. But the smiles on our faces showed the evidence of God’s presence.

There was still the challenge of getting the birthfather’s consent. With every passing week, I continually asked God to calm my nerves. There was nothing we could do but trust God with the outcome.

26.11.16

The Winner of the Journal the Word Bible

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
And I'm happy to announce the winner of the Journal the Word Bible.
Congratulations Jennifer R. of N.C.! Jennifer, I'll contact you about delivery of your Bible.
Thanks to all of you who shared comments on how God's Word has influenced your life.

I am thankful for each of you,

Sally

21.11.16

The Fears and Joys of Our Adoption Journey (Part 1 of 2)

by Sally Matheny

(The Fears and Joys of Adopting)

Our son was nine days old when we first met him. As soon as I entered the room, I saw a large, white basket on the sofa. Like a strong magnet, it pulled my heart.  

My husband said, “Wait. Let me get the camera.” I shook my head replying, “I have waited for years, and I cannot wait a moment longer!”  





Gently, I scooped up the tiny miracle and nuzzled him in for a kiss. In that moment, an amazing peace and overwhelming love swaddled us together. Every previous concern, every fear melted away.

Many uncertainties had emerged during our adoption adventure. Nonetheless, more delights resulted. In honor of Adoption Awareness Month, I'd like to share with you a few of our adoption fears and joys. Perhaps they'll encourage you if you're considering adoption.

17.11.16

Journal the Word Bible--One for Me & One for You!

by Sally Matheny
Photo: Journal the Word Bible

How sweet the season is—a time of thanks and giving! Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson sent me, not one, but two, NKJV Journal the Word Bibles. One to keep, and one to give away. First, let me tell you how awesome this Bible is!
Every cream-colored page contains wide margins of lightly ruled lines. You can either journal your thoughts or illustrate the meditations of your heart.


I’m doing a little of both in mine, but mostly journaling. No more writing on the back of church bulletins or loose papers! Everything will be in one spot, ready for future reference by me, or the next generation.

12.11.16

The Winner of the Children's Book--More Giveaways Ahead

I Won?
Public Domain Photo
Congratulations to Melinda Roberts on winning A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit! Melinda, contact me with directions of where to mail your book.

Thanks to all of you who shared your Christmas ideas. You'll have several other chances to win books this month. 

Right now, author, Carrie Daws, is offering five copies of her book, The Warrior Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive to one of my blog readers. You can find out more about this fantastic giveaway on this week's post.



Wouldn't it be wonderful if you won these to give to military wives or to donate to churches and libraries? Carrie is selecting a winner on Nov. 18, so read her great article on my blog and get in on that drawing.

Also, in about two weeks, I'll be reviewing an awesome journal Bible and I'm giving one away. It's a NKJV and one of those that has room on the side of every page where you can journal or illustrate what you're meditating on in God's Word.

I'm thankful for the publishers and authors who donate these books for my readers. 

Also, I'm thankful for you, dear friend. I appreciate your involvement in my blogging ministry and the Christian encouragement you share with others.


                                      "Every good and perfect gift is from above,
                                       coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
                                       who does not change like shifting shadows."
                                                                   James 1:17

10.11.16

Thoughts on Veterans Day by Veteran’s Wife, Carrie Daws


Photo: Carrie Daws
Today, I’m delighted to introduce to you, Carrie Daws. She’s the wife of a military veteran and a mother of three teens. An award-winning author of eleven books, Carrie uses words to encourage and equip.

After subscribing to Carrie’s wonderful blog, I won a choice of one of her books. I chose The Warrior’s Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive. I loved it, and I’m not even a military wife! I also love her blog where she challenges “every Christian to live abundantly, to dream big with God, and to believe you are meant for more.”

Carrie kindly accepted my request to guest post here for Veterans’ Day. And, as usual, she has gone above and beyond the norm. She’s giving away an enormously generous gift. One reader will win five copies of The Warrior’s Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive to distribute however they wish. More details about that later. For now, enjoy reading Carrie’s thoughts on Veterans Day.  

6.11.16

A Night of Great Joy- Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

Photo: Make it A Night of Great Joy

Christmas is less than seven weeks away. Can you believe it?
Before the little ones become enraptured with twinkling lights and toy displays, snuggle them in for a story. The picture book, A Night of Great Joy, written and illustrated by Mary Engelbreit, would be a delightful choice. Allow me to share with you a little about the book, and how you can possibly win it.

This beautifully illustrated book is sure to captivate young children's attention. Engelbreit chose to tell the nativity story through a children’s Christmas pageant.  Children of all ethnicities, clad in colorful costumes, tell the story of Christ’s birth, on a stage using handmade props.
The story unfolds with one to three free verse sentences per page. The message is sweet and simple.
The illustrations are precious. Two children tug over a stuffed lamb. Another child seemingly wants to draw attention to herself. And one is an eager participant in the beginning, but later loses interest.
How fitting for Christmas to illustrate our sinful nature and our need for Christ.
Who wants to win this book?
All you have to do to get your name in the drawing is share something you’ve done, or plan to do, to help children focus on the Reason for the season.
I’ll announce the winner of the book on Saturday, Nov. 12. Leave a comment and get your name in the drawing!
**(Make sure you visit the blog on Veterans Day! I have a wonderful guest blogging for me that day and she has an AWESOME giveaway planned.) 

*MELINDA ROBERTS- You're the winner! Please contact me by Nov. 26 with directions for where I need to mail your book. Congratulations!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”