I Can Only Imagine for Little Ones - Book Review

by Sally Matheny

I Can Only Imagine- for Little Ones
by Bart Millard and Laura Neutizling

Musician, Bart Millard of Mercy Me, has collaborated with Laura Neutzling to write a children's board book inspired by the hit song, I Can Only Imagine. 

The padded cover of I Can Only Imagine for Little Ones encases twenty-four hardcover pages. Sumiti Collina illustrates colorful pictures depicting multi-ethnic children.

The book is written from a young child's point of view as he wonders what heaven may be like.

I can only imagine what God thinks is fun.
We could jump in the lake and soak in the sun.

Why maybe in heaven God loves to play ball. 
Everyone gets chosen. There's room for us all.

The book is recommended for ages 0 - 4. It does not address how someone gets to heaven. That's too abstract for the wee little ones to understand. It's a cute book that ends with an emphasis on the one thing the child knows for sure--that he doesn't have to wait until he's in heaven to spend time with God. Hence, the subtitle of the book, A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever.

This book will be one of the giveaway prizes on the launch day of my new website which is coming soon!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest 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


Excellent Christian Entertainment: NarroWay Theatre

by Sally Matheny
Photo courtesy of NarroWay Productions
Photographer: Ken Rice
Are you looking for something different, something highly entertaining and yet wholesome in nature where you can enjoy a night out with your family or friends? 

Not long ago, I discovered such a place.

I wanted to surprise my sweet hubby by taking him somewhere we’ve never been before. 

Researching online, I stumbled across NarroWay Theatre, located in Fort Mill, S.C., just outside of Charlotte, N.C.

The nonprofit theater presents original, Broadway-style shows. At that time, what caught my eye was the WWII-theme production they were putting on called Not Just Another Love Story. I love the history of the WWII era and my husband loves the music, so I purchased our tickets online.

Patrons have the option to add a meal to their theater tickets. The meals vary. For this show, it was a chicken plate with sides and cherry pie for dessert. Performers serve the guests at their seats on pull-up trays. I thought it would be fun, so I added two dinner tickets.   

When we arrived at the theater, we were warmly greeted by the performers and ushered to our reserved seats. Unfortunately, I had a migraine that night, but I was determined not to let it dampen our night. The woman who led us to our seats learned of my headache and asked if she could pray for me. How many hosts at entertainment venues do that? I felt blessed.

Even before the show began, my husband smiled broadly and said, “Thank you for bringing me here!” We knew by the atmosphere and the people we were in for a treat.

Courtesy of NarroWay Productions
Photographer: Ken Rice

After the meal, the production began and what a treat it was! Incredibly talented performers presented a musical with two intertwining storylines. One about a love story during WWII and the other about Hosea from the Bible.

The acting, singing, period costumes, and the multiple stage set designs were excellent. 

Oh, and you've got to try their delicious ice cream floats. The homemade fried apple pies will give even the best of your family recipes a run for their money. I’m not exaggerating. If you’re within a day’s drive of Charlotte, N.C., you should go.

The performances are always changing. Most will run for one to three months. I really wanted to see The Gospel According to Tennessee but forgot and missed it. Sampson is running now. Lord of Light sounds like a good one for October—not sure if it’s suited for your littlest ones but I bet the teens would enjoy it.  

The description of Lord of Light on the NarroWay website says,

“From creation to Revelation, "Lord of Light" is an action-packed, one-of-a-kind portrayal of the unseen battle in heavenly realms. With aerial artists, stunning blacklight effects and sword-wielding angels and demons, this show is a physical representation of what happened spiritually during the three days Jesus was in the tomb. All Hell really does break loose in this sensational thriller!

The production company offers discount days and has special performances and activities for kids. Many of the shows involve live animals, so there’s usually a lamb you can pet or a camel you can ride if weather permits. 

Winner of the Gift Card

Congratulations to R. McCausey of Six Lakes, Michigan! Your name was drawn from my list of blog subscribers. I'll be contacting you soon about where I should send your gift card to Christian Book Distributors.

Thanks to all of you who subscribe to the blog via your email. As always, I never do anything with your email address except send you a new blog post each week. Oh, unless you count when I contact you personally to let you know I'm sending a prize your way!

Stay in touch. I've got another great giveaway coming soon.



Book Review of Devotions for Sacred Parenting & Gift Card Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
“Do you think your children feel more like projects or deeply loved children?”

When I read that, I thought of all the times I have tried to shape my children into productive citizens.

If you’re like me, sometimes that training-them-to-live-in-the-world mindset overrides the cherish-them-for-who-they-are moments.  

The question above and the devotion that followed in Gary Thomas’ book, Devotions for Sacred Parenting, sent me immediately to talk with my heavenly Father.

This devotion tugged at my heart because he talked about a phrase I have often said, “raising kids.”

Thomas wrote,

“It can diminish family life to a farm activity—raising crops or raising pets. Kids are so profoundly different. I’m relating to them, caring for them, involved with them. I don’t want the utilitarian aspect—growing them into adults—to become the defining point of our relationship.”

“We can get so busy trying to make sure our children complete their homework, display good manners, not watch too much television, get enough exercise, and eat well that we can forget to enjoy them and relate to them."

Ahhh . . . and that is why I love, love, love this book. It’s not just another book on how to parent effectively. It takes a fresh look at how God uses parenting to transform us, to draw us to Him, and how that makes us better parents.

This hardback book, published by Zondervan, contains fifty-two devotions followed by reflection questions.

It is for parents of all ages and stages. My husband and I have two grown children out on their own and one teen still at home. We are gleaning precious reminders as well as introductions to some new things to ponder and pray about.

Normally, I’ll use the books I’m sent to review as giveaways here on my blog. I like this book so much I plan to keep this one.

*However, I like it so much, I’m hoping you’ll get one for yourself, so I am giving away a gift certificate to ChristianBook.com!  A name from the list of subscribers to this blog will be randomly selected as the winner on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Is your name on the list? Check back next week to see who won!

In the meantime, share with our blog family here, something you cherish about your children-- who they are, what they're teaching you, or ways you enjoy spending time with them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest 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