Thursday, February 21, 2019

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 161

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 161.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.
–Proverbs 18:1

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wordful Wednesday - Jason's Ordination

Me with Casey, the girl who did my hair and makeup for the day

Six years ago my husband fought me about going to church.  He had every excuse in the book.  It wasn't until my mother invited him that he did it out of obligation.  Fast forward to now, and he's become an official ordained pastor!

me and my man

An ordination ceremony took place February 10th.  Jason was ordained with another guy, Joe.  The ceremony took place at one of the smaller church campuses.  I don't know if they thought so many people would show up.  Almost 300 people were in attendance.  It became standing room only.

elders and pastors praying over Joe and Jason

To play it out for you, the ordination was started with two songs.  Then two pastors spoke on behalf of Joe and Jason.  Questions were asked of them regarding their commitment to being "men of the cloth".  Jason and Joe were then asked to bring their wives and kids up to the stage.  I was prepared for that to happen.  What threw me for a loop was when they dismissed our kids and asked the wives to stay there.  

I 'bout had an anxiety attack when I was asked, along with the other wife, a bunch of questions.  I'd honestly like to say I know what they were but I was having stage shock.  What I kind of recall is being asked if I'd be supportive, if I'd live up to my part of being a pastor's wife, and if I supported my husband's decision.

wooden personalized plaque given as a gift to Jason

After I was relieved, Jason and Joe were called to the stage to get on their knees while the elders and pastors prayed over them.  Imagine being on your knees with the weight of hands on your shoulders for 15 minutes.  Jason's legs jiggled like Jell-O when he had to get back up!  The ordination was officially over after that and we stuck around for the line of congratulations.  After all was said and done, me and Jason headed to Pizza Hut with our kids and his mom and went hog wild, ordering tons of pizza and pastas.  

Joe (left), Pastor Jim (center) and Jason (right)

Jason has worked hard up to this point to be a pastor.  He completed two years of MDI (Ministry Development Institute) and received a diploma.  He's head of the Hospital Ministry and leads Small Group in our home every Tuesday.  He also leads a Men's Group for homeless men on Wednesdays and is a fill-in to lead sermons at the prison.  He works as Janitoral/Maintenance for the church, and the list goes on and on.  

It's amazing what six years can do to a person, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes us!

The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices that Keep Couples Together - Book Review and Giveaway

About the Book:

Maybe you just got engaged or maybe you’re a fresh-faced newlywed, dreaming of your future but a little unsure of how this marriage thing works. Or, perhaps you’re well on your way to your 10th anniversary but admit your marriage could use a little rejuvenating, or in some cases, a complete restoration. “It’s way easier to tie the marriage knot together at the altar on that perfect wedding day than it is to do the hard work of tightening it each day, week, month, and year,” says Ron Zappia, co-author with his wife, Jody, of The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices that Keep Couples Together (Moody Publishers/January 2019). “The marriage covenant begins as a strong, tightly tied knot of commitment, love, devotion, and affection. Over time, however, left to itself the knot loosens; if left too long, it can completely unravel.”

Zappia, senior pastor and founder of Highpoint Church in Chicagoland and the teaching ministry, Highpoint Ministries, along with his wife, Jody, lead The Knot Marriage Conference as well as counsel many couples, all with the goal of helping couples strengthen their marriages through marriage enrichment and restoration. The Zappias were high school sweethearts, married after college, and faced a major crisis in the first year of their marriage, leaving them on the brink of divorce and with the need to rebuild their marriage from the ground up. “It’s not a question of if a storm is coming, but when,” says Ron. “It’s not a question of if the storm will cause damage, but rather how much. It’s not about how I will face the problems and pitfalls if they arise, but rather what I will do when they arise. Storms can seriously fray or even destroy our own marriage knot. We can only be ready if we choose to build our lives, and our marriage, on the Rock.” In The Marriage Knot, they share their personal story and seven principles they’ve learned to help couples tighten the knot and make certain that bond of commitment and affection remains strong.

Drawn directly from the Bible and experienced in their own marriage, these seven principles include:

• Growing Spiritually: Build your individual lives and marriage on the solid and secure rock of Jesus.

• Love Unconditionally: God calls us to live with a love that endures all things.

• Serve Sacrificially: Know your biblical roles and responsibilities. Once you know them, you choose to fulfill them regularly and consistently during the changing seasons of marriage.

• Please Regularly: Learn the seven purposes for sex in the marriage bond

• Persevere Persistently: Trials in marriage, whether from outside or within, are inevitable.

• Communicate Respectfully: The words we choose to say or the words we choose not to say have a great and lasting impact.

• Bless Abundantly: Bless your spouse practically, prayerfully, verbally, romantically, financially, spiritually, and faithfully.

My Review:

The choices you make each and every day determine not only your relationship with God but also the quality of your marriage. The decisions you make today will determine the marriage you will have tomorrow.

Jason and I have been married for 16 years.  The beginning was rocky.  Our communication skills were rough, we were raising six kids, he didn't have God in his life, and I didn't have a strong focus on God.  It was a recipe for disaster, and divorce.

These last six years of our marriage have been stronger than ever.  We've learned to talk effectively to each other, take time out for ourselves, and have a strong relationship with God.  Our marriage isn't perfect, but I can honestly say I'm committed to staying in it with Jason and I'm more in love with him than ever before.

The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices that Keep Couples Together is a guide to help couples (and single people) work towards and obtain a marriage as it's intended to be.  The book focuses on seven choice commitments and explains how they can be applied to a marriage. 

While I believe that not all marriages can be made fail-proof, I do believe that the choice commitments outlined in this book can help couples if they apply them to their lives. I found this book to have valuable information on how to build on a firm marriage foundation.  It's written in a way that makes it applicable to people of all walks of life, and is quoted with scripture to show how God intends a marriage to be.

This book can be used by one single reader or it can be used in a Small Group setting.  There are Small Group Discussion questions in the back that cover each chapter.  Regardless of whether you read this book alone or with a group, I think going through the questions helps the reader evaluate and reflect to become a better life partner.

Win It!

One person will win a paperback book copy of The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices that Keep Couples Together.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received book for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Love Big - Children's Book Review

Book Overview:

Written by award-winning children’s author Kat Kronenberg and beautifully illustrated with colorful, eye-catching images, this #1 new release encourages kids to work together and empowers them to build “we” communities.

Love Big takes readers – both emerging and seasoned – on an adventure through a once lush, thriving African savanna, which has turned dry and desolate. Hungry animals seek only their own interests, and Baboon watches as his friends begin to make poor choices instead of coming together to find a solution. But after Baboon witnesses a kind act, he becomes inspired to rally the animals so, together, they can save their home.

Kronenberg practices what she preaches, visiting schools, libraries, and orphanages and giving talks around the world about the unique magic we all possess, and how when we come together, we can truly change the world – one is never too young to start.

My Review:

A book that teaches about generosity, kindness and respect, Love Big tells its story with animals from the African savanna.  It starts out with a rhino being mad at a stinky beetle, but the tides turn when the beetle retaliates with kindness rather than anger.  It creates a domino effect when a hare needs to stay warm and meets up with the rhino who shares with the hare.  Throughout the book, animals learn to share, care, and believe.  A wise baboon is there during each occurrence, helping the animals open their hears to the things that are right.  

Love Big is an uplifting story that shows the good that comes from doing good.  With quirky phrases and fun words, kids will be engaged.  

I like the overall story and the message it conveys.  Adding to it, there are activities and fun things for kids to do when they visit author, Kat Kronenberg's, website.  

I received book for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk - #TheRestorationSeries #FlyBy

Restoration Series: Jonathan's Walk

For years, Jonathan has been in prison. As a result, he has missed milestone moments with his family. He wasn’t there for his daughter’s first day of school or a thousand little experiences with his wife and as a father, he is devastated to be separated from those he loves most.

Jonathan has been looking forward to his release from prison for over a decade. So many life events have been missed and he is now ready to be with his wife and kids again. Of course, this transition isn't going to be easy. The odds are against him: with over half of prisoners returning to prison within two years, Jonathan is aware of the challenge set before him.

Still, he is determined to take the skills he has learned into the world outside of incarceration and stay there, helping build the community that he is part of for years to come.

Prison Fellowship presents The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk, a 5-part documentary film series following one man as he re-enters his community after 15 years in prison. It demonstrates in imagery, powerful storytelling and social interaction what it means to be human and the shared need of all people to see communities restored.

Though America is home to only 4% of the world's population, we house more than 20% of its prisoners. Recidivism–the tendency of a criminal to reoffend—is out of control. The Restoration Series tells the story of men and women who have experienced The Academy, a revolutionary in-prison program that is combating incarceration and recidivism head on.

I've been able to watch snippets of Restoration Series: Jonathan's Walk, and find it to be interesting.  The show is real and raw, with narrations from Jonathan and those closest to him.  Viewers see how The Academy is helping those in prison to make the best of their life behind bars and learn how to lead a better life once let out of prison.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Check It Out: #BUSHSChiliBeans Giveaway and Coupon is giving away ten $50 gift cards from Walmart to support their BUSH'S® Chili Beans coupon.  The #BUSHSChiliBeans giveaway ends Friday, February 22nd at 11:59 PM PT.

While you’re waiting to see if you’ve won, print this coupon for $1 off two cans of BUSH'S® Chili Beans, redeemable at Walmart!

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste - Review

I'm not vain but teeth and eyes are the first thing I tend to notice about a person. I love the beauty of white teeth and a nice smile. 

Keep your pearly whites in check this year with an innovation from Colgate Optic White. The  Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste whitens more than the leading whitening strip, making it easier than ever to get a whiter, brighter, bolder smile. This formula delivers four shades visibly whiter teeth in just a few weeks when brushing twice daily, starting in just a few days.   

Colgate Optic White High Impact White Toothpaste formula is professionally designed with Hydrogen Peroxide.  In addition to being safe for daily use, this product protects your enamel and contains anti-cavity fluoride protection.  The toothpaste has a fresh mint taste and I can feel the clean impact on my teeth.

My teeth aren't so white that I'd be cast for a commercial but I have noticed that they are whiter than when I first started using the toothpaste. I'd say the toothpaste is worth buying if you want to see some improvement on the whiteness of your teeth without paying a large price for a professional whitening system.

I received products for review from Colgate.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.