Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bible Learning Cards by Words 2 Remember 4 Kids

Bible Learning Cards are the work of  children's illustrator, Vicky Enright. Vicky has visible talent as well as a heart to share God's Word with boys and girls. With careful thought, she created gorgeous, full color illustrations and paired the images with relevant scriptures to inspire parent/child discussions about Biblical concepts. Each card is designed to lead children to seek out answers to their problems in the context of scripture. Words 2 remember 4 kids created Bible Learning Cards to be a fun resource that leads families into a habit of applying scripture in every day life.

Words 2 remember 4 kids currently offers three varieties of Bible Learning Cards. Each set features 20 5x7 flash cards plus a cover image that tops the deck. Each boxed set also includes a ring so you can keep all your cards together so none get lost. Scriptures are written in the NIV translation.

I received all three sets for my family to try out. I immediately put each set on it's ring, then combined the three rings onto my own larger ring. I keep them hooked onto the handle of our bible basket located on my book shelf. This makes them easily accessible and shows them off at the same time.

These cards are beautiful! You'll want to show them off.

My favorite set is the Preschool Bible Learning Cards. This set is intended for children 0-5 years old. Each of the 20 cards in this set feature adorable animals illustrating important concepts like . . .

  • God's love
  • His protection
  • How to show God our gratitude
  • How to accept our differences and recognize our gifts
  • How to behave
  • What Godly love looks and feels like
  • The importance of obeying God (and also Mom and Dad)
  • How to control emotions
  • How to control our words 
  • Repentance.  
The giraffe card is my personal favorite in this set. The image is adorable and it features Psalm 36:5.

The Children's Bible Learning Cards are the next step up, featuring 20 cards for the 4-11 age range. My oldest is twelve (almost 13) and she found cards in the deck that really spoke to her as well. 

This one was her favorite:

What child facing algebraic equations doesn't look like this sometimes? Honestly, sometimes I look like this.

The Children's Bible Learning Cards contain concepts like:
  • Being thankful in all circumstances
  • Pleasing God and doing our best
  • Self-image
  • Anxiety
  • Joy
  • Choosing your responses wisely 
  • Noticing God's hand in your life
  • Perseverance
  • Guarding ourselves against the enemy
  • Sharing
  • Forgiveness
  • Courage
Two cards in this deck really stood out to me, The first shows kids on a sled going down a hill. It features John 10:10b which reads "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The discussion section talks of sharing joy with others, but I think another scripture may have been a better choice. For me, it just doesn't click with the illustration. This was the only card in all three decks that seemed this way. 

The other cars that stood out in this deck was this one . . .

The scripture is about laying your life down for your friend. Though the friend is noble to help his friend out of the tree, there could be wiser choices made. For instance, the child could have sought help from an adult. At first I thought this concept and the image may send an inappropriate message to children causing them to take unnecessary risks that could endanger them in their attempt to help others. As my children and I discussed this, I began to see this card as a very valuable teaching tool. We talked about how laying down your life doesn't always mean risking your safety. I gave an example of how I stop work and my "life activities" to let my friend's dog out every afternoon. Essentially I lay down my life for my friend and it blesses her that I do this for her everyday. We talked about choices and ways of helping those in trouble. The discussion this card brought out was priceless. 

The final set, Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards, were designed with kids 6-13 in mind. 

The 20 cards feature topics like:
  • Determination
  • Courage and trust in God
  • Patience
  • How to handle teasing
  • Relying on God
  • Doubt
  • Helping others
  • Hospitality and accepting others
  • Blessings
  • God's presence
  • How to handle our worries
  • Encouraging others
  • Including God in your everyday activities
  • God's comfort in difficulties
I especially like this card . . .

Each set is available for $14.99. Cards are laminated and durable and the perfect size for little hands.  
With repeated practice, each set could be used as a memory tool. However, I prefer to use them as conversation starters and reference tools. My children and I went through each set one card at a time and discussed the concepts on each card. Then, I refer back to them as similar issues came up in their own lives. 

Order your own cards here.

Watch the promotional trailer below.

You can read other reviews of these products Here.

Disclosure: I received the above items to review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sue Hooley's 2015 Daily Planner

Time goes so fast. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that it's fall. 

A new year will be here before we know it. 
Are you ready?

I'm not yet, but I will be soon, thanks to the help of 
Sue Hooley's 2015 Daily Planner.

Sue, the creator of this beautiful and easy-to-use planner, is a wife and mother of six. Her experience with motherhood and homemaking is vast and she understands what moms like us look for in a daily planner, space. 

The 2014 Daily Planner featured a glossy cover with an image of a wooden box filled with flowers and a pretty font quoting Proverbs 16:3. A black plastic coil was used for spiral binding. Pages were purple. The planner contained sections for the Year, Month, Week, Tasks, Projects, Info and shopping. Each section began with a reflective quote on subjects like attitude, contentment, and happiness. 

Here's a page from my 2014 planner. . .
It's not too marked up yet, but it's also not November yet. Give me time. 
This page was in the Month section which contains the months at a glance. 
It's my favorite section and the one I use the most. 

Now, though I have been blessed to use the 2014 Daily Planner, it's actually the 2015 Daily Planner that I can't wait to tell you about. 

The 2015 Daily Planner is very similar in look, and almost the same except for a few minor changes:

  1. The 2015 cover  features a beautiful photo of an old wooden garden table invaded by Black-eyed Susan overgrowth. I love the green and yellow in the cover. 
  2. Exodus 33:14 is quoted just under the title.  
  3. Inside, you'll find all your favorite sections from 2014, but the color scheme has switched to olive green and yellow. These colors appeal more to me so I like the change. 
  4. The pages for notes have an image imposed on them which make them a bit fancier in my opinion. They also span the full width of the page which gives even more space for us note takers. 
  5. At the start of each section, you'll find quotes about promises. I like that there is a consistent theme throughout the entire planner. 
  6. Scriptures are quoted in the Week section, just like in the 2014 version. In the 2015 Daily Planner, scriptures are quoted from various books throughout the Bible, not just from Proverbs as in the 2014 edition.
  7. Next year's Daily Planner uses a different font and I'm okay with that. The new font is less formal which makes me feel a bit more comfortable about scrawling my plans throughout.

Prepare for 2015 by ordering your Daily Planner today!

List Price: $13.99 with free shipping on three or more
Format: 6x9 Spiral bound 

Once more, the features include: 
  • Two-page Weekly layout with menu planning and to-do list
  • Two-page Month layout
  • Year Calendars with place for notations
  • Perforated Shopping Lists
  • Tasks Lists and Projects & Events Sections
  • Information Section

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated for it. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am a part of The CWA Review Crew.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

He Rejoices Over Me by Nicholas J. Skula Jr.

He Rejoices Over Me is a heart-felt book written to commemorate the life of Crystal Marie Skula and point to the source of her hope, Jesus Christ. 

The story is written by Nicholas Skula Jr. as he remembers his thirteen year old daughter who lost her battle with brain cancer.

From the start of the book, readers fall in love with Crystal Skula, a spunky little girl built by the hand of God and packed full of courage.

Whether facing an opponent in her martial arts class or the adversary  himself as she faced the threat of death, Crystal's faith could not be shaken. 

He Rejoices Over Me could be a strength zapping, heart wrenching, grab the kleenex kind of story. Though I freely admit to crying at parts, the overall story of Crystal's life, her family and her faith are not devoid of hope. 

You'll find God all over Crystal's story and it's the family's hope that others in their shoes would be encouraged to face their grief with, and not apart from, God's amazing comfort. 

Every chapter reflects something that mattered to Crystal, life lessons they uncovered as a family and things that linger in a father's memory after he's laid his baby girl to rest.

I appreciated the gentle and natural tone in Nicholas' writing. Though wracked with loss, the family made a beautiful and sincere decision to honor Crystal's memory and they have certainly done that within the pages of this book. 

Pick it up. Grab a kleenex, but cry for joy. Crystal's story doesn't end here and someday, we believers will get to meet this little firecracker of faith.   

Purchase your copy of He Rejoices Over Me directly from the author or through Amazon.

Pieces of Me: Life of A Recovering Dysfunctional by Diana Lynn

Diana Lynn is like so many of us. She made a few choices that didn't go the way she planned and filled a suitcase full of regrets. Yet in spite of her choices, God still reached out and provided a way to learn and grow. He taught her the hard way and brought her to maturity. Diana's transparency is a beautiful testimony to God's work in her life. She is a recovering dysfunctional and we can be too.

Pieces of me is a 114 page book full of personal stories and raw honesty. The author shares significant events that shaped her.

Dysfunctional sounds like a strong word, but Diana explains through her first memory how she came to feel this way. 

She writes: A tragic thing happens to a little girl when her father leaves. She's left with the unspoken message: "You're not worth it."

She shares her story with great honesty, explaining how she came to God. Stories also express her struggle through feelings of shame as a divorced, single Mom; the emotional toll of losing her own mother, battling a need for love and finding it in the wrong places, and making powerful changes that are anything but easy and so much more than rewarding. 

In reading this book only one of Diana’s many stories concerned me. One of the stories in Pieces of Me describes how she, as a new believer facing the loss of her Mom, makes a decision to consult a psychic. This is not a decision I would personally ever support. I believe the Bible is very clear about psychics. 

However, I have lost loved ones and felt the pang of wanting and needing their imput on my life. Because I've lost crucial people myself, I understand what would drive someone to seek a psychic in times of loss. I hate that a Christian woman wasn't active in her life at the time, providing needed comfort and pointing her to God for healing. 

Rather than reading this story with a disapproving air of pride, I hope believers will see it as a cautionary tale showing the importance of supporting the brokenhearted through their grief so they are not enticed by the strategies of the enemy. I would still recommend the book for this reason. 

How do we fix our flaws as a church? How we reach out to new believers in meaningful ways? How can we mentor them if we don't examine the experiences of a new believer? Diana shares something valuable,  a glimpse into a life in process. Read Pieces of Me and recognize the changes that can occur in a life surrendered to God.

You can purchase Pieces of Me on Amazon.

Listen here to a radio interview with Diana Lynn on My Journey of Faith.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mind the Gap!

I was 16 when I traveled to England on a youth missions trip. They have an audio message that plays in the London Underground warning passengers of the gap between the train door and the platform. The recording says "Mind the gap". If you don't mind the gap you could be in serious physical danger.

Today I am thinking of Ezekiel 22:30 when God could find no one who would stand in the gap for a nation desperately in need of a wake up call.

While the subway warning would urge us to mind the gap by getting out of the way, we should be pulled by a spiritual call to mind the gap which is very opposite.

This spiritual call urges us to get in the way! Block the attacks of the enemy. Stand firm and don't budge. When the enemy throws a train at you and it's so close you can see your guts on the track don't budge. The life of another is on the line. Mind the gap.

When your leadership is floundering- Mind the gap!
When your marriage is on the rocks- Mind the gap!
When your children are forsaking the faith you raised them in- Mind the gap!
When illness steals your energy- Mind the gap!
When fear crouches at the door- Mind the gap!

Will you stand in the gap? Are you committed enough to put yourself in danger for the safety of another?

Will you lay down your life (your agenda, your finances, your very existence) for a friend? It's something to think about.

Abba, Father, I will stand and intercede on behalf of the unsteady, broken, spiritually blind, weak and terrified. Help me to stand for the things I cannot see in this world, in this country, in this city, and in my home. I will (by faith) call those things as if they were. Help me to stand in this gap of danger for my loved ones, friends and those who I have never met but hold a special place in your heart. 

I ask for wisdom for our leaders. Prepare them for what you are doing. Make them strong in the right ways that they would bend their knees to you and protect those they serve. Help them to never bow to the schemes of distraction. 

I ask for protection on the family unit. That the leaders in the home would be united with one purpose and one heart. 

I pray for the children to be inspired and their faith to be awakened. Make them confident in what they have been taught, a generation that cannot be deterred. 

I pray for health, both physical and spiritual. Heal our nation inside and out. Pour your spirit out like a salve to repair the illness and teach us to be strong. 

Shoo away fear, sweep it from our porch. Let your peace rest in its place. Equip your people with soldier's hearts that we would mind the gap and stand in for the sake of those too weak or foolish to call on you. 

I pray that we would hold nothing back which could save one. Make us bold. Help us to love deeply, beyond our needs, ambitions. Make us in tune with others. Expose their needs so that we can fill the void with faith. See us. When you look for a people willing to stand. Find us. Hold back your anger. Pour out your grace.