Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

A great season for this Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal!gratitude-journal-book-cover

Thoughtful prayers to guide and inspire,

space to write your own,

a little color to make the journal simply pretty on it’s own,

some creative art to color and personalize this journal,

beautiful and durable in a hardcover.

This would also be a wonderful gift idea for older girls, teens and ladies who enjoy journaling and coloring. The coloring isn’t overly complex, but very sweet designs and word art.

I wanted to share one of my favorite prayers from the journal, which was harder than I expected… so many good choices!

The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose

Lord,

I’m so thankful for this life! Today I’m going to enjoy reminders of the abundance you offer. You’re my joy in the mundaneness of the everyday, my hope during tough times, my stability in a mixed-up world. When my patience wears thin, you infuse me with your strength. I praise you for every opportunity for your Spirit to work in mine. Thank you for salvation, Lord.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. —John 10:10

Here’s some more other links….

·         Tyndale’s Inspire Creativity board on Pinterest has downloadable samplers and sharable coloring pages from our coloring and Bible journaling line, the Living Expressions Collection!

·         Check out www.livingexpressionscollection.com for the latest news and information on our coloring and journaling products.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Saving My Assassin: A Memoir by Virginia Prodan

I should be dead. saving-my-assassin-book-cover

Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania.

Obviously, I am not.

God had other plans.

—Virginia Prodan

That quote from Saving My Assassin really grabs your attention as we journey through
Virginia’s memoir during Nicolae Ceausescu’s savage communist regime. We first step into her childhood in Romania, which is heartbreaking and lonely, yet she doesn’t give up but becomes inspired through a a paper she wrote about her hero Mircea cel Batran.

“What would it be like to live in a society where people told and valued the truth? What would it be like to experience true freedom?”

Virginia determined to coming an attorney and pursue truth and freedom.

After she became an attorney, she became disillusioned that truth might not exist anymore. Later Virginia was meeting with a client, Nestor, who was trying to get his parents home and land back from the Communist Romanian government. It was a slow, expensive, frustrating process yet he was continually contented and joyful. She expressed a desire to have what he had and he invited her to his church.

“I want Nestor’s peace, his optimistic outlook on life, his sense of confidence even in the worst of circumstances. If all of that comes from his church, then I will go and visit.”

Virginia Prodan became a Christian, giving Jesus her life, and then requested started coming in to defend in court churches and Christians who were being persecuted. Ceausescu was a shrewd and untrustworthy leader—trying to gain America’s favor by promising to respect human and religious rights, yet building his own brutal and oppressive regime where people where fired, jailed or ended up missing because of their faith.

As Virginia began defending churches’ rights to repair their buildings and people’s rights to move Bibles from one church to another for their Vacation Bible Study and more, she became a target to hostility and intimidation. She knew God had called her to this time for this purpose, but fear began to overwhelm her.

“I understand the outer battle. I can face adversaries in the courtroom and even the Securitate [Communist government agents]. But I cannot win this inner battle between my own heart and mind. Lord, you have to win this victory for me. Take away my fear and replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding. I need your peace, Lord. I need your victory.”

___Well, my summary to this memoir has taken over this review, but I can’t keep going! There is so much more I want to share but I need to stop so you can read the book!!

Virginia Prodan’s story, her trust in God, and commitment to fellow Christians is amazing and inspiring, and I would recommend it to everyone!!

To conclude, I want to share a bit more from Virginia…

“*Freedom is precious to those who don’t have it.

*If the truth lives within me, lies cannot overpower me.

*If my soul is free, no power on earth can enslave me.

*If God gives me the victory, defeat is impossible.

…My desire is that through reading my book and seeing how God used me to accomplish amazing things, you will realize God has a grand plan to use you as well, and I pray you will not put off doing what God is calling you to do.”

Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Why is Great-Grandma So Sad? by Susan Heagy

I have been in WWII so often in my reading recently — from our history for homeschool,Why is Great-Grandma So Sad? cover books I’m reviewing, a book for book club, and now a book meant for children. The subtitle is “Discovering the Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child.” I planned to read this with my kids, but kept pushing it off. I wasn’t sure why. Maybe because I get tired of fighting my tears…and usually losing. However, there are events that are worth the tears.

As I pulled the book out to read last week, my oldest daughter immediately brings me the tissues! (They know me so well!) And yes, as I read I fought the tears and still lost, but we will NOT forget.

Susan Heagy shares in the preface that these are fictional characters but the experiences are true. True stories from Holocaust Survivors are combined to bring us Why is Great-Grandma So Sad?. Also, included in the back of the book are some short biographies of the survivors who’s stories are a part of this book.

Sarah, a 7 year old girl, notices that her grandma is very sad one day, so she asks her mom and then the action unfolds. The grandma’s story is told clear with simple illustrations. It isn’t an easy read, because of the subject, but it is a book that I would consider well written for and appropriate for kids. Working through it together as a family was a perfect way to handle the book and the questions that came with it. I also think it would be a great resource to use in any curriculum whatever the educational setting.

“With the revelation of history came the gift, and the responsibility for Sarah to be the new Survivor. She would remember her Great-Grandma’s experience, and not forget it—not ever. The gifts of life, hope, and determination were now passed on to the next generation.”

**Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash. I was not required to give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

I seem to have so little time to read recently and it saddens me greatly! However, I am privileges to have the opportunity to invest my time in an amazing book like this. I highly recommend this book to all!

A beautiful, heart wrenching story of loss, love, terrible tragedies and amazing forgiveness from the brave men and women of Ukraine. I did not realize that they “faced more deaths per capita than any other country in World War II due to their high Jewish population (Jews were killed by both the Nazis and the Soviet Red Army), and their rich soil, which particularly interested Hitler.” You can tell that Kelli Stuart lovingly and carefully compiled her 15 years of research in her writing of this book. She focuses on four different individuals that are loosely rooted in the true stories she compiled. I tend to love books and even movies like this one, where stories are honest, broken, and yet redeemed. Yes, I cry with the characters and the pain and loss they endure, but I also feel that after reading a book like Like a River From Its Course I have grown with the characters and learned from them and their experiences.

“In the still, dark moment of this frozen night, I embrace [peace]. I think of our life before the bombs, the river of our days flowing so calmly in a direction that I thought would last forever. In a flash, that river was turned, unexpected and quick, dragging us along this unforeseen path. Like a river from its course, life has swirled away from all I expected or planned. Sluggish and slow, this river carves a new path. There are calmer waters that wait.”

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Like a River From its Course cover & more

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy Denby moves to London to take care of her aunt, but soon realizes that her auntThe Jazz Files cover wasn’t being honest. It’s the 1920’s and her aunt, a militant suffragette, felt that Poppy would have more of a chance pursuing a career in London. So, Poppy ends up getting an editor’s assistant job with The Daily Globe. However a reporter’s body falls at her feet on her first day. An accident or could it be murder? He had been looking into some past mysteries involving the suffragettes, and with Poppy’s connections she becomes the ideal person to help finish the story…. However, not everyone wants the past dug up!

Fiona Veitch Smith combines a popular genre and an interesting time period in The Jazz Files, which starts the Poppy Denby Investigates series. The main character is Poppy, a young woman wanting to stretch her wings. She is a bit naive but learns quickly and shows quite a bit of bravery. However, she also desires her choices and possible career to be done in truth. She does some real soul searching in the middle of the book after she was involved in lies and deception.

She is a Christian surrounded by people living in sin, so we’ll see how her faith survives and hopefully grows through the series.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Mr. Zip and The Capital Z by Kimberly Bryant-Palmer

I love tracking down new and interesting books for my kids! I really want my kids to loveunnamed-2 reading. Now if I can find a fun clean series that will pull them in AND include history — What a find!! 🙂

I really enjoyed Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. The main character is, of course, Mr. Zip, an older gentleman who owns a very unique shop with “everything you would need to know — from A to Z.” He is a very likable and yet slightly strange character that has a hint of Mr. Whitaker from Adventure’s in Odyssey and Finnian Jones from Lamplighter Theatre. (Great audio resources I would highly recommend!)

This book focused on a young boy called Peanut. He learns a little more about family, history and his heart. Somehow with Mr. Zip he sees glances of history from General Jackson in the War of 1812 to General Washington in the Revolutionary War to as far back as the Tower of Babel.  I love the last chapter with the interaction between Peanut and his dad. What a special moment!

Mr. Zip shares an interesting fact from history between each chapter. Also, there’s footnotes and endnotes concerning the history, if you want to check more out.

We look forward to the next book in the series — Mr. Zip and The Capital Z ~ Lucy Jane Pennywhistle Comes Home!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash. I was not required to give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible by Suiku, Richard Thomas and Jeff Anderson

The summary of The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible is what caught my attention first… “Theunnamed men and women of the Bible are not perfect; but nor were they ordinary. Faith gave some power. To Lead. To Save. To destroy evil. Others succumbed to the darkness. But still more was required. An ultimate hero. To fight the ultimate battle.” What a great and honest summary of the Bible! Also I want my kids to realize they are not perfect, but WITH GOD they are not ordinary either. They can lead and save and destroy evil, because Jesus who fought and won the ultimate battle is their Lord and Savior and Ultimate Hero!

My son found it intriguing. “Read another one, please!” My daughters weren’t too sure, such as “Why did they draw his eyes so scary?” (Don’t you think Pharaoh’s dreams probably scared him?!) They all agreed that the “Hero” names given to some of the men and women in the Bible were great!! Some examples are Abraham as Faithman, Ruth as Fierce Friend, Joseph as Dreamboy, Mary as Wonderful Woman, and Paul as Grace Man.

I’m not sure why they chose to use two different artists – one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. Maybe to appeal to more, because the styles are very different. Suiku’s seem to be more of a comic book/superhero style while Thomas’s is more realistic. On a personal note, my family ended up agreeing that they liked the New Testament depictions better.

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.