Tuesday, September 29, 2015

REVIEW: Finding Noah Documentary / GIVEAWAY: Ultralight Travel Hammock [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

I am not a huge fan of documentaries; it really depends on their content. But, over the weekend, I was able to watch a new documentary "Finding Noah" which is about a team of explorers who spent several years searching for Noah's Ark on top of Mt. Ararat. The evidence they found prior to their search suggested the ark was up there somewhere; so, when they were finally given permission to go search for it, they did.

I don't want to give away the ending, so I will just say I did feel the documentary was put together well and showed how a common bond was shared among several different faiths. Biblical evidence and scientific methods, such as ground-penetrating radar and satellite aerial photographs, were used and documented in their quest. As mentioned on the official website, the documentary was shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, and shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  
"Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation." 

If you are interested in documentaries, especially ones that deal with faith, this movie will be playing in select theaters for only ONE night - OCTOBER 8th!

One more thing... The explorers in this film camped on the mountain for many nights as they searched for the ark. So, with that, I have an exciting GIVEAWAY for one of you! You have a chance to win a Royal Blue Grand Trunk Ultralight Travel Hammock!
Use the form below to enter the giveaway from now through Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. CST.  Valid in USA and Canada only. One entry per mailing address. 

"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.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Encouragement Challenge #31: DO an Act of Service

This week's challenge is based on the love language of Acts of Service...

Is there someone in your neighborhood who is sick or elderly? Do they need help raking leaves, pulling weeds, trimming bushes, or painting a fence? Do they need a meal or two?

Is your spouse tired and worn out? Does he/she need help with the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, or cleaning the cat box? Does your husband need a back rub? Does your wife need you to take her out to dinner?

Keep your eyes and ears open to really SEE the needs of others around you. Then, do something nice for them, with the focus on the word: DO! Don't just say, "Let me know if there is anything you need." That is a nice gesture, but it is even better if you take the initiative to notice what needs to be done, and then DO it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A "Catch All" Area Made Tidy

When we enter our house from the garage door, or the back door, we immediately enter the laundry room. That makes the washing machine and dryer easy targets to be a "catch all" for our jackets and everything else. A few years ago, this is what the laundry room looked like most of the time...

If our jackets didn't get dropped off here, they would make their way to the kitchen table and be placed on the back of a chair. Why? Because... well... it's just too much work to take 5 more steps, open a closet door, and put the jacket on a hanger! Right? (Yes, that is sarcasm.) So, this frustrated momma decided to make a change that would make it easy for all of us to hang up our jackets and help tidy up our laundry area. I went to Walmart and bought 2 identical hook racks. Then, I enlisted the help of my husband to help me attach the racks to the wall. This was the final product...

Do we still use the washer and dryer as a "catch all?" Yes, unfortunately we do. But... at least the jackets usually find their homes hanging on the hooks.

How do YOU deal with "catch all" areas? What solutions have you come up with to help in your home?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Encouragement Challenge #30: Use Words of Affirmation

This week's challenge is based on the love language of Words of Affirmation.

In 2 Chronicles 30, the Levites (assistants to the Jewish Priests), held a week-long feast for the people of Israel. Adam Clark's commentary says, "On such occasions the priests and Levites had great fatigue, and suffered many privations." Because of this, they were in need of encouragement. So, in verse 22, we see that King Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to them. He encouraged them to be cheerful and diligent in their service for the Lord. In other words, he spoke to them with "words of affirmation," which is what helped them to continue on with their work.

No matter what your love language is, I think EVERYONE is encouraged when someone says a kind word to them, or writes them an encouraging note. So, here is your challenge for this week...

Each day this week, follow the example of King Hezekiah and write (or verbalize) at least one encouraging comment to someone who comes to your mind. Don't just tell them you are thinking of them, or that you love them. Those words are nice, but the idea of "words of affirmation" is to get more specific. Share with the person what you like about them. Acknowledge their good qualities, and encourage them to use their gifts and talents for the Lord.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I REMEMBER: 5 Ways We Were Welcomed To Town

How do you welcome newcomers to your town? How do you welcome them to your church?

Seven years ago today, we moved into our current home.

I remember how David needed to come to town at least a month before the kids and I joined him. So, he lived out of a little motel during that time and, on Sundays, he visited the church we are now attending. After we finally got settled into our new home, we realized what a blessing this church had been to us and decided to attend there on a regular basis.

Let me share with you 5 big ways this church showed the love of Jesus and welcomed us to town: 

1.  On the day we moved in, some of the members of the church brought lunch over for our family and the movers who were unloading the truck. We had a simple meal of BBQ porkburgers on buns, as well as a couple side dishes. They grilled the burgers beforehand, and brought them over in a slow cooker to keep them warm. It was very helpful, and very much appreciated.

2. After lunch, one couple stayed a little longer to help us get the beds set up. We've always been told the beds are the first things you want to get set up when you move in. That way, the beds are there when you are tired from unpacking and ready for sleep.

3.  Later that afternoon, one of the men from the church came over and mowed our lawn for us with his riding mower. The grass was getting long and all we had at the time was a push mower. Since we have 1 acre of land to mow, using a push mower would have taken forever! So, mowing the lawn for us was a very helpful gesture.

4.  That night, we went over to Hardee's for supper. While there, we met up with yet another couple from the church. We chatted with them a bit, then went up to place our order. As I was getting ready to get money out of my purse, the man leaned in and tossed a $50.00 bill on the counter and paid for our order! It was a nice and welcomed surprise.

5.  When we attended church the following Sunday, they were friendly and welcoming to all of us. I have been in churches that are "cold as ice" when it comes to meeting them the first time. But, most of the people in this church had smiles, handshakes, and a friendly attitude that said "Welcome! We're glad you're here!"  It truly makes a difference.

We were blown away by how helpful, friendly, and generous these people had been, and are very grateful for how they went out of their way to welcome us to town, and to their church.

YOU can be a big encouragement to newcomers in your neighborhood by doing one or all of these welcoming suggestions:

1.  Help them unload the moving truck.
2.  Help them set up their beds.
3.  Help them clean the cupboards before putting dishes away. 
4.  keep an eye on their pets or their children, if they have any.
5.  Provide a meal.
6.  Mow their lawn.
7.  Invite them to church.
8.  Welcome them to your church and show them around.
9.  Give them a welcome basket full of gift certificates and coupons to local businesses.
10.  Get to know them by inviting them over for a meal, or for coffee and dessert.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Encouragement Challenge #29: Learn About The 5 Love Languages

These are the 5 love languages, based on the books by Dr. Gary Chapman. We use these to show our love and affection for family members and friends:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

It is important to understand why you give in the way you give, and why you may not feel loved when you don't get what you need. So, I encourage you to take the assessment on THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES website. It is a short quiz that helps you understand more about yourself and what makes you and your partner connect best. But, even though the assessment is geared for couples, it can be a beneficial tool to apply to family and friends as well.

After you have taken the assessment, share the results with your loved ones. Then, encourage them to take the test as well. You can use the results to find the best ways of bringing encouragement to each other when its needed.

I took the assessment and, out of a possible of 12 points for each category, mine came out with an 11 in Words of Affirmation. Second place tied with a 6 for Physical Touch and Quality Time. Receiving Gifts came in at a 5, and I only got a 2 in Acts of Service. These scores do not mean I don't like receiving gifts or having someone do something nice for me. It just means I respond best when I hear positive, kind, and encouraging words (either verbal or written), and it is also the form of "giving" that I do most often for others.

So, now that you know my love language, I'd love to hear how YOUR assessment scores came out also. Please share!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: 90 Minutes in Heaven (Book) [Giveaway CLOSED]

On September 11, 2015, a new faith-based movie, "90 Minutes in Heaven," will be opening in theaters around the country. THE MOVIE is based on a book by Pastor Don Piper (a young Baptist Minister), who was declared dead in 1989 when a semi truck crushed his car. Don's body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes, but Don says his soul was alive and well in Heaven during that time. It was considered a miracle when another Pastor prayed for Don at the accident scene and Don was revived. However, Don wished he had never been brought back to Earth. The beauty and joy of Heaven was replaced by excruciating pain - both physical and emotional. It took the support and prayers of his wife, their three children, and many friends, to help Don hold onto his faith while he fought through a very long recovery process. 

The movie is presented by GIVING FILMS, and is rated PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images). It stars Hayden Christensen, Kate Bosworth, Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL TRAILER. 

I received a copy of the new movie edition of the book and it was VERY interesting to read, especially his description of what Heaven was like. However, don't let the title fool you, as there are only 2 chapters that fully talk about Piper's time in Heaven. The rest of the book focuses on his long, painful recovery, the depression he encountered, the prayers of others that helped him through, and the testimonies of many who have been encouraged by Piper's story.  It is obvious that Piper's experiences have been a huge ministry tool to help bring others closer to the Lord. My only disappointment is that I could not find a clear Gospel message presented in the book. Several proclaim they have accepted Christ as their Savior in response to Piper's testimony, and that is excellent to hear; but I'm sure there are many readers who could benefit from a deeper explanation. Piper does, however, include a Gospel message on his ministry websiteDON PIPER MINISTRIES. And, the address link can be found at the end of the book. 

If interested, YOU also have a chance to win a copy of this book, just by entering the drawing below. Giveaway ends Saturday, September 12, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. CST.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Encouragement Challenge #28: Meet Together with Other Christians

Many Christians have gotten into the habit of sleeping in on Sunday mornings, or going fishing, or staying home to watch TV, or doing anything other than attending church. Or, when they do attend, it is just out of "obligation." They are not really there to worship, or to see how they can be in service for the Lord. I know there is no rule that says you MUST attend church in order to be a Christian. However, we can see in the verse above that it is an encouragement to ourselves and to others when we do.

Do you have a desire to be an encouragement to other Christians? If so, then consider attending a church or a Bible study in your area (or even online if you are unable to leave the house). Your presence in a place of worship is encouraging to others, including the leaders. It also helps others there with you to know they are not alone. YOU can make a difference in someone's life, just by being present and attentive.

Do you have a need to BE encouraged? Again, consider attending a church or Bible study. When you open up to other like-minded individuals about your burdens and cares, they can come along side you, pray with you, and give you support through the difficult times.

If you are not already involved in a church, choose a place of worship to attend next Sunday, or find a Bible study to attend that fits in with your schedule. Some churches have Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services also. Consider attending one of those if you want something a little more laid back.

If you ARE already a part of a church or Bible study group, but you don't attend on a regular basis, make a commitment to show up for the next 4 weeks in a row. And don't just show up, but also be present and attentive to the needs of others.

If you are already a regular attender, make it a point to ask yourself, "What can I do for the people around me?" rather than asking, "What can these people do for me?"