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Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie Review: Explore the Grand Canyon with Noah Justice

Movie Name:  Exploring the Grand Canyon with Noah Justice
Genre: Documentary, Creation Science
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Ages: 6+

Brief Synopsis: 
Join 14-year-old host Noah Justice as he explores the 40 layers of the Grand Canyon. In this first episode of the Awesome Science DVD series, Noah’s adventure educates children, teens, and adults about how earth science actually supports the Biblical record.

 In this 30-minute segment, you and your student will learn how:

~The Grand Canyon was cut in just days, not millions of years

~Its massive layers show evidence of being laid down in less than a year

~The Biblical record can be trusted as Earth’s history book

 Awesome Science is a high quality DVD series produced by a family that homeschools and works on the series together. Kyle Justice, Noah Justice’s dad, has produced video which has appeared on networks including National Geographic, ESPN, and the Outdoor Channel. Noah is the field guide and host for all 13 episodes which explore the globe to discover evidence of the accuracy of the Bible. The first three are released March 2012 and include Explore the Grand Canyon, Explore Yellowstone, and Explore Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest. Each episode offers a study guide which is sold separately. The series can be used in any Christian education setting including churches, schools, and homes.

Positive Elements:
  The film was extremely informative, thorough, and concise.  I enjoyed the simplistic and clear way in which the facts were displayed.  It made one wonder how anyone could argue with such logical data pointing towards the evidence of Creationism.
  The upbeat and exciting narration as well as beautiful landscape film shots, made this film engaging and easy to follow. The cinematography and special effects were excellent.
  I loved how the Bible is portrayed as foundational; the Word of God, infallible and fully trustworthy in all things-- including science.  It was truly encouraging and refreshing to hear such solid Christianity coupled with and complimenting science, as it should be!

Negative Elements:
A few of the film shots and audio clips lacked some quality.  At times the film was so fast paced it took me a moment to figure out what was going on.

Offensive Content:

What a blessing it is to have such resources as this DVD, revealing the truth of Creation- the evidence of a Grand Designer.  I enjoyed having this to show my younger siblings, to strengthen our faith together as we dig deeper into the knowledge of our Father's World, and learn more of the grand design which He has laid out!

There is also a study guide available that you can either purchase online or download for free!

See other reviews on books/films distributed by New Leaf Publishing Group HERE!

This DVD is distributed by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group.
I received this DVD free of charge in exchange for my honest review from New Leaf Publishing Group.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finding Peace

I'm scared.  Conflicted.  Stressed.  (There, the buzzword of society.)  Stressed.

The question is, why?

  I'm afraid that I don't have enough time for everything that I'm trying to get done.  I'm scared that I can't balance all of the plates that I have spinning.  I'm conflicted as to which plates I should maybe take down.  I'm stressed.  Tired.  Worn.  I'm ready to let it all fall.

God, what do you want from me?  I'm scared of making the wrong decisions.  I'm afraid to disappoint Him.  I'm scared of letting my parents down.  I'm afraid of living life, and then dying to find out that I was living it all wrong.   I'm afraid of wasting time.  I'm scared that if I stop spinning any one of these plates, that my world will come crashing down with all of them.
Where is my trust?  Is my heart so shallow?

Do I not believe?

As I ponder back on my life, what do I see?  All around me, testimonies of His faithfulness, His goodness, and His graciousness-- His strong and ever abiding Hand in my life.  

In the eyes of new life-- my beautiful new baby brother.

The ring on my finger, my daddy has my heart.

The brown sugar under my fingernails, remnants of last week's Farmer's Market baking.

The dented tuba leaning against the couch, the music that permeates my blood.

The golden gilded books lining the shelf.  
I can read, my heart ever yearning for the next story.

A blue leather Bible.
Notes and underlines from my momma in the margins.

The giggle of the two-year-old, hungry and passionate for life. Yet, so dependent.  

The golden grain in the 5-gallon bucket.

The ripening bananas on the buffet.

The upright grand piano, faithful and majestic at the center of our home.

The soft carpets that adorn the living room.

The creamy oaken dining room table that seats twelve.

They don't sounds like things of major grandeur.  Most of them even just sound like ordinary household items.  How can one find the cure to anxiety and stress within the recesses of such commonality and monotony?

It's being able to see, each of these things hold a story of God's faithfulness to me. As I gaze upon my surroundings, I'm reminded of His ever present Hand-- that He will never leave me or forsake me.  

When I have fallen, He reminds me that He is always ready to offer me grace-- as I gaze in the eyes of  my baby brother-- He whispers, "New life.  Mercies every morning."

When I grow discouraged, wondering and worrying about my time, I catch a glimpse of the ever-embarrassing brown sugar resting under my fingernails.  "I provided a way for you to work with your hands.  Glorify Me in it."

This anxiety spawns from one source-- a lack of belief in the Lord and His promises.  Do I not believe that God has the power to protect me from myself?  Do I not believe that He is enough to sustain my daily want, my daily needs?  Do I not believe that He will give me the strength to either continue spinning those plates day by day, or to give me the courage to lay some of them down-- no matter how precious or important they may seem to me?

Yes, Lord.  I will trust You.  You have been ever faithful to me, why should I doubt You?

I'm ready to let go, this death-grip I have maintained since childhood.  A restless fear, an ever present and all consuming desire to be in control.  I'm going to release my hold, and watch as I allow God to take control my fears, anxieties and stress resting in His hands.  He has asked us to let Him carry the burden.  

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me."
~John 14:1

If I believe, I trust.  
If I trust, I have to let go.

Before I can take His hand and allow Him to lead me, I must first surrender my control.
My fingers must loose themselves from their wild clutch on my desires
before they can tenderly entwine in those of my Jesus. 

It's not easy.  I don't like it.

But as I look for His ever-present mercies, as I search out His abundant blessings, I seek the outflow of His love even in the most monotonous pieces of life, I'm reminded,

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
~John 14:26

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:6-7

The answer is thanksgiving. 
Remembering the things of God-- His faithfulness in the past gives me peace for the future.   

"Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she smiles at the future."
~Proverbs 31:25

My dear reader, are you struggling to find peace?  I encourage you-- count your blessings.  Literally.  Gaze upon the gifts which the Lord has bestowed upon your life and revel in the provision and love of your Maker.  Even in the most simple and monotonous things of life.  Like

a warm cup of coffee on a brisk morning.

The coolness of a clean kitchen counter freshly cleaned.

The crisp juiciness of a rosy apple.

The joyous chorus of birds.

The rising of the sun. To remind us that weeping my last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Monday, April 8, 2013

James 1:27 Giveaway: Mae's Handcrafted Natural Soap

{This giveaway is on behalf of a dear friend of my aunt's.  Her husband just recently passed away and a group of bloggers including myself got together to offer a giveaway to spark traffic for her soap business, now one of her only means of income-- you can read more below.}

Have you read about all the harmful ingredients in store-bought soap yet the thought of making your own is too intimidating? Would you like to wash with a gentle lather safe enough for a baby's skin? Then let me introduce you to Mae’s Handcrafted Natural Soaps

Aunt Mae's

These natural soaps made with real tallow will delight your senses! Mae lovingly makes all her soaps in small batches to ensure the highest quality. She uses the best of the best ingredients: real tallow is gentle on your skin while at the same time is used for the bar's hardness, which means it doesn't get mushy in the shower. Olive oil is added for further gentleness along with a touch of coconut oil for a fluffy lather. Only high quality soap scents or essential oils are used, and even then they are added with a light hand. Mae's bars give you an absolutely delicious scent you can enjoy in the shower, without becoming obtrusive during the day. Even her coloring agents are of a natural origin. These unique combinations make long-lasting, gentle bars that your whole family will love.

You Can Win Natural Handcrafted Soap!

Would you like to win some of Mae's Natural Handcrafted Soap for yourself? Well, here's your chance! Enter below and be one of SIX winners for a $25 credit that you can use to chose your favorite soaps from Mae's delicious selections.
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Aunt Mae

This review and giveaway is on behalf of a dear friend and sister in Christ who unexpectedly lost her beloved husband in February of this year. He left Mae and a young son behind, reeling from their loss. Mae’s husband had been out of work for a year, living off of a small military pension. The family, understandably, had to cut back on expenses - one of which was their life insurance policies. His sudden death now leaves Mae and their son with very little income (less than a couple hundred dollars a month). Because of different personal situations, she is currently ineligible for benefits like Social Security. Mae homeschools their son, and thanks to The Home School Foundation, she will receive a grant to cover homeschooling supplies and curriculum. She is asking the Lord to provide for her son and herself through her small businesses, one of which is making soaps and other body products. As you can see, the situation is dire for this sweet widow and her son, but we know that God is able to do more than we could ever think, or ask (Eph. 3:20), and we hope that you will consider joining up with us to help our dear friend by supporting her business. We're asking you, dear readers, to seriously consider the call of James 1:27—to care for widows and orphans and consider Mae's Handcrafted Natural Soaps for your next soap purchase.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Anyone who knows Mae is touched by her. She is an incredibly godly woman, who acts as a Titus 2 mentor to those who know her. She is loved so dearly and we want to do all we can to support her during this incredibly difficult time! Please pass this on by sharing this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter.
If you'd like to give a donation, you can send via Paypal to RaymondBenevolentFund@gmail.com. Please remember to choose "Personal" giving so the Raymond family doesn't incur fees with your donation. If you need more details on how to do this, please contact sarahevan5@aol.com and she'd be happy to send you directions.

A big thank you to all the bloggers participating: 
 Ann @ DuctTapeandDenim.com Anne @ Authentic Simplicity Tara @ Everyday Ramblings of My Life Jill @ Jill's Home Remedies Sara Elizabeth @ A Mama's Story Gail @ The Imperfect Housewife Renee @ I Am The Clay Del @ Devote & Seek Jill @ Blessed Beyond a Doubt Rebecca @ Rebecca's Ramblings Hilary @ Accidentally Green Marci @ Amazing Graze Farm Susan @ Learning and Yearning Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker Justyn @ Creative Christian Mama Chelsea Rebecca @ For Unmarried Christian Women Chelsea Rebecca @ Hearts for Home Paula @ Whole Intentions Amy @ A Heart Surrendered Blog Bambi @ In the Nursery of the Nation Dana @ Clan Chris Dean Kristen @ Smithspirations</ a> Caroline @ The Modest Mom Blog Alicia @ Walking In Faith Stephani @ The Cheapskate Cook Amber @ Homemaker by Choice Marci @ Thankful Homemaker Katie Sullivan @ Brighton Park Blog Anjanette @ Raising the Barrs Pam @ Mom Does Reviews Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage Stacy @ Something Whimsical Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood Paula @ Beautiful Life of Joy Rachel @ Of Love and Beauty Reagan @ The Arsenal</ a> Kelly @ Generation Cedar Kelly @ Practical Savings Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home Kristen @ Five in Tow Diana @ A Little Bit of Spain Elizabeth @ Yes They Are All Ours Jacque @ Deep Roots at Home Karrilee @ Abiding Love, Abounding Grace Karrilee@ Blessed Memories Scrapbooks by Karrilee Shawnee @ The Apronista Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Janine @ True Aim Education Kathryn @ Singing Through the Rain Alicia @ Fun Reviews and Giveaways Deborah @ A Delightful Glow Stephanie @ The King's Bookworm Christy @ The Simple Homemaker June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Shadedlily @ With Them Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: The Lightlings

Hello, my dear readers!  I know it has been a while since I've done any sort of reviews...  I'm considering starting up doing them again, so I decided to try with a favorite children's book-- enjoy!

The Lightlings is a children's book by R.C. Sproul, illustrated by Justin Gerard.  A tale of beauty and a simple lesson, with beautiful illustrations-- a work of art both in words and color!  Great for ages 3-10.

The story begins when a young boy poses a question to his grandfather, "Why am I afraid of the dark?"  The grandfather smiles and proceeds to tell the boy, not only why people fear the dark, but also why people fear the light too.  He weaves a story about a great King of Light who rules over a people of Light, but when the people sin against the King, they begin to lose their light-- and hide for fear of facing the King without a Shadow!  But because the King is wise and loves His Lightlings, He provides a Way for the lost Lightlings to have their Light restored so that they might again come and live before Him in the Light.

First of all, I must say-- the illustrations in this book are amazing.  I found myself just wanting to stare at each page, thinking I wonder if they sell prints...!

I appreciated the simplicity of the allegory.  Some allegories that I read that are woven into children's stories are nice, but they can get confusing for the child listener.  This story was beautifully simple-- not to mention, the questions and answers in the back of the book can help the child understand further if need be.  The fantastical setting was not only aesthetically pleasing, but also fully engaging.  The illustrations draw you in to the story, to sympathize with the little Lightlings, to want follow them on their quest to find that Light that they caught a glimpse of at the edge of the forest! This makes the book all the more powerful, because the allegory speaks to each one of us on a personal level as we each have our own journey, seeking after the Light.

The way that this allegorical tale and the whimsical style of the pictures flow together, fully impressing the message of the story into the fabric of your imagination and memory, make this beautiful and simple story hard to forget, regardless of whether you are a child or an adult-- your heart will be encouraged as you shine the Light of the King, and tell others around you where they too can be filled with the Light.

Click here to learn more or to purchase!

I received this book free of charge from Reformation Trust Publishing in exchange for an honest review.