Kari Jobe CD Giveaway

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Grammy nominated Kari Jobe is the premiere female worship leader in Christian

music. Coming off her last live album, Majestic, which featured the worship anthem

“Forever” and radio hit “I Am Not Alone,” Kari Jobe has returned to the studio to

record her new album, The Garden, full of brand new worship anthems for the

church and for personal reflection. Finding inspiration from life’s joys and

hardships, Kari leans into the firm foundation of Christ through it all. capture

I think Kari has a beautiful voice. This CD would be good for a quiet day at home or for when you’re feeling discouraged. I love the graphic design on the CD jacket — so pretty. I would like to give one of my readers a copy of her new CD, provided by FlyBy Promotions. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post.

Update: A winner has been chosen! Even if you didn’t win, I hope you will check out the new CD.

Daniel Fast Diary: Week Three

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This is my final week of The Daniel Fast. Here are my other two posts about why I started the fast and how my first week went. Last week, I was so busy that I didn’t get to write an update. My headaches (probably from the lack of caffeine and sugar) went away completely, and I started to feel a little more energy. As a side perk, I lost about five pounds. A few of the men at my church lost ten pounds the first week (Is it acceptable to feel jealous during a spiritual fast? haha).

The first week went smoothly, as far as sticking to the plan was concerned. The second week? I had a few moments that were less than perfect, but I am still chugging along. On the tenth day of the fast, I felt like God was telling me to go back and read the section of Daniel that tells about his food choice; as I read, I realized that the tenth day was when Daniel’s captors admitted that he looked healthier than the others and agreed to keep letting him eat the foods that he requested instead of foods from the king’s table. I had a moment where I was pretty excited that I made it to day ten.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon on the difference between perfection and excellence (doing your best at something new). When we try new things, he said, we might not always be perfect right away. Our best might not get compliments just yet. A person who is fasting for the first time might not be perfect, but trying and giving your all is better than not trying at all if you are called to it. This is my first time trying a fast; at times, I did have to rely on God’s grace, but overall it is going very well. The first week was the most spiritually challenging in terms of what life was throwing at me that week, while the second week was more challenging as far as sticking to the plan itself. Interestingly, throughout the first week, my word for the year — joy — kept showing up all over the place.

Only six days left . . .

Have a great week, and thanks for reading!

Teresa

 

 

Diary of My Daniel Fast

This is Day Six of my Daniel Fast. I wrote a post last week about why I’m doing the Daniel Fast and the meal plan that I am following. The fast is loosely based on the verses in which Daniel requests to eat only “pulse” and drink only water when he is in captivity. He ends up healthier than the people who eat from the king’s table because he is able to eat the diet he requests. Some Bible scholars believe that the food from the king’s table was being sacrificed to other gods, or perhaps Daniel’s request was a way of trying to keep his diet within kosher traditions. The verses were not intended to say that a vegetarian diet is better – but by today’s standards, the Daniel Fast is very healthy. It allows fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water. Dairy, meat, coffee, wine, added sugar or salt, and processed foods are not allowed. The key part of the Daniel Fast is prayer and using the fast as a time to focus on God.

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DAY ONE: The first day of the fast was pretty simple. I had my breakfast shake, prepped my lunch, went to church, and then came home to eat the lunch. My son and hubby fell asleep on the couch, so I was able to cook ahead for the week. It was a peaceful, relaxing day. I sat down and read the book of Daniel from the Bible and prayed as I had planned that evening. I remembered a lot of the beginning of the book of Daniel from Sunday School when I was young (Daniel and the Lion’s Den, the fiery furnace, etc.), but the prophetic part of the end of the book were really complex and difficult to understand without reading some commentary about them.

DAY TWO: I woke up craving my cup of coffee, but my husband and I had the day off work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so we went out for a walk instead. For a January morning, it was gorgeous. We walked about four miles in the fresh air. It was still easy to stay on the meal plan, other than feeling really tired by the end of the day without any caffeine at all. I continued my prayer and Bible reading that evening.

DAY THREE: This is the day it got hard. I had to go back to work, and my son had been sick that night. My job is very active and deals with people all day, so not having the cup of coffee was very, very difficult. I felt really sluggish, and I was definitely tempted to just add one cup of coffee or tea to my routine. I prayed about it, and I realized that immediately taking out the hardest part of the plan would not be the right thing to do. A fast is not supposed to be easy. Amazingly, that day, as I read my Jesus Always devotional, one of the verses was the verse that I had picked for my One Word resolution for the year (Isaiah 61:1). I felt like that was a burst of encouragement that I needed because I was struggling so much to stay upbeat and have energy. That evening, I went to a ladies paint night with my mom, and we painted a winter scene that turned out great. I ended up adding some freeze-dried fruit to my routine that day because I went straight from work to the painting party.

DAY FOUR: I had a headache and felt sick for several hours. It was probably the lack of caffeine. I prayed about it and pushed forward. When I got home from work, I decided to call it an evening of rest. My body was so exhausted because I had been up with my son again the night before. I have gotten to the point in my life that I have tried not to shy away from things that are hard. This fast is a challenge, yet I realize that many people around the world do not have the option of coffee or tea in the morning. They would love to eat the amount of food that I am eating on my fast. Admittedly, I will be really thankful when I can have a cup of hot tea because it is so comforting to me.

DAY FIVE: I have lost one pound so far. Last night, I started reading Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts. The title sounds kind of gimmicky, but as I read, I found that she was speaking many of the truths that have come about in my own Christian walk concerning perspective and using Bible verses to speak truth to myself. I only planned on reading one chapter, but I was drawn in and ended up reading three. I am going to be reviewing the book on my blog later, and I will give you the full details on it. Her testimony about being a single mom who went from a high-profile job to an unemployed, single mom (and how God helped her through the struggles) is so honest and inspiring.

DAY SIX: This day was an emotionally tough one that left me feeling misunderstood in a certain situation. The temptation to have a cup of tea or a glass of wine this evening is definitely there, but I am pushing forward. I want my fast to be to God’s glory and pleasing to him. So far, so good. God knows me and knows my heart.

 

My fast ends Superbowl Sunday, so stay tuned for more . . .

xoxo Teresa

My Daniel Fast Starts Tomorrow

I am not a nutritionist or a Bible expert by any means, but I want to hopefully inspire others and hold myself accountable for the three-week commitment that I’ve made to the Daniel Fast. I’m starting by including my meal plan for the upcoming week at the bottom of this post. I just wrote it this morning, and I’m going to try to make as much of it as possible ahead of time because I work, and I don’t want to be overly focused on the food aspects of the fast (the spiritual aspects are most important).

The basic idea of the Daniel Fast is that, in the Old Testament book of Daniel in the Bible, Daniel asked his captors to give him only water and “pulse” for ten days and then see if he looked healthier than the others around him. He felt led by God to eat those healthful foods. Generally, I have seen “pulse” defined as what grows out of the ground, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some people might define pulse in different ways.

I’m guessing that many people will probably eat as little as possible on the Daniel Fast. That’s not necessarily what I feel led to do. A personal trainer told me that I need to eat between 1,500 and 1,800 calories each day to be in a healthy range. My meal plan comes in at 1,205 before the optional evening snack. I will see how I feel at the end of the day and adjust accordingly. Since it’s a “fast,” I would not want to go over 1,500. Some people who do spiritual fasting spend their entire time only drinking water and devoting themselves to prayer; I don’t think God is calling me to do that type of fast.

My meal plan that I made is very healthy. It has protein, some whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. It does not include dairy, meat, processed foods, or added sugars and salts. For me, the hardest part will probably be not having a cup of coffee with cream in the morning. I already like to eat fruits and vegetables, and I like to drink water; I rarely drink soda, so in those ways, this plan is going to go along with some of the ways that I already eat.

If you are interested in resources for the Daniel Fast, which is different from the Daniel Plan that allows meats and dairy (it also sounds wonderful and healthy, but it’s just not what I’m doing), you can visit this site. I am not affiliated with the site in any way, but it is where I did most of my research. I also sat in Books-a-Million one Sunday afternoon and flipped through a book about the Daniel Fast to get some information and inspiration.

The most important aspect of the Daniel Fast is not to become focused on the food itself; rather, it is to pray and show extra devotion to God. People who have participated in prayer and fasting, including this type of fasting, have spoken of incredible spiritual growth and blessings. Of course, the process itself will not necessarily be pleasant. When Jesus himself fasted, Satan picked that time to tempt him and try to make him stumble. He tempted Christ to turn rocks into bread at a time when he would have been very hungry. I plan to read the book of Daniel and pray each day of my fast.

My Three Goals

  1. Eat only foods allowed on the Daniel Fast
  2. Become more healthy over the next three weeks
  3. Pray and read the book of Daniel each day of the three weeks to grow spiritually.


Continue reading

Book Reviews

Welcome to my first set of book reviews for 2017.

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A book that I purchased and read within a matter of hours this month was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham. As a Gilmore Girls extreme fan, this was a must-have for my bookshelf. I got the free trial of Netflix on Black Friday just to watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The Netflix shows left me wanting more. Now I need to know who the father of Rory’s baby is (Logan, most likely) and what’s next for her. Like other bloggers, I was bothered by how “stuck” Rory and Lorelai seemed, but I was so, so pleased with the story lines for Jess and Emily. Seeing Emily in jeans and a t-shirt was enough reason to watch. The Stars Hollow Musical was weird, but I didn’t hate it (lol); Sutton Foster and Christian Borle were fun choices for it. As for the book, it was awesome to realize that Lauren Graham has such an incredible sense of humor. I also read her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, awhile back and thought it was a fun read too. One part of her new book that stuck with me and bothered me was how much sexism Lauren Graham recalled encountering when she wrote her first novel (people asked her who helped her with it, as though she could not have really written it herself, even though she studied English). She was asked a lot of questions that a man probably would not have been asked. Grrr. If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, I guarantee you will laugh out loud when you read her new book.

 

Blogging for Books sent me an uncorrected proof of Liz Curtis Higgs’ upcoming book, The Women of Easter, in return for my honest review. I had just finished reading her book, The Women of Christmas, during the holiday season — something I have done for the past three years. That book has illuminated the Christmas season for me each time I have read it, so I was excited to have a book that I could read during the Easter holidays now too. The only Christian book that I anticipated this much last year was Sarah Young’s Jesus Always devotional. Higgs writes about the roles that the three Marys — Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene — played in the biblical events of Easter. Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’s feet with perfume, symbolically preparing him for burial. His mother stood by as he was crucified, and Mary Magdalene showed her devotion to her teacher and savior as well.Even though Easter probably isn’t on your radar just yet this year, I recommend this well-researched book for that season.

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Book Look Bloggers sent me God Made You Nose to Toes in return for my honest review. I love the cheerful illustrations and the message about God creating different body parts, from head to toe. The rhyme pattern adds to the charm of the book. The entire book is both high-quality and adorable at the same time. Plus, the book looks really cute setting on my son’s dresser.

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P.S. Did you see my post yesterday?

xoxo Teresa

 

Happy Blog Year

Hello, and happy 2017!

I hope your new year is already off to a joyful start. As for me: so far, so good. We had a little birthday party for my son this past week. It was a great time, baking a cake for him and inviting a couple of his best buddies over. To make up for my non-professional cake decorating skills, I slapped a Dory toy onto the side of the cake that I had iced blue and put sprinkles all over. Carson liked the Dory cake. We also had some Paw Patrol masks, party hats, whistles, and an extensive Spotify playlist that included songs for the boys and for the adults too. The party was small, but I feel so blessed that we had a little group of people who took time on a dark, rainy Tuesday to celebrate with us. Always the (overly) reflective type, I thought about how it seems like God had a hand in bringing those friendships into our lives.

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Speaking of being a reflective, introverted person — haha — I have been making One Word Resolutions for the past several years. Past words have been connect, hope, and confident. The hilarious thing is that I often felt like I struggled with those particular concepts throughout the year that I chose the words. I picked confident during a year that constantly challenged me to the point that I wanted to just hide sometimes, but by the end of the year, I realized that the challenges really had contributed a more confident outlook in my life. I had to depend on God to bring me there; I felt like I was often operating from a place of weakness, but that is a place where God can bring growth. The year that I chose hope, I had to keep reminding myself where my hope is anchored. This year, the word that I feel God has placed on my heart is joyful. “Really?” I asked. “Joyful?” I have gotten used to struggling through my One Word Resolutions, so joyful came as a surprise. Then God confirmed the word to me two more times this past week. Joyful it is. Is it lazy of me to hope this one will come naturally? (She winks.) I am going to expect the best.

Last year, my blog focused on Bible Journaling and book reviews. I also did some posts on “what I’m into.” I am going to keep the book reviews because I enjoy getting books in the mail. It appeals to the kid in me. It’s like getting a present once or twice a month. I’m also going to sprinkle in some “what I’m into” posts because those are so much fun to look back on; as I go back through my blog, I nod and remember that phase when I made a lot of cauliflower soup.

As I reflected and listened for the spirit’s guidance for my blog this year, it seemed like God was telling me to start the new year not with the Bible Journaling posts like I had done last year; instead, what kept coming to mind is the idea that my church is going to be doing a Daniel Fast for three weeks this month. It starts next Sunday. That’s really all I know about it. I have done a little Google research, and it seems like the fast allows fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains, nuts and water. Plain popcorn (no salt, no butter) sounds like it’s a go, but dairy, meat, coffee, and tea are all no-no’s. Rather than focusing on the diet aspect, though, the fast is focused on honoring God and showing devotion. I am going to try to honor God by participating; my husband isn’t going to do it because he works with the public, and he thinks he would not be able to stay pleasant and feel good on the fast. It sounds tough. No lie. I am a little nervous about how pleasant I will be myself. I like fruits and vegetables, so that’s a plus. The hardest part will probably be going to work without a cup of coffee for three weeks straight. Also, not having my usual glass of wine with a friend once a week will probably be tough because it’s become a very fun and relaxing ritual.

Has anyone else done a Daniel Fast before? Is anyone doing it this year? I would love to hear from you. I am going to post a book review this week, and then you’ll hear from me when the fast starts.

xoxo Teresa

Book Reviews

I received two books for review that I want to share with my readers this week. Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz pays tribute to dynamic women who have made a difference around the world. This informative book would be ideal for a teenager who wants to learn about women’s accomplishments. I like the bold illustrations. This book would be great on a classroom shelf, which is where my copy of the book is going to go. The next generation will have plenty of role models to explore here.

The other book I received was The Lord’s Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness by Rick Warren. I really like how Rick Warren adapts the Lord’s Prayer to make the concepts very accessible to young children. I was hoping that my three-year-old son would be drawn to the book immediately. He loves it when we read together, but it seems like he is not ready for this one quite yet. I think the words are great, but the illustrations are a little “serious” for him, even though I can appreciate the incredible beauty of the illustrations from an adult perspective. My son does really like the page with children playing around a tree.

Rad Women Worldwide was sent to me by Blogging for Books, and The Lord’s Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness was sent to me by Book Look Bloggers. Both books were sent to me in return for my honest review. Have a great weekend!

Teresa

A Portrait of Emily Price: Book Review

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A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is a great story about a woman who never makes impulsive decisions – except for when she marries the wonderful Italian chef that she just met on a recent work trip and then moves to his home country with him. Emily is a character who is good at putting together what is broken, whether what’s broken is a family relationship or a piece of art that she is tasked with restoring for work. Instead of just restoring the work of others, Emily ends up making art of her own; she also learns that some family relationships and hurts are so deep and difficult to understand that they cannot be easily mended. This is the second Reay book that I have read. The other one was Lizzie and Jane, also a great novel that I recommend. Reay explores sister relationships in both books, but A Portrait of Emily Price brings romance and captures the all of the senses with descriptions of a beautiful Italian village. I felt like I was visiting the little Italian village along with Emily, going through the ups and downs of figuring out her identity in a new country. I was amazed by how descriptive Reay was about even little elements of the book like going truffle hunting and learning to navigate the narrow roads. I don’t read Christian fiction very often, but I like Reay’s stories because they have depth and substance along with a Christian world view that comes through in subtle, not contrived ways. Book Look Bloggers sent me this paperback in return for my honest review. Happy Monday, and thanks for reading!

Teresa

Where Jesus Slept Giveaway

 

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“This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers young and not-so- young of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmas. Children will love the delightful illustrations and the engaging repetition in this cumulative tale.

Format: jacketed hardcover, 32 pages
Retail price: $16.99
Reading age: 4-7

About the author: Norma Lewis is the author of ten books. She lives in Grand Haven, MI, with a marmalade cat named Scalawag. They both love spending time with her six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to twenty.

My review: The illustrations are beautiful, and the book has the kind of repetition that children like. This is a great book to read your little one around the Christmas season. I’m excited to be giving away a copy to one of my blog readers.

Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway!

“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.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”