faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Be the GIFT

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“Be the GIFT” by Ann Voskamp —

When I saw that Ann had this new book coming out, I pre-ordered it in hardcover!

It is now available at most book stores.  It is a book that includes:

  • page after page of color photos that Ann took herself
  • a list of 60 ideas of how to be the GIFT (Give It Forward Today)
  • 20 card-stock gift tags of Ann’s own color photos (or use as 10 bookmarks)
  • journal space to write about the ways you chose to Be the GIFT
  • over 200 pages

This book is a GIFT on its own!

Ann is a very generous author! This is a beautiful book with color photos, poignant words, as well as the encouraging spirit of the book, which is to “be a gift” to other people.

I was delighted when I received this book to see the quality of it!  I began reading it immediately, and had to smile in thankfulness. 

Each book is Ann being a GIFT to us!

Purchase this book for yourself or someone you love, and you will smile in thankfulness too.

–>Get the book HERE!

To me, this book is healing, encouraging, challenging, hopeful, and caring

Ann is reaching out to us, despite her pain, despite our pain, and she says, let’s help each other; let’s “Be the GIFT” for each other, and heal our pain together. 

Sample Bookmark photo —

AnnVoskamp BookMark

(Break at the perforations to get 2 gift tags.  On the back it says To:/From:)

(To get the gift tags/bookmarks, you must purchase the hardcover, not the e-book.)

 

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At Any Cost

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The true story, “At Any Cost” by Mike & Hayley Jones, is an amazing story of faith!

When we say “Yes” to doing something for God, we can’t always know the full cost.  The Jones’ family had two young sons, and they decided to say “yes” to the call from God in their heart to adopt a child from Africa.

They thought they knew the cost of this venture, and were willing to jump in.  They had no idea what God had planned to ask them to do.  They had no idea how much time, money, courage, patience, and faith they would need to accomplish this adoption.  They did it! Despite feeling like they were building an ark in the desert like Noah did.  It was a huge undertaking that people thought they were crazy for doing!  But God asked, and they said “Yes”.

This story will challenge you to think bigger.  What big thing is God asking you to do?  Will you commit to it “At Any Cost”?  Read this true story first, so you can see if you have the courage and the faith to say “yes”.

The adopted children in this story are miracles themselves! These kids had to deal with an entirely different culture — different clothes, different food, different games, different schools, different weather… and they met every challenge!  They even had to home school to catch up with their grade, since their schooling in Africa was not up to standards.  

Only God could make this family work.  Only God could give them the vision, the courage, the strength, and the financing.

This family even set a world record for adoption, —  but I’m not revealing what record they set.  

–>Get the book HERE!

–>Check their website for current news!

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The Way

 

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Although people choose different lifestyles, different careers, and different locations to live…

the most important decision I have ever made, is to follow “The Way”, Jesus Christ.

–>In John 14:4-6, Jesus says, “You know the way to the place I am going.” Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Once I made the decision to follow “The Way”, my direction is set for life and beyond.  I walk with “The Way” every day.  I make decisions that allow me to follow “The Way”. 

I still struggle with some decisions.  “The Way” is not a yellow brick road to follow.

The Way” is Jesus Christ, who gave us teachings to guide us in how to live.  “The Way” is the Son of God, who we can pray to for help making decisions.  “The Way” is truth for us to live by, and warnings of what to avoid.

Jesus tells us, “Follow Me”.  Are you following Him?  Are you on “The Way” where Jesus is? If you are, you are getting closer to Him every day.

If you are not, you have a decision to make.  It will be the most important decision in your life!

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Beyond the Castle

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“Beyond the Castle” is by Jody Jean Dreyer.

This is a fun book to read!

Maybe you didn’t think non-fiction could be fun, but this is the memoir of Jody Jean who worked at Disney for 30 years! 

As you might expect, she is fun, up-beat, has a great sense of humor, and has a ton of information about behind-the-scenes at Disney World.

This book tells you stories about the people who work at Disney parks.  As well as information about characters like Tinkerbell.  Of course the author also knows a lot about Mickey Mouse.  She tells us about Walt Disney himself, too.  She even tells us the rules of being a Disney princess!

The book starts with the author’s first visit to Disney World when she was 10. Later she talks about how she got her first job at Disney, and many more jobs to follow.  She even got to be on the Grand Opening Team for EuroDisney! (in Paris, France)

This is not just a book about Disney.  It is also about how to live a successful, happy life.  The author talks about things she learned from working at Disney.  There are a lot of things that Disney does right.  After all, for over 50 years, it has been a very successful business!

You don’t need to be a fan of Disney to enjoy this book, but it helps if you at least have visited one of the Disney parks, somewhere in the world.  There are Disney parks in California, Florida, Hawaii, France, Japan, China, and Hong Kong!  (Personally I have been to Disney parks in California and Florida, and loved all my visits!)  Maybe reading this book will inspire you to visit again!

You won’t believe who was the first Tinkerbell that “flew” over the castle during evening fireworks at Disney World in Florida!  I’m not going to tell you, because it is so surprising…

–>Click to get the book!

–>Go to the author’s website.

Have fun reading this book!

(I did get a free book through –>BookLook Bloggers so I could write my honest review. I so enjoyed reading this book!)

 

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Only 2 Options

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This Thanksgiving weekend, I listened to a new CD from Joyce Meyer.

I always learn something new from Joyce! I wanted to share with you…

What I got from listening to “The Joy of Trusting God”,

Joyce says that in life there are only 2 options —

           1. Trust God

 ….. or

           2. Be miserable suffering alone

Really? I thought about it… 

Yes, I would agree there are really only two options —  

The Bible tells us that in this world we will suffer.  We all experience hard times.  And yes, God has helped me through some really tough times!  

Without God in my life, I would be suffering alone.  No one but God can feel our pain.  No one but God knows what we are anxious about.  

Seeing the two options in print, makes the choice seem simple! 

      1. Trust God!

  2. Suffer alone

I know I should trust God in everything, all the time.  I don’t always do that.  Why? Fear, doubt, insecurity, pride… Many times I just forget to ask God for help.

So with only these 2 choices available to me, … to you, … to anyone, it makes the choice simple.  

I must trust God, or have only me to blame when I am suffering alone!

Yikes! Joyce really gets right to the nitty gritty truth! 

–>Go HERE to find the CD 

If you have any thoughts on your choice, just click “leave a comment”, and you can write your thoughts down or click “Like” so I know you made the right choice, but just didn’t want to write it down.  Hey, either of those choices is ok by me.

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Failure to Communicate

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You may have heard it said, —

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”!

(It’s a famous line from the movie –>“Cool Hand Luke, 1967, said by Paul Newman.)

There definitely are times when my husband and I are struggling to understand each other.  We try to rephrase what we said, to repeat what we said, to say it louder even!  HaHaHa!  There are times we just shrug and say, “Oh well I guess we just don’t understand each other on this issue”. 

The book “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner is targeted at this problem of communication between men and women.

“The Respect Dare” is about communicating with respect.  It is intended for wives who want to communicate with their husband better.  It is also definitely relevant for a woman and her boyfriend.  The key to communicating better with a man, according to several books I have read, is to show respect.  Evidently, research shows what is missing from most male-female relationships is respect.   Respect is shown in attitude, tone of voice, words used, facial expressions…

In case you didn’t know it yet, men communicate and think differently than women. Duh! We knew that right? This book tries to help women communicate better with the men they love.  It does not address how men can communicate better.  But as the book points out, you can’t change him, you can only change yourself.

There are 40 short lessons in this book, each on a different aspect of communicating with respect.  The book assumes the reader believes in God and wants to follow God’s teachings.  There were parts of the book that were too conservative for me in the attitude toward women, even though the book is written by a woman.  I chose just to ignore those few lessons.  Generally I try to get as much as I can out of self-help books, so I don’t throw out the whole book just because I don’t agree 100% with the author.  If you don’t want to ignore some old-fashioned attitudes toward women, then it might be better to skip this book.  I have definitely learned some helpful things from “The Respect Dare”.

At the same time I am reading “The Respect Dare”, my husband and I are reading “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  This book showed me that even though I thought I respected my husband, I was not always communicating that to him.  I realized I needed help figuring out how to communicate with respect, so I bought “The Respect Dare”.   

Dr. Eggerichs’ book (“Love & Respect”) covers both sides of communication, both how a man can communicate better with his wife through love, and how a woman can communicate better with her husband through respect.  I may post a book review of his book in the future, but I mention it here in case you want to understand how it is important for women to communicate to their husband with respect.  The same premise works when communicating to any man — your dad, your son, your boss.  Both books, however, are targeted to husbands and wives.   

I don’t agree with these authors that only women need to communicate with respect.  I wish all men communicated to women with respect!  Unfortunately, neither of these books addresses this problem.  Again, we can’t change men; we can only change ourself.  The hope is that by changing how we communicate, our husband will change in response.

My take on reading these two books – If I can have a better relationship with my husband, by communicating with respect, then I want to learn how to do that!  How about you?

–>Click THIS to get the book “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner.

–>Look HERE for the author’s website.

–>Tap on THIS for the book “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

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Feeling Blessed

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I want to declare my mood today for Thanksgiving —

I feel so blessed!

At the grocery store today, buying what we need for Thanksgiving, I realized that we can buy all the groceries we want.  That makes me feel blessed.

Going through each aisle, there are so many choices! In produce, I can choose from 5 kinds of squash.  Five kinds!  I chose the Spaghetti Squash because it was on sale, and it is a treat that we don’t get very often.  That makes me feel blessed!

I got to the frozen vegetables, and they had Bird’s Eye Vegetables on sale Buy 1 Get 1 free!  I stocked up on some of our favorites like baby broccoli florets.  That makes me feel blessed!

I finally found non-dairy yogurt in our grocery store!  Today I bought 3 flavors of coconut milk yogurt — strawberry, vanilla, and my favorite key lime!  More blessings!

By the time I checked out, and headed out the door, and remembered right where I parked, I was almost skipping at being so blessed!

So now I am taking the time to say — “Thank You, God, for the variety of food you have made for us, for the colors and flavors in abundance!  Thank you for all the people who work in the food industry, from farmers and harvesters, to packers and shippers, to grocery store workers and more, they all work hard to make the food available to us. Thank you for each one of them, and please bless them in abundance too.  Thank you God for family to share all these blessings with!”  

Before you get overwhelmed with cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving, you can take a breath and thank God for a few of your blessings too… 

May God bless each one of my readers this Thanksgiving (yes, you!), with abundance and love and yummy food!  

Let’s celebrate the harvest and share the bounty with others!

–>Click to find a Food Bank to donate food to, or get food from.

 

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Love Casts Out Fear

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The book “Love Casts Out Fear” by Brother Nathan is a true story. 

This true story is shocking, but also encouraging!  It is a good testimony for the Bible verse in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

The book covers Brother Nathan’s life from birth to the current day.  It shows how difficult it is for Christians living in Egypt.  His world is shattered when his father is murdered.  But he is transformed when he chooses to follow Jesus.  

Brother Nathan describes a picture of life in Egypt in small rural villages, and in the big city.  Through this book, Brother Nathan will give you an understanding of the heroic lives Christians must live in Egypt.  I found this very encouraging.  

God finds a way to reach people with the story of Jesus, even in remote places, and even in places of fear.  It is wondrous to see how Brother Nathan is freed of fear, and now lives boldly for Jesus! 

In the dedication, Brother Nathan says of his mother: “for more than eighty years Mama has shown us how to trust God for everything”.

He learned this lesson well!  

–>Click HERE to get the book!

 

 

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Fill Up For the Holidays

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Well we are officially in the holiday season!

Yep, you have been receiving gift catalogs in the mail right?  So have I!

People are talking about their favorite recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I got my first invitation to a Christmas Open House.

So it is important to stop now.  Take a deep breath, and decide…

What are you going to fill up your holidays with?

We need to plan or we will end up so busy we’ll lose the gifts of peace and joy that can be ours this holiday season.

Block out time for just your family.  I mean just the people who live in your house.  (Unless you live alone, then plan time with your closest family or friend.)  Save time to do something fun as a family between now and Christmas Day.

I said fun! Not work.  Not shopping.  Maybe singing or sledding or making s’mores around an outdoor fire…  

Now next, block out time just for you.  Quiet time…  

No shopping.  No cooking.  How about a bath and soothing music?  Maybe a walk in the park.  Read a book or maybe color in one.  We all need some quiet time during the holidays. Put it on your calendar.

Before I let you loose, think about what you want your holidays to be filled up with–  Friends? Family? Great food? Serving food at a shelter? Brightly wrapped presents? Charitable donations?  Church service?  Reading out loud a favorite story… maybe “T’was the Night Before Christmas”.  Or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  Make sure to choose what will fill you up with good feelings, like joy and peace and kindness.  

So now you can add in all the things you need to do for the holidays —  cooking, cleaning, mailing Christmas cards, shopping…

Just don’t let your holidays end up with you feeling worn out, crabby, and disappointed.  Nobody wants those feelings for Christmas!

So what are you going to fill up with this holiday season?

I pray you will have a Happy Thanksgiving …

and a Peaceful and Joyful Christmas!

 

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Hidden or Unseen

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“Unseen” is a good book by Sara Hagerty.

My question to you is what is the difference between hidden and unseen?

There are subtle differences.  The author uses both terms throughout the book.  It would help if you think about the differences between being hidden or being unseen to help understand the author (Sara) better.

Sara is expressing her need to be seen by God, but God wants her hidden in Him, so other people likely do not notice.  God, she says, is not interested in our busy activities. She used to feel pressured to do more, but now she believes God does not need us to do more, but to be with God more.

Sara has learned that she can have moments with God throughout her day.  The results are that she feels closer to God, and is less stressed.  (That sounds good to me!)

Sara says that when you feel unseen, God is looking for your heart.

I agree with the author that we need more quiet moments with God.  I really liked looking at the differences between being hidden from people, when you are seen by God. I like the idea that God always sees us, and appreciates our attention to Him even in a few minutes here and there.

This is an interesting book, with a point of view different from most.  Sara is not pushing you to do more, but suggesting that your slow, empty, boring or seemingly wasteful times, can be filled up with God.  He will love the time with you!

This is not a quick,light read; however, it is a very worthwhile read!

–>Click on THIS to get a copy of “Unseen”.

–>Go HERE to learn more about Sara.

–>Click to go to Sara’s website.

 

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