Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Duck Commander Happy, Happy, Happy Stories for Kids by Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard (children's book review)

My family loves Duck Dynasty. It's been awhile since we watched it (always re-runs for us on an app or something), but we enjoy the laughs. They don't take themselves too seriously and they pray on television - big plus for us! Are there any other recent ones that do that without mocking Christians? 

My husband and I have read almost all the books published by the adults of the show. He really enjoys Phil's books. I have liked all the ones I've read! Since our big boys (ages 9 and 11) enjoy the show, I thought Duck Commander Happy, Happy, Happy Stories for Kids by Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard (her mom) would be great for us! We were just finishing up Bob Goff's Love Does for Kids devotional. My kids loved that - my 3-year-old daughter asked to "read Bob" constantly. I was hoping for the same with this devotional. 

image via Book Look

What I like about this book: Like I said, I like the Duck Commander family. I like what they stand for (Jesus), I like their sense of humor about things. Happy, Happy, Happy Stories for Kids lives up to that faith and that laughter. The stories are cute. 

The layout of this book is neat. There's the story. Then a "What Does the Bible Say?" page with a verse, reminiscent of Veggie Tales and QWERTY (looks nothing alike but makes me think of that). Then there's a "Let's Talk About It" quiz page with questions about the story itself. Last is "Duck Commander in Action" section that ties the story closer to God instead of just a cute story. 

What I dislike about this book: The illustration is not great. You can tell which adult is which but I think the kids are harder to distinguish in cartoon form. 

The length of the story is long when added to the "Let's Talk About It" and "Duck Commander in Action" sections. We try to read things like this in the morning but we don't have time for this one in the morning before school. Maybe I'll continue trying this summer when our mornings are more relaxed. 

I dislike that it hasn't been a big hit in our house. I was anticipating it to be one that the kids all asked for, but it's not been the case. Not to say they dislike it - they listen and enjoy it while we are reading it. But between times, it's not like Love Does for Kids or Indescribable (by Louie Giglio). 

Why should you buy it: If you like Duck Commander and have kids 4-9, then this is a good fit for you. It may or may not be a big hit in your house - I can't foretell that. But it's a good book with good stories that point the way to Christ and loving one another. That's the goal! 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Imperfection (and an Uglydolls trailer)

Growing up with a boys' name, Randi, was hard. Not like "real" problems, but for a sensitive child like me, it wasn't easy. I don't remember being picked on outright for it, but I always knew it wasn't a feminine name like Miranda (my favorite - couldn't I have been named that and just nicknamed Randi?!) or Jessica (the most popular name of my time) or Amy (the most popular girl in my class' name) or Brandi (my second option).

I remember there being a boy for one year in the grade above me named Randy. Ugh. That made it worse! I was probably in 4th or 5th grade - probably my most sensitive time (until junior high!). It didn't help that a neighbor girl called me Randall - I still hate that to this day so please don't call me that.

Then after Austin Powers came out...that was awful. Do you remember? "Are you randy?" I didn't even know that was a word outside of a name!! I remember being at a choir event and these boys teasing me about that. I was in high school at that time but still not confident in my name. I wanted so much to be liked at that point, it was incredibly embarrassing to me.

However, I love my name now. It came from my dad, who I love dearly. I love that legacy (although I didn't pass it along to my kids...). I love that he wanted to name me after him. It's definitely taken some getting used to and growing up into. It's beautiful and unique (around here, there aren't even little boys named Randy anymore really, although I heard of one a few weeks ago!). I've met several women around my age who are named Randi; it's something of a bond of being named after your dad.

May 3, a new movie is coming out called Uglydolls. I haven't decided exactly how I feel about this movie (I haven't seen it!) - I thought the trailer looked silly but I love reading the synopsis to hear the why behind such an odd looking movie.

image via GraceHill Media
In the adorably different town of Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. Here, the free-spirited Moxy and her UglyDoll friends live every day in a whirlwind of bliss, letting their freak flags fly in a celebration of life and its endless possibilities. The endearingly unique residents of Uglyville occasionally look to the sky above the town, where a new UglyDoll will appear and be embraced by the community.

Moxy (Kelly Clarkson) loves her square-peg life in this round-hole town, but her curiosity about all things leads her to wonder if there’s something – anything – on the other side of the mountain which nestles Uglyville. Moxy gathers a group of her closest friends and sets off to find what’s on the other side. They discover another world – Perfection – a town where more conventional dolls are trained in protocols before they graduate and are sent to the “real” world to find the love of a child.

In Perfection, Moxy and her crew are subject to the manipulations of Lou (Nick Jonas), the perfect doll in charge of training recruits. Here, the UglyDolls will confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.  UGLYDOLLS releases in theaters this Friday, May, 3.

You can view the trailer below! It may look like an odd movie but I love when movies celebrate the special oddities we all bear. The Lord was so creative in making all of us so unique and special. Sometimes it helps to open up and bear the burdens of others' special qualities and quirks that help us embrace our own. 

Disclaimer: I received a gift card in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours. 

What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub (children's book review)

Emotions are a normal part of life, but if not taught properly, they can run rampant over a person's life. God gave us emotions to signal us to things - anger when something is not right, sadness when hard times happen, happiness when life is peaceful and swell! However, as it's taken me a long time and many books to understand, our emotions do not have the right to control our responses.
image via B&H/LifeWay

This can be a difficult concept to teach children but a vitally important one. "What Am I Feelings?" by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub gives parents a tool to use when teaching this lesson to children. It's one you'll teach over and over again because this book is easy to love - characters that kids relate to, cute illustrations by Jane Butler, and an easy plot to follow. My Princess has brought it to me several times since it arrived for me to read to her.

What I liked: Like I mentioned, I like the illustrations by Jane Butler. They are simple and cute. Eye-catching for children. It is a likable story because the characters go through emotions and events that are common to children - someone gets their blocks knocked over (and they get mad); someone overreacts and yells at a friend, and that friend cries; a child is afraid of talking in front of his peers. These are so relatable - and generational! I think most of us can relate to the children in this story.

What I disliked: I wish all stories for children rhymed but that's just a preference. This story has fine writing along with it.

I was just at a friend's house today and she mentioned that her two-year-old is at a stage where his emotions are really big! This is one of those stories that will help parents explain to children that God has given us emotions, "what you feel matters, but it doesn't have to control you." I think this is such good verbiage for children to hear and understand. It really would pair well with "The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours. The links I use for AmazonSmile help support Emmaus University in Haiti. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

reading the Bible (+ a tv trailer)

A friend once said to me that she just wanted to "love her husband, not yell at her kids, and not lose her mind." Can I get a big "amen" to that?! Isn't that the truth? I've discovered over the past decade and more that the Bible really can help us in all of those areas!

I'm learning to read my Bible - not just read it but understand it, apply it to my life! She has helped me dig deep, ask questions, cross reference between passages, look at the historical background. Who, what, when, where, why? And I want others to know this ability to read and understand the Bible can happen without a seminary degree! Theology is for everyone! Even me!

I wanted to share some passages that have been meaningful to me the past few years. I don't have a "life verse" but this one may be pretty close, "But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content" (1 Timothy 6:8). I have a pretty envious streak and this reminds me that the Lord provides. Always has, always will. We have been in some pretty lean financial times but we've always had food and clothing, plenty. Our needs have always been met - even more than the physical needs, He has met my emotional needs over and over! 

image via Grace Hill Media

Ecclesiastes 3 (the whole thing but I'll just share verse 1) says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." I have come back to this very popular verse the past few years because we've had some hard seasons. I wrote this piece last March (2018): "Today at Testimony Tuesday, Betsy taught about Ecclesiastes 3 - there is a time for every purpose under the heavens. She asked the question, "what time are we in now?" There are times I'd rather not go through - a time to break, weep, mourn, etc, and yet I have found myself in those times - overwhelmed, depressed. I mourn for things important - not going to Haiti, my son's epilepsy and future, my family's eternity. But I also mourn the trivial - not having this or that, not going here or there, not getting a break. Yet I think each of those drives me to my knees because I know only God can bring peace in the big and turn my eyes to Him int eh small. I am tired. I am overwhelmed. But God will meet me with grace in each of those circumstances. He will lead me to repent when I'm selfish or angry. He will allow me to be joyful for others when they get this or that or go here or there. Only Christ." I very much believe that. Only God knows what my son's future holds - will he have more seizures and other such worries. Only God can change the hearts of my family to Him. 

The book of James is probably my favorite book in the Bible (contending with Ruth). It is so practical! James 1:2-4 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." That section has been one I cling to with my son's surgeries. I've also seen fruit from this - not that I'm complete and perfect, but that in the various kinds of trials I've seen God working. I've seen my faith grow more endurance. I've seen Him allow us to share that endurance and faith with others going through trials of various kinds. What grace is given so that we can come alongside others in their pain?! 

Lastly, the one I'm still working on over and over and over: James 1:19-22 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." I have such a tongue (set on fire by hell - James 3:6b)! It can be so encouraging - and cutting. James 3:9-11 says, "with it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so." Even take today, I yelled at my daughter over inconsequential things and tonight, with the same tongue, encouraged my son to fight the enemy with God's truth. It makes me feel like a huge hypocrite (and I know many unbelievers see us Christians as such) but I know that I'm a work in progress. I know that I'm being sanctified daily and it's through God's Word that it's happening. 

I'm always encouraged when there is coverage on the life of Christ on television. Even if they get it wrong (like in the movie Noah...oh dear), I hope that people will be intrigued enough to pick up a Bible and look for themselves. The History Channel has been showing a series on the life of Christ called "Jesus: His Life." The final episode and series finale airs Monday, April 15 just in time for Easter! I wanted to share the synopsis below: 

“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.

Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah.  The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.

I encourage you to watch this series, to be intrigued, to open your heart and your Bible. Find out if He is who He says He is. Can He change your life? Can He impact you as He has done me? I know the answer is yes, but we all have to see for ourselves. Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!

Disclaimer: I received a gift card in exchange for this post. All of it is my opinion and may differ from your own. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman (book review)

I can’t quite remember how I got Simply Tuesday in my hands. Probably a book review. But since the beginning of that book, I have adored it’s author, Emily P. Freeman. Reading that book was very pivotal in my life to see God in the ordinary, to live life as if God is in the simple things on a Tuesday. And so I am a fan of Emily P. Freeman. When she started her podcast, The Next Right Thing, back in 2017, I had my earbuds in and I listened to every word. I've possibly listened to every one of her podcast episodes since.

I never felt like I had decision fatigue but I really have been helped by the podcast. She walked with me through some hard times in my life: depression, my son’s second brain surgery, awful morning sickness, the birth of my fourth child, and the continuing every day chaos of life with four children.

When Emily announced that she was writing The Next Right Thing as a book, I was so thrilled. I have friends who are readers but not podcast listeners (and vice versa). I have probably recommended the podcast to every person I know, if for nothing else than to listen to Emily talk because she has a wonderful voice – my friend says it is hypnotic. But now my non-podcast listening friends can get the same depth, the same advice, the same breathing room for their souls. 

Reading through this book was like walking with an old friend. I was familiar with all of the content through the podcast but it was not full of worn out words. More like worn in, like a good pair of jeans (not the tight kind she talks about in the book haha). 

I have so many parts highlighted in the book, but I wanted to share just a few lines that I really love:

When I was going through a bout with depression, these words gave me hope. “If you feel stuck in a hopeless place today, I don’t want to rush you to joy. Maybe you need to spend a little time letting the darkness do what darkness does—nourish, strengthen, and hold. The darkness can invite us into a mystery, a place where we don’t know the answer. We know that seeds need to bury down deep in the ground, sometimes for a long, long time. Eventually, those seeds will break open and take root. But first they have to settle into the darkness. Still, that seed carries within it a narrative of hope. It just hasn’t lived into the whole story yet.” 

Having a child in middle school is a new experience for me. Being the mother of four children is a new experience for me. These lines were very encouraging to me, as I tend to be very hard on myself. “All of these are new beginnings, some joyful and some heartbreaking. But in all of these, you are a beginner. You have not been here before, with this particular set of circumstances, with these particular people, at this particular time in your one life.” 

I will leave you with these lines that really spoke to me because I am my own worst critic. And even when I get criticism or perceived criticism from others, I tend to play that over in my own head and rehash it out loud too much. “we’re not gonna give her words. The critic only lives if we let her live. And I don’t mean the critic that is helpful and has your best interest at heart. This isn’t someone in your co-listening group or one of your No Mentors. I mean the spiteful one, the petty one, the one who said those things way back when. Maybe the one who lives in your own head.”  

And so you have only a sampling of the words of wisdom of Emily P. Freeman. She is a treasure and this book, The Next Right Thing, is a treasure in itself. She has this quiz on TheNextRightThing.com that helps you discern your own decision-making style (mine is heart). 

Now, the book does not release for a few more days. So you still have the opportunity to purchase the book and get some freebies alongside it (purchase by April 2 - here's a link to the book on Amazon). One of the pre-ordering freebies is Emily‘s class Discern + Decide. Another is the audiobook, read by Emily! Now, I enjoy audiobooks and I would greatly enjoy one by her, but personally I want a hard copy of this book to write all my notes and underline all the things in it. But I have a friend who likes to look at the book and listen to the audiobook at the same time, so if you are like her, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to have a two for one deal. You can find out more information at TheNextRightThing.com

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

If I Joined the Circus (movie trailer)

Like most moms, some days are hard and I dream of running away to join the circus. In reality, I would take my kids over smelly animals any day. But it’s fun to think about what it would be like to actually join the circus.
If I were to join the circus, my job of choice would probably not be one that most people would think of. I would not be a trapeze artist or a lion tamer. I would not be a bearded lady or the world‘s shortest woman. I would love to be the ticket taker.

In college, I was pregnant with my first child and worked in the cafeteria. I had a horrible morning sickness all day long and could not stand to be around food. So the manager, a dear friend of mine, made me the cashier. I loved every second of it!

As the cashier or the ticket taker at a circus, you get to see everyone come in. You are the face that greets them and ask them how they are doing. Those kind words of greeting can make a person’s day!

I am very extroverted and I usually gain energy from being around a lot of people! I love busy stores and the rush of Christmas time and big conferences or events. I like looking at interesting people and talking with whoever I’m standing near. Learning a little bit about people and usually finding out what a small world we live in, those are things that I really enjoy about being around people. That’s why I think being a ticket taker for a circus would be so fun! Everyone loves a circus and you could meet multi generation families or aspiring circus acts that are scouting your circus. You could meet politicians and movie stars and moms and dads. Doesn’t that just sound exciting? 

While being the ticket taker may not be a daring job, I think it would be one that would suit me well. If that did not pan out, I could totally be the ringmaster!

Dumbo - the classic tale of the elephant who can fly - comes out in a whole new way in theaters March 29th. Here is a synopsis of the film: From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight.   Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.  

Disclaimer: I received a gift card in exchange for my article about what I would be if I joined the circus. All opinions are my own but I cannot wait to view this movie!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Made for His Pleasure by Alistair Begg (book review)

I have to be honest that I wanted to read this book because I'm a fan of Alistair Begg. I've listened to him on podcasts and LOVE his accent (you guys, I'm a sucker for accents). I do realize you cannot listen to a paperback but I knew of Begg enough to realize this content was going to be GOOD! "Made for His Pleasure: Ten Benchmarks of a Vital Faith" by Alistair Begg is a fantastic book!

image via AmazonSmile
Even the two forewords were great, written by John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul - admonishing us as readers to "rejoice in the treasure you are holding in your hands, because it's richness will provide a clear path to follow...to that monumental face-to-face meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Made for His Pleasure" itself was a joy to read. A humble urging to help us align our lives with Christ. I want to share some of the takeaways I wrote as I read:

In regards to spiritual fitness, Begg says that "our commitment to our families can also be a hindrance if it keeps us from worship, prayer, and witness." That sounds so harsh but another source but it into perspective for me. If I'm spending so much time pouring into my children while neglecting to read my Bible or spend time in prayer, then I'm parenting them wrongly. I'm not showing them the most important thing - a relationship with Christ - but I'm making them the most important thing (which is making them idols).

While discussing Sacrifice: Wholehearted Commitment to God's Kingdom, Begg says "we need to have a sense of mission in the routine activities of our lives. In parking cars, writing term papers, pumping gas, folding laundry, selling bonds, playing sports - in whatever we are doing - we are to be living sacrifices" where our lives are totally "yielded to Jesus." This is not new material but a needed reminder for me. In my life that is made up of the mundane (whose isn't really?) - changing diapers, making supper, reading books, watching movies, exercising, etc, etc - I need God. But sometimes? It doesn't feel like it. It's easy to slip into the "I can do it myself" mind set. We know this isn't true - I cannot even breath without God's sovereignty! I need to be reminded over and over again to be reminded to yield my life, each exciting moment and boring moment, to the Lord of all Lords! This chapter leads into the one on vocation where Begg quotes Eric Alexander, "There is no ideal place to serve God except the place where He has set you down." As I make egg muffins this afternoon and listen to my son practice piano, tomorrow as I teach my daughter to write her name and change the other boy's diapers, this weekend as I travel to visit family, all of that - I need to yield it all to Jesus. My words, my deeds, my thoughts, my life.

"The Puritan Thomas Watson said, 'Our sufferings may be lasting, not everlasting.'" Begg's chapter on suffering is maybe my favorite chapter. The last four years of our lives have had painful sufferings - chronic pain, medical issues with our son, the baby stage (I know that may not seem like suffering to some but it's super hard for us). "We should neither court suffering nor complain about it." I cannot say I ever had an attitude like this, but I wish I had. It's easy to complain when suffering occurs, but "instead, we should see it as one of the means God chooses to employ to make us increasingly useful to the Master. It is from this perspective that James urges his readers to 'consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds.' (James 1:2)." I've also been reading an autobiography by Joni Eareckson and she went through immense suffering with her quadriplegia but she came to the conclusion that it was for God's glory and His work that she broke her neck! Katherine Wolfe has also said something similar after surviving a stroke and aneurysm that left her disabled - her wheelchair that she uses has opened her up to lean on the Lord and allow Him to use her life as He wills.

There are difficult chapters in this book. If you are lukewarm in your faith, this is not for you. But if you are all in for Christ, this book is gold! Read it alongside your Bible and you will grow in your faith. You will not find yourself falling into spiritual flabbiness but your spiritual muscles will be useful in God's kingdom! "We must recognize that to be a witness for Christ is both a duty and a privilege" and that starts today!

I wish I could share more but then I'd end up writing the whole book in this post! ha! So do yourself a favor and go get this book - buy it on Amazon, borrow it from the library.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours'. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Made For This by Jennie Allen (book review)

Which came first in my life: Jennie Allen of IF:gathering? Hmmm... I'm not sure it matters because she is the visionary behind IF. Both have helped me grow with God these past five years or so. I read Allen's book, "Anything," a few years ago. I'll be honest, it wasn't as life-changing as I thought it would be. The premise is surrendering your life to God, giving Him "anything." For Allen and her husband, anything included adopting their son and starting the IF:gathering (among other things, I'm sure). But I'm not sure my anything prayer had quite the same trajectory. However, my life had a few detours- my son's seizures and brain surgeries and two more children. I do think praying "anything" opened my eyes to follow God through these hardships (babies may not be traditional hardships but I have difficult pregnancies and I think the baby stage is quite difficult).

Regardless, I was thrilled to hear Allen was coming out with a book, "Made For This," to accompany her readers on this "anything" journey. The back covers says this book will help you: abandon insecurities and discover how God can use your dreams and passions for a greater purpose, learn how your struggles can produce the very thing you want to give back to the world, trade control and safety for a life of God-honoring adventure by praying one prayer, and continue to reaffirm your purpose and calling in every season of life. Ooh la la! Doesn't that sound soul soothing? Like a balm to the restlessness you feel? Or at least, I feel that. That ache for my life to matter for God, to not waste my life by pushing down my dreams.

image via BookLook
Let me say this: I am a stay-at-home mom and I love it! I think it is the biggest purpose of my life right now. Motherhood has sanctified me (not entirely of course; that's a life journey), it is my bread and butter. I think it is a calling, making little disciples for Christ. I don't think I need to add on. But I think God has a place for me and my gifts inside my home and maybe outside of it. Some day my kids will leave my home and I have purposes to fulfill then, too. I want to leave a legacy of making disciples for my children to follow.

Now, I have big dreams.  "Made for This" will not automatically make them happen. God is the dream maker, the one who gives us good gifts. "Made for This" challenges us to not live in fear of failure or what others think but to figure out where our dreams intersect with God's good plans for us. It's been exciting to see what dreams have been drawn out for me in this process.

I'm not 100% done with this book. In this season of a baby, it's going to take me longer than 40 days to make my way through the entire book. But I wanted to share it with you so you can start on your own "anything" journey with God. I can't wait to see how he uses you!

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I would have bought it anyway. All opinions are my own and may not be same as others' opinions. 

Dumbo (trailer)

Princess hasn’t been to a movie theater yet - she will be four this summer. I have been attempting to find a movie to take her to and a lot of them could have scary/intense parts (I’m looking at you Toy Story franchise!). I have heard rumors of Frozen 2 but I’ve also heard rumors of a plot twist I’m not a fan of. So her future movie watching was looking bleak until Dumbo. Princess loves The Greatest Showman, and Dumbo is circus-themed too. Barring any intense scenes (I’m a huge fan of Plugged In movie reviews and Common Sense Media reviews to help me filter media for my kids), I think we have a winner.

image via Grace Hill Media

From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.   “Dumbo” releases in theaters on March 29.

Watch the trailer below. It just looks so fun!

Disclaimer: I received nothing for getting to share this with you. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by Kimberley Barnes (children's book review)

Prayer comes naturally to me in only one form: for my children. I have to work harder to take the time to pray for most all else. Matthew Paul Turner must know the heart of parents for their children because his new book “When I Pray for You” perfectly articulates those prayers laid at the feet of Our Savior. 

 What I love: This book knows prayers - real prayers from parents: prayers for well-being (emotional and physical), for their futures, their passions. Prayers when they are cute and cuddly. Prayers for when they aren’t. Prayers to help them along or watch them fly solo. All the prayers summarized in this lyrical, beautifully illustrated book. Too often when a book is about prayer, it's very vague. While this book does not articulate specific prayers, it does encompass what we pray about when we pray for our children! 

I’ve read through it with each of my kids - 11, 9, 3, and 7 months old. Each line fit them perfectly (especially the one about light saber fights!!). I enjoy books that are timeless more than those specific to one short age. 

I'm feeding the baby while reading this one.

What I didn't like: My only warning is that you will probably cry, mama. This is one of those tear-jerkers that will pull at the heart strings. But that’s a sign of a classic book, in my opinion. OK so this isn't even really something I dislike about the book. I don't mind being emotional about my children at all. It's good for our children to see a book like the evoke some emotions! For very small, wiggly ones, it is a bit long but that's ok; they can sit through it. It's that good. 

Why should you read it: This would be such a good baby shower gift, new baby gift, birthday gift, anytime gift! It goes on sale tomorrow! This brand new book is so beautiful; it's sure to be a book your family will treasure for a long time!

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may differ from others' opinions.

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