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book review

I’m Giving Away a Children’s Book! A Baby Believer Counting Primer: Review & Giveaway

I’ve got another book for one of you! Well, not you really … but a special kiddo in your life.

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer arrived last week, and my girls were so excited!  We receive a new children’s book every month from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (uh-maze-ing program! I sure hope your state has something similar!), so when an extra book came this month, they were pumped to open up their mail.

It’s not a secret how important reading for children’s development and success. The hardest part is deciding which books are best to read to them, right?

My answer to that dilemma?

There’s not one book or group of children’s book that are best. I say read ’em all … any you can get your hands on, read it to your kiddos. I especially like books that teach children about faith, trust, God or Jesus, love, identity in Christ, and so on. So today I’m giving one away! Just in time to toss into an Easter basket on April 16th!

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer is a counting book that introduces some important concepts and facts from the Bible. I love the sturdiness of this little book. When you have a 15 month old that throws EVERYTHING (this includes phones, iPads, brushes, shoes … anything she can pick up, she will throw.), sturdiness is a must. The illustrations and colors are my favorite part of the book – they hold mine and the kids’ attention, and explain the written words well.


My only problem with this book is a few of the concepts counted seem slightly elevated in for children at the age where they are just learning numbers and how to count. However, on the flip side, I don’t think introducing Bible basics can ever be done too early. I just wouldn’t expect an extremely young child to fully grasp some of the words or concepts of each counted item. (Examples: 8 “Beatitudes” and 5 books in the “Pentateuch.”)

But who am I to judge, right? I’m a mere adult, and this is a children’s book. *wink*

So I had McKenna (7) read it to Meda (3) and then write her own quick review, as well. Below is what she said (verbatim) about it:

“I liked how you put the number of the chapter and it went with the words. Example: 10 Commandments. I loved the illustrations of this little book, especially the color choices. The colors really stand out. I love the sturdiness of this book. This book would give me an introduction of the “Bible” as a young child. The book is AMAZING! Seriously, it’s AMAZING!!! What stood out to me the most in this book was definitely the color. Sorry, I just can’t stop talking about the COLOR!!!! Oh, and Meda keeps asking me if you are done yet and then she says “I want to text NOW!!” Overall, I think that the book is outstanding. I think that’s all I have to say. I loved the book. Thank you.” ~McKenna (age 7)

So there you have it. According to McKenna, this book is “AMAZING!!” (By the way, McKenna was uber jazzed to “blog” with me and type on my computer. Maybe I’ll have her join me again soon.)

So, without further adieu, let’s give this sucker away! The giveaway ends Friday night, and I’ll be posting on my Instagram and Facebook the winner.

To enter the giveaway:

  •  Subscribe to my emails. (Pst! You’ll also get a copy of my free ebook! #winning)

  • If you already receive my emails, simply leave a comment with the title of your favorite children’s book growing up below. (If you are just subscribing, you are welcome to leave a comment as well!)
  • Tweet, comment and share on social media for additional entries into the giveaway! Make sure to tag and follow me on Insta, FB or Twitter so I can know you shared!

Good luck, friends!

Books, Books, & More Books…

The year is almost up and I’m on my last books of the year (I think). I wanted to share what I’ve read in 2016, what I recommend, don’t recommend or can’t wait to read! I am mainly a non-fiction Christian-genre reader, so most of these fall within that realm. However, you’ll find a few fiction thrown in, because a girl’s GOTTA MIX IT UP once in a while, right?

(Hint! Read to the end of this post and I’ve got a promo code good for print books on Amazon TODAY ONLY!)

Currently Reading:


I bought Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children at the airport this past weekend, and started the evening I arrived home. In one sitting, I read 45% of it. (I was tired the next morning, for the record.) What a weird story! But I love how the photographs used are woven into the story. But friend, some of the photos are creepy. Though so far, so good on the story … though it’s weird. By the time you read this, I may be done with it, so I’ll let you know how it is!

I’ve been dying to get my hands on Beth Moore’s first fiction work, her novel The Undoing of Saint Silvanus and I just started it today! Have you read it yet? I’ve heard it’s good, but we shall see! 🙂

The Foundations of the Christian Faith I started in June and it’s a doozy! Think textbook style. It’s super enlightening though and has brought up aspects of Christianity I never have really thought of. I’m on the slow-track to read this one … about 6 chapters a month, so I should finish in like 3-4 months at this rate.


What I’ve Read in 2016:

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A Favorite Fiction:

The Bastard (The Kent Family Chronicles) This is a style of book I don’t normally read – historical fiction. So I was surprised when I quickly was hooked. It’s set during the start of the Revolutionary War about a French illegitimate son of an English duke who finds himself crossing the ocean to the colonies and then caught in the middle of all the major historical events and with all the important people like Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams at the start of the war. If you’re into history at all, it’s pretty cool. I’ll be getting the next book in this series soon. 🙂

A Favorite Non-Fiction:

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely This was is my most highlighted book of the year. Lysa brings incredible wisdom and biblical perspective to feelings that EVERY ONE OF US feels at some point during our lives. Read this if you haven’t. It’s one I’ve gone back to in order to reference multiple times throughout the year.

Good Reads:

These are books I would add to your To-Read list, if I had a say in it. 🙂

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy
The SuperMom Myth
Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life
Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole
Love Warrior (Oprah’s Book Club): A Memoir
Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World
Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You

A Man Called Ove: A Novel
The Thirteenth Chance
The Girl on the Train


Not much to say about these. They were good, but not my favs.

Faithful Finance: Money Essentials & Biblical Principles
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World

Don’t Waste Your Time:

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives 

Biggest Disappointment:

Ugh. I don’t want to tell you.

I can’t.

I won’t tell you.

Okay, yes I will.

But I don’t want to…

Because this author is fabulous. And I love her. She’s written a ton of books, and I’ve heard her speak, pouring her heart out on stage with me hanging on every word.

Which is why I tripped over myself and 800 other eager women at She Speaks to buy Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living to have Shauna sign my copy this past summer. My copy was the last one she signed at that conference before she jetted off to her next speaking gig the week before it released.

But y’all – I couldn’t do it.

I tried so hard to like this book, especially when friends of mine raved and praised it as the best read of the year. I couldn’t … I couldn’t even finish it. And I’m so sad about it.

I gave it a valiant effort, and got through 3/4 of the book, but everything of quality in the book, I had heard her speak on stage. The message of the book is important and necessary, but it was redundant and told story after story of her at her lake house. And that was it. It would have made a great essay.

I really am sad I didn’t enjoy this. But I wanted more than stories of lake house visits and a few whimsical thoughts while there.

Don’t get me wrong – some parts were great… Some.

So yeah – this one was a disappointment for me.

What You HAVE to Read (if you haven’t already):

Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard. My guess is you haven’t read this yet, because it doesn’t come out until next month (Jan, 2017). I happen to be on Jennie’s launch team for this book, so I read it last month and you’ll see me posting more about it in the next few weeks on social media. Though, girlfriend … this book is incredible. You can pre-order it right now ON SALE by clicking HERE.

The Magnolia Story Maybe you don’t watch HGTV and the show Fixer Upper … but you should. Because Chip & Jo are my BFFs. (They don’t know it, but they totally are. Or at least they would be … if we knew each other. But minor details.*wink*) This show is dabomb, even for people who don’t like shows like this, for example my husband. He will watch this with me not under protest. So to read their story and hear details about their lives and faith was pretty fun. (I recommend this in audiobook, because they read it themselves!)

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison So I don’t know much about this author, except that apparently she’s pretty popular? Ha! (And apparently, I live under a rock.) Though I’ve seen a few clips of her speaking that were pretty powerful. Then I heard her say this, “God doesn’t love his children the equally. He loves them uniquely.” This caught my attention, so I picked up this audiobook on Audible and gobbled it up in 2 days. Jesus has been speaking to me recently about my identity in Christ, and this book was a part of His message to me. There was a lot in it about gender issues in the church, something I’ve (naively?) never concerned myself with, but it was good and enlightening. So yes. Go get this one, ladies.

Wild and Free: A Hope-Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough If you remember, I was on this launch team earlier this year, and this book blessed me ten-fold. Jessi’s first chapter she wrote (Chapter 2, I think) threw me to my knees.

So that’s it. What I’ve read, what I liked, what I didn’t and where I was indifferent.

Also – a FUN treat for TODAY ONLY – you can use the code GIFTBOOK on Amazon and receive $5 off a print book order of $15 or more.

(read the fine print here. Expires Dec. 13 @2:59am)

Have you read any of these and agree or disagree with me?

What have you read this year that you recommend??

Below is what is on my shelf waiting to be read. What about you?


Do You Journal the Word? Journaling Bible Review & Giveaway

So a few years ago, Instagram began showing me journaling bibles belonging to friends I follow. They made their bibles beautiful (and me jealous of their handwriting). I take notes and doodle like a champ, so naturally I had to purchase my own ESV version of a journaling bible to try and perfect my non-existent calligraphy skills.

So when I was contacted about reviewing Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Journal the Word Bible, I was all for it! I have enjoyed using it over the past month-ish and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you.

Honestly, I may never go back to a non-journaling bible. I love having the space to write notes, prayers, thoughts on the side. I really love the large print of this particular bible. I have decent vision, but the size of this print really made it easy to read.

My first bible was an NIV (New International Version), then an ESV (English Standard Version), and with this NKJV (New King James Version), I feel I have another great resource for comparison and study. It has given me a more rounded context to study.

The only issue I have with this specific bible is the super thin pages (thinner than my other journaling bible) … depending on how hard you press, the color can be seen from the backside of the page. A regular highlighter bled through as well, so I recommend using the Accu-Gel Bible Highlighter Study Kit (they are my absolute fav highlighters for my bible!) and Pigma Micron pens or colored pencils. These worked much better than your typical highlighter and pen.

Despite that issue, overall I have enjoyed this bible! It’s a good size, has plenty of room for notes and is durable – which is important for when your 3 year old honey badger child decides she wants to “do bible study” too. 😉

Bibles make a FANTASTIC Christmas gift, and what better to give to your journal-loving/creative friend than one made specifically for people who love words and creative outlets??

Sooooo … <drum roll> …

I have a copy to give away (in the NKJV) to one lucky winner.

(Don’t worry, it’s not the one I’ve been using … it’s brand new!)

This giveaway ends a week from today, the 7th of December!!! I’ll be mailing out the bible immediately after the winner is picked, so get going and sharing with your friends!


Here’s the deal on how to enter the giveaway! Only 3 simple steps:

1) Comment below and answer why you would like to use or give away a journaling bible.
2) SHARE THIS POST on social media! The more shares, the better! Tag me in your post, so I can find it! (Make sure it’s public, so I can actually view it!)
3) Join my email list by filling in the form below. If you already receive my emails – you are one step ahead and don’t need to again. (But you DO still have to comment AND share!)


*Full-disclosure: I received a free copy of this bible in exchange for an honest review.*

Pst! If you have trouble commenting below, email me! My webpage has been acting like a jerk recently!