Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

The Lollipop Monster Christmas

With it being the holiday season, I wanted to take some time over the next days to talk about some gift ideas for kids. As you may remember, my three girls are (almost) 9, 6, and (almost) 2, and finding gifts that each of them will enjoy is difficult. Finding gifts that all will enjoy simultaneously (or at least that the two older girls will enjoy together) is nearly impossible. I do think, however, that I have been somewhat successful in it this year. So, without further ado…

The first gift that I want to highlight this year is a children’s book entitled The Lollipop Monster Christmas. Typically I shy away from storybooks, favoring instead chapter books (1. Because we already have gobs of storybooks lining our book shelves, and 2. Because the big girls’ reading skills are beyond storybooks and into chapter books), but I had to make an exception for this one. The story is just too sweet and the message is just too perfect.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the story line:

Larry’s favorite time of year has arrived. He races around his home trying to make everything perfect before his friends arrive for Christmas morning. During the celebration, he discovers a lonely monster named Walter, who is very sad. Larry asks him why he is sad and Walter explains that Christmas is a difficult time of the year because he is always alone and has no family. Larry invites him to spend the holiday with him and his friends. Walter shyly accepts the invitation and follows Larry back to his home. Walter is welcomed by Larry’s friends and ends up having the most merry Christmas ever! 

Book 1  Book 2

So, why do I love this book so much and why am I excited to read it with my girls on Christmas morning? First, it’s a great story with amazing artwork that is super colorful. Second, and most importantly, I love the lesson embodied in this story. We want our children to focus on the giving rather than receiving this time of year. While it’s so much fun to get gifts from people that we love, it much more rewarding and important to focus on giving: giving gifts, giving time, giving love. I love the fact that little monster Larry chose to extend his home and friendship to lonely monster Walter, and I want my kids to be able to apply this principle of extending love and caring to strangers or those less fortunate in their own life.

You can find this amazing book online through the Schiffer Books Web site or Amazon, or at retailers like Walmart and Barnes and Noble.

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Vanishing Grace plus $25 Family Christian Giveaway (12/23)

As an Official Family Christian Blogger, I received a courtesy copy of Vanishing Grace for review. All opinions are my own.

When I received the opportunity to review Vanishing Grace, by Philip Yancey, from Family Christian I was seriously excited.   This new title from Philip Yancey is a follow-up book to his book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace?” which was first published in 1997, which is the year that I became a Christian.  At that time the Christian Church at large read with great interest his premise and concerns regarding “Grace” and how we find it amazing that God would extend “Grace” to a sinful people. He initially had titled that book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace, and Why Don’t Christians Show More of It?” but dropped the last eight words from the title at the request of the publisher. As he so poignantly points out, though, the question has only become more urgent in the years that have since passed.

Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

Vanishing Grace explores how Christians live in the midst of hostility and rejection today, which is interesting to consider.  As the public opinion on Christianity swan dives, and the interest in spirituality soars, Christians are forced to consider how it is we’ve lost the respect, influence, and reputation that we once knew.  Furthermore, we must explore how it is that we are to remain relevant in a post-Christian culture and how we can communicate faith in a way that appeals to future generations.

In the first chapter, Yancey writes about the great divide and uses C.S. Lewis analogy of communicating faith in secular Britain.

“…I thought back to C.S. Lewis’s analogy of communicating faith in secular Britain.  It’s the difference between courting a divorcee and a virgin, Lewis told a friend in a letter.  A divorcee won’t easily fall for sweet nothings from a suitor–she’s already heard them all before– and has a basic distrust of romance…”

As I read that, I couldn’t help but think of the many people I know that have a basic distrust or dislike of Christians.  They, too, are like the divorcee.  In most of them, their abhorrence for Christian’s can be linked back to a time when they felt let down or abused by someone of faith.  It’s absolutely heartbreaking.  I even have family members that have such a profound disdain for Christianity as a whole that I am often confounded that they will even speak to me, knowing my own faith. With them, I may as well be speaking to a brick wall rather than try to speak of my faith.  Instead, I must live it and let my life speak the words they will not hear from my lips.

As Yancey writes, “Whoever desires to remain faithful to Jesus must communicate faith as he did, not by compelling assent but by presenting it as a true answer to basic thirst.”  Vanishing Grace is a must read for all Christians who wish to have a true and lasting impact on the culture around them.

Stay in touch with all Family Christian has to offer by visiting their Facebook page

And now, Family Christian would like to give one lucky reader a $25 appreciation certificate.  Enter below and good luck!

 

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

“The ME I want to be” teen edition by John Ortberg – review

Press Sample. All opinions are my own.

Recently, I was given the privilege of reviewing a The Me I Want To Be DVD Curriculum for teens by John Ortberg.  Being a Children’s Ministry Director, which entails overseeing Birth – Jr. High, is a fun yet challenging role.  Anyone who works with children of any age knows its always a challenge to keep their attention while teaching them important life values and character. This DVD curriculum by John Ortberg will be the perfect start to a new year with our Jr. High students.  The topic of “The ME I want to be, becoming God’s best version of you” is essential in the lives of young people today.The Me I Want To Be Teen Curriculum

The resources included in this kit are:

  • The me I want to be, teen edition book
  • The me I want to be, teen edition participant’s guide
  • The me I want to be, teen edition DVD (5 sessions)
  • The me I want to be, teen edition Leader’s Guide

Through these resources Ortberg teaches “There is a God (it isn’t you), Your life is a project (it isn’t yours), The real you is waiting (it isn’t hard)” in five sessions:

  1. Discovering the Spirit
  2. Renewing My Mind
  3. Redeeming My Time
  4. Deepening My Relationships
  5. Transforming My Experience

The book is an easy read for students and the discussion questions in the participant’s guide are life applicable and thought provoking.  When working with youth, the use of visual aids is helpful, which is why I really appreciate the DVD in this series.  The sessions are approximately 15 minutes each, the right length for the attention span of Jr. High students.  The examples and dialogue in the sessions speak to the students instead of speaking over their heads using religious jargon.  The Leader’s Guide included with the DVD has a session outline created for each session including an approximate time to spend on each point, which is especially helpful in keeping a rather chatty group on task.

I look forward to using this DVD curriculum with our Jr. High students at the start of the year.  The only thing I would suggest to make this curriculum more group friendly would be to have a disk with reproducible handouts for the youth that summarize the participant’s guide.

The Me I Want To Be Teen Curriculum is available from Zondervan and from Christian curriculum retailers.

Find more great products by liking Zondervan on Facebook and following @zondervan on Twitter.

***Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): I received the aforementioned product from Zondervan to facilitate an honest review.  All opinions are my own***

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Dare U 2 Open This Book Devotional

Press Sample. All opinions are my own.

Mister enjoys doing a daily devotional.  We recently received the Dare U 2 Open This Book Devotional for review from Zondervan.  Dare U 2 Open this Bookis a 90-day devotional, aimed at guys 8-12, that explored Bible truths in a way to help kids learn more bout themselves and their faith.  Each single page devotional includes a topic, a quote, a Scripture summary, plus doodles, journal prompts, lists, puzzles, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank prayers, and unique activities that help them explore Bible truths and ways to apply them to their own lives—everyday.  This devotional breaks it down and challenges young guys to have tangible faith follow Jesus.

Dare U 2 Open This Book Devotional

Mister is accustomed to devotionals that are not designed to be written in.  He was thrilled to realize that he would be allowed to write and draw in this one.  He’s working on another devotional right now, and wanted to know if he could “finish it off after he DARES 2 do this one.”  Of course, I don’t really care what order he does his devotionals in, as long as he does them and is learning something from them!  I have a feeling that the Dare U 2 Open This Book devotional is going to be a big hit!

Dare U 2 Open This Book is available from Zondervan and from Christian Book retailers nationwide.

Find more great products by liking Zondervan on Facebook and following @zondervan on Twitter.

***Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): As a member of the Z Blog Squad, I received the aforementioned product from Zondervan to facilitate this review.***

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Adventure Bible for Toddlers

Press Sample. All opinions are my own.

Little Miss is turning into a regular bibliophile just like Mister and Sister.  We recently received the Adventure Bible for Toddlers, from Zondervan, for review, and to say that she’s thrilled with it would be an understatement.  She loves to sit and look at the pictures, and will even let me read to her from time to time.  Right now she’s in the “MINE” phase, though, and when I pick up her Bible, she immediately reaches for it and says “MINE.”

Adventure Bible for Toddlers

The Adventure Bible for Toddlers is a board book that starts children on the journey of a lifetime, teaching them about the Bible’s great stories and themes.  It has a story per two pages, and is colorfully illustrated.  It is geared for children ages 2-5.  It uses stories and art from the  Adventure Bible Storybook. It has ten Bible stories from the Old and New Testament.  The covers are padded, and the boardbook pages are sturdy.  What a great way to inspire love for God an an early age!

You can purchase both the Avdventure Bible for Toddlers on Zondervan and from Barnes & Noble.

Find more great products by liking Zondervan on Facebook and following @zondervan on Twitter.

***Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): As a member of the Z Blog Squad, I received the aforementioned product from Zondervan to facilitate this review.***

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own