Friday, July 3, 2015

Radar's Roundup of Giveaways July 4, 2015

Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway post.

While here, please enter my giveaway for two Reed and Barton photo frames and another giveaway for a $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate.


    An InLinkz Link-up

The Land of the Living

I woke this morning with an old Christian song going through my head, "It's time to get back to the land of the living".   While the song actually talks about is forgiveness, but I keep thinking about "The Land of the Living".

The Land of the Living.  It feels so long since I've been there.  I shut down after my mother died.   I couldn't even get dressed most days.  There was so much drama going on around me.  Someone who took a photo of my mother in ICU -- with the promise to her that no one would ever see it -- posted that photo on Facebook and refused to take it down.  When I contacted Facebook, they removed it and I was told by the person who posted it that I had to tell Facebook that it was allowed to be used or . . .  else.   I refuse to be blackmailed.  So, I allowed the "else" to happen.  Now there are a number of people who don't trust me, and don't speak to me.

For the last sixteen months I have pretty much gone out of my way to avoid the people who caused problems.  While befriending them would be stupid (forgiving doesn't mean you have to allow people the opportunity to hurt you again), I made the decision this week that I will no longer avoid places they may be.

Tomorrow I'm going to our town's Independence Day celebration.   They may be there.  They may not, but it's time for me to no longer allow the fear of who might be around to dictate my life.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage & Giveaway

FTC disclaimer:  I received an advanced reading copy of this book to facilitate my review.  This post does contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I've been married for about five weeks.  Some people are probably wondering why I feel qualified to review a book on marriage.  A fact that has surprised several friends recently is I am no stranger to reading books on marriage.  I heard a speaker in high school say we should read up on subjects that interest us and that are important to us.  I've always wanted to get married, so I started reading books on marriage at that time.  After all, your marriage is your most important human relationship.  I know a number of people would say that is incorrect and your most important human relationship should be your child.  I disagree, because I feel like a child will thrive more if he knows both parents love each other.

It's been disappointing to me to hear so many people be discouraging about marriage.  I don't believe for a moment that marriage has to be a relationship where you just put up with each other out of convenience, for the kids, or for financial reasons.  There was a reason you got married, and you don't want to lose sight of that.  In our premarital counseling, our pastor told us about a couple who got a divorce because the man left his socks on the floor.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, one small problem drove a wedge between them.

In 7 Secrets to An Awesome Marriage author Kim Kimberling writes about ways to help ensure your marriage is as good as it can be.  Obviously, there are seven main suggestions, and afterwards he talks about how you can turn these secrets into seven steps with action suggestions.

The first secret, and one that has always been important for me when considering my future husband is that God is first.  It is rare that a day goes by that he and I don't pray together.  We were discussing recently about a ministry we want to be involved with next year.  This year we were only able to spend one evening at the camp with these teenagers.  I was playing Bible trivia with some of them, and my husband returned drenched in sweat telling me he had been playing Four Square with nearly two dozen kids.  I can't tell you how happy I was to see that he just joined in a game.  I know when I was a teenager, adults who took an interest in me and were involved in my church activities were such good role models.   Those adults helped me become who I am.

This book also discusses things like fighting fair.  I'd love to say that my husband and I have never argued, but that's far from the case.  (Thankfully not much since the wedding.)  Since we started dating, we have had 10 family, friends, and neighbors pass away.  There have been financial problems, full time care giving for my mother for a while, and more.  The important thing for us has been to sit down, listen, and work things out.  We might not always agree completely, but we've always been able to come up with a solution that works for us.

Balance is another thing that Dr. Kimberling talks about in this book.  One thing that has been lacking in my husband and my relationship -- really since the beginning -- is dates.  We had been dating for about three months before we had our first official date.  Then would you believe it didn't happen because we were going to go to the Smithsonian and that was the first day of the government shutdown in 2013.  We spent a lot of time together but to spend time just doing nothing but enjoying each other is not something we have done much of in the past, but we are starting to.  This month, we took a gift card we had gotten as a gift and went out to eat.  We had a fun evening for only $9 out of pocket, so dates don't have to be expensive.   Dates are certainly one area this book reminded me that we need to really plan.  We spend a lot of time together, but often that is not purely fun time.

So like I said, I'm no stranger to books on marriage, even if I'm a newlywed.  I think this is a great book that anyone who is married (or wants to get married someday) should read.  If we put time into our marriage and work at it, then it will be the best it can be!

This book releases on July 28, but you can pre-order it from Family Christian today!

And now for the giveaway.  One reader of Books, Bargains, Blessings will receive a $10 Family Christian appreciation certificate they can put towards buying this book or something at at Family Christian Stores.  Open only to the USA.  18 and older.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Radar's Roundup of Giveaways June 27, 2015

Most of my posts contain affiliate links where I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you when you purchase something through a link.  Thank you for starting your shopping here at Books, Bargains, Blessings.

Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway post.

While here, please enter my giveaway for TWO Reed & Barton 8x10 photo frames.

Why I wish Family Christian's Reading Program Existed 30 years ago!

FTC disclaimer:   This is a sponsored post by Family Christian.  It contains affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

I always loved to read.  I always hated in first grade we had to circle all vowels and color all pictures on our worksheets every day before we could go to the reading nook and read.  There was this girl, who also shared my first name who was quicker at that, and she got to go to the reading corner more often.  I'd look on with envy as she was there with an open book when I had to color pictures.  To make matters even worse, she had a cooler last name than I did because it came before mine in the alphabet.  She got to read, and she was Jennifer "1".  Add in the fact that my last name was Short, there was no way I wanted to go by Jennifer 2 Short.

Fast forward a couple years and our library had their first ever summer reading club.  In typical 1980s fashion, the goal was to create a pixelated video game character on a grid.  We got one sticker towards it every time we read a book.  And wouldn't you know it, Jennifer 1 was there.  There was the promise of a reward at the end of the summer for the top reader, and there was no way I was going to let the cool Jennifer win!  I was reading all summer long.  I walked to the library nearly every day.  (This was the 1980s and it was fine for eight year olds to be walking somewhere by themselves.)  My Donkey Kong character was nearly complete.  The last day of the reading club, there was a party with Kool-Aid, cookies, and a movie.  But Jennifer and I realized we were almost tied.  We skipped the party, looked for the shortest books we could find in the library that qualified for our age range, and read through the party.  How did it turn out? She beat me by one book.  Yes, my picture got in the paper, and yes I got a prize of a book that didn't interest me, but she beat me.  She was at my wedding last month and I mentioned this to her.  (The fact that she thought I had the cooler seat in class in 3rd grade means nothing.  She beat me at reading club.)

So why do I wish Family Christian reading program would have existed back in the 1980s?  Well, a big reason is I wouldn't still think about how I was beat by one book in the reading club.  The way the Family Christian program works is children 12 and under read any six Christian books.  Then fill out the downloadable forms and take them in to any Family Christian store.  If you don't live near a store, you can e-mail them to them.   There's no competition involved, and the prize is one I would have loved as a child -- a $10 certificate to Family Christian.  This, of course, would be great to be spent on a new book, but of course there's a cute Romaine Faithful to God t-shirt for just $12.99.  There's the Paws and Tails DVD that teaches about prayer and rejoicing.  They could even pick a book such as The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult.  (Personally I would encourage a child to pick out this adorable kitchen Taste and See the Lord is Good pitcher and say they could use it to have a lemonade stand and then use it in the kitchen afterwards.   How selfish is that?  Ha ha!)

But first, the child has to read the books.   This would have been no trouble for me as a child.  I loved the Mandie books, and I can remember spending a summer afternoon reading The Sugar Creek Gang and the Swamp Robber.  My absolute favorite books as a child were the In Grandma's Attic Series.  I have shared these with many a girl in my life over the years.   If these suggestions are a little too old for your child, I adored the Arch Storybooks when I was a child.  They retell Bible stories with great pictures and they are in rhyme!

Also, the reading program goes on until August 27, 2015, so there's time to discover new favorites such as Tricia Goyer's Prayers that Changed History which is available for preorder.  This book introduces children to heroes of the faith and how their prayers made a difference.  What an encouragement for kids!

Even better, Family Christian is having a sale -- if you buy two or more children's books, you can take 33% off with KIDSBOOKS33.  If none of my suggestions seem like a good fit for your child -- or if they have read them all, just visit the children's book section on Family Christian for more suggestion.

Now if you'll please excuse me, I haven't read my Grandma's Attic books in a few years and it is a summer day, and I want to re-read about the time that Mabel made the facial mask from a magazine she came across.