Saturday, July 30, 2011

PhotoHunt: Together

It's time for another weekly PhotoHunt hosted at http://tnchicks.wordpress.com/. This week's theme is Together.
(1988)
Together...Forever
Together is the best place to be...My beloved and me

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday's Fave Five #54

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My Fave Five this week:-
1. On Saturday, we celebrated our delightful daughter, Alyssa's 18th birthday and graduation. She's such a beautiful blessing to our family and to the world ♥! We had a pleasant surprise at the graduation/birthday party. My husband composed a song for Alyssa earlier in the day (nobody knew about it). At the end of the program, he played the piano and sang his song to her. So sweet and special!

2. The slideshow that Alyssa put together for her graduation, accompanied by the songs "Lord of Eternity" by Fernando Ortega and "Consider the Cost" by Steve Camp, was precious and made people cry. Her speech was totally God-honoring and inspiring.

3. We've enjoyed having a Chinese exchange student with us for the past 2 weeks. She will turn 15 tomorrow. Hope she will like the gifts we have for her :). Yesterday, we had a wonderful time watching a talent show performed by all the Chinese exchange students. Piano playing. Acting (skits). Singing. Illusion. Lots of fun.

4. Check out my review of Robert Pierre (18 year old talented Christian musician)'s newest album, "I'm All In" and enter to win a copy. Deadline: August 9th

5. Check out this cool online pen pal kids club (a safe and fun place to connect with kids around the world)! Try a FREE (for the month of July) membership for up to 5 people per household! And you can enter my giveaway to win a free 3 extra month membership to Pen Pal Kids Club! Deadline: 7/31

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado

Product Details:
Format: Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.40 x 8.30 x 0.90
Page Count: 220
Retail Price: $15.99
ISBN: 9780849947087

Book Description:
"Sweet spot." Golfers understand the term. So do tennis players. Ever swung a baseball bat or paddled a Ping-Pong ball? If so, you know the oh-so-nice feel of the sweet spot. Life in the sweet spot rolls like the downhill side of a downwind bike ride. But you don't have to swing a bat or a club to know this. What engineers give sports equipment, God gave you A zone, a region, a life precinct in which you were made to dwell. He tailored the curves of your life to fit an empty space in his jigsaw puzzle. And life makes sweet sense when you find your spot.

But if you're like 87 percent of workers, you haven't found it. You don't find meaning in your work--or you're one of the 80 percent who don't believe their talents are used. What can you do? You're suffering from the common life, and you desperately need a cure.

Best-selling author Max Lucado has found it. In Cure for the Common Life he offers practical tools for exploring and identifying your own uniqueness, motivation to put your strengths to work, and the perfect prescription for finding and living in your sweet spot for the rest of your life.

MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
Are you happy with your job? Excited to get up and go to work everyday? If you're like the majority of people in America (and the world for that matter), the answer is probably "no". Do you dread work days? Bored with your "common" life? This book aims to help you navigate through your interests, passions, abilities, skills, and more to find your sweet spot (= the cure for the common life). Your sweet spot is the spot where you use your uniqueness to make a big deal out of God every day of your life! "If you aren't you, we don't get you. The world misses out...Live your life, or it won't be lived. We need you to be you. You need you to be you." (p. 33, 34) The first step to discover your sweet spot is to study your S.T.O.R.Y. (Strengths, Topics, Optimal conditions, Relationships, Yes!). "For fear of doing the wrong thing for God, you'll do nothing for God. For fear of making the wrong kingdom decision, you'll make no kingdom decision. For fear of messing up, you'll miss out...." (p. 60) Mr. Lucado invites readers to take big risks for God and use their gifts to make Him known. "God's ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. The babe of Bethlehem. Immanuel. ...Weary of an ordinary existence? Your spiritual adventure awaits. The cure for the common life begins and ends with God." (p.65, p.70) This is a useful and practical book that helps readers explore their uniqueness that God packed in them on purpose for His purpose. It includes the Sweet Spot Discovery Guide (developed by People Management Internatinoal, Inc. and Steve Halliday) in the back of the book. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others. I especially love Chapter 15: Don't Be Too Big to Do Something Small. "God's cure for the common life includes a strong dose of servanthood...As you celebrate your unique design, be careful. Don't so focus on what you love to do that you neglect what needs to be done." (p. 131). In the book, Mr. Lucado provides these wise words: "Parents, tell your kids to do what they love to do so well that someone pays them to do it. Spouses, urge your mate to choose satisfaction over salary." Sounds great, doesn't it? However, in reality, it doesn't always work out. For example, my husband has always desired to be a full-time missionary to the unreached. He loves the Lord and wants to serve Him! Sharing the Gospel and talking about God and the Bible bring him joy. It's his "sweet spot". But one thing after another keeps preventing him from being a full-time missionary. His sickness. My mother moved across the continent to come live with us for a while. Our son's anxiety disorder (he refuses to move from our state). My husband is thankful to have a job (civil engineer) and he is being light & salt at his workplace but he still longs for his dream job. Also, for those living in third world countries who are starving...they do not have an option to choose satisfaction over salary. Survival must come first. Wouldn't our contentment and thankful heart honor God more than our fulfillment/satisfaction? I believe our sacrifice (putting others' need above ourselves) glorifies God more than our self-seeking desires (being too occupied with finding our sweet spot, being discontent until we find our sweet spot, etc.). It makes me wonder if our sweet spot is supposed to  mean "living in obedience to His will and being content", instead.

~ I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CD Review: I'm All In by Robert Pierre

Robert Pierre, I'm All In

About the Album:
For Robert, I’m All In is more than the name of his third studio album, due July 26th (today) from thinkaboutit records. It has become Robert’s life motto as he responds to God’s calling to live fully committed to Him. In addition to writing and recording I’m All In and playing on a summer tour, Robert also leads regular Sunday morning worship at his 800-member Orlando, FL church. And he’s done it all as a high school senior.

“All of the songs have something to do with things I was going through my senior year,” Robert said of I’m All In, “preparing to say goodbye to friends and not really knowing what would come next, but finding comfort and peace in the Lord’s plan for my life. The Bible talks about how the eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth, searching for someone whose heart is wholly His, someone He can strongly support. This CD is me saying, ‘I’m all in.’”

Creating I’m All In was a powerfully personal experience for Robert, who teamed with veteran songwriter Jason Ingram (Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real, Bebo Norman) and legendary producer Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman) on the album. The result is a collection of songs that enthusiastically and energetically worship God while wrestling with what it means to be a Christian in a world full of difficulty and joy, anxiety and excitement.

My Thoughts and Review:
My 18 year old daughter and I enjoyed listening to this CD. Robert Pierre has a pleasant voice and the music is upbeat. I especially love the lyrics. They are insightful and Biblically sound; they focus on God, embrace an eternal perspective, and call us to live for Him. Some of my favorites from this album include I'm All In, Light the Way, Stranger In This Land, and Be Lifted Up. Silent Cry is another great song with a pro-life message. Robert Pierre wrote or helped write all the songs except one. I am quite impressed with this young man's passion for God and his desire to use his gifts for God's glory. He is a recent high school graduate who is heading off to college. I hope he continues standing firm in the faith and being light and salt for Christ. It's always encouraging and refreshing to see young people living purposefully for God. My daughter and Robert Pierre are two great examples :).  Check out this wonderful album!

There are 11 songs in the album:-
1. I'm All In
2. Who R U
3. Light The Way
4. Maker Of The Stars
5. Be Lifted Up
6. Stranger In This Land
7. Silent Cry
8. Sing For Joy
9. Greater Is He
10. Dead To Sin
11. Trust In You

Website: http://robertpierre.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RobertPierreMusic
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0059388YI/ref=dm_sp_alb?ie=UTF8&qid=1310674129&sr=8-1

GIVEAWAY: One of my blog readers will win a copy of this CD. Open to U.S. residents only.
To Enter: "Like" Robert Pierre's Facebook Page. Make sure you leave your email address so that I may contact you if you're selected (randomly) as the winner. Deadline: August 9th at midnight (Pacific time).

Extra Entries: 1. Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
                     2. Follow me on Twitter.
                     3. Like my Facebook page, "Christ Alone".

~I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday's Fave Five #53

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My Fave Five this week:-
1. Our free trip to Colorado. Fabulous family time!

2. Touring Focus on the Family plus having lunch with Mr. Jim Daly, President & CEO of Focus on the Family.

3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs

4. Red Lobster (one of my favorite restaurants). Yummy seafood! I don't get tired of lobster, crab, shrimp, and scallops.

5. Divided the Movie (you can watch it online for free until September). Interesting documentary! Some people think we're crazy/weird for keeping our kids with us during the church service and for not having our kids in any youth groups. We aren't the only ones :).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday's Fave Five #52

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My Fave Five this week:-
1. Finding great bargains at garage sales. Last Saturday, some of the great finds included a Foosball table, a horseshoe game set, a hockey helmet, and PS2 games.

2. My husband must be one of the world's best puppeteers :). He's so funny! He could entertain our 17 yo daughter, 12 yo son, 9 yo son, and me for hours. We laughed and laughed so hard. Better than any TV show!

3. For sandwiches, BLT is okay but BOT and BOM are way better :). BOT = Bacon, saute Onions, Tomatoes; BOM = Bacon, saute Onions, saute Mushrooms. BOOM (add Olives) and BOAT (add Avocado) would be awesome.

4. I was stunned and stoked to find out that I was one of the two grand prize winners for the Facebook party giveaways hosted by Bright Ideas Press. I won WonderMaps and a year of Illuminations (both are downloads).

5. I won the book bundle giveaway that Brooke McGlothlin (the author) hosted on her blog last week. Since I already have the Warrior Prayers ebook (Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most), I asked Brooke if I could give the new one away. She graciously said yes :)! I'd like to bless someone who doesn't have this ebook yet. You can enter my giveaway on my other blog at http://fivesavedbygrace.blogspot.com/2011/06/giveaway-warrior-prayers-e-book-by.html . The giveaway ends 7/3.

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