A Modern Day Fairy Tale: December 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scavenger Hunt/Scripture & A Snapshot: CHRISTmas Edition!

I am happy to be joining up once again for two of my favorite blog hops: Scripture and a Snapshot and Scavenger Hunt Sunday (what can I say? I like to be early!) Since this is likely my last chance to linkup before the holidays since we will be on the road next week, I wanted to

make this week's photos all about Christmas, and more specifically with the true meaning of why we celebrate the holiday. (I'm also using this as a chance to share a few of my favorite Christmas songs as well!!) This weeks themes made that very easy:


"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means 'God with us'." -Matthew 1:23

Such a simple verse that sums up the reason we celebrate so very well. Can you imagine where we'd be if God hadn't sent Jesus to us? Truly there is no greater celebration. Below is one of my favorite songs, which says it better than I ever could in the lyrics,

"And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life"

Cup of Cheer:

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, good will toward men."-Luke 2:14

Christmas is certainly a time where we see a lot of 'good will toward men'. No other season do I see so many giving to those in need through Christmas angels, Toys for Tots and so on. We have been both on the giving and receiving end of such generosity and it is great to see so many people willing to help others when they are able. This song is one of my all-time favorites and a great example about the season of giving:

Holiday Lights:

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them."
- Luke 2:9

Less is More:

"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." -John 3:30

Okay, Okay...I'm sure I could have kept with the Christmas theme on this final photo...perhaps a gift and something about it better to give than receive or something of that nature, but truly, I
think this is such a great verse and goes so well with the theme. And so, I went with it. This is such a great verse to remember, during the holidays and throughout the year.

The final song I want to share with you is one that I just discovered this morning and am already in love with. It's absolutely beautiful and 100% true. If you watch no other video posted here, this is the one you must watch. I will simply let the words speak for themselves:

Come back on Sunday to link up with these wonderful bloggers:

Merry Christmas to all!!

A Deal for Those Who Like Christian Fiction!

As a book reviewer for Blogging For Books, I am always excited to read new Christian fiction novels and share these with you my readers. I also love to save money and I know many of you do too, so I wanted to share with a you a trailer for a new book called 'Christmas Singing' by Cindy Woodsmall and share with you how to get a wonderful discount on the book. Simply go to www.waterbrookmultnomah.com and use the promo code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout to receive 30% off and free shipping. If you decide 'The Christmas Singing' isn't for you, you can purchase any other title as well! Great deal! Hope you all enjoy!

Read the first chapter here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Operation Good-Bye Angry Birds!

To say that things have been a bit crazy and hectic around our house would be a complete understatement...things have been insane!! While I try to keep things very positive on this blog, I have to admit, things have not been going so well the last several weeks. We've been sick, we've had vehicle troubles, we've had an overworked husband whose never home and we've had sleepless nights. And on top of all of this, we've had a lot of behaviors from the little man. While we're not sure what was causing a lot of these issues, we did find one thing that seemed to trigger a lot of negative behaviors...

A few weeks back I posted this photo:

It was cute, and fun and seemingly pretty creative too, but to say Shaun is one to easily get fixated on something is once again a huge understatement. (Which you can clearly see when you walk into our home and see all of his trains!) And Angry Birds very quickly became one of those fixations. When he had the iPad, we would lose him completely to it, he'd get frustrated if the game didn't work out as he'd like and he'd constantly be trying to buy more apps and once again getting upset when he was not allowed. When he didn't have the iPad (it was being used as a potty training reward), he would scream, hit and fight to get it. While it initially served as a great potty reward, it soon became more trouble and he didn't want to use the potty at all unless he would get it immediately, rather than waiting for three smiley faces to earn it! And he would make Angry Birds out of EVERYTHING. Now obviously in the photo above, this is pretty appropriate...but he'd take legos, carrots...anything and 'play Angry Birds' with them. We have seen this same thing with Thomas, creating couplings and cranes, etc but these things would have some slight resemblance (a belt, a piece of string, tape...) whereas with the birds, as long as he could make the motions of the game, he didn't care WHAT it looked like. The other difference with his Thomas obsession and this new obsession was that Thomas was a positive for him. He learned colors, numbers, his speech grew and so on. We truly saw no benefits but rather an increase of negatives so we decided they had to go before this went any further! This is a hard thing as a mom- to take away something that your child loves, but I know in the long run this will be better for him. Eventually, he will get the iPad back, with limited use (such as during our cross country drive next week), but no more Angry Birds. He's also still allowed to play with his plush, so long as it doesn't start to consume him again. We truly hope that this, along with some other things we're doing in therapy, we can get our sweet, happy boy back full time once again. It's certainly going to be a process, but for now I just have to keep reminding myself:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."- Philippians 4:13

NLT Facebook Giveaway!

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am a collector of bibles, and one of the translations I LOVE is the New Living Translation! I received an e-mail this morning about an amazing giveaway on the official NLT Facebook and wanted to paass along the chance to win to my readers..Here are the details:

By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:

  • One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
  • One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!

Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!

Good luck to all and ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All About Christmas!!

So sorry to be such a blog slacker. Things have been crazy around my household. Between a sick little guy, a husband who works crazy long hours, and all of the holiday planning, things have gotten away from me! I currently have a stack of books, down to 3 now, thankfully, that I need to read and review for all of you. But I found this great little questionnaire at IRockSoWhat, and because I love all things Christmas, I thought it would be fun to post. If anyone decided to join in as well, let me know, I'd love to hear your answers too!!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate..with lots of whipped cream! My favorite is the Mocha Cappucino with pumpkin spice!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
He wraps them, of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
This year, we only have the one tree up, with white lights. Last year we had a tree with each. I think I prefer the white. We don't put lights on our house though, since we are gone over the holidays, but I don't have a preference on that!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No I don't. I used to though!

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually Thanksgiving. This year we put them up early. My son is obsessed with Christmas and had been requesting to put the tree up since Spring, so I felt like early November was a long enough wait!!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Hmm, we do a breakfast casserole at my mom's that I just love. And pumpkin pie, of course! (But again, with LOTS of whipped cream!)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Hmm, there is not really one particular that sticks out to me. I have always loved the holidays in general, and spending time with my family.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What does this question mean? The truth that he's awesome? Seriously?

Okay, seriously, I'm not sure how old I was, older than most I think. My little sister figured it out and let me know! Ha!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, we have always actually had our family Christmas on Christmas Eve!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Growing up, we always had themed trees. Santa, snowman, patriotic...I loved that. Unfortunately, we still don't have enough decorations to do that just yet, so for the last two years, our tree has been a classic red, green and silver with white lights and lots of glitter...I LOVE it!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Dread, for the most part. We live in Cali, so thankfully we only have to worry about it on our trip home for the holidays. Unfortunately, driving cross country at this time of year, we sometimes hit it then and I am not a fan. Really, I hate cold in general...I get cold so easily! However, last year we had a white Christmas and seeing my son's face made it much more tolerable (even though he kept running outside with no pants or shoes on!!)

12. Can you ice skate?
No, I've actually never been.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Hmmm, I have gotten so many great gifts it's hard to say...I think my favorite gift ever was my Kitchenaid...but that was for my birthday, not Christmas.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Well, obviously, the religious part of the holiday is a very important part. But my favorite part is spending time with my family. Being a military family, this is one of the only times through the year (aside from deployments) that we actually get to go home and see our family, so I really treasure this time now!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Pumpkin Pie!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
This kind of goes along with number 14. But to be more exact, our trip home. While the trip itself is never good- between being sick, breaking down vehicles, being stranded, hitting bad weather...things don't always work out as well on this trip as we hope, but the destination most certainly makes it worth it. This year might very well be the last year that we make this trip, and while this is good, it's also bittersweet as it's become such a normal Christmas tradition for us!!

17. What tops your tree?
A star. My son would have nothing else. Stars go on trees, period!

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving, I only wish we could do more!

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?

20. Favorite Christmas show?
Hmm, I love the classic Grinch...and Polar Express (since my son has made me watch daily! ha!)...The Santa Clause movies...really, I think I just enjoy Christmas movies in general!!

21. Saddest Christmas Song?
Christmas Shoes, but I love it anyway!

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Oh my, I love Christmas music more than I love Christmas movies! I have so many I love. Oh Holy Night, Santa Baby, Silent Night, Do You Hear What I Hear, Breath of Heaven, Grown Up Christmas List, I Celebrate The Day, Merry Christmas Here's to Many More and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (all 3 Relient K)...like I said, there are a ton, and more I'm forgetting I'm sure!! The Relient K Album is definitely my favorite though, so many great original songs with amazing lyrics that truly show the real meaning of Christmas, as well as several classics!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: The Voice New Testament

From the Publisher:

The Voice™ Bible translation is a faithful dynamic translation of the Scriptures done as a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom. The Voice calls the reader to step into the whole story of Scripture and experience the joy and wonder of God’s revelation. Created for and by a church in great transition, The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists, giving great attention to the beauty of the narrative. The heart of The Voice is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts. This translation promotes the public reading of longer sections of Scripture—followed by thoughtful engagement with the biblical narrative in its richness and fullness and dramatic flow.

This is an updated and revised version of the New Testament edition, now at an even more affordable price.

Features include:

--Italicized information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively

--In-text commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts

--Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies

--Book introductions

My Thoughts:
I have a confession to make- I collect Bibles. This might sound odd to some- how many bibles does a person need? But I love having various translations so I can compare any verses that may be confusing, etc. So I have a couple NIV, NLT, NKJV, The Message, and so on. I thought I was pretty well covered as far as translations go but when I saw this brand new translation, I was excited to check it out. Now naturally because of lack of time, I have not yet been able to read the entire New Testament over again. Instead I have read through some of my favorite chapters and verses to get an idea of the style of The Voice.
Starting out, I expected it to be very much like The Message. The Message, for those who do not know, is more an interpretation than direct translation. It paraphrases and puts things into modern speech to make things more understandable. This is not all what I found, it is as the description states, 'faithful dynamic translation of the Scriptures done as a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom'. Many of the verses I found to be very similar to the other versions I'd compared them too, but certainly much more poetic. There are also many sections that are written as a screenplay. To be honest, I'm undecided how I feel about those particular sections. There were also forwards for each book explaining what was going at the time/places that these messages were given and giving us a better understanding of the context, this is not something exclusive to The Voice, but something I always find beneficial in any bible. There are also several reading guides such as readings to celebrate Advent, Lent and Easter, daily readings for personal growth and reading the new testament in 24 weeks. There is also a topical guide and explanations on the various titles of Jesus, which I found very interesting myself. Overall, this is a great bible and I'm very happy to have been given the chance to review it. While I cannot see completely replacing my trusted NIV with this, I am happy to have it for a little variety and is great for someone who does not enjoy the traditional translations as much. I also look forward to seeing the Old Testament version also (available April 2012), as I have a difficult time getting through that myself!!
With any bible, I think the actual verses speak for themselves much better than what any review could, so I will leave you with a few verses from The Voice:

'And that's not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God's goodness.' -Romans 5: 3-4

‎"Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father." Colossians 3:17

You can purchase here.

*I received a copy of The Voice for free from the publisher in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own.