Tag Archives: Christian giveaway

The Sparkle Box

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Let me start this review with a confession: I had heard of this book before.  Last year, somewhere around Christmas, I heard an interview with the author on Focus on The Family.  It really touched my heart and I’ve literally thought about it all year long.  The author’s goal seemed to truly be the lesson the book teaches: to give to others.

It is not often that I am inspired by a children’s book.  I read the book in order to do the review and had to force myself to come in and write.  Not because the task is so daunting, but because the book has me so inspired I don’t want to sit down and write.  I want to do something.  Anything.  Make bread for the shelters, donate, something!  Not simply to fill a box, but to make a difference in someone’s life.  One of my favorite scriptures, and one my husband and I remind each other of constantly is this:  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40 KJV. 

This book will not only teach your children the joy of helping others, but it will make you want to go out and help someone else, anyone else.  My family has taught me throughout the years to help others.  Even my little brother who seems to be on a poor attempt at running from God has reminded me through his actions to do whatever I can to help others.  When we were kids we went through a period where our Mom couldn’t afford to pay the bills, much less provide for Christmas.  That year, a man we had never heard of, came to our home with a basket of fruit and a gift for my brother and I.  I don’t remember what my brother got, but I got a curling iron gift set.  I’ve never been a girly girl, don’t even know if I ever actually used that set, but what I do know is that I hold that as one of my fondest memories.  It was a great lesson and has been a constant inspiration for me to help others throughout my life.  Granted, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but the lesson could never be the same.  The closest I’ve seen to something teaching this lesson is this book.

About The Sparkle Box 

A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas

Sam is so excited about Christmas! He’s thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s mom explains that the things that they’ve been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Author Bio

Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

Illustrator Bio

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

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#TheSparkleBox

Giveaway

Must leave a physical address.  However, if you are a military family and have an APO, I will personally ship it to you if you win, so go ahead and enter!

Originally posted 2013-11-19 10:07:11.

1 Girl Nation CD Review

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About 1 Girl Nation

Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now!

img3.2My Thoughts

Even after reading the description above, I expected to hear something that I really couldn’t enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised.  1 Girl Nation has a sound that reminds me of a mixture of 80’s girl bands, modern day secular music, and a hint of contemporary Christian wrapped up in a praise and worship band.  As their pictures suggest, their music is fun and joyful.  With their primary target audience being pre-teen, teens, and young adults I think 1 Girl Nation should be on their way to the top!  I don’t think it will be long before they are being blasted all over Christian radio stations.  They sing songs that make you feel good but aren’t like the typical music you hear.  It wasn’t far into the CD before I was bobbing my head and enjoying the music.

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Originally posted 2013-11-16 06:23:20.

#WhereJesusSlept: Keeping Christ in Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas

In a time where the true meaning of Christmas can be lost or misplaced, especially for young children, it is important for my family to remember why it is we have this holiday and what we are really celebrating. Each Christmas even night they open one gift; it contains a new pair of pajamas, a mug for homemade hot coco and a new book. This year my children are going to receive books themed for the true meaning of Christmas (as last year they each received Santa books) and I am anxious to read them to my children as we wait to celebrate the following morning!

“Where Jesus Slept” is a beautifully illustrated book worded for young children, to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The story is told in a catchy rhyming scheme that invites our babies to discover where Jesus slept on Christmas, and how so many came to adore him. The illustrations are wonderfully done to draw in the attention from all ages. Like so many popular children stories the rhyming scheme in this book it one that is destined to become a favorite; because it is so catch a rhythm it also allows children to generate a strong willingness to memorize the story and eventually they will learn how to read it on their own if they are not yet reading to themselves!Keeping Christ in Christmas

Our Children Need Christ in Christmas!

The Christmas holiday has dramatically changed in what is expected and appreciated out of this time of year. Where it was once solely about praising God for the birth of the savior, but about bringing a family together and sharing this magical time with our loved ones! Lately Christmas has become commercialized, bargain shopping and big gift buying has replaced priorities in some families. Children’s “wish lists” have gone from that heartwarming “I want to see granny!” to “I want that toy that everyone else has!”

Children need Christ in Christmas because it brings them to understand the gift of love! Quoting from How the Grinch Stole Christmas… “Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”

Look for ways to keep Christ in Christmas for your family! Here are a few ideas from the Unlocking the Bible:

1) Read the Bible story with your family

2) Use and advent calendar with scripture

3) Listen to Chris-exalting Christmas music for the holidays

The above mentioned site contains great way to making this Christmas more about Christ and less about that gift those precious babies want so much!

Now for the giveaway!
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**Please note: I did receive this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  All opinions are from My Crafty Zoo and are not influenced by sponsors.**

About the book:

“This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” From here, the story builds with each spread, adding a new element and explaining the relationships among the participants and witnesses to the first Christmas. From Jesus sleeping sweetly to the wise men bringing gifts, this charming book reminds readers young and not-so-young of the joyous event we celebrate at Christmastime. Children will love the delightful illustrations and the engaging repetition in this cumulative tale.

Format: jacketed hardcover

Trim size: 10×10

Page count: 32

Retail price: $16.99

Reading age: 4-7

About the author:

Norma Lewis is the author of ten books. She lives in Grand Haven, MI, with a marmalade cat named Scalawag. They both love spending time with her six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to twenty.

Illustrated by Katy Hudson.

#HopeLives

90MinutesInHeaven

About the movie presented by Giving Films:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images) 
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.  

About Giving Films:
Giving Films is passionate about sharing hope-filled movies and donating ALL of their profits to charities and ministries who serve those in need.  Beginning with their first film, 90 Minutes In Heaven, Giving Films is allowing all of us to be a part of making a difference.  Anytime you go to a Giving Films movie in theaters, visit http://www.givingfilms.com and select which charities you want to receive the profits from your ticket.  Their charitable organizations are Christian Alliance for Orphans, Faith Bridge Foster Care, Hire Heroes USA, Hope International, LifeWater, Street Grace, and World Vision. 

About the book:
Paperback; 245 pages
Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car.  Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don’s body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes.  Don’s soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he’d never known before.  Don was in Heaven.  
When another pastor’s prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle!  Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened.  Heaven‘s bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil.  With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life.  The Piper family’s incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life – and death – will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it. 

#PizzaRanch Hope CD

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Before reading the PR statements (listed below) I listened to the CD they put together.  To be honest, I thought ‘Pizza Ranch’ was some sort of silly band name, but it didn’t matter to me.  What mattered was how good the CD was, because that’s why I’m reviewing it, right? Initially, my post was going to start with telling you this compilation of music totally inspires a sense of hope.  Until I read it’s purpose, now it’s got to start differently.  Only, I don’t know what to tell you.

Guess I’ll just go….  On the three hour trip back to seeing our little blessing I began to listen to the CD Pizza Ranch has put out to inspire Hope, not knowing it’s purpose.  Let me tell you, after almost 7 months of our little one being in the hospital, imagining going home (that hope that things may get on to the ‘new normal’ soon) becomes harder and harder.  As a parent, I keep praying and waiting (and I know it will happen) but some days are hard, others harder and that trip back and forth to the hospital, living there and only visiting your home and pets, is taxing.  Frankly, I think I should be paid in advance, at least 20 years worth.  Regardless, by the third or fourth song in, I was feeling hopeful about life in general, about everything. The rest of the music brought the same good feelings of hope.

Although those at Pizza Ranch who took on this project and put it together may never know the effects of their project on everyone, but hopefully they read this and know that they did make a difference.  More importantly, I hope that you’ll buy the CD and it will bring you some hope and happiness as well.

Adrie Groeneweg had a dream that started in Hull, IA, in 1981, when he was just 19 years old.  It was simple.  Why does everyone have to drive out of town to get a pizza?  With just six specialty and single topping pizza recipes developed by Adrie’s mother, Lorraine, Pizza Ranch was born.  Pizza Ranch’s vision and mission is to glorify God by positively impacting the world and to give every guest a legendary experience.  They have 190+ locations across 13 states including Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

LivingHope

On June 2, 2015, Pizza Ranch released a CD called Living Hope containing twelve songs from many of their favorite Christian artists.  Most of the songs are brand-new and written exclusively for this CD around the theme of Hope.  Artists include Colton Dixon, Francesca Batistelli, Ellie Holcomb, Sidewalk Prophets, Kevin Max, Bart Millard, Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill, Michael W. Smith, and Mark Schultz.
The CD will be available to purchase for $5 plus tax exclusively in Pizza Ranch restaurants or for download at pizzaranch.com/livinghope through August 31, 2015.
From Adrie Groeneweg, President & CEO of Pizza Ranch, Inc.:  “This album has a very special meaning for Pizza Ranch.  Although Pizza Ranch is not in the music business, many things have been happening, conversations have been taking place and doors have been opening for this album.  Through these events, I believe it was obvious that God has been behind this for His specific purpose and putting it on our hearts to collectively create this project.  As such, we call this our miracle album, Living Hope.”
SOCIAL • C O R N E R  

Twitter:  @PizzaRanch @PRServes

YouTube Channel (features images and videos of the artists talking about the story behind each song):https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE9lEnxuNzMyLfRyX8_tiLA
Press Release with additional information about the Living Hope CD project:  https://t.e2ma.net/message/7tnbk/7l1cgr

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Ragamuffin DVD

ragamuffinRagamuffin by definition is:  a ragged often disreputable person; especially :  a poorly clothed often dirty child.  Funny how, in reality, that word describes all of us.  Ragamuffin is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a true story, about his life and struggles as a musician, a human and especially as a Christian.
From personal experience, I can say that sometimes from the outside it looks like Christians have no struggles.  It’s so easy to look in the ‘window’ and see Christians marching on, making it through the tough times seemingly as if nothing bad is happening.  From the outside, it appears as if they don’t struggle much at all.  Then, when one becomes a Christian, it’s almost like we expect things to be suddenly perfect.  For God to fix everything for us.  Throughout time, we learn that reality is we are all surviving our trials with peace only by giving our turbulence to God.  It’s a tough lesson to learn, I’m praying one day I’m decent at it.
I love that the movie shows the struggles.  Tells things from an honest perspective.  This is something we need more of: straightforward honesty.
Where to Buy
Please point your readers to this URL for purchase of the DVD:
Also, consider encouraging your readers to buy one DVD for themselves and give one away to a Ragamuffin in their lives.

About the Film:
RAGAMUFFIN is based on the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy who rose to Christian music fame and fortune only to walk away and live on a Navajo reservation. An artistic genius, raised on a tree farm in Indiana by a callous father, Rich wrestled all of his life with the brokenness and crippling insecurity born of his childhood. A lover of Jesus and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles with his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love. As he struggled with success in Nashville and depression in Wichita, Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity.

About Rich Mullins:
Singer and songwriter Richard Wayne “Rich” Mullins was best known for his worship song “Awesome God” which has been embraced as modern classics by many Christians. His music has been covered by many artists, including Caedmon’s Call, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, John Tesh, and Hillsong United. Mullins’ musical career formally began with Zion Ministries in the late 1970s, where he wrote music and performed with a band called Zion.  Mullins first solo hit, “Awesome God,” appeared on his third album and brought his music to a wider audience. Rich Mullins was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) on April 29, 2014.
disclosure

#UnstoppableDVD Review

unstoppable dvdBeing someone who frequently does reviews, I’ve come to a habit of ‘writing’ my review as I view, listen to or test a product.  It is hard for me, at this point, to forget that I’m supposed to be forming an opinion long enough to just experience what I’m doing.  Soon after this video began, my thoughts of anything but the contents of the film left my mind. In fact, beyond just my ‘reviewers’ mindset, I’m rarely able to focus  completely on a film.  I was filled immediately with a sense of awe, of pure fascination with completely focused attention.  I couldn’t tell you what my original thoughts on this one were, as my thoughts weren’t able to penetrate further than the importance of what I was hearing, and thoughts of reviewing passed into the recess of my mind, it was no longer important at all for that time.

Kirk Cameron wrote and narrated this this film as an answer to a question we as Christians all feel and I personally never know how to answer:

Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy and Suffering?

Prior to viewing this film, my answer was always that He was holding us.  A generic answer which doesn’t ever give comfort, nor is it convincing.  In all honesty, I’m not sure I ever had a real answer to the question.  I live on faith, knowing that He is there.   That is not enough for everyone or even myself particularly in times of dealing with grief, pain and sorrow.  Knowing God is there, feeling Him, hearing Him, seeing Him doesn’t give me the answer.  I’m still working on being able to productively be able to witness to someone, believer or otherwise.

In the film, Cameron is able to give an understanding to this dilemma that I’ve never heard before, one that in 30 years of going to various churches, hearing various sermons, I never was able to grasp.  His narrative takes the story of a young mans exit of this mortal coil and utilizes it to help us grasp just how much greater God’s plan is than ours.  I’m so in awe of the knowledge and overwhelmingly powerful realization of facts that I’m honestly having a hard time forming this review, but I have to share it.

I have a yearning need for you to see this film.  Not because Kirk Cameron is the be all and end all by any means, but because God gave us a means of understanding through this film that I have never been able to grasp before.  Cameron took stories I’ve heard my whole life, stories I’ve studied, and helped me to see things I have never seen before.  Not through opinion, through simply putting emphasis and thought to parts of the story that have been dismissed or overlooked time and time again.  I have no doubt that this film will move you, bless you and ultimately bring you deeper thought and understanding of why there must be suffering and death, as in them lies a beauty that has been hidden within the depths of grief that most of use would never grasp on our own.

ABOUT UNSTOPPABLE

 

Inspired by the death of Cameron’s close friend who succumbed to cancer at the age of 15, Kirk Cameron takes viewers on an inspiring and hope-filled visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raising question in faith: “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”

 

Going back to the beginning—literally—Kirk investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities. UNSTOPPABLE will prompt audiences to consider the role that pain and suffering has in our lives, as they affirm their personal views on faith, and encourage conversation starters about God, suffering, and hope.

 

In theaters for only two weeknights (Sept 24th and Oct 3th, 2013), UNSTOPPABLE: A Live Event with Kirk Cameron sold a staggering 260,000 tickets and reached a theatrical gross of over $3.2 million dollars. In just two nights this independent project sent a loud message – audiences want thought-provoking and meaningful entertainment.

Kirk Cameron is best known for his memorable role as “Mike Seaver,” a cultural icon of the 80’s, with his mullet hairstyle, cool glasses, and wisecracking comebacks. More recently he enjoyed much success with the No. 1 grossing inspirational film of 2008, Fireproof, and his recent documentary, Monumental. Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, were on-screen sweethearts during their Growing Pains years and are the founders of Camp Firefly, where terminally and seriously ill children and their families are provided an all-expense paid retreat (www.CampFirefly.com). Together, Kirk and Chelsea live in California with their six children.

About Provident Films

Provident Films, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, produces, markets, and distributes faith-based films. The company is part of Nashville-based Provident Music Group, which has been one of the world’s leading Christian entertainment companies for more than three decades.  Films from the company have included Courageous, October Baby, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. More info is available at ProvidentFilms.org.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

The Promise DVD

promise-coverGrowing up a child of many Christians, I have seen and heard many stories about the Birth of the Messiah.  There isn’t a whole lot of variation, so I had no expectation for this one to be very different.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how the story was told differently.  The Promise told the beautiful story differently than I’ve ever heard it before and did it so very well!  I love the way they told the story, starting with when Mary and Joseph were getting to know each other.  Not an aspect I had ever really thought about before, much less seen played out!  The movie is full of  cute little songs that make one want to sign along and I love that the story is told so beautifully.  Especially the funny bits that are thrown in via the animation.  Just enough to keep the kids attention but not so much that it would take away from God’s story.  Overall, I feel like the Promise is a wonderful telling of the great story and if you like musicals, or just have children, you’ll want to add this to your movie collection.  I feel like it will become a classic, one we must watch every year to remind us of the True meaning of Christmas.
ABOUT THE PROMISE
The Promise: The Birth of the Messiah is an animated musical celebration of one of the most pivotal events in all human history, the birth of Jesus Christ.
This beautifully crafted musical is a faithful adaptation of the birth narrative from the Gospel of Luke in both story and song. The animated production leverages optical motion technology to blend traditional animation techniques with the performance talents of ballet dancers and dramatic stage actors. The result is a unique and worshipful story experience that will inspire audiences young and old for years to come.

Websitehttp://www.gloriousfilms.com/thepromise/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GloriousFilms

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/gloriousfilms

Amazon: http://amzn.to/IpaqUJ

Official Trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBjkkF1ddU

ABOUT GLORIOUS FILMS
Glorious Films is the home of high quality entertainment products created from a strong biblical worldview. The creative and technical teams are world-class and have come to from all over the globe. Their first film, The Promise, is an animated musical about the nativity story that will be released in 2013. The second film, The Prodigal, an animated musical based on the parable of the prodigal son, is in production for a Spring 2014 release.

A great stocking stuffer and family Christmas classic, available at Amazon: http://amzn.to/IpaqUJ

The First Christmas Night

first christmas
What a special story, that will be told forever!  I love the way this book was written, seems like it brings God back into a poem.  Nothing like making a story lyrical to remember it!  I don’t think that this story could ever be told too many times, and I love hearing the different ways from such creative authors!
About
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.

Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town

not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.

The moon shining bright in the heavens so high

gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.

The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places

with looks of contentment on each of their faces.

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.
 
About the Illustrator 

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal’s Children’s Books. Christine’s recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Who is it for?
Kids ages 4-8 – The rhyming language can help them develop verbal language skills and learn to read
Family story time during the holidays
Children’s Ministers and Sunday school teachers
Christmas carolers could set it to a tune!

 

The First Christmas Night 

Written by: Keith Christopher

Illustrated by: Christine Kornacki

Publisher: Ideals Books

Hardcover: 32 pages
$16.99