Saturday, July 02, 2016

Restore My Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey

“Why would I want to color? Coloring is for kids!” exclaimed my 84-year old mother when I asked her if she had heard about the latest trend in adult relaxation. I must admit that a year or so ago, that would have probably been my response. At least out loud, that is. Inside, though? Well, I never lost the joy of coloring. I was an elementary school librarian for 19 years, and every week, at some point, I was coloring with children. I never thought about the fact that other adults enjoyed it, too. But, look at the craze today! Ann-Margret Hovsepian has jumped right into that adult coloring book phenomenon with her newest book, Restore My Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey. Hovsepian is both author and illustrator of the double whammy of thought provoking devotionals paired with original artwork begging to have the lines filled in.

Each unique ready-to-color page is frame-worthy, and the sturdy paper for each page helps to make that a possibility. There’s even a “Create Your Own Coloring Page” section for the budding artist. Restore My Soul is the perfect book to get you started on your journey of adult coloring. You might discover a newfound hobby, and you will definitely read about and ponder God’s message to you with each devotional.

Listen to Ann-Margret Hovsepian talk about her book in a recent podcast by clicking here. Read more about the author and illustrator on her website here.

I received a complimentary copy of Restore My Soul from Tyndale House for review purposes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: Apostle Paul (DVD)

Historical context is important to know when studying scripture, and Christian DVDs can help establish that context for the books of the Bible. Viewers of Apostle Paul have an opportunity to see what the historic sites look like today, as well as hear information about ancient locations and relics mentioned throughout the New Testament.

Photographs, animated maps and videos depict sites once visited by the Apostle during the first century. Antioch, Tarsus, Cyprus and other ancient cities are featured throughout, and narration provides historical context for the environment, climate and culture of Paul’s time. The video begins and ends with footage of modern day Turkey.

Originally released in 2004, the 48-minute Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches could be part of an introduction to further studies about the early missionary and the churches that received his letters. Adult Bible study groups and individual enthusiasts will find interesting facts about the regions touched by Paul’s message and perhaps will be enticed to journey to the very places of his journeys and to study more about Paul’s letters.

Apostle Paul is one of several DVDs in a series of video resources to support biblical instruction. English, Turkish and Arabic language tracks are available with the DVD, as well as a study guide in PDF format.

Visit for more information about this title and others, and get a $5 coupon by joining their email list or by texting 5-GIFT to 44222.

This video was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

For such a time as this . . .

“For such a time as this . . .” – famous words from Mordecai to Esther in the Bible. I’ve recalled those words when I’ve been in unique situations, whether jobs or encounters with friends, wondering if God placed me in those circumstances for a particular reason and impact.

A couple of weeks ago I found a new appreciation for those words. I was attending a conference for work and found myself bemoaning particular aspects during the first couple of days: “These bags are heavy!”, “The wait for the shuttle is so long!”, “My hotel room is so small!”, “The food is expensive!” (Lots of exclamation points to indicate my mental state)

Then I had a conversation with a colleague on the shuttle ride from the conference center to my hotel one evening. She asked if I enjoyed my job. I replied, “I LOVE my job! I’ve had a chance to experience so many things that otherwise would not have been possible. I’ve traveled around the country and around my state. I’m on an editorial board with “rock stars” in my field working on new standards and guidelines. I’m doing work that is important and impacts the future of our profession.”

Later that evening I thought about my earlier grumblings. Did I truly believe what I proclaimed to my colleague? Suddenly, I had a different attitude about my recent complaints. Those bags were heavy because of the free books from the exhibit hall. The wait for the free shuttle meant I didn’t have to hail a cab and pay for a ride. The small hotel room didn’t matter since I was rarely in my room due to meetings, and it’s one of the cleanest hotels I’ve stayed in recently. The food is amazing, and I have the funds to pay for the meals.

Maybe “for such a time as this” is not about a handful of unique situations throughout my life. Maybe it’s about every day situations. For such a time as this I can experience joy in my surroundings and in my conversations. For such a time as this I can be a positive participant in the work before me. If every day and every moment is “for such a time as this,” then I will certainly be ready for those unique opportunities that will come when I can be used by God in a special way.

Countdown to Elianna!