Henry Hodges Needs a Friend: a book review

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Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

This is an adorable story about a young boy that is having trouble fitting in and is in search of a very special friend.  But who???  Learn how God’s plan for Henry unravels and how he found happiness and companionship in his new forever friend that God chose for him…a new family pet!

From the Author:

From Andy Andrews, the best selling author of The Kid Who Changed the World, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who often feel left out or are in need of a good friend.

At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don’t fit in or are left out—just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.

Kids will want to read this whimsical and imaginative story again and again!

I absolutely  enjoyed reading this story to my children.  We all struggle with fitting in at some point in our lives.  It is so easy  for parents to over look this and forget it’s not always easy to make friends.  But…GOD never forgets and he has a very special plan for you and will help you overcome these yucky feelings.  Like Henry Hodges,  God has chosen a special friend just for you!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Pink Plush Tween Bible

This is such a beautiful Bible designed for your tween girl.  The cover of the Bible is very eye catching in bright fuchsia pink and super soft to the touch.  This is such a fun design with features that include the words of Christ in red, an easy-to-read font size, and a hard cover under the main flap.  This Bible is written in the New International Version in God’s word, including the Old and New Testaments.  There are no devotional pages included and very few footnotes.  This is a great Bible for your tween daughter to read on a daily basis and to use during Bible Studies.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from booklook bloggers and the review is of my own honest opinion.

The Power of Music

Music is part of our lives whether we realize it or not. Music is clinging of pots and pans, the sweet sounds of nature, and can be heard through various instruments. Music has the power to influence our moods, strengthen our minds, and it also has the power to heal. The authors of our text suggest that music is a gift and it is vital to our development and human spirit. (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p.155) The ultimate power behind music is absolutely intriguing. The tone, melody, and rhythmic incantations can send us into a trance that intertwines with our deepest thoughts and emotions; ultimately controlling our mannerisms and inner most thoughts.
As a child I remember learning sweet lullabies such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, You are My Sunshine, and Jesus Loves Me. My mother would sing these songs to me each and every night before prayers. Now as a parent, I sing the same soft melodies to my children. These songs are warm and bring on sweet slumber. The words are innocent and simple. When I think of these songs, I am brought back to a time in which things were simple. I remember how safe, protected, and loved I felt when my mother would snuggle me and sing me off to sleep. Music during my childhood was about comfort, security, and joy.
As I grew up and entered the years of my adolescence, my taste of music changed. I went from the soft sounds of innocence that was influenced by my parents to a sound that reflected me as an individual; as a teen. Music became a drug in which I experimented with. There were songs that made me giddy, songs to heal my broken heart, songs that were forbidden, and songs that helped me to escape the reality in which I lived. I would gain strength from songs like, “Unbreak my Heart, by Toni Braxton and “Since You Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson when I was going through a very damaging break up. There was something healing about the words being sung. The pain was real. Not only was this music reflective of the confused mess of hormones and emotions I was feeling inside as I went through puberty, but also a way that I could rebel against my parents. Color Me Bad had released a song called “I Wanna Sex You Up,” that was real popular and there was another by Boyz to Men, “I’ll Make Love to You.” These two songs were forbidden in my Christian home. They were considered naughty and sinful. My parents lectured me countless times about my taste in music and tried to shield me from the influence of the tasteless words. As an adolescent I was in need of expression and a way to fit in to a world that was very confusing. I sought out music that I felt expressed who I was and what I was going through at the time. “The music is what the emotion sounds like.” (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p. 161) Most importantly, I was looking to be my own person and not controlled by my parents and like a willful child I did the opposite of what my parents hoped for me. Music was freedom.
As I have gotten older, my place in this world has been defined through my relationship in Christ. Thus, the music that plays on my radio, and the words I chose to sing have a deeper meaning. I seek music that holds promise, love, hope, and forgiveness. I find these needs to be fulfilled through gospel and praise music. There is nothing greater than singing about the promises of God’s great love to comfort the soul. When I feel like the walls are crashing in on me and that I am alone in the world, I gain strength knowing that the Lord God is carrying me. I am reminded that I am not alone through songs like, “Praise You in this Storm,” by Casting Crowns. As I sing, “every tear I cried, you hold in your hand; you never left my side,” I feel an overwhelming flow of God’s love and I know that no matter what; God is in control. There is a promise that brings hope through this gospel music. There is a cleansing of my soul that comes when I sing the words written by Travis Cottrell in his song, “Jesus Saves.” It is because of God’s great love and sacrifice that I am made clean and new. I wear no chains in life because of the promise of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. There is a spiritual connection that is all powerful when I sing the great name of Jesus and this brings ultimate healing power.
Music is also a great way to express happiness. When I am happy I like to hum, whistle, even burst out in song. There is not just one song I sing when I am happy. Lately, I have been singing, “Fa la la la laaaa, la laaaa, laaa, laaaaa.” Yes! Deck the Halls, and it brings great joy to my heart and a great big smile. It is also a catchy tune that engages those around me, which spreads great cheer. I have also been known to break out with, “let it go, let it go!” and “everything is awesome!” These songs are fun, happy, warm, and contagious! Such an easy and quick way to spread a smile.
Music is important through every stage of life. It is an expression and a reflection of who you are. Our lives change like the seasons, as we grow and discover. Thus the music that defines us also changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
References:
Altshuler, T., & Janaro, R. (2012). The Humanities: A Shining Beacon. In The art of being human: The humanities as a technique for living. New York: Harper & Row. pp 151, 161

Tips:

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Lavender is an oil I use quite a bit. I use Lavender at night. I rub a couple of drops on the bottom of my kids feet and they fall asleep quicker and have a more restful night.

Here is a lil more info on Lavender Essential oil:

Lavender has been cherished for its unmistakable aroma and therapeutic properties for thousands of years.

Widely used for its calming and relaxing qualities
Soothes occasional skin irritations
Helps sooth irritated skin
Eases muscle tension in the head and neck

You can purchase this oil as a single oil or in a pack. My favorite is the physicians pack. It has everything you need in your first aid kit!

 

Get to Know Mary, a book review

 

Most of us are familiar with Mary, the mother of baby Jesus, but we do not know how she lived or why she became the chosen one.  In “Get to Know Mary” we follow Mary’s life journey. We learn about who she was and follow major events in her life;  such as her engagement/marriage to Joseph, the birth of her first born son, her trip to Nazareth, and the home in which she made for her family.  “Get to Know Mary” is a fourth in the Get to know Children series written by Nancy I. Sanders.  This biography includes bright images and fun to know facts that will entertain your child’s mind.  There is also a timeline included in the back of the book.  This series makes for a great resource when learning about the great people of the Bible.  Very easy read and great for all ages.

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from booklook bloggers and the review is of my own honest opinion.

My DV survival story

If you do not follow me on Facebook, you may have missed when I shared that I am a survivor of domestic violence.  I did not share because I want some sort of acknowledgement or seeking sympathy.  I share my experiences because I want others to be aware of the issue women face everyday in this country and I speak to victims so they know that they are not alone.  As a victim it is so easy to lose hope and give up; to accept your current situation and believe tomorrow will be different.  I was there.  I was a victim but I found strength to fight back and to get help. I would like to share my story…this is a short version and does not go into detail of all the abuse inflicted upon me.  I was emotionally mentally, physically, and sexually abused.

I’m going to take you back, I was about 19, I just started a new job at a car dealership here in town.  I was the receptionist and one of very few women that worked for this company.  I met a car salesman that won me over.  We began dating and after a few weeks I made a decision that changed the course of my life.  I went home one day and decided I wanted to move in with him.  I remember feeling a sense of freedom.  I was living with my parents at the time and I guess I felt like there were too many rules and it was time to be free.  Be my own person.  He was three years older than me and had his own home.  Even though my parents tried to talk me out of moving, I did so anyway.  I still remember my mom peeking through the window as I pulled out of the driveway, she was so sad and worried for me and I didn’t care.  All I wanted was freedom.  Lil did I know I was about to be held captive and lose everything that made me who I was.  Within a week of moving in with my new boyfriend, my body broke out in hives.  I was stressed.  I hadn’t talked to my family and I was feeling home sick.  I called my mom and apologized to her and the first thing she said to me was, “is he going to marry you?”  My mom and I went back and forth for a few minutes, and she ended with, “you need to make things right and get married.  You will never be blessed if you don’t.”  So we started to talk about it and things were great.  We decided to move into a new place and started shopping around for rings.  I got my mom and my sister involved and we started planning venues and djs.  I found a dress and put deposits down on everything.  Then one day we were arguing about something in the back bedroom and he got in my face.  The next thing I knew my cheek was tingling.  I stared at him not knowing what to do; I was like a deer in headlights.  He looked back at me and apologized.  He said he didn’t know what came over him and was sorry for slapping me.  This was the beginning….
The next day was awkward.  We didn’t speak to one another.  For days he would come home from work and lock himself in the bedroom depressed.  I had to sleep on the couch and use the guest bathroom.  I was not permitted to go in our bedroom.  About a month later his behavior had changed.  He told me I couldn’t go to work anymore.  I had to call out sick for days and finally my employer told me not to come back.  I was stuck at home.  I was told I couldn’t have my family over and I wasn’t allowed to go visit them if he wasn’t with me.  I would sneak my mom and sister over for lunch when he was at work and made sure to remove any evidence that they were there.  I was limited on family contact.   I was instructed to stay home, keep the home in order, have dinner on the table when he walked through the door, and always look pretty. I never knew what he was going to be like when he come thru the door.  If he was happy I knew that wouldn’t last long and if he was angry I had to walk on egg shells to avoid a beating.  I remember lying to my family about bruises, making excuses why I couldn’t come over for a family dinner, and pretending to be happy.  When he was drunk he would say the meanest things to me and when he was sober he told me what he said when he was drunk was nothing but the truth.  I was abused every night.  When we went to bed he would hold me, crying and he would apologize. He would tell me he would never hurt me again.  I believed him every night and prayed tomorrow would be different.  I remember Halloween 2009 I was in the kitchen baking some pumpkin bread and he asked me to make a sandwich for lunch.  I waited til I was done mixing my dough.  10 minutes later he came out to the kitchen and asked what was taking so long. I apologized and the next thing I knew my dishes that were sitting on the counter were angrily knocked off the counter and shattered into a thousand pieces on my carpet.  He came at me and tried to strangle me I turned away and for the first time I knew I had to fight back.  I grabbed the first thing I saw, a hot frying pan that was sitting on the stove and I hit him with it.  I tried to get away and he grabbed me by the hair and shoved my face into the carpet with such force that I couldn’t breathe.  My teeth were cutting into my tongue and I could taste blood.  I literally saw my life flash before  my eyes.  It was dark and I could see images of my family.  I grabbed a hold of his privacy and twisted and twisted more til he let go.  That night we got dressed to go out and acted like nothing ever happened.  I was afraid.  I knew that the end was near.  He tried to kill me. The next day we had another fight because I didn’t hang the towels right and my neighbor called the cops because we were so loud.  When the cops arrived he told them I was just being crazy and he wanted me to leave.  He was turning everything on me.  After a few months my family helped me escape his clutches.  I was terrified of  him.  By the following year we were divorced.  Within 6 months he started to come around and would follow me to work.  He promised me he had changed.  So we tried to work things out.  Once again I lost my job because he would not let me go to work in the morning.  I eventually ended up pregnant and he tried to push me out of the window of my third story apartment.  Once again my family got involved and contacted the cops.  I was pushed to file a police report and my parents home became my safe haven once again.  The state attorneys office became involved.  It was finally over.  But not because I wanted it to be over.  I was in love and didnt see that I was in a bad situation.  I was so broken, confused, and humiliated.  But I knew I had to pickup the pieces and put them together and rebuild for I was to  be a mother.  I was carrying a sweet lil life that I was blessed with and I made a promise at that moment that I would always protect my baby.  I have protected her for 11 years.  We are both survivors of DV.  After a year of counseling, a wonderful supportive family, and God’s love I have overcome and now I can use my experiences and my education to help others like me.
I am proud to be a survivor and a single mother to my amazing blessings.  I am thankful for all the help and support I received as I pieced my life back together.  God blessed me and never left me alone.  And if you are a victim of domestic violence I want you to know that you are never alone.  You are beautiful and created by God.  God LOVES You.
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Please reach out and ask for help.  There is a better life waiting for you.
Please call…
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I am currently working towards my bachelors in Criminal Justice and plan to use my education and my experiences to help others that fall victim to domestic abuse.  I am on path to become an advocate for victims.