This month (March) is the Jewish festival of Purim, a holiday remembering how GOD used Esther to save the Jewish race from being totally massacred in Persia (see the book of Esther in The Bible). Our Bible Study Group, (The Branch) hosted a party a couple of Sunday ago to celebrate. Traditionally, Purim is celebrated with a masquerade party as a reminder that Esther's "Jewishness" was hidden from the royal court and the fact that GOD is never mentioned in the book of Esther (but His power is clearly evident!). So that's exactly what we did (I may or may not have stood up and declared that, as a costumer, I never get a chance to wear any of my costumes but once. So we were dressing up and that was that!).
Mama and Daddy went as Daddy's grandparents on his dad's side (my great-grandparents). Daddy's grandfather served in World War II in the Army Air Force. So Daddy wore a uniform and Mama based her costume off of a picture of great Granny we have in our home.
Christopher and I went as two blue-bellied rollers (a type of bird from Africa). Christopher told me if I found something that wasn't too girly he would try to match me. I knew I wanted to wear my Titanic era dress so Mama looked up and found these birds and guess what? They have the EXACT same colors that are in my dress! Call it destiny if you like.
Jonathan and Gideon went as two characters from The Wingfeather Saga . Jonathan dressed as Pete, a half bird half man character and Gideon dressed as Kelmar, a half wolf half boy character (sorry, I didn't get a picture of Gideon's costume. You can see some of it in another picture below).
Other costumes created from members of our group included: superman, batman, a cowboy, a very adorable princess and the cutest ever Mary Poppins and Bert!
We had a great time listening to the story of Esther, acting it out, dancing, singing and of course, DRESSING UP! Oh yeah, and there was TONS of food! It wouldn't be a Jewish holiday without it!
(making "groggers" and noise makers for the reading of Esther)
Some friends from a messianic congregation in Nashville (who helped us get our group started) came down to join us! We were so excited to see them again!
(Daddy teaching on the account of Esther)
(Acting out a skit based on the story of Esther)
"and that these days would be remembered and observed throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and that these days of Purim would never cease among the Jews or their memory be lost by their descendants." Esther 9:28
As the Jew's grafted in brothers and sisters in The LORD we gentiles celebrate their holidays as a reminder that GOD will always deliver HIS people. No matter how impossible the odds seem. If we forget that we will lose sight of GOD's power and HE will no long be the great wonder HE really is to us.
Hello everyone! How's it going? Today I am going to post a book review for Sheri Rose Shepherd's children's book Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess. This is my first book review so please bear with me.
Ok, here we go! First, let's look at the cover:
The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the tile. It could have been labeled Bible Stories for Princesses, Bible Stories for Little Girls or simply Bible Stories. But instead the author chose to title her book Bible Stories for HIS BEAUTIFUL Princess. I believe that every girl, and woman, should be told throughout her ENTIRE life that she is beautiful and loved (several times 'cuz after all we do grow and change!). So to see a book that states:
#1: You are HIS, The Maker of The Universe's
#2: You are Beautiful
and #3: You are a Princess
in the title alone, to me that shows that as you read this book you are going to feel like one of GOD's Beautiful Princesses (because guess what? You are!).
I do wish that the author didn't refer to the accounts from the Holy Bible used in this book as merely "stories". I strongly believe that everything in the Bible really did happen just as it is recorded. This makes them historical accounts not just "stories". I realize that this is a children's book and children don't know what a "historical account" is. But I do believe that we should begin to teach our children at a young age that the Bible is true through and through. So my suggestion to you is that as you read this book you remind your child that these "stories" are true and that they really did happen and use it as a tool to introduce them to the real Bible.
The second thing that caught my attention was the lovely artwork. I know as a child I always wanted to read the books with the colorful illustrations on the front and I still decide if a book is worth my time by the cover artwork. Shelly Dieterichs did a wonderful job on the front cover and throughout the whole book as well. She even has a picture of a little princess at the end of each "story" and guess what? They're not all white! She has an asian looking girl, an african american looking girl, one with curly hair, one with straight hair, several different looking girls showing that all GOD's little princesses are unique and beautiful in the special way He created them. That was one of my favorite parts of this book! However, she does portray the biblical characters as all white. Which was disappointing considering that Jesus was born in Israel to Jewish parents and therefore, was Jewish himself. Overall, the illustrations are bright and full of beautiful colors to capture young minds.
Now on to the best part...the "stories" themselves!
When you first open this book you are greeted by a sweet dedication page and a very well laid out Table of Contents. I love how next to each "story" title it lists where you can find the actual account in the Bible. For example, Baby Moses (Exodus chapter 2) pg 21. Mrs. Shepherd does not list exactly where the account takes place (as in specific verses) she simply lists the book and chapter of the Bible it takes place in. For example, her "story" about the golden rule (found in Matthew chapter 7 vs 12) is listed as Matthew 5-7 which is the whole sermon on the mount. For review sake, I decided to go back and read the original account of each "story" in the Bible according to the scripture reference given by the author.
The book starts off with the account of creation and works its way through Jesus' resurrection with many familiar accounts such as Noah, David, Jonah, Daniel and of course several about Jesus. Don't worry, not all of the "stories" are about men of the Bible. There are a few about women including the woman who gave her last two coins (found in Mark chapter 12 vs 41-44) which I think is one of the least "popular Bible stories" of our day.
Each "story" is only 2-3 pages long with a (very) small paragraph of words on each page. The rest is filled with pictures. At the end of each "story" there is a page with a short Princess Prayer and a Princess Jewel which sums up the moral of the "story". The prayers, while short and sweet, are very impactful and will even give adults something to think about!
The length of each "story" is perfect considering that the average toddler/preschooler's attention span is only about thisbig. I've babysat many kids during my teenage years and know reading to kids can become frustrating since normally they jump out of your lap before you can say "Once upon a time there was...". Short stories for kids are my best friend as I'm sure are many others. Even though they are short, I think Mrs. Shepherd did a wonderful job condensing a whole chapter in the Bible (sometimes a whole book!) into bite size stories for little children to understand.
I did have a few issues with a some of the stories in that I wished certain things were addressed differently. For example in Mrs. Shepherd's retailing of Daniel and the Lions she starts the "story" this way:
"Once there was a king who wanted everyone to pray to him instead of praying to God."
As I read the original account in the Bible what I understood was that the king was tricked into passing the law decreeing everyone should pray to him only. Mrs. Shepherd portrays the king as someone who didn't believe in GOD. When in reality, I believe, the king secretly did. He even tried to figure out a way to save Daniel and after
he threw Daniel into the lion's den he stayed awake all night praying to GOD to deliver Daniel. Afterwards, when Daniel was found unharmed, did he make it "legal" to pray to The One True GOD. The king was never the "bad guy", his men were. The king was simply tricked. I wish Mrs. Shepherd had wrote that instead of making the king into the bad guy.
Another example is in the "story" of the wisemen's visit to baby Jesus. Ms. Dieterichs paints a picture of the wisemen at the stable with Mary and Joseph. Many historians and scientists believe based on their study of when the star first appeared and the time which Herod declared that all male babies 2 years and under should be killed that Jesus was older by the time the wisemen came to visit, probably about 1 to 2 years old. The Bible even states in Matthew 2:11 that they came into the house. This seems to indicate that Mary and Joseph had moved into a house somewhere. This is a common mistake made by many christian children's book authors. I was sorely disappointed that Mrs. Shepherd didn't appear to do her research as well as she had in some of her other "stories".
In the very back of the book is a Salvation prayer along with a letter to little girls from GOD. Mrs. Shepherd states that "If God wrote you a letter about his love, it might sound like this.". Thank you so much for stating that Mrs. Shepherd! You did not say that your letter was The Word of GOD, but what you thought HE would say. I bothers me when people say things like "this is what GOD would say to you if blah blah blah" and don't use scriptures to back them up. I believe we can get into dangerous territory that way. So thank you for mentioning that this is what you think God would say and not stating that HE really did say this in the Bible.
All in all Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess By Sheri Rose Shepherd was very good. As mentioned before, I did have some issues with certain retellings but over all, I think Mrs. Shepherd did a very good job. I will probably end up keeping this one for if GOD decides to give me children of my own someday to use as a tool to get them excited about the real Bible (or at least my mom will because she is expecting grandchildren in the near future!).
I was given a complimentary copy of Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess By Sheri Rose Shepherd for review purposes from Tyndale House. You can learn more about Tyndale House HERE.
I had no children to read this book to. This is my own personal honest opinion.
Every once in a while I get a odd sewing request. These mostly come from my brothers:
"Can you make me a shirt with detachable sleeves?"
"Can you make me a double shofar case with a pocket for a notebook on the outside?"
"CAN YOU MAKE ME CHAINMALE?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!"
Yep, I've heard some pretty strange requests in my day, but I've never been asked this before:
"Can you sew something for a dog?"
Now this one didn't come from my brothers, no this came from a lady whom I use to go to church with. She works at a cancer center a couple of towns from where I live and her boss owns a therapy dog. A few times a week he brings his dog, Bingo, to work and visits the patients. He (the owner, not the dog) expressed his desire to this lady I know that he wanted a doctor's coat for his dog to wear whenever he came to work. She told him that she knew a girl who could help him out: ME! I'd never been asked to sew for anything but a human before so I said I'd give it a shot!
After some research I found a pattern that could work for a doctor's coat and some nice white scrub like material (McCall's 5776 for anyone interested).
Here's what I cooked up:
(Isn't he just adorable?!?!)
I sewed view F omitting the pockets and hem band at the bottom. Instead I just sewed a 1/2 inch hem after I shaped the back to account for his hind legs.
(Here you can see where I pinned up the hem. Sorry I don't have a finished photo but you get the idea of what shape I created.)
I had to adjust the size for his chubby body and little legs.
(Me and my "client")
I'm so very pleased with how it turned out! The owner was tickled to death and Bingo was... well... I don't think he really cared or not about the coat but he seemed to like me!
So I guess now I can put on my résumé "dog clothes" as a skill. :) I'm so thankful for this learning opportunity! If your ever in Athens, TN stop by The Athens' Regional Cancer Center and go see little Bingo and his sharp looking new coat!
My 3 brothers and I are all 2 years apart from each other in age (and no, that was not planned). Also, all of our birthdays fall in either January or February (that wasn't planned either). So every year when our birthdays roll around we end up with either all even ages (like 2, 4, 6 and 8) or all odd ages (like 3, 5, 7 and 9). It's kinda cool to see what ages we end up being in relations to each other.
But this year was definitely the coolest!
Why you ask?
Because this year our ages are 13, 15, 17 and 19.
Did you catch that? We are ALL TEENAGERS!
This year and this year only!
The boys and I have been waiting for when we all were teenagers for forever! So we combined birthdays this year into one celebration instead of 4 separate ones. The only difference was that Mamaw and Papaw only drove down once, we had one "cake" and Mom got bragging rights that she had ALL TEENAGERS now! (pity her.)
Presents were opened outside since the weather was so nice. Oops that's another difference...we normally have to do everything inside because it's always SO COLD!
Christopher received a pancake flipper from Gideon, (remember he's the pancake master) striped arm warmers from Jonathan, blue jeans (that actually fit him!) from Mamaw and Papaw and a ticket to see The LEGO Movie from me.
We have this thing with tissue paper. Every Christmas we have a competition over who gets the most and the prettiest. Christopher was trying to redeem himself here with how much he got. Sorry bro, Christmas has already past.
Gideon got a book from Christopher, two LEGO mini figures from Mamaw and Papaw, a ticket to see The LEGO Movie from me and a little LEGO creature thing from Jonathan. Before he opened Jonathan's present he had to complete a series of puzzles Jonathan cooked up.
(Gloating because he got more money than we did in our presents. Guess we know who the favorite is now :)
Jonathan's presents consisted of two new cups from Christopher (we each have our "own" and his others broke), two (soft) t-shirts from Mamaw and Papaw, a LEGO set from Gideon, and a movie ticket from me (I'll let you guess what movie :)
("Ooh feel it. Feel how soft!")
Last, but most certainly not the least, moiré got M. Night Shyamalan's movie The Village on DVD from my extremely-cool-grandparents-who-take-hints-really-well, and the boys all went in together to buy me a sewing device that marks straight hems on skirts and/or dresses. For those of you who don't sew, just know my life is now a WHOLE LOT EASIER!
I suspected that's what it was...
...and I was right! A friend of mine owned this movie when I first saw it but she took it when she moved. You're forgiven now Ms. Lindsey :)
(Big box. I like big boxes!)
Then all 4 of us got an outdoor game set from Papaw (sorry Mamaw, you did say it was his idea)!
By this time it had started getting chilly so we cleaned up and headed inside for our "birthday meal" of chicken fajitas, beans, guacamole salad and salsa. All made from scratch by our wonderful Mommy! Except the guacamole salad, that was made by me. Sorry Mom, gotta give credit where credit is due! :)
A couple we call "our third set of grandparents", their daughter and two granddaughters stopped by just in time for cake (now that I think was planned :) Our "cake" was really homemade almond joy bars. But we couldn't get the bars to shape like bars. So we turned them into cupcakes. Because they stayed in that shape :)
And that's how we celebrate birthdays the Stewart way! Thank you to all who celebrated with us whether present or in your heart! I have an amazing family!
Sometimes GOD likes to do miracles...
...like making it snow in Southeast Tennessee!
Yep! That's right! We got about six and a half inches of beautiful, perfect ball forming, fairy tale worthy snow! That's the most snow we've gotten since my family moved to Tennessee almost fourteen years ago!
Look at that! This was taken in a part of our woods we call "Narnia". It really looks like Narnia now!
(My wonderful parents; aren't they so cute together? Twenty years and counting)
After Mama took her *required* snow photos, we finally got to play around and get messy!
(Gideon and Christopher's snowman "Charlie")
(Mama and her "snow girl")
Gideon and I made a "snow cat" and "snow boy " to go with Mama's "snow girl" (Also known as "Ma" & "Pa"). Now they're one big happy family!
And then, of course, we had to go sledding. (What snow day would be complete without it?) So the boys and Deddy got to work building up a path and ramp on our front drive.
Christopher took some pictures as we sledded and, because we're Stewarts, some of us had to title ourselves.
Gideon-"The Ramp Jumper" (because he never stayed on the track)
Jonathan- "The Adventurer" (because he just looked so epic!)
Me- "The Wipe-Out Queen" ('cuz I fell off the sled. Every. Single. Time. No lie)
Mama- "The Face Maker" and "The Sleeping Wonder" (because she laid down in the sled)
Yep, sometimes GOD does miracles; like letting me grow up in a family that puts HIM first and loves me unconditionally. I'm SO BLESSED to get to spend days like this with them. Celebrating GOD's love and wonders!
All Alterations Book Reviews Books Conversations With God Costumes Doctor Who? Family For The Sake Of All Things Random Friends Gifts Giveaway Guest Post Holidays It's A GOD Thing Lesson Learned Literal Movie Making Non Sewing Related Projects Q&A Sewing Special Requests Theater Tutorial Wedding Yep That's Me