The Circle Maker: Devotions for Kids Book Review

The Circle Maker: Devotions for Kids by Mark Batterson, begins with the legend of Honi, the circle maker. He drew a circle in the sand and stood in it with the intention of not leaving until God made it rain. Sure enough, it rained. Prayers should be like circles. You should not just pray once for something but over and over until the prayer is answered. This is the theme of this one-hundred-day devotional book for kids. Each devotional starts with a Bible verse followed by a devotional and then ending with a prayer. After that, there is a section where kids can write down their prayer requests that need to be circled in prayer.

            This devotional is ok but not the greatest devotional. It is ideal for kids about ten years and older. The message is pretty clear and repeats itself over and over: Prayers need to be prayed in a circle. In other words, pray for things repeatedly until the prayer is answered.

            I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers. All ideas are my own.

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I Can Only Imagine Children’s Book

I Can Only Imagine: A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever is a children’s book by Bart Millard with Laura Neutzling based on the song and movie by Mercyme. In the book, a child imagines what Heaven will be like. The child pictures all the good things about life here on earth and pictures these things to be even better in Heaven. The child pictures what a day will be like in Heaven, such as making your bed and eating breakfast in the morning. He wonders if Jesus will play with him and whether he will get to eat huge ice cream cones before lunch.

I really liked this children’s book because it gets young children to think about Heaven and wonder what Jesus and God are really like. This book is perfect for very young kids and teaches them the message that God is great and that they will one day spend eternity in Heaven.

I received this book free from BookLookBloggers. All ideas are my own.

I Can Only Imagine Book Review

Bart Millard is now the lead singer for the band MercyMe. He is probably most famous for his song “I Can Only Imagine” and now for the movie about his life. But in the book, I Can Only Imagine, a memoir by Bart Millard with Robert Noland, readers get to take a deeper look into Bart’s life, beginning with the abuse from his father. As Bart grows up, his father still abuses him, but Bart also takes an interest in Christianity and music. Later, he decides to pursue music as a career and comes to write his most famous song for his father that had recently died.

If you have seen the movie, then this book is perfect for behind the scenes events that took place in Bart’s life. However, this book is not based on the movie. Basically, it contains events from his life that did not make it into the movie. This book is absolutely wonderful though. It is filled with the message that God has huge plans for each one of us that do not always make sense at first.

I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers. All ideas are my own.

The Dangers of Payday Loans

After working at Check Into Cash for four months, I feel it is necessary to warn of the negative effects of taking out a payday advance loan. I have watched so many people that have been hurt by what started out as a simple loan. The big question is: Are payday loans worth it? In my opinion, absolutely not.

Many people that start with their first payday loan are going through some emergency and need a little extra cash. It seems innocent enough. But then it comes time to pay it back. Once the loan is paid off, there is just not very much left of the paycheck to survive the next two weeks. The only answer is to take out another loan.

Check Into Cash allows people that pay off their payday loan to reborrow the next day. In fact, they encourage people to come in tomorrow to get more money to help out with the next two weeks. All you are out is the fee, which is extremely high.

A payday loan only lasts for two to four weeks, depending on a person’s payday. The interest on a loan of five hundred dollars is fifty-five dollars. That is over a three hundred percent interest rate. The interest rates go up if you borrow less than the five hundred.

Even though many people get a payday loan with the intention of only getting one, it isn’t that easy. Many people promise they only need the loan one time or that they are going to start. Like I said, it isn’t easy. What is easy is getting into the payday cycle. That is when a person borrows from one payday loan place to pay off another payday loan place. Then, they borrow from the second place to pay off the first.

It gets worse though. There comes a time when the loan cannot be paid off. Either hours are cut at work, a person loses their job, or another unexpected expense comes up and then there is no way to pay off the loan (or loans). Even though you still plan on paying it off when you eventually get the cash, you fall further and further behind on bills. Collection calls come through several times a day but you avoid them. You promise to pay but eventually, time runs out and you are sent to collections, where it will cost you even more money to pay off that loan.

Are payday loans worth it? Absolutely not. Figure out another way to get the cash you need until your next payday. Borrow the money or wait on car repairs. Do not get a payday loan. It will cost you tons of money for weeks, months, or even years.

Giving Up

I mentioned in one of my most recent posts that I got a new job in January at a payday advance place. I also mentioned that I was having difficulty answering the phone and that the boss told my manager I would be fired if I didn’t improve.

I thought that I had improved some. I knew I wasn’t perfect but I was getting there. And then, a manager from another store had to have the phone conversation with me again. I couldn’t understand why she was giving it to me instead of my manager.

I went home crying that night. I called my mom and asked if she could come over and talk. She did and we discussed my boss and the managers and whether I was really making a difference in the world by working there.

The next day, I put in my two week notice. I told my boss I was tired of the forty minute drive to and from work. I was really quitting because of the whole phone call situation. I knew I was not going to improve. You cannot force people to pay their loans off no matter how hard you try.

My boss talked to my manager before I had the chance and she was stunned. She had told me numerous times that she was fighting for me. And now lately, she is trying everything in her power to make me stay. First, she offered me part time hours but that is not going to happen because I already don’t make very much working full time. Then, she offered to hire a part time person that would answer the phones for me. As tempting as that offer is, I know I cannot get away with it. My boss is going to notice that I never answer the phone.

So, a week from Wednesday, I will be done. I will go to the amusement park to work again and find a job in the fall.

When I prayed to go back to the amusement park this summer, I had no idea that it would involve me almost getting fired and quitting my job over phone calls. I had had a different idea on how I was going to get to work at the amusement park.

The Heart Between Us

Megan has never been one for adventure. Of course, having a weak heart and receiving a transplant made it difficult for her to pursue her dreams of traveling. In The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel, Megan meets with her heart donor’s family and learns that Amanda, her donor, had a bucket list of things she wanted to accomplish during her lifetime. Megan decides that it is her job to complete the bucket list, which includes traveling around the world. Crystal, Megan’s twin sister, decides to go on the trip with Megan. She hopes the trip will help build their broken relationship as well as help with her relationship with her husband.

The spiritual message in this book is rather weak. The message, which does not become clear until nearly the end of the book, is about how God can fix what is broken, including broken relationships. The book got to be a little long as Megan and Crystal travel the world fulfilling Amanda’s bucket list while struggling to build their own relationship.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers. All ideas are my own.

My New Job

As I mentioned in my last post, I quit teaching in December and got a job at a cash advance place. I like my job as well as the other girl that I work with. I feel like I do a good job. I like helping the customers and I find the work satisfying.

However, the one thing I hate about my job is collection calls. I know that I am not very good at them because I am too nice. People can give me an excuse for not paying and then tell me they will be in on a later date and that is absolutely fine with me. That is not ok with my boss. He told my manager that if I don’t improve on my phone calls, then I will be fired.

I was stunned when I heard this and am not afraid to admit that I was in tears. I know that my calls are bad but I figured the rest of my work more than makes up for my calls.

Plus, I do not see why calls have to be such a big focus in my line of work. Sure, that is how we get customers to come in and pay off their loans but other than that, our work is primarily assisting customers with their loans. But the company insists that calls are extremely important and we have to listen to our calls and evaluate them every day. It is a major pain and not fun.

Phone calls make me nervous which results in me pulling my hair out. Right now, I have only one eyebrow and that one has a bald patch in it. The growth of my missing eyebrow was destroyed yesterday when they made me practice calls with other employees.

Living in a Fantasy World

It has definitely been a while since I last posted. I quit teaching in December and I don’t think I have written since then. So here is a little update on what I am doing.

I work at a cash advance place. I like working there as well as the other girl I work with. But I am not proud of the work I do. Basically, I help people that are in need of money. Some people legitimately need the help but some people come in every time they pay their loan back to borrow more money. In other words, I am helping people that cannot manage their money.

As much as I like my job, I do not feel like I am making a difference in the world. Lately, I have had a longing to move back to the middle of no where and resume teaching. I had it all planned out. I would get the teaching job (at a different school than where I originally taught but still in the general area where I was living before). Then, I would quit my job and take a brief trip to Florida (I really want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Then, I would return to the amusement park to work for the summer and then return to teaching.

However, I feel like my fantasies are not going to come true. I did apply to one school but I have not heard back from them. That means that my dreams are in vain. I cannot go to Florida because I don’t have any vacation time. I also cannot return to the amusement park unless I quit my current job.

When I applied to the school, I knew that I might not get the job and if I didn’t, then it would just be part of God’s plans. However, right now, I am frustrated with God’s plans for me. I feel like my way is better and I know that is wrong.

Jesus Calling: Creative Coloring and Hand Lettering

Jesus Calling: Creative Coloring and Hand Lettering by Sarah Young is a beautifully illustrated adult coloring book with different sayings and Bible verses incorporated into the pictures. There are over one hundred illustrations to color. Most of the illustrations are nature related and include pictures of birds, flowers, and butterflies. However, there are a few church scenes. In addition to coloring, this book also contains verses and sayings written in fancy script that allows readers/artists to hand copy the letters to write the words on their own. The short sayings and verses will help the reader/artist to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

This coloring book is very simply illustrated so adults and kids can color the pictures and not get too overwhelmed or frustrated. However, the hand lettering for tracing is written in a way that is very difficult to read. Otherwise, this coloring book is a great book of different sayings and Bible verses that relate to Jesus.

I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers. All ideas are my own.

365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids

The daily devotional, 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids, by Kathryn Slattery, contains many difficult questions and answers that kids might have about Christianity and their faith. This kid-friendly dated daily devotional contains 366 short questions and answers about prayer, the Bible, important Biblical characters, people important to the Christian faith, the church, and God. Each devotion includes a Bible verse, a short passage to read, references to important verses in the Bible, a short prayer, and references to other questions featured throughout the book. This book is a perfect way to help curious kids answer difficult questions regarding their beliefs.

This daily devotional is perfect for kids ages eight to thirteen. Each message is short, to the point, and easy for kids to understand. Everybody can learn from this book. Even as an adult, I learned a lot from the questions that were being asked. It does not matter what denomination kids are; they will still learn from this amazing book and develop a relationship with God.

I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers. All ideas are my own.