The Best Statement Necklace + A Summer Date Night Look!

I received complimentary product to review from The Jones Market. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

It’s the Boy Mom/Girl Mom Style Challenge! Shannon – mom to four girls – and I – mom to three boys – will be posting a style challenge twice a month and we want you to join in!

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Each #BMGMStyle challenge will have a theme. You just need to post a pic on Instagram following that theme and use the hashtag #BMGMStyle to be a part of the challenge! Shannon and I will pick our favorites to feature each week and one participant per month will win a giveaway from the month’s featured companies!

Are you ready for #BMGMStyle Challenge #3?

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I have been DYING to share my favorite new addition to my jewelry wardrobe with you and today is the day!

Jones Market Necklace 1

The Jones Market is a dream shop for mamas. They are all about creating non-toxic, lightweight, tuggable (a.k.a. kid-proof) jewelry that is absolutely stunning. I have so many of their gorgeous necklaces on my wish list, but this green beauty won over my heart the instant I saw it on Instagram.

Jones Market Close Square 1

This is the classic single cinch style and I love everything about it. It is bold, but I almost forget I’m wearing it because it is so light! AND IT IS GREEN. People, you know how I feel about green. All the love. I wear it no less than three times a week – no joke.

Jones Market Full

While it is a great everyday necklace (check out how Shannon styled it for day), a necklace from The Jones Market can easily be worn for a fun night out! I have lots of black and neutral outfits for date nights, so they need a good pop of color! This single cinch necklace is just the perfect fun addition to this romantic summer look, don’t you think?

I know you are just itching to get your hands on your very own necklace from The Jones Market (I’ll take about five more), so let’s do a giveaway! Just enter below to win a $30 gift card to do a little shopping for yourself!

We would also love to see how you style your favorite statement necklace, whether it is from The Jones Market or not! Just tag your statement necklace style photos with #BMGMStyle on Instagram so we can see your fabulousness! 

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#BMGMStyle: Cool, Calm, and Casual with Chadwick’s!

I received complimentary product to review from Chadwick’s. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains referral and/or affiliate links.

It’s the Boy Mom/Girl Mom Style Challenge! Shannon – mom to four girls – and I – mom to three boys – will be posting a style challenge twice a month and we want you to join in!

IMG_3300

Each #BMGMStyle challenge will have a theme. You just need to post a pic on Instagram following that theme and use the hashtag #BMGMStyle to be a part of the challenge! Shannon and I will pick our favorites to feature each week and one participant per month will win a giveaway from the month’s featured companies!

Are you ready for #BMGMStyle Challenge #2?

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We’re partnering with Chadwick’s today to show you some cool, calm, and casual looks for spring! My absolute favorite everyday look when the weather warms up is a maxi dress. A maxi dress is an instant outfit – no mixing and matching necessary! Just add some simple or bold accessories and you are ready to go.

I also love maxi dresses because of the practicality and comfort level. Dresses are my favorite and I love all lengths, but the maxi dress has a special place in my heart for the following reasons:

  1. I can move around easily with my boys and not worry about anything (ahem) accidentally showing.
  2. A maxi dress won’t fly up and expose others in this Nebraska wind.
  3. I can look dressed up, but feel like I’m in my pajamas.

This maxi dress from Chadwick’s is all of the reasons I love the maxi dress…

Chadwick's Maxi Dress Pin

I firmly believe every woman needs a simple black maxi dress in her wardrobe. The knit tank maxi dress from Chadwick’s is the definition of cool, calm, and casual, with bra-friendly straps, fun front pockets, and small side slits. I could throw it on in the morning for just about any occasion and feel totally at ease all day long.

Chadwick's Maxi Dress Side Chadwick's Maxi Dress Front

I also love a pop of color with my basic black. I went for red with this ensemble, with a great hat from Cents of Style and my fabulous new Avarcas. If you see me out and about with the fam this spring and summer, there’s a high probability I will be wearing a very similar outfit!

Chadwick's Skirt Square

With the Nebraska wind and active boys, shorter skirts and dresses can be a little risky for a casual, active day. But this French terry skort – a skirt with shorts hidden underneath – is a great solution for those warmer, casual days. I can look sporty yet feminine when I pair this comfy skort with my Royals tank and classic Converse!

Find out how Shannon styled her Chadwick’s items, including the same maxi dress, over on The Simple Moms today!

Chadwick’s has great pieces for you to stay cool, calm, and casual this spring, so we’re giving away a $50 Chadwick’s gift card! Enter below and remember to tag your casual spring looks with #BMGMStyle on Instagram!

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What is your favorite cool, calm, and casual look for spring?

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The Perfect Spring Travel Dress

I received complimentary product from Orvis for this review.

Long road trips and weekend getaways, with family or friends, to a different city or state or country – I just love traveling. Seeing new places and meeting new people is a fun adventure, and we might do it a lot more often if not for the responsibilities and logistics of school, work, and activities.

Even with our schedules getting busier as the kids get older, we’ve managed to schedule quite a few fun trips for this spring and summer! It has become my mission to pack wisely for these trips, so finding versatile wardrobe pieces that pack well is a top priority. I just found a dress that meets all of the above criteria (and has a whole lot of awesome extra features) making it the perfect spring travel dress.

Have you ever shopped with Orvis? I will admit I had not heard of Orvis before a few months ago, but their new spring line for women has won me over with pieces that are both feminine and functional for an active lifestyle!

The Florence Travel Dress is a part of the lovely Orvis spring line.

Orvis Dress 1

This classic popover-style dress is absolutely divine for travel for so many reasons. Let’s start with these functional details: wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking. The fabric is SPF 50 and and the sleeves can be long or rolled up. There’s a zipped pocket on one hip to keep important things close and safe. So. Much. Function.

Orvis Dress 1A

Function is one side and fashion is the other. I love the versatility of this dress. You can never go wrong with black, especially for someone like me who is likely to spill while traveling, but also for anyone going for a classic look. The Florence Travel Dress worked perfectly for church with some bold red jewelry and tan wedges, but for travel, I’ve paired it with these great, comfortable Merrell Around-Town sandals. I can just imagine wearing this exact ensemble on those trips when you’ll be walking for miles a day to sightsee and find new adventures!

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The length of the Florence Travel Dress is modest and flattering and it has just the right cut where I’m not worried about the whole skirt flying up when the Nebraska wind rears its ugly head…which is happening every single day right now!

Orvis Dress 2

Can you tell I really love this dress? I may even wear it when I hop on a plane to head to Nashville this weekend (with a great pair of cowboy boots) because it will take me from plane to day to night effortlessly! And I will pack it for many trips to come for these same reasons – and to keep my packing simple and streamlined!

Now is the perfect time to shop the fabulous Orvis spring collection for women! Use the code ICSPRING to get $25 off your order of $50 or more through September 30, 2016!

One more thing…

You could win one of ten $100 Orvis gift cards! Just enter the giveaway below through May 2, 2016!

Orvis
Refresh Your Wardrobe Giveaway

I-C will randomly select 10 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

What items are you loving from the Orvis spring line? How would you style this dress?

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Teaching Kids About the Character of a Jesus-Follower

I received this book to review. I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

So here’s the deal…

I’m not a big fan of what the world thinks a “Christian” looks like these days. If you were to ask a person on the street about the character traits of a Jesus-follower, I’m afraid you would hear words like self-righteous, judgmental, and close-minded. These are ugly words and the furthest thing from the character of Jesus.

This is the world in which we are raising our children. It is more important than ever to teach our kids to be Jesus-followers not just in name, but in everything we do. My character has to speak louder than any label I may claim. And I want the character of my boys to do the same.  

When we look at the life of Jesus, there are so many character traits for us to emulate and teach to our kids. I like to narrow down our focus when the kids are little and build upon it as they grow and mature in their faith.

Jesus Follower Pin (1)

I Will Follow Jesus, a bible storybook by Judah and Chelsea Smith, is a great starting point for sharing these character traits of a Jesus-follower with our young kiddos. Every family should choose their own focus, but here are a few we emphasize from an early age:

Loving

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:18

Jesus loved people. All people. He loved like no one ever has because He is God and God is love. When we look at the two most important commandments given to us by God, they come down to love. Love God. Love people. A Jesus follower is loving.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22:36-38

Brave

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

We’ve already talked about the negative view much of the world has of Christians. Living and loving boldly in the name of Jesus takes courage. One day it might look like standing up for a classmate who is getting picked on at recess. Another day it may mean stepping out of your comfort zone to share a bible verse with someone who needs encouragement. We’re not scaling physical mountains, but sharing the love of Jesus in a hostile world most definitely requires bravery. And Jesus is the one who makes us brave!

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… -1 Peter 3:15

Humble

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk this earth, yet He was humble, even to the point of death. We live in a world where pride matters and we don’t want our pride hurt. Being a Jesus-follower means leaving our pride at the foot of the cross and walking in humility.

What does humility look like for our kids? Sometimes it means putting others’ needs before our own, which goes hand in hand with loving well. It also means not always having to be “right” all the time. We have some stubborn boys in this house (they might get that from their mama), and they like to be right about things. They also like to correct someone when they are wrong. A humble person knows how to take constructive criticism, as well when to keep their “right” thoughts to themselves. If we as Christians are always pointing out what others are doing wrong, we are exhibiting pride and opening ourselves up to a big fall when someone catches us in sin.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs 16:18

When we look to Jesus and see His grace and mercy to us even when we were still sinners, we can’t help but be humble.

We can talk about all these characteristics to help our children in their walk of faith, but being a Jesus-follower comes down to one thing. We must be willing to follow what Jesus asks of us – no matter the cost, no matter what we look like.

We look at the life of Jesus, as told so well for kids in I Will Follow Jesus, for how to live, but we must also pray and listen for His voice, calling us to do the work He has just for us here on earth. Invite your kids to live out these characteristics, open their heart to the call of Jesus in their life, and follow Him!

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24

I Will Follow Jesus

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away three copies of I Will Follow Jesus to you lovely people! Just use the widget below to enter!

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What I Wore: PinkBlush

I received this tunic to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

I love finding new trendy boutiques online, don’t you?! As a mom, shopping usually involves kids in tow and that is just not as fun, so online shopping has become a favorite for me!

I was recently introduced to a fun women’s online boutique for ladies of all shapes and sizes, including you pregnant gals! PinkBlush is a family-owned boutique with a little bit of everything and it is all gorgeous! When they contacted me about featuring an item, I had the hardest time choosing just one item because I love so many, especially the cute dresses for women!

Ultimately I landed on this fabulous piece:

PinkBlush Floral Shirt Tall

This bell sleeve floral tunic is unbelievably comfortable and so feminine! I’m wearing a size small and it has plenty of room. I also love the length which covers my behind! Yay for long tunics!

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I’ve worn this dressed up to speak for a conference and dressed down on a normal weekday. It’s really comfortable enough to sleep in, but I won’t take it that far! PinkBlush has so many versatile pieces like this that will make you feel like a million bucks, but cost much, much less!

PinkBlush is all over social media with great styling ideas and features from real women just like me! I love to follow them on Instagram at @shoppinkblush and check out the hashtags #pinkblush and #shoppinkblush for inspiration.

Now for the fun: who wants to go shopping at the PinkBlush Boutique?! I’m giving away one $50 gift card to PinkBlush and you could win! Just enter below and tell your friends!

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A Giveaway with My Most Generous Friend!

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

If there’s anyone in the blogging and social media world who is more generous than my friend Crystal, I haven’t met that person yet. She is always thinking of others, blessing people, and being an encouragement every step of the way!

I check Crystal’s Friday Favorites post every week and usually find that we’re loving many of the same things. We’re cool like that. And because we love so many of the same things, we’re hosting a fun little giveaway this weekend!

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Crystal and I will be gifting one of you a brand new copy of Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver, a beautiful Hallmark greeting card autographed by Dancing With the Stars own Julianne Hough (yep – seriously), a set of Hallmark Crown Collection Christmas movies (MY FAVORITE), a year long subscription to Relevant Magazine, an art print by Hey Emily Thomas, a pair of Vi Bella earrings, and a few other goodies that might just make their way into the prize pack.

Just complete the giveaway widget to be entered! A winner will be chosen at random on Monday!

 

Which part of this giveaway would you be most excited to win?!

 

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Classic Black Flats Made Even Better!

I’m really excited to bring you the first installation in a collaboration with my friend Shannon from The Simple Moms! She is a fellow fashion lover, but she is a mom to four girls and, as you know, I’m a mom to three boys! We thought it would be fun to show you how we view style from two different perspectives – a girl mom and a boy mom. Be sure to check out her fabulous post today because we are BOTH doing a fun giveaway!

I received these shoes to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

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I am not a heels girl. I can hardly last more than an hour in a pair! Flats + boots are my best friends when it comes to footwear and they work best with my busy mom lifestyle.

I’ve had one pair of black flats for years, but they weren’t my favorite – not very comfortable, a little big, and very plain. They were just sitting in my closet and I was missing classic black flats I could actually wear.

Ja-Vie Flats to the rescue!

Black Flats Giveaway

Ja-Vie Flats was a new brand to me, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with them! The story of how they came to be was the first thing to love:

Natalie and Eric are high school sweethearts,who have been together for over 18 years.  When pregnant with the couples’ first child, Natalie had a very difficult delivery and could not walk for several months due to severe pelvic bone separation. She was literally walking in pain for months. It was during this time that she and Eric saw the opportunity to make pretty, comfortable flats using socks!! “I couldn’t find pretty flats that were comfortable enough to wear day in and day out” Natalie said. Being a fashion girl, she didn’t want to sacrifice looks for comfort.

Leveraging their expertise in R&D/supply chain, they spent two years developing a better shoe and finally perfected the prototype. They named the brand “JA-VIE” – after their 2 beautiful children Javier and Viera.

Isn’t that so wonderful?! I didn’t have a difficult delivery, but I remember my feet begin very uncomfortable during pregnancy and I wish I would have had Ja-Vie Flats! I DO have my own pair now and they are magical for so many reasons!

Black Flats Sitting

The actual Ja-Vie flat is amazing. The knit lining is made of 100% soft, breathable cotton, the insole features leather padding for great arch support, and the jelly outsole makes them durable, flexible, and slip-resistant!

Black Flats Shoes

A really fun bonus feature: these flats are machine washable! How cool is that?! Just remove the leather insole, put the shoes in a laundry bag, and wash on cold. Let them line dry, re-insert the insoles, and they are ready to wear!

A special note about sizing: Ja-Vie Flats are standard European sizing, so take a look at their sizing chart for help in choosing a size! I wear an 8.5 in tennis shoes and went with a 39 in these flats. They are just right with a little room to spare. I may have been able to do a 38, but I’m afraid they would have been a little tight in the toes.

Black Flats Full Outfit
With over 20 colors + styles to choose from, I had a hard time picking out just one, but I knew I desperately needed wearable, comfortable black flats, so I picked the black/white baby dot flats. They are so wonderful and I will be wearing them whenever the weather allows!

I know you want your very own pair of Ja-Vie Flats now, so I’m giving away a pair of your choice! Just enter below to win!

And don’t forget to visit The Simple Moms for another to chance to win! Follow The Simple Moms on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great fashion + family fun!

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Sharing Music for the Holidays! (Giveaway)

This post is part of the #ShareTheHolidays campaign with Omaha Performing Arts. I received two free show tickets. All opinions are 100% my own!

Nothing gets me in the mood for the holidays more than music. Once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music is playing in our home 24/7. As a music teacher, I made it my personal mission to make sure all my students knew just about every classic Christmas song under the sun. Now I do the same with our children and I even made a printable for families to use for learning a Christmas song per day during December!

The Christmas music lover in me is THRILLED with the holiday lineup from Omaha Performing Arts this year! Just take a look at this amazing schedule:

  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour – Sunday, November 15, at 7:00 PM, Orpheum Theater, Slosburg Hall.
  • Vienna Boys Choir – Christmas in Vienna – Thursday, November 19, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall.
  • Cyrus Chestnut Trio – A Jazzy Christmas Wednesday – December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Center, Scott Recital Hall (1200 Club performance – a night club setting).
  • A Celtic Tenors Christmas – Wednesday, December 2, at 7:30 PM, Holland Performing Arts Center, Kiewit Concert Hall. 
  • Michael McDonald – This Christmas, An Evening of Holiday & Hits – Friday, December 4, 8:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.
  • Joyful Noise – A Gospel Christmas featuring Salem Baptist Church – Sunday, December 6, 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Holland Center, Kiewit Hall.

Yes, please. To all of the above!

To go along with these wonderful holiday events, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign runs November 1 through December 31 at several Omaha venues, including the Orpheum Theater and Holland Center. People attending concerts at these locations can bring non-perishable food items, which will benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland!

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The Hubby and I will be heading to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour next weekend! I can’t wait to hear his take on holiday music and I can’t wait for a date night with The Hubby! I think this calls for a fun holiday dress, right?!

We would love to have you join us for the Brian Setzer Orchestra on Sunday, November 15th, so we’re giving away two tickets! Just leave a comment with your favorite Christmas song and I’ll pick a winner this Sunday evening at 9PM CST!

Which of these shows would you most love to see?

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Pete the Cat: The Musical! {Giveaway}

This weekend, my guys will head to The Rose Theater to experience a whole new kids’ musical that debuted here in Omaha just last week and I know they will totally love it! How do I know? Double J and I got a sneak peek last Friday!

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Pete the Cat: The Musical is based on the beloved character of the same name from the children’s books. He’s a rockin’ and rollin’ blue cat and, in the musical, Pete and his friends are headed to their first day of kindergarten. Their day is filled with new experiences, lots of fun, and great music!

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The show covers a wide range of topics relevant to kids, particularly emotions and colors, but the music is what will captivate your whole family! While the story will appeal mostly to preschoolers and early elementary age children, the quality of the music and vocal performances are top notch and will be appreciated by everyone. It delights me so much when something intended for children is of the highest quality – they deserve the best, too!

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And all of this is why we love The Rose! Great theater experiences for kids are hard to find, but not here in Omaha. With most performances running around an hour, even our three-year-old is able to pay attention to and enjoy the whole show. The Rose also adds extra special touches just for the kids: booster seats, post-show Q&A, and the most delightful atmosphere! For all of these reasons, we didn’t hesitate to get a family membership for this year and I know we will enjoy every single show.

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Pete the Cat: The Musical started last weekend at The Rose, but it runs through September 27th and we want to help your family experience it! You can grab your tickets for $18 each or you can find ticket vouchers at your local HyVee for just $14 each! After getting your vouchers, you will need to make reservations directly with The Rose.

OR you could WIN four tickets to see Pete the Cat: The Musical right here!

Just leave a comment on this post telling me who you would love to take to see Pete the Cat: The Musical! For extra entries, share this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave a separate comment tell me how you shared!

This giveaway will close Thursday, September 17th at noon CST to give the winner time to make reservations for the show of their choice!

Who is ready to groove with Pete the Cat? Do you already have plans to attend?

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Books for Kids: Jack Staples

I was given this book to review, but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are 100% my own or my son’s! This post contains affiliate links.

My kids are voracious readers. They devour chapter books, asking for more reading time, carrying books they’re engrossed in with them wherever we go. I absolutely love it.

I’m always on the lookout for quality chapter books to throw their way next, so I was thrilled to learn of a new young adult series from author Mark Batterson, best known for writing The Circle Maker. When I read the plot summary, I knew our nine-year-old, Big J, would be all about the Jack Staples series and I was right!

Jack Staples Book 1

I interviewed Big J after he finished the first book in the series, Jack Staples and the Ring of Time, and here were a few of his answers:

What is the story about?
“It’s about Jack and his adventures as one of the Awakened who sees life with different eyes than the rest of the world.”

What did you like about this book?
“I really liked the sword-fighting! It was like our world, but there were no guns, only swords and other primary weapons. The story was exciting, scary, and intense!”

Who were your favorite characters?
“Jack Staples and Alexia Dreager are the main characters and I liked them best. Alexia was really cool because she has the gift of climbing. I also like that God is called the Author and Satan is called the Assassin.”

What were your favorite parts of the story?
“I like when Jack defeated the enemy and the lion helped save him!”

What lessons did you learn from this book?
“Mrs. Dumphry (a character in the book) said something I really liked: ‘A true leader does not need to be asked to do the right thing; he does it.’ I think that’s the most important lesson I learned.”

I loved his answers, but more than that, I loved his enthusiasm about this book and the series as a whole. Immediately after finishing the first Jack Staples book, he asked when we could order the second and third!

Jack Staples Reading

The first piece of good news is the second book in the series, Jack Staples and the City of Shadows, as well as the third, Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm, are both available now. My bookworm is thrilled he doesn’t have to wait for them to be released. I totally know how he feels!

The second piece of good news is that I’m giving away a copy of Jack Staples and the Ring of Time for your child today, along with a copy of Mark Batterson’s book, Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children, just for you!

To enter, just leave a comment telling me who in your life would love to read the Jack Staples series! I will pick one random winner Wednesday night, July 15th at 9PM CST!

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