Summer Giveaway 2014 + Book Review

This is an extra long post because of two different things going on but I promise you they do relate to each other!

Well it’s June and with most (maybe even all) graduations over, finally parents and students and teachers can relax for the summer! Maybe in your rushing to get this school year over you forgot to sit down and load your kindle with books or write down a book list… no problem I got you covered! This summer I will be giving away four different (well two are the same but you get me right? ;)) prize packs to start your summer off! Anyone and everyone can enter and you will even get a chance to enter more than a couple times!

Okay here are the details:
Packs 1 & 2 each contain one signed Kari Jobe Compilation cd + the newly released (2013) Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl by Paula Hendricks (also signed)

Pack 3 contains the cd Lyrical Theology Part One by Shai Linne + the book Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer

Pack 4 contains the book What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert + an ESV Student Study Bible (still in package!)

You have the chance to win one of these prize packs with this giveaway! There are a few different ways to enter as well! You will have a week to enter and share and tell your friends! Once the giveaway closes, the service I’m using will pick 4 winners!
Anyway, here’s to summer and giveaways! Have fun and tell your friends and family! Any questions? leave a comment below or shoot me an email at: godwardblog@gmail.com :)

Without further ado: the giveaway! (just click on the link and it should take you straight there!)

https://promosimple.com/ps/4cb7

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And for the second part of our post, I just wanted to bring your attention to this wonderful book that I’m giving away two copies of! (Confessions of a Boy- Crazy Girl written by Paula Hendricks)
I “met” Paula Hendricks via Lies Young Women Believe blog + on twitter. ( I am meeting her officially later this month!) Paula put her heart into this book for girls who are struggling, have struggled, or maybe even aren’t struggling with this subject. Being boy crazy is something I believe is an issue that needs to be addressed. But unfortunately I’ve seen it addressed in wrong ways. I have to admit I didn’t know what I would get out of this book. Of course I’ve grown up studying Biblical manhood and womanhood and dating towards marriage and all of those good things. I opened this book thinking, “Man, I’ve heard it all, what possibly more could she say?”

You know what? Paula said a lot more that I learned. In fact, Paula addressed some things I hadn’t thought about for a very longtime. And when finishing, I didn’t feel condemned or talked down. I felt encouraged and edified! This 147 page read holds a lot more than you think. Paula writes about her own relationships and shortcomings with humility and always pointing to how Jesus brought her through. She writes with love towards the reader and even includes in every chapter a place to journal on what she just discussed. One of the things I really appreciated is how Paula brings in verses and Jesus to everything. Jesus is who you should run to always. Falling in love with Jesus will give you more lasting happiness than anything in this world. The second line under the title is “On her journey from neediness to freedom” and I believe
this is truly my story as well. Especially in this last year, I have fallen more in love with Jesus than maybe even ever before. And in that I am learning to be content to not be in a relationship and to wait for the right guy.

I’ve never dated in my entire life. I’m 4 months away from 19 and I’ve never been on a date. Some people gasp in shock and others say “good for you!” I have struggled with that for a lot of years. After reading this book, I felt encouraged that my identity doesn’t lie in whether I’ve dated x amount of guys or dated at all! My identity is in Jesus! So why was I running elsewhere? Why spend hours on end thinking about *that* one guy when Jesus is always there to talk to and to spend time with? So whether you are a boy-crazy girl or just a girl wanting to learn how to be content and fall in love with Jesus, this book is for you.
I leave you with this quote when Paula first began to write this book,
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Through this book, God, would You give girls a vision so far beyond just getting a guy? You can do anything. You can provide me and every girl out there with a husband, even if it seems humanly impossible. You can also do so much more. You could raise up an army of girls who know and trust You, understand and believe the gospel, and work hard to advance your kingdom rather than wasting their lives dreaming of guys. Would you use this book to switch their focus?

So I hope you made sense out of my ramblings! Thanks for reading this super long blogpost! Have fun entering this giveaway and tell your friends! Even if you don’t win Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, I hope you go out and purchase one for your daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, cousin, or even yourself!

*many thanks to Tony Reinke (twitter.com/TonyReinke) & Paula Hendricks (twitter.com/PaulaWrites678) for helping make this giveaway possible!

Also if y’all find that the link is not working, please let me know! this is my first time using this service for a giveaway!

A Mother’s Day Letter [repost]

Last year I wrote a Mother’s Day letter to a woman I don’t really know. Without her? I wouldn’t be alive today. I wrote a Mother’s Day letter to my birth mother who carried me for 9 months, birthed me, and then left the hospital empty handed. At two months, I was adopted into the Piper home and gained a second mother who I’ve spent every Mother’s Day with since. As we look towards this weekend and especially sunday, let’s remember the mothers that don’t always get recognition. Being a birthmother is no small thing and through writing this letter my prayers and hopes were that it would give birthmothers especially, a glimpse into a very thankful teenage girl’s thoughts towards them. So this weekend, birthmothers, you are loved. VERY loved! Here’s a little tribute from 2013:

“Dear Birth Mother,
I have no idea what you are doing right now or even where you are. But know, you are on my heart, especially today. Today I celebrate not just one mother, but two. Two mothers who have been there for me in different ways. One has nurtured and taken care of me since I was 2 months and the other is you. You carried me in your womb for 9 months. You endured the swollen ankles, the buying or getting of new clothes to fit your growing belly over the three trimesters, and most of all the giving up of me when I did enter the world after probably a grueling labor of several hours.

I don’t know much about you but enough to feel incredibly thankful every day for you. A woman who not only decides to not have an abortion but also goes through the hard process of giving the child up after birth is to be respected. It must have been strange to walk out of hospital empty handed. To give away your maternity clothes and see the belly go back down after baby. I admire your courage in your decision and your love for me which translated to giving me up for adoption.

So today, you are on my heart. I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day because I would not be here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for choosing life. Thank you for giving me up for adoption. I may not know you but my love and gratitude for you is overflowing. <3 "

To every mother, Happy early Mother’s Day! May this weekend be a sweet weekend full of love, happiness, Jesus, and laughter! Much love!

//Great is His faithfulness

“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

It’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged and for very good reasons. I stepped away first because I wanted to really focus on spending time with Jesus and family over the beginning of the new year. A few things needed to happen and for those to really to take root, I felt like the focus should be less on social media and more on my relationship with Jesus and family. For five days I didn’t Instagram, Facebook, tweet, or any other social media things. I spent that time reading, writing, and praying. It was WONDERFUL. More than that, it helped me have a fresh start for not just this year but for the years to come. God did some amazing heart work over that time and has continued since then.

Fast forward to last Monday (April 28, 2014) to when I finished up my very last final for the school year. My very last final for high school. That day I said goodbye to four years of tears, craziness, drama, laughter, and a lot of headaches over late night assignments. I said hello to a new chapter, mainly one that opens August 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. On to May 3, 2014 which was my grad party day. Friends and family came and ate, prayed over me, laughed with me, played games, and generally blessed me more than I can say that day. It was truly a wonderful day!

Looking back, through all the hardships and stresses of high school, I did learn much about myself. I learned that I want missions to be a part of my life somehow. I learned that math is NOT my strong point and never will be! (that’s okay, I took my last math class ever fall 2013 semester!) I also learned that Jesus is the best friend who never changes. I went through a lot of nasty friend drama and a lot of it ended in tears, so getting closer to Jesus and really truly realizing that he is the ultimate best friend forever was very special.

So to all of who 9th graders entering high school this fall, cling to Jesus. Cling with all your might! He is the only one who will never change through all four years of many changes in life. High school is hard. High school is good. Let Jesus be your guide and let HIM show you how to live your life. You are going to be told a lot of different things by peers, teachers, friends, and many others. Listen to Jesus. He knows best!

And to my fellow seniors who have just finished or will finish or graduate in the next weeks,
WE MADE IT!! We really did! There were times you and I looked down at that horrible math homework and despaired that we would never see the end. Here you are! Rejoice in Jesus! Now let’s enter college or this next phase of life whatever it may look like for you, with Jesus leading the way. We will feel discouraged in college or in our jobs. We will face days that we just want to crawl back into bed and go back to sleep. One thing that we can be sure of? Jesus never changes. He will never check out on us or tell us to give him a day off. He’s always there. No matter what. Let’s cling to him!

05.03.14 – my graduation party!
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Dear readers, I am officially back in the blogging world. Summer lies ahead of me with plenty of adventures to write about and the biggest one comes at the end when I transition to college life! Thank you for walking with me through high school and praying with me for finals, papers, perseverance, and much much more! The Lord has been so faithful and given me fresh strength each and every day for the tasks ahead of me. So grateful!

ps. the packing up for moving back home is beginning very shortly (or if you’re an overachiever like me, i’m partly done!) and there is so much to do in such little time! Please pray that we would remember everything and that everything would go as smoothly for the move back as it did to move down here to TN! I can’t believe our year is almost up!

//2013: a year in review

As 2013 comes to a close just one week from today, I thought i’d do a year in review for my blog readers. It’s so hard to even remember the beginning months and their happenings sometimes but I tried my best. You might want to grab a cup of coffee or tea, it’s a long one today.:)

//January. The beginning of the year. Also when I went to Passion 2013, my last passion going underage;) The month I began to really think about what the year entailed including the prospect of moving, my last year at home, & college.

//February. Celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of my best friends for the second year in a row was definitely a highlight. I’m so thankful for friends who don’t take dating lightly and are trusting in God to bring their future spouse in the right timing.

//March. The month i got braces for the second time. (See HERE for the blog post regarding this) I learned in this month so much about trusting God and about second chances. It was a hard month both physically and emotionally and actually thirdly, spiritually. It made me so so thankful yet again for God’s mercy and grace in any and every situation of my life.

//April. I don’t remember much about this month except it was the month that we had the big celebration of my dad’s 33+ years at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He officially stepped down from his pastoring role the end of march and then april 14th there was a service and reception for him & our family. It brought tears to my eyes to see how many people showed up and showered us with gifts, kind words, and just love. Precious time for our family.

//May. The month that I moved from the only home I’d ever known to a small town in Tennessee. One of the hardest things in my life so far. But i wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I learned to rely on God in a new and fresh way. We started attending a church of only about 40 to 50 people in Knoxville where I’ve made (I believe) friendships for life. It was also the only church in all the churches we had visited that I completely felt at home and felt like the people were actually interested in me for who I was instead of just that I am John Piper’s daughter. So refreshing. We absolutely love it there.
plus side as well, i know everyone in the church!:)

//June. What i remember is hot, hot hot! oh and traveling of course. But seriously it was really really hot outside. I’m so thankful for air conditioning! Also finally not living out of boxes by this point. Though we didn’t move all our stuff, we still had a substantial amount in a moving truck and it took quite a while to get the last of it out of the boxes.

//July. Still hot. And oh the bugs, my goodness the bugs. Such creepy, crawly, nasty things. I can’t stand bugs. But at least I learned I don’t always have to scream when i throw my shoe at one. Oh and still traveling of course, my goodness this summer was probably one of the most busiest traveling times ever!

//August. The month of traveling, again.:) I went back to europe for a missions trip with several members from my original trip in 2011 to do what we did then, which was ministering to Third Culture Kids (kids who don’t belong to their birth culture (America most of the time) or their passport country (wherever their parents are ministering with them as missionaries) while their parents attending a weeklong conference. This was probably the hardest missions trip I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on quite a few. However, it was also a refining time for me as I really intensified my time in the Word and prayer as Satan was just attacking our team right and left! And of course I ended the trip with sickness. What’s a missions trip without it?! And also pretty much five days after getting back on American soil after being gone almost two weeks, I packed a overnight bag and headed out with my family to a weekend lakeside last hurrah before school. Only catch, school had started already TWO weeks ago. So yes I spent most of that time was spent inside, catching up on my four online dual enrollment classes through Boyce. So many tears were shed during that time as I tried to recuperate from my time overseas AND catch up on heavy classes AND somehow sleep.

//September. The month I count as officially starting my second year of dual enrollment ( what they call PSEO in the south) through Boyce College, online. A full load including my last math class (counting for both high school AND college credit!) and a C.S. Lewis course. So. much. reading. But good, good reading. All I had read of Lewis was The Chronicles of Narnia, so reading the other books such as The Screwtape Letters, Surprised by Joy, and a FANTASTIC biography of Lewis by Alister McGrath, was very enlightening. I learned so much about Lewis’s life that i had no idea about. I feel like I underlined and highlighted the entire book most of the time I was reading. Such good quotes everytime you turned the page.

//October. MY BIRTHDAY MONTH! Such a fantastic month full of celebration and finishing! Yes I did finish my finals just about a week & a half (give or take) after my birthday (the 11th). Earliest I’ve ever finished ANY finals. I worked ahead a week to take off my birthday weekend so i could go to Nashville with one of my best friends and celebrate there. We went to the Ryman and took a backstage tour, we walked around downtown Nashville, and we talked and laughed and ate wayyyy too much junk food. But it was my birthday so nobody was counting calories, especially because it was my 18th birthday! Also on my actual day of birth, we were shopping and I heard my phone buzzing so I reached down and actually I had just missed a call. I looked in my voicemails and listened to the most recent one. I had been accepted to my number one choice of colleges, Boyce College, and yes, I sure did start dancing right in Old Navy with my friend. I couldn’t believe it so I listened to the voicemail probably ten more times. PRAISE. THE. LORD. best birthday ever.

//November. the month of giving thanks. For the first time in pretty much forever, I had no school due before OR after thanksgiving. So for the first week it was so weird just not having to do anything. I definitely caught up on much needed sleep. I also got to actually enjoy my evenings without worrying about studying. Thanksgiving 2013 was good. We ate, chatted, enjoyed the fantastic weather, and laughed a whole lot. We also set up the christmas tree, and decorated the house. I started on my christmas cookie making and registered for my next semester starting in the middle to end of Jan. We bought and wrapped christmas presents and began really thinking about how fast Christmas was approaching.
oh also i got my new camera and sold my old one. I’m now the proud owner of a nikon d3100 with 18-55mm & 55-200mm lenses AND while i was at it i went and bought myself a good and steady tripod. Officially ready to begin a new season of (hopefully) a little more intense schedule of photo sessions for families, couples, or high school seniors around the Knoxville area. Want to learn more about my photography? Check out Godward Photography for more info and how to book a session!

//December. the final month of 2013. This year has whizzed by. Some parts did feel quite slow but most of it felt like a flash. Currently writing this blogpost with no snow outside and the sun is shining. I love country christmas. This was also the month I found out huge news regarding my schooling. I’ve been awarded a scholarship which will take care of my tuition for all four years. speechless.
I cried when I got the letter. I cried initially anyway because it was my “official official” letter of acceptance to Boyce but I especially cried when I read the part about the scholarship. We hadn’t filled out anything. We hadn’t asked. It was just given by God. Completely underserved gift and my heart is still just bursting with happiness. Also this means i don’t have to take the ACT again to see if I can get a higher grade, YAY YAY YAY. The ACT is SO not my cup of tea. or cup of anything for that matter.

And there you have it folks, my year in review for 2013. Thanks for taking time and reading it. I do realize most of you are probably spending time with your families right now so you might not see this till later but i just wanted to say too,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours:)
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{our outside decorations at our house in TN}

halfway there.

In about a week, I will be finished with my fall semester meaning I will be halfway through my second year of college classes and halfway through my senior year of high school. I can’t believe high school is almost over. God is so good! I’m so looking forward to going to Boyce College (major – biblical counseling, minor- youth ministry) in Louisville, Kentucky! I already have friends there and know some of the faculty! I’ve visited twice and absolutely feel at home there already:)

In other news, I bought a new camera (Nikon d3100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses)! Today I went outside and took some shots and I just love it! I also received my new tripod today so I experimented with that too! I am so thankful for Best Buy because of their customer service. I didn’t get my free camera bag with my camera bundle like I was supposed to so I called Best Buy and they got the mistake corrected and my bag comes next week! God is soooo good!!

SO here’s some pictures from my new camera!
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//our dog Dusty, goldendoodle//

best birthday ever.

So a week ago yesterday I was out in Nashville with one of my best friends and my cousin for my 18th birthday (Oct 11 was my bday!).
I had just stepped out of the clearance section into another section of Old Navy and decided to check my phone. I had a missed call from Kentucky. Thought about for a while and then my heart started to beat as my finger shook to push the listen to voicemail button. Could it be? Could it really be “the call?” It was. If i wasn’t in Old Navy I would have screamed. That’s right folks, this girl gets to attend her top choice for schools, Boyce College, fall of 2014! I got accepted on my 18th birthday! I started doing a happy dance right there in Old Navy. Completely unashamed. That happy and bubbly feeling I felt then, I still feel everytime I think about going to college. God is so amazing. God changed the mind of a teenage girl who had her heart set on Wheaton and then in a dramatic turn of events (which included moving), he turned her mind to a smaller and different school. I’ve visited Boyce two times and both times I’ve felt so incredibly welcomed and blessed by the faculty and students. The fact that the school is smack dab next to Southern Seminary is also wonderful. I can’t wait. My heart is so full right now <3

My weekend in Nashville (Oct 10-12) was amazing! It consisted of funny movies, laughter, free large starbucks chai tea latte from two very friendly employees, free sweets, amazing conversations with my cousin and best friend, lots of pictures, more laughter, pizza, chickfila, lots and lots of shopping (6+ hours on my bday!), the Ryman for a backstage tour, the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and Walk of fame, and tons more. I seriously had the best birthday ever. SO in love with Nashville. Can't wait to go back!

Here are some highlights in pictures :)

Day 1- Thursday, Oct 10th – The Ryman and the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and Walk of Fame

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A note… When we were on the backstage tour of the Ryman the tour guide pointed us to a couch where Keith Urban had sat recently. Needless to say we plopped right on that couch within 30 seconds…
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Country Music Hall of Fame Museum
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In a store downtown… heyyyy Blake
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Then Day 2, My Birthday!

Right after I found out I got accepted to Boyce College!
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Full day shopping = happy face!

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Day 3, going home to Knoxville.

Bluebird Cafe, Pedicures, Chipotle, fun bookstore, then bus home with best friend!
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…note to self, pack lighter… maybe.

Till next time friends, thanks for reading my very long blog post!
Yay for birthdays and getting accepted into college!

Readers’ Choice: what should i blog next?

Well friends, I am officially on fall break and lovin’ it. My birthday is coming up on October 11th and I have a big trip planned with one of my best friends which I’m sure some pics will make it on the blog shortly after:) I also just applied to my top and only choice for college. I will also post about that sometime soon. I also just attended two fantastic conferences, one on adoption and one on C.S.Lewis. Such great stuff, both of them. But there is one main reason for this blogpost! Readers, what should I blog about next?
I would love to start a list of possible topics so I can really kick this blogging thing in high gear. It lay dormant for a while this summer and while school started but now that 2013 is coming to a close in the next few months, I want to get in some good blogging!

Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at godwardblog@gmail.com any suggestions, questions, topic ideas, comments, etc about what you’d like to see in the future! Please!! I have blogged a series on modesty but of course I could revisit the topic with updated thoughts… So think, think, think! And when you’re ready, tell me what you’re thinking:)

Thanks friends and thanks for reading!