Review and Giveaway: The Garden by Kari Jobe

I’m not a huge music person, but I knew that when this opportunity came up, my husband would be very interested – he’s a huge fan of Kari Jobe. I was right, and since this is more his forte than mine, I’m going to let him take over the official review portion of this post. First, though, allow me to give a bit of background.

The Garden by Kari Jobe CD Review and Giveaway #flyby #thegarden

(From the vendor)
Grammy nominated Kari Jobe is the premiere female worship leader in Christian music. Coming off her last live album, Majestic, which featured the worship anthem Forever and radio hit I Am Not Alone, Kari Jobe has returned to the studio to record her new album, The Garden, full of brand new worship anthems for the church and for personal reflection. Finding inspiration from life’s joys and hardships, Kari leans into the firm foundation of Christ through it all.

And now, here is Will’s review.

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As Wendy mentioned, I was excited for the chance to get an early copy of the new Kari Jobe record. I’d first come across Kari Job after watching a Michael W. Smith video, and I liked a duet they did so much, I purchased his Sovereign album on vinyl, gave it to my dad, and purchased myself a second copy. While I work, I often run YouTube playlists of her Majestic live shows in the background and I purchased the Majestic Revisited album, which also gets steady play. It’s a tragedy that she hasn’t had a vinyl release yet. I’d be first in line.

This record is very different from Majestic Revisited in tone. I put this one in my player the moment it arrived, and listened straight through, then went back and listened again while reading the liner notes. This album is a lot more lush than the last album, but also a lot more subdued feeling. When I read the liner notes, I understood why:

The Garden is written from a place of lament. Kari Jobe writes that the album was crafted during a season of heartache and that the purpose of the new material is to shine a light on God’s goodness in our moments of despair.

This is unusual in modern Christian pop music, which tends to shy away from lament and focus on more radio friendly themes. Michael Card has commented on this as he notes that much of the scriptures are laments, and he wonders why Christian music neglects this. He’s not the only one to point this out. Fivethirtyeight.com did a complete breakdown on the blissful tenor of most Christian music which was eye-opening for me. Sometimes you don’t notice things until someone points them out for you.

Christian music used to have more laments. Rich Mullins would sing of the bittersweet nature of life and heartbreak. Keith Green would often sing of trials and sadness, especially of those he loved who shied away from God. Twila Paris’ Warrior is a Child comes to mind as another example.

These days it’s not as common.

So, from that side of things, I think the album serves an important purpose in the current music scene. But, with that in mind, it’s not a happy sounding album. If you’re looking for a pop album full of catchy songs, this is not going to do it for you. It’s not that kind of album. It has a lot of beautiful instrumentation, and Kari does a great job with the vocals. From what I’ve seen of her live shows, I can imagine that the road show will be amazing. She knows just how to stage things to really connect with certain emotions. But, these songs are not your traditional pop fare. It’s epic feeling, but there’s not a lot of hooks going on. These songs won’t get stuck in your head.

Some art (books, movies, music) catches your attention immediately. Others take a bit to get into and fully appreciate. But, sometimes, the investment pays off and you find that they become your favorites and become part of you in a way that most things never can.

This album has that potential.

If you’re looking for something a little more mature, and different than your typical Top 40 fare, put this one on. Give it more than a surface listen. Keep it in your player for awhile. The album is about The Garden. Give it time to grow.

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If you’re interested in having your very own copy of this CD, enter the giveaway below. The only requirement is to enter your email address (for contact purposes; I’ll never add you to any lists). The other options are for bonus entries only.

Blessings,

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Legal stuff:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Specific Links for this album:

ESV Family Devotional Bible (review)

We were recently blessed to be able to review the ESV (English Standard Version) Family Devotional Bible thanks to Flyby Promotions. When the opportunity to review this Bible came up, I knew I wanted to give it a chance because the ESV is the Bible of choice in our family. I was very interested in combining our favorite translation with pictures and devotionals. I was not disappointed in my expectations!

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There are 130 devotions sprinkled throughout the text of the Bible, and each one gets an illustration. The devotions are located near where their stories occur, and the scripture reference for each devotion is made very clear so you can compare the devotion to the actual text easily. Devotions summarize the portion of scripture they’re taken from, offer discussion questions, and then provide a key verse (which would make a great memorization tool). If you’re looking for a specific story to study deeper, there’s a convenient index of devotions at the back of the Bible. Additionally, there are maps in the back also, which really helps to bring some of the locations to life a bit better.

This hardcover Bible is a good size –  not too big, making it cumbersome to hold, but also not so small that’s it’s ten feet thick to include the whole of the biblical text.

The text is the text - it's not abbreviated at all.

The text is the text – it’s not abbreviated at all.

Over the past couple of weeks, this Bible has become an amazing tool in our home. It’s nice to have family devotions and biblical text all in one volume. The cover is a bit busy for my taste (it has thumbnails of each devotion illustration all butt-up against one another), but that’s not something that would make me not recommend this Bible. If you’re looking for a way to include devotions more readily in your home (or homeschool), then this is well worth the investment. Crossway has done an amazing thing with this Bible!

One of the devotional spreads.

One of the devotional spreads.

In addition to providing me a copy of the ESV Family Devotional Bible to facilitate my review, Flyby Promotions is offering to give one away to one of my readers. This will be a huge blessing to whoever wins, let me tell you. All you have to do to have a chance to win is leave me a comment on this post related to what I’ve written about. The winner will be chosen randomly from all the entries on Friday, May 20th and notified via email. (Your email address is required for leaving a comment, so you don’t have to worry about posting it publicly. Only I will see it, and I won’t be adding you to any newsletter lists or anything.)

Blessings,

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

This giveaway is now closed. As chosen by random.org, the winner is Heather Kelly. Heather, I’ve emailed you. When I hear back, I’ll have the vendor send your Bible.

Product Review: Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap

sugar scrub review

This year is seeing a lot of growth for me as a blogger, and that includes joining with companies like Purex and Dial as a reviewer. It’s exciting! I’ve always enjoyed Dial products, so I was interested in using and reviewing their new Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Deep Cleansing and Moisturizing Hand Soap.

I initially put the bottle in the kids/guest bathroom, but it was clear after not very long at all that that wasn’t going to work long term. You see, Small Fry did not like this soap at all. I’m not sure why, but every time he went to the bathroom and had to wash up afterwards, it was a fight. He just prefers our bar soap instead. So I quickly (after just a few hours) moved the Dial to the kitchen, where it’s found its home ever since then.

So, because of this move, I was the main one who used this soap. Everyone else pretty much washes their hands in the bathroom, but I have to wash my hands in the kitchen frequently during cooking, and it was nice to have a simple soap pump there for doing so (as opposed to just using dish soap, which is what I usually do). I really liked the feel of this soap, too. It’s full of “scrubbers” that feel really nicely on your hands. I just love the feeling of having my hands scrubbed by texture in my soap. But there weren’t too many scrubbers, either. I would have been happy with more of the scrubby “balls,” but as it is, it’s a nice amount. It’s not so much that it would be overwhelming for sensitive hands, but there are enough to make your hands feel lovely after washing.

The only thing I didn’t like about this soap was the scent. I can’t quite place what it smells like, but I didn’t like it. It’s not enough to deter me from use because the soap feels so nice, but next time I try it out, I’ll try a different scent (probably the yellow raspberry/black sugar). Also, quick disclaimer on the scent: I’m perfectly willing to admit that my aversion to it might be first trimester sensitivities. Please don’t let my opinion on the scent dissuade you from trying it.

Blessings,

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Book Review and #Giveaway: Texas K9 Unit Series

 giveaway graphic

I recently joined FlyBy Promotions as a reviewer, and my first review for them is this one. And better yet, they’ve given me a copy of a book to give away to one of you! I’m super excited to host my first giveaway, and I can’t wait to announce the winner of this giveaway later this week. But first, the review.

I didn’t actually review the book that I’m giving away, but I did read a book of the same genre by the same author. For the purposes of this review, I was given a copy of Texas K-9 Unit Series of e-books. This set is available for $11.99 on Amazon. I received a single PDF which included: Tracking Justice by Shirlee McCoy, Detection Mission by Margaret Daley, and Guard Duty by Sharon Dunn. Because of the time limitation for this review, I’ve only had a chance to read Tracking Justice thus far, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing today.

Summary of Tracking Justice

When  young Brady Billows is discovered missing in the middle of the night, his (single) mother, Eva, does what any mom would do: she calls the police. When the detective who shows up on her door at 2 a.m. is the handsome Austin Black (and his bloodhound, Justice), Eva knows she’s in trouble. Can she walk the line between allowing Austin to be the father-figure she knows Brady needs while still protecting him from disappointment when Austin leaves after the case is solved? And just as importantly, can she learn to trust Austin herself? Can she give him her heart? Or will she be the one responsible for Austin’s departure after the case? [Read more…]