Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Grammy Camp

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18 NIV

My heart swells when I look into the eyes of my grandchildren and see who God created them to be. It's not that I can see into the future, but their undeniable, unique, God-given personalities spill out of every one of my six grandchildren. What a joy to watch their quirks, their talents, their individuality blossom with each new growth spurt--both physical and emotional.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Deep Dark Waters

Image by Steve Conger
Flickr.com_/photos/dukie1/13937228763
CC BY-ND 2.0
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5b NIV

I'd rather scale the side of a mountain or jump from an airplane (with a working parachute), than dive into deep waters. I find no pleasure wading blindly through muddy silt among invisible, toe-nibbling fish and I panic when my feet can’t touch bottom.

However, heights comfort me ̶ whisper freedom deep inside ̶ lends a broader perspective of what’s below.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Covenant: more than a pinky promise

Image by All Holding
Flickr.com_photos/116388762@N02/12315726084
CC BY-ND 2.0
My mother never made promises. "I can't promise you anything because I don't know what tomorrow might bring," she'd say. All spoken from her shattered heart knowing full well the pain of a broken marriage. Those words haunted me, (probably still do since I'm compelled to write about them), for years. I'd even avoid childhood pinky-promises, for fear of breaking them, so upon my own engagement, I trembled.

My husband and I spoke often of covenant promises. There was more at stake than a pinky promise held. This was our future, our family, our legacy. I could not--would not--face a lifetime of uncommitted tomorrows where we left open a window of mistrust or an opportunity to slink away. We either entered our marriage covenant fully committed--promising to fight for one another and our future together no. matter. what.--or not at all.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Little People Praise God, Too: Book Review

Little People Praise God, Too illustrates Psalm 150:6 perfectly: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Author, Lynn Calvin integrates multicultural children and special needs children into her story beautifully, expressing God's desire that all His children praise Him. She even includes an example of braille within the book.

Using humor and age-appropriate dialogue, Calvin covers the meaning of praise; where we praise God and how we can praise God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Have Two Daddies: Book Review

I Have Two Daddies by Lynn Calvin
illustrated by Maria Rask
AuthorHouse 2008
I Have Two Daddies: An Earthly Daddy and a Heavenly Daddy is a multi-award-winning children's book written by Lynn Calvin and illustrated by Maria Rask, published by Author House, 2008.

Calvin tackles the difficult abstract subject of the unseen heavenly Father by comparing him to a loving earthly father. I love her concrete examples of her earthly father's love expressed by going to work so that he can provide her with all her needs like food, clothing, shelter. But better yet, she illustrates how he shows her love by also giving her his time and sharing about God, her heavenly Father. 

Just like our earthly daddies, our heavenly Father, also showers us with His love by making "a way for [us] to live with Him forever" through our "Big Brother", Jesus. 

Calvin beautifully and simply explains the gospel while leading the reader through the way to salvation including a prayer and scripture references.

I award this book ****'s

AuthorHouse 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4343-6943-7 (softcover)

To learn more about Lynn Calvin and her books, please click here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

God's Dream for Our Children

Image by Mira Shemeikka
If you're joining me here from Encouragement Cafe, welcome!

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52 NIV


I placed my daughter on a plane with strangers heading due east across the Atlantic to Uganda. Luckily for her, the organizer limited parental good-byes to the church parking lot where I choked back fears and sobs.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

God's Easter Miracles: Book Review

God's Easter Miracles
by Lee Ann Mancini
illustrated by Dan Short
GLM Publishing, 2017
God's Easter Miracles, is the sixth book in Lee Ann Mancini's award-winning Adventures of the Sea Kids book series. This book not only tackles the true meaning of Easter and salvation through Jesus Christ, but also weaves in topics like autism, healing, and compassion. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

God's Gift: Book Review

God's Gift
by Lee Ann Mancini
illustrated by Dan Short
GLM Publishing, 2016
God's Gift is the fifth book of Lee Ann Mancini's award-winning Adventures of the Sea Kids children's book series. Beautifully illustrated by Dan Short, this book helps children explore the differences and similarities between Christmas and Hanukkah. 

Masterfully addressed, Mancini offers parents and teachers alike, a powerful tool to discover the roots of the Judaeo-Christian heritage. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Servant Like Jesus: Book Review

It's the first day of school at the Fish-Care Cove School for Charlie the Crab. Despite the colorful classroom and fun toys to play with, Charlie hides behind the sink, too shy to interact with his classmates. Finally, his teacher, Miss Stella Starfish, coaxes him out by asking him to be her helper. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beyond Words

Rays by Surlan Soosay
Flickr.com_photos/ssoosay/6995846806_CC BY-ND 2.0
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b

I’m a slow forgiver. You?

So, when the sassy girl at work spewed insults under her breath in my direction, my heart hardened. I took mental note and recorded her name on my imaginary “grudge list”. Yep, instead of being the Jesus girl, I chose to be the grudge girl. My motto used to be, “I’m the kindest person you’ll ever meet…just don’t cross me.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm Not Afraid!

I'm Not Afraid! by Lee Ann Mancini Illustrated by Dan Sharp GLM Publishing, 2016
I'm Not Afraid!
by Lee Ann Mancini
Illustrated by Dan Sharp
GLM Publishing, 2016
I'm Not Afraid! How many times have we tried convincing ourselves or our friends we're brave while, in fact, we're shaking-in-our-shoes fearful?
In her third book of the multiple award-winning Sea Kids Adventures series, author, Lee Ann Mancini artfully teaches children (and adults) how Jesus turns our fears into faith.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Keep It Simple

Ethiopia Innocent Prayers by Steve Evans_flickr.com_3405971322_23eae03cac_CC BY-ND 2.0
For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvationRomans 10:9 (The Passion)

Auntie Lou's passionate gospel flannel graph story-telling captured my nine-year-old heart. With every new layer she added to the story of Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension, my heart raced faster and faster. 

She shared how Jesus sacrificed everything that I might stand blameless before God and experience everlasting life in His presence, if I simply asked Jesus into my heart. It was so simple. I didn't question it. I simply responded, "yes" to Jesus.

Maybe that's why Jesus liked children so much?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What A Bragger!

What A Bragger!  by LeeAnn Mancini Illlustrated by Dan Sharp GLM Publishing 2015
What A Bragger!
by LeeAnn Mancini
Illlustrated by Dan Sharp
GLM Publishing 2015
What a Bragger! stole my heart. The second book in author, Lee Ann Mancini's, multiple award-winning Sea Kids Adventures book series, tackles the tough subject of unconditional love.
Who likes a bragger? We've all encountered one or two in our lives, but how we react to them may make all the difference to them and to us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Compliant Hearts vs Rebellious Hearts

Father & Daughter
by Allsa
flickr.com_photos/38484636@N06/4536997362
CC BY-ND 2.0
If you love me you will obey what I command. John 14:15

Compliant children obey the rules, keep the peace, and respect authority. They're agreeable, reliable and trustworthy, yet easily over-looked because they don't demand constant attention.

Strong-willed children break the rules, argue often, and question authority. They're disagreeable, demonstrative and usually nonconformists. They get all the attention because their behavior demands it.

As parents, we wonder how such opposite children came from the same lot.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fast Freddy: a book review

If you joined us from the Christian Children's Author's blog, welcome!
Fast Freddy soon realizes his greatest fear on his first day at his new school. Everyone notices he's different. With the help of his teacher, Miss Mermaid, and the janitor, Mr. Seahorse, the other students soon learn that teamwork helps turn everyone's differences (especially Fast Freddy's) into great strengths.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Inseparable love

Image by Rudi Schlatte
Flickr.com_photos/rudis/2427705114_CC BY-ND 2.0
After a week of spiritual awakening the enemy sought to anesthetize me. Sitting around the campfire listening to stories of God's movement in the lives of my peers, I knew God had challenged me, too. He asked me to pick a side; His or the enemy's. 

You see, on the outside it appeared I was on God's team, but I held secrets behind closed doors; secrets that I'd never admit to anyone except my future husband. They were free-will liberties I regularly practiced. It was those secret liberties God asked me to lay down at the cross. And, it was those very same things the enemy used to accuse me that night.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

4 Suggestions for when Littles ask BIG questions

Kota&Cal

My youngest granddaughter looked up at me between bites of pizza and asked: "Who's Jesus, Grams?" followed by, "Can I see him? Can I talk to him?" 

The Apostle Paul did say we should always be ready to give an answer for our faith, right? But when I read that passage I never thought about the Littles in my life asking those faith-based questions. 
This recent conversation brought me back to this article I posted two years ago for when Littles ask big questions:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Raising an honest family

Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. 2 Timothy 2:15-17 The Message
Raising an honest family seems like a no-brainer. On the surface, we could say raising an honest family is teaching our children to tell the truth at all times, right? But honesty is more than just telling the truth with our lips. It's living the truth with our actions.
Easier said than done. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What kind of love do girls desire?

What a [wo]man desires is unfailing love. Proverbs 19:22
 
Unfailing love. It's all this heart ever dreamed of since she can remember. Isn't it what every little girl's heart craves -forever love that never fails - like it's woven into her DNA? I think so.
 
And so with every ounce of who she is, she searches the eyes of every man she encounters, beginning with Daddy. "Daddy, do you love me?" she asks. "Daddy, don't you think I'm beautiful?" she whispers. "Will you love me forever?" she pleads, even when he's walking out the door. Always searching. Always asking. Always needing unfailing love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Redefining Your Passion - or- When Life Interrupts

Image by Lew (tomswift) Holzman
Flickr.com_photos/tomswift/4837657_CC BY ND 2.0
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 1 Timothy 5:4 NIV

Passion - the past decade's buzz word. Discover your passion and immerse yourself in it and your days will overflow with joy! But sometimes, do you ever find yourself scratching your head wondering if you got it all wrong? You realize one morning your passion's steeped in hard work and toil overflows more than joy?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

One Word 2017

Winter Apple by Justin LaBerge
Flickr.com_/photos/jml78/15932703399
CC BY-ND 2.0
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fileds! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35b

The new year approaches without pause; a natural course marked by a wintry blanket tucked in around the corners of a slumbering earth.

While silence falls outside, one word swirls like the wind inside my mind: harvest. A strange word, I think, for a snow-fallen day. But, there it is. Unshakable. Stubborn. Lingering. It's an answer to my annual question, "What's my one word for the new year, Lord?"

"Harvest," He replies.

Like every season, it's an appointed time; one that can be marked on the calendar. But, unlike the growing season, it's a very limited time marked by urgency and the flurry of hardworking hands. For if the ripened fruits are not harvested before winter, the fruits will die and many will grow hungry. Harvest work must be done NOW. There is no "later". 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas: a two week approach

Manana de Reyes by Manuel
Flickr.com_martius/11801437753_CC BY ND 2.0
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NIV
While we place so much energy into celebrating Christmas on one day, December 25th,  any thought of an additional celebration could give us a nervous break down.