I missed my little daily devotional reading yesterday. Today, I opened it to the wrong day. On top of that, I misread the suggested Scripture reading and went to the wrong chapter. Wrong day. Wrong chapter. Not batting a thousand on my biblical reading commitment. Thank goodness! The Scriptures I visited by mistake were exactly right for me. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV Nice! Encouraging. Yep, just the message I needed today. I noticed my error when the commentary had nothing to do with the Scripture verses I just read. At first, I thought the devotional writer must have had an off day. But if I hadn’t been on the wrong day and in the wrong chapter, I wouldn’t have been as encouraged. Two phrases popped out to me as if they were in bold: “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” I have a living hope! Jesus gave me a gift that will never end nor fade. The hope isn’t just an Easter thing. It’s the right message for my heart every single day. “though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” Trials and challenges are a necessary part of my journey but they do not change the end game. Maybe you’re having a “wrong day” or maybe you’ve flipped to a chapter in your life that is a struggle. Here is the right message for you: God loved you enough to give you a living hope beyond this day, a promise of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ that cannot be shaken. The … Read More
It’s officially Spring so get outside and do something fun . . . like blowing bubbles. If you have young children or teach Sunday School or preschool, here are a few quick faith lessons using bubbles you can try. GOD GIVES LIFE. Blow into bubbles to demonstrate how God blew life into us. “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 1:7 ESV). What you say and do: Show kids your bottle of bubbles. “Who loves bubbles? I sure do!” Open it up and show dripping liquid. “Oh no! This isn’t a bubble. It says right here that it’s a bottle of bubbles, but this dripping mess isn’t right. Did I get a bad bottle? How do I get a bubble?” The kids will likely tell you that you have to blow to get the bubble. “How do I make this into a fun bubble? Oh, I blow into it? Like this?” Blow quite a few bubbles. “So, it’s really not a bubble unless I blow into it . . . like I’m blowing life into the bubble! That reminds me of you. Did you know that you are kind of like a bubble?” “The Bible says God breathed life into us. In the book of Genesis, we learn how God made so many things—the sun and moon, the land and sea, plants and animals. Then, when it came time for humans, Scripture says–‘Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature’ (Genesis 1:7 ESV).” “Remember that life comes from God. He loved you enough to create you and blow life into you so you can grow like this bubble, and move and bring joy and light into the world.” GOD MADE YOU UNIQUE. Show how bubbles are different shapes and sizes and remind kids that we are each unique as well with different purposes, according to God’s plan. “But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20 ESV). What you say and do: Blow bubbles. “Look … Read More
Monday was bad . . . really bad. After a busy week of work deadlines and a weekend sports tournament, I couldn’t find the counter under the dirty dishes. Laundry was piled up everywhere. It would be easier to just sell the house than put it back in order. I shooed the kids out the door with nothing for breakfast but leftover cake. The school cafeteria would have to pick up my slack at lunch. And, to top it off, the winter cold and rain held my beautiful sunshine hostage AGAIN. Ugh! You’ve had those days, right? As I shut the door and looked at my mess, I thought, “Boy, do I need a do-over.” When the kids were little, I remember hearing them from the other room. “Do-over!” “Ethan, you CANNOT have a do-over,” mini-mom Katie explained. Gracie’s squeaky voice chimed in, “If he gets a do-over, I get a do-over, too!” “No, you don’t.” Katie stood her ground, but Ethan insisted. “It’s in the rules, Katie. We CAN get a do-over.” I don’t remember who won the argument, but as I thought about it, I realized: We actually DO get do-overs. And IT IS in the rulebook. The start of Lent season this past week in preparation for Easter reminded me again of this blessing. Scripture says: “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true,’” (Revelation 21:5 ESV). “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,” (Isaiah 43:19 ESV). Jesus Christ gave us a do-over pass for so many things: our sins, our mistakes, our messes. And God put it in the rulebook. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” (2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV). There are also lots of goodies in Scripture about other kinds of practical do-overs: forgiving each other, mending relationships, making a plan for the future, finances and more. Thank goodness! In his wisdom, God put reminders of hope and renewal in our world and daily lives. Spring comes. The sun rises. So, hang in there if you’re having a rough patch or a “no-good-very-bad day.” You’ll get your … Read More
I’m so excited to host my fellow Little Lamb author Jason Joyner in a guest post today. He just released his debut novel called Launch. It’s a YA superhero book and I must say that my 14-year-old absolutely loved it! Once she started reading, she could not put it down! Here’s a little Q & A about Jason and Launch . . . Why did you choose this genre? I’ve always loved superheroes. I used to daydream about saving the day in elementary school, so it was natural to write about teens getting superpowers. I had pictures of a guy running so fast he burned up his tennis shoes and a girl who could control light but it meant that she couldn’t dye her hair because it kept going blonde. From there Launch started to develop. Are you a science/sci-fi nerd? LOL We prefer “geeks”. I really enjoy science and sci-fi, but I’m not so hard core that I get upset over technical mistakes in movies (unless it is medical, then watch out). I would consider superheroes more on the sci-fi side, but Amazon has it categorized in the “fantasy” side, so go figure. Why did you choose this age group to write for? I wrote an adult suspense novel for my first book, but my writing style was too light for the subject matter. I had read a lot of YA, and decided writing for teens and young adults (and adults who like these books) would be a better fit. Why do kids/preteens need heroes? I’d argue adults need heroes as well. But kids especially need to see that the dragons/villains/monsters out there can be defeated. Whether their obstacles are bullies, family troubles, or school issues, I think kids can see that victory is possible vicariously through hero stories. And of course, the greatest hero of all is Jesus, so all noble, heroic stories echo his victory over death. What makes the heroes in your book (series) special? It may sound cliché, but the teens in Launch who develop supernatural powers are ordinary kids. Demarcus needs to keep buying new shoes because he burns them up running super fast. Lily knows more about social media than her computer industry father, but is depressed by loss in her life. Then when they get the opportunity at the Launch Conference, they must decide what they will do with their gifts. Want to be … Read More
Your toddler drops to the floor screaming in the store because her brother looked at her. You walk in the bathroom to see your grade schooler sitting amid clumps of hair, new safety scissors in hand. Your teen driver returns home with a speeding ticket and excuses. Parenting is not for the weak of heart, right? No matter what your child’s age or personality, there will be challenges. Maybe you are struggling with even more serious parenting issues. And you may not handle it well all the time. As a mom of three, I sure would like a few “do-overs” here and there. Thankfully, God’s Word offers a few promises for parents to cling to in the tough times. Here are five of my favorites that I depend on daily! If you plant seeds of faith in your child, God is faithful. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV). What good news! Introducing children to my faith is the most important parent job I have. Whether you read Bible stories, pray with your child, take your kiddo to church regularly or just walk out your faith in front of them, you are planting seeds with eternal impact. Keep going! God hears prayers about your child (and other stuff, too!). “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14 NIV). Prayer is every parent’s secret weapon. As parents we can pray about everything from their safety to their friends to their future. Talk to God about your children every day and see how He moves miraculously in their lives. I’ve seen it happen! God has a great plan for your child. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Throughout Scripture, we learn that God does nothing haphazardly. He has a master plan and your baby boy or girl is part of it. In fact, the Bible also tells us that He has given special talents to your Lovie to carry out that purpose. So cool! Trust in His plan. God can do a lot with a little. Remember the … Read More
I’m so excited to share a guest blog from my friend Amberly Kristen Clowe, author of the soon-to-be-released Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash. I must admit, I got a sneak early read and LOVED it! I can’t wait to get a copy. (You can order your advance copy online now.) But until then, here’s her Ten Favorite Children’s Books to keep us busy: What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. This book is based on the song by the above lyricists. Many of us can hear Louis Armstrong’s strong, raspy voice in even the title alone. I so enjoy singing this story with my kids at bedtime, and Tim Hopgood’s whimsical illustrations are the perfect compliment to such timeless lyrics. The Bubble Who Would Not Pop! By Shelly Roark Shelly’s book is amazing for many reasons, but the one that is so meaningful to me is the dialogue it prompted from my children. They immediately wanted to discuss God and prayer and the determination of beloved Billy Bubble. When the words of a book do this, you will forever hold them close to your heart. Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson Good ol’ Hank equals childhood to me. I grew up eating this series for breakfast. Erickson’s voice is amazing, full of wit and humor. I’m totally aware that I pretty much picked like fifty books for a single place, but come on. How do I not! Fallen series by Lauren Kate Again, with the series. I am definitely not immune to the swoon that often accompanies YA fiction, and Lauren Kate knows her swoon. This series has such an epic feel. She pulls you in with the characters, and I found myself immediately scrambling to find the next page-turner in the series. Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado I love a good Christmas book. Don’t you? And Max Lucado does not disappoint with Itsy and Bitsy in this lovely retelling of the Christmas story but through the eyes of two adorable mice. I cry. Every. Single. Time. The Boy and the Moon by James Christopher Carroll Carroll just seems to get me. When his hilariously quirky animal pals are unable able to save the moon, a boy is so brave and so determined, that only he can save the moon, and with bright, ripe apples, no less! Sigh. The Little Bear series by … Read More
Two days until the class Valentine’s Day party. You’re hosting it and don’t have a plan! Oh dear! Sound familiar? This was my situation before just about every homeroom holiday party of my children’s elementary school career. And with three kids, I was either a homeroom mom or volunteer quite a few times. I knew the drill. Why did it always catch me off guard? A great mystery. (I think it has something to do with my personality and/or career choice. I thrive on procrastination and hot deadlines.) However, the “night before” mad rush to get Valentine cards, goody bags and party plans together just might have scarred my children a little. I know it did my husband. So . . . why do it, you ask? Hey, just because I was terrible at it didn’t mean I didn’t love it! What a blast to hang out with my kids, and their friends and teachers for happy events. The hugs and high-fives were definitely worth the stress. And along the way, I picked up a few tricks that helped with my procrastinating ways. If you find yourself in charge of a school Valentine Party or a Wednesday night kids’ class at church THIS February 14 (that’s TWO DAYS FROM NOW), here are a few activities that you can pull together at the last minute with minimal stress. I borrowed them from different websites and resources and adapted them for different themes many times: Who doesn’t love a piñata? No time to order a fancy piñata or even run out to the store. You can make one that the kids will love from items in your cabinet. (I did this for more than one holiday class party and it was always a big hit.) Start with a large brown paper bag. Cut strips of tissue paper (red/white/pink for Valentine’s Day). Glue the strips in overlapping lines all around the bag until it sports a new fun, festive, colorful look. Stuff it with candy and roll down the top, stapling to close. Punch holes for the string to hang it up. Don’t forget to grab a stick or long ruler for smacking it and a bandana to cover the hitter’s eyes. Depending on the goodies in the bag and the tissue colors you use, you can make a piñata for Christmas, Halloween or other holidays. A puzzle race . . . calmer, but … Read More
Little Lamb Books is hosting a BUBBLETASTIC BOOK CONTEST from May to August to celebrate the upcoming release of my debut picture book, The Bubble Who Would Not POP! in stores September 12, 2017. The BUBBLETASTIC BOOK CONTEST starts this week so be sure to like my page for updates and check out all the contest guidelines at LittleLambBooks.com today!