Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Board Book Bundle Giveaway!

I am delighted to offer one lucky winner the board book bundle above in honor of our family's news — we're expecting our third boy in May! I have teamed up with popular children's author Glenys Nellist for this special treasury that she's written for wee ones.

Thank you to her and the Christian children's publisher Zonderkidz for making this special offer possible! I received a copy of each book in turn for my review:

God Made Daddy Special: This board book comes with an inscription page and describes ways that a father can teach his child through a variety of animals — the lion is my favorite! This book, which I can see a father reading to his child, ends with a precious Bible verse.

God Made Mommy Special: This board book comes with an inscription page, Bible verse at the end, and utilizes animal imagery to describe care for a child too. Tender, cuddly images are punctuated with ones of leadership and strength — I had many favorite pages describing a mother's care!

Snuggle Time Bible Stories: This new release covers major Bible stories in cute rhyme. It not only communicates the stories but makes them personal for the very young child — a great bedtime find!

Snuggle Time Psalms: The psalms remain a favorite collection of biblical prayers for all ages; this book brings many of them to life for the very young child. It communicates their comfort and promises with beautiful interplay from the illustrations — because of that, it's my favorite book of the bunch!

Want to win this bundle for yourself? As long as you are a US resident with a street address (no PO boxes for shipping purposes please), you are eligible to win. There are three ways to register:

1. You can comment below on THIS POST through my homepage.
2. Find the announcement of this giveaway on my blog's Facebook page. Comment on that post, which I will pin to the top of the page. Bonus entry: If you comment AND tag a friend, you will be entered twice! Note: Be sure that you have "liked" my page and are following it for updates on the winner!
3. Find the announcement of this giveaway on my Instagram page. Comment on that post to register. Bonus entry: If you comment AND tag a friend, you will be entered twice! Note: Be sure you have followed me on Instagram for updates on the winner!

The winner will be announced a week from today on Tuesday, January 22nd. In the meantime, I hope you read Glenys' special guest post on how to intentionally bless our children! The endearing ritual of blessing she describes takes less than a minute and will impact your child for a lifetime!

Stay tuned next week for the launch of my new series on life purpose, just in time for the new year! Also, subscribe here to not miss a post and receive my free, illustrated, and professionally-edited devotional ebook.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Guest Post: Five Powerful Blessings to Speak over Your Child

One of my favorite authors whom I've had on my site is Glenys Nellist. I had the privilege of meeting her at a conference in Michigan a couple of years ago. Her English humor, clever wit, and warm spirit made this grandma and Christian educator shine. She has guest posted here before. She is passionate about Jesus, which is evident in her children's books that start for wee ones. 
Speaking of wee ones, I am excited to announce that I am pregnant with our third child, a boy due in May! In honor of our family's news, I have teamed up with the Christian children's publisher Zonderkidz to give away a special bundle of Glenys' books for one lucky reader of my site this week! Stay tuned tomorrow to learn about those four books and how to win them! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Glenys' guest post on blessing our children — I know I did! Here are her words:

It wasn’t until I read a wonderful book called Blessed to Be a Blessing that I fully realized the simplicity and power of speaking blessings into our children every night. When I was a young mom, I would pray with my children each evening, but this idea, based upon the blessing given to Abraham, is more than simply praying over your child or with your child. When we bless our little ones using this method, which literally takes less than one minute, we create a truly sacred moment when our words, like seeds, take root in our children’s minds and hearts. If you begin when your children are newborns, they will grow up believing that they are blessed to be a blessing. 
Here’s how to explain the process to an older child:
  • When your child lies down at bedtime, tell them that you are going to give them a blessing.
  • Explain that you will draw a cross (or a heart) on their forehead or on the back of their hand as you say a special blessing for them. Let them choose where they want it drawn.
  • If desired, you may opt to use water or an essential oil as you draw the symbol.
  • Establish eye contact with your child.
  • Draw the symbol slowly as you look into their eyes and repeat one of the five blessings listed below.  Always begin with your child’s name. The five word blessing that I use with my grandson is very simple: Sam, you are a blessing.
Can you imagine the power of my grandson hearing those words repeated every. single. night? My little Sam will grow up knowing that he is a blessing. What could be more precious than that? Except, perhaps, when your child automatically turns to you and asks if you want a blessing too? This is what happened when I first tried it with three-year-old Sam, who simply lifted up the bangs of my hair, drew his own little shape on my forehead, and looked into my eyes as he said, "Grandma, YOU are a blessing." I pray that you will discover the power of this simple act for you and your own children.
Here are five powerful blessings to speak over your child. Choose the one that means the most to you and substitute your child's name:
  1. Sam, you are a blessing.
  2. Sam, may the Lord bless you and keep you. (Numbers 6:24)
  3. Sam, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. (Romans 15:13)
  4. Sam, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God be with you. (2 Cor. 13:14)
  5. Sam, the Lord will watch over your life no matter where you go, now and forever. (Psalm 121:8)
Stay tuned tomorrow for details on how to win FOUR of Glenys' children's books! They are perfect to bless the shelves of your own growing family.

And don't forget that my new life purpose series begins next week on the blog — begin your new year intentionally! Subscribe here to receive my free ebook and don't miss a post.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Moms, We Have a Microphone

Happy New Year! This week I wanted to share one of my favorites to start the year off right. It challenges us to think about the ways we speak to our children — and ourselves — in light of what God says about us. I want this year to be full of blessing, and the best way to start that is by examining the very words we speak. Here is the start to my article; click the link to read the rest at (in)courage...and don't miss the note below!

This winter I am challenging myself to be positive. And I don’t mean positive in a superficial kind of way. I mean being intentional about what I verbalize about myself, my husband, and my children. It’s one thing to have a negative or discouraging thought; it’s another to speak it aloud and allow it to take root.
There are so many things that can plague our minds as moms. Our job can come with a lot of responsibility and little accolades. And to make matters worse, we can be hard on ourselves all the while. “Why am I having trouble losing weight…praying more…scheduling it all…” Sound familiar?
As much as we need to be mindful of the beautiful creations that we are, we also need to think about the creations who are forming under our watch. What we say about our children in their presence and behind closed doors helps to foster an attitude that will influence their development. In effect, what we say about them, they will believe about themselves...
Continue reading at (in)courage
Stay tuned next week for a guest post that will speak to blessing our children as well. The post will be paired with a generous giveaway and some exciting news! 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Change Can Bring Blessing in the New Year: Devotion Ten

Happy New Year! As we anticipate celebrating tonight and honoring a new year with all of its possibilities, I find myself reflecting. A new year is a gift; just like newly fallen snow without a print, we too are offered a fresh chance to start over. New Year's resolutions are about intentional changes we'd like to see in our lives. I hope the following devotion inspires you to think about such changes from a biblical perspective. Changes that God is prodding us to make can usher in new blessing — and I can't think of a better gift for the new year ahead!

Day 10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
In this verse, Jesus reminds us of the true gift of faith: life. God wants us to have abundant life on earth and eternal life with him. So often society equates following biblical principles with denial and a list of rules. The reality is that God wants to gift us with greater blessings through his guidance. Just as we teach our children rules for safety and success, God wants to do the same for us. As we follow the Creator who made all things, we have the secret to a better life. It doesn’t mean that our lives will be perfect or without struggle. It does mean, however, that we have an advantage when we listen and obey. Ultimately, obedience means we aren’t denying ourselves anything other than a life that’s less than our best—and that’s a sacrifice worth making! Is there a change God has been prodding your heart to make? Listen and obey today. See what blessings your obedience brings.
Further Reading: John 1:4; Acts 2:28

I hope you have enjoyed my devotional series this fall! I have shared 10 of the 31 devotions from my e-book. If you'd like to receive all of these illustrated and professionally edited devotions for free, follow the prompts here to have them delivered right to your inbox! And stay tuned for my new series on life purpose coming in January!
Want more inspiration for the New Year? Read this.

Monday, December 17, 2018

4 Don't-Miss Ways to Rediscover Christmas

Christmas is next week! As that reality creeps in, and amidst the flurry of preparations, I'm sharing some favorites from my site that can help us rediscover the heart of the season...and therefore experience Christmas' greatest blessings.

1. My favorite Christmas article, published on iBelieve:

Culture tells us that Christmas is about consumerism; how do we as parents find a more redemptive message and teach it to our children?

2. The Christmas episode of Chaos to Calm:

Hear two pastors share their own Christmas traditions and what has held the greatest meaning for them.

3 & 4. My favorite guest posts on Christmas, courtesy of author Laura Sassi:

As an educator and mom, Laura shares fun ideas to interact with our children of different ages around the nativity. 


Tune into my next post, which will be on New Year's Eve. I will share a final devotion to conclude this fall's devotional series. Stay tuned following the New Year as well, as I will be launching a new series on living our life purpose. What a powerful topic as we look to intentionally begin a new year! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Secret to a Good Night's Sleep: Devotion Nine

I've found there are two seasons that can be particularly hectic for parents: The end of the school year and right now! While the holidays often hold much joy for our families, we can be also be left spinning to keep up! Whether you need help putting your to-do list aside at night or are struggling with something heavier on your heart (like the loss of a loved one or worry for a child), this devotion is for you this Christmas.

Day 18

“I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Sometimes the chaos that consumes our days spills over into the nights as well. It’s one reason I keep a pad of paper on my bedside table; once the day winds down, a flood of to-dos for the next day often comes to mind. I feel relief when I write them down, for then I’m sure that I won’t forget them. But it makes me wonder: Are there bigger things that we need to sign over to Jesus? Are there burdens weighing heavily upon us for which there are no easy steps or tick lists? Once my head hits the pillow, sometimes my prayer is a confident statement rather than a petition. “Lord, I cannot work on this anymore today. I entrust it to your care.” Knowing that God is holding it—and me—allows me to rest better in the arms of Jesus and surrender to the welcome of a good night’s sleep. Today, entrust all of your concerns to God’s care.

Further Reading: Psalm 55:22; Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7
Remember, if you are enjoying this series, you can receive the whole collection of 31 illustrated and professionally edited Chaos to Calm devotions free to your inbox by following the prompts here! I will share ONE more devotion on New Year's Eve to close the series. Stay tuned next week for some Christmas favorites to put you in the holiday mood and remind us of the true meaning of the season!

TODAY Video Clip