Tuesday, December 24, 2019

New Devotion! One Gift to Grow This Christmas


Experience Christ's peace—just in time for Christmas! Discover how a snow globe can serve as a useful reminder to point us toward that peace. Merry Christmas!

Read: One Gift to Grow This Christmas

To read more devotions like this one, click on the "iBelieve devotion" label, which is on the right hand side of my homepage!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Devotion! What Christ's Light Means at Christmas


In this devotion, I explore the meaning of Christ as the Light of the world. You'll discover why Christmas falls when it does on our calendar and feel inspired to make a difference!

Read: This Little Light of Mine 

To read more devotions like this one, click on the "iBelieve devotion" label, which is on the right hand side of my homepage!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Christmas Children's Books Finds!


It's always a delight to team up with the Christian children's book publisher Zonderkidz! I got to preview some highlights of their Christmas collection this year. They provided me with 13 free books (a baker's dozen for the 12 days of Christmas) so that I could spread the word and some holiday cheer! Here is what I did with them:

First, I sent three books to my grade school nieces, who were baptized recently. My favorite Bible is Sally Lloyd-Jones' Jesus Storybook Bible. It is now offered in a beautiful light blue and gold, leather-bound gift edition. I purchased an extra one so that each of my nieces would have her own! Then, I sent A Savior Is Born: Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas by Patti Rokus to my older niece, who excels at crafting. I thought this book might inspire her to tell the story of Jesus' birth in her own medium! I sent Your Spark: Celebrating the Brightest Part of You! by Lisa Leonard to my younger niece. She has a special spirit that's worth celebrating!

Second, I gave A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit and Mouse's Christmas Gift by Mindy Baker to the associate pastor at my church. She does a lot of work with children and families, including organizing a Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve. A Night of Great Joy involves a children's pageant—my favorite part is the children's faces in the book. Anyone who has taught children will get a laugh out of that backstory! Mouse's Christmas Gift tells the story of how a little mouse makes a Christmas church service possible, even when the pastor is sick. This book celebrates that we all have something to offer in a Jesus' story that's much larger than ourselves, no matter how small we are!


Third, I donated four books to our Toys for Tots collection at my children's school. Did you know that the US Marine Corps Reserve collects books too, not just toys? I told my boys that books are gifts that keep giving, as they encourage learning, cannot break, and are something that can be enjoyed with others! I donated two board books: Michael W. Smith's Merry Christmas, Nighty Night and Tara Knudson's Christmas Cookie Day. The latter comes with a sweet recipe for cookie baking on the back cover! I also donated A Very Fiona Christmas by Richard Cowdrey and The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling by Mike Berenstain. The former is a celebration of animals at the Cincinnati Zoo!

Fourth, I kept four books for my family. Over Thanksgiving, I baptized my baby son. I will give him the Beginner's Bible Gift Edition for Christmas. It has beautiful gold foil on the cover as a special keepsake. The Beginner's Bible is the perfect first Bible for children—my older boys each got a copy when they were little too. I also kept A Christmas Gift for Santa by John T. Elkins—I adore the illustrations and print style in this book! The baby will enjoy My Christmas Story Tree board book by Mary Manz Simon. Finally, it's a tradition in my family that we read the story of Jesus' birth around the Christmas tree. This year, we read a retelling entitled 'Twas the Evening of ChristmasGlenys Nellist is the author; she's no stranger to my website and is a favorite in our house!


You can learn more about these books by visiting the whole Zonderkidz holiday collection. You will see another favorite there—author Laura Sassi's Goodnight, Manger! Stay tuned for Christmas inspiration to come on my website soon! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2019

New Devotions! 2 Encouragements for Times of Trouble


What kind of trouble might you be facing today? Perhaps bills are piling up and you’re dealing with financial uncertainty. Maybe you or a child is experiencing a difficult social situation at work or school respectively and it feels like a dark cloud is following you. Perhaps you or a loved one is fighting sickness, pain, or even death. If that is the case, this devotion offers hope. You'll learn about a passage in scripture that includes some of the oldest hymn fragments in the Bible, which offer special encouragement!


Click here to read my devotion, available on Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com.

Devotion #2: What It Means That God Is Our Fortress

Discover how God still serves as a fortress today—God can help you keep the good in and the bad out, especially in times of trouble! 


Click here to read my devotion, available on Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com.

Did you miss my two devotions last week? Read about the birth stories of my three sons, which point me toward our Creator, and how to live into the full expression of your birthright as a child of God! Also, watch my latest Chaos to Calm episode for inspiration to confront your fears and live your passion! Stay tuned later this week for a special Christmas children's book post!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

3 Don't-Miss Inspirations

They're here! I invite you to read my first two featured devotions for Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com:



Devotion #1: Read the birth stories of my three sons and how those early moments pointed me toward our Creator. Get your tissues ready!




Devotion #2: How do you live into your scriptural birthright? What lesson from scripture can help you fully live into God's blessing reserved for you?

Read "Live into Your Birthright

Plus, one of my most popular articles now contains 11—not 5—scriptural promises to live by! This article is one of the top 5 most-searched ones online for scriptural promises. Have you read it?


Stay tuned next week for a Christmas book special! Follow the story as I review 12 new resources from the Christian children's book publisher Zonderkidz and give them away...you might get some gift ideas of your own!

Monday, November 25, 2019

New Episode! "Overcoming Fear, Taking Risk at Midlife"

Chaos to Calm shot its tenth episode this month on a very important and relevant topic: Overcoming fear and talking risk at midlife! This episode will help you:

* Beat your fear of public speaking
* Present your best self on camera
* Engage your passions!

Maybe you feel empty because you are so busy with family responsibilities that you have little time for you. Dreams involving your other passions have long been drowned out and you’re not sure how to reengage them. Or maybe you have been working toward your dreams or interests for years and feel bored. What you are doing is no longer igniting something inside of you. Whether you are afraid to take a leap or unsure of what it would look like—or both—I interviewed two guests who can help!

First, it was an honor to welcome my friend and broadcasting dynamo Kerry Barrett to the set. Kerry most recently served as an anchor for NBC's TODAY in NY, but she has appeared on the Weather Channel, NBC, ABC, and Fox TV stations in markets across the country. She currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Kerry Barrett Consulting. It’s a full-service media training and public speaking boutique that’s geared to bringing out her client’s inner rock star. Kerry has some practical tips for you!

Second, I was delighted to also welcome MorphMom Founder Kathleen Smith to the set. Kathleen's passion is helping women reconnect with theirs, whether it’s through a career, hobby, or volunteerism. MorphMom hosts individual and large-scale events, a weekly radio show, and a podcast called “MorphMom Moments” that have equipped and inspired thousands. Kathleen will share a true story that will hopefully get your own wheels turning as she calls out the fears that typically trip us up!

Don't miss this episode that packs a lot of sister wisdom and inspiration as I tie back to my life purpose series too! (I even sneak in cute pictures of my baby...) I hope you watch!


TODAY Video Clip