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!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Stay Tuned in November!

November holds big things in store! First, I will be a new featured author for women's devotions at iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com. Stay subscribed to my site to get links and inspiration sent straight to your inbox! Second, my faith and family TV show Chaos to Calm will be welcoming former TODAY in New York anchor Kerry Barrett to the set to talk about risk. It's a great topic to consider in the wake of my life purpose series. I will pass along the link to watch our interview on demand. You won't want to miss it!

Image result for kerry barrett

Monday, September 23, 2019

Special Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Glenys Nellist

I'm delighted to welcome back bestselling author Glenys Nellist as a guest today. Glenys is no stranger to my blog nor publishing children's books! With a baby who is almost five months now, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be on her blog hop for her newest book, The Wonder That Is You. Read my interview with Glenys below, and you'll see why. Don't miss the book giveaway details at the bottom of this post too!

1. You wrote this special book describing the gift of a child's birth. How many children and grandchildren do you have? What has made each of these roles particularly special for you?

There is no doubt that when we welcome a child into the family, whether through birth or adoption, we are the recipient of a wonderful gift. As a mom to four adult children, I remember the joy of holding each of them for the first time, watching them take their first faltering steps, seeing them score a goal on the soccer field, watching them grow. However, as your readers well know, parenting is also very hard work! I remember those days when I had four under the age of five, wondering if I would ever survive! Now that I'm a grandparent of four little ones, I get to experience all the joy without the stress! At this stage of my life, I truly can appreciate the wonderful gift that my grandchildren are.

2. No doubt that sentiment helped you write your beautiful book. You describe the celebration of a parent's insurmountable love for a new child so perfectly. What are the top five things you love about babies and/or this special stage?

1. Their utter dependence on you.
2. Their smell.
3. Sacred moments: their first smile or their first laugh.
4. Looking into their eyes as you hold them.
5. Watching them as they sleep.

3. Amen! Can you share the inspiration behind your book?

On the night my eldest son was born, thirty-five years ago, I fell asleep in my hospital bed in England with my baby son in the crib beside me. During the night I had THE most amazing dream. I was flying upwards in the dark and landed on a rooftop, where I swung my legs like a little girl, overflowing with happiness because my baby had been born. I clearly remember seeing the moon and the stars, and it was as if they were rejoicing along with me. THE WONDER THAT IS YOU captures the idea that perhaps all creation rejoices when a new baby is born, or joins the family. The strangest thing about this story is that when my husband came three days later to take us home, I glanced back at the hospital as we were leaving. It was only then that I saw the flat roof above and recognized all the windows I had flown past that night. I realized that THIS was the building I had been sitting on that night. As crazy as it seems, I know that it was no dream. It was real.

4. What an incredible dream! As you know, we recently welcomed our third child, a little boy. Do you have any advice for new parents or tired parents trying to juggle it all?

"Juggling," Noelle, is a great image for what most moms (especially) try to do, and it's so sad that we feel guilty, or like failures, if we let one thing fall. But perhaps that's what parents need to do to protect their sanity and mental health! It's so easy as parents to compare ourselves with others who seem to have it all together. So here's my advice for what it's worth: Don't compare yourself to others; try to say no to non-essential things that take you away from your family time; do less housework; spend more time outdoors with your children; read more, laugh more, cuddle more. The bottom line is to enjoy your little ones—this is precious time that will be gone before you know it.

5. Doing less housework really resonates with me in your answer...laundry breeds itself at my house! Glenys, I have loved your repeat visits on my site. Do you have any other book releases planned? Fill us in!

Oh Noelle, it's been a busy year! Coming soon I have two board books in my Good News series, including Good News! It's Christmas! I'm also so excited about my two new picture books, coming next year with Beaming Books! Little Mole Finds Hope is the first in a new series and tells the story of a little mole who lives, literally and figuratively, in the dark. Fortunately, he has a wise mama who helps him find the light. The book contains tips for helping a child who is sad. There are so many in our world who need hope! My prayer is that this title will resonate with parents and little ones everywhere and will bring hope into their lives. The book will release in February, followed by Little Mole's Little Gift next fall.

Thank you, Glenys, for being my guest on the blog today! 

And now, for the giveaway! You can win a free copy of Glenys' book shipped to you straight from the publisher! Register by leaving a comment on my post today on Instagram. Be sure to follow me and Glenys, and if you tag a friend, you will get an extra entry! All entrants must have a US street address, no PO boxes, for shipping purposes please. I will pick a winner on Wednesday! Also, check out Glenys' former posts for my blog, like the popular 5 Love Letters Your Child Needs from YOU. You can also visit her website

Don't forget, subscribers to my blog will get the special, final installment of my life purpose series over email next week! 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Back to School Three-Book Giveaway (And Prayer)!

This week is my boys' last week of summer vacation. In honor of back to school time, I have paired with the Christian children's book publisher Zonderkidz for an exciting giveaway. Our children will be learning, growing, and changing this year...let's make sure their development includes the spiritual kind! One way to do that is by choosing resources to help us that are busy-parent friendly. I like the first two books because they break the Bible down into easy-to-digest portions that are easy for children to remember and for parents to talk about with them!

The first book is the Bible Gems to Remember Illustrated Bible: 52 Stories with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less. This Bible shares popular stories and simplifies related scripture verses for easy memory and theme-based teaching. It is for grade schoolchildren.

The second book is Bible Gems to Remember Devotions for Kids: 52 Devotions with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less. These devotions take Bible concepts further by filtering them through the eyes of older children, applying them to their lives, and equipping them to make godly decisions. This devotional is suited for middle school children (10+ years old). 

A bonus book will also be included in the bundle! This is a great free reading option—I can't wait for my sons to read it! Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide is the second book in the Coin Slot Chronicles series by New York Times bestselling author, former NFL running back, and Dancing with the Stars champion Rashad Jennings. This humorous and imaginative series encourages readers to value the power of friendship and imagination, and to never underestimate an underdog.

I am doing this giveaway a bit differently! The giveaway will happen this Sunday night on Facebook. Simply post a comment on my post announcing the giveaway to register. I will then select a random winner from the comments the next day! I usually post an inspirational Facebook message on Sundays—this one will include loot for one lucky winner! I invite you to like my page so that you don't miss a thing. Note: Entrants must have a US street address, no PO Boxes, for shipping purposes. Also, I was given a copy of these books in exchange for my review.

In the meantime, want a back to school prayer to pray for your children? You will find two options here that I wrote from the heart!

Stay tuned for the conclusion of my life purpose series starting the first week in September!

Monday, August 12, 2019

New Article! "Passing on the Torch"

For the past several months, I have been sharing my life purpose series with you. We have completed five of the six steps—only the last step, joy, remains. Before we launch into that step this fall, I wanted to share my recent article.

The article, Passing on the Torch, is the perfect culmination to our series. It describes the wrestling and subsequent joy I've experienced living my life purpose. Some of its story will be familiar to you, and some of it will be new. 

My article includes scriptural support for female leadership and ordination in the church. If you or anyone you know has been personally struggling with this topic, I hope you will share it with them. There are many, many women who still need to feel and experience this holy affirmation.

It's a delight to be a repeat featured author for my writer's guild, Redbud. Please leave a comment after reading! And again, stay tuned in September for the culmination of our series! We also have giveaways coming soon!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Baby Boy Kirchner #3 Is Here!

Dear Readers,

My apologies for the lag in my life purpose series and delayed delivery of your bonus content! Baby Boy Kirchner came early! My water broke two weeks ago, and he arrived in the world happy and healthy...but I have been playing sleep catch up ever since! I am finally awake enough to post an update! It is with great thanksgiving that I share these pictures. Please expect your awaited bonus content this month, and my life purpose series will resume next month, probably mid-month. Check out my social media pages in the meantime for updates.

Thank you for sharing in our joy, and we would relish your love and prayers during this special time! Our new baby is a miracle in every sense, as every child is!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Watch NOW: Extended Chaos to Calm Episode Special!

I had the honor of sitting down with the New York Times bestselling author Dr. Leonard Sax for a second Chaos to Calm episode this month! This time, I interviewed him on his most popular book to date, Boys Adrift. We talked about barriers to boys' education and the effects of video games on boys' development—issues that are so important, we shot an extended episode special!

Watch HERE:

Dr. Sax delves into issues like:

What is the evidence that boys are lagging behind girls in school?
What can a parent do to advocate for their son?
What can educational experts do to make schools more boy-friendly by using the research?
How do video games really impact my child?
Are some video games more "dangerous" to my child's development than others?

For all of these reasons and for many more, you won't want to miss this expert's opinion and practical advice that you can implement right now to help your son, your school, or your community.

Next week, we'll be picking back up on our life purpose series with step three. Are you already a subscriber? If not, subscribe here to receive future exclusive bonus content from this series!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Watch My Newest Sermon: "The Best Legacy"

I'm excited to share with you my favorite sermon yet—one from the heart! I returned to preach at my church's contemporary service this March seven months pregnant. For the message, I shared my grandmother's miraculous faith healing from cancer. Her story challenges us to believe in God's continued miraculous work in the world and also encourages us to share our faith, which is her most lasting legacy to me. 

As a special treat, acclaimed children's book author Laura Sassi read her newest book, Love is Kind, for the children's message. Watch as she relates to the children in an endearing way to equip them to share their faith and love with others too! I hope you enjoy it!

Watch HERE:

The story of my grandmother's miracle reminds me of I Chronicles 16:8-12:

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles...

After watching, I hope you will consider all that God has done for you and feel inspired to tell others about it!

Stay tuned for another recording coming next week! I've also taped an extended episode special for my TV show, Chaos to Calm, with repeat guest Dr. Leonard Sax. I interviewed him on his recently updated and most popular book, Boys' Adrift, for this boy-centered episode. Hear this New York Times bestselling author hone in on the modern challenges to boys' success in education and the effects of video games on boys' development. He offers parents loads of practical advice that I hope you won't miss!

Our life purpose series will begin again in two weeks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Author Glenys Nellist

Congratulations to Rachel Osborn, who registered on Facebook with a bonus entry — she is our winner! We had around 40 entries from across the country for this giveaway, and Rachel's name was picked at random by a third party name selector. Rachel, I hope you will be blessed by Glenys Nellist's words, but most importantly, I hope they will bring your family closer to the One who first authored them.

I love tallying the states of our winners. This giveaway adds Kentucky to our list of Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, and Arizona. Yay!

Stay tuned for the first installment of our life purpose series. Thank you all for your support!

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! 

TODAY Video Clip