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! 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How to Live Your Life Purpose: Joy, Part Two

Today marks our final life purpose series post on the blog. We conclude with another reflection on joy after last week. If you are a subscriber, you will receive the culmination of the series and my story in two weeks over email. To make sure that you don't miss it, subscribe here!

Next week I am welcoming bestselling children's book author Glenys Nellist back for a special interview and giveaway. Her newest book, The Wonder That Is You, celebrates the gift of a new child and God's purpose for their lives! It's a special series tie in. Stay tuned on Monday!

The joy of living in response to our calling or life purpose is echoed in theology. Read theologian and pastor Donald McKim’s description of calling. He writes:
We can live as anticipatory people, as people standing on tiptoe, eager to see what or where God is calling us to next…In word and witness, mission and ministry, the possibilities for God’s work in Jesus Christ are limitless. Yet we, limited as we are, are blessed with the grace of God’s call to be all we can be as God’s people and to live out our vocations in whatever directions we are led. That is real excitement. It can be real joy…So we rejoice in God’s call to us. We live confidently, creatively, and expectantly to see how God will use us as a people who seek above all else to do God’s will. *
We trust in God’s goodness and enjoy playing a part in his plan; our joy stems from that relationship.

Importantly, God’s plan does not just involve our own lives. Popular secular literature often encourages us to live into our full potentials for our own benefit; but God’s eye is upon each of us and his entire creation. Therefore, participation in his plan will contribute in some fashion to his larger redemptive mission too. This has the potential to unlock greater personal fulfillment for our work.

Though there will be joy and fulfillment in our obedience, there will be difficulties on our journey. Rev. Dr. McKim acknowledges that even as he describes the joy associated with our calling and God’s work. He states, “There can also be suffering and struggle. But we do not struggle alone. The One who calls us is faithful.” * Paul concurs. Whenever I’m tempted to get discouraged, I cling to his words in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” God can use temporary setbacks as setups for something better when we have faith. 

I hope this series has equipped you to consider how God might be calling you and take action in your life. I hope it allows you to experience the joy of your Creator by living exactly as he designed for you. Our Creator does not require perfection and there will be bumps in the road, but he has ordained you with promise. Make no mistake: God is offering YOU the pearl. Adventure awaits!

You can read more about my life purpose journey by reading my article for my writer's guild. Discover the struggle and subsequent joy of my calling, along with biblical support for female ordination too.

Donald K. McKim, "The ‘Call’ in the Reformed Theology," Major Themes in the Reformed Tradition, edited by Donald K. McKim (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 342-3.
* Ibid.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How to Life Your Life Purpose: Joy, Part One

I am delighted to begin the final step of six in my series, How to Live Your Life Purpose. The last step is the sweetest: joy. Fall is a great time to make changes. Hopefully, you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands and a return to a more regular schedule. As the leaves begin to change, we can think about any life-giving, joy-filled changes God wants to inspire within us. 

Are you new to my series? You can read the first installment of the other steps below. Scroll through my blog to read all of their related entries. And don't forget to subscribe here to get the last special installment of my series, which will be available only to subscribers by email! 

Part One: Longing

Part Two: Surrender
Part Three: An Inventory of Strengths
Part Four: Risk
Part Five: Persistence

Part Six: Joy

Imagine living in such a way that a current flows through you. You have a natural, vivacious energy that comes from doing what you were made to do. It flows from God's Spirit through you and out to others as you make an impact precisely as God has intended just for you. Further, this energy is renewable. As you stay connected to your Source, God will continue to renew and empower you. Your life, therefore, shows circuit-like harmony and flow, and it feels good!

While the Bible does not address circuitry, this same principle is represented in Jesus’ discussion of the vine and branches in John 15:1-8. Jesus, the True Vine, cares deeply about our connection to him. He wants us to grow and thrive, but he makes it clear that it is impossible for us to do so apart from him. Apart from him we cannot bear fruit, and we wither and die. But with him, we can find life, bear fruit, and flourish. Jesus wants to foster beneficial intimacy with you and me, an intimacy that is so rich that he is flowing through our veins. We grow up and out into the world as branches with him as our Source. Whether it's electricity or natural imagery, the conclusion is the same: Flourishing life is possible through an intentional connection to God.

It’s important to recognize that our spiritual connection is the reason for our joy. God supplies the necessary energy or life. Our own connectivity or intimacy with God allows it to flow in and through us, and the result is that joy bubbles over. Therefore, it is not our output itself that produces joy. Our output, or willingness to embody our life purpose, is the fruit of the inherently joyful connection. This understanding allows us to be joyful even when our efforts do not produce the immediate outcomes we had hoped for.

We’ve explored the cost of the pearl for the merchant in previous weeks, but part of unpacking joy means also noting what the merchant got out of the deal. Matthew 13:45-46 reads: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” We can imagine that the merchant had a discerning eye for pearls for him to excel at his trade. When he saw his prize, he unquestionably recognized its value. His joy at the thought of owning it propelled him to willingly change everything.

The joy that God offers us hinges upon our choices too. It's rooted in our connection to him and willingness to go on the adventure that he has in store for our lives. We’ll learn to increasingly recognize this connection’s value and trust it, just like the seasoned merchant. We’ll also flourish with its power coursing through our veins. We'll explore more of what we can anticipate through study in the weeks to come!

Congratulations to C. Reed for winning my recent giveaway on Facebook. She will receive her resources soon. Stay tuned for another fall giveaway later this month!

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