Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Tween Devotional Review and Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners ... Becky Bray and Karen Morris!!

The girls and I snuggled under the covers with their precious devotionals. Tiny fingers, tiny toes, little baby button nose. Not only was it a time to teach them about Jesus, their Savior, but I was blessed with lots of sugars and giggles.

Yes, my girls are teenagers now, but when they were small, we'd always read their children's devotionals together and talk about God, their friends, our family, about the goings on in their sweet worlds. Special heart-savoring memories.

And because of that special time together, learning about Jesus, my girls came to know Jesus as their Savior at a very early age.

So I'm thrilled to review a devotional book for a friend, Carol McAdams Moore. I've grown to know and love Carol over this last year. She loves God and is passionate about sharing Jesus' love with kids.

Carol has released two tween devotionals with Zonderkidz. 

***** [5 star rating]

These devos are intended for kids 8-12 but definitely the youngers [5-7] would enjoy if they can already read or with a parent's help.

One for boysDare U 2 Open This Book ...

Dare U 2 Open This Book

 And one for girlsJust Sayin' ...

 Just Sayin

And this is why Carol wrote them:

"I wanted to create devotionals that would encourage tweens to engage with God's Word and really think about what the Bible means to them. I pray the tweens who read them will discover that following Jesus is the best. idea. ever." Carol McAdams Moore

The devotionals are not real wordy like some. The devotionals my girls had when they were small had almost too much to read. If there is too much reading either done by the child or parent, I think the child tends to lose interest. ZZZZ. But these keep the writing/reading short, with one Scripture focus. If the child wants to read more, longer Scripture passages are referenced.

All 90 devotions are different and action packed. Some contain pictures to color, fill in the blanks, uniquely crafted drawing spaces for certain topics, questions asked to answer and think on ... basically, a chance to doodle and meditate on God. Kids love to color ... never seem to outgrow it ... and I think this is a sweet way to combine learning about God with one of their favorite activitiescoloring/drawing.

Just Sayin' for girls

Dare U 2 Open This Book for boys

And when the book is complete, a sweet keepsake will remain to store away for your child, filled with special memories regarding their walk with God ... and possibly their time with you, if you help them.

Giveaway Time!

Because these devos will make great stocking stuffers and because freebies are awesome, Carol's publisher is giving away one boy's devotional and one girl's devotional (U.S. only). If you'd like to have one for your child, grandchild, a special kid in your life, please ...

leave a comment with your name and contact information [email] here on my blog or on my Facebook page, and specify if you would like the "boy" or the "girl" devotional. If you would like either/or, specify that, and I'll put your name into both categories for the drawing. But to share the love, you can only win in one category.

I will draw and notify two winnersone boy devo winner and one girl devo winneron December 3rd at noon, Central Standard Time, and immediately ship the books out in order for them to arrive before Christmas.  

I hope you enjoy this review/giveaway and may your Christmas be special as we celebrate Jesus' birth!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Destruction often comes in the middle of the night. While we are absent minded. While we sleep in peace.

Going out that next morning to feed the two sheep, I noticed one sheep is without the other. That is unusual. They are always together.

The one is distraught. She stands at the trail-head bleating.

Her heart bleeding.

We know she is signaling trouble. We walk down the trail she has led us to ... and we see the other baby lifeless on the ground. Devoured.

My heart and soul fall to the ground in pain. Heart pain. I feel myself collapse into the arms of God, through fear's temptation of what may lurk.

They had always remained in the barn throughout the night. It was necessity for safety, and it was pure God-Giving instinct. But our neighbors recently acquired a few animalsgoats, donkeyand walking out of safety's shelter had been tempting. They had no idea the danger that awaited.

We can only assume that a panther, or big cat, took her down [rumors of panther sightings]. There were no prints. The cat may have jumped down from a tree to attack, immediately dragging her into the leaves where we found her. And a few weeks ago, our neighbor's 50 lb. young goat totally disappeared without a trace. The predator had to be strong to jump their fence with a 50 lb. goat.

Sheep were not made to go it alone. They were made for God-Giving camaraderie. Sandy has been so needy, distraught, distressed, afraid. When I leave her to return to the house, she runs to the fencehopped over it onceruns back and forth looking for someone, anyone, bleats. Her heart is still bleeding. She absolutely can not go it alone. She misses her sister. We miss our Bindi girl, the black sheep of our family.

We seemed to be left with two choices: (1) find her a home with other sheep, or (2) get a new sheep, a new addition to our family. A new sister for her. And that's what we did.

Meet our newest necessity, Ginny [named after Ginny Weasley].

We weren't made to go solo. We weren't meant to go it alone in this world.
Karalee and Katelyn

Shelli (1 year old) and her sister (3 years old)

Freckles and Snowy

Hermione and Blue
We were made for God-Giving camaraderie. Sheer necessity. The Lord is our Shepherd, our shelter, our safety. Without Him, we are running to and fro, tossing to and fro, crying, mouths bleating, hearts bleeding ... and we are often oblivious. We need Him.

Only devastation awaits outside His safety, His protection. It only takes one foot out to feel the heat of the predator, the breath of death.

Jesus is our shawl of life, wrapping us securely with His love and intention, enabling us to walk out into this life wilderness with an enduring, withstanding heart comfort. No fear. Enabling us to see with eyes wide open amidst the flakes that graze our faces.

The Shepherd searches for us, longs for us, extends Himself to us. Will we enter His gatesHis God Giving, Spirit Giving, Savior Giving, Shelter Giving, Peace Giving, Trust Giving, Faith Giving, Love Giving, Word Giving, Life Giving gatesthis Thanks-Giving?


"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Thursday, November 13, 2014


The teenage daughter is driving on the old two lane highway. It's a difficult road to maneuver for numerous reasons, but ...

(1) it's hard to pass when you get behind someone slow (2) it seems driven by impatient drivers. And (3) unfortunately, it's not the road less traveled.

When someone is turning left and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before turning, it never fails that impatient drivers will go around, passing on the right roadside. When they do this, their vehicle throws up dust, dirt, and rocks. And they pass rather rapidly because their impatience seems to be rushing them, holding a fire to them. Even pulling a trailer, they seem to think they are zipping by in a Mercedes.

This clearly seemed against the law. But after a little research, apparently, there is a Texas law "545.058. DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER"  that allows for this if one is passing on an "improved" shoulder and the person turning left is completely stopped or slowing. But it doesn't seem safe and the debris flies. [And at one part of the highway, there are five signs stating: "No passing on shoulder. $180 fine.]

Just yesterday, a large truck was in front of me as we were cruising along at 60. Apparently, a car in front of them stopped to turn. The truck's height and width made seeing ahead difficult. The large truck waited till the last minute to pass the car on the shoulder at full speed. They didn't slow down at all. I was instantly facing a stopped car, flying debris, forcing me to either hit the brakes or take the shoulder.

Once, a car was turning left in front of me. They were not waiting on another car, they just simply slowed to turn. So I waited for them mere seconds, then proceeded after they turned. There was absolutely no need to pass. The car behind me, trying to pass us both on the right, began driving alongside me on that road. Me on the lane, them on the shoulder. Side by side. Dust and rock hitting my car from their impatience. Their determination to get ahead left me fearful to proceed until the dust settled.
And that'll make a Southern belle's blood pressure rise. That right there. Because the last thing I need is another crack in my windshield. And they put my girls and me in danger.

It made no sense. Why couldn't they have waited mere seconds?

Slowing down to wait on others is a matter of trust. Trust in God's protection.  Trust in His path and plan. Trust to learn something new. Trust to see something new.


On this old two lane highway of life which is definitely not the road less traveled, we are continually surrounded by the slow, the impatient. With the holidays quickly approaching, it's important to slow down. O Soul within, slow.

The lines will be busy. The pressure will arise to beat that person in line or to the next intersection.

But it's common knowledge that if we rush ahead, more than likely, dirt, dust, and rocks are being thrown back on the ones behind. On our beloveds. And more than likely, precious arms are being held up to prevent the blinding. O Soul within, take notice.

What will those few minutes cost? What will it cost loved ones?

What is God trying to reveal in the slow-down?

Once upon a time, I cost a loved one greatly. Oh, years and years ago, but precious arms remain held up from the needless dust and debris that continues to fly. Oh, how I'd give anything to turn back the clock. There is no turning back the clock. There is no turning back the clock on my youth or the haphazard danger.

Danger. Danger. Why? Because I didn't proceed with caution. I turned a blind eye to the warning sign. Without thinking, I plowed right over. God was not the center of my life, and as much as it hurts to say—oh, how it hurts to say—obviously, I didn't care. O Soul within, one plus one does make two.

And regardless of seemingly haphazard effort, the situation may never mend. Why? Because precious arms are still covering eyes, fearful of dust and rock remembered flying. It's safe now, but the realization will never comeheart rate still speeding, blood pressure still rising, anger still fumingbecause fear to uncover eyes persists. And rightly so.

Yeah. We each have been the wrecked and the reckless.

When those are stopped on this old two lane highway of life, slow.

Just slow. 

Observe caution signs. Trust that God has great reasoning for the slow-down. Remember and determine the driving force. Injuring others haphazardly will forever haunt. The injury to another soul and the one within—that quite possibly may last a lifetime—will never be worth it. Yeah, O Soul, it does hurt the one within.


The season of debris is difficult. If in that season of rocks flying ... don't take the hit singlehandedly, holding up the arm for protection. Lower the arm in a vulnerable spirit of forgiveness. When the rocks are flying, and they will fly, allow the Rock of Ages to cover, to protect. He is our shield. He is dependable and trustworthy. Every single time. O Soul within, lower the arm.

"Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” —Deuteronomy 3:22

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I tighten her expander for the very last time. "You ready to get this enforcer ... enhancer ... expander off?" I chuckle through a grin.

"You finally got it right, Mom. After all these weeks, you finally said it right." She laughs with the tool still in her mouth.

For the last month, I've been teasing the precious thing about the horrible expander in her mouth. I never call it the right thing. Exterminator. Ex-anything. Whatever I can come up with on the spur of the moment. It's all part of her braces plan, but I feel like I'm torturing her each time I make an adjustment. It breaks my heart to adjust it.

And it actually broke part of her mouth ... in order to allow more space for her teeth. I don't understand it all, I just know it was like a wishing bone ... more force placed on it a little each day until it breaks. And when it broke, her face flushed, she could barely swallow, and her mouth went numb.

This morning ...

"Mom, what time is it?" She reads to pass the time.

"What time do we leave?"
"9:20." She's ready to go. She's ready to be relieved.
"Are you ready to go?" I ask.

"Are you ready to get that thing off?"
"Yes, Ma'am."

We arrive at the orthodontist. They take a good look at it.

"We are getting it off today, right?" I ask. So sure.


I sit stunned. "I'm sorry, Katelyn," I blurt out. "I told her it would come off today," I say to the technician.

"No, it needs to remain longer. If we took it off now, the teeth would revert back to their original locations, and all that movement, all that pain, would have been for nothing." She pauses. "Don't listen to Mom," she teases.

After the technician walks out, I look at my oldest daughter—"Why did I think we were getting it off today?"

"When they said it wouldn't need more adjusting, we just assumed ..." We assumed.

On the way home, I couldn't help but think how this applies to life. God allows that little strain, that little pain in our lives to mold and shape us. To press us. Until we break.
Until our faces flush, until we can barely swallow, until we feel numb.

It'll feel like torture.

We assume that life will go right back to normal. We'll get that expander off, and we'll go right back to normal. Come on, normal.
But if we went right back to normal, there would be no lasting change. We don't need that kind of normal.
And it's often a shocking realization to have a new normal.
We don't understand it all. We won't understand it all. But we must trust our Father. Trust that He knows best. How could we possibly know best?
We need change. Friend, we need change. O Soul within, you need change.
And everyone experiences it, in one way or another. We may assume others are pain-free, but they aren't. No one is exempt. If we don't have physical pain, we surely have heart pain. A broken, bleeding heart doesn't always show through a crisp, starched white shirt.

The pain reforms and reshapes ... until we break.


Because we need more room for growth. New growth.

Because we need to be formed and shaped like Jesus.

Because we won't love Him like we should, like we could, until we need His healing, His revealing, His concealing tenderness for the broken. Thank you, Father, that my broken heart is all your own.

Because we need to beautifully get it straight.

Because it's in the straightening that we ...

"enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise."—Psalm 100