Monday, September 28, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Children's Book Review: The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Little Ones

Mike Berenstain has continued his parents, Jan and Stan's legacy, by continuing to create Berenstain Bear books. The Bears have spent years teaching children positive lessons. In this storybook they are sharing stories of the Bible, including Noah's Ark, The Good Samaritan, and the story of Jesus resurrection. This book for little ones is based on The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible and features eight stories from the Old and New testament.

I love the bright, cheerful illustrations used to tell the stories. You can't go wrong with the Berenstain Bears. Mike chose eight stories from the Bible often taught to little ones. He simplifies the stories yet keeps them full of faith and hope. The board book is easy for little hands to hold. This would be a great book to read to a young child snuggled on your lap or sitting on the floor in Sunday School. I recommend this book for children aged eighteen months to five years old. 

I received The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Little Ones from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for a fair review.

Lack Wisdom?

James 1:5-7
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 

Each day on my way to work, I pass the senior living apartments that sits at the bottom of the hill. A small pond with a spraying fountain enhances the property. As I drove by one morning my thoughts ran to the fountain of wisdom that must be living in those homes. My grammy shared her wise words with me on many occasions, just as my mom shares with my daughters and me. It's a travesty when young people don't take the time to listen to grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, or any experienced person  in their lives.

When I read the scripture, I see that God values wisdom. James tells me if I want wise thoughts, ideas, words-- ask God. As a faithful believer, I know God answers me and shares with me what I need to know. I don't know how many times I've sought out God for wise words to give my children, and he's answered. Believe me, if not for Him I would flounder. Each week as I write these devotions, I pray for God's guidance and many times when He's given me words, someone contacts me and tells me I wrote just what they need. That's all God not me. As a follower of Jesus, be bold and ask with confidence for wisdom. God will provide. Praise God for his wisdom!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review for Parents and Children: God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin S. Holcomb & Lindsey A. Holcomb

God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth---the doctrine of creation---to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.

My Review:
The authors have done a great job writing a book that opens the door to educating children about their bodies and safety. Justin and Lindsey Holcomb use scripture to introduce children to the idea that God made them as amazing and wonderful people. In the story Mom and Dad teach their children through conversation about their bodies, from nose to toes. As the parents teach the kids they are in charge of their own bodies, they assure them it's okay to say no, to tell, and to not keep secrets. At the end of the book the authors included an excellent guide for parents on how to protect children from sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, parents need to prepare their children to protect themselves. God Made All of Me opens the door to this difficult conversation. The authors do an excellent job through text and pictures explaining how God created them and what parts of the body are private. And they teach that if they don't want any part of their body touched, it's okay. The authors have education and experience which makes them a valuable resource for the topic. This book is a necessity, a copy should be in every parent's and/or caretaker's library.  5+ stars

I received God Created Me in exchange for a fair review.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

God Made Madagascar

Genesis 1:20-25
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

I was watching WildKratts with my grandson the other day. The main characters, Chris and Martin traveled to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa. They introduced viewers to lemurs, chameleons (they change color!) and hissing cockroaches, now that's quite an array of creatures.  If you aren't familiar with the show, it's on PBS and teaches kids about animals. I enjoy the show as much as Eli because I've always been fascinated with God's creation. When I think about it, I'm in awe of the multitude of animals He's made.

Almost every day I see deer, squirrels, rabbits, and red-winged blackbirds on the wooded rural campus where I work. I spend time with our dogs, who are so smart and loyal. I may not be able to debate a scientist about how the world came to be but I know without doubt that God created everything. Through faith I believe. Faith is the evidence of the things I cannot see and the things hoped for in Jesus. God's fingerprints appear everywhere, on all of his design. Praise God for his amazing creation!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

the sunflower


waves on tall thin stem 
good-bye summer, welcome fall--
view from the porch

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Fog Settled

Romans 4:7-8
“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

September, the time of year when the temperatures are dithering between summer and fall. On a cool morning this week, the dip in temps resulted in a soft fog that settled over the village. As I drove to work I enjoyed the beauty of the low hanging cloud as it touched the trees still green with summer and covered the surrounding hills with a blanket of dew. 

The fog reminded me of the times I've asked God to pour his peace over my family, friends, or someone I don't even know. Or the times I've prayed for a person to feel God's arms around them and his love enveloping them. As I looked at scripture about how God covers people, I read Romans 4 and discovered this quote from the Psalm. God surrounds me with much more than his love and peace. He rains down his grace on me. He's forgiven me and continues to forgive. I am blessed to know my Savior has given me a fresh start and left my past behind. Praise God for grace! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Trip to Put-in-Bay

South Bass Island Lighthouse

I write about finding beauty in every day things. Some days are easier than others. Over Labor Day weekend Tim & I took a road trip to northern Ohio. We'd never been to South Bass Island. From Port Clinton, we hopped on the Miller Ferry and traveled across the choppy waters of Lake Erie. From there we took a golf cart and buzzed around the streets of Put-in-Bay and through some of the natural area. South Bass is a more lively island than Kelley's with more eateries and activities. My favorite part was seeing the lighthouse. I can add one more to my list. South Bass Lighthouse was first lit July 10, 1897. It's now owned by Ohio State University and is no longer a working light.  

Perry's Peace Memorial

I loved all the flags.
Sailboats are always beautiful.

Love this old beauty.

 I'd like to hear the stories the old Victorian homes on the island could tell. The widow's walk at the top probably had women pacing, waiting for their husbands to come home from their boats. I picture summertime on the wrap around porch with wicker furniture, ladies in long skirts and hats and children romping in the yard while lemonade is served. It's fun to dream.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Children's Book Review: Thankful by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston

Bestselling author, Eileen Spinelli, exemplifies what it means to be thankful. Throughout her delightful rhyming book, the waitress, the fireman, the dancer, the poet and many other folks give thanks for what they do. Archie Preston's charming illustrations make this a perfect read aloud to young children and a great reminder to adults on how much we have to be grateful for.

As a children's librarian, I read many of Spinelli's books to young listeners. I do believe this is one of my favorites. The simple language, the people she chose as examples, and the beautiful rhythm make me want to read Thankful out loud over and over. Mr. Preston's illustrations match the story so well. I like how he flows one page into the next from the gardener to the fireman and how the ballerina reappears in scenes. His whimsical, colorful paintings will keep a child's attention and delight the adult reader. Even though this is a book for all seasons, I plan to take it to our family's Thanksgiving dinner and read it to all the children. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Do I Have to be Patient?

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

The country band Alabama sang a song about being in a hurry to get things done. They talked about rushing and ended up realizing they didn't even know why they pushed from one thing to another without stopping. Some days I feel that way too. I make a list of things to get done and move from one to the other just trying to finish. I don't like living in a rush. When I'm in a hurry for something to happen, I miss the moments. The quiet times when I need to listen for God's voice. The nudges from the Holy Spirit. The reminders from Jesus.

The Psalm speaks to those who believe in God. "Wait patiently," even when other people succeed with their plans. As I've gotten older, I realize God has a plan and he works in his time. When I get ahead of him circumstances get stressful, but when I wait his purpose unfolds as it should. If you're a list maker, like me, add time to reflect and think on his word. Stop and pray. Let things go. God doesn't expect me to be perfect, he expects me to obey. Praise God for his plan!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Country Wedding

In a corner of the woods, cleared of trees, brush, and poison ivy; white chairs snugged around a young maple tree. Twine stretched from tree to tree with the bride and groom's names printed on black flags. The sister of the bride drew a sign for the entrance in whimsical lettering -- "Choose a seat not a side, we're all family once the knot is tied." The weather cooperated, hot but no rain.

The bride and her maids carried wildflowers and the groom and boys wore suspenders and bowties. The tiny flower girl learned to walk just in time for the special day. A magical wooded fairyland in place, the couple exchanged vows and were pronounced husband and wife.

The day my daughter married the man she loves overflowed with beauty. Both have survived trials and tribulation. Both have children. Both wore huge smiles. Not only did they tie the knot, the groom gave his life to Jesus that morning. As mom of the bride, I was thrilled. I ask that you pray with me as they move forward in life, that their marriage will be blessed with peace, love, trust, and a large amount of faith. Congratulations Maggie and Michael!