Monday, January 22, 2018

Dream of You launching tomorrow....

I've learned I love audio books- so much fun to have someone read to me!  Sometimes I will listen to a book I've already read, other times, I listen and learn.  It makes road trips fly by, laundry folding or kitchen cleaning easier to do, and I learn so much.  Dream of You has an audio book. Not all books have one at release day. 

Launching books is fun- I'm in a community of fellow readers, sometimes I have a few months to read a book and be ready to review it, other times, I can barely finish by the launch day.  I always like it when I get to write a review, let it set, and then think about it and add MORE before release day. 

This book as I've pondered it, really fits into 2017's book them of the year from my kindred spirit authors.   I'm broken and poured out, and I need the Lord Jesus to not only forgive my sins, but to provide the Holy Spirit to help me live out my Redemption Story.  In the present, God has a plan and as I get to know Him more intimately, my life, my DREAMS, my joys will truly be found in Him. 

The key reminder that I need with my soul amnesia, is that it is GOD, who does the work, He heals, He guides, and He knows who I fully am, so He will help me be the one I am designed to be.  He sees me, and knows me, and I should focus on knowing HIM, to grow and to be redeemed in my daily living. 

I think that's a powerful motivation to invest my heart, soul, and mind into Knowing Him! He will redeem me an give me a new song!  Mrs. Saxton share how this has happened in her own life, and gives suggestions for all of us to grow in our knowledge of Him.  

I really enjoyed how the author showcased our identity, our growth, is counter the world's culture, and my identity should be tied to my relationship with God, and I can learn that by looking at the Lord Jesus.  Here are two quotes I found as good examples  

If you want an intro and to hear the author (her English accent is delightful!)  You can find her at this podcast!   It focuses on the themes of the book- your identity and purpose!  

You can find my original review here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mindset growth or fixed

I love learning about the how God created our brains with so much that researchers can learn about how they function. And how much we can even teach children about our brains, to help improve their learning. 

Several years ago, my student teaching graduates, gave me the following book, as they felt that I had encouraged them to have a mindset like this. 

Beautiful Opps

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg (2010-09-23)

Our shared experience, had been my pre-student teaching advice.  All you need to do is create new mistakes for every observation, and you will still earn an A.  Because if you make a mistake, but learn from it, that's an excellent teacher skill, and as long as you aren't repeating the same mistake for weeks on end, you are growing.  That's what we all need- to grow as learners and leaders. 

When several of them struggled, I asked them, after studying the Bible and Education, as a double major, and being successful enough to student teach, is YOUR God big enough to direct you in the humble process of learning how to teach kids, which involves sometimes failing, in front of a class of children?  Cause my God is big enough to direct me in anything He leads me to do.  

This is real life, and if you can't trust God to guide you through student teaching, and the mistakes that are a part of it, don't get married, definitely don't have your own children, probably you should avoid rooming with others, because we need God to guide us in all relationships with others.   Raising children is like teaching them, very sanctifying, as you see your mistakes and sin, lived out in front of you.  Marriage and room mates, as well. 

But as I've moved to being at home with my children, serving their needs at home, and sometimes in their schools.  I've continued to study Growth vs Fixed Mindset.    And I've always wondered, what is someone who lives by the Word of God's version of a growth mindset for our lives as followers of Christ.  Here's an infographic (that I'm allowed to share on my blog) that introduces it.  Here's a youtube video that also explains it.

So I'll be exploring this and attempting to share my musings on my blog, to help others embrace growing in Christ as a mindset.  I bet that many of you already have great concepts that come to mind to help your mindset be growth oriented with God.  Feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Illustrating the Word of God as you teach

As a trained elementary teacher, and visual learner, illustrations make the text come alive.  But often it is hard to find realistic images for many Bible lessons.  So I thought I'd share some of my great finds.

I must give credit to Debbie Jackson, whose website has been a favorite of mine for years!  But as I've been guiding teachers through the Old and New Testament for K or 1st grade students last year and this year, she's become my mentor and hero!   She has realistic but drawn images of many stories that she shares.   And in the past year or two, she links to that has provided these images with free license as long as you credit them!  is Debbies website and she has lessons on much of the Bible for preschool, elementary, and early elementary ages, as well as Wednesday night groups and VBS.  And she is my kind of gal- she teaches her kids the Bible!  With hands on learning, lapbooks, bulletin boards, and she is generous and shares printables she has created.   I am so thankful that I don't have to start from scratch. 

Her visuals from sweetpublishing, have led me to these other websites.

You can print a story (I print two images per page and laminate for kids to hold) you can print the notes and a script of the story (like a powerpoint page), you can use as a powerpoint or in your own powerpoint.  Licensed for use for free.  

It has photo versions (lifelike), cartoon, manga, there are maps, etc.   

This website's images are put into the free bible site, but some may find this source easier to select a few pictures.   But there are more images here- than are in the already made into stories page. 

And this site created this video option:
And the big plus is- you can get many languages through this website for the text or audio- so for those teaching in other languages or ESL.  Could be a great tool. 

We just did Jesus Walks on Water, and this is the video that is made from images from Sweet Publishing, and can be watched in a bunch of languages.  

Here is a link to ALL the images in the book of Matthew found on sweetpublishing

Here's one example:

I love that Free Bible Images lists ALL the references for a story they have put together, and that you can download all the images at once, and a storyplanner with a retelling and space for your own notes on the story as well.  Plus it an be a pdf, powerpoint, keynote, etc. format.  Plus the story images are so different and from so many resources. 

Here's Matthew there and on the right side, you find Jesus walks on water or calms a storm.  Four different publishers have images.

Other images from other publishers and other stories...

Here is the link to all of  Bible Fun for Kids lessons on Jesus Walks on Water lessons.  

Book Review: Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Releasing on January 16, 2018, so pre-order today for the bonus gifts!

I so enjoyed this biblical story brought to life by Mesu Andrews.  You can read my full review here.

But as it's releasing this week, I wanted to share some of the concepts that we all struggle with that the book makes known through the lives of the characters, and perhaps is what made the book so real to me, and so helpful, not just as a good book to read, but as I learned from the lives of these historic figures learning to trust, wait, recognize who God is, and how to respond to who God is in their lives in their not so great life circumstances.   So today I guess is a photo essay or quote essay to encourage you to buy the book, or ask your library to get it!

You can even do a 7 day you-version study here.

Quotes from this amazing, well written enjoyable novel....

Saturday, January 13, 2018

One Word 2018: Restore, in the Word of God

In looking up, restore in several translations, commentaries, etc. I have come to recognize that RESTORE is a characteristic of God.  He takes joy in being our restorer or restoration.  
  • God restores us from sin.
  • God restores my soul.   
  • God restores health.
  • God restores a repentant heart.  
  • God restores joy.  
  • God restores nations.  
  • God restores blessing to a repentant heart and is pleased to do it.  
  • God restores double.  
  • God will restore all things when his son returns for believers.  
  • God restores people, His goal is people who faithfully worship Him.  
  • God reminds people He will restore them, He brings back hope, healing, etc.
  • God asks that believers restore others with gentleness.  
  • God restores us in our suffering, He works to perfect us.  
Verses with RESTORE....

Psalm 23:3, NASV
"He restores my soul, He guides me in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake." 

Psalm 51:12, NASV
"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit." 

Psalm 80:3, NASV
"O God restore us, And cause your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved" 

Psalm 80:19 ESV
"Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face to shine upon us and we would be saved."

Isaiah 57:18
"I have seen his ways, but I will heal him, I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners."  

Lamentations 5:21 NASV
"Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored, Renew our days as of Old." 

Galatians 6:1 ESV
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you to be tempted."

1 Peter 5:10 HCSB
"The God of all grace; who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while."

Psalm 69:4 NKJV
"Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head. They are mighty who would destroy me. Being my enemies wrongfully though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it." 

Isaiah 1:26 NKJV
"I will restore your judges at first, and your counselors at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city."  

Other references.... 
2 Kings 8:1, Nehemiah 3:8, Daniel 9:25, Nahum 2:2, Amos 9:11, Psalm 126:4, Ruth 4:15, Job 33:26 Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 52:8, Jeremiah 30:17, Jeremiah 27:22, Joel 2:25, Zechariah 9:12, Mathew 17:11, Mark 3:5, Acts 1:6

So as I have pondered this, 1 Peter 5:10 has stood out to me.  So I looked for resources at  

I found this explanation from Bob Deffinbaugh, one of my favorite teachers, as he normally puts concepts into words in ways that totally make sense to me!  

He explains that this chapter is about suffering, the saints, and Satan.  He shares that Peter is reminding us to stand firm in our Faith because God WILL use our faith and trust for His glory. 

Bob Deffinbaugh's words. I linked the whole article above.  
 "Suffering is the means by which God—the God of all grace—perfects, confirms, strengthens, and establishes us (1 Peter 5:10).153 The very trials which may appear to be the means Satan employs for our destruction are the means God employs for our deliverance and development. Behind the opposition of unbelievers stands Satan seeking to devour us, and behind Satan stands God, sure to perfect and purify us."  

I'm recognizing that as I seek God this year, as I seek out that my heart, mind, and soul would be restored and used for the glory of God.

I think my verse for the year is 1 Peter 5:10, and the promise that God restores, establish, strengthen and support ME in any suffering I experience, and as I seek to know who I am in God's eyes when unbelievers or Satan seek to destroy my faith and trust in God. This verse is a great foundation to build on!

1 Peter 5:10 HCSB

"The God of all grace; who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while."

Friday, January 12, 2018

My One Word: Restore, a word study

Looking at the Bible has been a primary plan and approach to internalize and meditate on my word.

Word studies can help pull it together. but words in isolation can also lead you astray and to make incorrect inferences.  The reading teacher in me knows that, but the theologian in me, says this is not an area I have a foundation to build on.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary Commentary says this:  The Old and New Testaments use terms such as "restore" and "renew" to image God's control of history and the believer's spiritual life.  

Literal meanings are easy-- God restores physical things- land, property, health, ....The figurative meanings are more complex.  And that's part of what stopped me in my tracks, trying to ignore this word for 2018.  

It refers to spiritual restoration.  That seems acceptable, I'm quick to admit that as much as I've grown, I'm still a sinner, broken, ugly, yet redeemed and rescued by a God I cannot fully comprehend through His Son whom I am grateful for, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, since on my own sin is easier to fall back on.   

I paused a little more as I recognized another figurative connotation.  It refers the the maturity of the believer and calls the believer to mentor and encourage those whose foundation is not as firm.  This sounds simple, teach what you know, humbly and with the Lord's help  

It's the third meaning that I know is bigger than I can comprehend. It's the eschatology connection- when Elijah comes up,  it moves beyond just being rebirth or renewal in the faith.  There are questions about when this will happen, has it happened, who will be involved, and what conclusions are we to draw.  It heads into thoughts of heaven, and eternity, which is being present with God, and His restoration of those who belong to Him for eternity.  And it's likely the aspect I need to investigate, research, and likely use my 'phone a friend' and ask many wise and well educated theologians for insight on.  

Webster's Dictionary; 
To bring back to its former state; to bring back from a state of ruin, decay, disease, or the like; to repair, renew, recover.  
To give or bring back, as that which has been lost or taken away.  To bring back to the Owner,  to replace.  
To renew, to reestablish, as to restore harmony among those who are a variance
To make good, to make amends for. 

Greek: Restore 

to give back  apokathistemi
to give up, give back, return apodidomi
set upright- anorthoo
renew- anakainizo

azab- to restore, repair
shub-to turn back, return
alah- to go up, ascend, climb 

As I prayerfully ponder these meanings, I believe that I'm being led to meditate on more than one concept, but to trust God to restore our home and family life, as we work to encourage our children in their faith professions and help them learn to live a life that is grounded in the Word of God and to choose to know the Lord Jesus more intimately each day.   And for my heart to be focused on the restoring that God offers me daily, moment by moment, or even second by second, as I strive to live a life denying myself- and living for Him.  Surrendered to His Will, His Word, and His way.     

One step closer to choosing a verse to focus on or verses for my year.   

Monday, January 8, 2018

Book Review: Be the Hands and Feet: Living Out God's Love for All His Children

Nick Vujicic, author

Releasing February 13, 2018

Book description from amazon:
Nothing in life is as exciting and satisfying as introducing Jesus to people who have never met him.

New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is known worldwide as the man without arms and legs who personifies a "can do" spirit.  Now in greater detail, he explains how the example of Jesus Christ motivates him to travel and speak broadly because the"good news" of the Gospel is just too good to keep quiet!  Although the world has so many problems, no challenge is too great for the God who promises to move mountains. Using compelling stories from his own experience, Nick shares the heart of his message, the motivation behind all he does, and something that he believes the world needs now more than ever before: A faith in Jesus Christ that moves people to act and make the world a better place.

A review: Publisher's Weekly

His non-profit organization is called Life without Limbs

Want a day at Disney with Nick?  Enter this before February 10!


This has been a great lesson for me in the past two years-- recognizing that God restores broken lives, it brings me hope! 

My review:

As I launch more and more books, I learn about how publishers have created genres for even Christian Non-Fiction books.  Nick Vujicic has a biography Life without Limbs,  a book about his faith Unstoppable, a devotional book, Limitless, a book about bullying called Stand Strong, he has a biography about his marriage Love without Limits, his Dad wrote a book about raising a perfectly imperfect child,so I wondered what this new book's content would be.   It's in the category of Inspirational.  And in my experience, an inspirational speaker is someone who encourages you, motivates you, and seeks to make you happy, but doesn't always have any kind of research or a strong narrative of where the inspiration comes from other than yourself.

I am thrilled to tell you that inspirational or motivational speaker Nick Vujicic considers himself an evangelist first, and if possible shares his testimony of salvation by faith alone with a full gospel of Jesus Christ disclosure!  So his inspirational book is focused on sharing the gospel from any platform, and includes scripture that he uses or has influenced him, testimonies of how God has worked in his life and in other people's lives he has met along the way.

I would put this book in the category of an advice book with personal stories to make his suggestions, ideas, and strategies come to life and seem realistic for anyone.  He shares his own life stories and some of his struggles, as well as his growth into his current role, Director of a Non-Profit, and International Speaker and Evangelist, who has used his invitations to meet with heads of State across the world, and offers to pray with them, and shares the gospel.

The Lord has also brought other people into his life, and Nick uses their stores to emphasize his main points.  We are all called as believers to share the gospel.  We are called to mentor others one on one, and help someone spiritually younger grow in their faith.  He gives strategies to learn how to share your faith and even some scripture and answers to hard questions.

Nick's (I respect him, but his style is informal and vulnerable, and I can't imagine calling him Mr. Vujicic) writing is relational, not stuffy or formal, and he is direct, but kind as he reminds the reader of what God commands of us.  It's easy to see why his presentations end with his offer to give you a hug and a personal word of encouragement.  He is a man who sees people, as they are, accepts them, but wants them to clearly hear the truth that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. (and he's not that cliche to say it that way.)

I have known him as a speaker often to Teens, so this book was fun to read, and learn about how not only does he appreciate and help Teens, he also works as a messenger of God with others to further the gospel which leads to business type endeavors and meeting important government people.  But he started out small, taking his dog to the park in his wheel chair and talking to anyone who seemed interested.  Using his no limbs platform to share his life and connect with others, he started sharing how God had a plan and purpose for him.

So if you are looking for strategies to share your faith, to hear about how a man without limbs has spoken to millions of people in his life so far, and how he still knows his family and four children are his biggest calling, this book is for you.  I think this is a great book for as young as tweens/teen age kids and those newer in the faith to appreciate the ideas and input.

For me, the strategies and concepts were not new, but I enjoyed learning about his life and how God has used him in so many neat ways.

Here's my I got the book photo--- as I was ready to think about how to be the hands and feet of God!

Thank you Waterbrook/Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.