Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Bible Verse Website

I would like to share some information with you about a new Bible verse website. This is from BibleVerses.com author, Rich Howard:  
Strengthening your personal relationship with God is the goal of BibleVerses.com.  Created initially to provide free access to the many versions of the Bible for everyone, it is now evolving to a community of Christians seeking inspiration, motivation, encouragement and knowledge. 

Start your morning cup of coffee off right by subscribing to the daily e-mail to have a new verse and blog post right at your fingertips.  The blog posts and daily verses go hand in hand to encourage you to spend a little time digging deeper into your own personal relationship with God. The BibleVerses.com blog is a safe space to explore your own thoughts, ask questions and give your own insight to the daily content.
You can also take advantage of the user friendly search engine of the Bible in a large variety of versions.  Maybe you know the particular verse or phrase you are looking for, or you are looking for what God has to say on a specific topic, BibleVerses.com has the resources readily available to you.

Come join the company of others engaging in the same material as you every day! Find us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to be provided with additional uplifting content throughout that day.  We can't wait to have you join us.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: A Pregnancy Announcement

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

When you have a moment, here's another Christmas memory I wanted to share. This one happened during the Christmas of 1997. It was such a fun Christmas! After 5 years of marriage (and some trouble with infertility), David and I were beyond excited to announce the coming of our first child. I know that David's mom, and my mom, had both been praying for us to have a child, so we decided to make this announcement as part of our Christmas gifts to our families.

On Christmas Eve that year, David was on shift with the ambulance. So, he and his partner, Steve, met me, my parents, and my brother and his family at Grandma's house. When my mom read the card we made for her, I'm sure you could have heard her excited screams out in the street with the windows closed! I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the police! (LOL)

The card was simple - a homemade card printed out on our computer. It had Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the front wearing Christmas hats and, on the inside, it said, "Merry Christmas, Grandma & Grandpa!"

The happy soon-to-be grandparents (for the 5th time)

The next day, we went to my sister's house and gave them the news while we were there. Then, David and I headed North to celebrate Christmas with David's side of the family. I remember we had extended family eating Christmas dinner with us and spending the evening, so we waited until after they went home before we opened gifts. David and I were excited when the time finally came to pass out our Christmas card to his Mom and Dad. We had Mom read their card out loud because we told her we made it and wanted everyone to hear what we wrote. When she first took a look at it, she seemed confused. The card had been made at one of those do-it-yourself Hallmark card machines and, on the front, it looked like a general Christmas card - nothing unique about it - but this is what it said:

(Front) A long time ago in Bethlehem, a Savior, Jesus, was born...

(Inside) As we celebrate Christmas with family today,
We just want you to know, there's ANOTHER child on the way.
Merry Christmas, Grandma & Grandpa!
The excited soon-to-be grandparents (for the 1st time)

Monday, December 19, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

When I first started reading When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis, I wasn't sure what the main idea was supposed to be. By the title, I thought it would be about seeing Jesus in others, and I expected it to be a compilation of stories along those lines. As I read further, I realized the book was more than that.

The book is about the author's personal journey of how he came to know Jesus through the example of a green-eyed brunette (his current wife), and how he figured out what his purpose is in life which, according to Davis, is for him to "look like Jesus while in his own skin." (p. 63) What he means is that we all have our own unique callings in life, and he shared how he believes God called him to become a writer, and how God used his circumstances to help him be the kind of writer (and the kind of person) God wanted him to be.

Interspersed among his story, Davis shares stories from the lives of Christians who helped shape his faith. Some of the stories are about miraculous moments where someone had been physically healed. Other stories are about how God used someone's circumstances to bring about spiritual healing. He explains that, while God does sometimes choose to heal physically, the main focus should be for a healing of the heart.

Davis sums everything up by saying the purpose of this book is "about allowing the Jesus inside us to transform us and then use us to touch the people who come into our lives - to love people as God does." (p.179) In other words, the circumstances we face are not always fun, but ALL can be beneficial.

Enter the form below for a chance to win a copy of this book. Giveaway closes Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. CST. One entry per mailing address. U.S. addresses only.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Our friend, Janice (and also a family member on David's side), has fond memories of the Christmas she became engaged to her husband, Chuck. They were at Chuck's mother's house and Jan says:

"I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting it. I also remember that quite a few people were there, including a [family] nobody knew. They were traveling and got stranded near Chuck’s mother’s house. They stayed overnight on Christmas eve, and I think Christmas night also."
Chuck & Janice on their Wedding Day

On the same topic of engagement, I remember Christmas in 1991 when David came with me for the first time to spend Christmas with my family. It wasn't too cold that year because I remember going for a walk around Grandma's neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Grandma, Mom and I were walking ahead of Dad and David. I remember my mom asking why David didn't stay to spend Christmas with his family, and I told her it was because David wanted to have a talk with Dad. So, as we walked, we were letting the guys talk alone. I knew what was going on - David was asking my dad if he would agree to David and I getting married. He was asking for Dad's blessing. I knew this because, a few days before Christmas, David had asked me if it was okay for him to have that talk with my dad. I said yes. So, I guess you could say we were "unofficially engaged" at that time.

And, yes, Dad gave his blessing!

Mom, Dad, Grandma, David and Me - Christmas Day 1991


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

REVIEW: The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

1.  Its a thin paperback book.
2.  It is a short, easy to read, devotional type book.
3.  It is not full of non-essential words, as there is only one page per verse.
4.  It includes a lot of Biblical encouragement.
5.  It includes many familiar and expected verses, but also includes many I had never thought of as being encouraging.

The book I am talking about is The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible by Troy Schmidt.

An example of a familiar verse is Isaiah 41:10. It is fairly self-explanatory:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

An example of a verse that may not seem so encouraging at first glance is Genesis 21:6:
And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me."

The author has this to say about Genesis 21:6:
In times of despair, God can do things to make you laugh. Sarah found the humor in her desperation. She had given up hope; now she offered up laughs. Look for the laughter in your situation. (page 10)

If you like quick, easy devotional-type books, this would be a good one to have on your nightstand. You can read about one or two verses as you start your day, or pick it up before you shut the lights out at night. I have been encouraged by the book, and I think you will be also.

I received a free copy of this book from the  Bethany House Blogger Review Program for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: Reading the Christmas Story

My dad says one of his favorite Christmas memories is when, on Christmas mornings, he would read about Jesus' birth in the book of Matthew. We always did this as a family before opening our gifts, to help us focus on what Christmas is supposed to be about.

David and I have continued this tradition with our own kids; but for the past 6 years we have also used The Usborne Advent Nativity Book to have a little fun as we count the days to Christmas. This book uses the events surrounding Jesus' birth and, for 24 days, one new cardboard figure is taken out of the book and placed on a shelf until the entire nativity scene is displayed. The story can be read each night before placing a figure, or you can choose to read it however often you like. Our kids have enjoyed having it read each night, or every other night, because their dad will often make up sound effects to go along with it. And, even though the kids are older now, it is still a fun family tradition we like to share during the days leading up to Christmas. In fact, the book has been read aloud so many times that our daughter, EL, has memorized it and can almost repeat it word for word.

Reading the Book in 2010

2014 - Mom usually gets to set up the last piece of the display

Reading the book in 2015

Reading it on day one of this year, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

CHRISTMAS MEMORY: The Little Silver Tree

The word of the MONTH is MEMORY
: the act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, events, etc.; remembrance; recollection

For the month of December, I will be sharing some Christmas memories with you - some favorite moments that took place during the Christmas season. Today’s memory is about a little silver Christmas tree my family had back in the 60's and 70's.

We had a variety of different Christmas trees when my sister and brother and I were growing up. For a few years, I know we had a real tree but, most of the time, it was an artificial one. I mostly remember the typical evergreen model, but I also vaguely remember a little 3 ft. aluminum tree we put up once in awhile. My sister, Judy, remembers it better than I do. She says this about the tree:

“If Dan [our brother] was 1 or 2, then I was 4 or 5. We had a little silver tree. There was a color wheel that turned, it faced the tree and made beautiful colors. (You can't put light strings on the silver trees.) Dan and I were mesmerized and would sit close and just stare. As a side note: Mom tried to sell the tree at a garage sale. I'm very thankful it didn't sell because she ended up giving it to me! I still put it up every year. This was my first tree as an infant.”

What Judy didn’t mention is that, back in 1999, she and her husband lost their house and belongings in a devastating house fire. They lost everything. All except that little silver tree.

Judy's decorated tree