My Beloved Auntie June

It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. This is absolutely true. Between parents, grandparents, other family, and friends, children are nurtured in many ways. I was fortunate to have a large village caring for me. One of the leaders of my village was my aunt, Eva June Wilson. I affectionately called her Auntie June. I treasured her. A few days ago she was called home by Jesus. Yes, I am broken-hearted that we are now separated, but I know with certainty we will see each other again.

Auntie June was my father’s elder sister by two years. She was a delightful, quaint, lovely woman. From my earliest memories of her, I knew that she loved me. I recall being rocked in a rocking chair and swung in a porch swing by her. She liked to be in motion and passed on that love to me. Her husband, my Uncle Sam, was a jokester and teased me relentlessly. Both of these relatives have special places in my heart. Everyone that knew my aunt loved her and sang her praises. She was one of a kind, the best kind.

I learned many things from my aunt. She had a sharp mind and gave sage advice:

a. Family is forever. Always be ready to help them. Never forget their stories.

b. Forgiveness is a requirement and not an option. Do not withhold it.

c. There are certain words a lady doesn’t say, and always remember you are a lady.

d. If you can’t say anything nice, then be quiet.

e. If you don’t know what to do, pray. You can’t go wrong talking to Jesus.

f. Don’t go where you aren’t invited. If they wanted you there, you would know.

g. If it’s not your story, don’t tell it. That is called gossip.

h. Be nice to everyone. You don’t know what they have been through in life.

i. Look for the silver lining in each situation. There is alway something good

j. Make sure your lipstick is fresh. Somebody might take your picture.

k. No one loves you like your family. Always tell them you love them.

There are many other things she taught me. She and Grandmother were skilled in the kitchen. They could cook, freeze, and can until the cows came home. Chicken tasted better fried in lard. The best thing to drink was iced tea. It was okay to use paper plates so you could spend more time with your guests. German tomatoes were fine raised besides the patio, and a yeast roll was better than a cookie anytime. Angel rolls were fluffy and great to have on hand for surprise company. If you had more than enough, share with someone. When you hug someone, close your eyes and savor it. Let your love seep through to them.

Auntie June was fun. She loved playing games and winning. When she lived on her farm she had peacocks. They were beautiful but squealed like a cat or baby. Since she had received a teaching degree, she was the best person to explain anything. Her patience was unmatched. She was a natural born story teller. We had no trouble talking for hours. I could call her and chat for an hour, unless her Kentucky Wildcats were playing ball. Then I needed to wait until after the game. She was frugal but not stingy. Things were cared for and lasted years. I remember the same family room loveseats, living room set, bedroom set, and even lamps at her house. Perhaps being content was her secret.

Auntie June grew up in Southern Indiana, but moved to Kentucky to live with family there after her sophomore year. She skipped her junior year of high school to graduate early with her cousin, Phyllis Ann. After graduation they attended college together. My grandmother was anxious that if she did not have a college buddy, my aunt might not go. She went and graduated with a bachelors degree in business. Like many others in her family, she became a teacher. Learning was important, and she continued to read and educate herself. I valued her opinion.

She was an animal lover. When she lived in Louisville, I remember her dog, Smoky. It was a black cocker spaniel, and I thought it was the most beautiful dog ever. A few years later they moved to the big farm house after her father-in-law died. She had a gorgeous collie. I remember cattle, a calf, a pony, kittens, a dog, and the peacocks at that stately place. I was certain the country estate had seen some civil war action and had many untold stories itself. Like my granddaddy, she was petrified of snakes and passed that right along to me. She had a few heart stopping stories of being trapped inside her house by a big, very big, snake.

My family lived in Clarksville, Indiana. Once when Auntie June had surgery she came to our house to recover. Grandmother stayed as her ever attentive nurse. I remember sneaking to chat with her. She would pat the side of the bed and wink. I quietly asked her if this surgery meant she could have babies or could not because she would be a wonderful mother. She told me that she was praying God had the right baby He would send just for her. Well, He did. In fact, in His generous way, He sent her three, twin sons and a daughter, my cousins: Kevin, Gavin, and Ruth Ann. She was devoted to her children, grandchildren, and greats.

Not only did I love her, but I respected her. Her life was full of trials, but she managed each one with a smile. The glass was always half full for her. She had a life full of hard work, but she also volunteered at church and other places. She was very giving. Others were more of a concern to her than herself. Mother and Auntie June remained close after my daddy died. Many times they chatted and laughed like schoolgirls. They shared precious memories.

I was the first grandchild on Daddy’s side so obviously I was spoiled rotten. Many nights and weekends were spent at my grandparents and later my aunt’s. I was like a sponge wanting to soak up every bit of information I could about the Winburn branch of my family tree. Now that Auntie June is gone I can no longer glean any more information.

Auntie June was a Woman of Faith. She walked her faith as well as talked about it. She loved church and her church family, too. There are many story of God’s blessings in her life. He healed her from breast cancer and various other maladies. He kept her safe during the many (many) storms in her life. She live a long life of 91 years. Auntie June worshipped and praised God for guiding her through them all. She told me that her deepest desire was that all of her family would know Jesus and be saved. She would laugh and say “you know there will be enough room in Heaven.”

During our last conversation she spoke to me a lot about our family: her parents, my parents and sister, her children, grandchildren, and greats. Family was important to her. She spoke a lot about her brother, my father. This was the first time she had talked about Daddy in a very long time. We talked of the goodness of God. She always told me she loved me before we hung up. I assured her of my love, too. The very next day she got sick and after a week went to Glory. People I tell me “I’m sorry you lost your aunt.” Dear friends, I did not lose her. I know exactly where she is. She has gone home and is happier than she has ever been. I miss her more than mere words could express, but I will see her again in Glory. Maybe our rooms will be close together.

Journey Back Home Celebrate Life Book Tour and Giveaway

Journey Back Home by talented storyteller, author Cheri Swalwell is Book Two in her The Redemption of Green Pines series. This is a Christian contemporary family tale that is filled with spiritual and life lessons. The author has sprinkled scripture throughout her book, which is one of the things I love about her writing.


This is the story of Jace. He has been the youth pastor at his church for over a decade years. His wife, Simone, just had their fourth baby. Jace thinks he is more needed at their church than he is at home. Simone is feeling overwhelmed, tired, and invisible at home by her husband.


This is a down to earth story of a family of six. Mom is trying to keep the home and her sanity while Dad is out enjoying life with his buddies at church. Sound familiar? Any woman will be able to relate to Simone’s frustration. I was immediately invested in the story and characters.


Throughout the story I ran a gamut of emotions. I could feel the emotions that the characters were experiencing coming off of the pages and settle into my heart. Only a great author can transfer emotions from a character to a reader, and Swalwell did it multiple times. She packed in a few twists and turns to keep us on our toes, too. There is a mystery in the plot that will keep you reading and turning pages for more information.


The characters are well rounded, relatable, and realistic. I enjoyed seeing Holly pop up in this book since we got to know her in Book One. The dialog sounded smooth and easy, never stiff or forced. The lessons learned from watching this Christian family go through trials and triumphs are invaluable. Readers will see faith and grace as actions and not just spoken words. 


Swalwell has done a great job planning, organizing, and writing this fictional story. There are many God-glorifying moments to offer encouragement and inspiration. I highly recommend this beautiful glimpse into the life of a Christian family. It would make a perfect book club selection. There is much to ponder and discuss. The only thing missing is a discussion guide or reflection questions. I gladly rate it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit, but these are my honest thoughts and words.

About the Book

Book:  Journey Back Home

Author: Cheri Swalwell

Genre: Christian Romance

As you know, life isn’t always as it seems.

Ten years, four children, two full-time careers, insane schedules—this is not what Jace and Simone signed up for. When the couple married a decade ago, they shared a passion for serving youth together. They believed their deep love for God and shared interests were all they needed to keep their marriage strong.

With Jace busy as a youth minister on the weekends, and Simone taking care of their four children, as well as her second grade classroom, they barely find time to connect with each other. Travel up close and personal into the home of a youth pastor and his family as they deal with issues far-to-common in this fast-paced society.

Tragedy strikes…an investigation begins…and it seems as though life will never return to the “happily-ever-after” of their dreams.

When their world is turned upside down, the question becomes…will God give the family strength to journey back home?

If you like wholesome fiction with a faith-filled message, buckle in to read Journey Back Home, Book 2 of The Redemption of Green Pines series today.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She enjoys writing regularly for Book Fun Magazine and LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Her Spoken from the Heart Series is available through Deeper Shopping in both eBook and paperback versions. To read one of her many articles on life from a Christian perspective, visit her blog at: http://bit.ly/1gRp9oK. She loves to interact with her readers, so send her an email at clSwalwell99@gmail.com or “like” her on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1h4eudV.

More from Cheri

Journey Back Home was the first novel I ever wrote. The way God downloaded it into my heart was by sharing Simone’s side of the story first. Her journey is shared in the book through a series of diary entries. So I basically wrote the middle of the book first, then the ending, and then went back and wrote the beginning. It was definitely God who tied it all together so nicely.

When I finished writing Journey Back Home, it sat in my computer folders for six years. During that time God took fiction away from me, and gave me the platform of nonfiction. Two years ago, He lovingly gave me fiction back and I pulled it out, dusted it off, and started getting it ready to publish.

However, I realized it wasn’t a standalone book anymore. It was a community, a tight-knit group of people who had much more they wanted to share with readers. And I knew I needed to start with Holly’s story. Adventure’s Invitation, Book 1 of The Redemption of Green Pines, tells Holly’s background which is an integral part of Journey Back Home.

I hope you fall in love with Jace, Simone, their four children, and of course Holly as much as I have. If so, get ready because there are many more people to grow to love in all six books of The Redemption of Green Pines series.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 22

Artistic Nobody, January 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 24

Batya’s Bits , January 24

Inklings and notions, January 25

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 26

deb’s Book Review, January 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 28

Texas Book-aholic, January 29

Rebecca Tews, January 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31

Holly Jo Morris, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 1

For Him and My Family, February 2

Pause for Tales, February 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cheri is giving away the grand prize of a $15 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10626/journey-back-home-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir

The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir is a loving tribute from author Melissa (Missi) Johnson Gouty to her amazing father, Melford (Mel) Johnson. This nostalgic look of family and life in a small Midwestern town had me turning page after page. It was a bright, sunshiny smile on the face of a dark dreary day. You must read it and have your spirits lifted, too.

Author Gouty and I went to school together. She was one of my sweetest friends. So many of her memories mirrored my own. Even though our lives were vastly different, they were extremely similar. That’s what happens in small towns. They bring people together and give them common threads. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this love letter. It is nothing less than beautiful.

I enjoyed the style that talented wordsmith Gouty uses in writing. Her story is transparent and brutally honest. There is a warmth to it. Readers will feel like they are chatting over a cup of coffee or at least, I did. It brought tears to my eyes at times, many of them from laughing.

There is a plethora of life and spiritual lessons woven throughout these exceptional stories. It reveals the working of a Christian family, a man of faith, how to appreciate nature, and how to simply enjoy life. The author proudly announces that she never recalls her father swearing or using rough language in situations when most men would. Can you do the same?

It is difficult to choose a favorite tale. I enjoyed them all for various reasons. There is just one place that I found myself uncomfortable. In one of the stories the author uses the crass term for feces. (Yes, I am a prude.) It is one of the words that my Southern Grandmother instilled in me (obviously) that a lady never says. I realize I am the exception now and not the rule, but it still bothered me.

I highly recommend this charming memoir to everyone. Baby Boomers will certainly relate to the references made. There are discussion questions in the back so it would make a nice book club selection. I give this a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Roving through Facebook posts, I have noticed many families are downsizing or canceling Thanksgiving gatherings. This is another hit from Covid. It is rough. Our normal forty to fifty person extended family celebration has been called off leaving everyone to fend for themselves.

It is our choice on how we allow this to to affect us. First instinct is to organize a pity party. You know those one person, “poor me” cry-fests. Obviously that is a poor choice. An alternative is to consider our loved ones safe at home. I bet their phones work and a Thanksgiving dinner plate would bring a smile on a face or two.

With that thought, what are you cooking? I am a Pampered Chef and have a kitchen filled with tools and recipes to make life in the kitchen easier. Flipping through some recipes, I found a few that made my mouth water. Would you like those for your file?

Our family usually fixes ham and turkey. My mother glazes the ham and everyone raves over it. This is a general recipe that gets changed often.

This salad is on the border of being a dessert. When placed in a glass bowl the presentation is striking especially when garnished with a mint leaf. It is really delicious so don’t expect left overs.

This year has presented a plethora of challenges, but we have survived. Humans need each other so let’s help one another. Kindness is under-rated. We all need to practice.

You know what else we need? Well, besides food. Yes, we need our Creator. We were made by Him and need Him. He is so good to us.

Wherever you celebrate and with whomever, I hope you take time to give thanks for all of your many blessings. Say a pray for those less fortunate and those that have an empty seat at their table.

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to season with love.

Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women Celebrate Lit Tour

My Thoughts

Glimpses of God is a refreshing Summer devotional for women written by authors Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael.  It is a two month devotional with sixty-five daily lessons.  That makes it perfect for a summer inspirational quick read.

Authors Crowder and Michael each write devotions.  Their styles are welcoming and easy to read.  I felt as if we were having a conversation together.  Topics all center around summer – Dog Days of Summer, Blackberry Winter, Memorial Day, Good Ol’ Summertime, and Vacation Bible School.  Each day includes a lesson, corresponding Scripture, a suggested Prayer, and a Thought for the Day.

Not every lesson has the same spiritual depth.  Some are light and made me happy, while others were deeper and left me pondering something for a few days.  I liked that.  The authors really meshed well.  This is a devotional that all women will enjoy.

I highly recommend Glimpses of God.  It would make a great birthday or Mother’s Day gift.  A small group would benefit from reading and discussing it.  Church libraries should keep a copy, too.  I received a copy from Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.  I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

About the Book

Book:  Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women

Author: Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Genre:  Devotional

Release Date: April 29, 2020

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and ocean on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features/attributes that are common although the degree varies depending on where a person lives. In winter we think of cold weather; in spring, blooming flowers; in summer, warm weather; and in the fall, beautifully colored leaves.

As Christ-followers we also experience spiritual seasons. These seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, which come regularly without fail. Each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also. In spiritual winter we think of the coldness of our relationship with God; in spring, new

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About the  Authors

SJC - cu fav blk-pnk

Shirley Crowder was born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. She and co-author Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the mission field and have been life-long friends. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. She is an award-winning writer who has had several of her articles appear in “Paper Pulpit” inthe Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, The Addiction Connection and Inspired Prompt. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to eight books.

Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.

 

 

 

harriet

Harriet E. Michael was born in Joinkrama, Nigeria, deep in the African jungle in the Niger River delta, where her father served as the only missionary doctor at that station. A few years later, the mission moved the family to a larger hospital in Ogbomoso. Co-author Shirley Crowder and her family lived right across the dirt road. The two children became constant playmates. Today they continue to enjoy their lifelong friendship.

Harriet is a multi-published, award-winning writer and speaker. She has authored or co-authored seven books (six nonfiction and one novel) with several more under contract for future release. She is also a prolific freelance writer, having penned over 200 articles, devotions, and stories. Her work has appeared in publications by Focus on the Family, David C. Cook, Lifeway, Standard Publishing, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, Judson Press, Bethany House, and more. When not writing, she loves speaking to women’s groups and teaching workshops on freelance writing.

She and her husband of more than 40 years have four children and two grandchildren. When not writing, she enjoys substituting at a Christian school near her home, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

 

 

More from Shirley

In the same way that nature’s seasons serve a purpose on earth, so do the seasons in our spiritual lives. God provides, cares for, and sustains the earth, and in His faithfulness, He does the same for us. Our responsibility is to be obedient to God’s commands in the Bible and to cling to the truth that God is in control.

Our “Glimpses of God” series consist of:

  • Glimpses of God: a winter devotional for women
  • Glimpses of God: a summer devotional for women
  • Glimpses of God: a spring devotional for women (due out in early 2021)
  • Glimpses of God: an autumn devotional for women (due out in late summer 2021)

We pray that as readers meditate upon the Bible passages and truths in each devotional, they will catch glimpses of God in and through everything around them.

How has He provided for you? How is He protecting you? How is He teaching you?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Inklings and notions, August 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, August 12

Artistic Nobody, August 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Older & Smarter?, August 14

Musings of Sassy Bookish Mama, August 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 17

deb’s Book Review, August 17

Texas Book-aholic, August 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 19

Mary Hake, August 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 20

Lighthouse Academy, August 21

CarpeDiem, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Splashes of Joy, August 24

Fiction Full of Faith, August 24

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Shirley and Harriet are giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fee5/glimpses-of-god-a-summer-devotional-for-women-celebration-tour-giveaway

Refresh Your Faith Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway.

My Thoughts

Refresh your Faith, uncommon devotions from every book of the Bible, by author Lori Hatcher is a unique devotional.  The author uses scripture from each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and molds a refreshing, inspiring devotion around them.  Be prepared to become enlightened.

Most of the devotionals that I have read draw upon the same, favorite, and familiar scriptures.  This one is the exception.  It is a breath of fresh air.  I was given a sampling of lesser known books and scripture to help deepen my daily Walk.  The lessons stayed with me long after I had finished them.

The style of writing is personal and soothing.  It was easy to imagine discussing scripture and stories over a glass of iced tea with this author.  Her devotions are smooth and clear. They give insight and inspiration.  I will definitely read this book again.

This would make a lovely gift for anyone – man or woman, any age, no matter where you are in your Walk.  I highly recommend this.  Be sure to get a copy for yourself, too.  It is certainly different but in a good way.  I gladly give it a 5 out of 5 star rating.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but these are my honest words.

About the Book

Book:  Refresh Your Faith
Author: Lori Hatcher
Genre:  Devotional
Release Date: May 2020
Unfamiliar verses. Uncommon insights. Unlimited possibilities.
Move from biblical doldrums to dynamic discovery! While your favorite Scripture verses or stories may bring you comfort, if you’re feeling monotony in your time with God it’s time to shake it up a bit. Each of these 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions—one from each book of the Bible—spotlights an unusual verse or passage and takes only five minutes to read. If you have more time, you can dig a little deeper with an uncommon thought to ponder, unusual faith action step to take, and an unfamiliar passage suggestion that invites you to further explore the Bible’s hidden gems.
You’ll be challenged to think deeply, step out boldly, and grow dynamically, transforming your devotional time—and your life!
Praise for Lori Hatcher’s writing . . .
“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman
Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Lori Hatcher Head Shot
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, pastor’s wife, and women’s ministry speaker. She’s the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbiamagazine, president of Columbia Toastmasters, and regular contributor to magazines such as Christian Living Today and websites like Crosswalk.com. Her book Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time, won the Christian Small Publisher 2016 book of the year. Find out more about Lori and her well-loved 5-minute devotions at lorihatcher.com.

Read a Teaser from Refresh Your Faith

The dirty little secret in Christian circles is that many of us are bored with our devotional time. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. It’s important to read our Bibles every day. After all, it’s God’s Word, the source of truth, and life, and hope.
While some have successfully built the discipline of Bible reading into their lives, others struggle. Even those who regularly read their Bibles find it a bit dry at times. Many of us also read devotionals, not to take the place of Bible reading, but to help us discover unfamiliar passages and stories and benefit from a godly writer’s perspective.
I wrote Refresh Your Faith because I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read. They seemed to focus on the same basic verses I’d memorized with my children twenty years ago. John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Psalm 23, Matthew 3:5-6. Same with the Bible passages and stories. I treasure the familiar verses and stories. I’ve held them close to my heart during some of the darkest times of my life.
But I knew there was more to the Bible than these well-worn favorites.
I reached a point in my spiritual life when I needed something new. If something didn’t change, my spirit was going to wither up. My time with God shouldn’t be something I did out of duty. I wanted to delight in God and His Word.
So I asked God to help me. I needed something to refresh my faith and energize my Bible reading. Wow, did He answer. I’d been reading through the Bible every year for more than a decade, but all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to passages I’d never noticed before.
These uncommon verses sparkled like gems. The more I read, the more I spotted them, tucked into obscure stories and buried under genealogies and census reports. I found some hiding out in plain sight—golden nuances and nuggets in the shadows of the more familiar stories.
Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step.
I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 10
God is Love, May 17
Marilyn Ridgway, May 18 (Guest Review on Lighthouse Academy Blog)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lori is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of Refresh Your Faith!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

God’s Words to Dream On Celebrate Lit Tour and Giveaway

My Thoughts

God’s Words to Dream on by author Diane Stortz is a delightful Children’s Bible Storybook.  It is designed to be read at nighttime.  Children will be captivated by the whimsical, sparkly cover and eager to read the stories inside.

The sturdy book contains 52 Bible stories.  Half of the stories are from the Old Testament and the other half from the New Testament in this giving children a good foundation of biblical knowledge.   Each one references the bible verse where the story is found, another short scripture called “God’s Words to Dream On”, an easy to understand summary or “Bedtime Blessing” and closes with a “Sleepy-Time Prayer.” Kids will be delighted with the vivid colorful illustrations that accompany the story.  Many of the stories are well known but a few might be unfamiliar to some children.

This is a very good book to establish a nighttime bible reading for children.  It is made to last. The pages are a sturdy coated hard board.  This can take some tossing around and be okay.

I recommend this for young children and preschoolers.  The stories are told in a way to capture little one’s attention and the pictures are lovely.  This is a great beginning bible story book for bedtime.  It would make a nice baby or shower gift.  I gladly give it a 5 star rating.  Celebrate Lit provided a copy but these are my own words.

About the Book

Book:  God’s Words to Dream On

Author: Diane Stortz

Genre: Children’s Bible storybook/Non-fiction

Release Date: March 2019

Start a Bedtime Bible Story Tradition Tonight!
What better way to spend the last few minutes of the day than snuggled up with your children, pouring God’s love into their hearts? God’s Words to Dream On calms, quiets, and opens hearts to hear faith-building Bible stories and prayers. Over 50 stories—from the Old and New Testaments—create an overview of the Bible with a focus on God’s love, care, protection, trustworthiness, and power.
Each Night, You’ll Enjoy:
* A Bible Story—stories of Gods power and protection
* A Bedtime Blessing—how this story will bless your child’s life
* God’s Words to Dream On—a Bible verse to hide God’s Word in little hearts
* A Sleepy-Time Prayer—a good-night prayer tied to the theme of the story
Dreams are sweeter when we dream of the Lord.

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Yearand Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

More from Diane

A happy bedtime contributes so much to a child’s welfare. Perhaps a warm bath, a story, some cuddles with mom or dad, and a prayer equal a time-tested bedtime routine. These last moments of the day, done right, create a wonderful sense of family security and love for children as they fall asleep.

Bedtime also gives us a wonderful opportunity to help children grow secure in God’s love. I wrote God’s Words to Dream On for just that reason. The stories not only create an overview of the Bible’s big story, but they focus on God’s love and care—the ways He shows us His power and protection and the reasons we can trust Him. Each story includes a simple Bible verse to remember, a simple prayer, and a bedtime blessing for your child.

Young children thrive on routine, and I think a Bible story at bedtime might be one of the best!

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, April 25

Texas Book-aholic, April 26

Mary Hake, April 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27

Inklings and notions, April 28

deb’s Book Review, April 29

Spoken from the Heart, April 30

Holly Jo Morris, April 30

Remembrancy, May 1

Older & Smarter?, May 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 3

Splashes of Joy , May 4

Artistic Nobody, May 5 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn The Libraryan, May 6

Becka Jiménez’s FB, May 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 7

Vicky Sluiter, May 8

Bookishly Beverly, May 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away the grand prize package of a Scripture Lullabies CD, a bottle of Honest Company Truly Calming Bubble Bath, and a bath poof!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f8/god-s-word-to-dream-on-celebration-tour-giveaway

Famous Last Words

Words can be golden.  Movies can be identified by a memorable quote and songs by a few lyrics.  For the most part words are remembered whether for good or for bad.

60769DA5-CB3B-4AB9-B2D8-58BCFEBAA2CC

What would you say to someone if you knew it was the very last time the two of you would speak?  What would your last words be?  Facebook and social media are filled with nonsensical posts of quizzes designed to tell you which type of flower or animal you are.  They are also overflowing with venomous attacks on people we personally do not know.  That’s correct, politicians.  The colorful adjectives used are appalling.

D4F7AB56-1DEC-4284-BB95-C0AB12312AB1

Petty arguments and grudges can slither their way into relationships and do irrevocable damage.  The hurtful last words spoken are forever engraved upon hearts.  Those hearts are left broken and yearning for healing.   Forgiveness withheld robs us of years of happy times and memories.  Perhaps “I’m sorry” are words that are long overdue to someone.  It would be devastating to miss that opportunity.

D9CA3910-A928-40C1-8C9F-E8123D435C6E

What legacy do you want your words to leave?  If you knew you were having the last conversation with a friend or family would it change your words and tone?  Life changes everyday, and tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Scripture tells us not to let the sun set on our anger but to make amends.

C37E27C4-7C59-42AD-A518-8419CA7B5943

Me?  What would I say?  I would not waste my breath on small talk, but rather go straight to the things that I wanted my family or friend to understand.  Wouldn’t you?  Treasured memories would be shared as we relived them once again.  Yes, I would apologize for any wrong that I had done or they felt I had.  Perception is real to the beholder.  Most importantly, I would give forgiveness and love.

76AD1C89-5CA9-4F7B-8EF7-A7306777C801

 

When I speak to my parents, children, and best friend the last thing I say to them is I love you.  Three little words that mean so much.  Those words should chase away any doubt they might have if they were loved.  Absolutely, whole heartedly, and forever they are loved.  I would make sure they knew that God loved them, too.

A680A73C-694A-4032-8A2F-A7172765422A

My words for you are that you, too, know you are eternally, unequivocally loved by your Creator.  The Bible overflows with verses verifying this.  Never doubt it, even in times of turmoil.   Call to Him  and let His love fill you and give you peace.

84DF1200-8F47-4EC2-8435-047FB52696FF

It would be wonderful if we had the foresight to know when we were speaking to someone for the last time.   Since we don’t, the next best thing is to temper our words with love and speak as if those were our last words.  Let’s make all of our words be worthy of being famous last words.

Jesus’s Temper versus Ours

We are all self-quarantined at home with this Covid19 pandemic.  Emotions are on a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Tempers are quick to flare. Our descendants will read about this in history books.  How are you spending your time, and how are you maintaining your temper?

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  After Jesus arrived in Jerusalem did you ever wonder how he spent His final week in ministry?  On Monday He taught His disciples a parable about faith when He cursed a fig tree that did not produce fruit. Do you remember that one?

They had been out walking and were hungry when they saw a fig tree with many leaves.  After they looked for the fruit, none could be found. It was barren. Jesus cursed it, and when they came back to it had shriveled up and died.   Scholars believe the tree being cursed represents God’s judgment on those that are spiritually dead.

Jesus was comparing the tree to the whole nation of Israel because it had become spiritually barren before the Lord.  It no longer produced fruit.  The people knew their  religion but did not live it.  They knew the correct words, but their hearts were away from God.

MCDGOOF EC009

This story of what Jesus also did might be more familiar.  Jesus also went into the temple and cleared it out of the dishonest money changers.  This time He was mad.  He had enough.  They were cheating people and making a mockery of the temple.  Jesus went through overturning tables and saying: “Scripture says ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer’, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” He drove the money changers and their animals out restoring order and respect.

60C9EC58-FDB2-49FF-8D9C-2434E3245296

What has stayed with me about this story for many years is that Jesus stopped and braided a whip so that He could think about what He was going to do before just charging into the temple.  He didn’t fly off the handle but took time to think about the situation. Maybe He prayed.  I would imagine He did.

How about you when you become angry?

“So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” John 2:15

B90CBE0E-39C5-4C65-86AB-11DD706AF67F

Could you do this? I can’t tell you how many times I have flown off the handle in anger. Acted quickly without thinking things through.  My family calls that having a “short fuse”   because it does not take long to explode after the anger is lit.

Jesus is not like this. His righteous indignation toward what was happening in the temple was just. It needed to be done. He waited to think clearly and make certain it was done correctly.  How many times have I wished that I had done things like that?  Many! What do you do when you are angry?  How do you react?

Jesus had one week left with his disciples before his crucifixion and resurrection.  Everything was done in the right way without rushing.  In His time and in His way.  Even in a time of righteous anger He still slowed down and gave Himself time to cool off and think with a clear mind.  What a beautiful example for all of us.

A4D84143-2103-411C-A117-0372B843AB29

 

 

Hosanna! Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!

Happy Palm Sunday! Of all the Sundays before Easter throughout the years, this one will probably be the most memorable.  Never in my lifetime did I expect the church doors to be closed for any reason, but now they are. You know what?  Since it has happened now, we are all still able to worship at home with most of our churches and a plethora of others.  Our souls will not starve.  We have a buffet before us.

F2715169-EBFE-418A-81FE-909A0E2EB503

Today hundreds of years ago, Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. Scripture tells us that Jesus rode into the city on a young donkey. The streets were lined with people who threw clothes and palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage and respect. This was what people did for kings. They were treating Jesus like royalty. Using palm branches symbolized peace and victory. Jesus was coming in peace, triumphantly. The crowd of people shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”

35732323-A1B0-4BEE-B641-3E7528B33103

This Palm Sunday we need to claim peace and victory in His name.  Amen.  Wave those palm branches high!  Did you know the Bible tells us “Do not fear” three hundred and thirty five times?  Wow!  One time for each day of the year.  Not only does He tell us not to fear or be afraid, but He has placed it in our spirit.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7.

list of 365 do not fear bible verses Pleasant God tells us over and over not to be afraid Why Because

Let’s be Warriors and not Worriers.  In Matthew 6:34  it says “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  So how do you become a Warrior?  Read your scripture and pray.  Put on the armor of God.

D67CD713-1411-4872-8E2A-9B1692DD89C7

Pandemic has cast a black cloud on this planet, but the bright glorious Light from God shines through it.  Use good judgment and don’t lose hope.  We are entering the celebration of Holy Week, the anniversary of the events the week before Jesus went to the cross and victoriously arose.  Grab your palm branches and prepare for peace and victory.  Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

52B19646-717E-4122-814F-27CE36CABED2