Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Giving children a name in life, dignity in death

Linda Znachko’s small “yes” changed
her life — and her community — forever

When the evening news reported an abandoned baby had been found dead in a local dumpster, Linda Znachko’s comfortable life changed. She was suddenly convicted, knowing God wanted her to provide a dignified burial for this tiny lost child. She obeyed, having no idea where that first small yes would lead. He Knows Your Name: How One Abandoned Baby Inspired Me to Say Yes to God (Kregel Publications/ September 27, 2016/ISBN: 9780825444043/$14.99) chronicles Znachko’s journey and challenges the reader to say yes to the Holy Spirit’s leading, no matter how insignificant or strange it may seem.

As she continued to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, Znachko found herself in places she never dreamed she would be: at the graveside of the child of an abused mother, by the side of a mother fighting for her lost child and at the funeral of a Texas stripper who died two days before her baptism but left a legacy of love behind.

“God’s Spirit was prompting me to step into a stranger’s deepest pain,” Znachko recalls. “Had I declined, no one around me would have been the wiser.” Despite her reservations, God began opening her heart to sense and respond to His leading in a fresh, new way.

Each implausible encounter propelled Znachko into a life she never knew she wanted — a life defined by radical obedience to God. She founded the He Knows Your Name Ministry, which gives children a name in life and dignity and honor in death. “Names give legitimacy to life. A name gives purpose, identity and meaning to a child who otherwise would be hidden,” explains Znachko. “God Himself has named us. God’s character attributes are named because it brings fullness to who He is.”

The ministry also partners with parents who want their children’s legacies to be more than just the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Znachko’s aim is to assist the grieving to find healing in loss and purpose in knowing every life is sacred to God. “It is our desire to be life-givers of hope, redemption, freedom, dignity and newfound joy for parents who have experienced the tragic loss of a child and for the children who have suffered the loss of their parent.”

He Knows Your Name not only invites readers into the intimate places in which Znachko drew closer to God and followed His lead to reach the marginalized and hurting; it challenges them to walk daily with eyes wide open. With honesty and clarity, Znachko calls readers to look for ways to honor to those around them. Fulfilling God’s command to care for widows and orphans requires sacrifice and at times is wrought with heartache, but He Knows Your Name shows when we are obedient, love will grow where death once reigned.

Advance Praise

“Linda Znachko could not have predicted how honoring one nameless, abandoned baby would lead to a vibrant celebration of life and love for otherwise rejected and forgotten people. By responding to God’s prompting time after time, Znachko models a life of faith and obedience. The stories in her book remind us there is always more than meets the eye — and by opening our hearts, we can reach out without judgment and watch God bring healing.”
~ Ann Kroeker, writing coach and author of The Contemplative Mom, Not So Fast and On Being a Writer

“The dignity of a proper burial, or a simple headstone to mark one’s final resting place, may seem like a small thing to most people in Western society. But not to Linda Znachko. Her journey of serving ‘those who mourn’ began with a first step of obedience in providing a proper grave for an infant abandoned in a dumpster. Her mission has since grown to include an ever-widening circle of caring individuals dedicated to the proposition that our very humanity consists in our ability to do the ‘small things’ well — to love and respect the least among us, whether in life or in death.”
~ Cristóbal Krusen, chairman and CEO of Messenger Films, Inc.

About the author

Linda Znachko is the founder of He Knows Your Name, a ministry that gives children a name in life and dignity and honor in death. She also partners with mothers who do not want their children’s legacies to be the circumstances of their death. Her aim is to assist the grieving to find healing and purpose in knowing every life is sacred to God. A sought-after speaker in churches, conferences and retreats, Znachko has been involved with discipling women for more than 25 years. Regularly involved with local and regional media, Znachko works to bring attention to the problem of abandoned, unwanted and marginalized children.

Znachko is married to Steve; together they founded Zacchaeus Foundation, which funds ministries across the globe. They are also dedicated advocates of Safe Families for Children of Indiana.

Linda Znachko currently resides in Indiana with her husband, Steve, where they raised their four children.

For more information about Znachko and her ministry, visit www.heknowsyourname.org, on Facebook (HeKnowsYourNameMinistry) and via Twitter (@LindaZnachko).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Being a mom doesn’t mean you can’t live a Life Creative


A celebration of motherhood, creativity
and the faith that binds them

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down once the kids arrive, if for no other reason than there is no time. But God has something special in mind for creative women during this intense season of mothering. In Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (Kregel Publications/September 27, 2016/ISBN 978-0-8254-4410-4/$14.99) authors Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart show that “a mother’s natural bent toward imagination doesn’t just wither and die with the
birth of a child. This core component remains part of her intricate design.”

In our social media age of handcrafted children’s parties, artistic Instagram photos, tutorials for renovating old furniture into new treasures and blogs filled with poetry, prose and other expression, clearly a brand-new generation of inspired women is rising up. It is a renaissance born not in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but in kitchens, nurseries and living rooms around the world. However, when Christian women become mothers, they often feel expected to give up their creative pursuits to parent properly.

Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart know that struggle. While they acknowledge some seasons of mothering require setting artistic pursuits aside, they also argue these seasons don't have to last until empty nest time. Instead, mothers with creative gifts are called to use them actively to bless their families, their communities and everyone they encounter. “Life Creative is not a book about raising children,” Speake shares. “This is a book for moms, written by moms and including the stories of other moms . . . on a journey to embrace our God-given design in the midst of motherhood!”

In this book, the creative mom will discover: 
  • Why the world needs her art
  • How this Life Creative begins at home
  • When art can turn a profit     
  • Her part in this modern day Renaissance 

Inspiring and encouraging, Life Creative celebrates the ways mothers can live their art in the midst of mothering. Speake and Stuart share the stories of women such as author and speaker Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, who are balancing their unique talents and giftings with the daily demands of motherhood. By following God's leading to embrace His gifts, renaissance moms can model the joy of obedience for their families.

Life Creative is part visit with a good friend over coffee, part muse of inspiration for the tired heart and a masterclass for start-up home businesses rolled into one.

Learn more about more about Life Creative at www.lifecreative.me, and join the community on Instagram (@lifecreative).

Advance Praise

“Kelli and Wendy understand that, yes, being a mom is about raising your children. But it’s also about fully being the woman God created you to be and expressing His love like only you can. Their words will support, encourage and cheer you on in the art and adventure of mothering.”
~ Holley Gerth, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of You’re Already Amazing

“Never has there been a time like this for creative and artistic women to embrace the high calling of mother-hood and the unique giftings God has given to each of us. There is indeed a movement — a Renaissance — of the creative woman, the creative mom. I’m grateful that Wendy and Kelli have chosen to encourage this generation of women, right now, to embrace their God-given creativity and steward it to the glory of God. This book is right on time.”
~ Ruth Simons, artist and writer, GraceLaced.com

About the authors

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God’s Word. During her career in Hollywood, on shows such as JAG, Melrose Place, Star Trek Voyager and Roswell, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys.

Find Speake online at wendyspeake.com, on Facebook (WendyJSpeake) and on Twitter (@Wendy_Speake).

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. Stuart is the author of three books, including Like a River from Its Course (Kregel Publications, 2016). Stuart is a noted speaker, sharing her encouraging message never to give up on your dreams and passions with mothers who often feel lost in motherhood. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.

Visit Stuart’s website at kellistuart.com or follow her on Facebook (KelliStuartAuthor) and Twitter (@kellistuart).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!

Jesus love me he who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!

Jesus loves me he will stay
Close beside me all the way,
He’s prepared a home for me,
And some day His face I’ll see.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!

Jesus take this heart of mine,
Make it pure and wholly thine;
On the cross you died for me,
I will try to live for Thee.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Any shows you're really into after week 1 of the new TV season?

The new TV season. Not going to lie, I look forward to it more than Christmas (most years).

Thankfully, my new DVR records up to five shows at once because I'm trying to find some new shows to get into in addition to my regular shows coming back on.

I haven't gotten through everything I recorded yet, but I think so far I have watched four new shows. Here is a preview of each of the four and a quick yay or nay on whether I'm going to stick with them. I'm too lazy to give full reviews! ;)

First up, This is Us. This is the show a lot of women gave a chance and a rave review of this week. It's what many are calling their replacement to Parenthood. I personally had a like/hate relationship with Parenthood, but that's another story.

This one is going to be a yes on my continued watching list.

Then, there was Bull. Michael Weatherly left his role as DiNozzo on NCIS for his own show as a jury consultant.

I don't have a real opinion yet. We'll give it a little longer. By the way, I don't have an opinion on the replacement special agents on NCIS yet either.

Tonight after going out to dinner with Angie, she hung out in my craft room while I worked on some projects and we watched two new shows.

First, Pitch. I'm going to write a review of it to go up on www.FictionAddict.com.

I am interested to see where the show goes, but I have a feeling it won't last long.

Then, we watched Designated Survivor.

This one is going to go off the list quickly. Too much drama. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this is the kind of show that gives radicals ideas. I can only watch so many of these kinds of shows. I tend to do other things while watching TV, and I don't like to concentrate so much to keep up with what's going on.

Friday, September 23, 2016

See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey


Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? 

Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you're automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don't miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus sign up for a free two-week trial of 

Odyssey Adventure Club!


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Jesus and the Beanstalk

Get ready to topple the giants in your life with the help of Lori Stanley Roeleveld’s new book, Jesus and the Beanstalk. Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith. Discover an unyielding strength when you tap the power of a God who is stronger than any beanstalk and bigger than your biggest giants.


(Abingdon Press, September 2016)
What if a fairy tale and ten Bible verses could free you to live an effective, fruitful life in Christ?
We live in unsettling, challenging times. Everywhere we look, we see giant problems: giant obstacles to sharing faith, giant barriers to peaceful lives, giant strongholds of fear. But what if you knew eight small secrets to unlocking a strength big enough to overcome whatever obstacle life may bring?
Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith:
—Affection for others
In this creative, refreshing perspective on spiritual growth, you will discover an unyielding strength when you tap the power of a God who is stronger than any beanstalk and bigger than your biggest giants.

Lori Stanley Roeleveld


Lori Stanley Roeleveld is the author of  Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus) and Red Pen Redemption. Her blog, LoriRoeleveld.com, was voted Top 100 Christian Blogs by RedeemingGod.com and has enjoyed over 1.5 million views. Lori lives in Hope Valley, RI.
Find out more about Lori Stanley at https://loriroeleveld.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Survivor: A sign of my age

I am glad that the new TV season has started this week, but I am already behind on the DVR. One thing I have watched is the premiere of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X.

Yes, by the way, people still do watch that. They must for it to have been on for 33 seasons.

Simply watching the first couple of minutes before the theme music played confirmed something for me: I am old. All the Millennials annoyed me.

You'll get a taste of that here.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is your house in need of a Total Family Makeover?

New Book Offers Hope for Overwhelmed Parents

Author and Bible Teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides

practical steps to making disciples at home.

In a culture where we’re all under the public eye, from everyday scrutiny on Facebook and the school pickup line, to media stories of affluenza teens and zoo trips gone wrong, the pressure to be a perfect parent is high, especially for Christians. Fortunately, God doesn’t demand parents to be perfect or to raise perfect children; instead He calls for faithfulness to Him. Christian parents are instructed to train and lead their children to Jesus, but kids are not a parenting report card. That truth can give the freedom to parent with love and patience, trusting God to do the rest. Many parents desire that kind of relationship with their children, but don’t know where to begin. In Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home (Abingdon Press/ September 20, 2016/ISBN 978-1501820656/$16.99), Melissa Spoelstra gives parents easy-to-follow steps to help disciple their children to be true Jesus followers.

Often parents long to help their children grow deep, intimate relationships with God but are overwhelmed at the enormity of the task. Spoelstra gives practical steps that build upon one another to give parents a proverbial path to run on, freeing them from decision paralysis and enabling them to take solid steps toward growth alongside their children. Total Family Makeover focuses first on the state of the parents’ hearts. Using the analogy of an oxygen mask on an airplane, she encourages parents first to put on their own spiritual “oxygen mask” before attempting to help their children.

“God calls us to answer our kids’ questions, train them and lovingly discipline them without exasperating them. So when they obey, that must mean we are succeeding; and when they disobey, we’ve missed the mark. Right?” Spoelstra asks. “Wrong. I’ve come to understand and embrace something profound. God modeled perfect parenting. He walked in the garden in close relationship with Adam and Eve. He clearly trained them, giving instructions about which tree was off-limits. Even though he loved his children perfectly, they still disobeyed. God continues to discipline, instruct, and walk with his children. But he doesn’t grade himself according to his children’s successes and failures. Neither should we.”

Total Family Makeover walks parents through building life-long, life-giving spiritual habits with their children by teaching them how to:

·   Practice spending time in prayer
·   Read God’s Word
·   Grow through mentoring
·   Find community in the church
·   Serve others
·   Take time to rest
·   Giving back to God
·   Sharing their faith

The innovative structure of Total Family Makeover takes parents through each spiritual discipline by first helping them model it in their own lives, followed by a section called “A Practical Approach” in which Spoelstra gives detailed, step-by-step ideas to help parents implement the principles they’ve just learned. Each one builds upon the last, giving a deep, well-rounded approach to moving beyond behavior to real discipleship.

Discipleship and spiritual growth are rarely easy, but they don’t have to be complicated. With Total Family Makeover, parents can be equipped to build meaningful family memories while investing in the eternal well-being of their children.

Total Family Makeover is a recipient of a Gold Award from the Mom’s Choice Awards for excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.

Advance Praise

“We parents are so busy devouring books on how to get our kids on elite sports teams or into the best schools for their future that we might be missing establishing the core values they will need to literally survive. This practical handbook for busy parents offers easy steps we can do today to ensure a better tomorrow for our children. Melissa writes with a practical no-nonsense approach that I find relatable and refreshing. It’s a ‘don’t miss’ book for any household!”
~ Kerri Pomarolli, comedian, actress and author of Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss

“Do you want your children to love Jesus and follow Him forever? While there are no magic formulas, in the Bible God gives you specific things you can do toward the mission of impressing the hearts of your kids with a love for God. This book is full of those biblical principles and action steps! You will come away with simple but powerful practices that will bless your family for generations to come.”
~ Dr. Rob Rienow, founder Visionary Family Ministries

“So many of us moms are overwhelmed by our daily responsibilities, and intimidated by the idea of teaching our children about Jesus and the Bible. Melissa encourages us to be confident and intentional in our training, and to be thankful for all our mommy experiences. Through her fun family stories, she shares practical and creative ways to give our children the knowledge of God’s love, each day.” 
~ Gina San Martin, MOPS Discussion Group Leader/Assistant Coordinator, Dublin, OH

About the author

Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She has a deep, abiding passion for studying God’s word and teaching others to do the same.

Spoelstra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree (released in August), Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, and Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible studies and Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home book (all available from Abingdon Press at www.abingdonpress.com/melissaspoelstra).

As a parent, Spoelstra has struggled in the past with knowing how to help her kids love and follow Jesus in a world that is pulling them in many directions. Total Family Makeover was born from her own biblical studies and experiences with her children. Spoelstra wants to inspire parents to keep pursuing Jesus and implementing ideas to help their kids develop their own relationships with Him.

Spoelstra describes herself as a small-town girl from East Texas, but now resides Dublin, Ohio, with her church planter/pastor husband of 20 years and their four children.

To keep up with Melissa Spoelstra, visit melissaspoelstra.com. You can also follow her on Facebook (AuthorMelissaSpolestra) and Twitter (@MelSpoelstra).

Monday, September 19, 2016

I may have to move to Arlington

Last weekend at Wurstfest, we were next to a new vendor who was just starting to do shows. We were trying to fill her in on what kind of events to do -- and what not to do. Being there for hours upon hours... something like 10 hours... we talked a lot and got on the subject of Ranger games. The company she works for has season tickets, and she offered us a set.

We could have gone on a weeknight, but we decided it would be more convenient to go on a Sunday afternoon. That was not our best choice. It's still hot here in Texas. Something like 95* hot.

My arms are sunburned, but not as bad as I expected given that we forgot the sunscreen. I expected much worse. However, I sweated more than I have ever sweated while doing nothing more than sitting still in my life.

I'll tell you how bad it was, we wouldn't leave our seats because the seats were so hot from the sun, we didn't want to get up the seats we had adjusted to in order to sit on the seat after it warmed up again. The back of the seat would burn you.

Given the Rangers are first in the division and soon to be in the playoffs, you would have thought they were basement dwellers by the size of the Sunday afternoon crowd. Anyone in the upper deck were in the top 6 rows in the shade. Even the bottom tier of seating was mostly empty, especially along the third base line and left field. Anyone on that side of the field was up under the shade. The only full sections were in the Home Run Porch where other fans were also standing behind the stands.

Right now, there is campaigning for the city of Arlington to agree to a tax increase to build a new stadium with a retractable roof --- and air conditioning. I think I should move to Arlington just to vote YES to the new stadium. Anyone who has ever visited Minute Maid in Houston can appreciate air conditioned baseball in Texas in the summer.

We were 11 rows off the field right down the first base line. We had foul balls whizz right by us. One bounced in the row in front of me, but it was too fast for me to snag it. For that reason, it was worth the trip. Best parking ever too. We parked super close and had no problem getting out of the lot. Because no one was there.

I did get some good shots with Mom's camera that I may claim as my own.

Elvis Andrus watches a home run ball fly out.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Books of the New Testament

Books of the New Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Acts and the Letters to the Romans
First and Second Corinthians,
Galatians and Ephesians

Philippians, Colossians
First and Second Thessalonians
First and Second Timothy,
Titus and Philemon

Hebrews, James
First and Second Peter
First and Second and Third John

Jude and Revelation