Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jesus Loves Me

To spread videos over Sundays for a month, the Wednesday night I taught, we made a couple of extras. We obviously didn't do all the verses this time around!

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 20, 2014

The old maid and her old lady hoarder hobby - with product reviews

I may have to make myself some shopping bags so that I don't have to bring home those awful plastic bags from Walmart. It's not that I'm necessarily environmentally conscious, but I hate that I have them laying around. Until I stuffed some in the closet this morning, I had three bags worth of yarn sitting around my chair in the living room. I had a different project started or ready to start in each one.

Three projects going all for different people. (I should be working on one instead of up at the computer on a Saturday.)

It sort of looks like a yarn hoarder lives here.

If I could only get some made up, I could go somewhere and sell them. I have enough yarn in the closet. What's worse, is I'm buying other supplies too.

Last weekend, I finished two "chemo hats" for my grandmother. For one, I had to buy a bigger hook for the super bulky yarn. Walmart was out of the one size I needed by itself, so I had to buy a package of three. Thankfully the pack was only $3-4.

I also bought some tags to put in my creations. The stupid thing about the tags is that you have to sew them in. They need to be iron on! Needle and thread stitching tags on is stupid! This is especially true when you have to take them off and put them back on another way so that if your grandmother wants to wear the cap flipped down and wants the tag to show right side up on the back. I guess showing your tags is a new fashion statement. I guess she just thought the tag was cute.

I had been curious about buying a crochet hook with a tip that lights up so that maybe I don't have to sit in one certain spot in my living room with enough light to crochet.

I was looking to get my Amazon order up to $35 for free shipping, and I would rather buy something else to get my order up to $35 than to pay for shipping. (Senseless to some, completely rational to others.) I decided to order one.

I hate it. I tried using it I have started a blanket for a friend, but it was NOT the size it said it was. It's at least two sizes bigger than marked. I can't use it on this project because I can't keep the tension the same and keep it a square. I wasn't able to get in a rhythm because the yarn slid on the needle funny too.

Most of the reviews on Amazon were very positive as I actually look at them now. The people that didn't like it had the two gripes above that I did.

As I wrote on my Amazon review, I had another problem too...

"First of all, I can't get past the fact that the shape of the handle looks like a pregnancy test. No joke. It looks like a pregnancy test with a light up tip at the end."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Elisabeth Gifford shares the Gaelic myth of selkies and mermaids

 An interview with Elisabeth Gifford,
Author of The Sea House

What happens when you bring the truth of who you are and where you’ve been into the light? In her impressive debut novel, The Sea House (St. Martin’s Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 978-1250043344/$25.99), author Elisabeth Gifford introduces readers to characters who are forced to dig up the pain and secrets of their past in order to let the fresh air of faith and grace purify and heal the broken places in their heart.

Gifford was inspired to write The Sea House after coming across a letter in The Times archives from 1809, in which a Scottish schoolmaster claimed to have spotted a mermaid. Weaving the ancient Gaelic myth of the selkies into her story, she has created a sweeping tale of hope and redemption that is an ode to the healing readers can find when they acknowledge the truth about themselves.

Q: Your new release, The Sea House, is a fascinating historical mystery that was born out of a letter you found from an old edition of The Times. Can you tell us about the letter?

The Sea House is based on a real letter written to The Times newspaper in 1809 by a Scottish schoolmaster, reporting a mermaid sighting. There were lots of mermaid sightings up to 200 years ago around Scotland and even a recorded mermaid funeral in the islands. There were also persistent legends of selkies, seals who could take off their sealskins on land to become human. I thought these were simply old fairy tales from a more credulous time, but it may be that these sightings and legends were connected to something very real. For thousands of years the native Sea Sami used to kayak down to Scotland from Norway using Eskimo technology. Their sealskin kayaks would become waterlogged after a few hours and lie just below the sea surface looking like a wavering tail. On land, they removed their sealskin jackets and became human — just as described in the legend of the selkies. Some must have married locals and stayed on the islands, giving rise to certain families such as the MacOdrums, who were said to have come from the seal people.

It’s a theory that’s hard to prove, as the Sea Sami tribe was forcibly assimilated into Norwegian culture 200 years ago and disappeared — at exactly the same time the mermaid sightings stopped. The only evidence we have left is The Times mermaid letter, a kayak held in Aberdeen museum with Norwegian pine struts inside instead of the usual Eskimo baleen and of course the old legends of mermaids and seal men.

Q: One major theme in the book is the power of acknowledging and telling your story. Why do you think this is such an important part of finding personal healing?

You meet people who have had terrible childhoods yet still emerged loving and positive people. Other people become very bitter about relatively common hurts. I wanted to look at what makes the difference. My father was a neglected orphan, and I saw how his faith gave him the means to remain a very contented, loving and patient father and pastor. The way we see our history and tell our story affects how we live.

I read Talking of Love on the Edge of the Precipice, which is known as “the book that healed France.” Boris Cyrulnik, the author, was Jewish and as a child was left hidden and neglected in a farm loft for years during World War II. He also lost all his family. Now he helps trauma victims retell their sad stories in terms of a bigger arc that includes a source of love and allows their story to end in hope. For Christians, we have the option of rewriting our stories around the extravagant love shown to us on the cross, if we choose to.

Q: One character in the book is a woman in the process of building her dream home with her husband. However, a discovery buried under their house mars her perfect plans, causing her to confront her painful past. In what way is her discovery a metaphor?

The baby buried beneath the house was inspired by a real case of a baby discovered beneath a croft house in Orkney. It is a metaphor for the way Ruth has to acknowledge her past, just as she needs to understand why the child is there in her home. I also wanted to convey to the reader the kind of physical fear people sometimes experience when coping with the effects of poorly understood or unacknowledged trauma, as well as showing there is a way to get beyond that fear. It’s really up to the reader to work out what they think is the truth behind the story. A story is a drama and is all about the choices people make. The metaphors and similes have to be earned in the story and come naturally. In a way, a story itself is a kind of life metaphor.

Q: In The Sea House, we also meet a vicar who must confront his own ideas about his relationship with God. What lessons about faith can we learn from his spiritual journey?

In classic fairy stories, the hero works out how to win the princess and is pretty pleased with himself. Then about halfway through the story, it all goes wrong, and what used to work isn’t enough. At this point the hero has to go deep into his character to save the day.

While Alexander says he believes in grace, he really believes in a formula where his particular failures cannot be forgiven. So he tries incredibly hard to become a better person. Only after he sees how miserably he fails as a pastor does he let go and accept the mystery of grace.  In many ways, he follows a pretty common Christian path from an early faith in our ability to “become good” to a mature and knocked-about faith relying on grace and love.

Q: What parallels can be drawn between the storyline of The Sea House and the Gospel message?

The thing that hit me when I began writing was the image of a seal man unable ever to return home. This mirrored how, for many people, something happens that means they can’t find a home for the person they are. It’s the same for Moira, who gets evicted from her village in the clearances, and with Ruth in the cold children’s home. They represent the longing for a true home that often sets people on their way to a faith.

It’s also interesting to note that a lot of the Gospel teaching is in the form of stories. Stories show us a lot about how choices pan out, about character and about what is of real value. In The Sea House, Ruth and Alex have to battle to work out what is true and what is not true and then choose what they will believe about who they are and where home is. We all live by stories about how the world is. Not all of them are true — but some are, and they may be the ones that sound quite unlikely at first!

Q: The characters in The Sea House discover much of their redemption comes from reconnecting with their personal pasts and their family history. Why do you think this is so important?

I suppose there’s a human impulse to invent a better self so other people, and even God, will like us more and not turn away from us. That can lead to us living two different lives. In some cases, prominent Christians actually have complete double lives. Jesus came to a very real and ordinary world, and that’s where God meets us. He sees all of us and doesn’t turn away. Facing up to who we are and where we came from is a form of accountability, and the “real you” is the only person who can form genuine relationships and be happy and fulfilled. And that is only if we are willing to accept the grace and love of others.

Q: This is your debut novel, but you’ve been a writer for some time and have an M.A. in creative writing. What is your favorite part of the fiction-writing process?

It’s very exciting when you find the voice for a new character and they begin to live on the page. They can become quite opinionated about the plot. I also get really excited by story structure and the way it gives the reader a chance to live other lives and develop insight and empathy. I also love evoking real places and their physical impact, so writing about the very beautiful Hebrides was pure pleasure.

Q: The Sea House is rich in history and Gaelic myth. What kind of research did you do in preparation to write the novel?

It started when my family fell in love with the beautiful and remote Hebridean islands in North Scotland. I was feeling very stressed at the time, and when we saw an advertisement for a white cottage on a remote island, we decided to rent it. We became hooked on the area’s quiet beauty and its continuity with old ways, customs and legends. The Gaelic Outer Hebrides are something of a time capsule where the old crofting ways and Gaelic still cling on. While we were there, I talked to Harris artist Willie Fulton, who shared his stories of living in a crofting village throughout the past half-century and the remarkable people there. I read all of the books I could get my hands on about the time period and met with John MacAulay, who wrote Seal Folk and Ocean Paddlers, an historical account about what really lies behind the seal people legends. He gave me permission to use his research in the novel. In the islands the past always feels very present.

Q: Have you always had a fascination with mermaids?

I initially became interested in the selkie and seal people myths when I heard the children’s story from my daughter while we were in Harris. Standing on a remote island shore on a deserted beach facing the Atlantic, it seemed very possible a seal man might appear.  The mermaid legends were first told in Gaelic, legends going back thousands of years, but they are still told and sung today, especially on Uist island. The folk singer Julie Fowlis, who sang the Gaelic songs on Disney’s Brave soundtrack, came to the Glasgow book launch and sang a song taught to her on her island of Uist. That song was written more than 200 years ago by John MacOdrum, who was said to be a seal man’s descendent. Due to the clearances where villagers were evicted from the land, the MacOdrum clan descendants are now only found in the US and Canada. I’ve been in contact with some of them.

Q: What is the message you hope readers walk away with after they close the covers of The Sea House?

Hope . . . and the power of love and grace. We don’t just get to choose how we tell our past stories, but we can also choose how our future story will be written.

To keep up with Elisabeth Gifford, visit, become a fan on Facebook (ElisabethGiffordAuthor) or follow her on Pinterest (LizGifford355).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Enter the Treasury of Bible Stories Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway!

Part of the Magnificent Tales series, Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times will delight children ages 4–8 with rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.

Enter the Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway 9/15 – 10/12.

Treasury of Bible Stories Kelly Pulley

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 12th. Winner will be announced October 13th at Kelly's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Kelly's blog on the 13th to see if you won!

Treasury of Bible Stories, Kelly Pulley


Magnificent Tale Collection
(David C. Cook, September 2014)
Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.
Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.

Kelly Pulley


Kelly Pulley works from his middle Tennessee home writing and illustrating children’s picture books, most recently “Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn” and “The Cycling Wangdoos.” He is best known for illustrating dozens of books in the Beginner’s Bible series, including “The Beginner’s Bible” (over 1.25 million copies sold).
Find out more about Kelly at

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trio of award-winning authors unite for holiday-themed World War II-era love stories

Three of the most beloved Christian authors of World War II-era fiction have come together to gift their readers with the new Christmas release, Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook Press/September 16, 2014/ISBN: 978-1601426482/$14.99), a collection of three Christmas novellas.

Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin invite readers to turn back the clock to days gone by as they listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow and get to know the Turner family. Each of the three siblings is forging their own paths in their own love story filled with the wonder of Christmas. Hailing from the heart of America in Lafayette, Indiana, these characters will never be the same as the reality of America’s involvement in World War II hits incredibly close to home.

The collaboration was unique and enjoyable for the writing trio. “We started in the brainstorming phase, throwing out character and family ideas and making them mesh,” explains Sundin. “The collaboration was challenging since our stories are more tightly connected than in most novella collections, but it was a lot of fun.” 

In Putman’s White Christmas, college student Abigail Turner loses a beau to the war and is skittish about romance, until a young man with a serious problem needs her help. Pete Turner, a former fighter pilot in Sundin’s Ill Be Home for Christmas, is trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. In Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner (or “Merry” to those who know her best) is using her skills as a combat nurse in the Netherlands. She’ll have to face the deepest kind of betrayal a world away from her family, but that could be precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The unsettled World War II era may not at first glance seem like a backdrop for love to flourish. “Our purpose is to remind readers of the importance of family, of home, and of togetherness, Goyer reveals. Even in a time of war we can remain strong because of the love of God and the love of those we serve.  

Will the Turner family be able to absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for their futures even in such a tumultuous time? “There’s a freshness and sense of wonder to Christmas,” Putman says. “The idea that God would send His Son to earth as a newborn is an incredibly humbling thought. Combine that with great music, tradition and the love of family, and it becomes a magical time where almost anything seems possible.”

Readers will be able to feel the crunch of newly fallen snow under their feet as they get caught up in these stories of love and loss set against one of the most pivotal times in world history. 

Advance Praise

“Goyer, Putman and Sundin bring us a collection that is a heartwarming mix of romance, inspiration, courage and history set during WWII over several Christmases. The authors capture this time with nostalgia and tenderness. Expert pacing, beautiful language and brilliant description are the highlights of this collection that will tug at the hearts of readers.”

~ RT Book Reviews

“These are three wonderful Christmas stories filled with period details that1940s fans are sure to love and with characters whom readers will remember long after they close the cover. I laughed and cried with each new story. All three were wonderfully woven together to make a cohesive whole. Sarah Sundin, Cara Putman and Tricia Goyer are sure to make your Christmas a little brighter.”

~ Liz Tolsma, author of A Log Cabin Christmas Collection

Where Treetops Glisten is a hometown World War II book that captures your heart with its charm. It made me wish I could experience Christmas in that era. Highly recommended!”

~ Colleen Coble, author of Seagrass Pier

About the Authors

Tricia Goyer is the bestselling author of more than 45 books, including fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. A popular blogger, Goyer contributes to a number of homeschooling and Christian parenting sites. She and her husband, John, live in Little Rock, AR, and are the parents of six.

Cara Putman, the award-winning author of 19 books, including Shadowed by Grace, graduated high school at 16, graduated college at 20 and completed her law degree at 27. She is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University and also practices law. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.
Learn more about the authors!

Tricia Goyer

Cara Putman

Sarah Sundin

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The latest Quilts of Love release - Hidden in the Stars - out today!

Dealing with the loss of a dream

Robin Caroll’s new book tells of a young athlete robbed of everything she holds dear

Where do you turn when a dream you’ve cherished in your heart for your entire life is completely shattered? In her new release, Hidden in the Stars (Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press/September 16, 2014/ISBN:9781426773600/$13.99), Robin Caroll introduces us to a young woman who must find the strength to continue living after losing everything she cares about.

At 21 years old, Sophia Montgomery has been working toward the goal of becoming an Olympic gymnast since she was a young girl, but everything changes one night when she is attacked in her mother’s home. Her attacker leaves her with career-ending injuries and the inability to speak. Most tragically, he snuffs out her beloved mother’s life. Reeling from the loss of her mother and her dreams, Sophia has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s invitation to come and live in their family home.

Sophia’s sense of self has always been wrapped up in her goals and aspirations, so now she is left wondering just who she is. “So often we begin to believe our dreams define who we are,” Caroll says. “What we do becomes our identifier. I wanted to portray a character who had worked hard for something all her life, something her mother, who had once held a prestigious role in the Russian ballet, had sacrificed much to help her attain, yet she had it snatched away with no hope of reclaiming it. I think we (myself included) sometimes need to realize we are, first and foremost, a child of God and not a dream or a goal.”

Meanwhile, the killer is still on the loose, and detective Julian Frazier is hard at work trying to crack the case. Julian goes back and forth between being attracted to and frustrated by Sophia, who is young, beautiful and afraid, but who can’t offer much to the case due to the loss of her voice. Caroll admits the injury was written as a thinly veiled metaphor. “When we’re attacked, physically, mentally or spiritually, we often feel we aren’t heard . . . that our cries for help fall on deaf ears.”

Detective Frazier is forced to hide his feelings as mere concern for a trauma victim and turns his laser focus on finding the killer. Little do they know, though, that the key to solving the case might be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s special quilt, made from some of her most exquisite ballet costumes. Who will finally realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer — still at large — silence her forever?

Caroll hopes readers of Hidden in the Stars will not only be entertained by this murder mystery, threaded with themes of family ties and sacrifice, but that they will also walk away from the book reminded that what others might mean for evil in our lives, God can use for good.
The premise of the Quilts of Love series is that quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances, as well as Amish fiction, women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, readers are drawn into the endearing characters and touched by their stories.

A special tradition the Quilts of Love authors have instituted with each release is the donation of a quilt to their chosen charity or individual in need. Robin Caroll will be giving her quilt to the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute. For more than 35 years, CARTI has been bringing the fight to cancer with leading edge technology and compassionate hearts, offering comprehensive cancer treatments to patients throughout Arkansas. As the largest private cancer clinic in Arkansas, CARTI provides a wide range of services that treat more than just cancer, believing very strongly in caring for the patient as a whole – including the physical, emotional and financial well-being of each patient.

CARTI will be accepting the quilt to auction in their annual fundraiser, Festival of Trees. “I chose CARTI because my mother-in-law was under their care during her battle with cancer, and they were such a blessing to my husband’s family during such an emotional time,” Caroll explains. “The appreciation for how CARTI stepped in and oversaw everything and assisted the family will never be forgotten.”

Keep up with the Quilts of Love series online at: ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, visit her online home at She is also active on Facebook and Twitter. Join the author on October 7 at 8:00 PM EDT for the “Fall into Fall” Quilts of Love Facebook party.

Advance Praise for Hidden in the Stars

“Caroll is one of my favorite authors. She grabs you from the first page and never lets go. Hidden in the Stars is her best novel yet, and the heart-pounding suspense plot kept me guessing all the way through. I'll be recommending this to everyone!”
~ Colleen Coble, author of Seagrass Pier and the Hope Beach series

“Caroll has written an engaging whodunit, with scenes that unfold expertly and keep the action moving and suspense alive. And though the romance plot line is sweetly written, the characters’ faith journeys are also deeply explored. Fans of suspense will be pleased with this light but entertaining read.”
            ~ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. Her books have been named finalists in contests such as the Carol Awards, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and Book of the Year. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. An avid reader herself, she loves hearing from and chatting with other readers.

When she isn’t writing, Caroll spends time with her husband of more than 20 years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, visit her online home at She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pre-order @MaxLucado’s BEFORE AMEN and receive a FREE book

Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. In Before Amen, best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts, and confidence even for prayer wimps. Let the conversation begin.

Be sure to enter the Before Amen iPad Mini giveaway. AND if you pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29, you'll receive a FREE ebook copy of Max’s best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Before Amen by Max Lucado
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. Winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 30th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to their blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Before Amen Hi Res cover


(Thomas Nelson, September 2014)
Pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29 and receive a FREE ebook copy of Max’s best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.
We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.
Max Lucado


More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.
Find out more about Max's books at

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Last week, the kids decided they wanted to make two videos, so I saved one to share this week! Maybe if I make a couple each Sunday and each Wednesday of the month, I can share one every Sunday!

I looked extra hard to find the other verses to this song. They weren't original by the song writer, Mary Rice Hopkins, but Paige and Peyton told me about them last year when they sang them at camp. 

Hippopotamus Song

In the beginning, God made the sea
And the forest filled with trees
He made the mountains up so high
And on the top he placed the sky

God’s fingerprints are everywhere
Just to show how much He cares
But in between He had loads of fun
He made a hippo who weighs a ton.

Hip-hip-hooray! God made all of us.
Hip-hip-hooray! God made all of us.

Creation sings of His praise,
The sparrow and the tiny babe.
We can sing and say, “well done.”
But some things He just made for fun!


In the end He had lots of fun.
He made a kangaroo that jumps and runs.
Hip-hip-hurray God made me and you.
Hip-hip-hurray God made me and you.

In the end He had lots of fun.
He made a manatee just for fun.
Hip-hip-hurray God made you and me.

Hip-hip-hurray God made you and me.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

All it needs is a rainbow!

A big thank you to Paige and Peyton who helped me get it started! I just know one of these days Rachel is going to tell me ENOUGH! A huge thank you to her for helping me at all hours for many days. 

I just need the rainbow to get us through the Noah stories, then we'll move to the other side of the room. More stories need to fit in a smaller area. They will be smaller scale, for sure.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sarah Sundin answers questions about her latest release, In Perfect Time

An interview with Sarah Sundin,
Author of In Perfect Time

When you can’t get over the mistakes of your past, it’s nearly impossible to accept the gifts of the present. In her final installment in the Wings of the Nightingale series, In Perfect Time (Revell/August 1, 2014/ISBN: 978-0800720834/$14.99), Sarah Sundin introduces readers to two characters entrenched in the perils of World War II who are forced to confront their inability to receive the love and grace of God.

Q: All of your books are set during World War II — what is it about that era that draws you in?

It was a time of such intensity, of great upheaval and of great unity, a time that showed humanity at its most cruel and depraved — and at its most noble and heroic. Ordinary men stepped out of their ordinary lives and discovered they could do extraordinary things. Women tried on exciting new roles, learned new things about themselves — and yet remained ladies. It was a time of drama, daring and romance.

Q: What is the overall spiritual theme or message in this new book, In Perfect Time?

Both Kay and Roger feel they don’t deserve God’s gifts. Kay feels unworthy of God’s love and His mercy. While Roger has accepted God’s forgiveness, deep inside he doesn’t believe he deserves God’s grace, His blessings, His gifts. Both Kay and Roger learn that God doesn’t give to us because we’re good, but because He’s good. They can’t earn His gifts — and they should wholeheartedly embrace the gifts He gives.

Q: Was there a particular Scripture verse that inspired you as you wrote this book?

Although I never quoted it in the novel, a verse that underlies so much of this story is James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” Another important theme verse that is quoted in the novel and is crucial for both Kay and Roger is Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Q: Your main character, Kay, is actually a bit of a flirt, so much so that it’s impacting her career as a nurse. What drives her to seek out so much male attention?

A bit? She’s an extreme flirt! Throughout the course of the novel, Kay reveals exactly what makes her tick. For Kay, collecting men’s hearts gives her a sense of control and also serves as a form of rebellion against her overbearing father.

Q: Readers will get a sense she is also very wary of making any sort of commitment to a man. What is the basis for this fear? Do you think single women in our culture today will be able to identify with her feelings?

Women — and men — can have many reasons for avoiding commitment, such as deep hurts from past relationships or a history of abuse. For Kay, it boils down to a fear of losing control, of not being in charge. I see this more and more frequently nowadays. Women value their independence and strength, and sometimes men and relationships are seen as a threat or a hindrance to what they’ve built. I think a lot of women will relate to Kay.

Q: In the book we see a tension between those who have faith and those do not; why are people sometimes so sensitive when their friends try to talk about their faith?

Many people have been hurt by bad experiences at churches or with believing friends or family members, but for many people it once again comes down to the issue of control. Christianity requires surrender to God—to His teachings, His ways, and His will. That’s unacceptable to a lot of people.

Q: What can we learn from Kay’s relationships that we can apply to our own friendships with non-Christians?

Early in the story, Kay describes how she sees people of faith: “As far as Kay could see, religious people came in three varieties. Some held a can of white paint and wanted to slather it all over her. Some, like Mellie Blake, offered the paint can but didn’t get huffy when Kay turned it down. And some acted as if she held a can of black paint and wanted to slather it all over him.”

When Christians run into trouble is when we treat non-Christians as projects to be painted white or as evils with black paint to be avoided. I like Mellie’s approach with Kay the best. Throughout the Wings of the Nightingale series, Mellie and Kay have been good — if odd — friends. Mellie rightly understands that something in Kay’s past has made her skittish about God. She doesn’t hide her faith or apologize for it, and she offers occasional advice or comments — but she respects Kay and backs down when Kay doesn’t want to hear it. As a result, after almost two years of friendship, when Kay has questions about God, Mellie is the person she turns to.

Q: You write in this book about the tensions that can exist between a father and daughter. How can that influence how a woman views God? Other men?

It’s often said that our impression of our heavenly Father is strongly influenced by our earthly fathers. We tend to subconsciously transfer the strengths and weaknesses of our earthly dads onto the Lord. Unlike God, even the most loving dads have weaknesses that can skew the child’s impression of the Lord. When the earthly dad is cold or cruel or abusive, the child can be leery of God. For Kay, this is a serious problem, one she isn’t even aware of. And awareness is the cure. We must recognize this natural human tendency, then carefully extract the negative traits we’ve unwittingly placed on our perfect God. Immersing ourselves in the Bible and in prayer shows us the truths of who God actually is.

Q: The two main characters connect over difficult pasts. How would you encourage readers to allow God to use their pasts to minister to others?

This is one of my favorite parts of the story. Roger is ashamed of his past and is terrified history could repeat itself. He’s built walls to protect himself from temptation, and he guards his secret past closely. Although he tries to avoid Kay, he slowly sees her hurt and realizes his story might be just what she needs to hear. Revealing his past to her is painful, but it benefits Kay — and ultimately benefits Roger too as he wrestles with the truths he still needs to learn.

Bad things have happened to all of us, and we’ve all done bad things. Rather than live in regret, I choose to use those negative experiences to help others. Only through my hurts can I comfort the hurting. Only through my shame can I help someone burdened by shame. Only through my sins can I point the sinner to forgiveness. As King David says in Psalm 51:11-12, in his confession after his sin with Bathsheba, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”

Q: This is the final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series. Is it sad for you when you complete a series as it is for some readers?

Absolutely! The initial story ideas came to me in 2006, so I’ve been hanging around with my Nightingales for many years, getting to know them and developing their stories. Now those stories are told, and yes, I’m sad. Writing the final chapter of In Perfect Time was an act of bittersweet mourning for me. I still miss my character friends from Wings of Glory, my first series — even as I’m making new friends with the characters from Waves of Freedom, my upcoming series.

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