Friday, November 30, 2018

Harvesting my crop before I have frozen lemonade

My plants have already been covered with frost clothes since the temperature has dipped at night. However, I had to pull it back and go ahead and pick some of my lemons before I have frozen lemons.


This year's crop brought 14 lemons. I'll give mom a few, but I doubt either of us will do more than put them in a bowl as decoration. They are kind of sour for lemonade. I grow them just because I like to claim to grow stuff like lemons. 

That's not as cool as growing pineapples, but part of my pineapple plants froze last winter, so the plants that are left aren't mature enough. 


Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Marriage Mentor: A book truly written with the husband and wife in mind

I've been working with Rhonda and Steve Stoppe on their new book, The Marriage Mentor. This is not your average marriage book! The Stoppes have written a book that can help couples in a real way. They believe that every couple should have (or be) mentors. It helps to talk to another couple who has already walked a particular stage of life and have godly examples of what marriage should be. While the Stoppes are serious about their topic, they present the material in a light-hearted and interesting way. 



In this introduction to The Marriage Mentor (Harvest House Publishers), the Stoppes explain how the book is written with each spouse in mind:

If you’re like most married couples, you are so busy you rarely read through an entire book. And let’s be honest: statistics prove that men aren’t the ones reading marriage help books. So rather than writing a book the wife has to continually nag her husband to sit down and read with her, we’ve broken the book into sections for the wife to read (written by Rhonda) and small sections for husbands to read (written by Steve). Then the two of you can watch a short video online of Steve and Rhonda discussing the main point of each chapter together. (The videos are lighthearted and fun, we promise!)

Imagine if you had a weekly appointment with an older couple who could teach you the secrets to building a happy marriage that will last a lifetime. That’s what you’ll find as you walk with us through the pages of this book. But life gets in the way, and sometimes the immediate needs will drain you and make you think, There’s always tomorrow to work on making my marriage better.

The truth is, for most couples tomorrow never comes. In over 30 years of ministry we have witnessed countless couples who intended to work on their marriages but never made the time—only to later regret the years they wasted.

On the other hand, we have also been delighted to watch numerous couples we’ve counseled flourish. We’ve seen them take the biblical principles laid out in this book seriously, and their marriages reflect joy and happiness like most couples never come to know.

If you’re looking for help for your marriage, we ask you to make a commitment now to keep working your way through this book until you reach the end.

But I’m Not a Reader

Steve and I often meet people who say, “I’d love to read your book, but I’m not a reader.” To which we reply, “You read social media all day long, so we’ve established you’re a reader.” In an attempt to engage with you as the reader, we have written this easy-to-read book that will feel much like you’re interacting with us on social media.

Every chapter is broken down into smaller parts so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by trying to read an entire chapter in one sitting. Keep the book on your nightstand, read one or two subsections at a time, and keep moving forward at a pace that works for you as a couple. We know you’ll be glad if you do this.

Man to Man

Gentlemen, in each chapter the section for husbands to read is printed in gray so you can’t miss it. And the section is small so you can even take a picture of it with your phone and read it on break at work.

From a Husband’s Perspective

Ladies, at the close of each chapter, Steve has written a section for the wives called “From a Husband’s Perspective.” As you read what he says, you will not only glean a man’s perspective but also insights from
Steve’s many years as a pastor and biblical marriage counselor. Women tell us their husbands are loving what their wives are learning from this section. One husband said to his wife, “That is exactly how I feel. I just never knew how to put it into words.”

From a Wife’s Perspective

Following Steve’s man-to-man discussion with husbands, Rhonda will jump in and give husbands a quick insight from a wife’s perspective.

Thinking It Through and Living It Out

At the end of each chapter you will find discussion questions that will prompt healthy conversations. These will allow you as a couple to study and apply to your marriage the truths you’ve learned. These questions also work well in a group setting should you decide to lead or participate in a small group study through this book.

Marriage Mentor Videos (Free online)

Finally, at the end of each chapter you will be prompted to visit www.RhondaStoppe.com/marriage-mentor to watch a video of Steve and Rhonda discussing each chapter. The videos are short, lighthearted, and fun. So pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle in for a lively chat. You’ll feel like you’re hanging out with friends as we walk you through the biblical principles for marriage outlined in each chapter. The videos of Steve and Rhonda will also be a great resource to show to a small group should you decide to facilitate one.

Now, if you are ready, let’s begin this journey together. I expect we all will become great friends as we help you build a marriage with no regrets—and share with you way too much information about our personal lives. Enter laughing emoji here—LOL.

Visit Rhonda Stoppe’s website www.NoRegretsWoman.com for more resources on love, marriage and parenting. She is also active on YouTube (Rhonda Stoppe No Regrets Woman), Facebook (RhondaStoppeNoRegretsWoman) and on Twitter (@RhondaStoppe).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Should is a dangerous word

I'm Not Crazy—I'm Crazy Busy
Seeking Balance

by Debora M. Coty

excerpted from Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms
(C) 2018 Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing



I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.
Isaiah 41:10 NASB

 
Hey, did you hear about twenty-seven-year-old Amber Miller, who, in her thirty-eighth week of pregnancy, completed the 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon then checked into a hospital to plunk out a healthy baby girl?

Now that’s what I call a mom on the fly!

Well, you and I might not officially run marathons, but we both know our feet fly at a marathoner’s pace most days. So many things we must do; a few things we want to do; and countless things we should do.

You know, should is a dangerous word. It’s a stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver. It ruthlessly inflates the bulk of a mother’s to-do list, often crowding out healthy sanity-essentials with guilt-induced clutter.

“I should go to that parents’ meeting; in a weak moment, I said I’d be treasurer.”

“My mother thinks I should cook a big dinner every night like she did.”

“I really should make time to bake a pie for my new neighbor.”

“Shouldn’t I crochet cute beanies for my kids like Perfect Patti does?”

“I should clean my house so the kids won’t write notes in the dust.”

Our shoulds may be fueled by self-comparisons with friends and neighbors, subtle cultural messages, high expectations imposed on us by church, civic, or family members, or maybe even unrealistic regulations we’ve self-inflicted to become a perfect mother. . .as if that fairy-tale creature really exists.

But as every woman striving to squeeze into last year’s skinny jeans knows, more isn’t always better; sometimes it’s simply overwhelming. You know, we can be whelmed without being overwhelmed. Whelmed is livable; overwhelmed is strangling. We just have to recognize that we truly do have the power to choose which shoulds are potential coulds. . .and then unapologetically embrace the woman our choices make us.

Only then can we clear the choking clutter and take a deep, cleansing, reinvigorating breath. Whew. The pressure is now manageable. 



Once when I was playing baseball with my preschool grandbuddy, Blaine, his mama started filming. Suddenly I couldn’t pitch the ball straight for love nor money. “Whoa! The pressure’s on!” I acknowledged, throwing the ball everywhere but over the plate. Blaine, wise beyond his five years, calmly laid down his bat, reached for an imaginary faucet valve, turned it, and said, “Okay, Mimi. Now the pressure’s off. Play ball!”

Yep, sometimes we need to take the initiative to turn off the pressure valve and just play ball. Here are a few tried-and-true suggestions to stymie the flow:

**Be stress-smart. When you’re slammed into a stress mess, sit yourself down and have a calming cup of your fave hot beverage and a snack (not baby carrots—something satisfying but not too fattening so you don’t add calorie remorse to your stress baggage). Close your eyes. Tune in to Papa God’s loving presence. . . His heartbeat. . . His peace. Slap guilt to the curb when the tyranny of the urgent attacks; you are important. Everything else can wait a few minutes. I promise you the world will not end while you regroup. Unless the kids start a fire in your panty drawer.

**Move to the front. Promote yourself off the back burner. Don’t argue, girl, just do it. You may sacrificially place yourself there routinely, but your Creator doesn’t. You’re a front-burner person to Him. He wants you to enjoy this marvelous gift of life He’s given you, not sludge through it. So it’s time to add a little fun to your day. Write yourself into your schedule for an hour of something you enjoy a minimum of three days a week—walk in the sunshine, bike a woodsy trail, sing, boogie, dig in your garden until you find Papa God there, get your nails done—whatever tingles your toes. Put that beautiful smile back on your face. And speaking of pots on burners. . .

**Avoid BOOP—Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon. BOOP is one of my Coty Near-Facts of Science (theories not yet proven by actual scientific studies but nonetheless known by women to be true). You see, I postulate that women are like pots of oatmeal; at the beginning of the day we simmer—little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly pop. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates and the oatmeal boils higher and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around with a nasty, ugly, sticky mess. The key to avoiding BOOP is to know when to remove the pot from the heat.

**Be a dipstick. The Lord puts only enough fuel in your daily tank for you to arrive safely at the destination He’s routed out for you. All the detours you add will either run you out of gas or land you in a ditch. Check your tank, review your destination, and then engage in the Three Ps: Prioritize, Plan, and Pace yourself.

Readers can connect with Debora M. Coty via her website, deboracoty.com, or on Facebook (AuthorDeboraCoty)Twitter (DeboraCoty) and Instagram (DeboraCoty).


Monday, November 26, 2018

New Growth Press’ Spirit of Giving Youth Book Giveaway

Last week, I shared about books from New Growth Press for the youngest members of the family. Maybe your kids have outgrown that stage and are now preteens or teens.

Books are a great gift for those members of the family who need a break from all the electronics in the house. Actually, that may apply to everyone in the house! Books are a great gift for everyone in the family, by the way!

Even if there aren’t kids in your own house, I’m sure you know some young people who would enjoy these books. Maybe you are a youth leader or teacher with young people on your Christmas list.

This week, New Growth Press is giving away THREE gift boxes of books for tweens and teens. From November 26-December 2, you can enter to win one of three gift boxes of books (retail value of $114).

Click here to enter or scroll down to form below.

Each gift box includes the following titles for youth:

·         The complete Rwendigo Tales series by J. A. Myhre:

Written by J. A. Myhre, a doctor living and working in East Africa, this adventure series teaches readers of all ages important truths about justice, overcoming evil, and the courage to make a difference. The latest release is A Fever, a Flight, and a Fight for the World, a compelling African adventure story that will enthrall eight- to fourteen-year-old youth who love adventure and learning about faraway places. In the exciting fourth and final book in the Rwendigo Tales Series, readers will be inspired by ordinary people who make the extraordinary choice to stand against great evil.

·         Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski

An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background. Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book—a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family’s history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you’ll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions!  


The Biggest Win gives athletes and sports fans of all ages a unique, insider's look into the lives and faith of six Christian NFL players from the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl team. Through the ups and downs of their experiences, author Joshua Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God's Word, genuine Christian discipleship, and sharing their faith. Using their voices and stories, The Biggest Win gives sports-minded readers hope and direction for living out their faith while competing.  See your youth athletes' faith grow as they hear and learn from the amazing stories of these Super Bowl Champions. 


Between Us Girls was written for mothers with daughters between the ages of seven and fourteen. These twenty-six gospel-driven talks are a fun and easy guide for mothers who want to disciple their daughters but don’t know where to start. In each short chapter, moms and daughters read God’s Word, ask one another questions about their thoughts and experiences, get honest about their struggles with sin, brainstorm ways to live out their faith, and build genuine fellowship into their relationship.

(Between Us Guys for dads and sons will be available in May 2019!)

In case you don’t win the prize pack, sign-up for New Growth Press’ e-news at https://newgrowthpress.com/ to receive information about their Countdown to Christmas discounts so that you can order copies. Be sure to follow them on social media as well where they will be sharing daily deals throughout the Christmas season:



Sunday, November 25, 2018

Hippopotamus


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.

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

Chorus

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

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



Saturday, November 24, 2018

I don't usually brand cows at craft shows

This weekend, we're in Cypress and doing our first event sponsored by the FFA.

For the silent auction, I did a cow sign. We also brought a couple of cows, pigs and chickens to be personalized. We did not expect one of our first sales on Saturday morning to be someone buying both cows.

The woman who bought them had them personalized for her and her husband. They turned out well. I just don't usually do cow brands at craft shows.




Friday, November 23, 2018

All around our Cypress booth

One of the things I dream about is booth set-up. Sometimes my dreams are about actual places we set up our booths and some are dreams about places we'll never actually do. 

I dream and plot and plan when something is different one week from another. For example, this weekend we were not only on an end, but were open to an aisle on the back of our booth too. So, we had three open sides. We have certain set-ups when we are on the end vs. in between other booths to take advantage of both sides of our displays whenever possible. Instead of highlighting the sports balls when the customers came in, we wanted the farm animals showing because it was an FFA show. 

I've had some people asking in my Facebook vendor groups about my booth set up and photos, but I haven't really taken any this year. I took several this weekend, but it's hard to put together how the whole thing was arranged.

These panels are are largest displays and we usually have sports on both sides whenever possible. These are a big seller for us, so we try to get as much variety out as possible. I'm always trying to figure out how to get the most on there that I can. There are times when we aren't on an end that this separates our booth in half so we can use both sides. Now, whenever we can, we put it at an end so that we can have a more open booth and not tell people to go around to the other side to pay or explain both sides are our booth.
This lattice was our ball wall until mid-last fall when we got the bigger one. We've brought it back out on the road to be able to hang canvases and other things on. It also gives us room to put some things on the floor underneath. 
I try to start off with this full of canvases, but as they start to sell other things end up on the wall throughout the day. 
It's hard to see what all is going on here. There's Christmas horseshoe decorations, the back of our "jewelry holder" display, our table of plaques misc signs and big decorations hanging from the tent. Mom put that stocking in the right place this time because it sold! I made it out of leftover yarn in those colors, and I thought I would be stuck with it. 
Here in town we have a store called Corsicana Salvage. They buy trucks of unclaimed merchandise and sell it. You never know what they are going to get. Their shipment of MDF plaques and circles sent us down the road of the sports signs and some of our plaques. One day we were in there and they had this IV poles. I had this idea to hang signs from them. Dad worked with my uncle to modify them and add an extra level of hooks. Those two IV poles were the best things we've gotten for our displays. One of them is on the other side of the booth. 
Here's our "plaque table" with some crocheted stuff in the corner. It's really picked over because I haven't had time to crochet. If we are tight on booth space, there are times it doesn't make it out in the booth. That's ironic because starting out, I just wanted to sell a few hats.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Whataburger for Thanksgiving?



Just in case this post comes across as complaining, let me say up front that it is not. I think it's funny.

We sat out this morning, Thanksgiving Day, to head to Cypress for a two-day craft show. We picked this particular event in part as a mini giveaway and part avoiding potential family drama.

The plan was to stop at Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving lunch when we got to Conroe, then check into the hotel in time for Dad to watch the Cowboy game. 

Do you know me and plans?

We are in two different cars so that we have one to run around in without a trailer attached and to also have extra books in case we sell a lot, especially since it's a two-day event.

First planned stop: Buc-ees in Madisonville. Let me just say that you haven't seen anything like Buc-ees on Thanksgiving. If you live outside of Texas and don't know what Buc-ees is, it is a very large gas station and convenience store that boasts "The #1 place for #1" aka the cleanest, best restrooms you could stop at. There's also a gift shop and lots of food options considering what it is. It's a humongous place and everyone on the road coming through stops at Buc-ees. There were a whole lot of people traveling today. Think Walmart on Black Friday morning.

My brother joked about whether or not we were having Thanksgiving lunch at Buc-ees. We should have had Thanksgiving lunch at Buc-ees.

We head back out on the road and get to Conroe where there was no parking at Cracker Barrel and the line was insane. We decided the wait would be too long, and we'd go to the one in Cypress. Hopefully, a little later in the afternoon, the line would be shorter. 

The reasoning made sense.

I do note that Whataburger was open in some town along the way. I was sort of watching for what else might be open.

We make it to Cypress. We get to Cracker Barrel. There are a few people in the rocking chairs out front, but the line doesn't seem incredibly long. We go to put our name in... The wait is three hours. Evidently, everyone put their name on the list, then left for a while. We just left.

"Maybe we can come back to night," Dad throws out there. I knew that wouldn't be too likely.

So, we go to check in at the hotel. Dad's following, but almost gets lost. We keep calling back and forth. I had the GPS on my phone going, but it would only talk out loud when Dad was on the phone for some reason. Like literally, through the Bluetooth.

We get to the hotel and there are a few restaurants in the same connecting parking lots. Like you have to go through the parking lots to get to the hotel.

We all agreed IHOP was off the list. A recent bad experience.

Applebee's was open though. We go in to a fairly empty restaurant where the "host" was fairly obsessed with folding children's menus and putting the crayons in and that's about it. 

We were told the wait was 45 minutes. Huh? Did we hear that right? We sit down in the waiting area. Another family walks in. Yep, heard it right. It's a 45 minute wait. What? 

Turns out that there were only two servers and the kitchen was backed up because most of the staff called in. 

Noticing we would be getting close to kickoff time, and you don't want to mess with Dad planning to watch the Cowboys, we asked the bartender about how long a to-go order would be. We'd order and come back in a little while. We are staying at the hotel back there... They had to find the "To-Go Specialist" and ask her. First of all, they have a To-Go Specialist and she actually showed up? Well, we don't really know. Since they were asking around for where she might be, we decided we should go ahead and admit defeat and leave.

So, we drive around the immediate area and I just say, "Let's find the closest Whataburger and be done with it."


So that we did.

We ordered chicken strip dinners and took them back to the hotel to eat in the room. 

Poultry - check
Potatoes - check
Gravy - check
Bread - check

That qualifies as the major categories of a Thanksgiving meal, right? 

I say, "Thank goodness Whataburger was open today."

Dad says, "In all my years, I've never not had turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving day."

I kind of doubt that because he did go to the football game one year that I know of. I think he skipped the turkey part in Branson a couple of years ago too.

Anyway, we'll just have to do turkey and dressing at Christmas. 

Buc-ees and Whataburger... Not sure it gets more Texas than that.

In all honesty, they may have been the best Whataburger chicken strips I have ever had.



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving: It’s a heart condition


Thanksgiving: It’s a heart condition
By Darla Weaver

Excerpt adapted from Gathering of Sisters by Darla Weaver.
©2018 Herald Press, used with permission.

Toward the end of the month we turned our attention to Thanksgiving and the meal we were all sharing at Regina’s house after church services in the morning. Nathan would be home from Alaska, the harvest season was over for another year, and Thanksgiving was marked on the calendar. It was time to thank God for family, for freedom, for food and shelter and all the abundant blessings he showered upon us daily, hourly.

Food, of course, is the main element of the Thanksgiving meal. In the weeks before Thanksgiving, our conversation centers there quite often, and on such enthralling topics as holiday turkey prices, and whether Butterball brand turkeys are better than any other brand.

“I need to copy your recipe for cranberry salad,” one of us will say to Mom.

And: “If a recipe asks for heavy cream, is that the same as the whipping cream you buy in the store?”

Or: “I’m hungry for pimento dip with crackers, Mom. Do you still have some?”

To which Mom would reply, “Yes, I have lots of canned pimento mix in jars in the cellar. And plenty of cream cheese in the fridge. I’ll make some.”

The seasons keep swinging, and the years keep passing, and time is like a relentless tide that never hurries, never waits, never stops. It takes us all along, whether we notice or not, whether we like it or not.

As everything changes in one way or another, we continue to cherish family and make it our highest priority. After all, other people are the only thing on earth that you can take along to heaven. Where better, then, to invest your time and your life, than in other people? And especially those you encounter most often.

There is a timelessness in love—love for God first, then love for those around us. And of that love, the ties of a family legacy are the most precious.

It’s easy to remember that during the good times, the times of thanksgiving and days of laughter. It’s harder to keep that firmly fixed in one’s heart when the hard times come, the storms, the tests. But why thank God only for good things, sunshine, happiness, laughter?

I’m still learning to say thank you as well for the difficulties, the rain, the times of tears. But those times are the ones that bring growth, make us stronger, send roots deeper into faith and trust in God’s ultimate plan.

Thanksgiving is not just a day that arrives on the calendar once a year and gives us a chance to get together and celebrate with cranberry relish and turkey and stuffing and desserts. It’s a heart condition for those who love God and believe in his divine love and salvation and guidance.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windows and Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.

Once a week Darla Weaver hitches up her spirited mare, bundles her children into the buggy, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters: A Year with My Old Order Mennonite Family (Herald Press), Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Diving into the Unknown



Lauren Gaskill offers insight
to overcoming fear and anxiety
to live a life of courageous faith

When Lauren Gaskill started feeling pain in her shoulders while she was in high school, she attributed it to her swim team workouts. In college, as her health issues continued to escalate, she began to feel lost in a sea of anxiety, depression and unexplained chronic pain that was ripping apart her faith. Every week she would hear sermons about a God who delivers his people from their problems, but words only left her more frustrated and confused.


Gaskill admits she somehow missed the explanation that following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing. In fact, the waters of life are often tumultuous, crashing over us. Sometimes we can feel we’re drowning in a sea of confusion, division, frustration, complacency, or disillusionment. We need more than a shallow faith to survive these deep waters. In her new book, Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith (Abingdon Press), Gaskill invites readers to dive headfirst into a life of courageous faith.

With endearing warmth and authenticity audiences find through her She Found Joy podcast and at She Found Joy events around the country, Lauren Gaskill shares how faith is not the absence of fear but the presence of courage. She tells stories of how she and others have learned to swim with Jesus in the deep waters of life—facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic illness—only to discover a more authentic, enduring faith that cannot be shaken by circumstances.

“I believe words have immeasurable power. That’s why I’m a writer. That’s why I strive to think long and hard about the words I choose before I write or say them. That’s why I fight daily to speak life, love, hope, and truth over myself in order to drown out the cruel, untruthful things others have spoken over me. Words are powerful no matter what we are going through, but they are even more powerful when our faith is tested,” Gaskill writes. “I wish I could forget some of the things people said to me when the waves of life came crashing in. ‘You’re never going to get over this,’ they told me. ‘This is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.’ Or my personal favorite, ‘Do you have unresolved sin in your life? Maybe God is punishing you for something.’”

She believes that many readers can relate to hearing such words from someone who entered into their struggle and, instead of giving a helping hand, shoved them further into the undercurrent. Whatever lies they may have been told, Gaskill offers truths that helped her get through her crisis of faith and continues to help her navigate the deep with God each day.
  • God is not punishing you.
  • You are not alone.
  • You are going to be OK
  • Darkness does not define.
  • You were made for the deep.
  • God’s love will carry you.

Into the Deep is divided into two parts: Out of the Undertow and Swimming with Jesus. Gaskill asks readers to think of each section as a progression in the faith journey. She explains that before we can swim with Jesus and go deeper in our faith, we first must break any chains that are binding us and keeping us wrapped in the undertow. “Then once we’ve learned to reach out in faith for the saving hand of Jesus, we are ready to become a true warrior of the deep: a strong, courageous, victorious conqueror and overcomer of the waves of this life.”

Each chapter ends with questions for personal reflection and journaling or small-group study as well as a prayer prompt.

###
  
Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the She Found Joy podcast and She Found Joy Ladies Night Out events. After being diagnosed with an incurable connective tissue disorder, Lauren made it her life mission to encourage others to fight for faith and find joy — no matter what life’s circumstances might bring.

Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is particularly passionate about encouraging women to fight for faith and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Gaskill also writes and speaks about what it looks like to walk with Jesus through pain and suffering. Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith is her first book.

She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


Monday, November 19, 2018

New Growth Press’ Spirit of Giving Children’s Book Giveaway

Who doesn’t love giving and getting books for Christmas?
(If you don’t, we may need to have a talk!)

Books are a great gift, especially for children. Not only do we want to encourage the love of reading and give them stories they will enjoy, we want to provide teaching moments. Plus giving little ones new books is really a gift to the parents as well. They need a break from the same old bedtime stories.

You don’t have to be a parent to buy for kids, you know! Maybe you have grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or want to bless some children from church.

New Growth Press is jumping into the gift giving season by giving away THREE children’s book gift boxes (retail value of $125 each). All of their children’s books are beautifully illustrated, entertaining, teach a lesson, and most importantly, are biblically based!

From November 19-25, you can enter to win one of three children’s gift boxes.

 Click here or scroll down to enter.
Click here or scroll down to enter!

Each gift box includes five of New Growth Press’ new children’s releases and two of their best sellers:


This playful children’s book serves as a beginner’s theology book for young readers who love numbers and patterns. By discovering numbers in God’s world and in his Word, parents help their children foster a deeper love and knowledge of who God is and how he counts them as his. With countable illustrations and an easy-to-learn structure, children who are always seeking, finding, tracing, and counting numbers will be captivated by God Counts.


These three books are a part of the Good News for Little Hearts series. This is a new series of hardback, illustrated children’s books for three-to eight-year-olds—each centered on an animal family. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family face will captivate children. The first three books address anxiety, anger, and failure, bringing biblical counsel and hope to issues every child faces. Together children and parents will be guided by the stories into meaningful conversations about living by faith in everyday life.


God Made Me and You invites kids to explore God’s design for ethnic diversity. Because Scripture teaches that ethnic diversity is not something that should be tolerated but rather enthusiastically embraced, Christian hip hop artist Shai Linne helps children, parents, and caregivers to celebrate this biblical truth through a lyrical, rhyming style and colorful illustrations.


God Made All of Me is an invaluable resource and beautifully illustrated story to help families talk about sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. This helpful guide starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth to kids and their bodies. With the help of God Made All of Me, parents and caregivers can begin conversations with boys and girls about their bodies, navigating a discussion that can so easily be warped into confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy.


The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls ages eight and up. Vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas, this interactive book competes with screen time by stimulating children’s natural curiosity and sense of adventure! Along with the many fun and exciting stories of historical figures, young and old readers alike will learn about the roots of our faith and the importance of the gospel in our lives.

In case you don’t win the prize pack, sign-up for New Growth Press’ e-news at https://newgrowthpress.com/ to receive information about their Countdown to Christmas discounts so that you can order copies. Be sure to follow them on social media as well where they will be sharing daily deals throughout the Christmas season: