Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Beginnings

Hi, it's Marilyn! Hey, it's almost the new year--2012! Are you excited about celebrating on New Year's Eve, or is it just another night for you? Do you stay up to greet the new year, or go to bed at your usual time?

Here are some things I'm going to do:

1. Clean my house. When I lived in Japan several years ago, I helped my school and host family prepare for the new year by cleaning the house so it was sparkling clean when the new year arrived. Ever since then, I've tried to keep that tradition by cleaning up near the end of December.

2. Pray for one word to focus on for 2012. I'm quite sure I know what this word is, but I'm keeping it in my heart until the new year begins.

3. Have a party! I'm inviting friends to my house for a celebration. We'll eat "small bites," drink a yummy punch made of fruit, fruit juice, sherbet, and soda, and enjoy one another's company.

4. Set goals for 2012. I can never keep resolutions, but I often meet goals that I've set. These goals include finishing tasks (such as completing the draft of a new book) and improving on things I already do (such as deepening my relationship with God).

The end of the old year and the beginning of a new year means a chance for new beginnings, a chance to start fresh. It's like our relationship with God--even if we drift away from him or do things we know he doesn't like, he loves us so much that he always welcomes us back and invites us to come closer to him.

Happy New Year, and God bless you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Family Fun

With the holidays coming up, you're sure to have more time with family and maybe even family members you don't see often.

Here's an idea for family time fun from The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible:

Family Fun
     Talk to your parents about having a special family night. Then make one or more of the snacks below to share while you spend time together. Pour the ingredients listed into a bag or bowl for sharing and just mix or shake.

Sweet Family Mix
1 cup plain M&Ms
1 cup peanut M&Ms
1 cup white morsels (chips)
1 cup gummy bears
1 cup malted milk balls (Whoppers)

Pretzel Mix
1 cup plain M&Ms
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pretzel sticks
1/2 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds

Healthy Mix
1 cup cubed hard cheese
1 cup peanuts
1 cup cubed turkey
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

     Kabobs are fun and easy to make! Just thread the ingredients listed and on a wood or metal kabob stick .

Fruit Kabobs
Kiwi squares
Strawberry halves
Pineapple chunks

Sandwich Kabobs
Lunch meat cubes
Cheese cubes
Bread squares

     After trying some of these ideas, create your own mixes and kabobs. See who can come up with the most creative ones.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thank a Veteran

Be sure to thank a veteran for his or her service. Here's a video that someone put together on youtube. Unfortuately I can't get it to embed, so I'm putting the link.   http://youtu.be/5pfBUUZNbFM

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Save Our Girls Day

This is the first national day of prayer for girls-especially for teen girls. You are close to being a teen so we also want to pray that your teen years will be great and you will stay close to Jesus through them all. Look at your friends and consider just a few facts:

1 in 3 teen girls becomes pregnant
1 in 3 teen pregnancies is ended by abortion (so one in 9 teen girls will have an abortion)
Girls get depressed more than boys and experiment with drugs more than boys

The world can be tough, but as young women prayer can make you strong, so spend P-O-W-E-R time with God

  • Pray -pour out your thoughts and feelings and listen for God to respond-HE will
  • Open up to other Christians in praying together-who share your faith will strengthen you-ask your mom, friends,and church to pray 4U and with U
  • Word of God will strengthen you-so read the Bible and gain wisdom and encouragement from it-read about Hannah pouring out her heart to God(1 Samuel1:7-20), a forgiven woman (Luke 7:37-48) , and how God made plans for you as he created you inside your mother's womb--let God's Word be prayers-Psalm 51:10 is a great morning prayer (create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me)
  • Evaluate of life and what's happening--think through to the outcomes and ask God to show you his plan and how he could use you--things may seem terrible but know the season will pass and joy will return
  • Request better results--look back at how God has answered prayers and how you have grown. Consider the results you want it you life and set those as goals and then work toward the goals--you cannot control people but you can make wise choices in how to live--ask God to give you a vision of the results He can help you achieve and trust he will do it
And pray for a teen girl you know--pray God will give her strength and peace and much more!

Check out Save our Girls Day on facebook---http://www.facebook.com/SaveOurGirls

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abraham, the Father of Nations

Marilyn here! Today I spent a few hours with some dear friends. During that time, I heard a remarkable story about faith. It reminded me of Abraham, so I thought I'd post a bio of Abraham that I wrote for my book It's All About Dad & Me. How much do you know about the Father of Nations?
His name means: Exalted father/Father of a multitude
Born: About 4,000 years ago in Ur of the Chaldeans (a city in Babylon)
Husband of: Sarai/Sarah
Father of: Ishmael and Isaac, father-in-law of Rebekah
Occupation: Farmer, herder, and father of a nation

God promised Abraham (who was born as Abram) the Promised Land. When he was seventy-five years old, Abram moved his entire family (which included a lot of people—brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins) to Canaan, the land that God promised he would inherit.

God also promised Abram that he would become the father of a new nation, Israel, which included all God’s chosen people. Even though Abram and his wife, Sarai, were both very old, God continued to promise these things to Abram. Despite how unrealistic and ridiculous they must have sounded to Abram, he responded with faith, trusting God’s words and obeying Him.

God said to Abram, “Number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5)

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God changed his name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. Their first son, Isaac, was born a year later. When Isaac was still a boy, God told Abraham to take his son to a place in the mountains of Moriah and offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God.

Although Abraham must have been in complete shock at this command, he obeyed God and took Isaac to the spot that God had chosen. While Abraham and Isaac built an altar for the sacrifice, Isaac asked, “Where’s the animal we’re gonna sacrifice?”

Abraham said, “God will provide the lamb to sacrifice,” as he prepared his son on the altar.
Convinced of Abraham’s complete faith, trust, and obedience, God told him to stop preparing Isaac for the sacrifice. Just then, Abraham noticed a ram (male sheep) caught in the woods nearby. Realizing that God had placed the ram there for them, he and Isaac sacrificed it to God. God then repeated His promise that Abraham would be the father of the nation of Israel.

* Read all about Abraham in the book of Genesis.

And God bless you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Doll Necklace

Aloha from Karen,
It's autumn so I thought making a doll necklace similar to one in God's Girls#1 could be fun.

Take a piece of thick yarn and cut it long enough to go around your neck and end about the middle of your chest. Bend a 2-inch piece of chenille stem in half to make a simple needle. Fold yarn in half and over the chenille stem-needle. Thread 5 pony beads for the body and then a larger bead for the head. Remove the needle. Slide beads so both ends are about 4 inches below the bottom pony bead. Tie the ends together twice under the last bead to hold beads on necklace. Tie an overhand knot towards the end of each end to form feet. Cut a  5-inch piece of yarn and tie the middle of the yarn between the head and top body bead to form arms. Tie overhand knots at the end of each arm to form hands. Cut a 3-inch scrap of shiny garland or boa to make a skirt. Twisst a piece of chenille stem around the center of the skirt and then around the necklace, between the bottom two beads, to attach the skirt. Add yarn or twist another piece of chemille stem around the top of the head to make hair. Use permanent markers to draw a face. It's ready to wear.

Have fun with the doll necklace. Cut fabric or paper scraps to make little costumes to dress the doll. These can be attached with short pieces of wire or chenille stems.

From my book, there's a matching devotion for the doll. The verse Romans 16:12 in a letter from Paul asks people to greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, two women who work hard in the Lord. He praised them for their hard work. Tryphena means delicate and Tryphosa means dainty. These were ladies who served God and impressed Paul with their virtues. God sees them as special daughters, so you can make dolls as reminders of these gentle, delicate women. Make a second necklace for a friend who also loves God.

Enjoy these autumn days and bright colored leaves!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Fall!

Hi, this is Marilyn. Everyone has a favorite time of the year. What's yours? Mine is fall, autumn, that time of year when in my part of the world the air turns crisp and clean, the light turns golden, and the trees turn brilliant colors. The whole world is winding down after a busy spring and summer as it gets ready for bed and the long sleep of winter.

I especially love the leaves in fall. I can kick through them on walks in the woods, rake them into a pile and jump in it, and hold one up to the sun and marvel at the beautiful colors.

Do you know what makes the leaves turn such beautiful colors? I recently found out that the leaves already have the gorgeous reds, oranges, yellows, purples, browns and rusts in them. But in the spring and summer, when the trees store up food for winter, their leaves are filled with chlorophyll, the chemical that makes photosynthesis possible. (You remember learning in science that photosynthesis is a plant's way of turning sunlight into food. Btw, isn't our God brilliant? He's more brilliant than the fall colors he creates!) But when the nights become longer and colder in the fall, the leaves lose their chlorophyll. When that happens, the gorgeous colors that were hidden all through spring and summer can show through.

Now, green is a fine color, but isn't the striking array of different colors a treat for your eyes after summer is over? It makes me think of all the wonderful parts of ourselves that we might keep hidden because we're shy or embarrassed or afraid of what other people might think of us if we show them. Maybe you love to play the pan flute or play chess or collect words (don't laugh--there are people who love the sound of particular words and keep lists of them). Maybe you write poetry or sing or have a powerful tennis serve and don't want other people to know. Or you're afraid of letting other people know that you love God.

Just like the leaves, there will come a time when the fear or shyness or embarrassment that hides those wonderful parts of you will fade. Remember that God made you who you are. He created all the colors in you. So, don't be afraid to let your brilliant colors show through!

To get into an autumn mood, try this yummy recipe for pumpkin smoothies!

1. Put all these ingredients into a blender:
- 3/4 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup of apple juice or apple cider
- 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon
- Crushed ice

2. Put the blender lid on, and blend until the mixture is smooth.

3. Pour into glasses. Enjoy!

Next time, try making it with one of these!
- 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter
- 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (and skip the apple juice)
- 1/4 cup of chocolate syrup
- 1/2 of a banana

God bless you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Embracing our Unique Style

Sherry, here, with an excerpt from my girl’s book, The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style:

Q: I have the jealousy bug. Some of my friends have the cutest things—like earrings, hair accessories, hoodies, and jeans. Why do I always compare myself with others?

A: When we compare ourselves with others, it really means that we’re not confident in our unique style. We want what others have because we think they have it all together.
Chances are, your friends want something someone else has too. The Bible talks about being content with what God has given us (check out Hebrews 13:5).
Contentment is hard to grasp, even as an adult—ask your mom or dad. But when we ask God to help us, He can give us the confidence we need to be ourselves and be happy with what we have.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gracious Words

(Marilyn here!) "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

Kimberly stood with her back against the wall, just like all the other girls in her P.E. class, and looked down at her bare feet. It was the second day of school, and she couldn't wait to go home. Yesterday was her first day of middle school, and it was horrible. First, she'd overslept and barely made it to homeroom. Then, she forgot to bring money, even though Mom reminded her a thousand times not to forget. This was the first year she had to change classes, and she got lost twice. Already, she had a stack of homework to do. And that was only her first day.

Even with all that, it wouldn't have been so bad if her friends went to the same school. But they went to Lincoln, while she went to Union. And there wasn't anyone she knew in any of her classes. She felt like a stranger in a strange land. Everyone said she'd love middle school, but so far she didn't love it--at all. And all she wanted to do was stand there, her back against the wall, waiting for her turn to be weighed, and not say anything to anyone until she could talk to her friends that evening. After P.E., she only had one more class--art--which wasn't on her schedule yesterday.

As she stared at her feet, the toes of the girl standing next to her wiggled. Kimberly noticed the girl's toenails were all painted different colors. Then she remembered something that Suzanne, her youth leader, had said last Sunday, when they were talking about Proverbs 16:24. Suzanne had said, "If someone takes the time to wear something special, do something to let them know you notice it."

Kimberly looked again at the girl's toenails. They were pretty, all turquoise and purple and magenta and pink and teal. And she thought of the verse from Proverbs: "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." It wouldn't hurt to say something nice about them, she thought, and turned to the girl beside her.

"I like your toenails. They're pretty," she said.

The girl smiled. "Thanks," she said softly. "I like different colors."

"Are you an artist?" Kimberly asked.

The girl nodded. "Some people say so."

Then Kimberly thought about the one class she hadn't been to yet, and asked, "Are you taking art this year?"

"Yes," the girl said, "but I haven't been to it yet."

"Me, neither. I bet we're in the same class." Kimberly smiled. "I'm Kimberly."

"I'm Anna."

And that was how Kimberly and Anna became best friends on their second day of middle school.

God says that gracious words are "sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." We never know how our words affect other people. Can you think of someone who needs to hear some gracious words? Who knows--they may lead to a great friendship, just like Kimberly and Anna's!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Organizing for School

Aloha from Karen,
        School starts all too soon, so get organized to succeed. Prepare to track homework and reports due and set up a study area that fit's your personality and learning style.
        Track assignments with a calendar, day planner, or sticky notes-whichever works for you. With a giant wall calendar you can use different colored markers to visually show deadlines (red letter dates) and test dates (yellow highlights) and vacations. A day planner is good for tracking details and writing in every little assignment. If you're not tuned in too calendars you might want to put sticky notes where you'll notice them-on a mirror or closet door, with reminders of deadlines and tests. Also check the best way to let your family know your important school dates and deadlines. They may need a wall calendar in the kitchen or a school folder where you can slip in notes of your needs and deadlines.
      Your place to study is important. Consider whether you work best in quiet and order, or around people and with a study buddy. If quiet is important find a place away from noise where you can be alone, probably in your room. If you like to study with noise then set up a corner of the family room, or make a place for friends to come and study, possibly with pillows to sit on the floor. 
     Be sure to have good lighting where you study and a cabinet or desk stocked with supplies, such as pens, paper, pencils, rulers, markers, and report covers.
     Consider what most sidetracked you in past school years as well as what helped the most. For any problem areas brainstorm with a parent or friend about ways to overcome the problem. This might mean noticing fast if you are having trouble understanding a subject and getting a tutor, or if you tend to get too busy and skip studying (you might need to say no to some activities).
     Spend a weekend or a few days organizing and also praying about the school year.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Hi, Sherry here, writing from my laptop in central California. This morning my daughter got braces on her teeth. She has an upper tooth that is in cross bite (or inside) when she bites. If we left it that way, she could wear down the tooth. Braces were the best option to make sure she has a good, healthy bite.

Why do people get braces?

To straighten teeth—sometimes teeth come in crooked or misaligned causing difficulties when eating.

To fix a bad bite—some people have over bites where the upper jaw and teeth jut out too far forward, while others have under bites, when the bottom teeth and jaw extend too far forward and the upper teeth sit inside when chewing. If the bite is off, other problems can occur such as jaw problems or headaches.

For cosmetic reasons—some people don’t really need braces, but want to improve their smile. For example, someone with spaces between their teeth might want to get braces to close the gaps for that “perfect” smile.

If you dentist suggests a trip to the orthodontist, it would be best to follow his recommendation. Don’t worry! A lot of kids your age have braces. I’m sure my daughter will discover that many of her friends also got braces over the summer.

Do you wear braces?

Chime in and let us know how long you’ve been wearing them.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cleaning you room by making choices

Aloha from Karen,
It's good to clean your room--but that means getting rid of stuff and that can be hard.

Try these useful tips on what to do with stuff you need to part from but have a hard time letting go.

Note:  Do these on separate days- choose one a day!
1. Clothes that don’t fit
    a. Give to younger relative
    b. Give to needy neighbor with children that size
    c. Give to charity
2. Worn out clothes you love
    a. Cut a scrap for an album and throw away the rest
    b. Take a farewell photo in it then throw away
    c. Hang in room as a banner
    d. Use as a rag
    e. Put in the bottom of a box of good stuff and give it to charity.
3. Old school papers
    a. File the ones you want to keep, alphabetically by subject
    b. Throw away ones not needed
    c. Put ones you want as a memory in a scrapbook
    d. Put in a box in the attic with a date on them and throw them away in a
year. Write “ Toss on (date)”  on the side of the box.
4. Childhood box for attic: fill one box/plastic container with things to
someday give your own children
    a. Favorite toys
    b. Favorite outgrown outfit in good condition
    c. Favorite book
    d. Best schoolwork
5. Stuffed animals
    a. Out of every two choose one to keep and one to give to charity
    b. Make a shelf display of favorite animals
    c. Add one to childhood box for attic
    d. Take photos of animals before giving away
6. Consider this, then take 5 photos and give things photographed away:
    a. A memory photo takes less room than the item
    b. A photo can be displayed or put in album
    c. Others may need items more than you do
    d. Photo memories can be shared with future generations
    e. You can write a story/poem/reflections to keep with a photo
7. Junk drawer
    a. Dump into box and put back only what you need
    b. Throw out all broken items
    c. Give away all you don’t need
8. Shoes
    a. Choose best pairs to keep
    b. Get rid of outgrown ones (Don’t forget the charity box.)
    c. Toss away worn out ones
    d. Clean dirty ones
    e. Make or get a storage holder for shoes- keeps off dust and keeps
closet neater
9. Games
    a. Keep any played in the last month
    b. Throw out any broken games/ones missing important pieces
    c. Give away ones not played in last 6 months
    d. Can put one in childhood box
10. Craft supplies/kits
    a. Look at uncompleted ones- discard those you don’t like
    b. Choose one craft to finish and give away at least one unfinished
    c. Have a craft party and let each guest make and keep a craft
    d. Throw out broken/no longer good supplies, like dried paints
11. School supplies
    a. Discard broken pens/markers/etc.
    b. Give away ones you never use/excess if you have too many
    c. Organize keepers in a silverware divider or other container
    d. Throw away or put in album old school notes/ticket stubs, etc.
12. Hair accessories
    a. Discard broken/worn out items
    b. Give away ones not used in past 6 months
    c. Any that match only one hanging outfit, hang with outfit
    d. Choose or make a storage container/drawer dividers for storing items.
13. Makeup
    a. Toss out broken/used-up makeup
    b. Keep in convenient small case what is used daily
         (I use a heavy sandwich bag in my purse.)
    c. Sort and keep extras in a makeup case
    d. Store extras in closet or under bathroom sink
    e. Give away extras/those not your colors or out of style stuff

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Dreaming

Aloha from Karen,

Summer's a great time to relax and daydream. Take some time to dream about the future. Pray about it too. Think about what you want to do next year, next summer, and even when you grow up.

Then consider turning some of those dreams into reality. To do that, write each dream as a goal and list what you need to reach the goal.

For example, if you want to take a summer mission trip that will mean raising funds to go (finding sponsors or seeing if your church will help you with fundraisers) and possibly getting good grades in school so you won't need to go to summer school.

Or if you want a career that takes college or other training you'll need to get good grades in school and may need to start saving toward that goal or help your parents start a college fund and find ways to help your family save money.

If you want to grow up, get married, and have a family, or live on your own, you will need to learn to cook, manage a house, and shop for groceries. You could start working on those skills now.

For many future careers summer may be a good time to visit or shadow someone with a job you'd like to have someday. Talk with people to find someone in a career you'd like. Find out hat it takes and ask to visit them on the job to learn and see what they do. Also check out the carer online (with parent's permission to safely browse the internet for the information).

Check out a few dreamers in the Bible. God sent them special dreams. Jacob (Genesis 28:10-12), Joseph (Gnesis 37:5), Pharaoh (Genesis 41:1-31), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5). 

Have fun,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When Someone Gets What You Want

Do you remember a while back we were talking about Sarah? She was jealous of Hagar because Hagar could have children and she couldn't. Most of us know what it feels like to be jealous--but what about when you're the one who has what someone else wants? That's kind of the flip side of jealousy. And that's the position Hagar was in.

     Hagar's story is intertwined with Sarah's. You already read how God promised that Abraham and Sarah would start a great nation, but years passed, and they still had no children. Sarah came up with her own plan. She told Abraham to have a child with her maid, Hagar. So Abraham did what Sarah asked, and Hagar became pregnant.
     Sarah had wanted to have a child for years, but it was Hagar who was pregnant. Since Hagar was pregnant with what was assumed to be the promised child, she began to act like she was more important than Sarah. That was too much for Sarah.
     Sarah was strong in faith, but she was human. She had the same emotions you have when you see someone else getting what you want, especially if they flaunt it in your face. Sarah was jealous, she was angry, and she took it out on Hagar. She even blamed Abraham for the predicament, even though it was her own idea for Hagar to have a son for Abraham.
     Hagar teased Sarah. Sarah became jealous and angry. No one was winning. Abraham told Sarah to handle it however she wanted, and Sarah mistreated Hagar. That is all the Bible tells us about what happened between Sarah and Hagar, but whatever happened was bad enough that Hagar fled to the desert to escape Sarah.
     Jealousy and teasing rarely lead to good relationships as the problems between Hagar and Sarah show.
     Sarah desperately wanted to have a baby. Hagar became pregnant with the child Sarah wanted. Hagar flaunted her pregnancy, and Sarah reacted with anger and jealousy.
     You may have been in that situation. Not with a baby but with other things. You want to be best friends with someone, but another girl comes along and becomes the best friend. You want a particular pair of shoes. Your mom says they are too expensive. You see another girl wearing a brand new pair of those shoes the next day at school.
     Can you think of a time when someone got what you wanted? How did you feel?
     Has there been a time when you had something (a possession, a talent, an award) someone else wanted? How did that make you feel?
    No matter whether you are the one who wants what another has or are the one who has what someone else wants, it's important to act graciously and kindly. Jealousy and pride both lead to hurt.

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get Moving!

Hi, Sherry here, from central California encouraging you to exercise this summer!

You might wonder how much physical activity a school-aged kid might need. Well, according to The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), kids your age need an hour of exercise per day.

But why?

There are many benefits of exercise, including:

* Keeps weight in the normal range.
* Lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
* Helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.
* Builds strong muscles and bones.
* For a better night’s sleep.

What type of physical activities do kids need to do?

Aerobic exercise for endurance, such as biking, running, swimming, soccer, basketball, or any sport that gets your heart pumping!

Weight bearing exercises for strength, such as push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, or any movement that helps tone and strengthen your muscles.

And stretching exercises for flexibility, such as reaching, bending, or flexing the muscles to improve range of motion.

Remember God is the one who made your body!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

So, have fun and get moving! :)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Christmas in July fun!!

It's hot outside and that makes it a great time to think cool and wintry thoughts!

Aloha from Karen,
Monday is July 25 and that's the day to celebrate Christ's birth, renew your Christmas spirit, and even get a head start on Christmas plans.  So gather friends or family, set the AC to a bit  cooler, play some icy fun games (Icy fun activities can be found at this link) and sing Christmas carols. You can even hold a birthday party for Jesus and let everyone write a note to Jesus (maybe with a promise to do something special to show your love) and wrap it up.

Make cupcakes with green frosting or Rice Krispies (TM) treats Christmas shapes. Roll into tubes and twist into wreaths, or press and cut a star, or mold into a creche. Make it a fun contest or choose to have each person draw a shape to make a complete display. Use lots of red and green sprinkles for some Christmas sparkle.

Also take time to thank God for coming and to recall your favorite memories from last Christmas. You could even have people bring Christmas photos from the past and make scrapbook pages.

And remember to read the Christmas story from the Bible! It's in the beginning of Luke and Matthew. You could also read favorite Christmas stories or watch special Christmas DVDS.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Those of us writing this blog write books for Legacy. But what we do is only a little of what really goes on. Once we write the book, other people edit it, illustrate it, print it, add the cover, and get it ready to ship. It takes a lot of people to get a book from the words we write to the actual book you buy at a store.

This past week was The International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta. The people from Legacy took all the books to Atlanta and displayed them so that book store owners around the world can see what 's available and sell them in their stores.

This is Monica.

And this is me (Kathy) and Rachel with the Legacy display. She's all dressed up but I'm not because I was on the way to the park to run in the water fountains with my twins.

Rachel and Monica do a lot of the behind the scenes work in letting people know about our books.
Centennial Olympic Park next door to the convention center was a really neat place to hang out.
I took four of my children to ICRS with me and we got to meet a lot of awesome people. These are the brothers who wrote Facing the Giant, Fireproof and Courageous. We got to see Courageous even though it's not in theaters until Sept 30.

Of course Bob and Larry were there, and we got to see The Little Drummer Boy Veggie Tales movie that will release in the fall.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mini Cakes!

The other day my daughter said she wanted to make mini cakes. “What are those?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, smiling. “They are made with cookies and frosting with sprinkles on top.”

Hmm. Sounded interesting. And yummy!

“Can we go to the store for the ingredients?” she asked. “I’ll pay.”

Since she offered, I thought why not? After all, each day God gives us is a day to celebrate. Right? 

God has given us so much to be thankful for—like family and friends. He also gives us food to eat, clothes to wear, and a comfy bed to sleep in. 

Speaking of thankfulness, here are some verses from the Bible to show gratitude:

Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. ~ Psalm 18:49
We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. ~ Psalm 75:1

Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; 
from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.  ~ Psalm 79:13

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. ~ Psalm 96:11-12

Back to the mini cakes . . .

Here’s what you need:

1 package of Oreo cookies (or any type of “sandwich” style cookie)
1 tub of frosting (Chocolate is my favorite. What about you?)

Here’s what you do:

1.    *  Spread frosting on the top of one cookie.
2.    *   Place another cookie on top.
3.    *   Set the cookies on a plate.
4.     *  Spread frosting on top and all around like a cake.
5.     *  Pour sprinkles on top.

Celebrate God’s goodness and enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Travel and Bible Travel

Aloha from Karen,

Summer fun often includes travel. I’m flying to Atlanta tomorrow. You may be riding in boats, planes, buses, cars, or on bicycles or horses, or even walking. Have someone photograph you in various modes of transportation you use this summer. Make scrapbook pages using the photos and journal about your travels.

Do you know how people traveled in Bible times?  See if you can fill in who traveled these different ways. If you need help, check out the Bible verses. Answers will be posted later.

  1. Rode a donkey who kept turning off the path
  2. In a fiery chariot
  3. Walked along the beach
  4. Walked on water
  5. Horse
  6. Boat
  7. Ship traveling away from where God sent him
  8. Traveled by wagon with his family
  9. Caravan (probably with camels)-
  10. Teleported
  11. Walked on road to Emmaus
  12. Carried on a mat
  13. In a pillar of cloud
  14. Flew carrying a burning coal
  15. Ship going to Rome

Clues (verses)
Acts 23:23-24              Exodus 13:21
Genesis 46:5                Matthew 4:18
Numbers 22:22-35       Isaiah 6:6
Acts 8:27-28                Mark 2:1-5
Genesis 24:10              Jonah 1:3
Acts 27:2                     Matthew 14:29
Acts 8:39-40                Luke 24:13-17

Have fun traveling and don't forget to pack your Bible on trips!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

True Freedom

Hi. Kathy here. Last post, Karen wrote about the 4th of July. That's when we celebrate our freedom. But the truth is that, as Christians, we should celebrate our freedom everyday--not just the freedom we have in our country, but the freedom we have in Jesus.

Here are some verses that talk about freedom:

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. Psalm 119:45

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Romans 6:14

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7

Can you think of any more verses that talk about freedom? 

How do you celebrate your freedom?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrate July 4th

Another holiday is coming so it's time to celebrate!

Aloha from Karen. I'm spending the weekend with family so that will be fun.

First think about why we have this holiday.
Our founding fathers and mothers worked hard to make this country free and a place where we have freedom to worship God. Thank God for freedom and pray for our country to continue to be free.

Read the Declaration of Independence and chat about the use of God in it.

Then decorate with patriotic colors! Add red, white, and blue wherever possible. Her are some ideas:

Glue red, white, and blue beads to straps of flip-flops.

Add ribbons or lengths of wired star garlands to hair bands and visors

Wrap double-sided tape around a pencil and then sprinkle glitter in patriotic colors ver tape until all the tape is covered.

Use whip cream, strawberries, and blueberries to create beautiful fruit desserts.

Get creative.
Make a Star T-shirt.
This is a variation of painting a stained-glass T-shirt in God’s Girls #1, page 97 where you can find detailed directions. Here are some simple directions:
Put cardboard inside shirt to keep paint from bleeding through and to keep part of T-shirt to be painted flat. Use masking tape to outline a star shape on the shirt. Use very thin masking tape in short strips to form a stained glass pattern inside the star, crisscrossing from one edge to another edge. Then use fabric paints in red, blue, and silver and a sponge to dab paint onto open areas inside the star. Let dry. Remove tape and you’ll have a colorful star painted on the shirt with white lines to give a stained glass effect.

Play some games. Churches all over the colonies rang bells to celebrate the declaration and when the war ended. Play some bell games. Here are two ideas:

Let one person ring a bell while the others close their eyes and guess where the sound is coming from.

Set a times that rings when it goes off (cell phones can do this). Pass a ball and see who ends up holding it when the bell goes off.

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the Desert

Hi, this is Marilyn! I'm in the desert this week. Literally in the desert with my family on vacation. I love the desert, which is a funny thing for someone who grew up by the Atlantic Ocean and who now lives by the Pacific Ocean to say.

What I love about the desert are the sharp, craggy mountains rising from the vast, flat plain, the watercolor sunsets, the black sky at night dotted with thousands of glittery stars. I love the plants in the desert, which at first glance all look the same but on closer inspection, are varied and beautiful. I love that I have to move slowly in the desert because of the heat (there's hardly a choice).  I love that the vast, seemingly empty spaces make my mind clearer and cleaner, as if it wants to mirror what my eyes see. My heart and soul follow, and become peaceful and uncluttered and focused. In the desert I feel closer to God.

Have you heard that expression about having "a desert experience"? When people say that, they're referring to the long time (40 years) that God kept the Israelites in the desert after they fled slavery in Egypt. He provided shelter, water, and food (manna from heaven every day). God wanted the people to know him and obey him and love him before he led them into the Promised Land. Some of them learned that lesson, and others simply complained. Some wanted to go back to Egypt where, even though enslaved, they were surrounded by familiar and comfortable things and routines.

Today, when people talk about a desert experience, they usually mean a difficult time, a time apart from God when their souls feel unproductive, dry, and dead. Have you ever had a desert experience, when you felt that God was far away from you and the thirst of your spirit wasn't being refreshed? Maybe something happened between you and your best friend, or school is harder than it's ever been. Maybe something painful is going on in your family. You begin to wonder where God went and why he sent you out into the desert.

The next time this happens, remember that God led the Israelites to the desert for a reason. He leads us there today, too. But, just like he did with the Israelites, he doesn't abandon us there. The best thing to do when you're in the desert is pray, asking God why you might be there and what he wants you to understand. Remember that in the desert (the literal and figurative one), there aren't as many distractions, and that helps you focus on what's important and pay attention to what you see and hear and feel.

The Israelites didn't stay in the desert forever. God led them out when it was time. He will lead you, too, out of the desert.

God bless you!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Home from Disneyland

Hi, this is Sherry. I had planned on posting yesterday but we were driving back from Los Angeles, California and I didn’t have access to the Internet, but here’s what I was going to share . . .

Spending time with your a family is important and a lot of fun.

My kids have wanted to go to Disneyland for years now and we finally had the opportunity on Wednesday. One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is Splash Mountain. You sit in a log-shaped canoe and it takes you along a winding river trail while you listen to the characters (birds, rabbits, frogs, and more) sing and move. There are a couple of places you might get wet as the ride dips down.

You can take a virtual ride here:

Does your family have a vacation planned this summer?

It doesn’t matter if you go to another country or state. In fact, you can have fun as family by taking a drive to the beach, mountains, or someplace within driving distance of your house. The key is to spend time as a family, enjoy each other’s company, and do (or see) something you might not have done before.

I’d love to post a picture, but my daughter is away at camp and the photos are on her camera! I’ll post one soon.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's All About the Journey

Hi. This is Kathy. Last time I posted I wanted to post pictures but I was on a different computer and it wouldn't let me. So here are pictures of our recent trip.

When I travel with my kids, it's all about the journey. I'm not too concerned with making deadlines and I never drive straight through to somewhere. We stop and explore new places and new things on our journey. This was true on a recent journey from the Florida panhandle where I live to the Indiana/Michigan border where my mom and sister live.

Here are some pictures--but they are in reverse order! So the last picture is really our first stop and these first pictures were our last stop.

 This is Ruby Falls, TN. We stopped here on our way home.
 This is me in the cave. Ruby Falls is inside a cave.

 This is a spray park near my mom's house. It's fairly new. This was a regular play park when I was growing up.
 Jasmine and I sharing a rootbeer float at DQ after a one-mile (it was really longer!) family walk.
 This is us after the walk.
 These are four of my kids sitting in Yoder's Department store in an Amish town (Shipshewana) near my mom's city. This is the first time the twins have seen Amish people and the first time seeing anyone travel by horse and buggy. 
 My husband's parents took us to a restaurant where they pass the food family style.
 This is Kayla at the zoo trying to see how far she can jump.
 Here we are in the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  
 This is a really cool place. That's why I like stopping along the way on our journeys.

 Botanical gardens. I didn't find this place very exciting but it was okay. If you like planting gardens and working with flowers, you'd probably love this place.
So, for us. It's all about the journey. And it's a little like that in our Christian life too. Sure, God could have us all come home to heaven right now, but he doesn't. That's because he has a journey planned for us here on earth. Your journey includes school and maybe later on college or work or marriage. God knows all the people you'll meet along the way. He puts people in your path that you can learn from and he puts some there that will learn from you. You never know why things happen in your life, but no matter what you face-good or bad--think of it as being part of your journey and make the most of every opportunity.