Lilly’s Colorful Spots

Hey Grandgirls, I posted the book cover and a promo of Lilly’s Colorful Spots on my kid’s blog. Do you like the cover? There are a lot more pictures inside.  I did a photo shoot with Brooklyn and used the pictures for illustrations throughout the book. So, Lilly is actually Brooklyn. 🙂

Aunt Christy is even featured in one of the photos.  Thanks to those, who live nearby, who patiently listened, critiqued and helped me put the story of Lilly’s Colorful Spots into a Book. You’re the BEST encourager’s!

Click below to read my process in creating my first Children’s Book.  Thanks in advance to ALL my friends who are willing to help me get the word out!  🙂  Feedback, I need lots of feedback and sharing.

Click Below to read the rest on Moral Stories for Kids

Source: Lilly’s Colorful Spots 

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What are the Words Coming Out of your Mouth?

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes

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“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Good morning my precious girls,

As I was getting ready this morning, the Lord dropped His word into my heart and my thoughts. It is the verse you read above.

Allow me a moment to personalize this verse, will you? What if Jesus showed up and said, “Hey Kristin or Hey Jessie, Hey  Mya, Hey Kenzie, Hey Maddi, Hey Bri, Hey Bethy let’s have lunch.”

What if your Savior had a heart to heart talk with you. What if He played back all of the words you used last week?  What if He flashed all the thoughts you had the previous week up on a big screen?

Ahhhhhhh that would be revealing, wouldn’t it?

The truth is girls, Jesus does hear your words.  He knows your every thought.

The Psalmist David, talking to His Lord says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”  Ps. 139:2  and  “Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.” Ps. 139:4

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let no filthy talk be heard from your mouths, but only what is good for building up people and meeting the need of the moment.[a] This way you will administer grace to those who hear you.” Eph:4:29  and “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Col. 3:8

I pray you will always choose to walk in His steps and obey His will.

He has given us boundaries because He knows what is best for us. When we live within those boundaries we find peace and fulfillment!

You are the light of the world girls, you are set apart by your Father, He has called you to be His kid. God’s children must not act like, talk like or look like the world.

because I love you,

Nana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake Hunters Real Christians

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Morning Girls,

Today, I have a treat for you.  I am sharing a heart searching illustration from Pastor Dave.

For those who are reading this blog, let’s just say, there are many miracles connected to the fact that today, as a family, we are where we are.

Only God could have brought us together in one place to worship. All of my children and their children attend Harvest Spring Lake. We are so blessed to be in a Church where we are consistently pointed vertically.

The fact that we all hear the same inspired messages gives way to some great conversations. God’s grace has worked in our lives and He has blessed us above and beyond what I could ever hope.

Without further ado, here is a message from our beloved Pastor, David Wisen:

My Second ‘Once-in-a-lifetime Hunt”

I spent Monday – Wednesday this week experiencing my second “once-in-a lifetime” “hunt”. Hunt is also in parentheses – this is not real hunting. This is a controlled hunt with a guide who puts you on massive deer that have been fed and allowed to live to old ages without being threatened by real hunters. I understand I am not a real hunter. I am a pastor, and as I sit in my stand waiting for my guide to spot deer I cannot see, my mind wanders back to the church and my concern for people who get confused and maybe misled into thinking they are real Christians when they are not.

Here are three things that every fake hunter and every real Christian knows to be true:

1. Fake hunters worry about how they are perceived –  real Christians understand grace.

As I packed for the “hunt”, I wanted to make sure I had the right gear and looked the part. The problem is, even looking the part, can I talk like a real hunter without looking stupid? Fake Christians have the same fear. Real Christians understand they will never measure up to any competency test – they know they continually fall short. However, they rejoice that although they are not “righteous” on their own, they can rely on the credentials of their Guide and his righteousness to accomplish the task.

“…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Titus 3:5-7

2. Fake hunters wonder if their gun is loaded – Real Christians have the proper ammo.

I can never remember if I put a bullet in the chamber – I am constantly double-checking. My fear is when the test comes, I will not be ready. Real Christians know that when the tests of life come, they have a God who never changes, who loves them unconditionally, who will never leave or forsake us, and who is sufficient in every circumstance.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….”  2 Corinthians 12:9

3. Fake hunters brag about their accomplishments – Real Christians brag about the    Guide.

The deer always grows as the story is retold. The difficulty of the shot increases over time. Real Christians are quick to defect all the praise to the Guide. My guide understood the movements and tendencies of deer beyond what I thought was possible. He knew to stalk a deer from an up-wind position (“Is it windy”?). Real Christians look back over their lives and see that the Guide put them in the position to have success.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Some things to think about next time you are stuck in a stand.

Choose a Man After God’s Heart

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Hello my girls,

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent you a note.  Life has been busy and my writer’s brain seems set on off. 😉

But my heart for you never goes off.  I pray throughout the week that God will drop a message for you in my lap.  When the words formulate in my brain, I begin to write.  Such is the case today. 🙂

As I watch each of you living out your lives, my heart fills with JOY sometimes, and at other times sadness.  How I wish there was a fast forward button so you could see how each little choice, you make today, will affect your future.

As an older woman “Let the older women teach the younger women,” referred to in Titus 2, I come to you in humility.  I come to you as a Nana fully invested in you.  I pray you flourish, that your life shines for Jesus in this dark world.

Today’s topic, A man after God’s own heart, is heavy on my heart.  I want you to marry a godly man.  Not a good man, or a man who treats you good (while you are dating) but a man whose heart is on fire for God.

a-man-after-gods-heartDo you know why I want this for you?  Because I know that a man who loves God will ALWAYS love you.  He will love you with the Love God puts in His heart. He will lead you because he knows his role is to be your rock. Marriage is hard, make no mistake about it. A man who loves God will weather each storm and love you through it.

Years ago, God laid it on my heart to break up with my high school boyfriend because he was not a spiritual leader. Oh, he was tall, dark, handsome, he spoiled me and was so good to me.  But God kept whispering in my heart.  He does not love God like you do.  This is not my choice.

Breaking up with my boy was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I agonized, argued, pleaded with God to change His mind.  But He was telling me, “Choose me, trust me, allow me to lead you to a man such as you never dreamed possible. You all know him as  Papa.  His love for God and his unshakeable convictions attracted me to him … well, that and his extremely good looks. LOL

Jesus gave His life for you, there is NO greater sacrifice. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  This is what He asks of you.

Taking it one step further; don’t be fooled.  You should know that a man’s heart is revealed through his choices, his conduct, his actions. Does he give lip service to being a Christian? OR is his life transformed by the power of God.  Has he been redeemed and is he growing in his Faith?

As I ask you these questions, let me urge you to turn that light on your own heart.  A godly man seeks a godly girl.  It’s that simple.

God’s ways are not our ways, NO, they are better than anything we could ever imagine or hope for.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isa. 55:8

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isa. 55:6

I love you, girls, I will always love you.  I cannot choose for you.  God has given each of us a free will, otherwise, we would be puppets.  I pray you choose God;  and choose a man after His heart.

because I love you,

Nana

 

Raising Polar Opposites

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled, Nana’s Love Notes Image result for free page divider clipart

Good Morning Girlies,

My article about raising Polar Opposites is published today on The Glorious Table.  I wonder if you can pick out your parent by my description?

I never took my role as a parent lightly.  My favorite role in life was in being a Mom, and when God gave me Grands, it is in being a Nana.

As I watch you living out your lives, I pray that each of you will grow in your love for God and for each other.  God has important work to do through you.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Click below to read my post over at The Glorious Table: 

Parenting Your Unique Children with Grace

because I love you,

Nana

God Called Me

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls entitled,

Nana’s Love NotesImage result for free page divider clipart

Hello my Sweet Girls,

It’s time for another note. I am going to take you, in the next few blogs, on a trip down memory lane. My life is filled with so many miracles. I want to share them with you.  I hope they inspire you to trust God and walk in His ways.  Here we go:

I am a Child of God

I am so amazed that the Lord of all creation cares for me. Does that thought blow your mind, like it does mine?

As a new believer, I desired, with all of my heart, to show God my gratitude for giving me a brand new life in Christ.

I studied my Bible and asked God to make me wise.  I listened carefully when Pastor taught the word.  I took lots and lots of notes so I could learn everything I could about my amazing Father and His son Jesus.

One of the things my Pastor said frequently was, “The Holy Spirit speaks in a still small voice, you must be listening when He speaks or you may miss His call.”

One Sunday morning, sitting in Church, I studied the big wooden cross at the front of the sanctuary.  I was thinking about what Jesus did for me. He gave His life that so I could live, not just eternally but right here and right now – abundantly! I was living an abundant life because I was experiencing freedom as His child. God rescued me from despair and placed me into His family. I felt huge JOY in knowing that I was loved like that.

I was living an abundant life because I was experiencing freedom as His child. God rescued me from despair and placed me into His family. I felt huge JOY in knowing that I was loved like that.

Suddenly, I heard that still small voice from God. As I gazed at the cross, this scripture verse ran through my mind,”If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

I recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit, using scripture. He was talking to me. I prayed,“Oh Lord, you have given me hope and a purpose. I want to follow you but I am so ignorant of the ways of God, I don’t know what you want.”

Just then I felt God speak to my heart. This is what I heard (not literally but as certainly as it had been Gods’ voice) “You need to prepare to serve me. I want you to go to Cornerstone College.”

At first, the message scared me. The thought of living so far away was terrifying. Next, my thoughts went to my steady boyfriend. We had planned to get married soon after our High School graduation.

I never planned to go to college. I had my plans made, college wasn’t even on my radar. My home life was hard, filled with verbal and physical abuse. I was insecure and never ventured beyond my comfort zone. Though I was timid, I had big faith. I knew, deep in my heart, if Jesus called me, I would follow Him wherever He led.

Though I was timid, I had BIG faith. I knew, deep in my heart, if Jesus called me, I would follow Him wherever He led.

Follow Jesus

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I knew Jesus was calling me and that I must follow His call.

Right after the Church service, I searched for my youth leader. I didn’t want to push the still small voice away. I needed to have godly input. I told Jan what God had spoken to my heart.  Her answer, “Oh Susie, I have been praying God would lead you to Cornerstone.”  WHAT!  I had no clue, she had never talked to me about going to college.  Next, I told my Pastor, and guess what, he too told me that he had been praying I would go to Cornerstone. Never did my Pastor talk to me about going to this Christian College.  You see, right there is evidence that God hears and he answers the prayers of those who trust Him.

From that day, I prepared to go to college. My family thought I had lost my mind. My boyfriend was angry and distressed. Much to my boyfriend’s dismay, peace reigned in my soul and I had a song in my heart.

My parents threw questions out like; “How do you think you can afford a private college?” My answer, “I don’t know, I just know God told me to go.” They tried to convince me I was not being realistic. They scoffed and made fun of me .. They would not help me with anything.

I was only seventeen years old but I prepared all by myself. I applied and kept an appointment with a guidance counselor from the college (3 hours away from home.) I shopped and gathered everything I would need as I prepared to leave home at the end of August. I look back and am dumbfounded by the responsibility I handled.

The night before I was to leave, I was packing my belongings, when my mother came into the room. I noted the sadness on her face. She said, “Susie, Dad and I have been going over and over our finances. There is no way on earth we can afford to send you to college.”

They did not have the money. I stopped what I was doing and looked at my Mother. She looked sincerely sorry and I could tell it was hard for her to give me this news.

follow-jesus

I answered her, “It’s okay Mom, maybe God just wanted to see if I would leave my home and everything I ever knew, to follow him.”

After mom left the room, I sat quietly on my bed. Most of my clothing was packed and everything else was prepared to go. I was relieved, in a way, because I really didn’t want to leave my home, my boyfriend or my church.

I decided I better call one of my Youth Leaders to inform her that I would not be going to college. I spoke with Jan that night and told her what happened. She sounded disappointed for me and promised she would be praying. She said a group of people from the Church were coming to her house that very night. She told me she would share the news with them.

My boyfriend was beside himself with happiness.  He took me to a swanky restaurant and celebrated. The next morning he planned to take me with him to a ballgame in Detroit.  He was a little league coach . He was taking his team to see a professional ball game. But, I got sick in the morning and could not go. Do you think God makes people sick and then makes them better in a few hours?  In this case, He did. 😉

Later that morning I received a call from Jim, the head deacon at my Church. He said, “Get packed Susie, you are going to college!” Shocked, I listened intently. He said Jan told the group who met at in her house about my plight. They decided to call my Pastor, who was on vacation at the time. Pastor Jones directed them by saying, “You get her up there and we’ll worry about the money later.”

After I told my Mom and Dad I hurried to finish my packing. You can imagine the chaos and excitement that took over our lives that day.

Jan planned to be at my house within two hours to drive me to college. As I worked feverishly, I heard my Mom on the phone. She was saying, “Susie said that God was going to send her to college, and He is! He really is!

I am forever grateful to God for Pastor Jones and for the godly group of believers who met at Jan’s house and prayed for me. This group made a commitment to contribute to paying my first year of college.That’s one HUGE sacrificial gift.

I applied and received a job on campus to help with my expenses and contribute toward my college tuition. My parent’s pitched in what they could and the prayer group paid the rest. Amazing Grace How Can It Be That You My God Should Care For Me.

because I love you,

Nana

 

 

Be Ready to Give an Answer

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls, entitled, Nana’s Love NotesImage result for free page divider clipart

Hi my Sweet Girls,

I have a question for you today. Are you girls prepared to talk to an unbeliever or an atheist?  Let me share this verse with you, it’s a word from your Savior, the one who gave His life for you. 😉

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16

I know you all watch movies.  Would you watch this movie in order to be prepared to face questions from those who don’t believe in God? This guy, Ray Comfort, is brilliant and kind and respectful as he interviews atheists.  It’s sooooooooooo good!  I think you’ll love it.

 

I’m proud of you girls and I pray you make an impact in this world.  So many are searching for purpose and for a reason to live.  Let them know there is a creator who loves them and a savior who died so they can live in victory today and forever in a home, called Heaven, he has gone to prepare for those who love Him.

Because I love you,

Nana

Finding My Father

A series of Christian based letters to my Grandgirls, entitled, Nana’s Love Notes
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Hello my sweet Girls,

Ya’all have been on my heart today. Sometimes I get so tickled when I think how much God has blessed me with you grandgirls. You are each so unique with your own set of special gifts. You add so much interest, value, and love to the family. I treasure you!

I have a story to share with you today. I may have previously shared bits and pieces with you, but today, I’m writing it down in hopes that you will see God’s hand in drawing me to His heart.

My Childhood

I grew up in a very dysfunctional, unstable home. My parents were alcoholics and they fought all of the time.  My father had an explosive temper. We never knew what would trigger it. It was a very scary and insecure world for my mom, my siblings and me. I wondered why no one rescued me. I longed to be rescued.

When I was only fourteen, I had seen enough of life to wish I hadn’t been born. I did not want to grow up and live the life my parents were living. I felt no hope, no joy and no purpose for my life.

A Longing to Know God

One day, as I was folding clothes, I began to think about the existence of God. I reasoned that If there was a God who made the world and everything in it, there must be a way to know him.

The more I thought about it the more I wanted to know if he was real. If he was the creator, did he care about me? After all, he wouldn’t create me, throw me on this earth place and say, “Now, go fend for yourself! would he?”  Suddenly a desperate yearning welled up deep inside my heart.

Next thing I knew I was laying face down on the floor. I was crying out, “God, if you are real, I need you!  I’m afraid and I feel abandoned and all alone. I want to know you but I don’t know how to find you, will you please show yourself to me?”  I lay there a long time as the silence surrounded me.

Confusion, Disillusionment and Deep Sadness

A year later God revealed Himself to me but not before he took me through a year where he showed me that life apart from God is meaningless. That year was  filled with disillusionment, confusion, and deep sadness.

I  sought to fill the God-shaped void in my heart. The void only God could fill.

The way I went about doing that was to seek significance through popularity.  I wanted so badly to be noticed and accepted.  After observing the apparent happiness of all the popular kid’s at school, I made it my goal to become one of them.

Well, I got my wish and it was empty! The popular kids, whom I thought were my friends, proved to be extremely self-centered.  They only cared about being number one. Being popular did not fill my hearts cry for meaning or purpose.

I was consumed with emptiness.

What next?

Was there no purpose in this life?

A Friend Who Cared

As I was struggling with deep emotional pain, one of my friends, from Junior High, was observing me. Debbie was concerned when I pulled away from everyone.

As Debbie’s concern for me grew, she decided to talk to her Mom about me.  As a result of that talk, Debbie asked me to spend the night at her house. I turned her down.

I didn’t want to be anywhere or with anyone.

Debbie persisted and kept urging me to stay at her house. She would not take no for an answer so eventually, I caved and reluctantly accepted her invitation.

Finding my Father

That night I observed a different home life from mine. There was a sweetness in the atmosphere.  My heart warmed as I watched Debbie’s Dad take the youngest kids to bed, piggyback style. After all the kids were tucked in, he made his way to his favorite chair.

Sitting comfortably, with a big black book in his hand, he turned to me. There was a world of kindness in his eyes. He spoke to me gently as he said he had something very important to share with me.

I was taken back thinking, “Who me?” At the same time, I felt an unfamiliar sense of endearment. A sense of being valued washed over me. “Who am I that he should care for me?” I thought.

Sitting in anticipation, Dad Haworth opened God’s word and spoke words of truth and life. He explained to me that God did indeed exist and He was the creator of the whole universe. I felt the darkness lifting. My heart filled with excitement and Joy … “Oh, thank you, God, you ARE real!”  

Goosebumps ran down my spine.

He continued, “Susie, God created everything and every person. He created you on purpose for a purpose.” (tears welled in my eyes and the deepest longings to know God squeezed at my heart).

He said that the Lord God is a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin in His heaven, “Oh, I knew all about the ugliness of sin – though I didn’t call it sin.” 

He opened the word to John 3:jesus-hugging16 and explained that because God so loved me, He gave His only son to die for my sins so that I could live eternally with Him.

The only one who could die in my place was the spotless son of God, He who knew no sin became sin for us. 2 Cor. 5:21.  It was Jesus in my place.

That night I could barely wait to ask Jesus to wash my sins away. I accepted God’s gift, the gift of His son Jesus who willingly gave up His life to pay the price for my sin.

He chose death on that cruel cross so I could live with him eternally.

I opened my heart eagerly to the one who had given His all to redeem me. I prayed asking God to forgive me for my sins. He did. I invited Him to be the Lord of my life.

As I prayed I felt an immediate awakening in my Spirit and I experienced what scripture describes as ,“Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

My whole world changed that night. The despair was gone and I knew I would never again walk alone. I belonged to God. He  adopted me as a daughter into His family.

My desperate prayer to know God was answered; my soul came to rest and I was fully at peace. I knew that the creator God loved me, pursued me and had a plan for my life here on Earth.

Rescued

Girls, if you ask your parent’s they will tell you that one of their favorite groups, in their growing up years, was Acapella.  I’m including a link, by Acapella, for you to hear a song that expresses my heart that night and to this day.

From a life filled with fear, despair, and purposelessness … God came to my Rescue!

p.s. Play this out loud and watch your parent’s reaction, I guarantee they’ll look at you like, What???  It will be a BLAST from their past.

You Came to My Rescue By Acapella

because I love you,

Nana