Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, rest

This is the 31st day of the October writing challenge. I want to leave you with one of the passages of Scripture that I have clung to for all of my adult life. It reminds me that when I feel overwhelmed it is because I am trying to live this life in my own power, instead of accepting the power and strength that can only come from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I need to rest in Christ. If you find yourself always striving and never achieving, or floating helplessly in a storm-tossed ocean, then bow your knee and recognize your need of Him. Admit your need of rest.

May these verses full you anew with the hope and peace that He offers us.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Monday, October 30, 2017

NaNoWriMo advice for writers from Arlene

NaNoWriMo, writing for teens

The following is advice from Arlene, for anyone, especially other teens, who are considering joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it begins Wednesday, November 1st.

So I'm on the YoungWritersProgram (YWP) of NaNo and the new intern asks a question and of course I can’t just give a simple reply. This got kind of long so I thought I would share it as encouragement here for anyone else who wants to give NaNo a shot this year.

ModKS Q:What are all of you doing to get ready in these last few days before NaNo starts? What things are you getting taken care of now? Do you put together NaNo kits for yourself? What do you make sure to have? What do you recommend?

Me A: So this is only my second NaNo besides the two camps I did over the summer (neither of which I really committed to like I did in November so this is kind of my ideas of ok now that I have done it what can I do better this year).
So for prep I would say write. Yes I know you are going to be writing all of next month but if it has been a while since you wrote fiction then write a short story in the last few days this month just to get back into the writing a lot each day groove. For this I have actually been working on my story for next month early writing out how all the characters arrived at the location of where my story takes place since it happens at the beginning. 

Second you don't have to outline. Some people really do some people don't at all, I’m somewhere in the middle but plan as much as you are comfortable with and then let your story surprise you and take you to the awesome place you never knew it could go. I have an idea of what is going to happen but I don't heavily outline before because then I feel like I will be too stuck to my outline to let the story go a different direction if it wants to.

I don't have a kit except for a package of good chocolate as a reward for myself if I get to my word count by the end of each day and plans to hang out with friends this Sunday as a break before going into a full week of writing next Monday.

What do I have? Well last year I wrote on my computer and in a notebook. This year I’m writing on my computer  only because I got behind on typing up what I had written by hand for last year's project. This year I have my computer, Wikipedia (which when writing fiction is more helpful then you might think) and the aforementioned chocolate. I don't think I’ll read as much as I did during last November as it got me too distracted to write some days but I will definitely have a few books on hand for if I get a block and just can’t think of anything.

What would I recommend? Well for writing I would say just go for it, it might not fit or it might sound weird to you at 2 in the morning but this is writing month. Turn off you fixer and just write to have fun. After all that is what writing should be, it should be something you enjoy doing and not something you are doing because you have to. If you do it because you have to then your end product won't be as good because it won’t have your joy and fun personality in it. 

As for supplies, food is good and don't stay up too late either. You need fuel to keep going and not just caffeine because that is like a car running on fumes, it works but it’s not good for you. Also you want lots of sleep so you can be fresh every day. 

Word wars and sprints are your friends, it you are good at typing and know where you want the story to go then if you can do 500 words in 20 minutes then it should only take you a few hours to get to your word count goal for the day. Also, set you goal for each day higher then it needs to be (say make it 2000) that way if you have a day where you just can’t write a lot then you have gotten ahead on a different day so you don't get too far behind. I have heard this from lots of people who say it works.

Ok so that’s kind of prep and some stuff for during the month hope it is at least a little helpful. :)



Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, refine

Is God at work refining you? I know I have been in the refiner's fire several times in my life ... ok, several times this year already. Let's be honest, sometimes the fire hurts. It hurts our pride, it makes us uncomfortable, and sometimes, we doubt what God is doing.

The real question is do we want to see the beauty God is revealing, or would we rather stay full of dross? When the refiner's fire is hot, I need to mind myself that it is God at work, changing me to make me more like Christ. If you are in the fire right now, know that God has something in mind for the pure gold He is refining you into. Look for the little glimpses of beauty in your life, and hold on to the assurance that God is doing the work, and He has a plan for you. If you're struggling with doubt, ask Him to reveal to you how He has refined others, ask Him to show you how much dross He has already removed form your life, and ask your friends to pray with you through the process. 

May we each be refined so that we can shine forth the light of Christ to a lost and dying world.

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack ~ A Crew Review

child evangelism, sharing Christ

While we no longer have little children in our home, Arlene and I were still excited to be able to look at the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come. Over the years we have had many opportunities for both of our girls to be brought up in the church and encouraged in their faith by extra activities like Vacation Bible School and Awana.

We wanted to look over these child evangelism tools so we could make solid recommendations to those we know who regularly work with children's ministry, as well as have a few on hand to share with friends and family. One great benefit of getting the Sampler Pack is being able to look over each tool and evaluate how it might work with your event or ministry. For example, one of my favorite tracts in the Sampler Pack is The True Story of Christmas. It is one of three animated tracts included. For the animation to work, you slowly slide the enclosed plastic sheet from left to right over the image. To better understand it, watch this short YouTube video demonstration:

I particularly like the page where the angels are flying overhead heralding the birth of Christ.

There are two other animated tracts included: John 3:16, and Where's Everybody Going? These are both really cool, whether you are a child, or an adult. I can imagine using them one on one with a child, or using them to help teach a Sunday School lesson. Each of these child evangelism tracts ends with a short two-page spread explaining to the child how they can accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If you have children who are ready and wanting to share the Gospel with their friends in the neighborhood, these would make a great way to share the love of Christ. Then they could give the tract to their friend to take home and read through over and over again. Each of these animated tracts is available in packs of 10 for a reasonable price. If you are ordering for a larger event, like VBS or an after-school outreach, Let the Little Children Come offers volume discounts on orders of 11 packs (of ten each) or more.

child evangelism, sharing Christ

This Sampler Pack also has two flipabout tracts. One of John 3:16, which includes words, the other is the Gospel Buttons FlipAbout and includes only pictures. This Gospel Buttons one would be great for sharing with children of any language, as the person sharing can use the pictures, along with their own words, to share the Gospel message with four key concepts. Fear not, the Let the Little Children Come website has a section for each tract that offers what to say with each step of the tract. It encourages adjusting the language to the age of the children you are sharing with. To see more about what to say with the Gospel Buttons FlipAbout, click here.

That leaves five more tools in the sampler pack: Two pop-up tracts, one about Easter, and the other about the Amazing House God has prepared for each of us in Heaven. Both of these also include a prayer to pray if the child is ready to accept Jesus' redemptive work on the cross. Also included are the Wordless Book and the Wordless Bracelet kit, and the medium sized  Silicone Salvation Bracelet. If you have ever been around someone who loves to share their faith, especially through street evangelism you have probably seen one or more of these three before. They include the colors gold/ yellow, black, red, white, and green. These have been used successfully for years to share about God's plan, our sin, Christ's shed blood, our forgiveness and growth as Christians. The silicone bracelet also is available in 20 packs in small for younger children and large for adults. The silicone salvation bracelet comes individually packaged with a small card that explains what each color represents. On the website you can download and print this paper in Spanish if you are sharing with a multi-lingual audience.

How else might these child evangelism tools be used? The wordless bead bracelet kits could be assembled at summer camp, during Sunday School, VBS, backyard get-togethers, used on a mission trip, or given as gifts in a Christmas stocking or Birthday present. Since silicone bracelets have been a craze for children and teens for several years that does not show any signs of going away soon, they could be worn everyday, especially to school or sporting events. They are a small yet tangible reminder to the wearer that we should be sharing our faith everywhere we go. They can also be a conversation starter as tweens and teens often ask each other what their bracelets stand for or where they got them.

child evangelism, sharing Christ

I would love to see more churches have these child evangelism tools on hand to pass out, not only to regular attendees, but to visiting children - especially the animated ones, as they can entertain and enrich the visit to church, plus they offer a take-home of the lesson of Jesus' love and forgiveness that each of us should be encountering every time we walk through the church doors. You could easily include these with that container of Christmas cookies you drop off at the neighbors' house every December, or add one to your Christmas cards or party favor bags for the holidays. 

Children are won to Christ when their hearts are quickened by the Holy Spirit to believe the message of the Gospel. But first, they must hear the message. Be that person who loves the children enough to share the Gospel message with them. Live out Romans 10:14 - How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

See all of the child evangelism tools on the Let the Little Children Come website, or visit their FaceBook page.

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Books with Bean ~ Deadly Disclosures: A Dinah Harris Mystery

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Dinah Harris Mysteries

Title: Deadly Disclosers: A Dinah Harris Mystery 

Author: Julie Cave

Published: 2010

Genre: Fiction/Christian/Suspense 

Summary: Dinah Harris is an FBI agent with a bad past and a low position in the work ladder because of her past mistakes and on top of that she is an alcoholic. However the recent disappearance of Thomas Whitfield, a high member of the Smithsonian gives her the chance to redeem herself. She and her partner Ferguson start the case trying to find if they can find out where Whitfield disappeared to, and why he disappeared.  When they find Whitfield dead they start to learn that his death is bigger then they thought, and that his religion had a big part to play in why he was gotten rid of. Dinah soon finds that the debate of does God exist is more important in the case than she thought. But before she can find the killer, she has to overcome her own problems and face her own past.

What I liked about it: As someone who doesn't read many suspense/legal thrillers, I found this to be really interesting. I will admit I was a little young when I first read this, but having read this book and the three following it, I will say they are really interesting. Ms. Cave takes serious issues like Creation vs Evolution, Eugenics and the value of human life, hatred for the Church and Domestic violence, and Racism and weaves them into her stories in a way that makes you understand why some people believe what they do, while still explaining why God’s grace covers all and all people are fallen and can be forgiven. Her villains are realistic and she does a good job of keeping you wondering who they are until the end of the book.

Language: Some but not that much.

Romance: Dinah is widowed, and it talks about how much she loved her husband and son but there is no romance.

Violence: This is definitely a murder mystery, it's not too graphic but it is definitely not for little kids. 

Magic: None

Recommended Age: Like I said above, I was kind of young when I started reading these, I would recommend them for 14 or 15 and up. Because of the more mature themes.

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Dinah Harris Mysteries

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, follow

Who are you following? Today it is common to hear the term followers when talking about social media. How many Twitter followers do you have, or who follows you on Pinterest? But what we really need to be focusing on is who we are following. 

Paul admonished the early church to follow him as he followed Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV) That means they needed to compare Paul's words and actions to what they knew of Christ. Today we are fortunate to be able to reference Christ's word at any time of the day, either in our print Bible or online. We have no excuse for not checking to see if those leaders we are following are following Christ. God calls us to be doers of the word and not hears only. (James 1:22) No matter how good the pastor at your church is at teaching from the Bible, God is calling each of us to study His Word for ourselves. To follow closely in the steps of Jesus.

One of my favorite books is Charles M. Sheldon's In His Steps. Each time I read it I am reminded that God has a path for each of our lives, to follow Him in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. May you find your path as you read and study His Word.

May you be blessed this week as you follow Christ.

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Mark 1:17

Scripture Writing, Mark 1:17

Saturday, October 28, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, connect

God made us to be in relationships - to crave connection. He made us to be in a relationship with Him, and He designed us to want connections with other people - our family, our friends, even business partners and neighbors. 

The times when I feel I have not connected with another person well are usually those times when I was spending so much time listening to my internal dialogue in my head that I was NOT listening to the other person. I am praying that God is at work transforming that part of me. I want to connect with others - daily! I have had a wonderful month filled with so many great connecting points - two writing conferences, meeting online friends in person, spending time with family, and volunteering at a local museum. All great connections, all worth every minute I spent. I feel whole inside again instead of wrung out. I needed authentic connection with other writers to spur me on to continue in this writing life that God has called me to.

But most of all - I need my daily connection to God - through reading His Word, prayer, and worship. That is then connection that will never be severed, the one that is eternal. 

If you are feeling disconnected, take time to go read God's Word and pray. Then ask Him to open your ears to do the right kind of listening to the people around you so you can connect with them as well.

Have a lovely weekend!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Mark 1:15

Scripture writing, Mark 1:15

Friday, October 27, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, five minute friday writing prompt, overcome

Jesus left us with the assurance that He would send us the Holy Spirit to remind us of all He had taught us from the Father. He also left us with the assurance that as Christians we would be able to overcome the troubles of this life with His help. Perhaps you are also thinking of John 16:33  ~ 
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. 

What a comfort to know that through all of our trials and struggles Jesus is our strength to overcome. No fear, just faith in Christ. 

May you know that peace that comes from Christ. May you live an overcoming life that brings Him glory. Life eternal that started on the day you bowed your knee in admission of your sin and need for Jesus' forgiveness. 

An Overcoming life !

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, change

Do you ever feel like your life is full of changes? That you cannot escape the ever changing days? Me too. Change can be good when it is the transformative change that God works in our hearts. Change can also be good when we are changing out bad habits for good ones - like eating more vegetables or drinking more water each day. Sometimes though - change can be bad for us - like when we stop caring about the people around us, or when we harden our hearts towards someone who has hurt us in the past.

Jesus tells us over and over again to forgive. To hold no grievance, to hold no grudge. If when you are searching your heart you find some hardness there, ask God to reveal to you where and when the change took place. Then ask Him to help you forgive the person that hurt you. Ask Him to forgive you for your bitterness, and let Him transform you into someone new.

Change can be a very good thing - when it comes from God.

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Love Him more

hand lettered songs, love Him more

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, because

In Mark 12, Jesus was discussing several issues with the Pharisees. When they got to the subjects of divorce, death, and eternal life, Jesus rebuked the pharisees with these words:
 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? (verse 24)

Is that not always our problem as well? 

We struggle with what to do in our lives, how to handle a conflict, how to proceed with the most benevolence, how to love our family and our fellow man, all because we neither know the Word of God nor trust in His power. 

Before you get all bent out of shape, let us take minute to think about this. When Jesus was an adolescent, the Jewish boys would memorize the first five books of what we call the Old Testament. 

When was the last time you memorized Scripture? 

I'll admit that it is much harder for me to do now than when I was younger, but I know I still need to do it. That is part of why I have been illustrating Bible verses with my hand lettering for the past two years. Do you too need a push to get back to reading, studying and memorizing God's Word so you can know the Scriptures? 

And what about the second part? 

Do I really know the power of God? Do I trust Him to use it on my behalf, to show me His power as He works out the struggles of my life for His glory and my good? While I would like to say yes, I know that some days the answer is no. 

Lord, help my unbelief!

May we study God's Word, and be on the lookout for the power of God at work in our lives. Because He loves us and died for us we now have hope. 

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow with joy!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Mark 1:11

Scripture writing, Mark 1:11

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, revise

Do we need a revision in our thinking?

Should we be looking forward to the end of our lives with joy, or with sorrow? If we are Christians, then no matter how our mortal bodies die, or when they die, we have the assurance of leaving this life and being present with God in Christ.

The world is full of sorrow, but it can also be filled with joy. When our first thoughts are about the sorrow, the suffering, the despair of so many around us, let us go to God in prayer and ask Him to once again revise our thinking, and the attitudes of our hearts. We can look forward to the future with expectation of the wonderful things He has planned for us. Let us not fear tomorrow.

Here is the dictionary definition of revise: reconsider and alter (something) in light of further evidence.

If you do not have the hope of Christ in your heart today, may I ask you to take a look at the evidence of Jesus' great love for you? I want you to be able to look forward to the hope of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. To read more about God's great love for you, I suggest starting in the Gospel of John. If you do not have a printed Bible of your own, you can download a free app for your phone, or read it online for free at Biblegateway.com. Just enter John in the passage section, and if you want to you can change the version. The English Standard Version is a good one to start with. Read, pray, ask questions of a Christian friend or a local pastor. Get the answers you need. God's love is so vast, so full, that He wants us all to become a part of His family. May the evidence point you to the heart of God.

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Monday, October 23, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, work

As I was at work today, contemplating what to write about, I knew I had to focus on the verse that commands us to do all our work "as unto the Lord." Colossians 3:23.

Why is it important to do our work this way? Because with any other focus we will eventually lose heart, grow discouraged, or be tempted to do sloppy work. Life can throw so many things at us at once that we might think about going to work as an escape from the rest of our lives. If we get caught in this trap, then our work will be less than it should be, and our attitudes will stink. I know - I've been there, done that, and needed to repent and go make it right.

If we view ALL of our work as service to God, then we can see it all has value, and we are reminded that how we do our work reflects on our Master, the Lord of heaven Himself. The next time you are weary, and tempted to slack off, be encouraged that God is there to give you strength to do your work for His glory - whether you are running a business meeting or wiping a toddler's nose. Do it all heartily, as to the Lord!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Books With Bean ~ Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland, Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Lewis Carroll

Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll

Published: 1865

Genre:  Children’s, fantasy, adventure

Summary: Down, down, down, the rabbit hole, lots of people know the story. Alice falls down the rabbit hole and ends up in a world quite different from ours. It's kind of hard to summarize the story because the plot is kind of all over but that is half of the charm.

What I liked about it: Whimsy is them best word to use, I think. I love the ordered randomness of the story, the book has so many strange and cool characters. Alice is a little stupid as she gets told many times, but one can’t expect that one would have their own head put on straight if you were stuck in someplace as strange as Wonderland. And besides her there are plenty of other really crazy cool characters. 

Language: None

Romance: None 

Violence: None

Magic: I’m not exactly sure how to describe Wonderland, it is obviously not normal, and yet there is not really any obvious magic town around like in most magical books.

Recommended Age: Well, like other books this is one to be read many times over your life. It is fun for kids but I personally think it gets better every time I read it. However I think 5-7 is a good age for a first read aloud.

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Books With Bean, book reviews by teens

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, light

Jesus said we are to be the light of the world. This morning at church the pastor compared our lives on this side of eternity to a short term mission trip. It really made me think about how I view my everyday life. 

What if I only had a week to share the love of Jesus with those around me? What if I only had a few days, or a few minutes, to share Christ with my co-workers? Will my life have enough evidence to shine forth the light of Jesus to those I encounter? May my prayer life focus on searching out how and where God wants me to focus, may my words and actions shine His light to the lost world around me. May I remember that as tired as I might be at the end of the day, those without the hope of eternal life are even more tired - they are bone weary - and they need that hope I can share! 

May our words, our lives, be as effective for spreading God's kingdom each week, each day of our lives, as they would be on a mission trip. For truly, this life is just a fleeting trip in the scope of eternity!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Mark 1:4

Scripture Writing, Mark 1:4, hand lettering

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, give

In his Gospel, John covered so many of the stories of Jesus' life from a viewpoint of His amazing love for us. Jesus gave us not only His love, but His life. I am continually amazed that God would choose to love me, a sinner, and give His life for mine. 

Some days as a wife and mother I feel like I have given all I can give, and there are still hours left before bedtime and a never-ending to-do list. The only way I have found to continue on is in God's grace and strength. I am reminded over and over again of Jesus' words recorded in John 14:27 ~ "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

When I am tired, or anxious, I remember these words, and I find comfort, I find strength. I am reminded that God knows my days, and He sees my every need. He is the one who has equipped me for these tasks - and He is able!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Isaiah 12:5

Scripture Writing, Isaiah 12:5

Friday, October 20, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, five minute friday writing prompt

Discover might not be the first word we think of when talking about living life as a Christian. That might be a mistake. Can you think back to what you felt when you discovered that God loved you? When your faith first began to grow and you wished, hoped, that the Gospel story was true? The wonder you had when your faith was just as big as a mustard seed and you learned to trust that God did indeed love you, that He stood ready with open arms to forgive you and welcome you home? That the Gospel story of Jesus' death for our sins is indeed true and is available to everyone?!

As we discover new truths while reading our Bibles, as we find new friends with which to fellowship, may we remember that first glimpse of true hope in the One who loves us and died for us. May we be ready to discover the paths God has planned for us, may we greet with open arms each new day, knowing God is there right beside us. May we wonder anew at His goodness and mercy. And then, may we share that joy unspeakable with those around us who need it most!

Some discoveries in life can take a lifetime, some are quick to be found. Our discovery of God's great love and forgiveness occurs when we humble ourselves and understand our need of Him. Wherever you are on this journey of Christian living, may you discover anew God's great love for you each and every day.

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, brave

When we teach our children to be brave, do we remember to tell them why they can be brave? Do we remind them that God is ALWAYS beside them? Do we remind them that Jesus took away the sting of death so that we need no longer fear death?

We can be brave because we trust the outcome to God. We are not acting in spite of the evidence of God, but rather because of the evidence of God working all around us. Being brave means stepping out of our comfort zone and following God's directing of our path. Being brave means being humble, and knowing that your strength and talents are a gift from God. 

May we bravely trust God, who knows all, sees all, and is all we will even need in this life.

Be humble, be trusting, be brave!

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge

Joyful, Joyful

hand lettered songs, joyful joyful

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Christian living, 31 day writing challenge, share

Learning how to share is one of those early lessons we teach our children. Why? Because as humans we normally are quite selfish (it's that sin nature of ours) and would not share with others if we were not taught to think of others first, or at least second. 

Sharing is an important lesson we must re-learn as adults. As followers of Christ we share in the community of believers. We share joys and sorrows, we share burdens and blessings. This is possible because we share in the sufferings and comfort of Christ. It is a blessing to be able to bear one another's burdens, to be the hands and feet of Christ and minister to the need of others. There are a lot of needs around us every day. May we ask God to open our eyes to where He wants us to share His blessings today.

For as we share abundantly in Christ's' sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:5 (ESV)

Christian living, 31 day writing challenge