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He gives and He takes away

He was just another man in the park. He was hunched over on a bench staring out into the Intracoastal. He watched people as they walked by -- smiling, nodding. He saw a woman with a dog and held out his hand to show the dog he meant no harm. He was quiet, otherwise. He read his books. Book after book, he read. He even claims to have read the bible several times, cover to cover. He didn’t bother anyone. Even on nights when he was able to collect enough money to buy some beer. He still didn’t bother anyone. He drank his beer on his bench, watching the boats come and go, carrying people of lives different than his. He gets a bag of food and some room temperature bottles of water on this hot day. He smiles and throws his hands up to the sky, “Thank you God you answered my prayers!”
He is the least of these.
His eyes are bright blue. Piercing blue. His hair white with traces of blond and his skin a dark shade of tan. He has been living on the streets for a couple of years now. He had a hom…
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Your reaction matters.

For every action there is a reaction. And, as much as we may wish we can control the actions -- we cannot always do so. What we can control, however, is our reaction. For instance, when something happens to you that may cause you to stress out, cry, or throw your hands up in defeat, you aren't doomed. You have a choice. 
(1) Are you going to let the action defeat you? Are you going to forfeit your happiness? Are you going to stay smug by withholding your forgiveness or failing to find acceptance? Are you going to let the other forces at play win? Are you going lose your ability to love?
(2) Are you going to get over yourself and come out on top? Are you going to let love lead and heal? Are you going to find your happiness by letting ill feelings go? Are you going to move forward with forgiveness and acceptance? 
It is easier said than done, I know. But, practice makes perfect. So, start practicing today. 

Review: 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids

(The legal stuff required by the FCC: I was given this CD to review by FrontGate Media. While I was given the CD for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)
Do you have kids who ask a ton of questions? I've always heard that the most inquisitive kids grow up to be wise adults. So, while the questions may be incredibly annoying after a long day at work, cooking dinner, washing dishes, handling laundry, helping kids with homework, and everything else that fits into your day -- find comfort in the fact that you are raising an intelligent child. 
Many of these questions revolve around things we say or do, and children want to know why? The questions also come, however, when reading the Bible. Think about it -- even as adults we question what we read in our ability to fully understand. Its not easy stuff. Now, imagine being a kid! Sometimes I find myself having to explain simple things that I know as an adult, but kids just haven't encountered yet. 
So, when I was asked if I'…

Here is your annual reminder. You're welcome.

What if we had Christmas with no gifts?
Some of you may say, "well baby Jesus received gifts from the three wise men." Of course he did. He is Jesus! That's why we celebrate Christmas, right? 
You aren't Jesus and neither am I. We aren't even close no matter how much we try. So what makes us think that we need to celebrate Christmas with a bunch of gifts? 
Every year around this time, stress seems to amplify. I don't know about you, but I don't like feeling stressed when I think of Christmas -- it is much too warm and magical for that! But, social calendars fill up. There is a ton of cooking, baking, and decorating to do. Shopping is a priority -- especially for those that you need to ship gifts to. And then, of course, we have financial stress that affects a huge chunk of the population. (Did you know that more than half of us will go into debt just to buy Christmas gifts? And, some are still paying off last years Christmas gifts!?)
And, what is this a…

A Girl Like Me

(The legal stuff required by the FCC: I was given this CD to review by FrontGate Media. While I was given the CD for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)
I will be honest -- I had never heard of Julie Elias until I was asked to review her CD, A Girl Like Me. She used to be an actress in shows such as CSI:NY and Grey's Anatomy, but I am just not an avid TV watcher. Her story, however, says she wasn't feeling content acting.
Surrendering herself to God's plan for her, she has become a role model for young girls everywhere.
Like so many of us, Julie faced rejection and struggled with her faith, believing God was nowhere near her. It wasn't until she let God take control of her life, that she learned he had been there all along. And, he still is.
Not only is her voice calming, but it can carry you away. It's easy for the lyrics to take me back to my youth -- finding my way with good times and bad times and all the teenage drama girls have to deal with. You know, b…

Indescribable by Louie Giglio

(The legal stuff required by the FCC: I was given this Bible to review for by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)

It is hard to get kids to read. Look at pictures, sure. But, read? Not so much. At least the kids in my life, anyways. They read very well -- it is just a matter of finding something that grabs their attention. Only then do they keep the book open, turning page after page.
When it comes to devotionals or talking and reading about God, they are always all-ears -- if we do it together as a family. But, regardless of how well-intentioned we are, we have a hard time sticking with a nightly plan. Life takes over, interest is lost, routines change, or whatever the reason may be.

I presented them with the copy I received of Louis Giglio's book, Indescribable: 100 devotions about God and science. And, so far, it is a winner. They are boys -- ages 7 and 10 -- and they LOVE to learn how things work. The book is bright, color…

She Reads Truth Bible review

(The legal stuff required by the FCC: I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.) I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself all over the place when trying to absorb some of God's word. First, there is my bible. Then, of course, the devotional on my desk calendar. And, then the app on my phone. And, of course, I can not forget my book of daily devotionals. It's like I need to create a schedule to have time to read from each and pray that I can absorb something. Its a bit much, I know. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the "things" I want to turn to that I am not nearly as focused as I would like to be. 

That is why I was really excited when I was presented with the opportunity to review a bible that includes everything I need between the front and back covers! The She Reads Truth Bible has some great perks: It has a reading plan that provide…

Gratitude attitude

Why is it that so many of us only say what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving? Truly, what is the difference between Thursday, November 23, 2017 and Wednesday, November 15, 2017?
Nothing. There is no difference at all. Well, other than one comes with a feast and the other does not. 
Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful. And it is a feeling you should be actively seeking every moment of every day. 
When you are stuck in traffic and will be late -- be thankful that you have a car to sit in amongst that traffic.  When you fall face first in front of a potential employer -- be thankful that you have legs you can walk and trip with. And, be thankful that you are able to show how genuinely human you are.  When your kids act out every time you need them to be on their best behavior -- be thankful that you have been blessed with kids who aren't afraid to share their voice. And be thankful that they have lungs to breathe with and life to share with you.  When you are in charge of cooking …