A birthday campaign for TWLOHA

How Words Can Help (and One Way You Can Help)

I’ve been thinking about the value of words. And the effect of words.

Words can be empty.

Words can be false.

But, honestly, even empty and false words can be hurtful.

So if words can hurt, can words truly help?


Words have the power to encourage, to share love, to offer hope.

Words (read or heard) can cause a physical reaction – be it fear, anxiety, sorrow, hope, love, joy, blessing.

But words also help because they spur action. (Why else would motivational speakers and inspirational words have jobs?)

Want to learn to work after dreams that make a difference? Read Jon Acuff’s words. And then hustle.

Want to be inspired to explore your art and see the world with a slightly different perspective? Read Emily Freeman’s words. And then dream.

Want to be motivated to change your parenting for the better? Read Rachel Macy Stafford’s words. (And listen to your own children’s words!) And then change.

Want to remember that life is for loving and living? Listen to Switchfoot’s lyrics. And then love.

Words matter.

(Which is one reason I keep writing.)

Last month, the world learned and talked about suicide prevention with World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an organization that works to “present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” They share words, amazing words like this. (<– Seriously. Read that.) But they also act in various capacities. (Read more on their vision page.)

TWLOHA amazes me. My husband and I are both regularly in awe of their hearts, their words, and their actions. We shared in our community, families, and work about TWLOHA’s message of “no one else can play your part.” That message is still lingering and working in our lives.

A birthday campaign for TWLOHA

Birthdays always make me feel grateful (because isn’t it a gift to celebrate another year?), and gratitude easily overflows.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate is support a favorite cause. (I have more “stuff” than I need, so why not put the day and the money to better use?) For my birthday this year, I’m raising funds for TWLOHA.

Please consider visiting my campaign page and donating to support TWLOHA and their amazing mission. Any and every bit helps. Thank you. (Read this page to find out how your donation helps.)

And, please, remember. Both your words and your actions matter. No one else can play your part.

“The soothing tongue is a tree of life…” – Proverbs 15:4

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24

If you donated, THANK YOU. I know TWLOHA will use that money well and lovingly. How have you seen in your life that words do indeed matter?

The Greatest High Priest

What is a High Priest?

When you read Hebrews 4:15:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

What do you think of the term “high priest?” Do you read over it with minimal thought? (I have. “High priest,” the greatest one. Cool.)

When I studied it for my Do Not Depart post up today, what I read helped me consider the historical weight of that position and what differs about Christ in that position.

The Greatest High Priest

Join me today at Do Not Depart to learn about why He was the Greatest High Priest, how that shapes how we learn about Him, and what that means to His followers.

What do you think of when you read about Christ as High Priest? Share in the comments at Do Not Depart!

Cybils awards!

Nominate Your Favorite Book!

The Cybils awards are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. Bloggers from various avenues take your nominations and choose winners in different categories of children’s literature.

Cybils awards!

I’m honored to be a Round 1 panelist for the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. That means I read a lot of books (that you nominate) between now and the end of the year and help provide a shortlist to the Round 2 judges who choose the final winners.

You nominate. We read. And winners are listed!

Today is the last day to nominate your favorite children’s books. Want to see what’s already nominated? Read here. Then go here to nominate your favorite (that isn’t already nominated). You can nominate one book per category.

But, you only have today left to submit your nominations! Share your favorites and stay tuned at the Cybils site to see what’s chosen.

Did you nominate a book? Which category?

Wordless Picture Books and Kids with Special Needs

Wordless Picture Books and Kids with Special Needs

Can you teach with wordless picture books?

You bet!

Wordless Picture Books and Kids with Special Needs

Kids of all abilities can learn decoding strategies and stretch creativity through wordless picture books. Which books are your favorites? Share over at The Library Adventure today where I share 5 of my favorite wordless picture books and how they benefit typical developing children and children with special needs.

Love Letters from God Bible Stories - Zonderkidz, 2014

3 New Children’s Books about Faith

We’ve recently had the opportunity to review three new children’s books from various publishers. Read below for our thoughts!

Three New Children’s Books about Faith

Your Core by Callie Grant (Graham Blanchard, 2014)

Your Core by Callie Grant, Illustrated by Missi Jay (Graham Blanchard, 2014) – This board book is another in the “Absorb” line of books from faith-based family publisher, Graham Blanchard. This book offers an explanation to young readers about what one’s “core” and “soul” is. This book doesn’t go into much detail at all, but the soul is a very hard concept to explain to anyone, especially to young ones. The text stays simple and mostly appropriate for ages 3-5ish. Some of the lines rhyme and some don’t, but the content itself is fairly solid. My kids enjoyed the brightly colored illustrations. The book ends with Ephesians 3:16-17, great versus to focus on for this topic. Your Core can help spark discussion in families about the core and soul.

The Good Dog by Todd Kessler

The Good Dog by Todd Kessler, Illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2014) – This book is classified as a picture book, but it is nearly three times as long as the majority of traditionally published picture books. The story follows a young boy, Ricky, who finds as little dog, Tako, and whether or not Tako will be able to be a “good dog” and stay with Ricky’s family. The theme itself focuses on listening to what a person (or dog) is really trying to say/show and concentrating on truth. However, this book will probably be too long for most younger readers, not just because of the page count, but because this story is almost two separate stories. Much of the beginning pages could be shortened or cut to get into the action of the story much quicker without taking away from the point of the story or even character development. I also noticed two distinct places where the story jumped from one location or event to another bluntly without transition. Once in the action, the action stays fairly constant. The book discusses a sub theme of “good” and “bad” and how dogs/people can be labeled as “bad” but actually be “good.” This theme is an important one for young kids to understand, but families will need to discuss together how this book approaches it. This book is also on the expensive side for a picture book, with a list price of $18.95, which may reduce its accessibility.

Love Letters from God Bible Stories - Zonderkidz, 2014

Love Letters from God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp (Zonderkidz, 2014) – We love this Bible stories book! This picture book-style Bible storybook is presented beautifully in colorful hardback with an almost scrapbook-like appearance. Each spread includes a retelling of a Bible story, a short focus verse, and a lift-the-flap “love letter” from God. The stories are paraphrased for the 4-8 age range and include emotional aspects in the retellings that allow readers to relate to the characters and events. Each story focuses on how the character learned from God and how God remains present in our lives no matter what circumstances may arise. A few of the details are left out of some stories (example: the creation story doesn’t detail the days of creation), but that doesn’t take away from the themes themselves. The focus verses are very appropriate and all short enough to be used as memory verses for even the preschool audience. The “love letters” are elegantly designed to look like envelopes on the outside and a one-paragraph letter from God to the reader on the inside. Each letter has an opening line, allowing you to write the reader’s name in to personalize each letter. These letters summarize the focus of each Bible story sufficiently. The illustrations are colorful, vibrant, and uniquely arranged on each spread. The book ends with an “invitation” to the reader to “join Jesus’s team” and a blank letter to allow the reader to write a “love letter” back to God. This storybook is a lovely addition to a family or church library.

What are some of your favorite new faith-focused children’s books?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of each of these books from their various publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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