Wow! The Good News in Four Words.

Written by Dandi Daley Machall and Illustrated by Annabel Tempest.

Wow, Uh-oh, Yes, and Ahh describe the sequence of events from Creation, the fall, to Jesus and then how it changes our lives when we choose Jesus. From beautifully illustrated pages with poetic phrases, both kids and adults are sure to enjoy this book. After the story is complete there is a parent guide to walk kids through key scripture verses for each four words. It is both artistic and fun for any age.

Initially I thought that the book was going to be much shorter than it was since my mind was focused on the simplicity of “four words”. After some reflection I was able to see that this book intends to give readers not only the short and sweet version of the Bible but how to apply it as well. I love that it encourages parents to do a follow up with the key verses that guide each word. When I asked my daughter what she thought of the book, she said that she thought it would help many kids and that she liked it. She also pointed out the colorful artwork and how many different people were in the book. Together we were able to enjoy the good news written in artistic form.

I plan on providing this book for my toddler class at church. Teachers will be able to teach the basics very well while keeping kids attention while they look at the amazing pictures on the pages.

 

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book and these opinions are my own.

WOW! pages

 

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Reign in My Heart

Love wins!

I felt compelled to declare this truth today. We have been walking our daughter through some difficult things. Her sweet heart has been holding onto guilt for things completely out of her control. 

The more that lies are said and hurtful things are done I can see how pointless it all is. Do you want to know why?

Because love wins. 

As long as I choose Jesus, forgiveness & love, nothing can compare to Him. I have started saying, “I forgive you” out loud because I want love to reign in my heart. Ever since I have started to do this I have literally seen a shift occur. Truth surfaces & a confidence in Jesus & who I am deepens. 

Dear ones, when life hurts due to the actions & words of others choose love. 

Love wins!

Romans 8:31-39

Weapon Against the Enemy


Do you know who you are? Do you understand your purpose?

My entire life has been filled with admiration for super heroes. I enjoyed watching epic fight scenes, characters defying impossible odds, and fighting from a deep sense of purpose. They knew who they were after conquering their own struggles. They loved others. From the beginning they were destined to be the rare, unique person called to greatness. Possessors of power & an authority I often felt I lacked in my own life they somehow performed the impossible.

I was born with a calling on my life. All my life the enemy has done his due diligence to lie, cheat, steal & thwart this destiny of mine. Cheap shots have been taken. For a little while I even believed the lies that he intended me to believe in order to create in me an identity other than the one God intended. I have had enough of this!

When one realizes that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in & through us it is hard to ever return to sugarcoated, wimpy Jesus Christian living. Being comfortable is a lie. Sitting back is intended for those that do not understand who they are. When one that is unified with Christ & filled with Holy Spirit, a fire blazes with love for all people headed to hell to live free, victorious & joy filled lives! 

Because of this I do kingdom work battle. I am strong. I know who I am & to whom I belong. 

Fearless. 

Courageous. 

I am a weapon against the enemy!

Keeping Ourselves in Existence

“There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act…”

Thomas Merton- Abby Monk

In our fast paced & busy culture I often feel like there is no priority on rest & good self-care. Different transitions in life whether good or bad still affect our mind & bodies. 

How are you intentionally taking time to rest? When you do this do you feel guilty? You shouldn’t. Resting is essential for your mind, body & your spirit. It is good preventative care. 

There is such great peace in knowing that God desires to have us slow down & rest. It is there that one can learn to carry peace and rest even when seasons of busy kingdom work pick up. This is good self-care. 

No matter what you may be going through in life, doing nothing in the appropriate manner is accomplishing a lot. 

Waterfall

When you have hiked the trails to a big waterfall have you just stood there and marveled at its beauty? 

I love the smell of the water in the air. Even if I stand a fair distance away I can even feel the mist upon my face. It makes me feel close to the Creator. I long for closeness. It is what drives me everyday.

Life right now reminds me of a waterfall and I am standing in awe. Many circumstances that often cause an ache in my heart still remain the same. I have much hope that these things will turn into good. Why? Because God has literally made impossible things possible.

For so many years whenever something good started to occur an intense season soon followed. It occurred like this so often that I used to live my life flinching, waiting for the next negative and hurtful thing to happen. Instead of enjoying the waterfall up close I was content just feeling the mist on my face. 

I have chosen to live differently. Fear is gone and I am getting drenched under the waterfall.

The Step in Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is coming up & in my network of Step Mom’s I have seen posts communicating both dread & of blessings. For those that call themselves childless Step Mom’s, as in they are a Step parent only & have no biological children, it is a day filled with a bit of grief. We live in a difficult culture of double standards, disrespect & harsh stereotypes. Most of the time I hear the same thing over & over again from my fellow Step Mom network, Mother’s Day is hard. It is hard for any blended family. 

You are seen, you are known. Everything that you do matters more than you will ever know. 

Too often we can place expectations on a specific day & have it end in disappointment. This year I advise my fellow Step Mom’s to realize their important worth while releasing their step kids from responding a certain way. Perhaps this year you can give a card to your step kids to tell them how special they are. Any way that we can give our kids permission to love every family member even if they are not ready to love you in return quite yet is a way to win the day. 

Through it all, how you choose to love is what matters the most. Even if you feel overlooked, or under appreciated know that you are known. Your love is being written on your kids heart whether they show any love back to you in return. They will remember how you made them feel. They will remember your embrace, your words, & how you treated their biological parents. 

You matter. God loves you. To love your kids is to reveal a piece of God’s heart for everyone. 

BAM! What?


Have you ever gone so long in a season that you literally just thought that life would always remain that way? I ask this question because my husband and I have gone through season after season of intensity. Seasons were filled with yucky slime and we often felt robbed. Despite this we chose Jesus and chose to laugh, chose to remain steadfast and choose love. All we have ever desired was to please God and be faithful to him in all things. We still desire this knowing that we may have to walk through heart wrenching things. Life is tough but I have been realizing that because of God I am stronger and tougher than what may happen in this life.

Recently we have been living in a new season. It came slowly, and steadily until one day… BAM!! We were walking right into a miracle. What?! This was something so new and so surreal. God had laid our path in order to walk out impossible things. We have always believed this about God but never did we dare to even dream what he wanted to give to us. As I write this, tears well up in my eyes because I feel so overcome with his love for us. 

Our entire married life has been filled with miracles. When we needed a car, one was given to us. When we had no money for food or rent, a check would show up in the mail or groceries would be delivered to our door. When we were in desperate need God always provided. He was never late and never too early. His timing was impeccable, perfect.

Not only does God care about providing your physical needs but your mental and emotional needs as well. When you need people in your life to love you just like Father God, he will either send them or lead them to you. As we have walked in miracles God has given us the biggest one: family and a home. We no longer feel like we are wandering. Our hearts swell real big with gratefulness and a deeper love for others. 

Through it all, God remains faithful. The greater question through every season whether good or bad is, will you remain faithful to him? Will you praise him no matter the circumstance? 

Our answer has always been, “yes, God” and I pray that it always will.



A Step Mom Post

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I literally have three different Step Mom posts in my draft folders. There are several reasons for this. My fellow Step Mom friends will understand that the role we choose to take on is full of rejection, back stabbing and hard holy work as we love and cherish our kids. Sometimes we struggle with our roles because it can change depending on what our child needs at the time and what family gathering we might be at.

To begin I want to talk about honor. Too often honor gets dumped out as things get messy sharing kids back and forth between homes. Our daughter has three and you can just begin to imagine how difficult that is. Ever since the day I officially had the privilege to start my Step Mom role I wanted to make sure that my daughter’s Bio Mom was respected and honored. This can often feel difficult when it is not reciprocated. I have walked through a constant grieving process as I have honored her Mom and Grandma’s role. I would be quiet at mutual gatherings, stand back and watch rather than introduce myself, and go without hugging my daughter.

I would be careful with every word and every action because I feared any backlash upon my husband and daughter. Fear kept me from being fully myself. But I am so sick of this. I am sick of believing lies about myself.

I used to believe the lie that I made things worse. It seemed like the more I loved her, and supported her Daddy, the more both of them would receive backlash. For that reason, I hid in the shadows and remained quiet. But I felt like I was the big elephant in the room no matter what I did.

We are not welcome and our daughter continues to pay tremendously just because we are in her life.

I used to cringe at the thought of knowing that by showing any love for her in person would end poorly for her later. It made me want to stop anything just to protect her from the verbal and emotional abuse later. But why would I choose to not love when she so desperately needed it? Which one was better for her to go without? Why would I choose both lack of love on my end as well as the other end?

So I choose to love no matter what. I pray and weep knowing what she often faces for our love but at least she knows love. At least she knows the difference. I hope one day, ashes will fall and she will rise victoriously courageous knowing who she is and that she is deeply loved even if other people show her and tell her the opposite. I hope that what she remembers is that we chose her. I hope she remembers love, the unconditional love that remained through every trial, heartache, and joy.

Yes, daughter, you are chosen. You have been fought for. You are loved. You have been made victorious!

freedom birds

A Bottle to Break Over His Feet

There is a song by Misty Edwards with a line that says, “I want to put my passion in a bottle and break it over your feet”, like the time Mary anointed Jesus with perfume.

If I could put all that I am; all my dreams; all my passions; all my love; all of me into a bottle I would want to break it over Jesus’ feet and anoint him with it. As I think about what this means, it puts everything into perspective. There is nothing more that I would want other than to love my Savior in this way.

As I reflect over the past several years, everything that I have gone through has been worth it. It helped fill up the bottle of expensive perfume to anoint over the feet of the one who calls me Beloved. My bottle is full of joy, gratefulness, thanksgiving, blessing and every part of who I am. I long to give to him all of me even though I know it is nothing in comparison to what he has given to me.

I will live my life filling my bottle to pour over Jesus’ feet. I pray that it is a sweet aroma that brings a smile to his face.

This Joyful Journey

Lies are falling to the floor. Like drops of rain lies hit the ground with a gentle splash. I stomp over every single one. Joy rolls out from deep within me.

Laughter fills my belly. New wrinkles appear on my face from joy filling up my face.

My new declaration has been,

“Thank you Lord for the lies that are crumbling and falling to the ground. Thank you for filling the gaps with your truth.” 

Everyday I say this declaration. I say it even if nothing has occurred. I say it when I feel defeated or lonely. I say it after having conquered and won. I say it believing every word. 

This journey is like dancing in the rain and sleet. It is not an easy task but it is a joyful one. 

I know who my God is. He is mighty. He is powerful. He breathes life into my lungs. He is joy. He is love. I would not trade this life with him for anything else. Freedom feels good; it feels like the wind against my face running in fields of wildflowers. The sweet scent drifting up from the petals reaching towards the son fill my lungs and heal deep wounds that once made it hard to breathe. Now I breathe holy fire as if nothing had ever happened.

God is good.

He is my one-and-only.