Counting Your Blessings At Christmas & Children’s Book Giveaway

a star for me

Typically Thanksgiving is the season we count our blessings, but this sweet new book, A Star for Me, teaches us to continue counting our blessings through the Christmas season. This beautiful large board book (8×10) is accompanied by a sparkling gold star ornament. As you read through the book, you can move the star ornament up the tree until you reach the top. You can read the entire story in one sitting or a few pages at a time through the Advent season.

Oliver, the youngest camel in the caravan, learns to travel and notice the blessings along the journey. Ollie notices that sometimes the things we fail to remember to be thankful for are often the simplest things in life. Designed for ages 4-8. A Star for Me will encourage your child to remember God’s blessings and focus on the greatest blessing of the season, the birth of Jesus. This book is a great one for the family to read together!

Easy to read, rhyming words make this book a pleasure to read and listen to. The problems Olive encounters are easy to relate to and hold a simple humor element that children love. I personally felt that this sweet book opened up conversation about continuing to give thanks, especially at Christmas.

I thought you would enjoy seeing a preview of this sweet book!


Who wants to win a copy of this wonderful new Christmas book that is sure to become a Christmas bedtime favorite? I thought you would! Just follow the Rafflecopter.

For more information, check out A Star for Me right here.

It looks like I will have the 2015 Bible reading challenge ready to go at the first of next week! Woohoo!

Have a great weekend!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Product provided by Publisher; all opinions are my own.Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.


When All I Could Give Was A Broken Gift

broken gift

I thought it wasn’t good enough, but it was all I had.

Who gives a broken gift?

No one. It is simply not the thing to do.

In my mind’s eye, I can imagine the widow in Jesus’ New Testament example, turning those two small coins over and over again in her hand. She knew they belonged to the Lord, but it seemed meager. Minute. Pathetic.

It’s not enough. How could I give more?

Maybe I should wait until I have a better income.

Perhaps when my clothes are more in vogue.

Maybe I just need to wait until my kids are grown and I have more time.

All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.  Luke 21:4

Her story and my story merged as I wrestled with what I believed God was whispering to my heart.

His message? Serve me wholeheartedly. Tell others of me. Just give me what you have- brokenness and all.

So God and I chatted. Well, I talked a whole lot and he listened to every word.

“But Lord, you know I’m just an everyday person. I mostly stay at home with lots of little ones and a special needs child. I can barely get to the grocery store, much less serve in the community. It’s a struggle. We have no family living close by and I don’t have much help. I’m not an outgoing person. I don’t have much money; we live by faith. Neither do I have any training to write or speak. I have no idea how all this could work.”

Trust me.

“But no one will believe me. They’ll think I’m crazy. And they’ll ignore me.”

Do you love me?

“More than anything. Ok. I give you my broken gift- all of me. The cracks, the pieces, the fragments. The divorce, the death of my mom, the terminal illness of my daughter, the negative emotions and the blessings of today. I give it all to you. Even the leftover dust. If you want me to tell others about you, then you’re going to have to bring the people to me. You’re going to have to tell me what to say.And you’re going to have to show me what to do.”

I don’t recommend using this tone of voice with the Creator of the universe. But with loving patience, God said to my heart,

“Girl, just wait and see what I’m going to do.”

Spring turned into summer and how time flies when you care for a houseful of children. While I didn’t see what God was doing throughout the months, one particular day that summer, the thought dawned on me at the end of an extremely busy day. The front door should have been revolving as every manner of person entered. The UPS man. Neighbor children. Piano students and their parents.

27 people visited our house that day. And God whispered.

“I brought them to you.”

In awe, the tears flowed as I humbly replied, “Wow. Yes, you did.”

And once again, I gave my broken self to him when all I could give was a broken gift.


Brokenness is the greatest gift we can give God. It’s a gift that God can work with; it’s a gift that moves his heart.- Matthew Barnett

God’s not finished with that brokenness. Each day he reshapes and remolds. My brokenness transformed into his  beautiful masterpiece. Still an unfinished product, yet continuing to reflect a little more of his light each day.

I told God to bring the people to me. And I thought 27 people was a lot. God has quite the sense of humor.

Today, 6 years later, God brings 12,000 people a day to this website to read about what he can do when we give him our broken gifts. His favorite gifts are the broken ones. The ones that can’t fix themselves. The ones that don’t wait until they think they have it all together. The ones who simply surrender all they have.

Are you ready to give him your brokenness today?


This post was inspired by Matthew Barnett’s new book, Misfits Welcome, with the goal of raising awareness and helping those in need. To learn more about the book, CLICK HERE!



Gifts for the Book Lovers on Your List

*** This post was scheduled for this week, but I discovered that Amazon has a sale on books that ends today, 11/30. I don’t know if there will be a Cyber Monday special on books or not, so I wanted to go ahead and post this and let you know that if you use the code HOLIDAY30 then you will receive 30% off your book orders today! Too good to pass up, I placed an order last night so I wanted to share it with you.

Christmas gifts for book lovers

How was your Thanksgiving? Our family spent the day together, just the 8 of us and we had a wonderful time together. I rekindled my love for cooking and baking the old-fashioned way and I’m thankful for the opportunity to enjoy that. It seems that on a weekly basis, I find myself using a lot of short-cut cooking due to our busy schedules. We all had a wonderful time together and I feel grateful indeed.

Because I’m a book lover, I wanted to share some of my favorites from this year. These suggestions would make great gifts for the book lovers on your list. I tried to balance the list, but if you’ve been around here long, then you know that I’m partial to Christian nonfiction.

With that said, here we go:

1. Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things
I just finished this book a few weeks ago after a friend mailed it to me. Literally I had wished for the book the night before when it crossed my virtual path and the next day, the book arrived in the mail. I knew it was God-sent. My personal experience with this book is different than most of the Christian nonfiction I read. I typically enjoy easy to read books; this book uses a more poetic language style and for me, that requires more time. BUT, believe me when I say that if you are like me and typically a straight-forward person, you will still love this book and be challenged by it. I feel as though I could easily read it again and gain just as much depth as the first time through. This book is perfect for any family in the midst of struggles or busyness, especially those dealing with marital issues, infertility, or adoption.

2. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands
I am super excited to lead a Bible study using this awesome book beginning in January. The book hits home with me as I have always been a “yes girl” and I often overcommit. One of the best things I have ever accomplished in the past couple months has been learning how to use the power of the small no, which I discovered in this practical and very engaging book. This book is perfect to start the new year off right!

3.Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does
What can I say? This book is my very favorite book I read this year and it’s the only book I can ever remember recommending that I wish every Christian read. It is surprisingly special, easy to read and yet full of depth. You’ll be thinking about it for days after you complete it!

4.The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know
Saturating our lives with Scripture is critical for Christians. God’s Word is our road map for living and this book teaches wonderful methodology for getting God’s Word in our lives. This book would be a great pick for anyone, but I think parents especially can benefit from this book.

5.I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids: 52 Devotions and Scriptures for Kids

Perfect to accompany the Joshua Code gift for parents, this book is the children’s version of the Joshua Code. 52 Devotions and Scriptures make this book very doable by focusing on one a week. The new year is a wonderful time to start this book with your family! Stay tuned for more info on this book coming this week!

6. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
I just ordered this last night and I can’t wait for it to come so we can begin an Advent journey together as a family! You may not be able to wait until Christmas to give this one.

7. The Color of Rain: How Two Families Found Faith, Hope, and Love in the Midst of Tragedy

You may recognize this book from my summer list of Christian nonfiction. I cried a lot of the way through this book and loved every moment in this story. It’s an interesting read from two different perspectives that are beautifully blended. This book is an encouraging read for anyone going through trials of any kind, including suffering, disease, and death of loved ones.

8. Misfits Welcome: Find Yourself in Jesus and Bring the World Along for the Ride

I’m reading this book right now and I’m about halfway through. If I can be frank with you, I honestly feel like a “misfit” often. My brain doesn’t seem to work in the same fashion as others. Much of the time, I don’t feel or think that certain things are as important as others think they are. My priorities don’t seem to line up with others, even in Christian circles. There are just some things about me, personality or looks or thought processes, that have always made me feel like I just don’t fit in this world. But I’ve already learned so much through this book. If you’ve ever thought the same way about yourself, this is the book for you. Or maybe someone you know.

BONUSYour Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future

This book is perfect for the Christian who wants to be used of God but is struggling to get over the past. Goodness, in some ways, that category includes all of us, right? The author and my friend, Tracie Miles, speaks to the heart of letting God use our past to bring us into a beautiful future. He doesn’t see us as we are, but as who we will be. Wonderfully encouraging book to give!

Ok, Friends. Those are my 8 picks for gifts for the book lovers on your lists. Blessings on a new week and I’ll see you tomorrow with the Bible Reading Challenge check-in!

What are you reading? I’d love to know!


Disclosure: Product provided by Publisher; all opinions are my own.Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

Find my books here:
The Sensational Scent of Prayer

12 Days of Christmas for the Hurting