A Bumble Bee and a Mother’s Plea

“Luke, leave that bee alone; it’s going to sting you.” I cautioned.

My three year old continued chasing the bee, swatting at it as it buzzed busily around the flowers in my garden.

“Luke, stop it! The bee will hurt you.”

He ignored my plea once again.

A thought shot through my mind. Fine. If you get hurt, don’t come crying to me.

Then came God’s whisper: “I’m not like that, Carolyn.”

Immediately I understood.

I wonder how many times I disregard God’s loving warnings in my own life and later find myself crying out to Him, “Lord, please help me. This hurts!”

He never retorts, “I told you so. Don’t come whining to me.”

God reminded me of His loving character that day in my garden. And I want to be a mother, who like Jesus, never turns her hurting children away… no matter what.

 

God’s arms are always open to His children at any time and for any reason…no matter what.

Devotional magazines for kids

Summer is a great time to get your kids in the habit of daily devotions and Bible reading. There are devotional books for all ages, some with themes such as sports devotions or those geared specifically toward teen girls.

Another way to get your kids into the Word is with a children’s devotional magazine subscription. Kids love the thrill of getting something in the mail – it makes them feel “grown up.” Seeing their own name on the address label gives them a feeling of ownership.

I recommend the devotional magazines from LifeWay Publishing:

More for 1st-2nd graders.

Adventure for 3rd-4th graders.

Bible Express for preteens in 5th-6th grade.

EC (Essential Connection) for teens.

There are also several options for adults. To see the covers and descriptions of all devotional magazines available from LifeWay, click here.

I am admittedly a bit biased, because I write for Adventure, but these magazines are filled with quality devotions and biblical info presented in a fun and engaging manner.

Now you know my favorite kids’ devotional magazines. Do you have any recommendations? Please share them in the comments section.

Blessings,
Beth

Sending Kids to Camp

It’s that time of year when kids are attending summer camps. I remember the first time I went as a child. I was entering sixth grade and was very nervous. I’d heard about all the pranks and practical jokes kids played on each other at camp and I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to be on the receiving end of such tricks. As it turned out, I went and had a wonderful time! And I didn’t even get pranked!

Are your kids going to camp for the first time this year? Here are a few tips that may help enjoy this new experience.

1.Talk to them about all the positive things they will experience and the friends they’ll make.

2. If they have a special toy or blanket, let them take it no matter how old they are. It will provide comfort on those nights away from home.

3. Buy the items on the camp list together. You know, all those cool camp things like flashlights, sleeping bags, snacks for the trip, and such.

4. Send along in their suitcase a note or small present for them to open each day they’re away. This makes them feel they’re not so far away and also helps them count the days until they go home.

5. If they have worries or concerns about going, hear them out. Listen and respect their feelings. Are they worried about being homesick? Let them know it’s perfectly natural to miss home and that almost everyone does. Assure them they’re strong enough to get through it with God’s help and that you’ll be praying for them. Afraid of pranks? Remind them not to take themselves too seriously and to laugh freely. Remind them they can always go to their counselor if they need to.

I will never forget the look on my third grade son’s face the first time he went to church camp. He’d been looking forward to it for weeks, but then got cold feet at the last minute and begged me not to make him go. As the car he was riding in pulled out of the church parking lot, he looked at me, his hands and face pressed against the window. His eyes, wet with tears, pleaded with me to rescue him. It broke my heart! Yet I knew he would have a wonderful time. Five days later, he came home so pumped about his experience he couldn’t wait to go again. I pray your kids have amazing camp experiences this summer, too!

What have you done to make your children’s first camp experience go well? Anything you wish you’d done differently? 

My Writing Vision & Challenges

Since my brief experience working at the United Methodist Publishing House between college and my first teaching job, I have always known I wanted to write for children. Even though my writing was put on hold for many years, I retired to follow my dream three years ago. 

By this time my vision for my writing embraced the concept of Bible literacy for children and their parents. I planned to write children’s Bible storybooks and illustrate them with appliqued quilt blocks. I also envisioned children with Bible quilts with many pictures of Bible stories on them so the children would be encouraged to ask to hear them again.

I self-published my first book The Creation in 2011. After receiving a glowing (as in very complimentary) rejection letter from Eerdman’s Publishing on my first book, I chose self-publishing due to my age and the scope of my vision. I feared my vision would be both compromised and delayed if I depended on publishing houses to purchase my manuscripts as well as promote the concept of Bible quilts for children.

I found good counsel and was able to get my first book printed without taking too much out of my pitiful retirement savings, published my book, and excitedly began to sell them with the idea that the income from these books would pay for printing my second book. But I had 2200 books to sell. After I sold books to all my willing friends, I realized that the great majority of my books were still in the shipping boxes.

I can’t help but wonder how many self-published authors are feeling this pinch, maybe even worse than me. I was able to save a lot of money by doing my own illustrations and layout so my costs were less than a quarter of what most would have paid to have this number of hardcover books available for sale.

Marketing is a challenge every author faces. Even those published by main stream publishing companies have to market their books if they have any hope of getting a second book published. Publishing houses are in the business of printing books that sell, not books that sit in boxes.

People who don’t know you aren’t interested in your book. Publishing your book doesn’t make you instantly famous. People have to be passionate about what you are passionate about before they will read your book, or they won’t buy it. People have to be persuaded to buy it. The competition is marketing their books and you will have to do the same. Marketing costs money and/or lots of time.

Because I don’t have more money to invest in marketing, I have to think smarter and work harder. It is imperative that I figure out how to focus on and reach my target audience. Who will read and/or share my book with others?

I’m not writing this to say I have the answers. I hope others will share some pointers with me on marketing my book. I know that if my vision is truly from God, he will also supply the vision on how to market my books as well. With pockets as shallow as mine, my writing and publishing success will have to be a God thing.

PS My second book The First Christmas will be published soon through a print on demand printer. Quilting ideas and fabrics are already available to complement the book.

Tears in a bottle

New Living Translation – Psalm 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.

I find it amazing and comforting to know, that God has saved my tears in his bottle.  He has not let one of my tears fall to the ground.

Whatever challenges you are facing right now that may be painful, God cares about it and he cares about you.  It’s ok to cry and even cry out to God for help.  He loves you!

I wrote a poem called ‘Joy for Mourning’ to help others who are going through a time of loss.

May the Lord comfort you and give you peace in your time of sorrow.  May he wrap his loving arms around you and hold you through every tomorrow.  May the Lord give you joy for mourning and laughter for your tears.  May his holy presence surround you and keep you through each year.

Psalm 126:5 – They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.

Let us remember in our times of sorrow, whatever it may be…that God loves us enough to hold our tears in his hands.

Goodnight and God bless!

Melissa Staehli ~

Author of – I Love You to the Moon & Charlie’s Gingerbread House