Online Bible Study

Online Bible Study

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


As I enjoy this Christmas holiday (reading and relaxing) it dawned on me WHY I love the snow as much as I do. It's as if the world "approves" of a slow-down. It's okay to relax because you can't do anything else (you're stuck!).

There was a time in my past life when snow drove me crazy! I have discovered, as my relationship with Christ grows, I LOVE peace and reflective time spent with Him!

You can have a SNOW DAY every day, if you choose! Praise God!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Secrets Beneath the Ice - on TV tonight!

Secrets Beneath the Ice

Snow Storm - Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010

Family Media Diet Calculator

Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 15, 2010… After a season filled with record-setting cell phone and gaming gifts to teens and tweens, iShine is announcing the upcoming Dec. 26 release of the Family Media Diet Calculator. The calculator is a new tool providing customized awareness to families in regards to how much time they spend connected to media in comparison to the amount of hours they spend plugged in with real life interaction and content consumption.

By visiting, parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading. The campaign is not an anti-technology movement. It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.

It is estimated that the 20 million tweens in this country spend 25 hours a week watching television and playing video games and only one hour in church. George Barna (The Barna Group), a pioneer in research on Christian culture, recently noted that kids spend more time absorbing media than anything else in their lives, except sleeping. A recent article in The New York Times titled “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” also discussed the effects of technology compared to focusing and learning.

“We as parents must be deliberate of what media our kids consume, understanding that it is forming the way our kids look at everything – self image, friends, parents, leaders, themselves,” remarks iShine Founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Beeson. “If we as parents aren’t actively forming the person our kid’s are becoming – make no mistake – someone else is.”

iShine, known for bringing family-friendly media options through tours, music, television and radio mediums, is sponsoring the free Media Diet Calculator. The organization will also be releasing a new interactive Bible for tweens with Tyndale House Publishers in Feb. of 2011.

# # #
More about iShine:

iShine is a Christian media group dedicated to ministering to “tweens” and their families. Tweens are defined as children between the ages of 7 and 13, and represent the single most influential age group in the world today. Mainstream media and consumer marketing groups focus their messages of identity, popularity and value predominately to the “tween” marketplace for a reason. iShine reaches today’s “tweens” through Biblically-based live concerts events (iShineLIVE!), unique television programming seen weekly on TBN (iShine KNECT), iShine artist releases to CD and DVD, interactive websites and coming in 2011, an entire line of books and Bibles all specifically designed to be relevant to this vital audience.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Birth of Christ - New Living Translation

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. 8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Please remember, JESUS is the reason for the season! Merry Christmas!

The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible, NKJV - Review

I usually read over a book for several weeks prior to posting my review. But I felt extremely convicted to post this review ASAP! There was no reason to dilly dally – this Bible is FABULOUS! I received the Bible in the mail either late last week or earlier this week, but I have read numerous Scriptures during my daily Quiet Time. I have been a fan of Max Lucado for a very long time; however, the words “King James” scare me to death. I remember reading that this Bible was the NEW King James Version, but thoughts of the past haunted me!

As a child, I remember there only being one Bible: The King James Version. I also remember NEVER reading it! As an adult, teaching students in small group, I was searching my memory trying to determine WHY I never read the Bible as a child. The reason finally dawned on me and caused me to do a Google search to confirm my suspicions. I was right; NIV wasn’t created until 1973!!!!! Rather than say I’m old, let’s just say I wasn’t under the age of 10 at the time.

Although it appears the Amercian Standard was created in 1901 – they sure didn’t use it in OUR Church! Nor, did my mother (my Spiritual mentor) have or read one. And to be honest, to this day, I don’t own an Amercian Standard Version. I still can’t understand it!

Not only did I love every word Max Lucado penned (he is such a huge inspiration to me), but I could understand the Scriptures! What a shock! I will read this Bible on a regular basis during my daily Bible study.

Thank you so much Thomas Nelson Inc. for providing a copy for this review! I will treasure this Bible always!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Several years ago, I believe 2002, our Church family read a book together. For me, it was the first time I had read the book and I couldn’t sign up fast enough-I was (and remain) so hungry for God’s leading in my life! Reading this book changed my life forever! As a matter of fact, I have THAT exact copy on my desk to this day (and I have changed desks a few times-I just keep packing this book in a box and placing it on the next desk). The book was The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren; which was instrumental in helping me realize my life has a GOD ORDAINED PURPOSE!

Chazown, in my humble opinion, has taken me to the next level (beyond thinking/praying about my purpose) by providing TOOLS to IDENTIFY my purpose! My heart wants to provide you all the steps so you can travel this road with me; but listing the steps won’t be enough. You need to get your own copy! You need to write all over it like I have! You need to fill in YOUR circles! You need to EXPERIENCE this for yourself!

I will say this book confirmed my belief that God allowed grief in my life in order for me to help others. He alone brought me to a place of acceptance, JOY and willingness to share with others who suffer from the same grief. The author, Craig Groeschel, instructs us to examine three areas of our lives (he calls them circles): Core Values, Spiritual Gifts and Past Experiences. By reading these chapters, I was able to identify all three and understand where they intersect. Now, I’m working on my action plan, as the author states “with specific, achievable, written goals in the five fundamental life priorities identified.” I must admit, taking this journey requires courage; you must be willing to examine yourself HONESTLY and commit to change. It’s not easy, but I can promise the change in your life is well worth it.

The next step-ACTION! And beware – your predator is watching! The author states, “You will face obstacles, mountains, and hurdles. You’ll get distracted. You’ll be tempted to wander off the road. You will procrastinate, putting off God’s best for another day.” His final word of advice: ACCOUNTABLITY! Create an accountability plan and stick with it! And, if you want to start a group study – he even provides the guide!

This book will be a resource I turn to over and over again! I will pack it along side The Purpose Driven Life and take it with me every time my desk relocates!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Red in the Flower Bed - Book Review

I selected this book to review for personal reasons; I, too, was adopted! Although our family was not interracial, I think the word adoption stirs up feelings of exclusion and rejection by many. To me, the word means “SPECIAL”. I remember asking my mother (the woman that raised me-she EARNED the honored title of Mother) WHEN she told me I was adopted; she said, “When I rocked you as an infant.” I asked her if she thought my natural mother ever thought about me; she said, “OF COURSE, especially on your birthday.” I also remember asking her if she HATED my natural mother, like I did; she said, “Oh no, I am truly grateful and thankful for your mother. She loved you so much, knowing she couldn’t provide for you, gave you away so someone else could; someone like me and your daddy!” For some reason, that made sense to me. I adored my mother and had an enormous amount of respect for her; so if that’s what she thought, I would think that too! Forever!

My sister was different; being adopted was difficult for her to accept. Although I have no idea if she asked my mother the questions I did, it was apparent she was bothered by the fact and never wanted anyone to know. Honestly, I didn’t care one bit; as a matter of fact, I was PROUD of it! I remember visioning my parents walking through a grocery store meat market – checking out all the little babies – and PICKING ME! I thought I must have been an adorable little girl and I MUST have been irresistible!

My dream is that every child would feel the way I did! And in my opinion, this little illustrated book sends that message, loud and clear! And if you’re a Christian (like me), there is NO DOUBT God placed US right where He intended us to be; in HIS rainbow! WE ARE VERY SPECIAL AND LOVED!

About the author:

Andrea Nepa is the mother of an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Leah. In 2001, Adoptions from the Heart assisted with the international adoption. Andrea dedicated her book to her daughter: "For my dear Leah, whose journey in her young life has already taken her to far away and unexpected places." In 2006, Leah was diagnosed with cancer. She is currently in remission. Andrea lives with Leah and her husband, David, in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She is a registered dietitian for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Book web site:
Andrea Nepa Facebook:!/profile.php?id=1664060822
Tribute Books website:
Tribute Books Facebook:
Tribute Books Twitter:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drive Home from Work - took almost 3 hours!

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for 4-H, not only for my children, but for me! If you haven't seen it lately, you have no idea what you're missing! FABULOUS CLUB, FABULOUS TEACHING, FABULOUS MATERIALS! Care to start a club? Let me know! I'm here to help!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saturday, December 11th

This past Saturday, December 11th, Emily and I hosted a very special middle school small group event at my home. I think it's safe to say that the girls in attendance had a great time! (I feel confident making that statement because I asked them over and over, "Aren't you have a great time? I sure am!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Encouragement for Single Moms
A comprehensive guide to traversing single motherhood successfully

Teresa Whitehurst has experienced the challenges of single motherhood firsthand and tackles these pressing issues in her new book God Loves Single Moms. Filled with encouragement, compassion and contagious enthusiasm, the author helps readers discover how to make single parenthood a success through her practical tips, professional insights, and the knowledge that they are truly loved by God.

Personally, I remember first hand, feeling like such a failure in God’s eyes. Growing up in a Christian home, I was taught NEVER to judge others for any reason (and my mother NEVER did). However, divorce was NEVER considered an option (although, as an adult looking back, there was no REAL reason for my mom or dad to contemplate divorce). When I was faced with initiating the action in my own life (with no parents to validate/reassure/even forgive me in my decision), with a son that meant the world to me-to raise in the best way I could, I stopped at a Church completely unfamiliar to me and requested to speak with the Pastor. I asked him, point-blank, if God would forgive me (and more importantly, still LOVE me) if I sought a divorce. It was the absolute hardest decision I have EVER made in my life!

Each chapter looks at a different challenge and includes Scripture, prayers, questions for reflection, and inspiring stories from other single moms. There is also a thorough inventory questionnaire that helps readers take an in-depth look at the various aspects of their personal and family life and gauge areas where they are succeeding and areas where they would like to see improvement.

Although my divorce was MANY years ago, this book was a source of comfort to me. My son, now 27 years old, turned out to be the MOST AMAZING young man I have ever known (in spite of me)! As a matter of fact, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend this past Monday night (pictured below), which caused me to ponder the enormous responsibility of marriage and the life he and I shared, with God’s help every step of the way!

Teresa Whitehurst is a clinical psychologist who provides counseling as well as personal and career coaching. She has worked as a psychotherapist for many years in private practice, at Harvard Medical School, and at Kaiser-Permanente. Dr. Whitehurst writes and speaks on parenting and personal development issues and is the author of How Would Jesus Raise Your Child? She is a single mom who has two adult daughters and two grandchildren.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Little Boy

As I ponder the years with Peter, so many memories come to mind. One that always comes to mind is when Peter came home from 1st grade and told me he didn't want me to die. At the time, I was a smoker. I knew I should quit, but it wasn't until I heard his words (words I, too, had said to my own mother, who didn't quit-who died at the age of 60 of a heart attack) that I KNEW I had to quit. I didn't know HOW I would do it, just that I MUST!!!! That was in 1991-and I haven't smoked since!

Now, he is getting married-and I need to lose weight (don't worry-no major health issues, just a mother-of-the-groom dress). Here we go again!

Gotta love my son!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More Engagement Photos!

I talked with Peter today and got the scoop on how he might figure it out by seeing these photos! GREAT times ahead! We are extremely blessed!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Meet Chelsea Smith, the newest member of our family! I am HONORED to have her as a daughter and look forward to many years of joy and happiness!

More details to come soon....

Next Book Review

Coming soon.....and I can't wait!

Book Review - The Heavens Proclaim His Glory!

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” Abraham Lincoln

I feel EXACTLY the same way! Having a child produces the same thoughts-how can anyone NOT believe in a Creator!

Our world displays the handiwork of God all around us—in the land and sea, the animals and the plants. But in respect to the sky, the heavens, the universe…there’s a realm of beauty and creation man has not been able to witness, until now. The Heavens Proclaim His Glory is a compilation of stunning photography taken by NASA’s Hubble® Telescope capturing striking images of stars, galaxies, cosmic events, planets, and more. Vivid up-close photographs are paired with a romantic Psalm or quote, as well as a short description of the image. The Heavens will open up a whole new world of worship and praise for our God.

There were MANY reasons I chose this book to review. First, my love for God's creation. Second, my love for the sky! I remember, as a child, looking into the starry night, gazing at the moon, wondering what else was there! It is beyond comprehension that the beauty portrayed in this book has been there since the beginning of time; we were simply unable to reach/view it. Thank God for the invention of the Hubble telescope-and the creation of this book! I sit for hours looking at the photos and reading the Scripture references and educational information. It is truly an amazing book!

In August of this year, I had the pleasure of attending the Science Expo in Washington DC. I was drawn to the "Hubble tent", where several of the extremely intelligent scientists were standing by to educate children and adults on NASA's projects. I asked one of the scientists about the upcoming telescope, The James C Webb Space telescope; inquiring about the information it will be able to provide that the Hubble can not. I was told they hope, in about 4 and a half years, to be able to report photographs of THE BIG BANG! I announced that I was a Christian and wasn't certain if there WAS a big bang; but assured him if there was, I knew who CAUSED the bang! Praise God! I can't wait to see the photos from the many journeys to come!

This book was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers and provided by them for review purposes.

Advent Devotional 2010 - Part 3

I received the most amazing gift in the mail - an Advent Devotional from the Western Mission Cluster c/o Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I thought I would share it with you over the coming season - posting the Scripture messages they provided from November 28th through Christmas Day - December 25th.

I pray you remember Christ this Christmas and share HIS love with others!