Friday, October 30, 2020

Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves You

I’ve been feeling on edge, depressed, lately. As have a lot of people


I tell myself that I really shouldn’t. My family and I are healthy. We are not having financial trouble.


But many people are sick. Many have died.


The coronavirus. Financial hardships. Americans fighting Americans because of racial issues, because of politics.


It is a sad time.


I’ve been a Christian for over forty years. I’m not giving that up. But it’s hard to find hope, for myself, to share with others who aren’t sure they believe in God.


Recently,, in a book I read, I was reminded how writers can be encouragers. The father in this story told his daughter not to give up on God. He said if she did, then Satan wins.


I’m going back to the simple truth to find my hope, and then the strength to share it with others. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.


Jesus did everything that was needed to meet our greatest need. He is alive again, and he promises to walk beside us every day.


John 19:30: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Mark 16:6: “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”


Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Jesus loves you. Jesus loves me. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Guest Author: Tori Higa

 I want to share another great author and fun book with you.


Inspiration can be fickle.  It never seems to strike when you are looking for it.  It can come at inconvenient times.  But what do you do when inspiration strikes?  Do you ignore it or do you listen to it? If you choose to listen, it might take you to some uncomfortable places. In my case, inspiration came in the form of a poem.  I never considered myself to be a writer so taking this step was a leap of faith.  But in the end, I had no choice but to create. 

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning during the Christmas season when something was triggered inside of me.  After the sermon that day, I told my husband I wanted to write a children’s book about the meaning of the color red at Christmastime to help point kids to Jesus.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was going to make it happen.  I was an artist by nature but writing was way out of my comfort zone.  Despite all the doubts, I knew I had to try.  I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that entire day.  Early the next morning while I was lying in bed somewhere in-between being asleep and awake, the words of a poem came to me and I started writing on the notepad I keep at my bedside table. I was in the flow and I couldn’t stop.  Before I knew it, I was finished with a draft of The Christmas Color.  It was a strange but amazing feeling because I had never experienced anything remotely like that before.  At the same time, I felt like it was a gift and meant to be.  Like so many times in life, I had to get through the “uncomfortable” to get to the good parts.  But in the end, I feel truly blessed to have gone through that process.


Tori Higa is inspired by her faith, family & friends, coffee shops & people- watching, and all things vintage. She has always loved making art and recently began pairing her hand-crafted pictures with the stories she writes to share with young kids. She considers it a high honor to make books to inspire kids and encourage their faith journey. She currently lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a puppy named Edie. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Guest Author: Janet L. Christensen


Christmas, the Messiah, and an Adorable Little Cricket

I have always loved Christmas.  Tiny twinkle lights, the smell of homemade caramel corn, and Christmas carols have a way of imparting a special kind of joy that fills my spirit up to the very brim.  But it is all just icing on the cake compared to the most wonderful gift of all.  The Messiah.  The newborn babe.  Hope for a troubled world, sleeping in a manger.  Of all of the gifts we receive, this is the one to cherish and share with everyone we meet.  That is why I wrote my book, Cairo’s Christmas Journey…to share the story of God’s presence and help for us on our journey with the youngest generation.

Cairo the Cricket is a gifted musician and his friends, the shepherds, love his music.  His lullabies can relax even the rowdiest sheep.  But on that special Christmas Eve, he has been given a very different job from one of the angels that visited his shepherd friends in the field—to play a lullaby for the newborn King.  How can a tiny cricket make it all the way to Bethlehem, when dangers lurk around every corner?  From irate birds to a sticky situation with an ant hole, Cairo’s journey seems impossible.  But nothing is impossible with God.

Along the way, Cairo learns that God is with us in our toughest journeys, sending helpers to share their gifts with us along the way.  But can Cairo’s new friends help him get all the way to Bethlehem in time to play his special song?  This is a sweet story with an amazing message of God’s presence in even the toughest journeys.

2020 has been a tough journey for a lot of us.  New uncertainties and processes for us all create special challenges for our kids, grandkids and great grandkids.  What better time than now to reassure them all that God is with us all on every journey we take, sending helpers to assist us along the way.  What a precious message and reminder for us all!

Cairo’s Christmas Journey releases on October 27.  It will be available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and most of your favorite booksellers.


Janet L Christensen is an award-winning writer, speaker and encourager that loves to captivate audiences with inspiring stories.  Whether it is with the stories she writes or with the stories she tells with the help of one of her puppet friends, Janet is sure to deliver an entertaining message of hope and love.

Janet was born and raised in rural South Dakota and after spending some time living and adventuring in Idaho and Wyoming, she and her family have returned to the place of their roots.  When she is not writing, she enjoys living the life of a pastor’s wife and leading children’s or women’s ministry projects.  She is the proud mother of two teenage sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sully.




Friday, October 9, 2020

Sweet Memories, I Needed These Smiles

September 11, 1997: Rebecca was complaining about her leg hurting tonight. I told her it was growing pains. Frustrated, she said, "Well, this is the one that always hurts. Is it going to be bigger than the other one?"


September 14, 1997: Last night Rebecca said, "When I grow up, I'm going to kill a big bug and cut off its face and save its eyes for a treasure."


September 18, 1997: Rebecca said that Sarah wanted to sit with her friends on the bus instead of with Rebecca. She said, "Sarah never sits with me. It breaks my heart when she won't sit with me."


September 19, 1997: As usual, the girls were fighting tonight after they went to bed. Sarah came and told me something Rebecca did to her, and then Rebecca came and told me something Sarah did to her. I told Rebecca to be quiet and go to bed, and as she went she said unhappily, "She got to tell on me, and I don't get to tell on her -- that's not fair!"


September 30, 1997: When Murray and the kids are driving, sometimes they see and count horses. Murray likes to tease them by pointing to any other object -- a cow, a house, a hay bale, etc. -- and say, "Let's count that as a horse, too." The other day the kids were getting ready for school. I told Sarah something to do that she didn't want to do, and I had to keep telling her, so she was upset with me. Finally she said, "Mom, I'm going to count you as a horse."


October 6, 1997: Whenever I ask Rebecca if she doesn't think Benjamin is the cutest baby in the world, she replies, "The baby across the street is cuter."


Murray told the kids all about the Promise Keepers assembly in Washington, D.C., from the meals to the music to the subway ride. He asked, "Does anyone have any questions?" Caleb said, "I have a question. How fast do the trains go?"


October 10, 1997: While we were waiting for the bus this morning, Caleb said, "Sometimes I can feel myself grow if I stand really still."


This morning the three little rascals were playing while waiting for the bus. Caleb was Sarah's son, and she left him with Rebecca at church, because Rebecca was his Bible Schoolteacher. Later Rebecca was going to visit Sarah and Caleb in their home. She called them for directions. Sarah said, "Go straight on the street from the church and--" Rebecca said, "I'm not at the church; I'm at my house." Sarah didn't miss a beat. "Go to the church. Take the road straight, turn left, then right..."


October 23, 1997: Murray was cutting fingernails and toenails tonight. Caleb, when he was referring to getting his toenails cut, said, "Daddy, hang me upside down and do it."


Tonight we gave Ping-Hwei the car keys, and asked him to put something in the car. He walked toward the door, jingling the keys and said, happily, "Good-bye!"


October 25, 1997: Tonight at supper, I asked Ping-Hwei to help me carry the plates to the table. For some reason, I had it in my mind that he should only carry one at a time. I noticed that he had two, and I asked, "Ping-Hwei! Do you have two plates?" "I have two," he replied reasonably, "I have two hands."


Later at supper, Caleb said, out of the blue, "What?" I asked what he was talking about, and he answered, "I'm not talking to you; I'm talking to somebody in my head."


November 3, 1997: The other night, we stopped by the grocery store, and Sarah asked, "Do the people who work here at night get to sleep?"


The other morning, Sarah told me, "I had a dream that Daddy bought a can of soup, but when he opened it, frogs jumped out instead."


November 5, 1997: At a party last week, Rebecca won for a prize a model of an eye, with wiggly parts inside. She asked Murray what the parts were, including the iris, retina, etc. Last, she asked, "What are these veiny things?” When she practices the piano, Murray usually sits with her and watches to help her. This afternoon, I asked Rebecca to practice her piano lessons. She said, "I need someone to watch me while I practice, so I'll get my eyeball."     

Friday, October 2, 2020

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


When my daughter talks to me about her fears for her future in our current world, I feel at a loss at how to comfort her.


Of course, the coronavirus. Natural disasters. Politics. The economy. Fighting, verbally and physically, between many groups in our country. As well as our nation’s place in the world.


So much to fear.


I’m afraid too.


I strive to cling to my faith in God’s protection. And that’s what I want to share with my children.


Though things may get worse or better in our world, we will never be satisfied by the hope we can find here. As Christians, we should always be good citizens of the world, but it can never fully give us peace.


I want to say, “Draw closer to the Word of God, and find his immeasurable hope there. Put your trust in Jesus first always.”


He does not promise us an easy time in this world, though he often gives us great beauty and joy here. But Jesus does promise to stand with us and help us if we will turn to him.


Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,

for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


Isaiah 41:13:

 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,

‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”


1 Peter 5:7:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Psalms 40:1-2:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.