Monday, April 17, 2017

I WAS LEFT ON THE DOORSTEP -- by Guest Beth Steury


I have always known that I was adopted as an infant. Same with my three younger brothers. Before we could truly grasp what it meant to be “adopted”, we knew we had been adopted. Most days I didn’t think about it at all. It was just a part of who I am. An accepted part.

From a very early age—as long as I can remember really—I concluded that whoever gave birth to me couldn’t take care of me so she, and possibly the he as well, gave me to someone who could take care of me. And I was okay with that.

While I’d always been curious as to the details surrounding my birth and the
surrender for my adoption, when I discovered this past summer that I’d been left on a door step, having not been born in a hospital, my curiosity piqued to a level bordering on obsession. The who, what, how and why questions raced through my brain.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Adoption Professional says "Let it Go" by Guest Author Paula Freeman



My guest today is Adoption Professional Paula Freeman with excellent advice for all of us whose lives are touched by Adoption

LET IT GO!

(In Three Not-so-Easy Steps)
 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
(I Peter 5:7)
 “How-to’s” are not my thing. I’m the one urging us to throw away the programs; pray and listen; trust our instincts; be gracious to ourselves and others; and run, as fast and as far as we can from the “shoulds” that seek to devour us. Why? Because there are no easy how-to-steps for our journey. But there is hope – and a God who cares and will never leave us.
Several years ago my family endured a season filled with drama and chaos; I lived in a war zone with my address. Maybe you do too. It’s scary but temporary. And we can fight back. Emotional healing is a choice; learning to let go helps us experience it. I offer the following lessons I’ve learned the hard way as food for thought on your journey.

RESIST COMPARING: Adoptive parenthood is different than biological parenthood. Acknowledging this truth allows us to embrace the layered richness of adoption – grief, loss, redemption and grace. We’re all dealing with heavy issues, regardless of how we dress them up and present them to the public. But we can choose grace and to accept our children and ourselves where we are, without comparison to others or the latest parenting trends.
REFUSE TO COMPETE:  Don’t even try - let it go; we’ll never win this one because we’re our own worst critic. We’re on the same team, each of us striving to raise a Godly heritage. It’s okay to take different routes. Bow out of the competition, take a deep breath, and allow God to lead you on this leg of the journey. Our goal is to help our children develop at their pace. Love and nurture them. Learn to quiet your soul, regardless of the pace at which others choose to live. 
RELINQUISH CONTROL:  Ouch! I like control. I’m the ultra-nerd who follows rules and plays nicely in the sand box. Just like water can’t help but flow to the lowest place to puddle, I’m hard wired to seek order and organization. But clinging to control tied me up in knots and fed a critical spirit. Especially when I tried to control the things I couldn’t (which is just about everything).
…like the emotionally wrenching betrayal, in-the-pits challenge God recently allowed me to endure. Although the process strengthened my faith in spite of myself, it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s still not easy. But gradually, by God’s grace, I began to strip away the tentacles of fear that gripped my heart and surrendered; “not my will, but yours be done”. I had to let it go for my emotional and spiritual well-being.
We cannot change the compromised beginnings our children suffered, the wounds we endured, or the challenges we face. But we can refuse to compare, compete or control. We can let it go.


ABOUT AUTHOR PAULA FREEMAN


Paula Freeman, MSW, is founder and former executive director of Hope’s Promise, a Colorado adoption agency and orphan care ministry. As author and speaker she helps moms thrive in all stages at all ages. Widowed, with seven grown children, she calls Colorado home.  Visit her at www.paulafreeman.org.







Friday, April 07, 2017

I Will Walk Into My Doctor's Office Pregnant One Day--By Guest Author Carol Graham

My guest today has returned a second time. Welcome Carol Graham.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother.  I was born with health issues that were often debilitating and sometimes caused me to wonder if my life would be cut short by disease.

God had promised my husband and I that we would have a family.  No matter how sick I became or how great the emotional struggle was, I knew God would fulfill His promise.  It was 14 years of applying faith to my pain but I consistently reminded God of the Word he spoke to my heart. 

Then I got the phone call from a gynecologist's office informing me he had a diagnosis. There is one word in any language that is difficult to hear. That word is -- cancer. 

“Carol, basically you have two choices and I think it is obvious which one you will choose!” I assumed he meant two types of treatment. He continued, “Your choices are hysterectomy or death.” He paused for impact. “You are a very sick young woman.”

Strength and faith welled up inside of me and I said “No!  I do not accept those choices. There has to be another way! I will find that alternative.”

I had challenged his intelligence. He rose up from behind his desk, leaned towards me and pointed his finger in my face. He was so angry he was shooting spit when he said, “Well then, lady, go home, suffer and…….die!”

I stood up, spun on my heel and started out of the room. Then I paused, turned, and said in a loud staccato voice, enunciating each syllable clearly. “I... will.... walk.... in here.... pregnant.... one day.” I couldn’t believe the words that came out of nowhere. But in my heart, I knew I was going to succeed. Nothing was going to stop me. I almost screamed out loud “ENOUGH, not this time.” Hysterectomy – I don’t think so. Death? Not my time yet.

About three weeks later, I was introduced to natural food supplements.  I changed my diet and started my new food regime. In less than a week I was feeling better.  I researched and took every course on nutrition I could find.  I was determined to improve my health.

It was the middle of March, 14 years later, when I made an appointment with the same doctor.

“Hello, Carol. It has been a while since I have seen you. Why did you decide to come now?”

“I haven't had a physical for a long time and figured I should.” He examined me, left the room and said he would return shortly when he got the lab results from my urine sample. It was a full half hour when the doctor walked back into the examining room.

“Carol, I am very sorry to inform you, but you are very pregnant.” His head was down as if he were ashamed.

I stood up. “Yes, doctor, I...am...sure.... you... are... very... sorry... to.... inform... me. You obviously remember the words you spoke to me the last time I was here.”

I was not prepared in any way for the next words that came out of his mouth. Trying to gain his composure and his rightful position, he stood up and whispered a shout, “Who is the father?” He threw the words at me, the same way he had all those years ago.

He must have remembered, or read it in my file, that my husband, Paul, was also sterile. However, Paul had received a report some months earlier of healthy sperm. I wanted to get out of that awful room which reeked of pharmaceuticals. He left and I never saw him again.

I spent six months in the hospital with five major complications to this pregnancy.  Weekly, the doctors would give me negative reports.  The doctors warned me that if this baby survived, he/she would never be normal.  He/she would probably be born with Cystic Fibrosis and weigh under two pounds, among other complexities.

Six weeks before my C-section was scheduled I woke up at 4:45 in the morning with intense pain.  “Dear God, help me now.  Save my baby.”

Inside of me, a battle was raging.  “What if the baby does not live?  What if the baby is not normal?”  I had to constantly choose not to believe the lies and stay focused on the truth of God’s promises.  He would never leave me.  He would honor His word spoken to my heart.

It was only a matter of minutes when the doctor announced, “You got what you wanted.  V is for Victory.”  I was not sure what he meant by that.  He immediately held up my daughter for me to see her and I began to sob.
“See the V on her forehead?” The nurse was holding her close to my face.  “That is for victory.  She is perfect.  A perfect 10 on the Apgar score and she weighs six pounds, six ounces which is amazing for a baby born six weeks early.”

My baby girl defied all the laws of negativity and is now the proud mom of two children.

As a result of that diagnosis of cancer over 40 years ago, I became a Certified Health Coach and Symptomologist.  I have helped hundreds of women realize optimum health.  The community has labeled me Dr. Fertility as I have had the unique privilege of giving hope to women who had lost all hope of ever having a child. 


It all began with a determination to believe the good report of the Word of God and never letting go, no matter what happened.

PURCHASE LINK FOR Battered Hope on Amazon:
AMAZON:  MEMOIR - http://amzn.to/1wEwEsN

Book Trailer for Battered Hope 

ABOUT AUTHOR CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham is an award-winning author of "Battered Hope," talk show host for her bi-weekly show “Never Ever Give Up Hope,” international keynote speaker, jewelry store owner and a certified health coach.  Carol has five grandchildren and has rescued over 30 dogs.  Her goal is to share hope and encouragement.

CONNECT WITH CAROL GRAHAM 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

MARK YOUR CALENDAR, SHADOWED IN SILK DISCOUNTED 99 cents April 4 - 9, and now I AM NOT A SPECIAL NEEDS MOM – by Guest Author Sarah Frazer

I AM NOT A SPECIAL NEEDS MOM – by Guest Author Sarah Frazer

The face of Adoption has changed a great deal over the past few decades. More and more adoptions are of special needs children. My hat goes off, and my heart goes out to these self-less adoptive parents of children who come to them "seemingly" broken. Welcome guest author Sarah Frazer . 

I'm not a special needs mom. Or I didn't think I was until therapy has become our normal routine.  I never thought much about her looking different until I began to notice the quick glances at the grocery store. Eyes darting away in embarrassment as they catch sight of the drool. Or her weak neck muscles. Or maybe its the tiny pink braces or lack of eye contact.  

She is considered different by our world's standards. Different sometimes means not good enough. When I realized she will not reach the milestones at the appropriate ages, I finally had to admit I was a mom to a special needs daughter. And a little part of me didn't like that label.

When I began my journey of special-needs parenting, I was scared. International adoption brings the possibility. But I honestly didnt expect to bring home a little girl who couldnt walk or talk. Guilt and loneliness settled in my heart. I had so many questions, mostly about myself. Would I be enough? Could I really do this? I didn't want to be a special needs mom. I didn't think I wanted to walk this road. I felt pushed into the deep end.

We've all seen the stories of special-needs students getting their moment to shine. The boy who was faithful on the football team all year, and the coach letting the student score a touchdown during the last game. Or the girl who was asked to prom by the popular student. The dress and smile shine as she gets to be beautiful, even by the world's standards, for one night.


The other players will not remember any game through their high school career, but they will remember their teammate's joy as he passes the end zone. The dress may not be remembered, but the smile will be.  Why do other children see these students as special and treasured? Why are those people remembered in our lives?

Because there is beauty found in the heart. There is worthiness found in the ordinary. The small milestones are celebrated with joyful enthusiasm. Laughter becomes contagious. Their joy is full, and so is ours. We see beauty in the simple.....all because of her.


“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21



This year I've discovered heavenly treasure.  A girl has come alive before our very eyes. She giggles. Acts silly. Shows preferences. Communicates. Loves big, and with risk. Cries. Tantrums. Eats. Sleeps. Watches TinkerBell. Her worth to us goes beyond her ability.

If my daughter's ability to walk determines her worth, she is sadly lacking.

If my daughter's ability to talk is what gives her life merit, she is incomplete.

If my daughter's outward abilities are a reflection of her worth, she is not enough.

But…if value is placed on her ability to feel and give love, she measures up.

But…if worthiness is based on her soul, she is eternally cherished.

Even if she never walks or speaks a word....she is still worthy. Every child, even those with disabilities, will live forever. And they matter. They are the treasures that do not rust or fade away. My daughter matters. And she gives me hope, as a special-needs mom.  Hope in the eternal. Hope in a God who looks at the heart. The invisible things truly are more valuable than the visible.  I matter, too. My worth is not based on a character flaw or physical limitation I might see in the mirror. My worth is not even based on what I own or the failures or accomplishments of my life.

Even though I didn't want to be a special needs mom, and I still find it hard, I give praise to my Father everyday for giving me this child. I get to witness something I would have never witnessed otherwise: we all matter to God. We are all valuable. Every soul. We are valuable because we are precious to the Father. The Son. And the Spirit. Precious. Wanted. Worthy because of our Creator.


ABOUT AUTHOR SARAH FRAZER:

Guest Author Sarah Frazer

As a momma of four littles and wife to a busy husband, Sarah spends her days making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reheating her coffee ten times a day, and sneaking quiet time with her earbuds to drown out the screaming. She invites you to join her as we study God's Word in our ordinary days!




PURCHASE LINK FOR Glorious-Ordinary-Invitation-Study-Everyday




SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR AUTHOR SARAH FRAZER





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today, March 25, I'm a guest on Rave Waves Radio Show

Today I am a guest on Rave Waves at 12 PM Central Time. Drop by an listen as I share how my journey of brokenness after reuniting with my birth-daughter, the baby I gave up for adoption was turned into a writing career.

At 12 PM Central today go to this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub

Amazing how our broken hearts, and if we find true healing in God, those stories can be turned around to encourage someone else along the journey.
Also, BIG NEWS, My very first novel Shadowed in Silk is having a HUGE almost Global discount promotion through Kindle.

April 4 through April 9,
Shadowed in Silk
Kindle Discount 99 cents.
99 Cents from April 4 through April 9 for this Book 1 of the Multi-Award-Winning trilogy Twilight of the British Raj.

Go here if you want to support me in the Thunderclap message to let people know of that discount on those dates. Click here for the Thunderclap Supporter Page http://thndr.me/UCnFP4

Monday, March 13, 2017

Five Ways to Pray When Your Child Goes Astray— by Guest Author Cindi McMenamin

  • How do you trust God and not worry when you see your child start spiraling downward?  
  • How can you know when to say something and when to let your child work it out? 
  • How can you trust that God ultimately has "good" in mind when it all looks so bad?
While writing my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, I discovered that one of the most intense concerns a mother has for her children, apart from her concerns for their physical safety, is her concern for their spiritual condition. We fear our children will turn their backs on their faith and all they were taught and needlessly stumble through life.

That situation can be fearful, and can make us feel so helpless.

I asked hundreds of moms to share with me their secret to maintaining hope for a wayward child, even if the situation looks hopeless. Their answer is always the same. Their hope is in God, not their child, and God's ability to turn that child's heart back toward home.

Here is how you can maintain hope while praying for your child who has gone astray:

1. Pray Scripture over them
A friend of mine who witnessed her daughter self destruct into drugs and a dangerous lifestyle for several years, saw God turn her daughter’s heart around. But, she said, her only comfort during the season of her daughter's rebellion was praying Scripture over her daughter. Isaiah 49:16 was especially encouraging to her. 


"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me."

While that verse prophetically refers to the nail prints in Jesus' hands, it symbolizes to us that Jesus knew each and every person by name, that He would die for and those nail prints were like an engraved name on His hand.

What a comfort to know He has our children on His mind and in His heart.

2. Pray by focusing on God’s character


From Psalm 139 alone, we can be encouraged knowing that God is One who: 

  • searches us and knows us from the inside out (verse 1)
  • knows our every action and thought (verses 2-3)
  • knows what we will say before we say it (verse 4)
  • follow us everywhere we go (verses 8-12)
  • formed us and watched over us while we were in the womb (verses 13-15)
  • wrote out our life story in His book before we even lived it (verse 16)
  • convicts us of our offense and leads us in the right direction (verse 24)

    That Psalm reminds us that God is more intimately acquainted with our child than we will ever be. And that He is tracking their whereabouts when we can't.
3. Pray for your child to discern God's voice 


A mom of six children told me “I always pray for God to be loud to my children.”

Children will hear our voices in their heads. And they may try to shut out that voice at times if their hearts are hardened. Children will also hear their friends' and peers' voices, and the voice of the enemy seeking to lead them astray. But we want God's voice – the voice of His Holy Spirit – to be louder than anyone else's voice.

Insert your child's name in this prayer and pray it often: "Lord, help ____________ to listen to what You say, and to treasure Your commands. Tune _______________'s ears to wisdom, and help _____________ concentrate on understanding (Proverbs 2:1-2, NLT). Instruct ______________in the way of wisdom and lead ________________ along straight paths (Proverbs 4:11).

4. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent 

There will come a time when your words will fall on deaf ears, but God's never will. Pray for wisdom so you know when to speak, and what to speak, and when to be silent so God can speak. Here's a way to pray for that right now:

“Lord, Your Word says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5). Lord, I need that kind of wisdom to know when to speak to ______________ and when to be silent. "Do not let any unwholesome talk (lecturing, judging, or accusing) come of (my) mouth, but only what is helpful for building (my children) up according to their needs… (Eph. 4:29). Let me also be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19).
5. Praise God for what you don't yet see
We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to be joyful, to pray continually and to thank God for all circumstances, not just the ones we are comfortable with. Thank God often for something in your child’s life that you wouldn’t ordinarily be thankful for, as a way of trusting His work in your child's life and acknowledging that He’s in control.


Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi McMenamin's Website for Ten Secrets to becoming a Worry-Free-Mom 

Friday, March 10, 2017

LOSING A CHILD TO MENTAL ILLNESS -- by Guest Author Susan Stewart

There are many ways to lose a child. While I lost mine to adoption, my guest today, Susan Stewart, talks about losing her son to mental illness.

Grief of any kind is horrible; so horrible we often deny the cause of the grief or the grief itself. When a family member is diagnosed with a mental illness, like a death, everything changes. The future we had planned, dies. As with any death, a grieving process is necessary to move forward.
We were thrilled, and worried, when our son impulsively enlisted in the Marine Corp. We wondered whether he could make it. His recent history didn’t bode well for success. For several years his behavior had been so out of control, we thought it was rebellion. My mother’s heart though, knew something else was wrong. I prayed this latest impulse would be the start of something new, a new future.

I remember vividly when I saw him marching toward us at boot camp graduation. He had made it! I thanked his drill sergeant for giving me my son back. At Marine Combat Training, he received commendations and a meritorious promotion. My prayers were being answered.

About a year later, my son was in jail and discharged from the Corp. What a let down. The future I thought he was going to have was gone. The son I thought had been restored, gone. All hopes and dreams, gone. What had made yet another drastic change? Mental illness.

I learned later, I needed to grieve not just the loss of the son I had had, but the future the entire family had hoped for him. This grieving, grieving the future, has the same steps as grieving a physical death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance
  • Denial – When our son was originally diagnosed, I thought it could be fixed, he could be reinstated into the Corp, and the future restored. The first stage of grief had begun. For it to make sense to me, I needed to deny this life-altering diagnosis would change anything and try to reclaim his future.
Often the denial can be simply ignoring the diagnosis or it can be a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of mental illnesses. It often is viewed as a character flaw rather than the biological illness it is.
  • Anger – It wasn’t long before my denial turned into anger. I was angry at the doctors for not doing more, the Marine Corp for discharging him instead of helping him, at my son for not getting well, even at myself for not seeing this coming. After attending Family-to-Family classes, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, I learned what my problems was and how to really help my son. That meant accepting the diagnosis. But I wasn’t ready to accept the new future.
  • Bargaining – Of course I bargained with God. Don’t we all at some time? I prayed not just for a complete healing of my son’s brain, but also for everyone, including the Marine Corp, to change their thinking. Father God, if you will do this one thing, I will ….
Eventually I tried to bargain with my son. I tried manipulation to get him to “be well” and start over in the Corp. All the while, he was spiraling further into the depths of paranoia and delusions, symptoms of his illness.
  • Depression – When denial, anger, and bargaining don’t change the situation, a sense of failure can set in, depression. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the failure of others; it was my own failure to accept my son’s diagnosis. I gave up trying to fix the problem. Actually I just gave up.
  • Acceptance – With the help of our NAMI friends, I moved from trying to fix an unfixable problem and feeling like a failure to acceptance and action. Acceptance means understanding that the situation, the diagnosis, isn’t going to change. God is in control; I’m not. With acceptance, I began to take action to support and help others.
During the various phases, I cried out to God. God, tell me, show others, this isn’t true. God, how could you let this happen? God, if you will heal my son’s brain, I will … God, I can’t take this any longer. I’m a failure. Why did you leave me? God, you are not wrong; I am. Use me.

Today my son still has a serious mental illness. He has learned to manage it, has a good job, and is a successful person. He did it all without me manipulating him or the situation.
God provided a way through the grieving. He carried me through the steps to his good plan. I can now serve him by helping others through the grieving process, even when they don’t know they are grieving.

Do you have a friend or loved one suffering with a mental illness? Join Shattered Lives Facebook support group. Contact me at susan@practicalinspirations.com for an invitation.

If you wish to purchase the Kindle version of her book Preschool: AT WHAT COST?, look for the link on the left bar, and purchase through my site.


ABOUT AUTHOR SUSAN STEWART

When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers.
Look on left bar for to purchase Kindle version of Susan Stewarts's book, Preschool: At What Cost?

Author Susan Stewart Links

You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.
Practical Inspirations http://www.practicalinspirations.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/susan.k.stewart
Twitter https://twitter.com/susan_stewart
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/susankstewart
GoodReads www.goodreads.com/Susan_Stewart
Amazon Author Central http://amzn.to/2kKbCc8







Monday, February 27, 2017

Will You Trust God in Your Trials? — By Guest Author Yvonne Ortega

My guest today is Author and Breast Cancer Survivor Yvonne Ortega who suffered the loss of her adult son.

If you’re on earth, you’ll face trials, transitions, and temptations. Will you trust God when they come? Seven years ago, I returned home from work, placed dinner in the oven to heat, and checked my email. A friend, who knew my son, wrote, “I got the news about Brian. I am at a loss. I want to be here to help you in any way I can. . . My prayers are with you.”

What could have happened to my son? Was it a car accident or a work injury? I called her and said, “Hi, this is Yvonne, Brian’s mother. I just read your email. What news about Brian?

There was silence for a second or two. Then she said, “Don’t you know?”

“Know what? . . . What are you talking about?”
“He passed away two days ago.”

My knees shook, and my stomach felt uneasy. No, it can’t be true. He’s strong. He’s a black belt in karate and an excellent swimmer. He can’t be dead. The parents are supposed to die first, not the child.

I don’t remember what happened the rest of the evening. I must have been in shock. I cried and vomited most of the next day.

At the time, I felt overwhelmed with grief and wondered if I would recover. Given a choice I would have said, “Lord, take me home to heaven now.” However, the Lord didn’t give me the choice to die.

Yvonne Ortega holding the Bible
her son gave her.
Instead, the Lord gave me the opportunity to trust him, and he gave me peace, purpose, and power to get through the loss of my only child. I didn’t think peace was a possibility. But Psalm 29:11 NIV says, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” I repeated that verse over and over. I reminded God that if he didn’t give me strength and peace, I wouldn’t have any. God was faithful, and he showered me with both.  

Yet I struggled with the thoughts and emotions common to a grieving person. I was still a mother, but my son was in heaven. He died before he married, and I would never be a grandmother. I cried when I read Proverbs 17:6 NIV: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” I would never experience that Bible verse, much less carry a grandma’s brag book to show off my beautiful grandchildren.

The grief process is neither quick nor easy, and the holidays can be challenging. In the past, I stretched on the floor face down in tears and asked God to let good come from the loss of two aunts, my mother, and my only child. They had all passed away within weeks of one another. Other times, I curled up in a fetal position on the floor and cried. I prayed day and night, read the Bible daily, and journaled. I also played praise and worship music.

I wondered what purpose I would serve on earth. I had written my first book when my two aunts, my mother, and my son were alive. I never dreamed God would allow me to write a second and a third book, six and seven years consecutively after my losses. I never imagined that God would inspire me to write a fourth one, Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief, which will come out in 2017. God is not stingy, and he also empowered me to become not only a multiple-book author but also a professional speaker and a speaking coach.

God heard every prayer of mine and comforted me. He will do the same for you. God loves you with an everlasting love. I don’t know what challenge or life transition you face, but God does. Your loving heavenly Father longs to hear from you, his dear child, and give you strength and peace. He will never leave you or forsake you. God will give you all you need to move forward in life.

You live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, but nothing is too difficult for God. Whatever the devil tries to use to discourage, distract, or defeat you, God can use for good in your life and the lives of others. Just give him a chance.

I encourage you to sit in a quiet spot today with your Bible, paper, and pen. Talk to God and allow time for him to talk to you. Do this daily and listen with all your heart and soul. God will uncover his plan for you in his perfect time.

God bless you richly as you trust him.

Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega January 25, 2017
About Author Yvonne Ortega

Yvonne Ortega is a bilingual speaker, author, speaking coach, Licensed Professional Counselor, and cancer survivor. Her books include Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Forgiveness, Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward, and Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.

Purchase Links to Yvonne’s Books


Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Forgiveness


Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward


Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer


Yvonne Ortega’s Social Media Links


Website and Blog: www.yvonneortega.com






Friday, February 24, 2017

DEVELOPING A LOVE FOR DEVOTIONS IN YOUR KIDS – by Guest Author Karen Whiting

My guest today is friend and fellow author Karen Whiting, whose books are full of great advice in raising children. Welcome, Karen.

BEST THING WE DID FOR OUR KIDS--by Karen Whiting.

My five children are grown and now I enjoy 12 grandchildren, including two adopted as tweens and teens. Looking back I realize the best thing we did for our family was family devotions. We started when the children were tiny tots. We combined a variety of activities with scriptures for hands on fun, and to make scriptures more memorable.

My husband served in the Coast Guard for 22 years, and that often meant doing devotions while he spent time at sea. We
Author Karen Whiting
bought two copies of any devotional books so he could keep up with us and often recorded our devotions and sent them to him. These days it is possible for families to do devotions online, depending on time zone and whether a ship is able to communicate (sometimes they are on radio silence).


The benefits go beyond sharing faith and bonding with being together. It lays a Biblical worldview and helps them know Jesus and that’s fabulous. It also develops cognitive skills of a larger vocabulary and reading comprehension. It helped our children think critically as we discussed Bible stories and passages. It helped shape their character and decision making skills as we reflected on the people in the Bible and choices they made.

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We also made the time fun. We read about starry nights and Jesus talking about signs in the sky, and then as a family we’d watched the night sky. We read about yeast and then did experiments using yeast. We acted out some of the stories.



Christine asked me to share a little of what you’ll find to do in my new book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families. First, it’s full of choices and you can choose to do just one or two things in a busy week, or lots of activities in a week where the calendar is more open.


  • Each week focuses on a theme stated in a Family Beatitude, such as Happy is the Family who invests time in one another,  they will feel accepted.
  • That week the theme is T-I-M-E spells love. There is one story of real children and 3-4 activity choices, such as checking out optical illusions or investigating bugs to help overcome fears.
  • A Bible story connections section suggests a scripture passage to read and discuss related to the theme.
  • Four chat prompts provide scriptures with discussion ideas to help apply the theme in everyday life.
  • Then, there are some drawing prompts to fill in a scrapbook each week.
  • So, a week on fresh starts and forgiveness suggests drawing bubbles and writing about clean starts and drawing open hearts to rill with encouraging words. At the end of the year a family will have a spiritual memory book.
Make it family time. If you have a variety of ages like me (14 years from youngest to oldest), have the older ones help lead the study at times and make sure to pause and explain words a child may not understand. Enjoy the story and use it to think of similar stories from your own lives. End time together with a walk or a dessert or snack where you can continue talking. Use a wall map of Israel and the Middle East to show where events took place.

Bringing in an older adopted child can be challenging, especially if they don’t have a relationship with Christ already. Ease them in with a few simple activities and a verse. You might want to start with doing something a few times a month rather than weekly. Choose what will fit your family’s needs.

ABOUT AUTHOR Karen Whiting

Karen Whiting at Hershey's Event
www.karenwhiting.com is an international speaker, former television host, and author of 23 books. She heads to China soon to work with youth there. Two of her sons are rocket scientists who tot their start with devotions.

facebook.com/FamilyFaithandFood/
Twitter: @KarenHWhiting
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Scroll down on the left-hand bar to find Kindle link to Karen's excellent parenting book on Family Devotions.
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