Friday, September 23, 2016

Review of the Week: How to Be the Favorite!

This recent review of Thank You, God, for Mommy made me laugh. 

"Got this for my now favorite Uncle!"

Whatever works, man. Whatever works. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

HOW TO HELP Louisiana Flood Victims

(via Facebook post by Gabriel Saint)
I have watched helplessly as the photos rolled through my Facebook feed of the Louisiana flood. My "Aunt" Janice (really my mom's first cousin), Uncle Bill, and cousins are all right in the middle of it. 

All of their houses, thankfully, were spared, but I know this is only because God needs them to get to work. My Aunt Janice manages missions (trips to Honduras every year with BMDMI),Uncle Bill is a pastor, Ashley is a fierce organizer, Ashley's husband cooks vats of delicious jambalaya, and Travis is a member of the "Cajun Navy." Together, this family is a powerful force to be deployed in the face of disaster--and now, even more so, as they drive down the streets to their full homes and see the entire lifelong belongings of their neighbors and friends, generations of families (it's a close-knit, generational community), lining the sides of the roads. Houses are being gutted. Some will be refilled with the help of insurance. Many will not. Regardless, all, right now, are suffering, and most have nothing.

Cutting to the chase, this is how Aunt Janice says you can best help:
  • Sporicidin/Shockwave: This is what she said they need most right now. This kills the mold and fungus now growing in the homes. Ashley said in the background, "They're trying to gut, but need Shockwave to stop the mold." Please let that sink in.
  • Plastic tubs: To store what belongings they have left 
  • Trash bags: For cleanup, storage, etc.
  • Pine-Sol/washing detergent: EVERYTHING that is salvageable and washable is getting washed. Aunt Janice says it has to be washed in Pine-Sol first . . . in the few available washing machines.
  • Hygiene products: Stores have been wiped out. They need soap, shampoo, toilet paper, feminine products, you name it. (Thank God for the toilet paper in your dry house right now.)
  • Money: I truly believe that the most efficient way to help, especially when you're not sure how, is to put money in the hands of the people who do. I'm sending directly to Aunt Janice (you can too). But you'll get a tax-deductible receipt if you donate to:
    • Colyell Baptist Church, 19524 LA HWY 42, Livingston, LA 70754 and note that it is to be designated for the flood victims.
  • Of course, prayer: Pray that God comforts those suffering, gives supernatural strength and stamina to those helping, and supplies the needs of His people as He always has. But remember, too, that He often calls us as His hands and feet to do the same. 
Getting it there: 
  • As soon as I finish this post, I am shipping Sporicidin directly to my aunt's address. Email me if you want to do the same. You can also ship to the church's address above, and it'll get distributed as needed.
  • My mom and Gary (bonus dad :) are driving down Thursday. If you're local, email me, and I will be tickled to collect any supplies from you. I will need to get them by Wednesday.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review of the Week: "Simple Story, Big Message"

In case you didn't know, an entire series of mine launched this month: How Far Is Faith?, How High Is Hope?, and How Big Is Love?. AND the Faith, Hope, Love Devotional will release in November!

Soo, not only have I just sent TRIPLETS out into this big world, these triplets are also a little different from my usual babies. Instead of rhyming stanzas, they're a series of sweet, simple questions between a parent and child, attempting to tackle some of the most abstract concepts on the planet, and yet concepts that the Bible says are THE "three things" that "last forever" (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT). 

No pressure, right?!

Now I wait. It's like the period of time between the boom of fireworks and the light that sprays across the sky. It's that moment when you hold your breath and expect the spectacular--and pray it's not a dud. Except it's much longer, more like our triplet analogy, more like sending kids into the world and just praying the world is good to them, that they flourish and are understood.

And then you see it: someone, somewhere who appreciates your babies, the first gorgeous spray of light across the sky. 

(Yes, that's what those black and white electronic words mean to us, dear readers.)

So, thank you, thank you, for these kind words (from Amazon): 

Simple Story, Big MessageAugust 6, 2016
This review is from: How Big Is Love? (padded board book) (Faith, Hope, Love) (Board book)
How Big Is Love? is a padded board book that is perfect for small children. I loved the message of this book—that nothing (!!!) is bigger or more anything than God's love! What a great message to read to and with babies and young children.

The language is simple enough for toddlers, yet succinctly tells a bigger story. The illustrations are whimsical. And the construction of the book is perfect for little hands (thick pages definitely won't tear easily).

This is one of the best children's books that I've read recently, and I'll be watching for the rest of the series! [5 stars]

Friday, August 12, 2016

Review of the Week: "The children gave it five stars!"

In my line of work, my most important, helpful, and honest critics are children. Soo, needless to say, I was tickled to come across this review--my hands-down favorite review of Night Night, Farm thus far!

Here's a snippet (from Amazon):

As a summer day camp director I had the opportunity to read the book to thirteen children (K5-2nd Grade). And this is how I know that the children appreciate animal sounds! I explained to them the five star rating. All thirteen children gave the book five stars! I asked the children what they liked about the book. I quote.

“The pictures are cute.”

“I love the Kittens.”

“I liked when the horse was sleeping.”

“I liked the pictures.”

“I liked the donkey.”

“all of the animal pictures, everything, the whole book”

“when it said good night God”



“cows and owls”

“the puppy dog”
Thank you, Mark Evans, wherever you are, for sharing this book with kiddos, um, for being a summer day camp director (whew!), and for simply sharing the love of reading with little ones. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NEW RELEASES!!! Faith, Hope, Love

Brace yourselves for the preciousness that is 
the Faith, Hope, Love series--available TODAY! 

It all started with one little line, "How big is love?" and just grew from there. 
Yes, we pull you in with the adorable illustrations. ;) (Seriously, go check out Breezy Brookshire now.) But we want your kids to walk away with the everlasting message behind the adorableness. 

In 1 Corinthians 13, after Paul describes the attributes of love, he leaves us with this declaration: “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (v. 13 HCSB). The NASB says, “Faith, hope, and love, abide these three.” The NLT translates, “Three things will last forever . . .” If these things--faith, hope, and love--are the three things that remain, abide, that last forever, then these are certainly ideas that our children need to hear early and often, in a language and format that they understand. 

Three board books--How Far Is Faith?, How High Is Hope?, and How Big Is Love?--introduce and explain these concepts in a series of simple questions and answers between parent and child, comparing the abstract concepts to real, tangible things to which children can relate. Children will walk away with a firm grasp of faith, of hope, and of love: these three things that remain.

After the board books introduce the concepts, the devotional (releasing November 1) will help children to internalize these ideas by putting them into action. This engaging, educational approach will solidify these foundational concepts in the heart of a child, making a lifelong impact on the next generation.

Well . . . at least, that's my hope

But as Winsett would tell me . . .

Now available!


And coming soooon . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2016

NEW RELEASE! Night Night, Farm

This adorableness released July 12, 2016!

My childhood was nourished by the trees and creeks of Watertown, Tennessee (pop. 1200). Growing up with two brothers, I had a hard time finding Barbie playmates (unless you count the time that G.I. Joe’s tank crushed her pink corvette). So I conceded to spending my days with the boys, climbing the peach trees out back, convincing my little brother to chew the gummy sap, and impatiently waiting for the fuzzy fruit to ripen. 

My brothers and I would cross the road and climb down into the creek that stretched out in front of Slim Winfree’s big white house. Rumor had it, he buried jars of money all over his yard. But we never found any. We did find other treasures: crawdads and minnows and, my brothers’ favorite, snakes. They would chase me around, trying to put the green, scaly nose in my face, and I would run screaming—that is, until I figured out the game: it wasn’t much of a chase when I didn’t run. They wondered how I suddenly became so brave.

In the summer, the three of us would spend our days at my Mema's house, where she grew elephant ears taller than we were and let us slide down the banister in the front hall. We would scamper up the chestnut tree that shaded the front yard, and when the time was right, we’d carefully gather the spiky spheres, sit on the front porch, and crack open the shells to harvest the crunchy, golden chestnuts inside. 

“Can we check for eggs?” we’d ask no less than ten times a day, and she would walk us to the chicken coop in the backyard. We scattered crushed corn at our feet, giggling when the chickens came running and squealing when they’d peck at our shoes. 

“Easy, now,” she’d say, as we reached into the feathered nests in rows of wooden boxes. She held her wildflower-blue apron out in front of her like a net, where we’d gently place our bounty for safe transport, back up the porch steps, past the cellar and the wringer washing machine, and into her 19th century house. 

I can still see it and feel it and smell it, as if I were standing there now.

There is an unforgettable, heart-aching beauty in a childhood nourished with the wonder of God’s amazing creation. I want everyone to experience that wonder. And we can help them by taking kids and their parents on a walk back through the farm.
The sun sinks low down on the farm, 
So for now, we'll say, "Night night"
And sleep until the rooster crows
To wake the morning light.
     Night night, farm.
Three woolly lambs, like puffy clouds, 
Float gently down to sleep
And dream of hoppy, happy days
While they are counting sheep. 
     Baa baa, sheep.
Mice and pigs, chicken and cows—
Squeak, oink, cheep, and moo . . .
Oh, the animals God has made!
And, hey, He made me too!  
     Night night, God.
Your preschooler will mosey through the bedtime routine and say night night to the piggies and cows and kittens with oinks and moos and meows. There's also the repetition that kids love to recite and the soft rhythm and rhyme that lulls them to sleep. Above all, the illustrator, Virginia Allyn, has outdone herself with this adorable art, inspired by real farm animals in pajamas . . . 

We hope that all of this comes together to offer you another tool in your bedtime arsenal. Let me know if it works! Here's hopin'! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Precious Child, Precious Life

We lost my nephew this past week. We are shocked and saddened, but most of all, we are reminded of how precious this life is. 

I tried to write a Facebook post with the news. I debated posting it at all. A Facebook post seemed so trivial. But wise Hubby said, "It will get them prayers," and the debate was over. I searched for the word. Sweet? Not enough. Beautiful? Yes, but not it. Precious. Yes. In every way. Johnathon was precious.

In making the most horrific preparations a parent could ever make, his mom (my sister . . . "in law," if you must) called to see if we could put a song on disc for the funeral service. "It's called 'Precious Child,'" she told me. Yes, precious child.

A former teacher, Ms. Jones, at the visitation told me, "He was just a precious child." Yes. Yes, he was.

But it's not only Johnathon. It's all of them. 

The one beating her fists on the floor for an audience of glaring eyes at Kroger. Precious.

The one sitting at the table for an hour refusing to eat his broccoli. Precious.

The one who kept you up all night projectile vomiting. Precious.

The one who yelled, "I hate you!" and slammed the door. Precious.

The one who totaled your car. Precious.

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3 NLT)  I have no doubt that this was written because we parents would need the reminder. But there are no conditions on this statement. Each and every child is indeed a gift. A reward. A precious, fragile thing. If this past week--no, this past month of graduations and a wedding and one, heartbreaking funeral have taught me anything, it is Psalm 127:3. Your child, my child, every single child is a gift from the Lord. 

Love them well. Treasure them tenderly. They fly away much too soon.

Johnathon, in the back, with his arm around the principal.
During the funeral service, Johnathon's principal read a list of Johnathon's future plans that he had written. Within the first few, John had listed, "Impact the world," "Make the world a better place," "Find a way to make the world better." 

So I'm asking you this, for Johnathon, for me, for the world here and now and the world yet to come: treat your child, every child, every human, like the precious gift he is--even when they don't seem so precious, even when they don't deserve it, even and especially when they need it most. 

Then together, we can make Johnathon's future plans come true. With the lesson he taught us by leaving us, we can simply and profoundly "make the world a better place."