Bible Stories Book Review and a Giveaway Drawing – Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times by Kelly Pulley

15 09 2014

I was given opportunity to review a new a new children’s Bible stories book while it is on a blog tour for David C. Cook.

Here is a video trailer featuring Kelly Pulley’s rhyming Treasury of Bible Stories:

And here are my thoughts and impressions on the Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley

Definitely a book for 4-8 year olds… if you have a child ready to snuggle up and read or listen to a story, you can start right in. I have a wiggly 7 year old daughter, she is just learning to read and I asked her to help review the book with me. She read the first page on her own – outloud to me – and then she said “This is good, but I think preschoolers and kindergartners who aren’t reading yet would like it better.” I think it also was the timing – if I had her attention and read it as a bed time story or as a children’s sermon story where I already have her as a captive audience then maybe she would have been more receptive.

I have to say I was surprised by how few stories are covered in this book – the author seems to have chosen quality over quantity, which is not a bad thing – making it easier to read through the book with your children. The stories are more like long poems that are very rhythmic – think Dr. Suess style and fun to read outloud. When I first received the book I had hoped to use it with our upcoming Sunday School lessons on the Jesus feeding the 5000 with a few fish and loaves shared by a young child. Sadly, the story was not in the book. I have tried to figure out if there was a pattern to the stories chosen, and I’m not sure there is – perhaps these are some of the author’s favorites or stories that were designed to follow a set of Sunday school lessons.

So who do I recommend pick up this book??

  • If you or your child like rhyming – this book is for you.
  • If you are looking for a new Bible stories book to share with your young child – give this one a try.
  • If you are wanting to read rhythmic stories to children in a nursery or preschool setting – this is a great book to engage little ears.
  • If you’re wanting to add a book to your church or Sunday school’s children’s ministry library – I’d recommend you consider this for your shelf.


If you’d like a copy of this book, I have an opportunity to give away one free Treasury of Bible Stories book to one special random drawing winner.

How to Enter (now through Sept 20th):

  1. Leave your name and reason why you’d like a copy of this book in the comments below for one entry.
  2. Share this post via Facebook, Twittter, Google+, and even pin to Pinterest and then leave a comment telling me where you’ve shared.

I’ll draw a name at 10:00 a.m  on Saturday, Sept. 20th, 2014 – get your entries in and if you think of someone else who might love this book, be sure to share this post with them so they can enter as well.

In the meantime, if you’d like to purchase the book you can find it at:

David C. Cook  |  | Lifeway Christian Books

Family Christian Books | Barnes and

BTW – the only compensation I receive for this post is a copy of the book to use for review and promise of a giveaway book to my readers upon review.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment to enter the drawing!!


Inspired by “Ministry Matters™ | Helping people transition to another church”

5 08 2014

I’ve come across an excellent post describing how one can help a person in transition when they need to leave the church. Ministry Matters™ | Helping people transition to another church. It discusses how to address a congregational community member when they leave for life changes like college, marriage, new jobs, etc.

What I hoped it would but doesn’t address, is those who are simply looking for something different in worship service or a different type of worshiping community – locally. This is where I often  have continuous conversations with parents and teens in children and youth ministry in a smaller church.

In our church a few things might cause people to want to try  something else (at the same time, these might draw people in!):

  • We don’t have the exciting thrills of the mega-churches around us in the Seattle area when it comes to children, youth, or adults.
  • Our children’s and youth minsitry various from 1 to 20 children/teens on any given Sunday.
  • We have women in leadership – the pastor and myself (whom the church has chosen to call in to these positions).
  • Much of the staff and much of the congregation is (not officially) affirming to LGBTQ parishioners and families – our pastor will perform same sex marriages.
  • We are trying to figure out the best use of our large, beautiful building that we can’t afford to keep to ourselves.
  • Staff salaries have been cut recently including hours of availalbility which affects programs and plans.
  • For now church polity requires that in order to be an elder or deacon you must be an official ‘member’ of the church – and some people are not keen on membership to anything really hindering some excellent folks from holding various leadership roles in the church.
  • We have and use an organ (among other instruments) and sing songs from hymnals (among other types of music)

These and other concerns are reasons I’m continually having conversations beginning with “We are trying out some other churches…” . In a smaller church you really notice when someone or some family is missing for any number of weekends. Other parishioners get nervous and constantly ask “Where are they? do you know if they are coming back? What can you/we do different to bring them back?” . I sometimes know the answer to the first question and usually have nothing for the other two.

To be honest, I decided several years ago that people are going to make their choices, we can do the best we can to involve them in the life of the church and then it is up to them and God’s holy spirit to figure out the rest. My brain will get tired trying to keep track, but it isn’t up to me to decide whether they will stay or go. It is up to me not to let my heart be jealous and angry at people for making their own choices.  We all have seasons in our lives where we need to try something a little different or experience something for ourselves to see to even know if where we are at is what we want and need. I’m of the opinion that we pray for folks and give our blessing to let them wander and try new things and let them know should they choose to come back and stay we are here and have a place for them. I will be sad if it is a person or family that has been a “pillar” of sorts in the congregation community, but it isn’t fair to make people feel guilty or hold them back from something God is calling them to do for themselves and their families.

I have the same opinion when it comes to working with volunteers. Sometimes volunteers want to try something else and they feel stuck in having made a commitment to a particular ministry. I love my volunteers and generally it is few and far between with children and youth ministry – but again we need to let the Spirit lead. If they have gifts and talents and interests they want to try somewhere else for a period of time or they simply are having some tough times in life  – release them, give them permission, and trust that God will work within the ‘gap’ seemingly left in your ministry. We have to trust that God isn’t just working in the life of that one person, but yours as well.

We are called to be people of the spirit – the one Jesus’ sent to work in and through and with us. That means it is important having the tough conversations and giving permission and blessing to allow God’s spirit to work in all people – even if it stings our heart a bit.

Help me: Children Verbally Abused by Peers

20 05 2014

This happens in communities all the times – I see it in the children/youth ministry and I see it among my almost 10 yr old daughter and her friends – and it breaks my heart.

Child # 1 just happens to be friendly to others and tries to be understanding in tough situations and then by chance and sometime “on purpose” because she gets along with others well – she gets paired up or simply stuck in a group with Child #2.

Child #2 is maybe jealous , can’t handle the niceness or Child #1, or maybe gets frustrated in their own shortcoming but knows Child #1 won’t lash back so passive aggressively blames the failings and frustrations on Child #1 – privately or in a group setting.

I’m in an odd place in trying to figure out how to be the adult in these situations – because:

1) often the children come to me to report, Child #1 is hurt by child#2 and doesn’t like it and needs it to stop. Child #2 claims they’ve done nothing wrong and it is the fault of Child #1.

2) I don’t always see or hear the interaction.  Other friends chime in to support child #1, and no matter what Child #2 keeps up the shenanigans.

3) Child #1 knows all the others are on their side, but that doesn’t matter when you are a tween or a teen = because you’ve been embarrassed in front of them, so there must be something wrong that you are the one verbally abused.

In church, school playground, and “team work” related activities parents have committed children to participate in Child #1 has no real way to get away from or ignore Child #2.

So what do you do? I can see why child #1 might actually love participating in a ministry program or attending church, or avoid going on the playground during recess, or not want to be in an extracurricular they really love – becasue if they go it is more than likely they will be attacked (in a way the adults won’t see) by child #2.In a few cases, I KNOW it is NOT the fault of the parents and in other cases , it is more than  obvious the parents have modeled this behavior for their children.

Also what do you do in group settings where child #2 gets ostracized by others, after they have repeatedly been reprimanded by the community of friends of child #1.  In church, the school playground, other activities — these kids need the interaction with others, but they become unwanted after damaging the hearts of other one too many times.

How do we love Child #2, while protecting/supporting/empowering Child #1? How might both be engaged without  both dropping out  because they’ve been hurt.

When is it OK to talk to parents as an adult who hasn’t been an eye-witness but has children eye-witnesses?

How do you talk withthe parent of Child #2 when they are a leader of the group, or not willing/to embarrassed to  admit their child could have been so hurtful to another?

I get stuck in the middle as a parent (my kiddo is so often the Child #1 and it breaks my heart). Tough when I am usually the leader of what ever program Child #1 and Child #2 are participants of…. “Your child is picking on my child” – They see me as the leader who thinks their child is perfect and can do no wrong.

Please share your suggestions and similar experiences in the comments below.

The Action Bible – Win a FREE copy this week!

27 03 2013

The Action Bible”. Have you heard of it?? A mother at my church gifted this Bible to every child in a Sunday school class of upper elementary children because it was her son’s birthday. What an awesome gift!

I received a copy of The Action Bible, from David C. Cook,  to review and I’ll admit my first impression was, “This is definitely for boys, I don’t know what that says for my review”. I’m not a comic book fan – although I do love the Sunday newspaper comics and I was a big fan of Archie and Garfield comics as a child.

I needed some help and brought The Action Bible home to my family and handed it to each one for their reaction:

* Eight year old daughter in 3rd grade – “Whoa! This is awesome!” and she kept reading it for a good 30 minutes. (By the way this is my pink princess who loves dresses, dolls, knitting, and nail polish – but enjoys reading Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings).

* My husband, in his mid-30s, immediately turned to see if there was a drawing of the Seraphim described in Isaiah 6:2, because he has always wondered what they really look like. He was slightly bummed because there are not Seraphim, but impressed with the interpretation of Revelation at the end of the book. Overall, he really likes The Action Bible.

* 5 year old daughter in Kindergarten- at first glance “Yikes! Too scary mommy.”. Ok – so she is definitely not included in the Action Bible demographic. But that’s OK!

The Action Bible is great for upper elementary children who are eating up every book in sight because they love to read – it is also for those older children (pre-teens/teens) drawn to comic books and intense story lines. The Action Bible brings out the action and intensity of God’s almighty power and let’s you know there is no doubt Jesus is God’s son. This is the powerful message some really want to know in this time where we are focused on God’s love and peace for the oppressed and pained in our world.

Below is a fun video sharing more of what you’ll find in The Action Bible.

FINALLY – if you’d like to win a FREE copy of The Action Bible leave your name and how you’d use this Bible in your ministry or home. I will randomly select a winner on March 31st. 

Dignify Anyone in a Few Seconds

21 03 2013

Photo courtesy of NBC

I love the photo in this article! Not because it is DisneyLand, or a princess, but because someone is taking their job just a step further out of the box (in a positive, non-creepy way) to tell children they are important and loved.

My mind just naturally starts asking:

* What if we could make sure every child knew they were noticed and loved (not necessarily a famous prince or princess) simply – acknowledged?

* What if we did this with everyone – teens, young adults, middle-age adults, older adults, the “untouchables” in our community?

How much better a place this world would be? Give some one a smile, hello, hug, or high five today!


Family Advent Adventures

16 11 2011

Did you know that Christians have a calendar – the church year? Of course, those of us who follow the church year live our daily ins and outs of life by the usual January to December calendar. The Christian church year is a series of seasons, not unlike Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  It is a cycle of seasons guiding our faith journey, pointing our hearts back to God who created, loves, and renews us through Jesus Christ.This calendar begins 40 days before Christmas, with the season of Advent. Advent is then followed by twelve days of Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Each season represents a part of Jesus’ life and ministry. The 2011-2012 church year begins on Sunday, November 27th, a few days after Thanksgiving.
Advent focuses on the prophecies and awaiting the birth of a messiah king who will comfort and save a broken people, stuck in bondage needing hope, love, joy and peace. In churches observing Advent traditions you’ll most often find an advent wreath with five candle – four representing the coming of Jesus and one to represent Christ’s presence. Each Sunday in Advent a new candle is lit to mark this time of waiting and anticipation. The fifth candle is lit on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day to mark the birth of Jesus.

I do believe Advent is my favorite season of the church year, even more than Christmas. I love the focus on hope, peace, comfort, joy and anticipation. A feeling I wish could last all year long. Perhaps we need to endure sadness, anger, frustration and loss to really experience the hope and joy that comes with anticipating and celebrating a savior. 
Advent also invites much creativity when it comes to observing. Our family (now and in my childhood) observed Advent by lighting candles on our own little wreath each night at dinner. On Sundays we added reading a scripture, maybe singing a song and then a prayer. We also have the countdown calendars (candy as a kiddo) and my children use a velcro nativity characters calendar. How might you observe Advent in your home or how might you introduce this tradition to your grandchildren, nieces, and nephews?
If you pop into most any bookstore (especially the Christian ones –, Family Christian Bookstore, Cokesbury, Lifeway, and a few independent stores in our community) you’ll find books, calendars and more to choose from. I’ve noticed even the toy stores (Toys R Us, and the independent stores), Playmobile, Fisher Price, and Lego have created Advent and Christmas toys for children. 
Or simply make your own wreath or calendar- with the children – this might be the most fun and best memory making option. 
Wreaths: Find five candles (three blue or purple, one pink, and white) and containers, then arrange the four colors in a circle with the white in the center.One of my favorite easy wreaths is a clear glass bowl, adding sand or pebbles, and arranging votives candles.
Calendars: Create 25 pockets/holders or markers of sort to countdown to Christmas. Something I’m hoping to try with my children this year is gathering 25 books that contain stories of Christmas (Christian and Secular), wrap them up like gifts, put them in a large basket, and each night of Advent they can unwrap a story to read at bedtime.
I love to go on the internet and look for ideas to get my creative juices flowing. Check out the collection of ideas I’ve put together on my Pinterest account if you’re looking for some new ideas:

Sticky Faith ch 3

2 11 2011

These are my answers to questions for Chapter 3 of the Sticky Faith Ministry Parents Online Book Club.

  1. What are some ways you identified yourself growing up? How were they helpful to you as you grew older? How were they harmful?
When I was growing up I identified as shy, quiet, sorta-smart, really really skinny and short, redhead but wanted black hair because everyone noticed my red hair, not athletic – but good at baton twirling, loved learning about music and singing, and enjoyed doing ‘church’. Also I was the oldest child in a single-parent family – often I was considered the good child and my sis/bro made out to be trouble makers. 

Being coined as quiet/shy and too skinny and taking this on as my identity was harmful in giving me a low self-confidence in so many ways. I have a hard time taking complements on my hair,body, clothing, etc. Even in athletic abilities, shy & skinny set me apart from participating because it involved my body. I dabbled here and there but nothing seemed to stick. I found tennis in high school and did pretty well with that. 

I believe I made up for my lack of self-confidence by being involved in whatever I could to lift others up or achieve a status that had to do with what was inside of me rather than how I looked on the outside. Knowledge, Heart, and Faith. Sometimes this got me to places that were quiet vulnerable with my peers. I gave a speech my sophomore year in high school that apparently got me the vote for “Most Easily Embarrassed” my senior year. 

The activities I was involved with though because of my lack in confidence in my appearance did give me several mentors that through the years God used to help rebuild my self-confidence. This is an on-going God project in my life.

2. Of Nouwen’s three answers to the question, “Who am I?”, which of these are you most prone to rely on? Describe what that looks and feels like. Which of these does your child rely on? What does that look like?

I think I take #3 (I am what others say about me) and use #2 (I am what I can control) to prove I am or am not what others say about me. Everyday I take encouragements/words of affirmation to heart and really try to live up to the good things people have to say about me. If I am told something not so great about myself, or someone says I need to improve certain skills or attitudes, I immediately go to work to change that perception others might have about me. It eats at me day and night until I either fix it or realize it simply is a perception and may not be reality. My mind gets tired emotionally bouncing from affirmation to disappointment. 

I’m pretty sure Elie (7) is a “I am what others say about me” type… she is always very concerned about approval from others to dictate whether she is happy or sad. Reminds me very much of myself and I try to safeguard her from it, probably too often. I don’t know what Katie (4) relies on, probably “I am what I control” at her age.

3. On a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being easy, 7 not so easy, how hard is it for you to see yourself as the beloved child of God? How easy is it for your child? Describe what you mean.

Depends on the day, some days more or less than others. I guess if I have to I’ll choose 3. I don’t think I look for approval from God, but definitely base others’ approval (or my perceived others’ approval) as a litmus test on how I am doing as a human being. Ellie is a 2, she knows God loves her and is always telling others of God’s love for them. Katie – probably a 1 at age four. She has had an epiphany in the past few months that she is a child that God loves SOOOOO much – she’s not afraid to let you know either.

4. Name some ways you can emphasize who your child is (a beloved child of God) rather than what your child does. How would this emphasis change your approach to your child’s extracurricular activities or academic achievements?

* I’ve been trying to do this already with Ellie and, man, is it hard somedays. There are days she has low self-confidence in her homework abilities, piano practicing, friendships and more. She is at an age where girls constantly threaten “I won’t be your best friend or I will be your best friend if….” and the promise is more often than not made out of trickery or simply a broken contract. We work to teach her what it means to be a good friend… sometimes that probably comes across as “you’re a bad person if you are a bad friend”. Lately, she keeps asking me “Mommy. do you love me?” and I answer “yes”. I try to find out why she asks, but she rarely has a reason why. I assure her I love her no matter what. 
With Katie, she is still PreK and the extra curriculars are different – and she is treated differently than Ellie when she plays. We always try to affirm them when they make good choices and treat someone well. 

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