5th Week – July 2014

This week I’d like to introduce you to four Alaskan authors. They have some other things in common as well.
They are all moms.
They love Jesus and families.
Their writing blesses me.
I know them all in real life.
They share a passion to encourage moms.
So here you go.
Check them out.
You will be blessed.
Copperlight Wood
Shannon shares her faith journey at Copperlight Wood. Homeschooling, parenting, international adoption, and attachment issues stretch her to trust God more and more.  Her writing makes me laugh and cry. It stirs deep.
When life allows she sends out a newsletter with content that doesn’t post on her blog. I encourage you to sign up.
 

 

Photo: Free Resource: Become the Mom You Truly Want to Be!

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1tlJydL

Join me, Ashley Brendle (mother of 7 amazing kids) as we'll be tackling these 3 core areas of motherhood that have transformed my life:

1. Connecting with God's presence and power during the impossibilities of motherhood
2. Accepting and receiving the provision you already have to overcome the obstacles blocking you from the mom you want to be.
3. Accessing God's wisdom and revelation for the problems you're facing right now!

With this free course, you'll get tools to move from survival mode to empowered as a thriving mom in the difficult challenge of motherhood.

Click here to get started: http://bit.ly/1tlJydL

  

Ashley is a short time Alaskan. Since she moved here just over a year ago she has become very dear to me. Last summer I joined a study she led through her book Supernatural Mothering: Where God’s Presence and Power Invade Motherhood. It was transformational.

You can read her blog, listen to her podcast at Supernatural Mothering and even sign up for a free course (link above) on partnering with Jesus in your mothering, and the rest of life really, but when you are a mom sometimes that seems to cover it.

The Masterpiece Mom PodcastAmanda and I met years ago in MOPS, an amazing ministry to mothers of preschoolers. She continued to minister with MOPS long after I moved on. Amanda writes about homeschooling, life as a mom, adoption and of course resting in the masterpiece God has made each of us to be.

I also met Anne-Renee through MOPS. She shares Amanda’s passion for moms to see themselves through God’s eyes. She is a sweet joyful soul. She’s a working, non-homeschooling mom so she brings a different perspective than the rest.

Amanda and Anne-Renee have started a podcast. My summer’s been busy so I haven’t listened to as many as I would like. They offer encouragement and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously, we’re all only human.

I hope you enjoy these mom’s and their ministries.

I know I do.

Sought Out by Jeannie Pallett

As I was thinking of things I needed to do before traveling to help my mother-in-law for a few weeks I thought about my blog. I really want to keep going with my weekly posts on rest. I also want to be realistic and not set myself up to fail. God blessed me with the idea to ask fellow authors and bloggers who have blessed me with their writing to share their thoughts on rest. The next few weeks I will be doing just that. I hope you are blessed as I was.

Welcome Jeannie as she shares a beautiful message on resting.

Sought Out by Jeannie Pallett 

God is so amazing in the clarity of His answers to our generic questions.

The other morning I asked Him what He wanted me to do that day ~ my usual plan has been to attend Aqua fit classes three mornings a week ~ admittedly I was feeling very much as if I hadn’t been spending quality time with Him or my duties in my sphere of influence.  However, I still wanted to go to the pool…

Anyways, I was on the loveseat with coffee, notebook and my Bible, rearranging things, asking Him the Question, when my Bible slid off the arm of loveseat and plopped, open into my lap.  Now I am not a point and read kind of girl but here is the underlined verse my eyes landed on:

And you shall be called Sought Out.”  Isaiah 62:12

My heart! My heart just melted within me as I realized He, the Mighty God, Lord of All Creation is seeking after me, and He wants time spent with me.

To perfume and prepare me for service.”

He is saying to me, as He is seeking me, “Be still,  hush, quiet, slow down.  Know Me as your God, as your Salvation and Redeemer.  Be still My child. Be still.

I know your desires and I know My plans and purposes for you.  Be still ~ allow the alignment of your will, desires and dreams to click in place with the plans of the Spirit I have for you.

Be still.  Can you see how close you are?  Be still, you will hear the click of the alignment.

Be still for I seek after you, I desire you to be in My Presence.  I have sought you out and marked you as My Beloved, I have sought you out as one who loves Me and longs to be of service to Me.

Do you have any idea Child, how much it pleases Me, pleases My heart when My childrens’ deepest longings and desires are to be of service to Me? That is why I have called you Sought Out.  Will you yield and will you surrender?  Will you say, “Here I am? Send me!”

You can only go if I have prepared you. That is why I say, “Be still.” I search your heart.  I love getting to know you, watch as you walk in the ways I have taught you.  I take such great delight as you present yourself to Me.  Truly, your presence is such a precious gift to Me.

Come, for I have called you Sought Out.  I have already found you, and now I am calling you out.  Now I am putting my finger upon your life and saying, “Jeannie, Gracious Gift, I have called you Sought Out.  I know where you are, but I long to hear your heart and thus I seek you out.”

“I don’t want to worship from a distance, Lord; I want to come into that holy place, that place where holiness dwells.  Cleanse my heart by the Blood of Jesus.  I ask You to forgive my sin that I might enter, whiter than snow and yet dripping red ~ You have harboured me Lord, kept me in a safe place in the midst of the storms of life.

You seek me out.  I have no gift to bring my King save for a heart that longs for You.  I seek You out, Lord; I seek to know the essence of You.  What constitutes that beautiful fragrance, what constitutes your heart?  I want to know.

I am undone, for how shall I ever touch Your holiness ~ how shall I ever gaze upon Your fiery brilliance… Father, thank You.  You understand that I keep wondering, “What about me?  What about me, what is my purpose?  It seems to be the question of my life.  What about me, Lord, what is Your plan and purpose for me?

And in part, Your answer is, “I have called you Sought Out.”

Romans 9:18 tells me that You have had mercy for me.  I receive Your mercy O God that You have laid up for me.  I receive Your mercy.

You reveal my heart in verse 20 ~ “Will you say to Him who formed you “Why have you made me like this?”

The Potter has power over me ~ He has chosen to make me a vessel for honour.

Romans 9:23 is telling me that He wants to make known to me, ~ a vessel of mercy ~ the riches of His glory ~ He long ago prepared me to be a vessel who carries His glory for His honour and glory.

And so again He says, “ And I have called you Sought Out, Sought One, My Beloved, I have made you for Myself”

2 Timothy 2:21 ” Therefore, Jeannie, because you have repented and are dripping red with the Blood of Jesus, you will be a vessel for honour, sanctified, set apart (because I have called you Sought Out) and you are useful to Me, your Master, prepared for every good work.”

You are prepared because you have allowed yourself to be the Sought One.

You have allowed stillness to be active in your life so that you would see My hand and My power at work on your behalf.  Powerful.

As My servant, you will pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on Me with a pure heart.  You will not be alone; you will be with those I have called you to serve with.  As My servant, you will be gentle to all; you will be able to teach.  You will be patient walking with humility and with gentleness and humility correcting those in opposition.

When I call you “Sought One” it means I want to be in your presence Child. Our relationship is ongoing and it is built upon the bricks of truth and revelation is the mortar.”

Jeannie Pallett is a woman who is being molded and shaped by the hand of God and is learning the joy of surrendered obedience to her King. He is bringing her through tragedy into triumph and she writes and speaks from a perspective of victory knowing that Jesus is truly the Overcoming One in her life.
Jeannie has discovered that it is the lessons of the heart that impact and change lives and is passionate about the family of God learning to live in the fullness of faith.
Jeannie and her husband are currently facing the biggest battle of their lives and yet choose to declare victory and inspire and encourage many.

Strive to Rest by Amy Layne Litzelman

As I was thinking of things I needed to do before traveling to help my mother-in-law for a few weeks I thought about my blog. I really want to keep going with my weekly posts on rest. I also want to be realistic and not set myself up to fail. God blessed me with the idea to ask fellow authors and bloggers who have blessed me with their writing to share their thoughts on rest. The next few weeks I will be doing just that. I hope you are blessed as I was.

Today I share my blog with Amy, blessed indeed!
Strive to Rest
by Amy Layne Litzelman
4/24/12
“Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].” (Hebrews 4:11, AMP)

Resting is a very interesting concept. You could probably ask a hundred people what it looks like to them and get a hundred unique answers. At different points in my life I might have pictured reading a good book while the kids were asleep, a week at the beach, or waking up refreshed. Others would say, “A day off of work,” or “The feeling after a project is finished.” All of these would fit into the definition of rest, in both the English dictionary and in the Bible.
Our human bodies need consistent blocks of time to recuperate after a day or season of activity. When Jesus walked the earth, He regularly took time away from serving the crowds and urged His disciples to do the same. This anapauō type of rest is a ceasing from labor in order to recover and regain our strength.
There is a rest, however, which far surpasses a physical recuperation. Katapausis (pronounced kä-tä’-pau-sēs) does not depend on our level of activity, remaining constant even when the body is exhausted. This rest does not hinge on governmental peace or if we live in abundance or lack. Katapausis is a resting place during the greatest storm; a peace unshakable.
I recognized glimpses of it as I read the words of Katie Davis in her book Kisses From Katie this week. In the midst of thousands of starving, hurting people in Uganda, this young lady strives to look past the vastness of the task, beyond the impossibilities that surround her, and into the truth of Who Jesus is. She walks out one day at a time, obeying His leading while trusting in and relying on His goodness, His strength, His wisdom, and power. And at the end of each day, she looks back to see all of the mighty things He has done and knows joy beyond understanding.
As the world seems to be going faster and faster and the trials and tribulations increase with each passing year, having a higher level of rest available to us is of irreplaceable value. Yet, it does not come without cost. The author of Hebrews urges us to strive diligently to enter this rest. What does that mean? How do we strive to rest?
·         First, one of our highest priorities should be to have a soft heart before God.

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel]…” (Hebrews 3:7-8a)
A soft heart is an open heart. A soft heart is vulnerable and honest, allowing God to show us the truth about Himself, ourselves, and our circumstances. It is often painful, but only in this place can we avoid devastating lies and snares of our enemy and walk in the joy and freedom God desires for us.

On the other hand, if we push certain sins and issues back in the corner in an effort to not deal with them or keep them hidden, our hearts will become more and more hardened and deceived by sin. We will begin to think we know how best to live out our lives. This pride and rebellion will separate us from the One Who is our only hope of freedom.

 

 

·         Second, we must obey what the Father tells us through His Word and by His Spirit.

“So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God.” (Hebrews 4:6)

Obedience is the litmus test of humility. A step of obedience reveals that our heart has not completely hardened against God and opens us up to see the loving sovereignty of our Maker. In obedience we come to understand that God knows all things and moves in perfect wisdom, power, and love.

I John 3:24 tells us that those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with Him. I love the picture the Amplified Bible paints: “They let Christ be a home to them and they are the home of Christ.” In this close communion, katapausis can be found.

·         Third, we must come to a place of absolute trust in God alone.

“For only we who believe can enter his rest…” (Hebrews 4:3a)

God does not ask us to have blind faith. He constantly shows Himself to be perfectly wise and powerful. Although the Israelites left slavery in Egypt with many great signs and wonders, they failed to enter into the rest God desired for them because they did not come to a place of trust. When difficult circumstances arose, they quickly fell back on their own understanding instead of placing their faith in the faithfulness of their Savior. They believed in their weakness more than they believed in the power and goodness of God.

We are faced with the same dilemma today. To enter into the fortress and hiding place of peace, we must choose to look beyond physical circumstances to the truth of Who God is. We must choose to rely upon His goodness, wisdom, and power when all of the facts around us yell out that failure is imminent. We must choose to put our faith in God over the cries of our emotions or weaknesses.

This choosing may start out as a gritting of the teeth and a holding on with all we have, but as our God reveals His faithfulness over and over again, we learn to lean back into Him and truly rest.

Now, before we get too overwhelmed at what we must strive to do, read further in Hebrews 4. Our Father does not leave us to work these things out on our own.

Ø  First, He gives us His Word – alive and full of power, sharper than any two-edged sword – to expose, analyze, and judge the very thoughts and purposes of our heart. We don’t have to wonder what is right or wrong. When we read the Word of God in humility and hunger, the Word itself will penetrate into our hearts and reveal within us what must remain and what must be changed.

Ø  Second, God gave us His Son, Jesus, Who has shared in all of our weaknesses and assaults to temptation, and so understands what we are walking through. Because He walked in perfect relationship with the Father and without sin, He is able to give us mercy in our failures and grace to help with every need. And, He beckons us to come fearlessly, confidently, and boldly to His throne.

“Striving to rest” seems like an oxymoron. But as we lay aside our pride and live before our God with a soft heart, as we exchange our sin and rebellion for His plans and purposes, as we believe that He loves us perfectly and can be trusted explicitly even in the things we don’t understand, we find a place of rest that no one can take away. A rest that cannot be shaken.

It was in this rest that Paul was able to write letters full of hope and thanksgiving even while sitting in prison. It was to this rest that David returned in Psalm 55:23 after wrestling with his fears. It is into this rest that our Father calls us today. Amazing. Be zealous to enter in.

*  *  *  *  *

How have you experienced katapausis? What do you do to remain in His rest?

Amy Layne Litzelman 
Author, Teacher, Worship Leader 
—— 
amy@amylaynelitzelman.com 
AmyLayneLitzelman.com 
—— 
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Real Rest by Victoria Stankus

As I was thinking of things I needed to do before traveling to help my mother-in-law for a few weeks I thought about my blog. I really want to keep going with my weekly posts on rest. I also want to be realistic and not set myself up to fail. God blessed me with the idea to ask fellow authors and bloggers who have blessed me with their writing to share their thoughts on rest. The next few weeks I will be doing just that. I hope you are blessed as I was.

Today I am privileged to welcome 

Victoria Stankus.

REAL REST by 

Victoria Stankus


Are you weak in spirit? Is your heart heavy with a burden? Read what it says here in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Its not just a physical kind of rest Jesus is talking about here. (Taking a nice warm bath, or getting a massage can help with that for a little while.) Its REAL REST He’s talking about – the kind that comes from within – the kind that comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing HIM to carry our burdens. 

Think about this past week for a moment…. 

-How often have you lost your self-control?  

-How often have you yelled at your children for something they did wrong?  

-How often have you raised your voice to your spouse because he/she wasn’t meeting your expectations?  

-How often have you chewed out a friend over something that was rather unimportant? 

Losing your self-control in these ways is usually caused by being tired, stressed, overworked, and feeling unappreciated. I admit I am among those of you who have felt this way recently; and I know ALL of us do at one point or another. It is a typical human response as we seek fulfillment from others, rather than from the Lord.

It is a good reminder for us all to realize sitting at the feet of Jesus is what will bring more rest for weary souls than anything else. Lorrie Flem, the Publisher of Eternal Encouragement Magazine has said, “You cannot be a nurturer unless you yourself are nurtured.”  But, it’s a matter of choice. If we neglect Him, or don’t take the time to rest in His presence, our feelings of frustration and despair will get the best of us. So, what do YOU think would be the better choice? 

I love this old hymn that talks of this very thing… 

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

Words by: Joseph Scriven, 1855

What a Friend we have in Jesus,All our sins and griefs to bear!What a privilege to carryEverything to God in prayer!O what peace we often forfeit,O what needless pain we bear,All because we do not carryEverything to God in prayer! 

Have we trials and temptations?Is there trouble anywhere?We should never be discouraged,Take it to the Lord in prayer.Can we find a friend so faithfulWho will all our sorrows share?Jesus knows our every weakness,Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

Are we weak and heavy-laden,Cumbered with a load of care?Precious Savior, still our refugeTake it to the Lord in prayer;Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?Take it to the Lord in prayer;In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,Thou wilt find a solace there. 

Victoria Stankus has been married for 20 years, and is a homeschooling mother of two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching a good movie, organizing, bargain hunting, and writing for her blogs. You can visit her main blog, where she uses a variety of topics to encourage others in their Christian walk, at: http://he-holds-my-right-hand.blogspot.com

And the Dove Rested by Lynn Mosher

As I was thinking of things I needed to do before traveling to help my mother-in-law for a few weeks I thought about my blog. I really want to keep going with my weekly posts on rest. I also want to be realistic and not set myself up to fail. God blessed me with the idea to ask fellow authors and bloggers who have blessed me with their writing to share their thoughts on rest. The next few weeks I will be doing just that. I hope you are blessed as I was.

Today I am honored to share my blog with Lynn.
And the Dove Rested by Lynn Mosher

    
For forty days and forty nights…
The floor of the great abyss ruptured, spewing skyward enormous streams of steam from its belly. It roared in agony as it billowed into a surging mass of catastrophic power, pounding angrily against the ark, which cradled the nucleus of humanity in safety from the judgment upon the earth.
The once calm seas broke open their storerooms and heaved forth their reservoirs as frothing waves. Never having rained before, the windows of heaven now threw open their sluice gates, unleashing their inner resources as great torrents.
And the ark, listing from side to side, rose up with the waters.
“And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.” (Gen. 7:24 NKJV)
God then restrained the waters and made a wind to pass over the surface, and, as the waters began to decrease, the ark rested on top of Mount Ararat.
The definition for Ararat is interesting. The Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon says it means the curse reversed: precipitation of curse. Noah means “rest,” and its root word basically means to settle down, cause to rest, to deposit, and so on. As the curse reversed, the waters deposited the ark, causing it to rest on Ararat, and so, too, did Noah, probably heaving a big sigh of relief.
After months of the waters receding, Noah sent out a raven that went “to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.” (Gen. 8:7 NKJV) Noah also “sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.” (v.8 NKJV)
The dove went out into the world, searching upon the waters of “drifting waste of sin and judgment” (A. B. Simpson) for a resting place. But “the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot” (v.9a NKJV), so she returned to the ark. And Noah “put forth his hand and drew her to him into the ark.” (v.9a Amp)
“And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.” (v.10a NKJV) This time the dove returned with an olive leaf, which is not only a symbol of peace and reconciliation but is also a symbol of prosperity, divine blessing, beauty, and strength. The sign that judgment had passed and peace was returning
Each time the dove returned, Noah welcomed her back, putting forth his hand, and drawing her to himself, to her resting place in the ark.
Isn’t that a comforting thought of our Lord? When we encounter chaotic circumstances, do we go out into the world searching for rest, peace, and satisfaction? We will not find them there.
The Lord’s graciousness to us is the same as Noah’s was to the dove. Christ is our Ark of safety, our resting place, and in our wanderings, He reaches out His nail-scarred hands and pulls us to Himself for comfort and protection. As scripture says, “The Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself.” (2 Tim. 4:18 Amp) Interesting. Draw means to rush or draw (for oneself), rescue, deliver, or preserve from.
He lovingly says to us, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jer. 31:3 NKJV) “In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved.” (Isa. 30:15 Amp)
Christ clutches His Bride in His eternal arms of love, “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” (Isa. 62:5 NKJV)
Do you roam the earth, flitting about from place to place in search of a place to light upon for rest, peace, or safety? Do you find it? In your unrest, let your weary wings take you back to the Lord, to seek that secure resting place in Him alone.
The Lord continually draws you to Himself by His Spirit. Return to the Ark and find rest unto your soul.
From His feet, Lynn


At a time of physical upheaval in 2000, Lynn felt led of the Lord to take up her pen and write. With this new passion, Lynn embraced her mission to reach others through Christ-honoring literature, encouraging them in their walk and offering comfort through the written word. Lynn lives with her hubby of 46 years in their Kentucky nest, emptied of three chicklets but visited by three grand chicklets.

Jake & Jesus is One!


Kelly's Jake & Jesus
Jake and Jesus are best friends. They do everything together. Jake talks to Jesus everyday. Learn how you too can become a lifelong friend of our Savior!
Published by Tate Publishing

Author bio:
Kelly Hagen lives in Kentucky with her family. She enjoys being a stay at home mom, and filling her children’s hearts with God’s Word.

You can find Kelly on :

Website:

Facebook:

Kelly’s Jake & Jesus

Twitter:

Kelly_Hagen







Kelly shares some thoughts on friendship:

Friends are a special thing to have in your life. It’s something Jesus wants us to have. They can encourage us, lift our spirits when we are down. Share in our happiness. But we must remember that we are human. Even the “best” friend you have can hurt your feelings, and let you down. But the good news is…Jesus will never hurt us, or let us down. He loves us and forgives us. He doesn’t hold bitterness or anger towards us. We sometimes do-even not knowing it. So it’s important to remember not replace your friendship with Jesus with someone else. Put Him first and all else will be taken care of. Try your best everyday to “live” out that friendship for your children, spouse and other friends to see, so that they too may find the one true “best friend” in the world….Jesus!

Reviews for Jake & Jesus:

Jake & Jesus, by Kelly Hagen, is a small children’s book with adorable illustrations and a huge message. Jake convinced me of his love for his best friend, Jesus. With Him, he could talk and play, sing and pray–anytime. Best of all, Jake gave Jesus the gift of his heart.

My only regret was that the book ended too quickly.

Linda Robinson, Author of When Love Abounds 


Jake & Jesus is a heartwarming story of a young boy’s love for Jesus. Through reading this book, young children will learn about Jesus, and how they too can have a personal relationship with Him. This book is a wonderful tool for parents to use to help lead their child/children to Christ. It’s also full of colorful illustrations. 

Author Terri Burnell 


Kelly’s book, Jake & Jesus is such an adorable children’s book. It really speaks on a child’s level to let them know that Jesus can and will always be their best friend.

Lisa Davis Budzinski author of At the End of the Day

Facebook Interview with Vicky Stankus

What is Communion?


Today on my authors facebook page I interviewed fellow Gabby Mom Vicky Stankus. She is the author of What is Communion? For more information about Vicky or her book visit her website. Here for my review. 

Mukkove Johnson – Christian Author   Welcome Vicky. Please introduce yourself.

Vicky Stankus   Hi, Mukkove! Thankyou for having me here! Let’s see… I met my husband, David, while attending college in Chicago, where I received an Associates degree in Biblical Studies. We have been married for 19+ years now, and have 2 children. I have been homeschooling them for the past 7 years. Our daughter is 13, and our son is 9. I enjoy writing, listening to music, reading, watching movies, and organizing.

MJ   I’m so glad to have you here. I homeschool my three also.

Vicky   Great!

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MJ  Tell us what led you to write your book?
Top of Form

Vicky  This book idea came about when my young son began asking questions after watching my husband and I take Communion one Sunday. He saw what we were doing and wanted to know what it was about. So, I tried to find an easy book with illustrations that would help to explain things better to him, as well as to our daughter with special learning needs. I wasn’t able to find anything, aside from the Catholic views of a child’s first communion. This was not the way my husband and I wanted to explain things to our children, so I decided to write a book myself, using an Evangelical Protestant view.

MJ Filling your need will meet the need of other families, too.

Vicky Yes! I am so glad the book has been helpful to others!


MJFor anyone visiting with us for Vicky’s interview feel free to ask questions or leave comments. You can just pop in and say “Hi”, too.

Top of Form

Mary Just wanted to say we have Vicky’s book and enjoyed reading it to our kids. I appreciate the attention to detail on both the theological points, as well as the needs of her audience (children) to be able to understand a rather abstract concept.

MJ Thank you Mary! My children are older, but we enjoyed it, also.

Vicky Hi, Mary! Thanks for joining in!


MJ How do you see this book being used?

Top of Form

Vicky That one’s easy. The book is intended for parents or teachers to read to their children (approximately 6-12 years of age) and to discuss it as they read it. The book includes a simple, yet detailed, explanation of what Communion is. It also explains who Jesus is, why He came to Earth, why He sacrificed Himself for our sins, and has simple steps for trusting in Jesus as Savior.

MJ You did a great job of keeping a sometimes complicated subject simple and clear.

Vicky Thank you! I did it with the help of my husband, my dad, and my former pastor. They all had some input into it. My friend, Mary, also previewed it before publishing.

MJ Support and input is so valuable.

Vicky Yes, it is! I consider my husband my “editor” on some levels. 🙂


MJYou wrote and published What is Communion? with young children. How did you manage? How does marketing fit with being a mom? (I often wonder myself)

Top of Form

Vicky Yes, I wrote the book, and self-published it through a print-on-demand company called Lulu.com. The bulk of the writing and editing was done over our Summer break in 2009, so it didn’t take away too much from our schooling. My children were ages 6 and 10 at the time, and they played together very well for a good part of the day, so that really helped. 

To be honest, I am still learning about the whole marketing process and am taking things one step at a time. But, no matter what I end up doing, I know I don’t want to neglect the needs of my children. It is important that they always come before any outside ministries.


MJWhere can parents get your book?

Top of Form

Vicky It is available in several locations, including Lulu.com and Amazon.com. You can go to my website to find out more: What is Communion?

MJ Great! Was it hard to get on Amazon?

Vicky No, not at all. Actually, the company I used (Lulu.com) is the one who did that for me.

MJ My publisher did that for me also, so I have no idea 🙂


MJ Are there more books in your future?

Top of Form

Vicky I hope so. I have several ideas I have been working on, and one is now ready to be submitted to various publishers. So, we will see what happens.

MJ What types of books do you hope to write? What is the one you are pursuing publishing?

Vicky I am concentrating on children’s books for the time being. It is my desire to help other parents and teachers to teach their children about the Lord, and help them to grow in their relationship with Him. The book I am currently pursuing is about why we go to church.


Our Homeschool Blog:MJ Where can we learn more about you and read more of your writing?
Top of Form

Vicky I have 2 blogs I write on. One is about encouragement for Christians and helping each other grow in the Lord. He Holds My Right Hand

The other blog is our homeschool blog.


MJ I’ve thought about doing a homeschool blog, but I don’t post consistently enough or have time, I guess 🙂

Vicky I also started a new adventure this year of writing articles for Eternal Encouragement Magazine.

MJ Congratulations! I met you through their Gabby Moms blog program, I didn’t realize you were writing for the magazine as well.

Vicky Yes. I am writing under the masthead of “God Blesses This House but He Doesn’t Clean It.”

MJ Very fun! I’ll look for your articles.

Vicky I believe the first one will be in the printed magazine in February.


MJWho did the illustrations for your book?

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Vicky My dad, Dr. James McIntosh, drew most of the illustrations for the book. He is currently an Instructor, and the Academic Dean, at Brookes Bible Institute in St. Louis, MO. The illustrations are simple, black and white line drawings, which can be less distracting for some children.

MJ How neat to be able to work with your dad! Did he make coloring pages of the illustrations?

Vicky No. But, I suppose the pictures could be photo-copied and kids could color them that way.

MJ Families and Sunday school classes could use them that way.

Vicky Yes!

MJ I have coloring pages with my Christmas devotion and am working on ones for Easter. They make great giveaways and easy activities.

Vicky Sounds fun! I enjoy your book.



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MJWho wrote the foreword for What is Communion?

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Vicky The Foreword for the book was written by Rev. Gary E. Gilley, a pastor and author friend of ours from Southern View Chapel in Springfield, IL. Gary has written several of his own books, including This Little Church Went To Market and Is That You, Lord? You can visit Gary’s website here: http://www.svchapel.org/about-svc/staff

MJ Those sound fun, hmm, more books to look at 🙂


MJ Vicky Stankus author of What is Communion? Thank you so much for hanging out here today! It was fun to learn about your book and a little more about you as well.

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Vicky It was fun to be here. Thank you for taking your time to do this!

Judith I enjoyed learning more about you and the book.

Vicky Thank you!

Interview with Author Sherry Riffle

 After reading Sherry’s book Where did Mommy Go? I wanted to know more about her and her book. I invited Sherry to share her thoughts here.


Tell us about yourself

I am just a small town girl who loves Christ. He is my EVERYTHING! I was born and raised in a rural area in southeast Ohio situated along the beautiful Ohio River. I married my high school sweetheart and have been happily married for 20 years. I have 5 children in which we have adopted 4. I am a HUGE advocate for adoption through foster care. Every child deserves a loving home!

What is the story behind Where Did Mommy Go?

On June 3, 1999, I awoke to news that my only sister had been killed in a car accident. At the young age of 23, she left behind a very scared and confused little boy. He was only 6 years old.

My husband and I took him into our home and tried to help slowly patch the broken pieces of his life back together. Each time that he would ask questions, I added to his confusion by giving him half-truths. In the mist of my own grief, I realized that he was so innocent about death. I was the one that was uncomfortable talking about it. I knew he needed answers but I didn’t know how to answer him. 


One evening I sat down and wrote this story for him. I believe this story to be divinely given to help him understand and heal. I wanted a story where he would be able to associate without being associated. I wrote it to be real with Sarah speaking as a child would speak with broken and improper English. He loved it! It answered many of his unanswered questions and helped him to move on with life.

This story sat in my basement for approximately 10 years then I felt a push to send it to a publisher. This past spring, my story was released to the public. Little did I know that God would take this tragedy and turn it into a tool to help not only my new son but other children as well.

What has been helpful to your family in times of loss?

Prayer has been essential to getting us through our time of grief. I feel at times that we weren’t in control but Christ cradled and carried us through those overwhelming times. He sheltered us when it was too much to bear and then gave us peace. Christ is with us always!

How do you teach children to accept comfort from Jesus?

I believe that if you teach children to pray then they will open themselves up to an intimate relationship with Christ. He is always there for us and prayer is a direct way to communicate with him. Something so simple yet so powerful!

Have you written other books?

I have written a total of five children’s books. Each one was created with a specific purpose in mind and has morals woven into the story. Where Did Mommy Go was my second story and the only one that has been submitted and published. I have started a biography about adopting through foster care in the US. At this time, it is several months from being finished. 

Can you tell me more about your passion for adoption through foster care?

We knew when Christ placed adoption on our hearts that we wanted the kids that “no one wanted”…the so called “damaged kids”. All kids deserve a home! I would hear people talk about wanting to adopt from other countries. That is great but we can’t forget God’s babies that are here. All they want is for someone to spend some time with them and love them.

Every step of getting set up for adoption through foster care was so easy. God walked with us in every step. After we received our homestudy, we submitted for our daughter. Within a couple months, we received word from her case worker of our match. God worked so fast! That was the first of our four adoptions. We probably would have adopted more but we ran out of room in our house and car.

If I ever have a hand at leading one person in the direction of adoption through foster care, I know that I have done the will of my Savior. I will rejoice because a family is a special gift. If God has placed it on your heart to adopt, please contact your local Department of Job and Family Services to take your first step in adopting through foster care.

How do people get Where Did Mommy Go? Where Did Mommy Go is available at numerous websites including www.wheredidmommygo.com , www.Amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61739-720-2


Contact Sherry: wheredidmommygo@yahoo.com

My post about Where Did Mommy Go?

Where Did Mommy Go? Book Review

Where Did Mommy Go? 
by Sherry L. Riffle

After reading the book with my children I asked what they thought. They said:

I like it because it talks about heaven in a way kids can understand. I like the pictures. It teaches to not be just sad when someone dies because they are going to heaven. It’s okay to be happy. I liked the illustrations. I could relate to the little girl because I lost my Grampa.

Death is a hard concept for children to understand. To make matters worse the adults in their life are often too busy or so involved in their own grief they don’t take the time to find out what the children’s questions are.


This summer my children lost their Grandfather. We lost a mentor and friend.  It’s hard to deal with the emotions. The ups and downs.


Where Did Mommy Go?is a good reminder to slow down and get my children’s perspective on what has happened and what they are struggling with.
Sherry Riffle shares wonderfully how the things adults say make no sense to children. In trying to get ourselves off the hook with tough questions we can cause more confusion for our children.

Jesus is always our comfort. Loss is a time to model and teach our children to find comfort in him.


My one caution would be to be very sure your children understand God requires us to accept his gift of salvation. People do not simply go to heaven when they die, no matter what. For young ones this can be as simple as ABC. Admit we are sinners in need of a Savior. Believe Jesus did all that was required for us to be right with God. Confess Jesus as Lord.

If, or when, your family goes through loss Where Did Mommy Go? may be a helpful reminder and discussion starter for you.  


Tomorrow I’ll share an interview with Sherry.

Contact Sherry: wheredidmommygo@yahoo.com

Where Did Mommy Go is available at numerous websites including www.wheredidmommygo.com , www.Amazon.comwww.barnesandnoble.com and www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61739-720-2