A Birthday and A Book: Time to Celebrate

birthday candlesI cannot think of a better way to share my birthday than with an announcement. I have a feeling that 35 is going to be a great year and I am excited to see how God’s hand continues to move over the next few months (and years).

You have probably noticed a few changes to my Heartskeeper blog title and if you follow along on Facebook, my page name changed slightly. If you didn’t notice, I guarantee you are checking right.about.now…..

Family, I am so excited to share with each of you my FIRST BOOK will launch in November!!!!

I am working diligently with my A-team on edits as we speak and I cannot wait to show each of you the cover art. I am so honored to work with such talent and in just a few months, I can share my words of encouragement with parents everywhere. Pinch me please!!!

“My Book” page will be added shortly to Heartskeeper so you will want to make sure you are signed up for email updates or following on Twitter and/or Facebook. For those of you interested, we will be offering a pre-order of the book. Get it early!

Want to know what it is about? Well of course you do! Sign up and stay tuned!

Are Your Children Ready for More Freedom: Two Ways to Test Their Readiness

 

http://mackenziehopephoto.blogspot.com/p/jhkh.html

Photography by Mackenzie Hope

 

If I am honest, one of my biggest fears is something happening to my children. I find myself constantly in a state of tug-of-war concerning how much freedom to give them. Since we homeschool, I am with them day in and day out. I see the areas where they are maturing and the areas we still need to focus on growing.

It can be hard to let go and let your children grow up.

Our family made a major move about six months ago and I will tell you that we questioned if we had settled in the wrong area. Where we live is not “bad” but it is different. There are language barriers and a definite difference in family dynamics. Poverty was all around us and broken families were the norm. We were concerned that our children would not be able to acclimate to the different cultures and upbringings.

For sake of transparency, I will tell you that we kept our children very secluded the first few months. My husband and I were not afraid of our neighborhood for safety reasons. We were more concerned with what type of influence it would have on our children. Would all the instruction they were being taught at home be remembered when they were no longer in their element?

Had we, as homeschool parents, sheltered our children too much from the world?

I am pretty certain every parent, regardless of educational choice, wonders if they are properly preparing their children for the world at hand. Daily, my husband and I are seeing opportunities that will allow us to test their readiness. Test: Yes, you read that correctly.

So how do you know when your children are ready to step out into the great unknown? Here is two ways to test their readiness:

  1. They will ask you

Parents, you know your children better than anyone. When children begin maturing, their need to break away becomes stronger. Our daughter started asking every time we went into the store if she could go in by herself and purchase what we needed. I am not talking about a $200 grocery list, but more of an emergency toilet paper and laundry detergent run at our local discount store! At first, every time she asked I would say no. I was afraid that people might think I was a bad parent.

Finally, I let her go in alone with cash in her hand as I waited in the truck. The look of pride she had on her face when she exited the store was priceless. All I did was allow her to purchase some household items for me while I waited a safe distance away. You would have thought she had won a million dollars. When she got back in the car, she told me, “I feel so important.”

Why do we need to let our children exert their independence in safe environments? Simply put, it allows them to feel like they are contributing to the family (even in the smallest ways) and they are gaining immeasurable communication and people skills.

If we want our children to feel like their role in the world matters, we first must give them the opportunity to contribute to it.

It is education in its purest form.

2.  They will fail or succeed

When you know your children will do fine, it’s easier to let go of the reigns. But what if they aren’t ready? You will never know until you let them try. One of the main reasons we kept our children “shut in” for the first few months was because of one incident with some neighborhood children.   A little uneasy, I let my children invite a few of the neighborhood kids over to play in the yard. It was not long before both of them came back in the house and the neighborhood children were gone.

When I questioned the brevity of their play time, my little boy exclaimed, “Mom, they were talking dirty. I didn’t like it.” My daughter, being the firecracker she sometimes can be, looked at me and shrugged. “I told them if they were talking like that, they could go home. They went home.”

Though it broke my heart that young minds were exposed to such vulgarity, I was very happy to see that my children had stood up even when it would make them stand out.

The play time scenario could have easily turned out differently. My children could have kept quiet and continue to play with them in order to have friends. They had a decision to make and they made it without me.  They found their voice, not mine. 

The silver lining to the story is that respect was gained. Those that appreciated my children’s request started coming back around. Learning about differences and understanding that you can still be united under common ground has been a great experience for my children.  It is one that I could never teach from a text-book.

After all, isn’t life the best education a child could earn?


 

A Few Sites I HEART

(I am not affiliated with this organizations/designers, therefore I am not making a sells pitch. But when you find great organizations, how can you not spread the word!)

I am not the quickest to follow the latest and greatest social media craze. Sorry if that is what you expected when you joined the Heartskeeper family, but you could not have found someone any less inept than me when it comes to trending. (Yet, you stay. Thank you!)

I am always coming across great sites and I think “Hey, I need to tell my friend about this site.” Well today I am sharing with my blog family a few sites that are beautiful, inspirational and worth a follow! Just click on the pictures to check out  their sites.

French Press Mornings

I actually stumbled upon French Press Mornings today. Yesterday was not the greatest of days for me. I was discouraged and questioning my role as a mother, a friend and a wife. (When the devil does that you remember God is doing something great or satan would not attack!) Jenny is a mother, blogger and owner/designer of this beautiful site. I could tell instantly that she wanted to share with her followers God’s truth in the form of some beautiful art. I see a purchase in my near future.

sweet aroma coffee

Who wants to drink coffee AND put an end to sex trafficking? Each month, 35% of their gross profit is donated to a safe house for women. I am in awe and very happy to have found them on Instagram. Again, a friend of mine shared on her Facebook site about Sweet Aroma Coffee and now I’m sharing on my social media sites. That’s how it works! Hummmm, I have a strong desire for a cup of joe right now!

4 Things Wives Should Do to Help Their Husbands and their Marriage

wives honoring husbands

My family and I were in an unfamiliar city for a sporting event the other day and wanted to go eat. So that my husband could help me navigate the unknown streets, he asked me to drive while he mapped out our destination. Every few minutes, my husband would tell me to take a right or left, in which I was very grateful. Then, we got into some heavy Saturday traffic. No matter what lane I was in, it seemed I needed to be in the other one.  The kids were hungry and tired and I was frustrated and just wanted to get to our destination. This is when my temper got the best of me.

I decided to take a left turn to get away from the traffic and my husband suggested I take a right. Before I even realized it, I yelled, “Stop telling me what to do. I got this.” As soon as the venom exploded out of my mouth, I regretted it. Looking over to my husband, I could see that I had really embarrassed him. Looking into the rearview mirror, I saw two children watching all of this disrespect playing out in front of them. I knew I had to do something.

Upon parking the car, I turned to my husband, gently placing my hand on his arm and said three little words. I am sorry. I apologized to him for snapping when he was simply trying to help me. I apologized to the children for displaying such disrespect to their father. Being the strong, sweet man that he is, my husband leaned over and kissed my cheek. The tension evaporated immediately but there are some sweet lessons we can learn about our men and what we need to do to honor and equip them to be the leaders of the home:

Let your husband lead by his own strength

The biggest complaint I hear from other women is that their man won’t lead the family, be it in the area of discipline, finances or spiritual. I, too, have made those same complaints but when I pull back the veil of truth, I see that many times my husband couldn’t lead because I was in the way.

Wives want a man to lead as long as it’s the way they would lead. We want our husbands to be the spiritual leaders of the home, but only when it goes with what we want. We want our husbands to discipline the children until we think he is being too tough on them. Bluntly put, women like the idea of being led, but not the reality. Marriage is a give and take and sometimes you have to give more than you get back.

If all you do is fight your husband on every leadership decision he makes, expect him to eventually stop leading. In some sad cases, the husband will never even step up to the plate.

Back up your husband in front of the children 

The eye roll or the long heavy sigh can be as disrespectful as vocally criticizing your spouse. Trust me when I say your husbands hear you loud and clear! Many times, your man is not the only one that sees the disrespect either. With children in the home, the manner in which you respond to your husband’s leadership is just as important. If your husband sets a rule for the children to follow, don’t roll your eyes or shake your head in disagreement in front of the kids. If you disagree with him on the decision, go talk about it and see if there is another solution. I have been guilty of contradicting my husband on disciplinary actions when I think I know better. He will tell the kids not to do something and I will turn around and let them do it. The children pick up on that type of division and will use it to their advantage. Don’t let disciplinary decisions divide and conquer your marriage.

Protect your husbands in your circle of friends

Too often, a bunch of girlfriends will get together and the next few hours a “husband bashing” commences. I have been in the comfort of girlfriends and used it as a time to unload on all the negative traits of my husband. The best way to describe it is a bunch of sharks in a shark tank. The first blood spills (aka negative comment about the husband) and everyone dives in for a piece.

Before you know it, you have made the man you genuinely love out to be a villain in front of your friends. How is that honoring your marriage?

While many women are seriously just letting off some steam, there might be a girlfriend in that group that is truly having marital issues. I was teaching a bible study and shared the importance of honoring your spouse with your words and actions.  I told them about a time when my husband and I struggled in our marriage, but how our faith had mended what the world would have deemed broken. I shared how my husband had grown as a leader, a friend and a father. A young woman, that I am honored to call a dear friend now, told me that the positive comments about my husband made her realize what she had not been doing in her marriage. Instead of tearing your husband down while in conversations with friends, lift him up. It’s a good thing to remember what you appreciate about your spouse. When you remember the good things, you will respond differently to him and in turn, he will respond differently to you.

Protect and honor your marriage bed

A man’s love language is usually polar opposite of our own. Sex is very important and women have used it as their weapon of punishment for far too long. Don’t believe me? Think of the last time you and your husband got into a fight. I can almost tell you what did not happen in the bedroom that night. Men aren’t stupid. They know that in order to get what they want, they have to do what you want. It is called coercion and it makes me sad that we have distorted intimacy in marriage to be a game of give and take. Sex is meant to be shared between husband and wife, bringing them closer to one another, not just to a goal.

You might surprise yourself and learn that intimacy, just for the sake of intimacy, is a great thing! 

 

When couples are connected, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, the marriage roles will easily fall into place without the coercion, the complaining or the dictating. Try it and see how much better your relationship with your spouse gets. I would rather my husband lead his home out of love and desire than out of some forced obligation.

How about you? What do you do to protect the integrity of your marriage?

 

Do You Know What’s Happening in Your Teen’s Dating Life

Original article was featured on Familyshare.com

Photo Credit to FamilyShare

Photo Credit to FamilyShare

Did you know individuals ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence? The statistics are staggering when it comes to teen dating violence and it is being swept under the rug not because parents and educators don’t care, but because they do not know what they are battling. Many times, when teen relationships are rocky, parents just see this as a sign of their teen’s immaturity or theatrical tendencies. Violence is not even on the radar for consideration. But what is so frightening is that many teens are being abused by their partner and yet only 6 percent ever tell anyone.

Physical Abuse is probably the most obvious form of abuse but it is not the only type of abuse that a teen can experience. Anyone can be the victim of emotional, sexual and digital abuse as well. These are just a few signs to look for if you think your son or daughter might be in a relationship with an abuser. Just remember, not all signs will be drastic. Over time, the abusive partner might become more aggressive and even braver in his/her dominance in the relationship. Power and control are the two things that they are seeking.

Signs to look for in your teen’s relationship

  1.  Isolation

Many times, in an abusive relationship, the abuser will want to dominate the time of the victim. It is common for your teen to want to spend time with their significant other, especially while the relationship is new. The concern arises when the teen victim cannot be alone without the insistent badgering of the significant other. When not with them, the abusive partner is texting them, calling or using social media to keep “tabs” on them.

Your job as the parent is to set healthy boundaries in their time together. Instead of your teen seeing their partner every day, allow them to pick one week day to hang out (go to youth group together on Wednesday nights) and one weekend night to go on a group date. Other days help your teen focus on their personal interest and desires. The goal is for them to form healthy individual opinions and interests.

 

2. Change in personality

Teenagers are moody so parents need to assess this sign carefully. If your teen is usually carefree and upbeat, but is now very reserved, quiet or nervous, this could be a warning sign. In cases like this, the abuser usually will blame his/her partner for how they are responding. Over time, the victim realizes that as long as they are quiet or agree to everything, the abuser won’t start arguments. In order to keep the peace, the teen victim will drastically change their personality to avoid confrontations with their boyfriend/girlfriend. The abuser has blamed their violent actions on the victim for so long, the teen victim begins to believe it is their fault.

As parents, we need to raise emotionally healthy children that understand that they are never responsible for the negative emotions or outbursts of others. In times when they do deal with such negative behaviors, they will recognize that it is not normal or acceptable.

 

3. Unexplained bruises or injuries

Usually before physical abuse begins, the teen victim has already suffered some emotional abuse and has been isolated from family and friends. The bruises and injuries may not be as noticeable because he/she will cover them up or make up excuses to how they got them. As parents, we need to explain to our teens that an abuser doesn’t have to leave a bruise or break a bone to be physically violent. Grabbing an arm or the victim’s face to get “their attention” is just as unacceptable. Be on the lookout for other signs of abuse. Physical force is usually accompanied by other forms of emotional, sexual or digital abuse.

I cannot begin to write an exhaustive list of things parents need to be aware of when their teen begins to date. I can tell you that you must be diligent and alert. Open communication with your teen could be lifesaving. So many times, abuse in teen relationships could be stopped if we, as parents, knew what we were looking for.

More importantly, as the parent, it is not only our duty to protect our teenagers, but also set and demonstrate what a healthy relationship is. The best place to start is in your own personal relationships.

Weekend DIY: Pallet Wood Coat Rack

pallet

It’s the weekend!!!!! Don’t know how your week has gone, but I welcomed Friday with open arms. As much as I enjoy freelancing I sometimes need to take a break from the computer and the deadlines and tear stuff apart!   I won’t say DIY is my speciality but it is slowly turning into my therapy!

For a while now, I have thought about sharing with you the less serious side of my life. I am not as poetic and profound as I might come across. I also wasn’t too sure if you cared to see what I  do when I’m not writing?  But I can tell you writing this post was a blast! If nothing else, I might start sharing my DIYs just for the sake of sharing!

I don’t know about you, but I HEART Pinterest. I am always pinning really cool DIY projects but don’t seem to ever get around to them. Well, not today. With the help of my husband, I finally started and successfully finished my first DIY project using pallets.

Supplies:

  • Hammer
  • Sander (optional)
  • Drill (maybe not a must but definitely makes life easier)
  • Paint (I used chalk paint simply because I had it already on hand)
  • Block letter (I purchased from Wal-Mart for less than $2.00)
  • Nails (or use wood  glue to secure the letter on the pallet)
  • Brass coat hooks (also from Wal-Mart and under $3.00)

Steps:

Before you even start, look at this video from Lemonthistle.com. I wish I had found this blogger sooner.  I had no idea how hard pallets were to disassemble. Geez! We broke several of the boards trying to tear it apart, but that was okay. It gave the final project a little something extra. I was going for distressed.

Remove the nails and try to save them so you can reuse them in a minute. After we decided which boards we were putting together, we laid them in the pattern we wanted and then my husband secured the individual pieces of wood with scrap pieces of the pallet. This acted as a brace of sorts for the back. While my husband was cutting and securing the boards, I painted the letter I purchased from Wal-mart. ( I had the easy job!)

As I said earlier, I was going for more of a distressed look, so we didn’t sand nor paint the wood. After the pieces were secured, I used finishing nails to tack the block letter to the front of the board. My husband then used his drill to secure the brass coat hooks I had purchased. (He doesn’t trust me with his man tools!) A little hanging wire, two nails  and one  leveler, we had our DIY Pallet Coat Rack. Total cost was around $5.00 plus tax.

pallet 2

That was fun! What do yo do in your spare time? I would love to see some of your projects. If you are interested in sharing on the blog, contact me!

4 Things Your Kids Need to See You Do in Your Marriage

The original post was featured at Familyshare and can viewed by clicking the link.

kid looking at parents

I am an advocate of a two parent home largely because I was not part of one. My mother and father divorced when I was little and my mother did not remarry. I don’t blame her for choosing to stay single after my father. She dealt with a lot of emotional abuse that would last her a lifetime. In some sense, I believe she wanted to protect us from another potentially “bad” relationship.

I could write a book just on the effects of divorce on children alone, but this isn’t the article. I am simply sharing some history about my own family because I feel that I missed out on some valuable lessons about positive relationships. Now, many years later, with a family of my own, I am aware of my own family dynamics. My husband and I work hard in our marriage for one another, but we also allow our children to see the good, the bad and the ugly.

Many of my friends have told me they have never seen their parents fight nor have they overheard decisions on family financial matters being made. At one time, I thought that was how I would handle my own family matters, but it just didn’t work for us. My husband and I want our children to be aware of what it takes to actually make a marriage work day-to-day I want them to understand it’s not always about the glass slipper, but the daily grind.

Here is a list of things I personally think kids need to see us doing, as couples, in our marriages. What would you add to the list?

1. Pray

For me, this one was the hardest. Religion might have been woven in my childhood somewhere, but I don’t ever recall praying as a family. Prayer was always addressed as something you did in your personal time with God. So praying together as a couple and as a family was a little odd at first. (Not for the kids but for us) Desiring our family to have a prayer time together, we started at dinner with my husband leading. Slowly, the kids started praying around the table. Now, it’s not uncommon for the kids to see us, as a couple, praying over the smallest matters. Before big decisions are made, the kids know it will be prayed about.

If you want your kids to have a desire for God, they need to see a genuine desire for Him from you. And I can tell you first hand that it can do wonders for your marriage when you share such intimate times.

2. Make decisions

Children should see their parents consulting one another before making decisions, be they big or small. There is nothing wrong with a couple disagreeing on what the best decision for the family might be. The point for your children is not to see who wins. The point is to show them that even in times when you disagree, you can find a compromise. Allowing your children to see you making decisions TOGETHER will not only show them how to be a decision maker but a team player. Decision making should never be one-sided.

3. Fight

Yes, it’s truly OK for your children to see you at a time where you just don’t like one another very much. But I do not mean physical confrontation or angry outbursts where you are directing profanity or insults toward your partner. THAT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE. But your kids won’t be in therapy if they see mom and dad disagree either. In fact, fighting is a chance to let your kids see how to handle conflict respectfully and maturely.

I had a friend that idolized her parent’s marriage. She never saw them fight or disagree. When she got married, she had distorted expectations of her spouse. It caused great tension and eventually led to a divorce.

4. Show affection

What is the greatest thing about fighting with your spouse? You get to make up! Number 3 and #4 go hand in hand but showing affections for your spouse is very important. You want your kids to understand that the desire for their significant other is vital and mutual. Don’t we all want our children to find someone who will love them and show them that they are loved?

I believe that children need to know that even after they are married, they still must pursue their spouse. Our children laugh and cover their eyes when they see my husband and I kiss, but there is a look of content on their faces too. They know we love each other because we show it not only in our speech, but our actions. Your kids might roll their eyes, tell you to get a room or utter TMI under their breath, but deep down you are providing a sense of security.

By letting your children see you in your day-to-day marriage, you are showing your children that your family is here to stay … through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Why Sadie Robertson Is Really Not the Best Teen Role Model

Sadie Robertson

My social media pages have seen a lot of #hashtags happening due to this #KylieJennerChallenge and apparently Sadie Robertson handled the challenge like the boss she is. I have tried to keep up with all the trending but honestly, I found myself quickly bored. I assumed all parents would be. Yet, blog after blog, I continue to see posts on the Sadie vs. Kylie issue. The latest article I read gave 8 solid reasons America needs more of Sadie and less of Kylie.

kylie jennerHonestly, the blog post bothered me. Besides the post pitting the two teens against one another, I found  the  reasons to be pro-Sadie unsound. All it really did was compare the worldly achievements and failures of both girls.  It is very obvious one of them is using their influence for the greater good, but are we really going to discredit Kylie for coming from a dysfunctional family or having a book flop? If so, then I will never have influence.

There is a definite lack of parental guidance in Jenner’s life. One episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians will prove my point. But let me say that I am not ready to give up on Jenner just yet. Kylie could be a great Kingdom catalyst if God moved in her life. How many more young teens could relate to a girl who was headed down a road of poor choices to only become a woman restored by God’s grace? Instead of comparing them, lets pray for them.

Regardless of the role model Kylie Jenner is, Sadie Robertson shouldn’t be placed on a pedestal either.

Before you boycott me for writing this, let me explain.  I am a Duck Dynasty fan and regardless of the title of this post, really do like Sadie. I admire how the young teen is using her influence to encourage teens. I find myself watching the videos she posts occasionally on Instagram. And yes, I do follow Sadie on IG. I watch her, her family and the choices she is making in the public eye and think to myself, “Oh I hope my little girl turns out like that.” Who wouldn’t want their child to be someone of godly influence?

I don’t want to be raising a “Kylie” but I also understand that I don’t need to point my preteen’s attention to Sadie. I need to point her to Christ.

Having role models for your children is not a bad thing, but I will caution you on putting too much emphasis on another human being. At the end of the day, Sadie puts her pants on just like everyone else, one leg at a time. So, here are my reasons why Sadie really isn’t your teens best role model:

  1. Sadie is flawed

At the end of the day, Sadie (and Kylie) is a sinner and will never be perfect. When we idolize a teen role model, we are setting ourselves up for failure because at the end of the day, Sadie is human.  At one time, Brittany Spears was pegged as the “poster child” for virginity. She told the world she wanted to wait to have sex to honor herself and God.  Yeah, remember how that turned out? Not only did she succumb to the temptation, but was outed by her ex-boyfriend on an ABC 20/20 interview. Thanks Justin.

I am not Brittany bashing or excusing her behavior. What I am doing is trying to prove my point. If our entire focus is based upon the choices of an earthly role model, we shouldn’t expect much from our children. Sadie can be someone girls look up to, but she should never be their focus.

We cannot expect perfection for an imperfect person.

This brings me to my next point….

2. Sadie is not our motivation

When we place girls like Sadie on a pedestal, we are creating an idol for our teens. Eventually, Sadie will mess up (big or small). It is our very sin nature to stumble. If our focus is on an earthly leader, we are in trouble. I see it in churches every day. The congregation idolizes the pastor, lifting him high about his station, and then he messes up. He loses his temper and acts unbecoming. Maybe it’s a deeper infraction and he has an extramarital affair. All of a sudden, because of the pastor’s shortcomings, the entire flock succumbs. Yes, we are called to lead by example but the focus has always meant to be on God, not man.  When bad things happen and our role models disappoint, we can still continue with the hope because we serve a great God and not man.

God is our motivator

3. Sadie is not realistic

One of the first YouTube videos I ever watched of Sadie was her encouraging her followers to stop looking at everyone around them and be who they are. That was when I decided I liked her! Sadly, when the role model and their achievements become the focus or goal of our teen’s life they can forget that they are to be original. We don’t all look like Sadie nor have the family influence like she does. If I guess correctly, half of us will never write a best seller or be on DWTS. Sorry, it is true.

live original by Sadie

When our teens begin looking at young ladies like her, their goals can easily become unrealistic. Parents, we need to stress to our teens they need to be who God called them to be, not someone else. Sadie is doing her thing, influencing the world in the way God has gifted her. Let our teens do the same!

Ps. Sadie, keep rockin’ it sister!

It Mattered to that One: Raising Awareness of Sexually Exploited Women in Asia

Starfish badge I hate to admit but I had very little knowledge of the horrific bondage so many women were forced into around the world. Sure, I had heard the word “sex trafficking” but since it wasn’t in my backyard, I was able to push it aside and continue in my little bubble. Then, I began seeing clothing stores that partnered with organizations helping these women. By my purchase,  I would help fund a woman across the world to learn a skill that could inevitably change her entire life. Many of these boutiques are bringing awareness to women that are sexually exploited. In fact, they are becoming the voice of so many women that have had their voices silenced.

For the longest time, I stood from a distance and admired the women and organizations that had taken a stand. But I always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t do something. I justified to myself that the little monetary support I could raise would not even scratch the surface of this issue. I am the type of person that prefers to be hands-on in all of my projects and since I knew that I couldn’t drop everything and go,  I decided to do nothing.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Starfish Project, asking for me to join in their fundraising efforts. At first, I just closed the email, a million and one reasons going through my head as to why I couldn’t help. Then, I watched the video of the women that they were helping and my heart broke. You see, it is easy to justify why you can’t  help until you see the faces  of those that need the help.

I want to share with you the parable that was the final push to make me say, “I can do something.” starfish parable

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

I do ask that you take a moment after reading, pray how you can help and consider donating to the cause. The Starfish Image on the blog will lead you to the fundraising page.   Regardless of what you can do, it will matter to one.

What My Readers Made Me Realize

Go Make Disciples

I just wanted to share a little something with my readers this morning. As you have read, Heartskeeper was sponsored this month by Novi Creations to celebrate my 2 year spiritual birthday. As I am gathering names to send to the sponsor, I began looking over my blog stats. On the right side of my stat page there is a large map of the world that helps me see where my readers are viewing Heartskeeper. I could not help but smile as I saw the ENTIRE map light up with beautiful colors! As I ran the mouse over the map, I saw readers in India, Africa, Italy, Russia, Canada and of course the USA (to name a few). For those that don’t know this about me, my prayer has been for the longest that God allow me to be a missionary. I have not gotten that “go” light just yet to pack up the family but I realized this morning that I already am a missionary sharing God’s word with many across the globe. THANK YOU for helping me realize that God is at work and THANK YOU for reading! Stay tuned for the winner of the March giveaway!!