Just in time for Christmas, I got the chance to check out a copy of Seek and Find: The First Christmas by Sarah Parker and Andre Parker from The Good Book Co. (Available on Amazon and The Good Book Co.)

This is seek-and-find takes a 12-days-of-Christmas approach, instructing children to start off finding one object, then two of one object, all the way up to 10 of the same objects. They generally start off easy with large objects that you can’t miss. As the number of objects increases, they generally get smaller, which makes it harder to find everyone although none of them are “tricky” as is the case in other seek-and-finds.

I liked that it portrays a more accurate sequence of the Christmas, with Jesus’ birth falling about halfway through the story, followed by Jesus’ visit to Simeon, the Magi seeing the star, visiting Herod and finally presenting their gifts to Jesus on the last page.

This seek-and-find book was able to engage all my children, ages 6 to 9. We did find that it was hard to keep track of the smaller objects that you had to find multiple copies of, so we used a dry-erase marker to help keep track. The pages are thick like board-book pages, so they can withstand this and erasing. (And a magic eraser got the marks off without issue!)

Find Seek and Find: The First Christmas on Amazon and The Good Book Co.

 

I recently got the chance to review All About Christmas by Alison Mitchell from The Good Book Co.

This is a book for the entire family, chockfull of fascinating facts about the history of Christmas and life during Jesus’ time that it is truly a book for all ages: My younger children enjoyed finding a page or two for me to read to them, while I myself was enthralled by page after page!

Basically, the book walks you through the Christmas story as told by Luke and Matthew. It breaks these passages down, defining words and incorporating cross-references, while also giving a more well-rounded picture of their meaning and putting them in context. There is also just really interesting things you learn, such as:

  • what life was like for kids during Jesus’ day and the toys and games they played
  • Biblical background about angels
  • information about the Roman occupation and King Herod
  • the history of some of the first Christmas carols
  • different Christmas traditions from around the world.

Thick with beautiful pictures and illustrations, it is a coffee-table-worthy book that you could leave out and thumb through for all of Advent and reread again and again each year.

Find All About Christmas by Alison Mitchell on Amazon and The Good Book Co.



With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving around the corner, Christmas is not too far off, either.

Which is why I’m so exited to share the news that a Sunday School curriculum I wrote to walk kids through Advent (the weeks leading up to Christmas) is now available from The Sunday School Company!

Humble Beginnings: A 4-Week Children’s Ministry Curriculum” is a 4-week series that teaches kids the Christmas story through the lens of the humility toward God and his will that each of the key players showed: Mary, the shepherds, the wise men and Jesus himself. It also includes crafts, activities as well as memory verse and activity pages that go along with the lesson every week. It’s packed with fun things to do!

If you work in children’s ministry, make sure you check it out or share with your church. As a bonus, The Sunday School Company, always offers one week of the series as a free download so you can always just check that out if you’re not sure if you want to purchase it or not.

You can access “Humble Beginnings: A 4-Week Children’s Ministry Curriculumhere from The Sunday School Store.

Stay tuned for more children’s curriculums that I’m developing!

 

 

Who doesn’t need some encouragement to make it through the day…or even through the hour?! I know that, most days, I do, too!

Which is why I created some inspirational phone backgrounds that you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE and set as the background on your phone to offer you encouragement, every time you pick up your phone. 🤳🏽

There are three inspirational messages to choose from:

“Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.”

“Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.”

…And, for all the parents in the house:

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one.”

Set against a gorgeous, glittery marbleized image that’s bound to match any aesthetic, what’s not to love? If you want to get one of these backgrounds for FREE, just sign up for my emails and you’ll automatically get an email with directions about how to access this (and other!) exclusive freebies from my website! 

 

Sign up now to get these phone backgrounds for FREE:

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I am pleased to share that another one of my short parenting articles has been published in the October/November 2022 issue Focus on the Family magazine! You can find it on page 6, where it shares different tips about teaching children about gratitude.

Find out more by reading the article in this month’s issue of Focus on the Family magazine!

I am pleased to share that, as a freelance magazine writer, another one of my faith-based articles for children has been published in the September 2022 issue of Clubhouse magazine from Focus on the Family (written for tweens, ages 8-12)!

Featured on pages 6-7, my article “Earth’s Wind and Fire” in the magazine’s Truth Pursuer column looks at different ways that adversity in nature (including fire, wind and droughts) can actually benefit different plants by making them grow stronger.

The same is true in our own faith: According to Romans 5:3-5, the struggles of life can help us grow stronger, too. Find out more by reading the article in this month’s issue of Clubhouse magazine!


This post is for all my fellow writers and is part of my new LiGHT WRiTE BiZ series of posts and resources, aimed at helping other writers navigating the publishing industry by providing some of my own tried-and-true tips and resources. Make sure you subscribe so that you never miss a post!

If you’ve queried for long, you will hear about “the nudge”: when you reach out to an editor or agent who has your work as a reminder and hopefully spur a response. 

With agents and editors adding more and more to their plates , it’s easy for things to—innocently—fall through the cracks and get lost in the shuffle. And that is where the nudge comes in.

When done well, it can be a powerful tool: 

  • I have used it multiple times to (at least try to) prompt responses from agents. Twice, both agents promptly followed up, apologized for the delay and made plans for next steps. 
  • Another caveat: Both of these agents who I nudged who did get back to me ended up, eventually, both being passes. However, they were both incredibly kind and encouraging when those passes eventually made their way. I personally don’t think that the nudge influenced that—and it would have been that result with or without the nudge. The nudge just helped me know about it sooner.
  • (Notably, the other two agents I’ve nudged never responded at all, so I marked them both as CNR: closed no response.) 

When you do nudge, you want to keep a few things in mind:

  • You can “nudge” queries you have in the slush pile (and I did with one agent who specifically said to nudge if she hadn’t responded in a certain amount of time), but it is generally reserved for those who have requested “fulls” or more material.
  • The industry standard is to wait 3 months to nudge. Make sure you check their website to see if they provide any different timelines.
  • Remind them of your story and any details about how they requested it (ie, from a pitch contest)
  • Be brief. Their time is valuable.
  • In fact, acknowledge that you know that!
  • Then tell them how much you appreciate them getting back to you because (yep!) you recognize that their time is so valuable.

But if you’re like I was, while those rules were helpful, I wanted to know: What should I say in a nudge to an agent? What are the exact words I should use in my email actually?

I’ve created a FREE download with two of the ACTUAL word-for-word nudges I’ve used with different agents in the past. You are welcome to use these as templates when you need to nudge an agent or editor. And if you do, I’d love to know and hear how it goes!

Get your FREE download now by signing up to receive my emails:

 

 

While I don’t have all the details just yet, I DO have a signed contract that spells out, in black and white, that I’ll be published in an upcoming book! It will be in a devotional from Guideposts, and three of my devotionals will be included!

In fact, it’s happening a lot faster than I had expected! I originally submitted three devotionals I had written in April. In July, I got an email letting me know that all three of my works had been selected; I signed the official contract last week; and then I got to review the edits this week! If you aren’t familiar with publishing, that is REALLY fast! Usually, it takes about two years for books to get published, but this one right now is slated to become available next June (2023)! 

As you can imagine, I’m very excited about my first step forward in my journey as an author and hopeful that it’s the first step among many more! Thanks so much for following along!

This is a freebie for all the parents and educators in the room! It is meant to assist growing and developing readers as they come across new words they don’t know. By doubling as a bookmark, they can keep it tucked into their current read and write down words as they come across them.

This process will help them learn new words, their definitions and spelling. Then they can use the bookmarks to look up and learn their new vocabulary words, either with the help of a dictionary or the help of an adult.

With four bookmarks on a page (you can choose to print them double-sided with instructions or just one-sided with lines for writing), you can use one per book and then keep them as a collection.

Access this free download when you subscribe to my emails: Just pop your email address into the form below, and I’ll automatically send you an email with instructions. (If you’re already a subscriber, search your inbox for the message: “Thanks for subscribing! GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOADS NOW!” for your access details.)


This post is for all my fellow writers and is part of my new LiGHT WRiTE BiZ series of posts and resources, aimed at helping other writers navigating the publishing industry by providing some of my own tried-and-true tips and resources. Make sure you subscribe so that you never miss a post!

Agents and editors always talk about the importance of comps (which, if you aren’t familiar, means “comparable titles”). They use these to give them an idea of what your book will be like (and, simultaneously, how successful it will be) without ever reading it. That means, that if you have great comps, then they are more likely to read and consider it. Bad comps? It probably won’t automatically disqualify you, but you also won’t be doing yourself any favors there.Which is why it’s great when we can utilize the best comps possible! 

But it’s not always as simple as it sounds, because agents and editors have a few more rules they throw in when it comes to comps. Tell me if any of these sound familiar to you:

Rule 1: Comps must be published in the last five years. (Preference is increasingly for the past three years.

Rule 2: Comps cannot include bestsellers like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.

Rule 3: They also do not have to be limited to books but instead can include television shows, movies and even songs.

How’s that for complicated? I feel you. Which is why I packed my hands-down, favorite resources for discovering and gathering comps into one resource you can download for FREE when you sign up for my emails. Just pop your email address into the form below, and I’ll automatically send you an email with instructions. Then, get comp-ing!