No. I don’t have any secrets I’m trying to share. Expecting is the name of a new book I’ve just read by Marla Taviano.

Since I’ve just had a baby, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. This is the sweetest little book I’ve seen for pregnant moms in a long time. It’s small enough to fit in your purse and is hardback so you won’t wrinkle it up with your loose phone, your gigantic keychain, the five tubes of lipstick, the juice box, the 72 cents in floating change, the unwrapped Starlight mint, or the two church bulletins you shoved in there on Sunday to take to lunch for the 10% discount for Jesus lovers. This little book will come out of said pocketbook damage free.

Enough about the outside, let’s talk about the inside of the book. Marla, who is a mom of three, has thought of everything. The book is organized by the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Each week covers a topic; for example, week 8 is Attentiveness: Ears. This little chapter discusses the baby’s progress at this point in the pregnancy; her ears are present.

Each week starts with a Bible verse, a quote, and a page about Mom’s development. It is followed by a beautiful prayer for the baby that targets that week’s topic. The next page is specifically about the baby’s development. In each of these sections is a sketch of what the baby looks like. And last, there is a page for the mother to record her feelings. Marla gives writing prompts so you don’t have to guess about what you should write.

I love the tender simplicity of this book. What mother wouldn’t love it? Not only is it a great book to read along the journey of pregnancy, but it is a keepsake, as well. I highly recommend this book. It would make a great gift for anyone you know who is expecting.

Here is a link to Marla’s website where you can order a book. Click HERE.

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Marla to review. But with everything I share on my blog, I am completely open and honest about how I feel. These are my true and sincere feelings about this book after reviewing it.


State of the Nation

As far as the eye can see there is devastation. Rubble is heaped where buildings once stood. Ebony skin is covered in blood and dust. On the streets are bodies lying haphazard, some covered with white shrouds, others with cast-off pieces of cardboard. Some still alive but injured lie in the roadway covered only with helplessness.

The earthquake, which rocked a 7.0 through the poorest of the poor, laid waste to Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. The death toll continues to climb as volunteers, friends, and family desperately claw through the debris to find loved ones and locate bodies to match the desperate voices calling for help.

Devastation breeds desperation.

But in an address to the world, and specifically to the nation of Haiti, President Obama promised, “You will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten. In this your hour of greatest need, America stands with you.” And with these words, the president of the richest nation promised the residents of the poorest $100,000,000 in aid but more importantly, hope.

Obama’s statement brought to mind a passage of scripture. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Our hearts like the poverty-stricken city are broken and destitute. Christ is the prosperous nation that assures us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will go with you.” He alone brings hope. If the United States can bring such hope to a forgotten country, how much more should Christ bring hope to our worn and weary souls?

What is the state of your nation? Are the cities within your walls piled high with the rubble of heartbreak and disappointment? Allow the Living God to bring you the hope that only He can bring. Do not be afraid. Help is on the way.

**Want to be a sheep? Whatever you did unto the least of these brothers of mine, you did unto me. Matthew 25:40 Imagine if one million people gave $1 to the relief effort. That’s $1,000,000. Now imagine if one million people gave $5. I know money is tight, but can you spare even $5? I’m going to challenge my children to give of their money, as well. Talk to your family about what you can do.

Here is where you can go to help. Click HERE. Just click one time donation and give at least $5. You can make a difference.


New Year

January 1, 1985

Dear Diary,

Hi! My name is Carol Lynn Buell. I’m starting out a new year with a new resolution. It is to not take my cousin Glen’s jokes so hard!


This was my diary entry for the year I turned eleven. I’ve traded the diary for a journal, and I’ve exchanged resolutions for goals. At the beginning of each new year I spend some time surveying the goals from the previous twelve months and give thought to what I’d like to accomplish in the days ahead.

On a crisp white page I write “Goals for 2010” or the appropriate year. I list each goal, whether it be big or small, concrete or abstract. Then each year, down the side of the page I write Proverbs 19:21. It says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This is my reminder that it doesn’t matter what I plan, God may have other ideas for my life.

Then I take time to pray over my goals for the year. During that prayer time, I begin asking God for a theme verse. Usually, God has already placed a thought or theme in my head and heart about the year. Last year my theme verse was John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

All during the year, I reflect on that verse. During different times, it means different things to me. I’m still praying on my verse for this year, but I have some ideas where God is taking me.

How about you? How do you begin each new year? If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to make goals now. Will you join me in praying?

Heavenly Father,

Lord above all, you alone are worthy to be praised. Thank you for my life. Thank you for 2009 and the blessings that came out of it. As I embark on a new year, it’s time for me to reflect on what I’m doing each day. Am I pleasing to You? Am I brining You glory? Help me, God, to have an obedient heart and a submissive spirit. Show me this year how you want me to help. Put others in my path that need to be reminded of Your love. Help me to show it in a real and physical way. When friends ask me to pray, help me to stop and pray immediately with them.

Make me like the Samaritan and not be afraid to get my feet dirty. Let others view my life and see You at work. Lord, may this year be one I will never forget. Do a good work in me. Use me to do Your will and Your service. Amen.

p.s. I don’t take Glen’s jokes so hard any more. He does still tease me from time to time, but he is also one of my biggest encouragers in my writing. Thanks, Glen.


Meet in the Middle

“Could you hand me the remote?” I reached out and leaned towards my eight-year-old son, so he could place the controller in my hand. Instead, he stayed curled on the couch under his blanket and poked the TV changer out the edge. “Here,” he offered. From my seat, the only way I was reaching that remote was with extendable arms. I leaned further stretching myself as far as I could without leaving my chair.

He grinned knowing I couldn’t reach it or him. “Colin, you are going to have to reach out to me,” I told him getting a little exasperated. “Okay,” he drawled sitting up with ease. And just like that, the remote was in my hands. It took effort on both our parts.

Our relationship with God can be the same. We call to Him in a time of need and expect Him to do all the work. “Come to me, Lord,” we declare from under the warmth of fuzzy blankets. Then when He doesn’t show up at once on the scene, we call again, “Here I am,” poking one little finger out from under the covers. And when we do, He patiently waits, “Reach out to me.”

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8 NIV

The Bible tells us that we have to take that first step towards our Heavenly Father. He is just waiting for us. Are you still lying on the couch waiting for Him to show up?

Consider these lyrics to an old country song by Diamond Rio.

I’d start walking your way,

You’d start walking mine.

We’d meet in the middle

‘Neath that old Georgia pine.

We’d gain a lot of ground,

‘Cause we’d both give a little.

And their ain’t no road to long,

When you meet in the middle.

There isn’t a road too long or a mountain too high when we meet God in the middle. I don’t know about you, but I’m strapping on my walking shoes.

**I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to a new year! Sorry for my absence. God called me to be a mother before He called me to be a writer. I knew you’d understand.

My little writing buddy this morning.