Sunday, January 22, 2017

Reflections on LIFE

A lot has been said about the marches this past weekend.  In a few days, on January 27, there will be another march in DC:  the March for Life.  I am reposting an article from The Christian Standard magazine on May 29, 1994, that I shared several years ago.  Here is the text:
Decisions That Make a Difference
by Charles A. McNeely
The voice on the phone took me by surprise.  "Are you Charles McNeely from Lincoln, Illinois?"  She sounded young and vivacious, with just a hint of apprehension.
  "Yes," I answered.  "May I help you?"
  "Did you by any chance help place a baby for adoption in Iowa City in 1973?"
  "Yes," I replied cautiously, slowly pulling a kitchen chair over for support.  "Why do you ask?"
  "My name is Susan Andrews* and I was born on January 8, 1973.*  I am wanting to contact my birth mother and I was told you might be able to help me.  Could I have been that baby?"
  My heart beat faster.  "Tell me what you've been told."
  As I listened to her story unfold, long forgotten but vivid memories flooded my mind, like a series of pictures flashing on a screen.  Then I thought, "She's the one!  I don't believe it, but it all connects.  She was the baby!"
  Our conversation continued for another half hour, followed by five days of numerous phone calls and intense searching for Christy, the woman who, as a seventeen-year-old member of our youth group, gave birth to Susan.
  When I called her back with the welcome news that Christy was eager to hear from her, Susan said she was excited, nervous, and scared.  I told her that Christy cried with unsuppressed joy and unresolved guilt.  She said not a day had gone by in twenty-one years that she had not prayed to see her daughter again.
  I recall several comments Susan made then and during the earlier conversation, but one statement will be forever etched in my memory.  It was something she said in the first phone call.  Her bubbly and energetic voice suddenly became very serious and soft-spoken.  She asked about the circumstances surrounding her birth and adoption. 
Don't Make Two Mistakes
  I explained that she was conceived out of wedlock, that her birth father refused all responsibility, that Christy's parents were extremely upset and her family physician had recommended abortion.  I summarized my very first talk with Christy, in which I cited several reasons why she should not abort.  I repeated what my wife and I had told Christy twenty-one years earlier:  "Don't make a second mistake and kill this baby.  Give your child the gift of life and hand her over to a Christian couple who can give her life eternal."
  That was when Susan said something I will never forget.  There was a long pause.  And then softly, slowly, and very seriously she said, "Thank you. . . . Thank you. . . . I always wondered who convinced my birth mother not to abort me.  And I just want to thank you for my life."
  Susan's very genuine expression of gratitude for life itself made everything worthwhile.  The midnight trip to the hospital, the many counseling sessions with Christy and her parents, the long distance phone calls to line up a home for Christy and adoptive parents for Susan, the winter trips over ice-covered roads to encourage Christy, the hours Jane and I let her pour out her heart and weep on our shoulders, the money we gave her to buy what homes for unwed mothers would not provide - it was now worth it all!
  Susan's voice began to quicken again as she described her parents as the best parents in the world.  From the time she was young, they shared honestly that she was adopted - chosen and special.  She was so against abortion, she said, that whenever her papers or speeches assigned in school were open to topics of her own choosing, she always chose pro-life subjects.  Now she was a senior in a Christian college, determined to serve the Lord with all her heart.
  Then she said it again.  "Thank you!"  Chills went up my spine.  I thought of our talks with Christy, and I thought of how often we Christians miss opportunities to give clear, godly advice to people in crisis.  I thought of how sometimes we just need to say, "Don't do it!" whether it's sex before marriage or abortion after sex.  I thought of how some people do listen to us - and their decisions have eternal significance.
  When Susan learned that Christy had turned her back on the church for the past twenty years, that she now has no relationship with Christ and no purpose in life, she said, "Now, perhaps the baby she gave life can give life to her."
   Just before the end of our second conversation, Susan told me that she was going to take it slowly - one step at a time.  She was going to write Christy first, and then talk to her by phone - and later in person.  But she was going to try her best to get acquainted with Christy and reacquaint Christy with her Lord!
*The names, place, and date have been changed.

By the way, I'm Susan.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

12 Days of Downloads All in One Place

In case you missed a few days, or if you would just like to have all the downloads in one place, I am putting up the following two freebies:  the complete 12 Days of Christmas Mini-Lapbook with study guide on Kindle, and the complete Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook with study guide in PDF format.  Click images below to download.  These items will be free for 5 days, January 6-10, 2017.  Happy New Year and happy spring school semester!

12 Days of Christmas Blog Freebie - Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook Day 12

Today, download the last day of the Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook.  Now you have the complete set!  As we wrap up this holiday season, I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 12 Kindle FREEBIE

At long last, today is the Day of Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi! Download Day 12 of our 12 Days of Christmas download. If you have kept up with us all 12 days, you now have a complete mini-lapbook for learning about the 12 Days of Christmas! Hope you've enjoyed it and that you will check out some of our regular lapbooks with study guides on Kindle!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Blog Freebie - Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook Day 11

It is with a heavy heart that I put away my Christmas decorations today.  I normally never take them down before Epiphany on January 6.  Truth be told, I'm lucky if I get them down by the end of January!  This year, however, we are getting ready to move, so I have to pack them up early so that I can start packing other boxes.  The 12 Days of Christmas are not over yet, though.  We have two days left of downloads!

Download Day 11 of our Blog Freebie today!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11 Kindle FREEBIE

Are you ready to set your shoes out tonight? Perhaps the 3 Magi will pay you a visit!  
Download Day 11 of our 12 Days of Christmas Mini-Lapbook!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Blog Freebie - Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook Day 10

Don't take those decorations down yet - there are 3 more days left of Christmas!  
Download Day 10 of our Blog Freebie today!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10 Kindle FREEBIE

Don't take those decorations down yet - there are 3 more days left of Christmas!  
Download Day 10 today!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Blog Freebie - Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook Day 9

Download Day 9 of our Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook!
(PDF version)

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9 Kindle FREEBIE

It may be back to work and school for a lot of people today, but we still have 4 days of the 12 Days of Christmas Mini-Lapbook downloads on Kindle! Download Day 9 FREE today!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Flyby Review: The Beginner's Bible - Enter to WIN!

I don't have any beginning readers in my house anymore, but I was very happy to write a review for The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz.  This is a re-design of one of my kids' favorites from when they were little.  We always loved the bright, colorful illustrations and the simply-told stories.  The way each character was drawn was consistent over several different types of products from Zondervan, including puzzles, coloring books, and flash cards.  This made it easy to teach various stories and characters from the Bible to my kids, and they could recognize the familiar characters each time.

One thing I always liked about these stories is that for the most part, they are the exact Bible stories told without changes or embellishment, even though they are told in children's language.  There are still a few things in here that are often changed in Bible story books which I would like to get away from.  For instance, there is an innkeeper who speaks to Mary and Joseph in this storybook, while the actual Bible simply says there was no room in the inn, or there was no guest room available for them.  Another instance is the title of the story about the wise men.  The title of the story in this storybook is "The Bright Star and Three Visitors."  The story itself just says "some wise men," and only the title mentions that there were three.  (In the Scripture, there were three gifts, but we do not know how many wise men.)  These are not big things and they certainly won't affect anyone's salvation, but I am constantly on the lookout for Bible story books for children that are exact in their telling, and this book is very close.

The print size and the number of words on each page make this book ideal for reading to pre-schoolers, and it is also very good for beginning readers in Kindergarten or 1st grade to practice reading on their own.  When my kids were that age, the earlier version of this book was one of their favorite readers.  I remember how excited each one of them was when they were old enough to read the simplified version of the Christmas story on their own out loud for the family on Christmas morning!

Take a look at these colorful illustrations!

If you are looking for a fun, engaging children's Bible for your child's shelf, a gift for a child or grandchild, or a reader for the spring semester for homeschool, check out The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz.  It will fast become a family favorite!

And if you live in the U.S., you can win a copy of this version!  Comment here or on my Facebook page with your favorite Bible story.  ("I don't have a favorite" is also acceptable!)  I will draw a name for one winner on Sunday, January 8, one week from today!
About the Bible            The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold. Now it’s redesigned with fresh new art that will excite children for many more years to come. Full of faith and fun, The Beginner’s Bible is a wonderful gift for any child. The easy-to-read text and bright, full-color illustrations on every page make it a perfect way to introduce young children to the stories and characters of the Bible. With new vibrant three-dimensional art and compelling text, more than 90 Bible stories come to life. Kids ages 6 and under will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner's Bible just like millions of children before. The Beginner's Bible was named the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children's Nonfiction. 
Social Corner
            Official website:
Trailer / book trailer (if applicable):
Link to Amazon:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Happy Reading!

12 Days of Christmas Blog Freebie - Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook Day 7

Download Day 7 of our Christmas Nativity Mini-Lapbook!
(PDF version)

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7 Kindle FREEBIE

Day 7 of our 12 Days of Christmas Mini-Lapbook download is FREE today! 
It will be free for five days.
Today is the LAST day to get Day 1 for FREE!