Proclaim Clearly - My Photo Inspiration for 2012

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. – Colossians 4:2-4

In the past, I have prayed for and chosen a word or phrase for the New Year, a small reminder of what I wanted to accomplish and work toward during the next twelve months. Sometimes, I found a Bible verse that became my inspiration. This year, my friend, Mary DeMuth, challenged her readers to choose a photo to inspire them. As a more visual person, I liked this idea very much.

I've recently found a website called Pinterest and started posting links. Here's my page: (Watch out! It can be addictive!)

I browsed the photos on the web and on Pinterest. First I chose a picture of an eagle fishing. One of my favorite verses, and a chorus we sing in my church, is Isaiah 40:31.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

That seemed like a great image for that verse, plus I imagined myself "fishing for men" as Jesus spoke of in Mark 1:17.

Then I saw a Ferris wheel. I thought perhaps that was appropriate for me as many times I seem to be going in circles!

But no – I want to find something that will inspire me for the future, not remind me of the past. I paused to ponder a few more before I finally landed on this one. Perfect!

Source: via Dallas on Pinterest

Why? The door is worn and bit older - like me, but with age, hopefully, comes wisdom.

Who knows what's on the other side? I don't know exactly what year 2012 will be like. But I won't know what the Lord has in store for my life unless I open the door of my heart and life to God's leading.

While God has a plan for my life, I must participate fully, on purpose, and prayerfully follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I must make the choice to reach out and turn that knob, or take that next step by faith, to find out what's on the other side.

What's on the other side may not be what I'm expecting – or even wanting. Many times, God's plans do not line up with mine. This coming year, I hope to be gracious in times of victory and what I might consider defeat. Of course – when God says "No," it might just mean that He has something better in store for my life!

I chose a verse from Colossians as my theme verse for the year. The apostle Paul is in chains as he writes this. Humbling, isn't it? He wants us to:

  • Continue in prayer – and steadfastly. Not that quick, throw-up-a-prayer type communication with God.
  • Watch with thanksgiving. Remember – Jesus will return to earth one day for His bride. Are you watching for Him?
  • Paul asked for prayer. I pray this now. Pray for me if you have nobody else to pray for today, that God will open doors for the words that He wants to speak through me, whether in a book, as a speaker, teacher, or in song.
  • Pray that I proclaim it clearly. The Amplified Version says, "speak boldly and unfold that mystery as is my duty." One of my favorite moments when speaking or teaching is that "Aha!" expression when someone in the class or audience 'gets' what I'm saying. Of course – the Holy Spirit brings light and understanding of the Word. Please pray that I am His conduit in a greater way this year. And I pray that for you, too.

That's my process for finding a Pic of the Year. Perhaps you'd like to find an image to inspire you. If you do, be sure to leave a link under this post so we can all be inspired.


A Milestone - 18,000 Times

One of my inspirational columns on just passed the 18,000 mark. The title of that column is "Smelly Saints." My husband burning popcorn caused me to write a devotion on sin. Weird, huh? But that's the way my mind (and it may be true for all devo writers) works. Here's the link:

The Night Before Christmas

I love these lyrics that so beautifully capture the beauty of the Holy Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Be blessed and Merry CHRISTmas. Thank you for being one of my friends.

Merry CHRISTmas from Kit Grady and Me!

This greeting is drawn by the illustrator of Bradybug and many other sweet books, Kit Grady. I love the joy on these little animals' faces. Oh, that we might feel the same joy this Christmas season as we celebrate our Savior's birth! 

Pink Bibles pulled due to charity ties –

This is a wonderful example of a company standing for Biblical principles even though it might hurt their bottom line. Here is a statement from Lifeway regarding the pulling of Bibles from their shelves when they realized they were donating to a foundation that also donated to Planned Parenthood:

"When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen's affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market," stated a release by Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay. "Though we have assurances that Komen's funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay's core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood."

We should all support Lifeway for their stance protecting pre-born babies.

Lifeway on Facebook:

Pink Bibles pulled due to charity ties –

The Annual Christmas Cold

Okay, I do it every year. I get a cold. I don't know if it's all the running around, being out in the stores, or what, but it seems to be like clockwork.  I had three parties (two that I hosted) last week and two more this week. I love it! But I hate it when I can't enjoy myself, and I don't want to pass this yuckiness on. Oh, wait a minute! That's how I got this - my husband had it last week. Thanks, Hon!

I took my Vitamin C and Echinacia last night and slept with a humidifier running. Anyone have suggestions for me?

Image: m_bartosch /

Christmas Coloring Pages by Bella Sinclair, Jack Foster, and Kevin Collier

It's been a wonderful and productive year again. One of the books I thought might be out before the end of the year, "Ava's Secret Tea Party" will come out in 2012 along with another really fun book called "Miss Emma Ant." Jack Foster, the illustrator of "Poodle and Doodle" and "Where is Salami?" is working on it now. "Ava's Secret Tea Party" has the most delightful illustrations by Bella Sinclair. I'm sure any little girl will be thrilled to have a copy. At least - that's my hope!

Bella drew a sweet coloring page for Christmas you can find here:

And Jack drew a coloring page for Christmas featuring Poodle and Doodle:

Kevin brought his fun drawing style to Topsy Turvy Land:

As always, December brings many fun activities, parties, and catching up with old friends and making new ones. I wish you a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Enter the Exclusive NLT Giveaway

Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page, they are giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you just for signing up.

By visiting the giveaway entry page and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:

One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible, Girls Life Application Study Bible, Student's Life Application Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible Large Print).

One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!

Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!
And here's the link:
Let me know if you win!

Twitter Chat for Children's Book Illustrators

#kidlitart chat is every Thursday on Twitter at 9PM EST. I'm not an artist, but it's always fun to get the illustrator's point of view.

Enter for a copy of Baby Jesus Is Missing by Dixie Phillips

Phillips and Phillips Music is giving away a free copy of Dixie's book "Baby Jesus is Missing." To enter the drawing, visit this link -, click on CONTACT US and write your name, email, and tell us in 50 words or less how you plan to keep JESUS in Christmas this year. One lucky winner will be announced December 14th. They will cover the shipping too! Merry Christmas!

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day - Today!

Originally the brainchild of author Jenny Milchman, the idea has caught fire, and now many bookstores across the nation are participating. This Saturday would be a great day to take your child to a bookstore.

PiBoIdMo Twiends

I have a fantastic list of children's writers whose tweets you'll want to follow. Let's network!

#PiBoIdMo on Twitter:

Angela Peña Dahle: @AngelaPenaDahle
Beth Stilborn: ‎@lizannewriting
Bethany Telles: @BethanyTelles
Bonnie Adamson @BonnieAdamson
Brian Kramer: @Pkeod
Brook Gideon: @brookgideon
Catherine Johnson @CJohnsonWriter
Cindy Cornwall @artmom61
Dana Carey: ‎@danaFR
Dawn Mitchell: @DMReads
Diandra Mae: @DiandraMae
Diane Dawson Hearn @DDHearn
Donna J. Shepherd: ‎@donnashepherd (Me - of course!)
Ellen Ramsey: @SowingIdeas
Jarm Del Boccio @JarmVee
Jeanie Wogaman: @jeanie_w
Jim Hill: @jimhill
Julie Siegel Falatko: ‎@JulieFalatko
Kerry Aradhya: ‎@dancebooks
Kim Pfennigwerth: @kpfenni
Loni Edwards @LoniEdwards
Louise Nottingham @poeticlouise
Lynda Shoup @lyndashoup
M. G. King @mimking
Mindy Alyse Weiss: ‎@MindyAlyseWeiss
Serge Smagarinsky (aka Gary Masskin): @GaryMasskin
Stacy S. Jensen: @StacySJensen
Stephanie Nickel:‎@NickelStephanie
Tammi Sauer: @SauerTammi
Tara Lazar: @taralazar
Wendy Martin @WendyMartinArt

My PiBoIdMo Badge of Honor

I'm only one of many writers who participated, but it still looks nice to see 'winner' on that badge. Now to get to work on all those ideas!

PiBoIdMo and Facebook

The month of November flew by with me trying to keep up with all the other writers and coming up with 30 picture book ideas in the 30 days of November. I did it! Whew!

And I got to combine two of my favorite things - writing for children and Facebook. What fun! The PiBoIdMo group on Facebook was invaluable to my success. Writers posted how an idea came to them. Where they found inspiration. And their excitement of writing for children. I loved it!

With urging from all of us, Tara has promised to keep the group running. Although Christmas is upon us, and I, like many of you, will need to turn my attention to the many activities during December, I hope to get back to that same excitement and and creative state of mind I had in November just as soon as the clock strikes midnight ringing in 2012. what kind of idea can I come up with to start the New Year?

To be continued!


This month I've participated in the PiBoIdMo or Picture Book Idea Month. The goal is to come up with 30 ideas for picture books by November 30. At first, I thought, why that's easy-peasy! I'm always coming up with fantastic ideas. Ha! At about idea 18 or so, I hit a wall. I would come up with what I thought was a brilliant concept, only to do a little research and find that someone else had already written it.

So, while I was on Amazon, I came up with a way to brainstorm. I would simply read titles. No descriptions. It's amazing how a good title can spark other ideas. Then I'd go back to read about the books, and rarely - simply from a title, did my idea match what the other author had written. It was fun way to research what was already out there while I brainstormed. As always - I'm multi-tasking.

The challenge is over for 2011, but if you write for children, you should consider participating next year. I'm glad I did!

Here's the link to the blog. Tara Lazar has posted many great interviews and tips from authors.


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