Friday, December 31, 2010

What's Coming in 2011?

I have to admit I'm not super creative in thinking of new things to post.  I enjoy blogging and as you can see I've not been posting as often.  I've really taken time to focus on what's important to me.  But I still love to share things with you and I love when you share with me too!

Here's what's up for 2011:

*More book and product reviews/giveaways
*Cleaning ideas
*God's Nuggets: What God's been teaching me
*Family Life
*Booking It 2011 with Life As Mom

I appreciate you comment love.  Have a wonderful new year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Precious Moments Storybook Bible Review/Giveaway

Precious Moments Storybook Bible

The Precious Moments Storybook Bible by Sam Butcher is a beautiful children's Bible with selected Bible stories and passages especially written for children.  The Precious Moments characters are depicted throughout in subtle pastel colors.  The beginning of the Bible has pages for a family tree and church record.  The table of contents includes favorite Bible classics, word of praise and wisdom, stories about faith and a section for songs and prayers.  This Bible is bound by a hard cover, but with a soft front cover and each page is surrounded by a lovely border.  The stories are easy and short to read using the International Children's Translation.

What a precious way to introduce a young child to the word of God.  This storybook Bible is not comprehensive, but highlights special stories and passages that are appropriate and relevant for young children.  The sweet pictures would capture your child's heart and give them a blessing to look forward to every time they open the book.  This would be a wonderful gift for little children or older children who have learned to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Monday, Jan 10. (Note: All giveaway books will be mailed at the end of the month)

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.

1. Mandatory: Be a follower on my blog (2 entries)
2. Subscribe to my blog by email (top right corner)
3."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog)
4. Post about this giveaway on another site (Facebook, Blog, Twitter, etc) (1 entry for each)

Upcoming CSN stores review!

CSN stores has something for everyone!
If you would like to change up your traveling needs for any upcoming trips, check out the luggage stores.
You will also find lots of items for indoor fun with your kids, kitchen appliances, furniture, office supplies and MUCH more!

I can't wait to show you what I am going to review from CSN stores.

Stay tuned!

God's Nuggets: God's Treasures to Me in 2010 #2

A few weeks ago I told you about this little reminder list that I received in the mail from Dr. Charles Stanley.  I decided to answer some questions that would help me reflect back on what God has been doing for me in 2010.

*Special times I learned about God's loving character or the way He works in my life.
He works in my life by having me go through periods when I am far away from Him and I see my need ONLY for Him.

*Scripture verses the Lord used this year in a powerful way to encourage and teach me.
I want to make this my theme for 2011: Proverbs 14:1 "A wise woman builds her house..."  This verse teaches me to daily give my life to God and do what is important.

*Ways the Father worked through trials I experienced to teach me to follow Him more closely.
We really wanted a second child, but were not sure because of a health issue I was going through.  It turned out that I was pregnant, but God had brought us to a place of peace and contentment if the result had not been that I was pregnant.  What a time of testing and trust in God!

*Other treasures the Lord revealed to me in 2010.
-Make Room  Isaiah 43:19
-I can't do anything on my own strength.  2 Cor. 12:10

Do you have any treasures to share?  Please make a comment or link up your blog!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Chicken or Turkey Cranberry Wreath

About a month ago, I hosted a Pampered Chef party and we made this recipe during the party with full audience participation. It was so good I wanted to make it again with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.

Chicken or Turkey Cranberry Wreath

2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. honey Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 C. cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
1/2 C. celery, sliced
3 T. fresh parsley, snipped- I didn't use this.
1/2 C. dried cranberries
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (1cup)- I used mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 egg, separated

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. With wide ends of triangles toward the center.  Arrange 8 triangles in a circle on Large Round Stone.  Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond of baking stone. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center. Matching ends. Seal seams using pizza roller. (Points will overlap in center; do not seal.)

Measure mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper into a bowl. Grate cheese into a bowl. Mix filling. Scoop filling over seams of dough, forming a circle.

Coarsely chop walnuts; sprinkle over filling. Beginning in center, lift one dough triangle across mixture. Continue alternating with outer triangle, slightly overlapping to form wreath. Tuck last end under first.

Separate egg over bowl. Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 10 servings.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Non-Mayhem: Purging, Decluttering, Cleaning and Organizing

I would love to have a clean and organized house, but everywhere I look there are disaster areas that need help.  I'm 5 months pregnant and I have a 2 year old.  I'm trying to juggle a lot of different household things- menu planning, regular chores, cooking, teaching my son, relaxing, etc.  I really want to clean, but I can't seem to muster the energy or I waste my time.  No more!  I have a TON of work to do before this new baby comes in May and I need to get on it.  So I have made some short and long term plans.  I see the big picture, but I have a hard time with details.  So this week I sat down and listed 5 areas that are bugging me to pieces.  My plan is to give each area one week and work 15-30 a day to clean that area by purging, decluttering, cleaning and organizing.  I also have a HUGE job to clean in our attic garage which I will dedicate 2 nights a week after our 2 year old goes to bed.  So here's my plan for January and pictures:

*Dec 26-Jan 1: Filing Cabinet

*Jan 2- Jan 8: Back Entrance

*Jan 9-Jan 15: Guest Room Closet

*Jan 16-Jan 22: Linen Closet

*Jan 23-Jan 29: Usana Bookshelf

I will be posting new pics at the end of month when these areas have been cleaned and make a new list to work on.  Hope this gives you encouragement to start doing something similar.  Let me know what you are doing or any ideas you have.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Knowlton's!

Always remember the reason for the season: JESUS!

Friday, December 24, 2010

God's Nuggets: Connecting with God and others in the New Year

Every year I evaluate how I can grow closer to God.  I always like to be in a Bible study at church or with others.  I need accountability and I am learning to open up and expose those "sinful" parts of me that are hard to share.  A really good way for me to stay connected to God is to memorize His word.  So here are a few of things I will be doing starting in January, but even right now I get up early and have my daily time with God so that will never change.  My goals this year are to memorize at least 24 verses, consistently pray for my family using Scripture and find areas in my life that need challenging and growing.  One thing that I have been called to do by God is give my testimony at MOPS in February.  I'm really nervous about it, but please pray for my preparation so I can glorify God with my life.

So here is what I have chosen to do to connect with God and others in the New Year:
*Bible study at church- Beth Moore's Revelation study "Here and Now...There and Then"
*Siesta Scripture Memory Team with Beth Moore's Living Proof Blog (24 verses for the year)
*Good Morning Girls accountability group studying the book of James (brand new group to me!) from Jan 15-April 15.
*I continue to get Scripture encouragement and great memory verses from Transformed Moms.

I can't tell you how excited I am to dig into God's word and have Him transform my life!

My soul desire is to become the woman of God that He has called me to be.  So what about you?  What are you going to do to connect with God and others in the New Year?  I want to hear from you so please share!  Thanks, Shonda

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ecoSTORE USA Review

 Recently I reviewed a few products from ecoSTORE USA.  The Auto Dish Powder is a wonderful product that I used in my dishwasher.  My dishes came out clean and I knew that by using this environmentally friendly product that what was in the ingredients were safe for my dishes and safe for the environment.  I also loved the subtle citrus scent of the powder.  The best thing about this product is that it is super concentrated and only 1 T of powder is needed for a load of dishes.

From ecoSTORE USA:
Auto Dish Powder is a high performance blend of simple mineral salts, citrus and Coconut oils.
  • Palm and coconut based non-ionic surfactants
  • Silicates and carbonates including sodium meta silicate (simple mineral salts)
  • Citrates and natural citrus oil
  • Cellulose (plant based)
  • Fatty acid derivative


I was also able to review this incredible Baby Body Wash.  Only a little bit of this clear liquid is needed to cleanse baby's skin which leaves it refreshed and soft.  On the label of this product is aromatherapy and yes, I can attest to that!  I actually used this product on my skin and I loved the soothing scent and the way my skin glistened after use.  This product is very mild and I not only used it for body wash, but hair wash too.

The ecoSTORE began in New Zealand 15 years ago  and focused on using plant based ingredients that would biodegrade safely and quickly without using toxic chemicals.  Their motto is no nasty chemicals. What is good for the planet is good for you too.  You can read all about this "green" company and the great products that they provide on ecoSTORE USA.  Be sure to check out their sales that are going on right now too!

*These products were provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of these books and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie

I got this recipe from my friend Andrea as a wedding shower gift.  I have made it many times and it's so yummy.  I grew up eating chicken pot pie from the freezer section of the grocery store. No more!  This does take a bit of time, but worth it.  It's best to cook the chicken or turkey the day before.

 Pie filling:
1/2 c frozen peas, slightly thawed
2 cups precooked chicken or turkey shredded or chopped
1 cup red potatoes, diced and simmered 8 min
1 cup diced carrots, simmer 6 min
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Mix all in a big bowl. Put in pie crust(s) and then make gravy.
(My notes: I use whatever potatoes I have and I cook the potatoes and carrots together.)


2 piecrusts
1 egg beaten (only if using the top piecrust)

(I usually make 2 pies and don't put a crust on top)


2 T unsalted butter
1 med onion chopped
2 cups hot chicken stock (I used chicken bullion cubes)
3 T flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Melt butter, add onions and cook until starting to turn color.  Sprinkle with flour and whisk hot chicken stock into onions.  Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add thyme.  Pour sauce over filled pie crusts.  If using the top crust, brush with the egg.

Bake at 400 for 25-30 min on a cookie sheet.

Friday, December 17, 2010

God's Nuggets: God's Treasures to me in 2010 #1

Hi Friends,
Every month I receive a devotional from Dr. Charles Stanley called In Touch.  It's free and I love it.  It keeps me in God's word and challenges me to be a godly wife and mother.  I also receive letters in the mail and this week I got one that really caught my eye.  Dr. Stanley included a little sheet of paper to fill out called God's Treasures to me in 2010.  I want to share these statements with you that I will fill out and do a second post with  my answers.  If you wish to do a post too, then we'll make the date Dec 30 and then you can link it up to mine.  Sound good?!  These statements really make me think about my year and what God has done in my life.

*Special times I learned about God's loving character or the way He works in my life.

*Scripture verses the Lord used this year in a powerful way to encourage and teach me.

*Ways the Father worked through trials I experienced to teach me to follow Him more closely.

*Other treasures the Lord revealed to me in 2010.

Don't think you have to answer them all.  Just write what is on your heart.  I can't wait to share my answers and read yours.  So mark Dec 30 on your blog calendar to share what God has been doing for you in 2010!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Heavenly Homemakers Downloadable Recipe Cards Sale!!

Do you need a great gift idea for the aspiring cook in your life?  If you enjoy Laura's recipes (from Heavenly Homemakers) then you'll love these cute recipe cards.  

There are 5 different recipe card packs...
What to do with the Cocoa in Your Kitchen

What to do with the Cow in Your Kitchen

What to do with the Vanilla in Your Kitchen

What to do with the Kids in Your Kitchen

What to do with the Chicken in Your Kitchen

Check out each card pack.  You can download and print off on cardstock.  Tie up with a ribbon or yarn.  Make a little gift basket including a few of the ingredients like cocoa, vanilla, chocolate chips, a baking pan, rolling pin, mug, etc.  Be creative!  I would love to receive a little gift like that!  Wouldn't you?

Each card pack is downloadable for your use only, but you can make as many copies as you want and give as gifts.  Why not download during the sale this week and you can have them for teacher gifts, bridal showers, birthday gifts and other holidays!

Each card pack is only $4.00 until Monday, December 20.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room Book Review

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie is a daily devotional for the family for the month of December.    Each short devotion includes a story, prayer, discussion starters and Bible verses on the topic of the story.  There are also many Christmas songs throughout with some that include a historical significance.  There are also several lined pages to write any comments or questions that come up during the Advent devotions.  Nancy cleverly uses many Bible verses in her stories to make her points clear.  This is written in a very easy to understand way and encourages the family to engage in God's word together during the Christmas season.

I really like this short, but powerful little book.  It really made me think about the reason for this Christmas season.  The stories were short, but were meaningful and deep enough to challenge the reader to think.  I think this would be a perfect devotionals for families with middle grade to high school students.

*This book was provided to me free of charge by Tyndale House Publishers for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Friday, December 10, 2010

God's Nuggets: I want to be a simple mom!

Over the past few weeks, I have really been thinking about my time and priorities.  I just finished a study called No Other Gods by Kelly Minter.  One statement that really stood out to me was to "Make Room."  What does that mean?  To me, it means that I need to remove a lot of things that are cluttering my life to make room for what is most important.  What is most important?  To me, it's my relationships with God, my family and friends.  I feel like I have been neglecting what is most important to me.  Now that I am expecting in May, I have a strong sense of purpose to get my life in a better balance.  I have so much on my to-do list and I don't think that I can keep up the way I have been going.  Over the next few months I will be blogging less, but it's not because I don't want to blog but it's because I need to focus more on what is important to me.  I have a lot to accomplish before Baby Surprise gets here so I will be concentrating on making room!  I will be sharing with you this journey and what I am learning along the way.  That is how I will strive to become a simple mom!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Booking It 2010: December

Wow, I've read a lot of books this last month!

*Dining with Joy (A Lowcountry Romance) by Rachel Hauck
*Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler (loved the romance and mystery)
*Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce (loved the way the author writes)
*The Walk: Clear Direction and Spiritual Power for Your Life by Shaun Alexander
*Rush of Wings, A: A Novel by Kristen Heitzmann (current giveaway on my blog)
*Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anita Higman (liked Irene's story best)

Right now I'm reading Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic and will be done by the end of December.

So this year I read about 60 books!  Can't believe it.  Mostly it's because I started reviewing, but I'm going to cut back a little bit this year as I am expecting Baby #2.  I still will participate in Booking It and I will try to read a few books that others recommend on their blogs.

What's Your Resolution? Pear Tree Greetings Giveaway!

Pear Tree Greetings
It's almost the new year: 2011!  Have you thought about your resolutions?
Well, here's a fun giveaway from Pear Tree Greetings this month.
Find something that you enjoy doing and do more of that.
You can win a set of 16 What's Your Resolution- Photo New Year's cards!

Hmm, I'm still thinking of a my New Year Resolution, but my favorite memory from 2010 was finding out that I was pregnant with Baby #2.  I have a lot to look forward to this next year.  What about you?

BUY IT:  Visit Pear Tree Greetings and purchase some great gifts for your friends and family this holiday season.  
To take advantage of some great coupons, type Pear Tree Greetings Coupon Codes and Promotions in the Search Box.  
*10% off on Christmas products
*Free Shipping on orders over $50
*$10 off in personalized stationary 
*Much more!  
Thank you for using my link for your purchases.

WIN IT:  One winner will receive 16 What's Your Resolution Photo Cards!  Open to US and giveaway ends Wednesday, Dec 15.

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.  Thanks!

1. Mandatory: Be a follower on my blog (2 entries)
2. Do you have a New Year's Resolution yet? (required)
3. What product do you like best from Pear Tree Greetings
4. Subscribe to my blog by email (top right corner)
5."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
6. "Like" Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook
7. Make a purchase at Pear Tree Greetings (5 extra entries!)(Buy some Christmas gifts!)
8. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 

Entry for What's Your Resolution Pear Tree Greetings

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Rush of Wings Book Review and Giveaway!!

Rush of Wings, A: A Novel 
A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann is the story of rich young Noelle who is lost in a world of pain and comes to live on a simple ranch in Colorado.  Noelle is running from an unknown fear that causes her to have nightmares of hawks swooping down on her.  She finds solace in the quiet life at the ranch where she finds two equally intriguing brothers.  Noelle is torn between the brothers and in revealing her secret.  In her time in Colorado she begins to discover the object of her fear and is also pursued by God.  How will Noelle handle discovering her worst fear and with which brother does Noelle trust with her heart?
I love how Kristen Heitzmann weaves her stories.  In A Rush of Wings she starts off with an urgency, but slows down to an easy pace by building her story and characters for a great climax.  As I became familiar with Noelle, Morgan and Rick, the dynamic seemed obvious, but the grip of the story comes with all the changing circumstances.  I love the descriptions of the country and the dialogue between the characters.  However, I wasn't too sure about the coming together of two hearts unequally yoked.  But this book was very compelling and of course I couldn't put it down.

*This book was provided to me free of charge by Bethany House Publishers for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Monday, Dec 13.

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.

1. Mandatory: Be a follower on my blog (2 entries)
2. Subscribe to my blog by email (top right corner)
3."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog)
4. Post about this giveaway on another site (Facebook, Blog, Twitter, etc) (1 entry for each) 

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Walk by Shaun Alexander Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)
***Special thanks to Cindy Brovsky, Marketing and Publicity Coordinator, Doubleday Religion / Waterbrook Multnomah, Divisions of Random House, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Shaun Alexander was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks after a standout football career at the University of Alabama. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, in 2005 he set an NFL record by scoring twenty-eight touchdowns. In the same season, he set a team record by gaining 1,880 rushing yards and leading his team to the Super Bowl. Today, Shaun travels the country speaking to business and military audiences, at sports camps, and at churches and Christian conferences—appearing in front of thousands of people. He is a gifted communicator and Bible teacher who points listeners toward exceptional achievement by aligning their lives with God’s perfect will.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307459519
ISBN-13: 978-0307459510


All through history, people have asked,

“Is there anything not possible?”


Sweat drips from my nose as I lean over, hands on my knees, and gasp for breath. I look across the huddle at the left tackle. He’s a high school all-state pick; he’s a college all-American; he’s an all-pro offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL). Our eyes meet, and I grin at him. He nods back as if to say, “Follow me.”

To my right is the fullback. Blood trickles down his forearm, and mud covers his jersey, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s my running mate and my protector. He leads the way, opening holes in the line and throwing his body against linebackers, safeties, and defensive ends who try to stop me. He catches my eye and winks as if to say, “Let’s do it.”

Moments later the quarterback leans into the huddle. “All right. We need two yards for a first down. Green, power right, check, shift right, F left, ninety-seven OT on two.” This is a play where I follow the fullback to the right through a hole between the right guard and the right tackle.

As we break the huddle, I see the crowd stand to its feet. At the far end of the field, the American flag flaps in the breeze. The crowd is cheering, watching, hoping. Seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, knees bent, cleats digging into the turf, I ease into position.

And then everything slows down—the American flag on its pole, the crowd, the players on the field. As if in slow motion, linemen settle into their stance, planting their hands in the grass. Tension fills the air. Something big is about to happen. The quarterback barks the signals, firm and decisive. “Set. Hut!”

Suddenly there’s a loud pop as our linemen collide with players on the defensive line. Up and down the line of scrimmage, groaning and growling, players wrestle like gladiators. As the quarterback drops back, I step to the right. In the next instant I feel the ball slap against my stomach. I clutch it with both arms. My legs are moving, my mind racing. Read it. Read it. Hit the hole or cut back. “Cut!” I plant my foot and explode through the line.

Ahead of me, the fullback crashes into a linebacker. The slot receiver sprints toward the safety. As they collide, the safety flips into the air.

The crowd gasps.

With the safety out of the way, I move to the left toward the sideline. From the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of the crowd on its feet. Fans are waving their arms and screaming, but all I hear is the whoow, whoow, whoow of my breath as I sprint down the field.

By then the cornerback has taken an angle on me and is closing fast. He cuts into my lead with every step. I run harder and harder, calling on every ounce of strength in my body, past the forty-yard line, then the thirty, and the twenty. The cornerback is closing the gap as my foot crosses the ten-yard line. I can hear him behind me and just to the right. I can feel his eyes boring in on me and know that every muscle in his body is pushing to knock me down.

At the five-yard line he dives, reaching with both hands to make the tackle. His arms brush my cleats. I stumble, put my hand on the ground, then stumble again. All the while I tell myself, Pick up your head. As I stagger to the right, I lift my chin. My feet come under me, and I sweep into the end zone for a touchdown. A sixty-yard run on third-and-two. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

The roar of the crowd echoes in my helmet as I turn to celebrate with my teammates. Then up the field I see the trainer and members of my team running toward the thirty-yard line. A player is lying on the ground, writhing in pain. I jog up the field and join the players who are gathered around him. I can see that his leg is broken, twisted at a sickening angle.

“Get the cart,” someone orders. Others sigh with resignation, knowing an injury like that could take a player out of the game for the remainder of the season, perhaps even for good. Then, without hesitation, some of us kneel beside our injured teammate.

We lay our hands on his leg and begin to pray, invoking God’s healing presence and power. We agree together, just as Scripture says, “Lord, let Your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven. There are no broken bones in heaven” (see Matthew 6:9–10). As we pray, the player’s shattered bone moves back into place, perfectly aligned and as strong as before. Our teammate looks up at us, his eyes wide with wonder.

How would you express the feeling of having your broken leg repaired by God while you’re lying on a football field?

By then the crowd is silent, many standing with their hands to their faces in a look of amazement. They start to murmur, and the look on their faces says they have never seen anything like this. Even those of us who prayed for our teammate to be healed watch in awe as he trots toward the sideline. I turn to the others, look at them, and point to—

Just then my eyes popped open, and I stared at the ceiling. My heart was pounding. “It was just a dream,” I whispered. I glanced at the alarm clock and rubbed my eyes. “But couldn’t it really happen, just like that?”

I have dreamed that dream many times, wearing the different uniforms of the teams I’ve been a part of in high school, college, and the NFL, and I have realized that I’m not really me in that dream. I represent a Christian who believes in God’s power and lives in such a way that God is free to work through his life. The dream illustrates what God can do through a life that is fully yielded and obedient to Him.

Still, I ask myself, is it possible? Can God do today what He did long ago through men like Moses, Elijah, and the first-century apostles? Is it possible for us to experience His miraculous presence to the same extent they did? I think it is. Scripture certainly suggests that it’s possible. But how?


Football has been more than a dream for me. I began playing as a young boy, back in Florence, Kentucky. With the help of coaches, my parents, and many others, I developed skills as a player and earned a football scholarship to the University of Alabama. There, I played for Coach Gene Stallings and Mike Dubose with the Crimson Tide. After college I was drafted in the first round (nineteenth overall) to play for the Seattle Seahawks.

My sixth season with the Seahawks was my breakout year. I set a number of team and NFL records and was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. At the conclusion of that season, we won the National Football Conference championship and went to the Super Bowl. Although we lost to Pittsburgh, that season was one of my best ever.

As I began my seventh season in 2006, I looked forward to building on what we’d accomplished the prior year. I trained hard and came to the season’s first game with great expectations. We opened that year against the Detroit Lions.

Sometimes life-changing events come to you with a sign written in huge letters that spell out “Your Life Is About to Change.” Other times the moment slips by with little or no recognition. That game against Detroit was one of the latter. I didn’t realize its significance until months afterward.

During that game a defensive lineman fell on my foot, pinning it in place between his body and the ground. He had shot through the line toward me, and as I cut left to escape his grasp, one of his teammates met me face to face. All three of us fell to the ground. This seemed like a normal play: you get the ball, you run, you get tackled. Pads crash, bodies hit the turf, the whistle blows, everybody gets up and tries it again. That’s football. That’s normal.

But on this play my left foot got sandwiched between the ground and the lineman’s three-hundred-pound body. As I trotted back to the huddle, I could feel the pain.

For a football player, physical pain is a way of life. Since I began playing organized football as a young boy, I have taken the field while nursing sprains, strains, and aches in almost every part of my body. That day against Detroit I didn’t think about the pain. But the pain in my foot never went away. I continued to play that day and carried the ball nineteen times for fifty-one yards. The pain was a distraction, and I failed to gain the yardage that I expected of myself, but I wasn’t too concerned.

After the game team doctors told me I had a bone bruise. That’s a medically nonspecific term for “You got hit hard, and the pain goes to the bone.” I spent time with the trainer but continued to play. Two weeks later, in a game against the New York Giants, the bruise became a fracture, and I was out most of the season.

Doctors told me to stay off my foot, so I spent a lot of time reading. One of the books I read goes deep into the reality of spiritual warfare. While reading The Call by Rick Joyner, I realized that God works in an orderly fashion; He is a God of order. And as I listened to God, I saw that some things in my life were out of order.


I’ve been a Christian since I was ten years old. Loving Jesus has been the center of my life. As important as football has been, it has always been second to following the Lord and allowing Him to work His will through me. As I read Joyner’s book, God spoke to me about how He uses order to bring about His will.

Through the remainder of the NFL season, I continued to do exercises to rehab my injured foot, preparing to return to the game. All the while God was speaking to me about the importance of His order. He doesn’t do things haphazardly. As the Scriptures tell us, God is not a God of confusion or disorder (see 1 Corinthians 14:33). And much more than simply an interesting idea, God’s order became something I felt compelled to apply to my life.

With the Holy Spirit as my Guide, I allowed God to review my friends and relationships, and I started to put people—and especially business relationships—into their proper places. I stopped associating with some of the people I had considered friends and began associating with others I had been neglecting. I discontinued some of the business deals I’d been involved in. At the same time I began to pay closer attention to the things I said, particularly the half truths I would sometimes say in casual conversation or in encouraging others.

I finished that NFL season well. My second game back I had a forty-carry, 200-yard game on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks won the division and were headed to the play-offs. We lost in the divisional playoff game against the Chicago Bears in overtime. I gained 120 yards combined and scored two touchdowns in our losing effort. After missing several games and coming back to finish the season, I was excited about the next year.

The following year my foot was healed, and I looked forward to playing a full season. I performed well through training camp and the preseason games. Then, in the first game of the regular season, I bobbled a pass. As I dove to catch it, I fell on my arm and broke my left wrist. Team doctors put my wrist and hand in a cast, and I continued to play, but the cast did little to protect my broken wrist. The weight of it actually caused additional pain, and I struggled to get past that injury. Additional injuries nagged at me for the remainder of the season.

For the fifth year in a row the Seahawks went to the play-offs. We won the division title for the fourth consecutive year. I was happy for the team, but personally I had a year that fell well short of what I expected. The bruises, strains, and broken bones were adding up, and I wondered if they were a signal. Was God using the pain in my body to prepare me mentally and emotionally for a shift to a new stage in my life?

As the following spring approached, I sensed something was going on with the team. Changes were in the wind, but I didn’t know what the changes might bring. Then, as the time for spring conditioning camp approached, the Seahawks’ managers called me. “We’re making changes. We want to take a different direction. We’re releasing you from the team.” And just like that, I was out of the NFL.

Aside from my desire to love and serve God, football had been the primary focus of my life. It was the means God had used to lift me from the small town of Florence, Kentucky, to a life that few athletes ever experience. But I never lost sight of the fact that God—and not the Seattle Seahawks or the University of Alabama or Boone County High School back home—was the One who was blessing me. God is the Source of all goodness and beauty, all truth and love, and it was His favor that took me to the places I’d gone, even to the discouraging day when the Seahawks let me go. I had things I still wanted to do as a football player, but I said, “God’s will be done,” and went home to find out what that would mean.


Over the next few months, I wrestled with a new direction for my career and my life. During that time God challenged me. “Meet Me at five in the morning. Let’s talk for an hour, every day.” That was a wonderful invitation. The Creator of the universe wanted to spend an hour with me every day. I was excited about it, but there was a problem. He wanted to meet me in the morning. At five o’clock.

Reading the Bible has always been important to me. When I was younger, I read because that was what I was told to do. Later I realized Scripture was a powerful tool God could use in my life. Once I understood that, I began to read and study every day. I prayed every day, too, some days almost constantly, but I heard the voice of God speaking to me more when I read the Scriptures. So I was eager to meet with Him every day, even though I am not a morning person. “See Me at nine; see Me at ten”—that would be easy. But at five in the morning, I’m usually sound asleep. Yet this was God issuing an invitation, and I had to respond.

The first ten days were tough. They were like two-a-days at training camp in July or August. I set the alarm, pushed myself out of bed when it rang, and found my way to a quiet spot in the house. Although I was excited about the new venture, it was rough.

Days eleven through fifteen were better, but I still was grinding it out. And then, about day sixteen, things began to click. I found myself praying, “God, I want You to be in me and on me.” I didn’t know where that prayer came from; it just rose up within me. Later that week I found a verse in the gospel of John that said,

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (14:16–17)

Jesus was asking His Father to send us a Gift, and none of us could have imagined a bigger, more life-changing gift. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, who will live “with you and will be in you.” I began to get excited, not just about the idea of the Holy Spirit living in me and on me, but by the fact that a prayer, consistent with what Jesus had already said, had come from deep within my spirit. The reference in the gospel of John, “with you and…in you,” isn’t an exact match to the words I had been praying, but it was very close. “With you and in you; in me and on me.” After I saw that verse, getting up early in the morning to spend time with God wasn’t such a chore.

As God and I continued our morning visits, He began to break that concept down for me. “In you”—the knowing, inner sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit that says, “Go this way; say these words.” The Holy Spirit living inside us guides our life and affects what we do and say on the outside.

“On you”—the miraculous, powerful presence of God made obvious and tangible to others through signs and wonders. As we follow Christ and learn to obey Him, God works in us and uses us in the lives of other people.

During the next few days alone with God, I came to a fresh realization that Jesus really lived and walked on earth. He actually died on the cross, rose again, and sent the Holy Spirit to us. In the process my prayer life took on new energy and importance. When I prayed, the same Spirit whom Jesus sent to His followers was in me and on me. To say I felt a tingling sensation all over sounds a little over the top, but that’s the best way I can describe how I felt. Every cell in my body seemed alive and awake, an experience I’d never had before. My spirit was quickened to the freshness of Scripture.

That new sense of being alive in Christ wasn’t confined only to my prayer time early in the mornings. When I prayed for others in meetings or in private, I began to “know” things and “see” things about them. I would picture the person I was praying for, and I’d see some great things and sometimes awful things. At times I would see some very intimate things about the person, but always it would be an insight into what that person needed at the moment. God was giving me these insights, and I was compelled to act. One moment it would be a word or scripture that seemed appropriate and fitting. The next it would be something that had just happened to the person I was praying for, something I had no way of knowing about. And at times it would be something so obvious that it sounded trite. But regardless of how it sounded to me, I did my best to obey God and deliver His message to the person.

At a meeting one night a woman asked me to pray for her. As I touched her hands, I knew in my heart I was supposed to tell her, “Jesus loves you.” That sounds like such a cliché, you could easily say, “Very profound, Shaun. The Holy Spirit had to tell you that? Everybody knows Jesus loves us.”

Yet I knew in my heart the issue wasn’t about theology or slogans or how perceptive it made me appear. The issue was whether I would say those words at that moment to that woman. Would I obey the leading of the Holy Spirit—that still, small voice speaking to me inside—and trust that God knew what He was doing?

It seemed a little awkward, but I smiled at her and said, “You know, I think I’m supposed to tell you, ‘Jesus loves you.’” As I said those words, tears came rolling down her cheeks, and she received a tremendous release of the Lord’s presence in her life. I don’t know anything else about her, and I said nothing else to her that night. But God knew exactly what she needed. For her, hearing those words opened a door inside that allowed God to minister to her. That’s the presence of the Holy Spirit in you and on you.

Another time, my cousin Ben had some friends over. I told them about the prayer time I’d been having and about how real God’s presence was, not only during morning prayer time, but throughout the day. Later in the evening Ben and his friends and I gathered and began to pray. As we did that, I felt led to go around the group and pray for each person individually.

The first one I prayed for was a guy named Cory. Then I moved to Ben. After him I came to a guy I had never met before that night. As I started to pray, I felt certain I should touch his eyes. When I touched him, I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to tell him, “You will sleep again.”

I knew nothing about him, and I had no idea what those words meant, but I said them just the same. I admit that was strange, but I went on praying for his life and future.

When I finished praying for each person, I asked Cory to stand up. I laid my hand on the top of his head and prayed for God to touch him from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Cory smiled and sat back down. We laughed a little about it, and then I asked Cory what he felt. He said, “Honestly, I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel. But when you touched my head and started praying for me, my feet felt like they were on fire.”

Afterward, as everyone was leaving, the young man in his early twenties whom I’d never met before that night—the one I had told, “You will sleep again”—took me aside and said, “You were right-on with that prayer about sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep much in weeks.”


When I was a young boy, I saw a movie called The Last Dragon. You probably can still find it in a rental store or on the discount shelf at a big box retailer. The star of the movie was Leroy Green, a man who never fully believed in himself as a kung fu master. But one day he had to defend the love of his life against a man named Sho’nuf. One of the catch lines from the movie is “Who’s the master?” As they fought, Sho’nuf kept asking Leroy, “Who’s the master?” With Leroy backed into a corner, Sho’nuf moved in to deliver the knockout punch. As he did, he asked again, “Who’s the master?” At that moment Leroy reached up and caught Sho’nuf’s fist. Holding it there a moment, he replied, “I am.” And with that a glow came over him. He began to kick and punch with more power. He won the fight and the love of the girl. He became the master that was always inside him. It took his being involved in that fight for him to find it.

The Last Dragon is fiction, but there’s truth in its message. God offers each of us an anointing in Christ. That anointing is available to every Believer once we find out who we really are in Christ.

My early morning prayer regimen continued for about sixty days. Each day I awakened at five and spent at least an hour with God. During that time the Holy Spirit brought to mind the ideas about God’s order that had occurred to me when I read The Call. I realized that my new experiences with the power and majesty of God’s presence in me and on me had to do with the order God follows when He works in our lives. I marveled at how God had begun a conversation with me two years earlier, then had come back to finish it as if the conversation had never been interrupted.

I heard the Holy Spirit say, “This is what happens when you walk the Walk. Not perfection. I’m not looking for perfection. I’m looking for order.”

In the following chapters we will explore that order—the order of life, the stages through which we grow on the way to spiritual maturity in Christ. God can and does use anyone for anything at any time. But in the broader sense of where He begins with us and where He is taking each of us, there is a divinely appointed order, and there is a progression to the way He works in our lives. God meets us when we are Unbelievers. He speaks to us and reveals Himself, and we become Believers. As we grow in Christ, we become Examples, and then Teachers. And in the lives of many of Christ’s followers, God calls them to do the work of Imparters. They do the miraculous work of Christ on earth, just as the first disciples did.

The five stages and their sequence are important: Unbeliever, Believer, Example, Teacher, Imparter. Skip a stage in the maturity process, and error will creep in. Get ahead of God, and things will start to go wrong. But follow His order in your life, and you will see amazing things happen.

Here's my review:
The Walk by Shaun Alexander is a book that explores the stages to becoming spiritually mature in the life of a Christian.  Shaun explores each stage by explains what it is, the trials, traps and victories and relating it to the biblical character of Peter.  The five stages are Unbeliever (Wanderer or Wonderer), Believer, Example, Teacher and Imparter.  He carefully explains that each person is at one stage in their life and these stages must be lived out in God's timing and order.  Shaun uses many illustrations from his own life to emphasize certain points.  This book also includes a seven session discussion guide for groups.

I really like how Shaun unraveled each stage of the Christian life.  I never quite thought about it in quite that way.  Even though the labels of the stages were simple, they seemed very similar to me.  So as I got further into the book, I had to remember what each was about.  This book was very good at breaking down the Christian life, but it didn't quite hold my interest as I thought it would.  I think a new Christian or possibly a non-believer would learn a lot in reading this book.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; Brdbk edition (October 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Rev. Dr. Robin Currie is the Early Childhood Librarian/Preschool Liaison for the Glen Ellyn Public Library and serves on the staff of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. She is also the retired pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn. Before and during seminary she was a children’s librarian for public libraries in Illinois and Iowa. She holds master’s degrees in Library Science from the University of Iowa and in Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, as well as a Doctor of Ministry in preaching from LSTC. Her published books include seven resource collections for librarians and over a dozen children’s Bible story collections.

Visit the author's blog.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Board book: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; Brdbk edition (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403685
ISBN-13: 978-0781403689

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on pictures to see them larger):

Here's my review:
The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook by Robin Currie is a compilation of short stories that tell the Christmas story for young children.  Included with each story is a Bible reference, four short story sentences with an italicized action for each, a prayer at the bottom and illustration on the opposite page.  This book was designed for children from birth to three and gives the complete story of Jesus' birth in one simple book that is very relevant for this age group.  The last story is how we celebrate Christmas in the modern day and has a list of suggested tangible activities to do as a family.

When I opened the package, my 2 year old son identified it as a Bible even before I started reading it to him.  I was surprised and pleased.  He was quite taken with the illustrations and enjoyed listening to the short stories.  I like the length of each story because it really is the attention span of a toddler.  I also like the sturdiness of the small book and thickness of the pages.  This will be a good traditional book to read to little ones and as they get older, they will love to read it.  What a fun way to introduce young children to the wonderful story of Jesus' birth.