Friday, June 5, 2015

A Girl Has the Right to Change Her Mind

To blog or not to blog? That is the question I've posed to myself over the past year. At the beginning of May, I reviewed my 2015 goals and reiterated that I needed to cut back on my blogging duties. So far, I haven't let any blogs go, but proving that this girl definitely changes her mind I am doing something I never thought I would--I am putting this blog on hiatus.

Gasp! Hard to believe, I know. Little Shepherd started when my book by the same name came out. I've used it to help promote my books and the books of others, shared youth ministry resources, favorite hymns, and also announced my other blogging activities here.

But as much as I love it, I've dedicated more time to The Children's and Teens' Book Connection (TC&TBC) through the years; and if a blog needs to go, it should be this one. Little Shepherd really isn't going away, though. It will stay online and not be updated. If I find I have more time in the future, I will start it back up again.

Please follow me over at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection, where I talk about books for kids from babies through young adult. Posts about my blogging activities and updating my goals will now appear at TC&TBC too.

You can also follow my other blogs at:

The Book Connection
The Busy Mom's Daily
Cheryl's Christian Book Connection
Books Can Be Deadly

Thanks for your loyal readership. God bless!

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors - Fitting It All In

Talking about being a working mom and fitting it all in today at Christian Children's Authors. See my post at

Monday, June 1, 2015

Youth Ministry Resource: Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries

You're looking for a youth pastor. Again.

What goes wrong? Why do youth ministries crumble? And what is the cost to students, parents, volunteers and church staff?

Is a sustainable youth ministry possible, even after a youth pastor leaves?

Youth ministry expert Mark DeVries knows the answer is yes, because he helps build sustainable youth ministries through his coaching service called Youth Ministry Architects. So take heart: No matter what state the youth ministry at your church is in--in need of a leader and volunteers, full of battles and stress, large or small in number--it can be built to survive and to last for the long haul.

Based on his own experience and on his many conversations and interviews with churches in crisis, DeVries pinpoints problems that cause division and burnout and dispels strongly held myths. He then provides the practical tools and structures pastors and church leaders need to lay a strong foundation for your ministry so that it isn't built on a person or the latest, greatest student ministry trend.

His accessible guidance

- helps senior pastors and search committees create a realistic job description for a youth pastor

- provides tips for making wise hiring decisions

- equips youth pastors to build a strong volunteer team

- offers creative solutions to help youth pastors set and keep boundaries

- gives a road map for navigating church politics

and more.

Building a sustainable youth ministry is not easy, and it's not quick. But with commitment to the process, hard work and DeVries's guidance, you can put together a healthy youth ministry--one that fits your church and lasts for the long haul. Youth ministry can last. Here's how.

"If you want to read a book that will challenge you to develop the gifts God has entrusted to you, whether you will be personally involved in ministry or not, you will find practical advice in it to help you and your church build a strong, sustainable youth ministry." (Russ Laughlin, Ministry, July 2009)

"DeVries offers a treasure of practical wisdom on the cultural and institutional prerequisites for youth ministry. This book should be required reading for any search committee that thinks it can solve all youth ministry problems with the next great hire. DeVries reveals how hard work, curiosity and hope make it possible to learn from inevitable failures." (Fred Edie, Christian Century, May 3, 2011)

If you want to read a book that will challenge you to develop the gifts God has entrusted to you, whether you will be personally involved in youth ministry or not, you will find practical advice in it to help you and your church build a strong, sustainable youth ministry. (Russ Laughlin, Ministry, July 2009)

Until senior pastors and elders take the wisdom and experience unleashed in this book seriously, they will continue to roll the dice in hope of landing on a sustainable youth ministry. (Mark Cannister, Youth Worker Journal, January/February 2010)

Every now and then a resource comes along that reshapes how we think about youth ministry. Mark's is exactly that kind of book. More than just a bunch of ideas that work; it's a combination of philosophy and ideology that will shape the future of your ministry. There's something for everyone in this fantastic read. (The Journal of Student Ministries, Winter 2009)

"Readers will find much practical information in this book." (Rae McCartney, Congregations, Summer 2009)

Purchase here!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Thanking the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for their service, their loyalty, their courage, and their sacrifices.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Goals for 2015 Update

Yes, my timing is all off for quarterly updates. I posted in February for the end of March because I wasn't sure how I would be feeling after surgery. Thankfully, I am doing well. Our family, however, went through some unexpected challenges. My father-in-law fell in my home three days after my surgery. He spent all of March and April in the hospital or nursing home. God is good, though, and Dad is now home and getting around fairly well. He still has nurses and therapists coming in, but perhaps life will be more normal now.

I will let you decide if this is the late or early quarterly update.

Daily Bible verse reading.

Doing better with this, but still not every day. That said, I've been praying more regularly, so that's a plus.

Complete editing projects.

One is done. The other one took extra time because part of it needed to be entirely restructured. I should be done next week.

Complete Amelia's Mission by May 31st.

While this won't happen, I am part of a regular writing group that meets twice a month. I have one more chapter to share with them before I need to bring more in with me. We'll see how it goes.

Reconsider blogging duties.

I have worked so hard on these blogs, I hate to let any of them go. What I know is staying:

The Book Connection
The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
Little Shepherd
Blogging twice a month at Christian Children's Authors

What I am considering cutting or putting on hiatus:

The Busy Mom's Daily
Cheryl's Christian Book Connection
Books Can Be Deadly

I should know by the end of May what direction I am going in.

How are your writing goals going so far? What have you achieved? What are you struggling with?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors - The Lord As Our Shelter

Today I am blogging over at Christian Children's Authors on the topic of the Lord as our Shelter. Please visit:

I also ask you to pray for our family as we go through a series of trials. Thank you and God bless.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Writers Notes: Point of View

I recently finished a young adult novel that I found fascinating and exciting. At the end, I discovered the third person omniscient narrator was actually telling a story from her past. I'm not a huge fan of this point of view, because being a character driven reader, I feel it doesn't allow me to get to know the characters as much as I would like. It serves its purpose: you can know everything that is going on--even those things the characters might not be aware of yet. This book was very plot driven, but after the point of view discovery it seemed the story would have been even more powerful and fulfilling if told from a third person limited or first person point of view.

My feelings on this subject definitely make our writing group interesting. Point of view is something I tend to focus on a great deal because hopping from head to head doesn't feel right. But other members disagree. They see tremendous value in using a point of view that knows all, sees all, and tells all.

Do you have a preference when you read or write?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

I am back! Actually, I have been back for a little bit, but not blogging too much. Today's post at Christian Children's Authors talks about dealing with unexpected obstacles. You can check it out at

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors

By the time you read this post, I will be on my way to the hospital for some necessary surgery. Nothing life threatening, but major surgery nonetheless. I hope you'll pray for a successful outcome.

I don't have the direct link because I am posting this ahead of time, but if you visit Christian Children's Authors today at, you will find me sharing some of my favorite Bible verses on the topic of anxiety.

Blessings to all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Christian Resources for Your Family by Stowell, Eldredge, and Warren

In this follow-up to the bestselling Simply Jesus, Joe Stowell says that loving Jesus is all about loving people. We never love Him more than when we involve ourselves in the lives of men and women, boys and girls. The highest form of love for God’s Son is pouring out our very lives for His sons and daughters. The Lord Himself teaches that when we touch others, when we encourage others, when we help others—"one of the least of these brothers of mine"—we are touching, encouraging, and helping Him. Through the tender story of Peter’s restoration on a beach in Galilee, we learn about proving our love for Jesus by caring about what He cares about most.

This is a book about how a boy―and a man―becomes a man.

It's a guide to the process of masculine initiation, that ancient path every boy and man must take if they would become the man they long to be. The path whereby they come to "know" they are a man, and are able to live and love from a deep, centered strength.

We live in a time where most men (and boys) are essentially fatherless. Whatever their circumstance, they have no man actually taking them "through" the many adventures, trials, battles and experiences they need to shape a masculine heart within them. They find themselves on their own to figure life out, and that is a lonely place to be. Their fears, anger, boredom, and their many addictions all come out of this fatherless place within them, a fundamental uncertainty in the core of their being.

But there is a way.

"We aren't meant to figure life out on our own," says John Eldredge. "God "wants" to father us." In "The Way of the Wild Heart," Eldredge reveals how God comes to a man and takes him on the masculine journey, how nearly all the events of a man's life can come togther to provide the initiation he never received. And how parents can offer that initiation to their sons. Whatever your age may be, your Father is ready to take up your journey. For you "are" his son.

A #1 New York Times bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life will help you understand why you are alive and reveal God's amazing plan for you both here and now, and for eternity. Rick Warren will guide you through a personal forty-day spiritual journey that will transform your answer to life's most important question: What on earth am I here for? Knowing God's purpose for creating you will reduce your stress, focus your energy, simplify your decisions, give meaning to your life, and most important, prepare you for eternity.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Goal Update

I know I am early with my quarterly review, but with my upcoming surgery at the end of the month I have no idea how I will be feeling later. This quick review will also help keep me on track while I am stuck at home recovering. 

Daily Bible verse reading.

I have failed at this one miserably. Balancing real estate, editing, and family life is proving to be quite a challenge. I plan to take my Bible with me to the hospital and I plan to get on track with this goal while recovering.

Complete editing projects.

One is pretty much done. The second is taking much longer than I planned. I really hope I complete it before going in for surgery.

Complete Amelia's Mission by May 31st.

I finished the last chapter and got it over to my critique group. I'm currently at 20,113 words of my planned 35,000. Amelia just made it to Elms Academy. It doesn't look like it will go well for her.

Reconsider blogging duties.

I still haven't decided what to do about this yet. I currently run the following blogs:

The Book Connection
The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
The Busy Mom's Daily
Cheryl's Christian Book Connection
Books Can Be Deadly
Little Shepherd

I also contribute to the Christian Children's Authors blog twice a month. It is too much to continue now that I am working outside the house. I will probably make a decision soon.

That's it for now. How are you doing with your goals?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

Register for Write2Ignite Coming March 27 - 28!

Write2Ignite! is just a few weeks away -- March 27-28, 2015!

Write2Ignite! 2015 – March 27-28, 2015 at North Greenville University near Greenville, SC.

The Conference for Christian Writers of Literature for Children and Young Adults.

Key Note Speaker – Tim Shoemaker - author of 11 books for kids and parents.
Other speakers include Karen Whiting, Jenny L. Cote, Cheri Cowell, Kim Peterson, Tony Snipes, Vonda Skelton and Torry Martin.

Two tracks – one for adults and one for teens who write.
Interviews with editors and agents. Scholarships available.
Information and Registration at

Books & Such Post: What to Do if Your Blog Goes Viral

I thought my writing chums might be interested in this post from the agents at Books & Such about a blog post that went viral. You can find it at:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tough Choices

Life is about choices: good ones and bad ones, easy ones and tough ones. This year started out with a tough choice--am I or am I not planning vacation Bible school (VBS) this summer?

Our church is very small and there are very few children right now. The children are also spread out in ages. We have a teen, a tween, two preschoolers, and an infant. Sunday school has become a challenge because the church needs to have in-depth and meaningful lessons for the older kids, but it also needs lessons that are easy to understand for the preschool kids.

Though our numbers are few, VBS has always been important to our ministry. We used to spend months planning VBS, but now it only takes a few weeks. We've gone from five days down to three days. As I looked at my calendar this year, considered our numbers, and pondered the age gap, I came to the decision that after more than 30 years, our church would not be holding vacation Bible school this summer. Yes, my girls have always loved it, but it is time to focus our attention on other outreaches.

It seems like the right choice, and yet, I struggled with it. Does canceling it this year mean VBS at our church is done forever? Is this just one step toward the closing of our little church? Though faithful, one can't help but consider how this one choice impacts the future.

Please pray that we follow God's direction and that He continues to bless this little church.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Teen Devotional:One God, One Plan, One Life by Max Lucado

In One God, One Plan, One Life, bestselling author Max Lucado offers teens an accessible way to connect with their Lord. Daily devotions address such topics as faith and obedience but also offer wisdom on topics that teens battle, such as purity, bullying, alcohol and drug use, and self-image. Each day includes a short devotion and accompanying scripture as well as a take-away application that will inspire and challenge teens to trust in God and His plans for them.

Number of Pages: 400
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 1400322634
ISBN-13: 9781400322633

Purchase here!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015