Hurricane Matthew, Haiti, My Family, and Me

Photo: Raycom Media

Photo: Raycom Media

I kept the TV on and my phone close last Friday. Hurricane Matthew was moving up the Florida coast and aiming at Savannah, Georgia, where my oldest daughter, her husband, and their three young children live.

They’ve been in their house—their very first house—less than a year. With tall oaks all around—the type with wide but shallow roots—and a river just streets away.

One tree fell when Hermine visited in September. Aware of the danger, they had already moved in with friends in another town.

For Matthew, Savannah and Chatham County evacuated.

On Thursday, my daughter and her husband tied down the trampoline in the backyard. They rolled up rugs and got as much furniture as they could off the floors and the flat TV off the wall. Then they packed food and clothes, locked the doors, and drove away, and moved in with their friends again.

Matthew kept coming. Warnings got louder. No one felt safe, and with their friends my daughter and her husband decided to move further inland on Friday. God provided a place three hours outside Savannah, where everyone arrived late Friday afternoon.

They would be OK. But the house? Their friends’ house? No one knew.

I went to bed Friday night at 11:30 and set an alarm for 1:30 a.m. High tide and Hurricane Matthew would hit Savannah at the same time, around 2. The Weather Channel kept me company as I waited.

It was bad. Everyone knew it would be. But how bad? That would have to wait until morning.

A neighbor who didn’t evacuate sent word to my daughter: No flooding on their street! Then, pictures. A giant water oak had smashed the trampoline and missed the house by inches. Later in the day, video. Savannah was battered and shaken, but still a beautiful city.

Glad and grateful our family was OK and their house hadn’t flooded, I still felt uneasy. And I knew why.



Photo: Mission Aviation Fellowship


Photo: Global Empowerment Mission

Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti earlier in the week. No place to escape. Thousands of homes and nearly a thousand lives gone.  Crops and livestock devastated and dead. No big media and complex to document moment by moment happenings and get warnings out. Not much news at all, really, about the horrible, extreme need.

And other than a few quick prayers, I hadn’t done a thing to help,

Life seems so unfair. It is unfair. I don’t understand it. But I can help. We can help.

Here are links to two ministries I know you can trust to handle the resources you share responsibly and well:

International Disaster Relief Services

Heartline Ministries

I’m giving right now. I hope you will too.

And next time, let’s not wait.



– Diane

Book Review—The Young Reader’s Bible

The Young Reader's Bible cover

6.8 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches, 448 pages

Do you have a new or beginning reader at your house? Do you know a child who wants to “read it myself” but isn’t ready to tackle the amount of text in the Bible storybooks you’ve been reading to him or her?

The Young Reader’s Bible is the best book you could possibly give that child! (B&H Kids, 6.8 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches, 448 pages)

Yes, I’m biased. I helped to develop this book nearly 25 years ago as an editor at Standard Publishing. Now the publishing rights belong to B&H Kids, and they just released the book in a new size with a new cover design.

I’m biased, but I’m also right. Why?

• True easy-reader format. Large type, serif font, and short lines. Each line is a complete unit of thought.

• Simple yet artful story texts. The 70 stories, which move from Genesis through Revelation, capture the important basic essence of each biblical account. They read aloud well; you won’t tire of hearing these stories.

Writing easy-reader stories (remember the Frog & Toad books?) is a special skill. Authors Carol Reinsma and Bonnie Bruno were pioneers as they wrote these easy-reader-style Bible stories, and they did a masterful job.

• Special features like those found in school textbooks (and grownup Bibles): introductions to the Old and New Testaments, maps, timelines, a glossary, and an article, “How Did We Get the Bible?”

• Expressive, noncartoony illustrations by Jenifer Schneider.

I’m so thankful for all the talents poured into this book when it was first developed, and just as thankful to those who grasped its value and made it available again to a new generation of readers.

About These Reviews and Recommendations

My career as a children’s book editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director greatly influences my response to books. I have high standards for text, illustration, book design, and the purpose of a book.

I understand too that parents, grandparents, and others who buy books want and need good value in the books you choose. Your book budget is not unlimited.

I’m not writing these reviews as hype or promotion for fellow author’s books. I do care about helping authors—after all, I am one. I understand the effort authors pour into every book and the hopes they have for each one. The books I recommend, however, I’m choosing because of the merit I see in the book, no other reason.

I want to point you to the best books more than I want to point out books I don’t like, so I won’t be writing negative reviews. If I can’t support a book, I just won’t write about it. At times, however, I may note details or features I would have changed in a book I otherwise recommend. This is to help you make your own decisions about what books are right for your family.



– Diane

For a New Fall Routine: A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

small WomansGuideBibleMy oldest grandson started fourth grade today. I guess the back-to-school season is more than officially here, and that means fall is just around the corner.

The fall season has always signaled anew start for me, a time for new routines. For you too?

Maybe you’ll be joining a new Bible study group as fall begins where you live, or starting a brand-new group. Maybe you’re looking for a new study guide for yourself or your small group. May I make a recommendation?

I was blessed in 2000 to join a women’s Bible study group formed to read through the Bible in a year. Although I’d been a Christian for many years and had read many parts of the Bible and used the Bible in my work as an editor, I had never actually read the entire Bible. I joined the group, and it changed my life in so many ways.

Out of that read-through-the-Bible experience, which I’ve repeated in various forms most years since then, I wrote A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year: A Life-Changing Journey into the Heart of God (Bethany House). There’s also a popular e-book version.

Three Chapters

The reading plan in the book—just three chapters a day—alternates Old Testament and New Testament books. With this reading plan, you’ll never feel “stuck” in the Old Testament, and you’ll make Old Testament and New Testament connections more quickly than if you read straight through from Genesis to Revelation.

One Question

With each week’s readings, you’ll find just a few short paragraphs of background information and one question to answer each week: How did you experience God’s heart in this week’s reading?

One Focus

The focus all year is simply on getting to know God better though His Word. You can start at any time of year and use any Bible version.

Use the book on your own, or join with some others to read and get together to talk about what you’ve read. We can’t lead our children into a relationship with God that we don’t have. But getting to know God through His wonderful Word is a forever gift we can give our children and ourselves.


– Diane

Book Review—Faith Footprints With My Grandchild

With my grandchildren in two states, 750 miles apart, I don’t get to enjoy them together more than once or twice a year. But whenever they are together—even if I’m not present—the order of the day is “Get a picture of all four boys!”

Well, at first there were only three.

TheBoysResizedThen there were four. Here they are last summer, all recovering from a stomach bug at the beach.

TheBoys (2)ResizedAnd recently the cousins wowed Savannah—they were even color coordinated!

4 boysResizedYes, I love being a grandmother! [UPDATE: Now there are FIVE grandboys!!! Quite an adventure for this mom of two girls!]

Each Sunday afternoon I make certain I’ve got enticing lunch choices and “special treats” for the Reed, who comes here on Mondays. And in between trips to Savannah, I stash surprises to mail the other three.

We’ve got a stockpile of toys and books in several places around the house, and a little chest of drawers and a toddler bed in the back room.

And a trampoline in the backyard.

And a sandbox. And a water table.

And a climbing/sliding playset with a swing.

And yesterday we picked up a second-hand train table.

I could go on.

But here’s the thing: the best part of being a grandmother is the opportunity to leave a legacy. A faith legacy. An example of hope and trust in Jesus, set among a thousand memories of unconditional love.

It’s the parents’ responsibility and privilege to nurture faith in their children first, of course. But how wonderful of God to allow grandparents to have our children’s backs, to support and pray and love our children’s children! It’s an opportunity for our faith to grow and we help to grow faith in our grandchildren.

That’s why Mary Manz Simon’s new book appealed to me as soon as I saw it.FaithFootprintsFaith Footprints with My Grandchild: 52 Devotions, Activities, and Reflections would make a great Mother’s Day gift for any grandmother who wants to leave a faith legacy. It’s a year of short weekly messages based on Scripture and Mary’s own grandmothering experiences, faith-building activities to do with your grandchild (even faraway ones), and prayers.

There’s also generous space for journaling to respond to prompts like “When I think about my grandchild’s future, I . . .”  and “Knowing that my grandchild is a gift from God to our family means . . . .”

Grandmothering can be challenging at times. Mary acknowledges rocky family relationships, resistant grandkids, and every grandmother’s own personal imperfections, and she encourages us all to persevere with faith and grace.

A grandchild is a gift from God, and the time we give a grandchild is a gift we give ourselves, Mary says. God gives us another opportunity to view life through the eyes of a child, and each day becomes new again. We move further along our own faith journey with Jesus as we seek to leave a legacy of faith for our grandchildren.

You can see a sample from the book here.

Faith Footprints with My Grandchild
Broadstreet Publishing

5 x 0.4 x 7 inches, 160 pages


About These Reviews and Recommendations

My career as a children’s book editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director greatly influences my response to books. I have high standards for text, illustration, book design, and the purpose of a book.

I understand too that parents, grandparents, and others who buy books want and need good value in the books you choose. Your book budget is not unlimited.

I’m not writing these reviews as hype or promotion for fellow author’s books. I do care about helping authors—after all, I am one. I understand the effort authors pour into every book and the hopes they have for each one. The books I recommend, however, I’m choosing because of the merit I see in the book, no other reason.

I want to point you to the best books more than I want to point out books I don’t like, so I won’t be writing negative reviews. If I can’t support a book, I just won’t write about it. At times, however, I may note details or features I would have changed in a book I otherwise recommend. This is to help you make your own decisions about what books are right for your family.

– Diane

An Interview with Author Carol McAdams Moore

CarolCarol McAdams Moore loves Jesus, books, and kids—and connecting kids to Jesus through the books she writes.

Her innovative preteen devotional for boys, Dare U to Open This Book, won the 2015 Selah Award for Children’s Literature. There’s an equally engaging girls’ devotional too, titled Just Sayin’.

DareU   Sayin

Carol’s a wife, mom, and soon-to-be grandma! She’s a teacher and a thinker.

I’m happy to have this talented author here today!

Carol, how long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
In the Christian and education markets for about 12 years, but I started writing for my students long before that. Originally, I was a teacher of the hearing impaired. At that time, it was difficult to find books and articles that were a good match for my elementary students’ interests and their reading level. The college program I attended at Illinois State University had taught me to rewrite things already in print, and I got lots of on-the-job training in writing and rewriting.

What impact has teaching had on your writing?
I am surrounded by preteen readers all day. I see the kinds of books they read and the books they toss back on the shelf. I also have the awesome opportunity to see the things that are huge to kids —what things excite them, worry them, and challenge them.

Why did you decide to write about your faith?
My faith has always been huge in my life. In fact, I was called to exercise my faith as a college freshman. It is a long story, but I wanted with all my heart to teach children with hearing impairments. I almost missed that opportunity because of some well-intended advice. I had to wait two years to see if I would be accepted into the program I wanted. THAT was a time of much prayer, soul-searching, and waiting faith.

Now I think that God actually used the well-intended advice to test my heart for sincerity in serving Him and for me to grow in my faith. I want young readers to grow in their faith, too. I pray that my writing will influence them to do that.

Where did you get the idea for your devotional books?
One day my students were returning from a Scholastic Book Fair. I noticed that they all had a similar style of book, something that allowed them to write or doodle their responses to questions. They were so engaged with the books, we actually cancelled reading class that day so they could spend more time reading for fun.

I wondered why we didn’t have devotional books that engaged preteens in the same way and decided I wanted to write devotionals in the same format. Zonderkidz agreed with me, and in the fall of 2014, the books came out.

What do you most enjoy about writing for young people?
I love to see young readers explore ideas for themselves through reading. When kids are 10 to 12, they start to be challenged by their peers to follow the group instead of what they have been taught at home and at church. I love writing things that early readers, preteens, or teens can read on their own and be encouraged to grow in their faith and stand strong when they are challenged.

What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I hope to write more books for children and teens. Besides devotionals, I’d like to try my hand at writing fiction. In fact, I have some titles in both those genres that are in the works right now.

That’s fabulous! When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I love to spend time with my family. We have a very shy cat named Luna and a happy, energetic dog named Bear. I also love growing mammoth sunflowers that peek over our fence to tell the neighbors hi.

Sounds wonderful. I’d love to pay a visit and see those sunflowers!

Find my 5-star review of Carol’s devotionals here.
– Diane

Free Printable Charts and Matching Game for I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

Printable5A quick trip to visit the out-of-town grandboys = time to use the I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God free printables!

The coloring pages occupied Asher while Solomon and I organized the I AM matching game.

ColoringSol cut out the squares with the meanings of all forty names in the book.

Printable1Then he chose a square, read the meaning, and hunted for the name matching that description on the printable charts. I explained that one chart is Old Testament names and one is New Testament.

It took some thought …

Printable3When we made a match, we put the cutout square on top of the name on the chart.

Printable4We talked about why I AM is a name for God and for Jesus, looked up some of the stories in the book for clues, learned some things, and had fun! We only got halfway through the names before supper, so we’ll have to get in another session before it’s time for G and Bopba to return home!

Access your free printables on the Resources page!

– Diane

An Interview with Author Allia Zobel Nolan

allia best photo 1Allia Zobel Nolan is an internationally published author of 200 children’s and adult trade titles. Her books reflect her two main passions, God and cats.

Allia is one of my favorite people! Her books include such varied titles as Whatever Is Lovely; Thank You, God, from Kids Around the World; Hugs & Kisses, God, from Kids Around the World; The Beauty of Believing; Cat Confessions: A Kitty-Come-Clean Tell-All Book; The Ten Commandments for Little Ones; Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much; The Joy of Being Fifty (illustrated by Roz Chast), and The Worrywart’s Prayer Book.

One of Allia’s children’s books is Angels in the Bible Storybook.

Allia lives in Connecticut with her husband, Desmond Finbarr Nolan, and their feline children, Sineady Cat, the Fraidy Cat, and Nolan Nolan.

How long have you been writing for children, Allia, and how did you get started?
God, as He is so often wont to do, made lemonade out of lemons, which is how I got started writing for children. I was a journalist and an author of humorous cat books, when out of the blue, my retina detached.

I almost went blind. That’s the lemon part. Though God had a purpose for my going through this, it was a pretty scary time for me. Anyway, while I was recuperating, I went through a lot of my savings. So when I could see again, I answered an ad for an editor’s position at Reader’s Digest Children’s Books. I had been an editor for several kids’ magazines/newsletters. But I had never written a children’s book. Still, I applied, and got the job. It was only supposed to be until I got back on my feet. However, again, God had other ideas.

And that’s the lemonade part: I was so fascinated by the whole process of putting a children’s book together—and especially a Bible book for kids—that I got hooked. I loved the whole process—coming up with the idea, researching, writing the book, working with Scripture, collaborating with the designers on illustrations, watching the final art come in—it was the most marvelous thing I had ever experienced.

That when I realized this was what I was meant to do. This was what my whole life was leading up to.  That was about 15-plus years ago. Though I left Reader’s Digest to be on my own again, I never stopped creating children’s books and loving it … though I do vacillate from the divine to the feline and write cat books as well.

Can you tell us something about your writing process?
I really don’t have a process per se. I have a deadline and I write what I need to. I’m not one to spend a lot of time on outlines, though. I do have one writing tool I use when I’m blocked, which my husband suggested. And it works.

If I’m writing a long book and I get stuck, I don’t push it. Instead of staring at the computer, or going around in circles, I write the chapter title on top of the page, then write whatever comes into my head, nonstop, free flow, in no special order, complete with typos and format mistakes. Then I print out these notes, put them in a folder, and move on to the next chapter. Writing nonstop saves me from wasting time, and the freedom to put down anything and everything unblocks me. Some of what I’ve written eventually makes it into the chapter, and some doesn’t. But at least I have something to show for my day.

Why did you decide to write about your faith?
I think my decision was already made for me. I was led.

What gives you joy about writing?
I love to make people laugh, or failing that, at least make them smile. I love to leave them with a sense of hope and enthusiasm about God and the world. I love to remind them—and especially young children—that they are loved no matter what. And then of course, if I reach someone with my writing, I can’t ask for more.

One Amazon reader posted that his son was in the ICU and that he had a 10 percent chance of making it. His wife got a copy of my book I Love You the World, and the father wrote that he read the book to his boy every day. He ended his review with “I really believe that part of Jackson living came from us reading this book to him on a daily basis. I am grateful for this book, eternally grateful.”  Now that gives me joy!

Did you read a lot as a child? What were your favorite books?
I read everything and anything. My mother used to tell me to get my head out of a book and go get a job. I was twenty-three at the time. Actually, I read lots of poetry and fairy tales and novels; my father read us the Bible on Sundays. I loved Eloise at the Plaza and Matilda. My favorite book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

You have a special love for cats … and dogs too. Tell us about your animal family members.
Where to begin? Well, I absolutely love cats and I’ve written nine humor books about them. Recently, though, I lost two of my cats within six months of each other. As you might imagine, I was devastated. But the most amazing thing happened. I went to a rescue I don’t normally go to because I saw a cat on its website. The cat in question was not a good fit for my family, as I still have an older, timid cat. On my way out, I spied a tiny black kitten peeking out of his cage. (I wanted a black cat.)  I asked the adoption lady about him. “Oh,” she said, “you mean Nolan?”   Talk about a gift from God. I didn’t want a kitten (Nolan was five months at the time).  But how could I not adopt a cat who already had our name.  We call him Nolan Nolan, and he’s a dream!

Angels in the Bible Storybook includes fun facts about angels. What fascinated or amazed you most as you were researching and writing this book?
Two things threw me for a loop: the misinformation out there about angels (for instance, some people turn into angels when they die…NOT!) and the dearth of books focusing on the role God gave the angels in his overall plans. That’s why I was thrilled when we decided to include real facts, as well as introduce some not-as-well-known stories—stories that are compelling and exciting but don’t receive as much attention as favorites like Noah and Moses. I was also intrigued to read some scholars feel that in the stories that mention the Angel of the Lord, this is really the preincarnate Jesus, and not just a “regular” angel!

Do you have new projects underway?
Right now, I am working on excavating my office, which is a “creative” mess.  Sometimes, when I’m working on a big book, I let things slide. So I have to take some time to file and get things in order.

I am also working on a book about cats and heaven, a gift book, some children’s novelty book ideas, and a chapter book with a fat cat as its main character.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I read a lot, and then I read some more, and watch Downton Abbey and anything on PBS TV.  I teach chair aerobics on a volunteer basis to seniors at a convalescent home (two are 102 years young), I sing in the church choir, I am studying Spanish, and I keep in touch with friends I’ve had for ages … and I do mean ages. I also make earrings for fun. I am blessed, for sure.

Thanks, Allia! I hope you will keep writing for a very long time!

My 5-star review of Allia’s new Angels in the Bible Storybook is here.
To connect with Allia or learn more, visit


– Diane

I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

Tomorrow’s the official pub date for this new book. Isn’t the cover beautiful? I love how it sparkles.IAMAdvance600x700You can often guess someone’s age by considering their name. Diane, for example, was popular in the 1950s, so . . . that tells you something about me.

But God’s personal name? Well, it’s ageless. Just like him.

When Moses met God at the burning bush and received the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he wasn’t exactly thrilled at first. He peppered God with questions, including, “When I tell the people that I met you here and you gave me this assignment, they’re going to want to know your name. What should I tell them?”

The Israelites had just about forgotten who the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was.

But God hadn’t forgotten them. Not at all.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Ex. 3:14)

I AM WHO I AM. I always have been. I will always be. I will never change.

When God revealed his name to Moses, he used the Hebrew YHWH (the Hebrew language has no vowels). Some English Bible translations use Yahweh wherever God’s name occurs, but most follow the tradition of replacing Yahweh with “the LORD” (using large and small caps).

Eventually the term Jehovah appeared. It’s found throughout the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, and today many of the descriptions added to God’s name in the Bible are popularly known using Jehovah (for example, Jehovah Jireh, “The LORD Will Provide” and Jehovah Rophe, “The LORD Who Heals”)—even though Yahweh is a much more likely accurate pronunciation.

But however I AM is written or pronounced, it IS the name God gave us to tell us about himself. And it is the name Jesus used for himself when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58)!

Choosing a book title is rarely easy. Choosing a title for this book about the names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit took a long time. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tommy Nelson Publishing team that developed and settled on the title I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.

As our children and families go through the book together, may we all grow mightily in our understanding of who God is and our relationship with him!

– Diane

An Interview with Author Glenys Nellist

Author PhotoIs going to the mailbox a highlight of your day? (Maybe not if all you’re expecting is bills.) But what if you’re looking for a letter from someone special?

A love letter, perhaps!

Children especially love to receive and open mail. So a picture book filled with letters … love letters … love letters from God—what could be better?

That’s what Glenys Nellist decided, and her debut picture book Love Letters from God was published by Zonderkidz in 2014. (Read my review here.) Now there’s a lift-the-flap board book version too—Little Love Letters from God. It features rhyming text that toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy.

Glenys is a wife, mother of four sons, and grandmother to three little boys and one little girl. She also serves as children’s ministry coordinator for the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. I’m happy to welcome Glenys to my blog today!

Glenys, you grew up in England and have family there. Do you visit there often? What are your favorite things to do on visits home?

I was born and raised in a little village in northern England, where I lived until we came to the United States fifteen years ago. I am so blessed that I get to go back “home” every year, to visit my seven siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. Whenever we go back to England, we love to walk by the side of the canal where we lived (usually in the rain!), eat fish and chips—and Cadbury’s chocolate!

How did you come to live in the United States?

My husband is a pastor, and our denomination offers an international exchange program for pastors and their families who want to participate. Basically, this means that for six weeks, you swap pulpits, homes, and cars (that’s scary because you guys drive on the wrong side of the road!) with another pastor anywhere in the world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience life, culture, and ministry overseas.

In 1999 we asked our four young sons, where shall we go? Their immediate reply, in unison, was  “AMERICA!” (This was really because they wanted to visit Disney World.) So we came to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for the summer of 1999. We absolutely fell in love with the USA and the possibilities of ministry here, so much so that we came back one year later, and have been here ever since. But we still haven’t been to Disney World.

Did you read a lot to your children as they grew up? What were your favorite books?

I’m so glad you asked this question! Yes! As a primary school teacher in England, and an avid reader myself, our house was full of books. Our all-time favorite book was published in 1986, and I still have our battered copy. It was called The Jolly Postman, and told the wonderful story of a postman who delivered letters to nursery rhyme characters. Written in rhyme, its innovative feature was that the pages were actual envelopes that contained real letters.

I can still remember the joy of snuggling with my four young sons on the sofa as we poured over its pages, and the delight of my youngest son as he reached his chubby little hand inside the envelopes to take the letters out. It was this little book that would inspire me to write Love Letters from God.

Do you have more book projects underway?

Yes! I’m so happy to say that Christmas Love Letters from God and Girls’ Love Letters from God, along with their board book versions for toddlers, will soon be available. Beyond that, I have more Love Letter projects in the works and a new board book series, called Snuggle Time—Snuggle Time Prayers, and Snuggle Time Psalms—to be published later this year. God is good, and all the glory for the words I write goes to him.

What do you hope to be doing in five years?

I hope to be doing what God wants me to! But if it is part of his plan, then I’d love to have more adorable grandchildren (to add to the four I already have), be able to be writing more books, and perhaps live on a little lake, where we might have room for the wooden boats my husband builds in his spare time. (We are already up to boat number four, so living in the city is not very conducive to his hobby!)

Thank you for visiting, Glenys!

Zonderkidz is offering a free copy of Little Love Letters from God to readers of my blog! To be eligible to win, you must live in the US and have a street address (no PO boxes.) To enter, just post “I’d love to win” in a comment below. The giveaway will stay open through 11:59 pm EST on Friday, January 22.

Little Love Letters CoverWant to know more about Glenys and Little Love Letters from God? This post is part of a once-a-week blog hop. You’ll find the full blog hop schedule at Glenys’s website.

– Diane

10 Tips and a Book for POMs at the Holidays

Do you know any POMs—parents of missionaries?

(Not sure? Are you involved with missions efforts or agencies, or sending churches? Most of the missionaries you work with do have parents!)

Our family-oriented Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming, and they can be tough when beloved children and grandchildren are half a world or more away.

Even when you’re proud and happy to be a POM.

So I want to put in a little plug for a book I co-wrote in 2008 that is still selling and still helping POMs thrive and stay connected when their children and grandchildren serve cross-culturally.

In a recent issue of Tell magazine

In a recent issue of Tell magazine

You can see an outline of the contents and read reviews and endorsements and find links for purchasing the book here.

It would make a wonderful Christmas present for any POMs who don’t have a copy yet.

And I also want to offer some tips to POMs (or anyone else dealing with sadness or loss) for getting through the holidays intact.

Yes, you can.

If these would be helpful to anyone you know, feel free to copy and share! (Just be sure to include the copyright notice, please.)

Ten Tips for Getting Through the Holidays as a POM

1. Plan ahead to avoid exhaustion, which accentuates all other feelings of sadness or loss. How could you simplify Christmas this year?

2. Giving up the common expectation that throughout life we would be able to enjoy our adult children and our grandchildren is a loss, and losses must be grieved. Try to identify where you are in the grieving process.

3. Let go of the “oughts” of the season, including how you “ought” to feel. Just be yourself. It is normal to experience distress in the face of loss.

4. Brainstorm ways you can insure adequate personal and emotional support for yourself throughout the holidays. Some examples: Schedule personal “down time” throughout the season. Find a close friend who is willing to listen without judging. Have some extra “God time.”  Plan a new kind of holiday activity and invite others to join you.

5. Identify interpersonal issues within your family that need to be addressed before the holidays in order to prevent unwanted tensions.

6. Clarify your personal expectations about the holidays and communicate those to family members in advance to avoid misunderstanding, surprises, and disappointments. Learn the expectations of others. Find mutually agreeable solutions.

7. List all the good new things God has provided even as you have had to endure the absence of loved ones on the mission field.

8. List all the good things you can think of about having an adult child in missions.

9. Locate other POMs in your area. Work out a plan to stay in contact, even once a week, during the holidays. If possible, plan to attend together one event that everyone would enjoy.

10. Find news ways to include your missionary children and grandchildren in your celebration or to be a part of theirs. Make your own “books on tape” for grandchildren, write and send an email “journal” about holiday preparations and activities, open gifts together while on the phone, learn to send digital photos, invite your children’s friends to join your celebration. Think creatively and plan ahead.

© 2003, 2006, 2014 Diane Stortz and Cheryl Savageau

– Diane