24 Sweet Valentine Books For Kids

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Here’s a list of some of my favorite books to read on this sweetest of holidays. I discovered some new books which I’m excited to introduced to my kiddos as well.

Tthe-ballad-of-valentine-imagehe Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson

I found this little gem while browsing through the library with my kiddos. It’s a clever rhyming book that will keep kid and adult amused.

Val615XNP452HL._SL500_AA300_entine’s Day Is……. by Gail Gibbons

Not only does this book illustrate all of the different things we do to celebrate this special day. It gives you a history lesson on the origins of Valentine’s Day. Great book!

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The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting

This is one of my all-time favorite books for Valentine’s Day written by one of my favorite children book’s authors. Mr. and Mrs. Bear wake up mid-hibernation to give each other very special Valentine Day gifts. This is a must read.

61y1S0dr26L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Snowy Valentine by David Peterson

I put this at the top of my list because I just love this sweet book. Jasper Bunny wants to find his wife, Lilly, a very special Valentine’s Day gift. The ending is a sweet surprise.

Kissing handThe Kissing Hand by Audry Penn

I remember Lily’s teacher reading this book on her first day of Pre-K.  I really love this book and am reading it for H’s Pre-K co-op coming up soon.

Guess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_ArtGuess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Who doesn’t love this book? This is a must for any library.

I’d Kidknow youanywherenow You Anywhere My Love by Nancy Tillman

I found this book while browsing around Barnes and Nobles with The Hubs. It caught my eye because it is written by the same author who wrote On the Night You Were Born, one of my all-time favorite children’s books. I like this book just as much. It’s about the love we parents have for our kids. The book reminds me of Lulu and H who are always pretending to be someone or something else, just like the child in this book. I highly recommend this one. The Nancy Tillman also gives us the illustrations which are captivating as well.

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Valentine Surprise by Corinne Demas

The main character, Lily, is trying to make the perfect Valentine for her mom. The end result  is absolutely perfect to mom.

II-Love-You-Night-and-Day Love You Night and Day by Smriti  Prasadam Halls

This book reminds me a little bit of I’d Know You Anywhere My Love. It’s heartwarming and the  illustrations are a bit more cartoonish. This is a great book for Valentine’s Day or before bed reading.

The Dathe day it rained heartsy It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

This is another gem I found while browsing at Barnes and Noble.

biggest kissThe Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot

I really enjoyed this book and the one below (by the same author).

Tperfect hughe Perfect Hug by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot

plant-a-kiss   Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Sweet and simple.  My kids loved this one, too.

I enjoyed reading these next set of books. I know my kids will love them because of the characters and what I know will capture my kids’ (and most kids’) interests. Some of these books have familiar characters that I know my kids will be drawn to.

Big HBig Hugs Little Hugsugs, Little Hugs  by Felicia Bond

I actually read this book this week to L and H while they were eating breakfast. Perfect for little ones.

there's no one I love like you

There’s No One I Love Like You by Jutta Langreuter

This a book with a lesson. Bunny doesn’t appreciate his family until he lives somewhere else. This book would make a great discussion starter for being grateful and having a good attitude.

There WaOld ladys An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Rose by Lucille Colandro

This one is just plain funny and very entertaining.

fancy nancy

Fancy Nancy Heart to Heart by Jane O’Connor

We like all the Fancy Nancy books! This is right up Lulu’s alley.

Pete the CatPete the Cat Valentine’s Day Is Cool by James Dean and Kimberly Dean

To be honest, I’d never read a Pete the Cat book. I’ve been missing out. Pete realizes that thinking of others and giving thoughtful valentines to his friends is super cool!!

Dinosaurs UnderpantsDinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman 

Okay, this isn’t so much a Valentine’s book as it has the word LOVE in the title. I think every boy (and girl) would love this silly and creative book read to them on Valentine’s Day. Did you know that wearing underpants is why the dinosaurs went instinct??? Neither did I! This is a super fun book.

The Nthe night before valentines dayight Before Valentine’s Day  by  Natasha Wing

Join this delightful class as they get ready for their special holiday celebration.

Havalentine curious georgeppy Valentine’s Day,  Curious George  by N. Di Angelo

Little H loves Monkey George (as he calls him)! This is a sweet book.

Lovbook_loveYouWhene You When by Linda Kranz

This one really caught my eye. What great photographs of real rocks with loving messages painted on them.

It's valentines dayIt’s Valentine’s Day by Jack Prelutsky

This is a fun book of Valentine’s  poems that Lulu loved reading to me!

little critterHappy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer

We (Little H) are IN LOVE with the Little Critter books right now. This is right up his alley!

Happy Reading!

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My 2017 Book Challenge

If you’ve been following my blog for a bit you know I love books.

I’m excited to share my personal book reading goal for 2017 and I’d love for you to join in or at least be inspired to read more than you did last yer.

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It’s hard to find time to read these days. Starting a book club and meeting monthly has really helped me make reading one of my priorities. You can read about why book club is just about my favorite thing here and how to start a book club of your own here.

I was reading at least one a book a month since I started a book club four years ago. Last year was the first time I actually set a concrete goal for myself. My goal was to read 24 books in 2016. 2 books per month. For some, that may not seem like a lot. With all the other things that fill my plate, though, this was going to stretch me a bit.

I almost made it! I read 23 books. Now, I don’t want to set the same exact goal. I want to stretch myself just a tad further.

My Reading Goad for 2017 is to read 30 Books.

That comes out to 2 1/2 books per month. I’ve got two books under my belt and working on number three.

There are certain books I have on my wish list that I really want to read this year. But I’m so excited to see which great books I stumble upon along the way.

Here’s a few of my must reads this year:

*Finish the Harry Potter series. I’ve read the first 3 and have 4 more to read. (The last 4 are quite long, by the way!)

*I have a few books I want to reread. At the top of my list is a book I read long ago and is one of my all-time favorites, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

*I also want to read more classics. 20,00 Leagues Under The Sea and Fahrenheit 451.

*I want to read a biography.

*There are about 50 books on my Amazon wishlist as well!

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time!

(Can I get that made into a T-shirt??)

What are your reading goals? Do you have suggestions on what I should read? How about a biography suggestion? I’d love for you share in the comments.

Happy Reading!

25 of My Favorite Christmas Books

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know my love of books, right? So, I’ve compiled an awesome list of Christmas picture books that we love and have read (time and again) at our house. Enjoy ! Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!!

(Most of these are available on Amazon and many I’ve requested from the library.)

1::Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson

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2::Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

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3::The Legend of The Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

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4::The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

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5::The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall

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6:: Good King Wenceslas:: Original song lyrics by John Mason Neale and Illustrated by Omar Rayyan

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7:: The Littlest Christmas Tree by R.A. Herman

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8:: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer

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9:: Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

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10:: Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

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11::The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston  This has turned out to be one of my personal favorites.

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12:: Corduroy’s Christmas by Don Freeman  A Lift – The – Flap Book

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13:: Room for a Little One:: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell

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14:: Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev

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15:: The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Douglas Gorsline

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16:: The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by  David Delamare

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17:: We wish you a Merry Christmas by Merle Solomon; illustrated by Lisa Alderson

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18:: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren

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19:: J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

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20:: The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

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Some new ones I’m trying out this year:

21::The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth by Dandi Daley Mackall

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22::Santa Clause and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno

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23::The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

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24:: Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean

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25:: The Little Fir Tree by Jim Lamarche

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What We Are Reading This Month:: November

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I must admit, I haven’t done as much reading the last couple of months as I had planned. And with all the rainy days we’ve had, you’d think I’d be curled up on the couch, sipping tea with my nose in a book. Truth is, I’ve fallen asleep every single time I’ve sat down to read. It could be 10 am or 2 in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter. And if it’s past 8:30 p.m…… well, just forget it.

So, to not have an extremely short list, I’m including what myself and the kiddos read in October as well as what we plan to read in November.

 

Jen:

I read………

a-man-called-ove-9781476738024_hrA Man Called Ove  by  Fredrik Backman     This was our book club pick for October and it was one of my favorite of this year. I was in tears in several parts. (This is good crying, though.) Love comes in all sorts of unexpected packages. This book reminded me to keep my heart open and appreciate the ones I love-now. It did have some language in it. I feel I have to mention that. For me, it didn’t distract me from the story at all, though. And I liked enough to lend it to a friend.

 

 

97c6c8cdc6b630da79d92086d1b8d44a-harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-1468344278Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowlings As I mentioned in My Summer Reading List post, I’m working through the Harry Potter books. This is the one I’m currently reading.

 

 

 

I’m going to read……….

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Simply Tuesdays by Emily P. Freeman I’m just starting this one and really excited to dig into it during November

 

 

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All the Light We Cannot See by  Anthony Doerr  This is our next book club pick. Because November was too busy we pushed book club out to December and so I have a few extra weeks to tackle this book. Good thing, it’s one of the longer books we’ve chosen. I don’t much about the book; but have heard from several people that it is a really good read. Fingers crossed.

Lily:

She read………..

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Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder  We had already started reading the Little House series and were a couple of books in when Lily started her fall co-op classes. One class is reading through the whole series and doing activities to go along with each book. We are just finishing up Farmer Boy and really enjoying it.

 

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Caleb’s Story by Patricia MacLachlan

 

 

She is going to read……
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By the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 

 

 

Henry:

harry-the-dirty-dog-book-coverHarry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion    There are more Harry picture books we’ve found at the Library like No Roses for Harry! and Harry by the Sea. How did I miss these books? They are absolutely wonderful!

 

 

downloadFroggy Books by Jonathan London     Okay, I’m in love with these sweet little books. There is one for every thing my little guy is experiencing. Froggy Goes to the Dentist, Froggy Plays Soccer, etc. We love these books.

 

 

And of course, there are pumpkin books. I have a list of some of my favorite pumpkin picture books here.

I added a few new favorites this year:

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Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

 

 

 

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Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy

 

 

I haven’t really decided what we will read with H during November. I will pick a lot of great Thanksgiving picture books, though. If I come across an especially good one, I’ll probably post it on Instagram or Face Book page.

 

Happy Reading!

My Summer Reading List

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Truth be told, I did not read nearly as much as I wanted to this summer. My stack is short even though I have 2 or 3 books going at once. Lately, every time I stop to read, I fall asleep.

Oddly enough, now that fall is here, I’m actually reading a bit more. I’m still falling asleep a lot, though. Since I didn’t post any reading updates this summer, I’m doing so today.

I want to share my wee little list because I think they were all good reads. I would recommend every one. The first one on my list was my very favorite. Now, if you haven’t reached the golden age of 40, (Say, you are in your 20’s still.) you may not appreciate this first book as much. But, Jen Hatmaker is as funny as they come and I would still recommend the book to anyone of any age.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

The next 3 were read for book club:

The Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

The Testament by John Grisham

From page one I couldn’t put this book down. I really, really enjoyed it. And I have to say, it did not end how I thought. I love the books that surprise me.

Brain on Fire  by Susannah Cahalan

This is the author’s true story of how essentially her body turned on her brain and attacked it. For a month, it was truly like she had gone completely mad. The doctor that finally diagnosed her correctly saved  her life. This book was fascinating.

Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.  So I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies, out of order. But I had never read the books. Boy, was I missing out. I’ve just finished the second one and am about to start the third, The Prisoner of Azkaban. J.K. Rowling’s ability to describe all these delightful details makes it so much fun to read. She really is a great story teller.

I know the books get darker as they go along (because I’ve seen the movies). That is part of the reason I wanted to read them. My 8 year old is expressing a desire to read them and I want to check them out first. For my daughter, I think she is too young to read them now.

In the mean time, as an adult, I am thoroughly enjoying them so far. So, my goal is to read a book and then watch the movie. I’m going to work my way through all of them. It will take awhile; but I’m in no hurry. A girlfriend of mine loves this series and we are going watch some of the movies together and have a girl’s night.

Books I started; but haven’t finished:

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Simply Tuesdays by Emily Freeman

Have a good book you think I should read? I’m always on the prowl for something new to read.

Happy Reading!

How to Host a Book Club

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How do I begin to describe my love for book club? It’s deep, friends. I would even go so far as to say it is a necessity in my life. Food, shelter, family, medicine, coffee, book club. Yeah, it’s up there.

I love to read and this is my excuse to make the time to do it. We have also built this small, but amazing, tribe of friends. My book club girls are pretty important to me. Since book club began we’ve shared about 36 meals, had 4 babies, celebrated 3 bookclubversaries, talked about everything under the sun from diapers to marrying off sons to “how we met our husband” stories to who saves their kid’s baby teeth. We’ve laughed a ton and shared a lot of our lives with each other. Oh and we’ve read books, too. (And have had some pretty deep conversations about them.)

Doesn’t that make you want to start your own book club?? I thought so. So, I’m here to share how my friend Rachel and I started this book club, how we run it and a really great list of books to get you started.

It started with a conversation between my friend Rachel and I. “I’ve always wanted to be in a book club.” “Me, too.” “Let’s start one.” “Ok, let’s do it!” A mass Face Book message went out to friends who we thought might be interested. Rachel picked the book and we had dinner at her house, everyone contributing part of the meal. And Book Club was born. There were 6 of us. We read Cutting for Stone and it was wonderful.

Rachel moved away not long after that first meeting; but we are still going strong. 3 1/2 years later with 12 lovely ladies. I’m so thankful for Rachel’s friendship, her love of books and that we started this adventure together.

I’m going to share how we run our book club and hopefully this will give you some ideas if you are wanting to start your own.

How Often Do We Have Book Club?

We have book club once a month (usually on a Friday night) and take Decembers off.

Where Do We Have Book Club?

We take turns hosting.  We don’t have a rotation or anything and not all of us are able to host. I think we’ve been to each person’s house by now and some of us host more often than others. It’s whoever is available that month.

Do We Have Dinner, Wine or Dessert?

All of the above! I know book clubs are generally known for having wine. Not that we’re opposed to it; but usually it’s dinner and dessert. Sometimes, just dessert. Since I’m the facilitator, I send out an evite about a week before we meet. The hostess and I talk about ideas for dinner and I put a sign up for food on the evite. We love to eat! Some of us are dangerously good bakers and so we get spoiled with some amazing food.

How Do We Pick The Book?

Ours is more of a group effort. If you happen to find a book that sounds good, you share it. We usually have a handful of suggestions and then we try to pick two books at a time. We do this because some girls like to get a head start on the next book for the next month. This works for us.

What do we actually do at book club?

As far as a schedule, it’s pretty simple. Eat. Talk about life. Discuss Book. Talk some more. Laugh. Talk. You get the jist. When we first started, I would print out questions and ask them. It helped me at first; but after awhile it felt more natural to just jump in and start talking about the book. I think as you get going and get to know your members better, that part is the easiest. The conversation just seems to flow naturally. Some books lend themselves to better conversations than others.

Sometimes, the books will have discussion questions in the back, which is nice. This is a site I used at the beginning to help me get started litlovers.com

Here are some other ideas from other book clubs:

*I have friends whose book clubs meet every 6 weeks instead of 4.

*One friend’s club has each member take a turn picking the book and it has to be a book that person has already read. We don’t like to do this so it’s new for everyone; but there were a few sketchy books picks I wish we had know about ahead of time. Oh, well. It led to some lively conversations!!!

Do We Ever Read A Dud?    

There are a couple of times where we’ve read a book that none of us really like. Maybe the plot was weak or the characters were not relateable. We can usually learn from even the “misses” we read. Sometimes we may not love the story; but the writing is excellent. I promised the girls I would mention our least favorite book, Serena. Talk about an unlikable character!!! Half the time I wanted to punch her in the face. I’m not kidding. There was not much redeeming in any of the characters. The book was well written, though. We all still laugh about how much we did not like the book.

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Master List:

I had to pool the girls for this list because I had forgotten many of these. Everyone has different tastes in literature so what I personally love, you may not enjoy but……… I did put our favorites at the top of the list asking the girls which were their favorites. Though they are in no particular order, the first 10 were our collaborative favorites. (For instance, #31 was not my least favorite. I really enjoyed the Winter Garden; it just happened to be at the end of the list.)

If you are thinking of starting a book club, do it! I hope the tips above and list below will help get you started.

  • And to Kim, Kelly, Dori, Alex, Lori, Louise, Renee, Sarah, Sara, Jennie, Angie and Angela, thanks for making book club such a special thing, for all the great food, conversation and inside jokes we share.
  • Rachel, thank you for your friendship and staring this whole thing with me 3 1/2 years ago.
  1. The Book Thief
  2. Cutting for Stone
  3. Wonder
  4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  5. The Scarlet Pimpernell
  6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Our whole bookclub wanted to move together to live on the island in this book! We really liked this book!!)
  7. The Secret Life of Bees
  8. Unbroken
  9. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
  10. Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me
  11. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  12. The Dressmaker
  13. Still Alice
  14. Serena
  15. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  16. Sister Chicks
  17. Snow Falling on Cedars
  18. The Residence
  19. Station Eleven
  20. A Severe Mercy
  21. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  22. The Zoo Keeper’s Wife: A War Story
  23. The Known World
  24. The Kitchen House
  25. Bridge to Haven
  26. The Mourning Hours
  27. My Sister’s Keeeper
  28. Gulp
  29.  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
  30. Shanghai Girls
  31. Winter Garden

A Much Needed Pep Talk

I’m reading a book, Curious Faith, by Logan Wolfram. You can order here on Amazon; but I offered to do book review and received it in the mail a few months ago.

As I was reading, this portion popped out at me and I just parked there for a few minutes. I wanted to share it with you.

You aren’t what you do. Your profession isn’t who you are. You aren’t defined by your roles; career woman, wife, mom, sister, brother, husband, etc. Those are gifts you have, and they are purposes that you fulfill. But, they don’t define the core of your being. You aren’t the sum of your mistakes, or the messed up identity you once wore like an albatross around your neck. Your identity is simple. It’s clear. Your identity (I highlighted this part in the book.) is purely who God says you are. Beautiful, redeemed, renamed, engraved on the hands of Christ where you will never be forgotten.

Let’s just all breath a collective sigh of relief, okay? In our busyness, in our failure to see ourselves how God sees us, when we listen to the lies Satan feeds us instead of the truth Christ offers us, we have forgotten how truly precious we are to God. At least I forget.

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Your failed business doesn’t define you. Your mistakes as a parent don’t define you. Your broken marriage or your marriage that is breaking doesn’t define you. Your weight or beauty doesn’t define you.

Your thriving business doesn’t define you. The success of your kids or where they go to college doesn’t define you.  Your life that is bursting with friends and your busy social calendar doesn’t define you. Your beautiful home that everyone ooh’s and aah’s over doesn’t define you.

This isn’t us.  It’s not what we do. It’s who we are at the core. And who we are at the core is who God made us to be. WE are so “beautifully ad wonderfully made” that he died on the cross for our sins so we didn’t have to. He wants, desires, yearns to have a personal relationship with each one of us.

I so often forget that who I am as  a person isn’t defined by how well my children behave, how put together I look or how others view me. I was so grateful for this reminder. And so I want to pass the reminder on to you.

Take this simple truth today where ever you are at in your life.

Hear this: God Loves You!

He loves who you are at the core. That may be battered and bruised and messy; but he loves you. All of you. All of me.

Take the lies we feed to ourselves “that we don’t measure up” and replace them with the truth “that we are more than enough because He says so.”