Following God One Step at a Time

How to Know You Are Loved

I can help you know that you are loved.

What I remember about being loved as a child,

is when my grandmother, my only English-speaking grandmother,

would see me, her face would light up, she would smile,

and she would say, “Janet, my sweetie-pie!”

I knew she loved me.

— Do you have someone who greets you like this?

How I know that my parents loved me,

I remember all the times I was very sick,

even as an adult, and they would come and take care of me.

— Do you have someone who takes care of you when you are sick?

I know that my husband loves me,

because every day, he hugs and kisses me, and says, “I love you”,

and he says, “You are beautiful”.

— Do you have someone who says, “I love you” and gives you hugs and kisses?

Without knowing you well,

I know you are loved, if you are a Christian. 

And if you are not a Christian, I know how you can be loved.


1 Jn. 3:1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”

You see, if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, your Lord and Savior,

then His Father (God) lavishes love on you, so you are called a child of God;

God loves His children.

John 13:34-35   34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Here Jesus says to love one another, as He has loved His disciples.

That is how people will know we are followers of Jesus, that we love each other.

These are just two Scriptures that speak of God’s love for Christians,

people who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Not everyone is a child of God. 

Not everyone is a disciple (follower) of Jesus.  

But everyone can have this love, just by being baptized in the name of Jesus,

and acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God, and our Lord and Savior.

So, if you are not a Christian, but you want God’s love,

get to a Christian church as soon as you can,

and tell one of the ministers that you want to be baptized! 

There is no reason to wait.

Becoming a believer in Jesus Christ, is something no one should avoid. 

Becoming a believer is simple,  

and gaining God’s love is a gift to all believers in Jesus Christ. 

Baptism is a sign that you are now His believer.

When you come up out of the baptism water,

you will feel the joy of Jesus Christ and feel His love!

It is such a joyful moment that I still recall, when I was baptized 25 years ago. 

My life was changed that day! 

Much like my life changed when my first child was born. 

That day I became a mother, my life was changed.

I loved my child more than my own life.

The day I was baptized, I became a Child of God! 

And since then, I wake up every day, knowing I am loved by God.

Do you have a memory that tells you that you are loved?

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Book Review — Into the Magic Shop

This is my book review of “Into the Magic Shop” by James R. Doty, MD

This book is a memoir written by a neurosurgeon,

so I expected it to be technical and difficult to understand.

Surprise!  It was easy and fun to read. 

There were only a couple sections of technical explanation about the brain.

I would not recommend this book for Christians.

The author does not believe in God.

Even though he is talking about spiritual things, he does not relate his story to God at all.

If you want to read this book as a self-help book, it can be useful.

I do not believe that this book is about magic, despite the title.

The techniques he learned from the woman at the magic shop,

are similar to prayer or meditation, but he sees it as both magic and science.

This is such a good true life story, fascinating to read.

It is disappointing that the author does not come to believe in God,

after all the things he experienced in his life.

He was protected throughout his life, despite not being well cared for by his parents.

He seems to believe that these techniques “saved” him.

He learned relaxation techniques, meditation, and visualization.

He explains each technique, how he learned it, and how he used it in his life.

The techniques he learned helped him get through school, and help him as a doctor today.

The author talks about the importance of using both your brain and your heart.

He says that your heart has intelligence,

and influences your brain, your emotions, and your choices.

He uses his life to explain why we should not

go through life making our decisions from only the brain.

He lived his life that way, and things went well for a while, but then fell apart.

He later finds his heart, and uses it to change his life.

He says that he found only one way to get happiness from wealth, to give it away.

If you have too much stress in your life, or your thoughts are scattered not focused,

or you have lots of negative thoughts about yourself,

then you could learn a lot of helpful ways to improve your life, both emotionally and physically.

These self-help techniques could help reduce your fear, anxiety, and worry.

My only criticism of this book, is that God is left out of the story.

It is a book about the author’s life, and his thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes,

yet I do believe that God was involved in his life,  but he chose not to believe.

He says he now lives with compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, humility, integrity, and kindness.

This sounds very similar to what the Bible teaches.

The author believes that the heart changes everything.

I would say that the heart is a physical organ that beats to keep us alive,

but the heart that changes everything, is actually God.

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in order to write a review.  The opinions are my own.)

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Frustrated with Politics

I am frustrated with politics.  Are you?

There are so many lies and name calling and egos getting spread around.

So many false promises are being made.

The election is more than 1 year away, so we will only get more of this stuff!

What is the answer?

We can’t depend on Congress or the Supreme Court.

They haven’t done much to stop all the violence in our country in the last decade.

They haven’t done much to end poverty here either.

I want to focus more on what I can do, what my church can do, what some charities do.

We have the real chance to change things for the better.

We have more control over what gets done in our homes, in our churches, in our neighborhoods.

So, yeah, you say, but what can we actually do?

We can pray.  We can get neighbors together to talk about fixing up the neighborhood.

We can ask neighbors to volunteer to help those who are sick or elderly or poor,

by painting their house, mowing their lawn, fixing a leak in their roof…

We can join a ministry at our church to help others, to collect school supplies,

to collect new shoes for the homeless…

We can change hearts.  We can show people the love of Jesus.

Politics can’t do that.

So let’s forget all the empty political promises, and start doing things that Jesus wants us to do.

Let’s forget the empty political promises, and do things that Jesus wants us to do!

— Pray for those in need.  Love God with all your heart and mind and strength.

— Try not to be resentful, jealous, bitter or angry.

— Do not be legalistic. Forgive others.   Be a good Samaritan.

These were some of my own ideas, but I wanted more ideas,

 and I found this advice –  15 Ways to Live with Compassion


Where you can find a place of rest

Sabbath is your time of rest…

Jesus is your place of rest.    Butterfly

Jesus comforts (whatever pain you are in).

Jesus holds.  (Lay down in His arms.)

Jesus forgives (every sin).

Jesus brings peace (quieting your mind from worries).

Jesus loves (with all His heart).

Jesus takes us out of darkness (by shining His light).

Jesus calls your name. (He knows you personally.)

Jesus makes you holy and blameless in God’s eyes.  (from Ephesians 1:4 shown below)*

Jesus walks with you every step. (Follow Him.)

Jesus strengthens you (so after rest, you can get up and do what you need to do).

Jesus gives you rest  (whenever you go to Him in prayer).

*Note:  Ephesians 1:4 “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” … through Jesus Christ (1:5)…

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Book Review of “Making It Home”

This is my review of “Making It Home” by Emily Wierenga.

This book is a sequel of Emily’s earlier memoir, “Atlas Girl”, which I thoroughly enjoyed.


I was eager to read her new book, “Making It Home”, because I love reading memoirs, and enjoyed reading her previous book, “Atlas Girl”. Also, this book is partly about Emily and her husband being foster parents to two boys, and I was wondering if my husband and I should be foster parents, now that we are empty nesters.  I have decided, after reading this book, that we should not be foster parents.  Instead we are sponsoring several kids from other countries.  I am thankful to Emily for helping me make that decision.

Emily writes her memoirs to read like a novel, as if she is telling someone else’s story.  Yet that someone is a good friend of hers, but one she gets annoyed with a lot.  Although this book is a sequel, Emily still recounts stories from her childhood.  She struggles with trying to forgive her dad for not paying enough attention to her growing up.  She describes herself as a “lonely homeschooled minister’s daughter”.   Being a minister took up most of her dad’s time.  Her parents were missionaries, so part of her childhood was spent in Africa, and Emily still feels strong ties there, so she does recount a recent trip back to Africa.

She has been a writer for years, yet she feels dissatisfied by her writing.  She thought she would be happy when she published a book.  She hasn’t made much money from writing.  She isn’t famous.  Somehow she is unsettled by this.  Should she stop writing?  At one point she is so frustrated that she decides, she is done writing for hours and not getting paid for it.  Her two boys wear second hand clothes, and play with toys from the thrift store.  She tries to write when they are napping or at night when they are sleeping.  She keeps thinking she needs to do more than be a mom, but she is not happy struggling to be a mom, a wife, and a writer.  Her husband tries to tell her that she is a blessing to him and the kids, and she doesn’t have to be a writer, if it is going to make her cry so much.

The first part of the book is about her dissatisfaction with her life.  It is a bit whiny, and a bit depressing.  I will say that the ending of the book is happy.  It is worth finishing the book, so you can celebrate with her.  You will learn at the end how her charity, “The LuLu Tree” came about, and about the child that comes into their life.  Yes, by the end of the book, Emily is happy. 

I am glad I read this book.  I know Emily better, and it confirms what I learned as a stay at home mom, that God and family are so much more important and fulfilling than any secular job.  I was a stay at home mom for several years, and then worked part-time while my kids were in school.  I am so glad I stayed home and spent more time with my kids.   If I did not have children, then fulfillment could have been through working for God, and helping others.  Children change your whole life perspective.  I think that is part of what Emily struggled with, and she shares that struggle in her book. 

Emily is going to take a break from writing and focus on her family for a while.  I totally understand this.  She is young.  She can always return to writing later, if she wants to, when her kids are in school.

Enjoy your family, Emily.  You won’t regret it!

To buy the book “Making It Home”, or read a bit of it, go to Amazon.

To check out her previous book “Atlas Girl”, go to Emily’s page.

(I received a free copy of this book from Baker Publishing, in order to review it.  The opinions are entirely my own.)

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How Can We Help Refugees ?

There are so many refugees seeking a new place to call home,

so many wars causing people to flee to other countries for safety.

This year, the greatest numbers of refugees are from Syria,

like the family whose child was found dead on the beach.

There are also large numbers of refugees from Russia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Wars are sending people out of their homeland, looking for peace and safety.

Germany alone expects 800,000 refugees to seek asylum there this year.

One group or person cannot solve this problem, not even the Pope.

It is now up to the countries nearby in Europe,

but we know that national governments are not the most caring.

They have too much red tape, and move slowly,

preventing many refugees from living anywhere but a camp.

These camps are not a safe home.

Who can solve this problem?  Only God knows.

That is why, I am proposing that we pray for the refugees.

—> Pray for what you would want if you had to flee your home,

and travel to a new country to find safety.

Do not think that prayer is a weak solution.

Prayer is powerful!  Prayer can change lives!  I have seen it work.

Many people praying are a strong force of change!

On Monday evening, September 14, thousands of women are going to pray.

Won’t you join us?

The night is called IF:Pray.

The groups gathering to pray are for women, but men could pray at home,

or in their own groups.

You can find a women’s prayer group near you on this map.

(I will be at the IF:Pray Tomoka event in Ormond Beach, Florida.)

Also the event can be livestreamed from IF:Pray in Orlando, Florida.

Watch it at on September 14th at 8pm EST.

For more information about IF:Pray, go here.

If you believe that God is powerful;

If you believe that God can do miracles,

Then pray!

Pray that the refugees find a safe place for their families to live.

Pray that governments find a fair way to settle refugees

in the countries that can afford to assimilate them,

like Italy, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, England and Sweden.

Pray that caring families will help them settle in these countries,

welcoming them in their churches , providing food, and helping them find a job.

Pray for generosity to the refugees.

Perhaps the refugee situation will urge people to care.

Something needs to make us care for the weak, the lost, the persecuted.

We all can be part of the solution.

If you are still saying, “I Want To Help More!”

you can read this blog post from Ann Voskamp,

listing charities that are helping refugees.

I will continue to pray until refugees are safe.  Let us pray –

Father God, as your children, we have come to ask for a favor.

This is not a small favor, but we know that you are bigger than any problem.

We have seen and heard about people who have no safe place to live.

Thousands of these people have died trying to find a safe place.

Please bring them to a safe place to live.

God, would you bless them with peace?  Would you give them shelter?

Would you bring them food, and water and clothes?

This need is heavy on my heart God, and I think this is a problem that only you can solve.

These refugees are so desperate that they risk their lives and the lives of their children,

trying to get to a safe place.  Please protect them in their travels.

Please put caring people along their way, to help them.

Hear their cries for help, God!  Hear our cries asking you to help them.

There is no true God but you.  We have no one else to turn to.

Please God help them.  And yes, LORD, I will help if you show me what to do.

And I will keep praying for them, until they are all safe.

Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer.

Please grant me this favor that I ask for these strangers, these refugees.

I know you will find ways to answer my prayer.

I wait in expectation of your answer, because I know you are a loving God.



Book Review of a Kid’s book

I don’t usually review kid’s books,

but this one looked really good!

Janet ThePlansIHave cover

It has great illustrations with bright colors!

I really enjoyed the book,

and I think children about 3 to 7 would enjoy it,

even 2 year-olds would enjoy looking at the pictures!

It’s “The Plans I Have For You” by Amy Parker,

and illustrated beautifully by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

The premise of the book is that God has a plan for each of us.

It is based on Jeremiah 29:11″For I know the plans I have for you…”

Many different occupations are illustrated as possibilities,

like a doctor or zoo keeper, or dancer or chef, and more.

I definitely recommend this book for kids!

It will be available September 18, 2015, but can be preordered here!

(I am required to let you know I got a free copy of this book from the publisher, through BookLook Bloggers.  The opinions are entirely my own.)

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Book Review Walking With God

I have plenty of books to read.

I get free ones from publishers to review.

I check out books from the library.

I download free books to my Kindle.

Last weekend, I was at church, and I had some time to wait for my husband.

 I decided to wait in the church library,

although I really didn’t need a book to read.

People donate books to the church library,

and anyone can borrow one and return it when they are done reading it,

or they can keep it and donate another book.

I browsed the shelves and found a gem –

“Walking with God” by John Eldredge.

Cover WalkingWithGod

I was familiar with this author,

so his name in a red banner across the top of the book got my attention.

The title made me bring the book home –

Walking with God.

I am not quite finished reading it,

but I just had to tell you about it!

This book is not new, but the subject is timeless.

It is about returning to the relationship that Adam and Eve originally had with God.

They walked with Him, and talked with Him, in the Garden.

We were meant to have this relationship with God.

Wouldn’t you like to walk and talk with God?

Sin has put distance between us and God.

We try to hide our faults from God and from other people.

We might be able to fool some people,

but God knows where we are, and who we are, and

He loves us anyway.

This book is the real deal.

It really tells you how to walk and talk with God.

As soon as I started to read the book,

I whooped with joy!

I grabbed it and started to pray.

The author says that there is no single one solution to life’s problems,

except for Jesus.

Isn’t one solution better than all those To Do lists and New Year resolutions?

I have so many lists I can’t find them anymore.

I do know Jesus.  I can always find Him.

I pray to Him now, but I am still learning to walk with Him.

Another important point the author tells us,

is that when we walk with God, we need to follow Jesus,

and let Him lead.

We can’t run ahead of Him, looking back to see if He is following.

We must let Him lead, and we follow Him.

This makes more sense if you picture yourself as one of His sheep.

Sheep can get into trouble if they wander ahead of the shepherd.

Evil is lurking, waiting to grab a sheep wandering by itself.

The safest place for sheep, is next to the shepherd.

I am using this truth from the book,

to encourage me to pray each morning before breakfast.

If I am going to follow Jesus,

 it makes sense to start the conversation with Him first thing in the morning,

 at the start of my day in prayer.

Another issue the author points out is that talking to God

is supposed to be a two-way conversation.

This means not only do we pray,

but we listen for God’s voice.

We anticipate His answer to our prayers.

The author explains how to listen to God.

He gives examples from his own life about how he talks with God.

Maybe you can tell by now,

that this book is worth reading.

You might even find it at the library.

If not, you can get it at the author’s website, Ransomed Heart.

or it is also available at Amazon.

I hope you enjoy reading the book,

and end up walking and talking with God.

See you there!


Win — Win!

Today I have a great example of a Win — Win project!

There are over 60 newish women writers, who have each written a story for a new book.

These are true stories, intended to encourage other moms.

TheMomQuilt cover

This book is brand new, out this past Monday, 8/10/2015.

All the money made by the sale of this book, will be used to build a clean water well in Kenya!

The well will be built at the site of a home for single moms in Kenya, called Mercy House.

Pretty cool, right?

Moms and Dads who read the book, will be encouraged and find lots of tips about raising kids.

So did I say Win — Win?

I guess I should have said, Win — Win — Win — Win,

and if you add in all the kids who will benefit from the well,

and from their parents learning great tips from the book,

then it will be literally thousands of Wins!

I am in on this Win too, because I wrote one of the stories,

“Each Child is Unique”, which starts on page 100 of the book.

I hope you get to read my story about my two kids.

So, if you want to order a book,

or read more of the details about the well,

go to their official site The Mom Quilt.

This official site belongs to Paula Rollo,

who is one of the moms who thought up this great book idea!

The credit also goes to  Becky Mansfield and Jodi Kern Durr.

All three of them worked hard to get this book done.

They chose the stories from all those submitted,

and they compiled all the stories into a book,

then Brannan Sirratt did the editing.

Monday, August 10 it went on sale!

The book is available in e-book form only (PDF format).

It costs $9.99, but you can increase that amount when you order,

if you want to donate more to the well project.

They need $40,000 to build the well.

After 2 days, they reached $2,000,

so they only need 38 more days like that!

TheMomQuilt BuyButton

Remember it’s to help single moms and their kids living in Kenya at Mercy House.

Right now their water is being trucked in, so they really need this well.

So buy a book, and add a donation too if you can.

You can pay by Paypal or credit card.

All of the moms who contributed to this book thank you for your purchase.

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Book Review on Anything

This is a book review of “Anything”.

That does sound weird right?

A review about what?  “Anything.”

Anything means “fill in the blank”, right?

Well the book’s name is “Anything”,

and it is about promising God that we would do anything,

which means that God gets to “fill in the blank”, not us.

Janet PicLookForLight AnnV

I just finished reading this book.

Actually I just finished reading, studying, and praying this book.

This book is a bit different from most books.

This book can change your life.

It can change the way you pray.

It can link you up with a network, a movement,

of other people who promised God to do “anything”.

The author of “Anything” is Jennie Allen,

and she promised God she would do anything.

She had an extra bedroom in her home,

and she said “God, you can do anything with that bedroom”.

God said, “Adopt a boy from Rwanda.”

So she did.

See how that fill in the blank part works?

See how that could change your life?

This book is more than a story about Jennie Allen’s life.

This book is an invitation to change your life.

This book is an invitation to join the ranks of the risk takers,

those who pray the “anything” prayer.

This book is an invitation to give God control over your life.

Scary, right?

The book walks you through all that.

Each chapter gives you another piece that you need,

like how to abandon shame, abandon fear, abandon the need for approval,

and overcoming doubts, how to fight brave, finding freedom…

Step by step, Jennie walks you through the process, and shows you how to do this.

She talks about how this process looked in her life,

but she takes you in her hands, a little bird with a fast beating heart,

and she comforts you,

and encourages you,

points you in the right direction,

and then she lifts you into the air so you can fly!

Do you want to fly?

Then you need to read this book, and work through the steps,

and by the end, you will be soaring!

God won’t let you down.

He knows the best way to fill in the blank for you.

You were meant to do so much more than what you are doing today.

If you want to see what “anything” God filled in for other people,

go to

If you finish the book, and pray “I promise anything, God”,

then you can leave your story on that website, too,

so you can encourage others to do the same.

My anything is still unfolding,

but right now I am planning a prayer event at my local church.

God is telling me to pray.

What will God tell you to do?

It could be “anything”.

Go for it!

For links to places you can buy the book,

Go to

To see more about it on twitter, check out  #WhatIsYourAnything

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