When God Turned on the Light by Allia Zobel Nolan

When God Turned on the LightI was given a copy of Allia Zobel Nolan’s book When God Turned on the Light to review; and the more I read it, the more I fell in love with it. Not only do I see it as a wonderful book for children, but it has inspired me to write about the Bible in a delightfully new way. What a glowing example of good writing!

This is a book about creation. It isn’t exactly Genesis, but it is. It takes the theme of the light and weaves it playfully through most of the days in the Genesis account of creation. By focusing on the things young children understand instead of forcing a day by day accounting, this book will captivate children from cover to cover.

The rhyme in this story flows smoothly enough throughout the book. But it isn’t just the rhymes that make the book poetic, the words are rich with word pictures and beautiful descriptions. For example: “Caterpillars munched leaves, which the light made see-through. When they took off their fuzzy coats, butterflies flew.” Allia’s creative lines coupled with the delightful illustrations by Linda Clearwater will stretch every child’s imagination.

Pages come with surprises like the zebra’s discovering their reflections “staring them right in the eyes.” Fun pops out of page after page as the light seems to dance its way through the story bringing everything to life. And as the child nears the end of the book, a much deeper concept is beautifully introduced. “Yes, God lit the world with another light too. He was Jesus, the Lord, who saved me and saved you.” Wow!

And on the last page is a scripture verse, Psalm 18:28. “You have turned on my light! The Lord God has made my darkness turn to light.”

This book takes my breath away. I know it will touch young hearts in a powerful way.

I was given a copy of this book from Harvest House Pulishers for an honest review, but was in no way obligated to give a positive review. I simply love the book and plan to use it as a model in my own future writing.

 

Think Spring – It’s closer than you think

With all the blizzards and ice storms popping up all over the US over the past few weeks, spring may seem like a remote possibility, but down deep in our souls, we know it will come again. Maybe sooner than you think.

216537_10150158033852856_8053711_nDo you love birds as much as I do? The many varieties, colors, and behavior patterns are so intriguing. Watching them can relax me on any kind of day and any time of year and they offer so many opportunities to teach your children/grandchildren about God’s wonderful world.

Bird feeders can be set up any time of the year and are a sure fire way to attract a variety of birds. Bird houses require a little more thought and planning if you wish to use them to attract birds to your yard.

208538_10150158051072856_4922408_nIt is important to have a realistic idea of what kind of birds are likely to come to your yard. What part of the country do you live in? Do you have a large manicured lawn or lots of trees and shrubbery? Do you live near water? Bluebirds like wide open spaces with trees close by but not too close. Nuthatches need pine trees. American Goldfinches need thistles nearby for nesting – they winter in South Carolina, but rarely stick around for nesting once spring returns. Don’t set out a wood duck nest box if you don’t live near water. …and so on…

Once you decide on the kind of birds you can realistically attract to your yard, learn their nesting requirements. Do they need a nest box or do they prefer only a shelf? How big should it be? What size entrance should the nest box have? Should the box be mounted on a tree, the side of a building, or on a post out in the lawn? What other nesting materials might be helpful – yarn, threads, hair, dryer lint, wood chips…? Each bird has its preferences, and the more you know about them, the more likely you are to be successful in getting them to nest where you can observe them.

Spring is very close. I noticed a pair of bluebirds going in and out of a nest box this morning on my way to church. So if you want birds to nest in it this year, time is short. If you don’t get it out in time all is not lost. The time it stands outdoors may make it more attractive to the birds next summer as it will seem more natural to their environment as it weathers.

Here are a few websites with excellent information to help you plan for your desired feathered friends.

Peeking inOne more way you can plan for a successful summer of birdwatching is to consider plants you may want to grow to attract them. I have planted sunflowers in the south to attract the migrating American Goldfinches. If you hope to see hummingbirds, there are many flowers that are ideal for attracting them. This link on the Cornell website will be helpful as you start planting for birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1146

by Janice D. Green, author of The Creation

 

Our Awesome God – A VBS Theme

A VBS Theme

Day 5 tmpWhat a dynamic theme to develop in a VBS program. We can feature the days of creation and share with the children out of an unlimited supply of examples of his amazing creation. I have been collecting ideas for a VBS and posting them to my Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC blog over the past couple of years. While there is still room for improvement, there is a wealth of ideas on the blog to jump-start a VBS planning committee to create their own VBS program around the theme of Genesis 1&2.

Click here to go directly to the VBS ideas I have posted on this blog.

Tips for working out a VBS…

  1. Decide how many days you plan to hold VBS and assign the specific creation days to be taught on each day. Plan to teach from the scriptures. Consult Bible storybooks such as my book The Creation for ways to explain the Biblical account so children will better understand some of the language in the Scriptures. On the blog link I included at the end of the above paragraph you will find a post for each of the days of creation with ideas that can be used for teaching or discussion.
  2. Select music that fits the creation theme. Consider what is available on praise and worship DVDs for use in congregational singing. Also look on YouTube. Here is a wonderful video from YouTube that would be appropriate: Indescribable (You Are Amazing God). I have identified a few others on my blog link above.
  3. Crafts and/or science activities can be developed around the days of creation as well. For example, use balloons to demonstrate that air takes up space, and play a game with balloons. Again, check out the link for several ideas to use each day that can reinforce the concepts you are teaching.
  4. Find or make up games to help the children remember the days of creation. An indoor game could be played using the light switch to emphasize day and night. Children lie on the floor and try to be the first one up when the lights come on. Use your imagination and see how many games you can think of that would reinforce the days of creation. Several are suggested on the web page as well.
  5. I have a friend who is deeply involved in conservation work who challenged me to include activities that teach the importance of taking care of our planet as part of a VBS program on creation. He feels Christians often fall short in the area of taking responsibility for our earth, and I tend to agree. Ideas could be discussed on how to care for the things that were created each day. There might also be one activity that the VBS will follow through on each day in which the children can make a difference. Much might depend on your surroundings. Perhaps it would be appropriate to take a walk and pick up trash on a different street each day or encourage the children to go with their parents for a few minutes each day to pick up trash along the road. Or perhaps the children could make bird feeders or a few community bat houses as a craft activity.

IMG_2427e-TheCreation-200-150x150Note: My book, The Creation, could supplement a VBS program on this theme very nicely. Even though I have received great reviews on The Creation which you can read on Amazon.com and on GoodReads. These books are wonderful for teaching the gift of God’s creation to us and of his love to all his children. Questions on each page and activities at the end of the book will help teachers make learning easy and teaching fun. And on a special note, we offer discounts for quantity purchases used on mission trips and in VBS programs! You can contact me at queenbjan (at) msn (dot) com for information about discount prices for your special events.

This post is the third in a series of four articles on the theme of the creation. I wrote them hoping to inspire churches who do their own VBS curriculum to consider using some of these ideas in their VBS this summer.

Article 1 – Basic Science in Genesis

Article 2 – Created in God’s image

Article 3 – Making a Creation Quilt from Coloring Pages – youth activity

Article 4 – Our Awesome God – a VBS plan (this article)

 

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