Big Announcement- We're Moving!

Sally Matheny
(Saundra Clay Photography)
A few of you have already heard that we're moving. No, not the Matheny family. Thank goodness! It was difficult enough just to move to a new website!

Who knew it would be so difficult transferring my blog posts from Blogger to WordPress? If I had known I may not have done it.

A family friend came several times to help with the transfer. As soon as he would leave, everything kept crashing. I was afraid I wasn't smart enough to handle the move and was just about to give up. 

Then, I made one of the best decisions I've made all year. I recruited a prayer team! I'm so thankful and praising the Lord for them.

After that, I just let go of my expectations and said, "Lord, it's in your hands."

If I had not experienced the continual frustration, I would not have had interaction with some special people. God has that special way of bringing good out of something that is seemingly bad.

I learned that the computer woes were not due to my ineptness after all but there was a big snafu with the hosting company.

It's taken months longer than I anticipated to migrate over. But I certanly have been learning a great deal in the process. I'm still learning!

Which will explain why not every one of my old posts is published on the new website yet. Everything has to be reformatted and all the photos removed and reinserted. It's going to take awhile.

Ready to put web design behind me, I'm eager to get back to writing and fellowshipping with you all. 

Thank you for hanging in there with me. Some of you have been with me since I started blogging in 2012. It took me a while to find my focus. The more I blogged the clearer it became. I also appreciate your mercifulness while I continue to learn how to write well. 

It's a scary thing trying to figure out the best way to convey what's in our minds and hearts. Whether you blog or not, we all have a story, a message, something we're passionate to share. 

Yet, sometimes our fears of inadequacy, of failure, or mistreatment freeze our mouths shut. Our pens and keyboards lie silent. All because of fear. 

I'm here to tell you, you just have to take that first step. And then another one.

For me, praying for the help of Jesus Christ is my strength. But He expects me to do my part of the work as well.

If we're waiting on perfect skills before we ever put them into practice, we'll never begin.

We just have to start sharing
our story. Simple. Awkward. Whatever. If it is sincere and is presented with love, God can use it. He can't use our message if we never release our words.

That was a long way of telling you thanks for bearing with me as I stumble and stammer for the right words. I want you to join me in the adventure!

Lord willing, and nothing else crashes, the new website launches tomorrow, Monday, September 3, 2018, at 12:00 noon. 

There will be several giveaways. Stop by for a visit at

Candy Apple Blessings Book Review & Giveaway

by Sally Matheny

Candy Apple Blessings by Maddie Frost
Perhaps your little one is just beginning to discover the pleasures of each season. Why not introduce the fun season of fall with the board book, Candy Apple Blessings?

This book contains twenty, full-color illustrations on sturdy cardstock that's sure to stand up to little toddler hands.

A dog, cat, and mouse take us along on various fall activities--from making a fall wreath, camping, and taking a hayride, to visiting the pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and a petting zoo. Plus, many more!

Most of the text is rhyming and each page features either special words for a sound or action.

"The tractor chugs all day.
We ride on bales of hay.
We cheer and laugh and play!
Let's have some hayride fun!"

Little ones will enjoy the bright colors and each illustration has plenty of things to talk about and a wide variety of animals to find. 

There is a multitude of fall scenes but no jack-o-lanterns are present. The cover of the book has shiny foil apples but no shiny foil is used within the book. I think kids would have enjoyed a few more shiny foil illustrations but they'll have much to enjoy in this delightful, little book.

This board book is published by Thommy Nelson and is classified as a religious book. However, the only religious reference comes on the last page:

"We pray before we eat
and thank God for our treats.

God's love is oh-so sweet!
God thank you for fall blessings!"

This book will be one of the special giveaway prizes on the launch day of my new website- Labor Day, September 3, 2018. I hope you'll pop in for a visit.

Candy Apple Blessings Book Giveaway on 9/3/18

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


I Can Only Imagine for Little Ones - Book Review

by Sally Matheny

I Can Only Imagine- for Little Ones
by Bart Millard and Laura Neutizling

Musician, Bart Millard of Mercy Me, has collaborated with Laura Neutzling to write a children's board book inspired by the hit song, I Can Only Imagine. 

The padded cover of I Can Only Imagine for Little Ones encases twenty-four hardcover pages. Sumiti Collina illustrates colorful pictures depicting multi-ethnic children.

The book is written from a young child's point of view as he wonders what heaven may be like.

I can only imagine what God thinks is fun.
We could jump in the lake and soak in the sun.

Why maybe in heaven God loves to play ball. 
Everyone gets chosen. There's room for us all.

The book is recommended for ages 0 - 4. It does not address how someone gets to heaven. That's too abstract for the wee little ones to understand. It's a cute book that ends with an emphasis on the one thing the child knows for sure--that he doesn't have to wait until he's in heaven to spend time with God. Hence, the subtitle of the book, A Friendship with Jesus Now and Forever.

This book will be one of the giveaway prizes on the launch day of my new website which is coming soon!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Excellent Christian Entertainment: NarroWay Theatre

by Sally Matheny
Photo courtesy of NarroWay Productions
Photographer: Ken Rice
Are you looking for something different, something highly entertaining and yet wholesome in nature where you can enjoy a night out with your family or friends? 

Not long ago, I discovered such a place.

I wanted to surprise my sweet hubby by taking him somewhere we’ve never been before. 

Researching online, I stumbled across NarroWay Theatre, located in Fort Mill, S.C., just outside of Charlotte, N.C.

The nonprofit theater presents original, Broadway-style shows. At that time, what caught my eye was the WWII-theme production they were putting on called Not Just Another Love Story. I love the history of the WWII era and my husband loves the music, so I purchased our tickets online.

Patrons have the option to add a meal to their theater tickets. The meals vary. For this show, it was a chicken plate with sides and cherry pie for dessert. Performers serve the guests at their seats on pull-up trays. I thought it would be fun, so I added two dinner tickets.   

When we arrived at the theater, we were warmly greeted by the performers and ushered to our reserved seats. Unfortunately, I had a migraine that night, but I was determined not to let it dampen our night. The woman who led us to our seats learned of my headache and asked if she could pray for me. How many hosts at entertainment venues do that? I felt blessed.

Even before the show began, my husband smiled broadly and said, “Thank you for bringing me here!” We knew by the atmosphere and the people we were in for a treat.

Courtesy of NarroWay Productions
Photographer: Ken Rice

After the meal, the production began and what a treat it was! Incredibly talented performers presented a musical with two intertwining storylines. One about a love story during WWII and the other about Hosea from the Bible.

The acting, singing, period costumes, and the multiple stage set designs were excellent. 

Oh, and you've got to try their delicious ice cream floats. The homemade fried apple pies will give even the best of your family recipes a run for their money. I’m not exaggerating. If you’re within a day’s drive of Charlotte, N.C., you should go.

The performances are always changing. Most will run for one to three months. I really wanted to see The Gospel According to Tennessee but forgot and missed it. Sampson is running now. Lord of Light sounds like a good one for October—not sure if it’s suited for your littlest ones but I bet the teens would enjoy it.  

The description of Lord of Light on the NarroWay website says,

“From creation to Revelation, "Lord of Light" is an action-packed, one-of-a-kind portrayal of the unseen battle in heavenly realms. With aerial artists, stunning blacklight effects and sword-wielding angels and demons, this show is a physical representation of what happened spiritually during the three days Jesus was in the tomb. All Hell really does break loose in this sensational thriller!

The production company offers discount days and has special performances and activities for kids. Many of the shows involve live animals, so there’s usually a lamb you can pet or a camel you can ride if weather permits. 

Winner of the Gift Card

Congratulations to R. McCausey of Six Lakes, Michigan! Your name was drawn from my list of blog subscribers. I'll be contacting you soon about where I should send your gift card to Christian Book Distributors.

Thanks to all of you who subscribe to the blog via your email. As always, I never do anything with your email address except send you a new blog post each week. Oh, unless you count when I contact you personally to let you know I'm sending a prize your way!

Stay in touch. I've got another great giveaway coming soon.



Book Review of Devotions for Sacred Parenting & Gift Card Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
“Do you think your children feel more like projects or deeply loved children?”

When I read that, I thought of all the times I have tried to shape my children into productive citizens.

If you’re like me, sometimes that training-them-to-live-in-the-world mindset overrides the cherish-them-for-who-they-are moments.  

The question above and the devotion that followed in Gary Thomas’ book, Devotions for Sacred Parenting, sent me immediately to talk with my heavenly Father.

This devotion tugged at my heart because he talked about a phrase I have often said, “raising kids.”

Thomas wrote,

“It can diminish family life to a farm activity—raising crops or raising pets. Kids are so profoundly different. I’m relating to them, caring for them, involved with them. I don’t want the utilitarian aspect—growing them into adults—to become the defining point of our relationship.”

“We can get so busy trying to make sure our children complete their homework, display good manners, not watch too much television, get enough exercise, and eat well that we can forget to enjoy them and relate to them."

Ahhh . . . and that is why I love, love, love this book. It’s not just another book on how to parent effectively. It takes a fresh look at how God uses parenting to transform us, to draw us to Him, and how that makes us better parents.

This hardback book, published by Zondervan, contains fifty-two devotions followed by reflection questions.

It is for parents of all ages and stages. My husband and I have two grown children out on their own and one teen still at home. We are gleaning precious reminders as well as introductions to some new things to ponder and pray about.

Normally, I’ll use the books I’m sent to review as giveaways here on my blog. I like this book so much I plan to keep this one.

*However, I like it so much, I’m hoping you’ll get one for yourself, so I am giving away a gift certificate to ChristianBook.com!  A name from the list of subscribers to this blog will be randomly selected as the winner on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Is your name on the list? Check back next week to see who won!

In the meantime, share with our blog family here, something you cherish about your children-- who they are, what they're teaching you, or ways you enjoy spending time with them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in return for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Sharing the Son Means Leaving the Shade

by Sally Matheny

Enthusiasm fresh as the morning
My enthusiasm glittered with the morning sun. It was my first time serving a meal at the project. 

People slowly filtered into the commons area. My cheerful greetings were not returned. 

Instantly, I sensed a divide greater than the table between us. They had come for the food. Nothing else.

An inexplicable heaviness stifled communication. Icy silence, as well as sharp tongues, severed most attempts at interaction. It was obvious. We were not welcome.
After helping distribute the food, I retreated under the outstretched branches of a tree. Thankfully, I’d thought to bring a lawn chair. It provided a secure place to perch and watch the crowd. Most of the missions team stayed under the shady tent. Two or three pastors mingled and tried to chisel out conversations.

Then I saw her.

A young woman, probably in her early twenties, stood off to the side, alone. She was looking around as if searching for something.

I hesitated. The last woman I had approached gruffly informed me she was waiting on someone. Perhaps this young woman was waiting as well.

Yet, she continued to stand there. Sweat flowed down her face. She hugged her drink and chips in one arm and her hamburger in the other. What was she looking for?

Seating was limited. Most people grabbed their food and hustled back to their homes. Could this woman possibly be one of the few who wanted to sit and stay awhile?

Slowly, I eased out from under the tree’s protection. I wondered if she would be like the others and berate me for being there. I was an outsider—different ethnicity, different economic level, a different worldview.

“Hi. Are you looking for someone?” I asked.

She shyly shook her head no. I didn’t recognize any anger in her face. It appeared to be more like discomfort.

“Would you like to sit down to eat?”

A simple nod yes.

I looked around at the few tables provided. No empty seats. I scanned the grassy area under the trees. An empty chair sat beside mine.

“Would you like to sit under the tree? It’s cooler.”

Sharing the Son Means Leaving the Shade

She nodded and followed me to the tree. The distance was short, but we didn’t arrive in time to claim both chairs. Only my chair was left so I offered it to her.

As she sat down, I introduced myself. She told me her name but I couldn't hear her over someone yelling. I did not ask her to repeat it.

I smiled, trying hard not to be insincerely cheery. “It’s nice to meet you. I hope you like your burger.” 

An awkward silence followed. I motioned toward the tent. “I’ve got to go help serve.”

She smiled with another silent nod.  

As I stood under the shade of the tent, I kept looking back over at the tree. The woman quietly ate. A young man chattered away beside her but she wasn’t responding.

Something inside told me to go tell her why we were there. We weren’t just giving away free meals. We were sharing the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
But the earlier rejections of the crowd stifled my response.

The crowd dwindled. Only a few remained in line. I decided handing out napkins to folks would be helpful.

“Would you like a napkin?”

A few minutes passed. Another expressionless face approached.

“Would you like a napkin?”

Another five minutes passed before anyone needed my valuable napkin distribution service. This is ridiculous. I should just go talk to her.

I neatly stacked the napkins on the corner of the table and turned back towards the tree. 

She was gone. 

As quietly as she had slipped into my life, she had slipped out. Along with my opportunity to tell her how much God loves her. And how He offers a joy so great, that she’d have a hard time staying so quiet.

Plant a seed of hope.

And for my silence, I am sorry.

Perhaps she already had a relationship with Christ. I hope so.

I understand when we first meet someone, it’s not always the best time to share Christ.

Although often,

it is.

 ”But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 
Always be prepared 
to give an answer to everyone who asks you 
to give the reason for the hope that you have. 
But do this with gentleness and respect.”  

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)


Going in Circles? Recognize the Progress.

By Sally Matheny

     Do you feel like you’re going in circles and wonder if you’re accomplishing anything? We work like crazy, but often we find ourselves questioning if we’re succeeding at anything. We may understand our goal, but we fail to recognize any progress in achieving it.
Sound familiar? I have days I feel like this. Lots of days.