"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year: Living with Expectancy


Audio Devo: Click here to listen to "Living With Expectancy."

“…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shopping for Christmas?

Check your Christmas list. Do you have children to buy for? May I suggest a copy of Topsy Turvy Land? Here are a few of the stores with Topsy Turvy Land in stock. You can also order the book from almost any bookstore (presently through Baker & Taylor, Inc. and/or Partners Book Distributing, Inc.), or order directly from the publisher! Click here!

Online Stores:

Hidden Pictures Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Abebooks
Amazon FR
Amazon UK
Amazon Marketplace
Biblio
Buy.com
Half.com

Brick and Mortar Stores:

Family Christian Stores #95
Towne Mall Blvd
Franklin, OH 45005-5530
Phone: (513) 424-1593

Family Christian Stores #50
Prestige Plaza
1 Prestige Plaza
Miamisburg, OH 45342-3767
Phone: (937) 435-0583

Books & Co.
350 East Stroop Road
Dayton, OH 45429
(937) 298-6540

Family Christian Stores #460
9938 Waterstone Blvd
Cincinnati, OH 45249-8295
Phone: (513) 583-5100

Family Christian Stores #468
Hyde Park Plaza
3802 Paxton Ave #12Cincinnati, OH 45209-2399
Phone: (513) 321-0300

Ashton's Ben Franklin
Carrollton, OH

Little Professor
Troy, OH

Angel Heaven Gifts & Gallery
11 South Main Street
West Milton, OH 45383
(937) 698-9464

Order can be placed at any Waldenbooks. My other books, Chizzy's Topsy Tale and No More Gunk & OUCH! Sunburn can also be ordered at any bookstore or through the publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Hidden Picture Puzzle/Coloring Page


























A special treat! A hidden picture puzzle by Liz Ball. To order books with her hidden picture puzzles or Topsy Turvy Land, click HERE. Enjoy!

*Click on picture to print out full size ready to be colored, or right click on the picture, and then 'save picture as...' and then you can print it out using your photo program.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional

The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional (Tyndale) is the latest book from friends and coauthors Cheri Fuller and Sandra Aldrich. Not only does the text provide a deeper connection to and enjoyment of God and His Word, but it is a wonderful opportunity for today’s busy women to connect with each other as they discuss the short daily devotions and the “To Ponder” questions at the end of each week’s section. Perfect for small groups or two girlfriends meeting over coffee, the devotional also is appropriate for those who prefer individual study.


What can women gain from The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra: The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is designed for today’s busy woman. Each of the 365 devotions are on one page and contain a daily Scripture, short devotional thought from either Cheri or me and end with an honest prayer and an insightful quote. At the end of each week are questions to ponder individually or talk over with a friend. But beyond the friendship connection is our heavenly Father’s invitation to know more about Him and His living Word.

Cheri: One of the benefits of our One Year devotional is it provides a vehicle to discover your natural rhythm for drawing near to God in a personal and regular way. For right-brained people like me, the structure helps me stay in God’s Word day by day so my roots can grow deeper in Christ. Being a lover of people, I also enjoy exchanging ideas and discussing how a certain verse or story spoke to me, and the weekly questions are ideal for that purpose.

What are some of the topics covered?

Sandra: The 52 weekly themes cover many issues of a woman’s life, including career challenges, the power of encouragement, joyful living, hearing God above life’s roar, when your childhood family is toxic, faith building, avoiding overload, attitude adjustments, finding your spiritual pathway, dealing with stress, wading through grief, telling and hearing truth, making a difference, dealing with Christmas frenzy, a fresh-brewed prayer life, freedom from fear, and reaching a hurting world.

Does the reader need to start reading the devotional on January 1?

Sandra: No. This devotional isn’t about performance; it’s about connections. One of our weekly themes is about guilt, and we don’t want to add more to our readers’ stress-filled lives.

Cheri: One of the helpful facets of The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is that you can jump in and start any day, wherever you are—which is very much how God graciously interacts with us. We don’t have to get to a certain place to experience his grace. In this book, there is encouragement, hope, and inspiration for every day of the year—whatever age or stage you are currently in.

The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional provides connection in this fragmented world—connection to other women and, most importantly, connection to our heavenly Father. The quickest way to order it is through amazon.com. For more information about Cheri Fuller or Sandra Aldrich visit their websites at http://www.cherifuller.com/ or http://www.sandraaldrich.com/ And remember: the heavenly Father is just a whisper away.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Speaking Event - Women Together

Ressurrection Lutheran Church: Women Together
Nov 15, 2008 - 8:45 AM
1270 N. Broadway Lebanon, OH

Donna will be speaking and singing. There is no charge and breakfast is included. Please RSVP by contacting Donna through her website or Shoutlife.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Family on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover


This is a video of my nephew's family. It starts with a news story from Channel 5, Cincinnati. I think you'll not only be touched, but inspired. This family is an amazing one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgQNrv7AtY0

Fundraising efforts go on all the time. They've had a couple of businesses like Lowes offer materials for the new house. Their current house is a bi-level and the main level is pretty small since the big family room is downstairs. Since Brooke has gotten older, I don't know how Ginger (her mom) even manages to carry her up and down the steps.

The site for donations and news is called Akers Angels - and they truly are!

http://akersangels.com/donate.html

Thanks for watching, and please pass it on!

* UPDATE! * UPDATE! * UPDATE! *

The Akers Family had a brand new one-story house built for them by ABC's Extreme Home Makeover! A huge thanks goes to ALL of you who prayed, donated time and money, and sent emails to ABC requesting that the Akers Family be considered for a makeover. ABC received a record number of emails on behalf of Greg, Ginger, Christian, Brooke, and Faith Akers. The entire family considers this home to be a tremendous blessing from God, and a new start for the family.

Here is a video of the "Big Reveal."



The kids got to go see the Jonas Brother in concert while EHMO built their house. Here's a clip. I assure you that Christian is just as sweet in person as he is in this video. Enjoy.



And once again - thank you!

A while back when I mentioned that I had a story in a gift book called The Best Grandma in the World. That story is about Brooke Akers and her grandma, Shirley Akers!


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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

She’s Got a Way About Her

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up.Luke 18:1 nlt

Several years ago, a friend told me about a dog needing a home. My daughter and I went to check her out and fell in love.

A slip of a puppy, the five-pound apricot poodle, Cassie, thinks she’s a cat. She grooms my other dog, Angel, and curls up on top of any pillow - or person, lying around. She’s a darling dog and very affectionate, but since she was older when we adopted her, we can’t change a thing about her. Maybe it’s the cat temperament.

When we call the dogs in, the other two (Yes, I have three!) come running. But Cassie, in true cat fashion, decides when she will come in. I have to go out into the yard and scoop her up if I’m in a hurry. Sometimes, we inadvertently leave her out. She comes to the back door, and the most obnoxious, high-pitched whining you’ve ever heard from a dog comes forth.

Do you have a prayer you’ve been praying a long time? I know I do. At times, I feel like Cassie, yapping at the back door of heaven wondering if God even hears me.

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells the Parable of the Persistent Widow, a lesson on why we should always pray and never give up. He tells of a widow who kept coming to a judge for justice against an adversary. Jesus says this judge cared neither for man nor God. The widow had no advantage or advocate in her favor. She was on her own to plead her case, and she was persistent.

Though the widow probably became frustrated, she did not quit until her case was heard and justice granted. Instead of the judge wearing her down by refusing to help, she wore him down by refusing to give up.

Unlike the unjust, ungodly judge, God cares for us far beyond our ability to comprehend. Although it can be difficult to understand why our prayers aren’t answered right away, God knows what is best for us. Jesus taught if this arrogant, unjust, and ungodly judge can be worn down to answering the prayers of a widow who seemed insignificant to him, then how much more will God, Who does cares for us, answer our prayers in accordance with His will. And we aren’t annoying God. He loves us and wants to hear from His children. I try to remember to pray as Jesus did. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” - Matthew 6:10 niv

Is that Cassie I hear at the back door again? I love her, but that’s annoying!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You hear my prayers and You know what’s best for me. I trust You and rest in Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do I Have to Go to Church?



A new column's up on The Dabbling Mum titled "Do I Have to Go to Church?" In our fast-paced lives, church attendance can tend to get worked out of the schedule.

Click here to read! Feel free to comment here on the blog. Thanks!

Donna J. Shepherd © 2008
All rights reserved.


No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

A New Name

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. – Romans 8:15-16

My mother’s face pressed up against the chain link fence. “Bye, Honey! Are you sure you’ll be okay?”

I stood on the other side waving her on. “Mommy, I’m fine. Go! I’ll see you later.”

The excitement of my first day of school had me jumping up and down in anticipation. I couldn’t wait to meet all the new kids and make friends.

I skipped into the classroom and the teacher directed me to sit down at a big, round wooden table with a half dozen other children. My eyes scanned the table, and I spoke up. “Why don’t we all say our names?”

Even at the tender age of six, I could tell some of the boys and girls seemed scared. One by one, they spoke up and recited their names. When one of the girls said, “My name is Donna,” my eyes lit up and I exclaimed, “Mine is, too!”

As the eldest of four children, I had plenty of experience bossing children around. I assessed this situation and asked Donna, “What’s your middle name?”

“It’s Faye,” she said.

“All right, then,” I announced. “From now on, I’ll be Donna, and you’ll be Faye.”

Poor ‘Faye’ looked confused and finally said okay. All of first grade, she went by the name of Faye.

In the book of Revelation we read where John wrote, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” – Revelation 2:17

Although Donna Faye didn’t really like the idea of getting a new name, I look forward to the day when God will give one to me. This new name signifies our adoption. An adopted person takes the name of the family into which he or she is adopted. God has adopted me into His family and one day, I, too, will receive a new name.

Eight years after I gave Donna her new name, I sat in a classroom on my first day of high school. I was ‘the new kid’ having just moved into the district. When the teacher introduced me, a girl sitting in the desk to my left looked startled. After class, she came running up and said, “Donna, it’s me! Faye!”

After we hugged and caught up on our lives, she told me she had to endure being called by her middle name for another year even after my family moved. When her family moved to the district we both ended up in, she could start over.

“Then I could be ‘Donna’ again.”

I laughed and said, “I was a bossy little thing, wasn’t I?”

I’m still amazed I had the audacity to christen her with a new name in first grade, but I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the day when I receive my new name, one God has picked out just for me – my first day in heaven.

Prayer: God, I thank You that I am Your child and can address You as Abba, Father. What a privilege! I praise You for my new name. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

*This devotional story placed Third Place in the Faithwriters Weekly Challenge.
A New Name

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dotty's Topsy Tale - Coming soon!

Dotty's Topsy Tale, written by Donna J. Shepherd, illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier, the long awaited print sequel to Topsy Turvy Land, introduces a purple baby hippo named Violet into the inspirational series to explore the topic of discrimination. Kevin created 14 fun, colorful illustrations for the book.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Secret Place


“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” - Psalm 91:1

The other night I watched the classic movie, The Secret Garden, made in 1949 and based on the children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, about a sad and troubled girl who finds peace while solving the mystery of a secret garden. Although I don’t remember ever reading that book, the idea of a place to get away has always been my dream. As a child growing up in a tumultuous and stressful home, I imagined a tranquil and beautiful retreat.

In the movie, the filmmakers used Technicolor in key scenes. It was almost breathtaking to go from the dark and brooding atmosphere of black and white film to the shocking array of vibrant colors. I thought of how this compares with the times I really commune with God. I escape from a gray world to talk without interruption to the Master, the Creator of all things lovely and good. Everything becomes more colorful, clearer, authentic. The outside world falls away from view, and I’m left in a place of holiness and peace. I find rest for my weary mind, and the strength to go on. How I long to linger there, resting in the shadow of the Almighty!

Even now, I could use a garden in which to hide. I spend little time alone. My house buzzes with activity with people stopping by, phones jangling, and dogs barking. Most of the time, I enjoy the clamor, but sometimes I could really use a secret place to recharge, talk to God, and be quiet and still long enough to listen when He talks to me.

Will you find a secret place today for prayer and worship? I pray you do, and that you and I both emerge refreshed, anointed, victorious, ready to minister in the way our Master has designed for each of us.

My son recently moved out, and I’m thinking of transforming his room into a place of worship, somewhere in my house I can escape, where no television blares, no radio booms, and no computer hums – my own prayer closet. My own Secret Garden. I know God will meet me there.

Prayer: God, I look forward to our time of Communion. Thank you for the assurance that You are always with me. I praise You! In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.

Donna J. Shepherd - http://www.donnajshepherd.com/

Friday, June 20, 2008

No More Gunk! Picture Book for Ages 4-8

No More Gunk! is a Double Doozie - two books in one! This book is the first for a new imprint of Guardian Angel Publishing. The Health & Hygiene line features books teaching children about taking care of their bodies.

In No More Gunk! by Donna J. Shepherd, short, playful rhymes and Kevin Scott Collier's humorous illustrations help children learn in a fun way the importance of proper dental hygiene. Tooth Tips encourage children to take care of their teeth.

In the bonus book, Ouch! Sunburn!, Donna J. Shepherd's snappy rhymes, along with the 15 colorful and fun illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier, help children see the need to protect their skin in the sun. Sun Safety Tips in the back of the book reinforce the book's theme.

Click HERE to order directly from Guardian Angel Publishing.

For LIBRARIES, SCHOOLS and INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES requesting wholesale print books contact: directorders_libraries_schools@guardianangelpublishing.com






CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW
BY: Gayle Jacobson-Huset, Assistant Editor
Stories for Children Magazine

"This is a fun "book" to review since it is actually two books in one! Guardian Angel Publishing has come out with their Double Doozie line of books and now has a Health & Hygiene Line.

In NO MORE GUNK, author Donna Shepherd has written a very humorous yet factual storyline on taking good care of your teeth and how to do so, in rhyming prose. Combined with the awesome and very funny artwork of Kevin Scott Collier, this book is quite the attention-getter for your child and will help you to teach him/her good health habits in a really fun way.

I particularly enjoyed the "No More Gunk Tooth Tips" at the end of the story – even the tips rhymed! Good job, Donna! My favorite tip: "They're your teeth, so be the boss. Always take the time to floss."

This was like reading a terrific poem full of FUNNY illustrations that your child will want you to read to them over and over and over! This is a keeper and gets a high five, especially when coupled with a SECOND free book!

OUCH! SUNBURN is also a terrific learning experience for your child, and one that hit home hard to me personally. Back in the age of the dinosaur, aka - when I was a small child, we didn't know much about the dangers of the sun and how it damages your skin, and nobody knew what sunscreen was. I grew up by the ocean, so I was either always at the beach, or at our local pool where I swam competitively. I am blonde and fair-skinned, and I had some whopper sunburns as I grew up. I've been "out of the sun" for 40 years now, but it doesn't matter – I still ended up getting skin cancer from those early exposures as a child.

So, I can tell you firsthand, that everything Donna says in this book is absolutely positively the truth, and I hope its message really hits home to young readers. The charming rhyming prose Donna uses along with Kevin's fun, colorful illustrations, make this book lots of fun for children to learn how to protect their skin from sunburns.

At the end, Donna again gives Ouch! Sunburn Extra Tips, of course, in rhyme. My favorite: "When you're out from ten to two. Play in Shade. Smart Kids do." WHERE WAS THIS BOOK WHEN I WAS GROWING UP? This is a must-have to teach your child safety in the sun at an early age."


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Friday, May 16, 2008

Join Me for the Captivating Women Mini-Conference


Captivating Women Quarterly Mini-Conference Jun 14, 2008 - 8:30 AM

9286 Schulze Drive
West Chester, OH

If you're ready to be encouraged and equipped to fulfill your God-given potential, we look forward to seeing you at the Captivating Women Summer 2008 Mini-Conference!

You will be encouraged and equipped to fulfill your God-given potential as a woman at the Captivating Women Summer 2008 Mini-Conference! This special 1-day event will offer you practical and inspiring workshops, with some of the nation's best speakers helping you develop your skills - all for just $49!

-Plus - you'll be refreshed and renewed with special music from Connie Ryan during our welcome session.

-And ... for only an additional $49, you can request an interview session with life coach and radio hostess Emily Roach - and then receive a professionally edited audio track of your interview for your media kit or to share your testimony with others!

-Finally, you can also request a photo shoot for a professional headshot with photographer Collin Rowland - for just an additional $99!

Workshop 1 - "From Podium to Paper and Back: Writing to Communicate and Captivate" with Donna Shepherd: 9:30 - 10:45am

Identify and meet the needs of your audience - and get on the pathway to publication! Learn how to develop your message, where to submit your writing, and how to incorporate your pieces into your speaking ministry.

For more information and to register:
http://www.captivatingwomen.org/index.html

I hope to see you there! - Donna
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Interview on Book Bites for Kids


I was interviewed on Book Bites for Kids. Host Suzanne Lieurance talks with authors about their books and writing for children.

Book Bites for Kids
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A new review just went up on Reviews by Heidi for No More Gunk! & OUCH! Sunburn. Thanks, Heidi!

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ReviewsbyHeidi/524158/

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fun Find! "Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms"

For Mother's Day, I'd like to toot the horn for a devotional book I contributed to called "Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms." My devotional prayers are the first 30 in the book. It turned out really nice - a hardback with a cute cover of a mom with a little boy.



Product Details:
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Faith Words
Language: English
ISBN: 0446579351

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Do My Children Need to Put On Armor?

A new column's up on The Dabbling Mum. Click here to read! Feel free to comment here on the blog. Thanks!

Donna J. Shepherd © 2008
All rights reserved.


No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One Thing Is Needful

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:42

It snowed this evening. An entirely unexpected snow, at least for me. I have a DVR now, so I rarely watch live television. This means I miss important announcements - like the fact that a storm is headed for my town.

But in other ways, this little electronic box has been a great blessing. I no longer channel surf, looking for something worth watching. I have more time to be productive.

Tonight before I let my dogs out, I looked out at my back deck, covered with a thick layer of snow. When I flipped on the light, the stark white carpet caught me by surprise, the light catching individual snowflakes shimmering like diamond dust. It reminded me of how 2008 stretches before me, untouched by failure or unmet goals or harsh words.

Then again – I write this on January 1.

I haven’t written resolutions this year. For some reason, if I do and fail to keep them, the guilt overwhelms me. Instead, I have one goal, and that is to set my mind on God. Period. The apostle Paul advised the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). If I do that, will the rest of my life fall into place? Am I committed to write? I depend on God, my creative God and Creator of all, to inspire me as I write, and give Him glory for it. Do I need to lose weight? Um, yes. So, I remember that my body is God’s temple. I should take care of it. That means a better diet and exercise are in my future. Do I get snippy with people? I won’t forget that Jesus served others, and expects me to do the same. How can I be like Jesus without loving as He did?

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? I know and you know life is not simple, but instead of making a list of ten, or even five, resolutions, maybe the one goal, to set my mind on God and things above, will be attainable.

I suppose if I wanted to add some more to my list, I could strive to keep the additional list Paul gave to the church at Colossae in 3:12-14. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Whew! I think that should about cover it!

When Jesus had dinner at Martha’s house, she got so caught up in being the perfect host, she forgot to focus on her guest, Jesus. When she complained to Jesus about all she had to do, He told her only ‘one thing’ was needful. What was that one thing? She had set her mind on earthly things while her sister, Mary, focused on Jesus, as He no doubt spoke of things above.

Did you make resolutions? Tell me how in this world you manage to keep them? And if not, how about writing down one goal? Surely you and I can focus on one thing. Even with my tendency toward procrastination and scattered thinking, I think I can hone in on one task for 2008. If you had to pick just one goal, what would it be?

Prayer: God, help me to never take my eyes off the one thing that’s needful – to love and serve you unreservedly, wholeheartedly, and joyfully. I glorify and thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
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No part of the materials available in this Web site may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without specific permission (to request permission to use materials, e-mail Donna J. Shepherd). Distribution for commercial purposes is prohibited.
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