"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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Sunday, January 08, 2023

Gratitude Moment: Unexpected Blessing

My husband and I usually go out to eat after church, but today he wanted to rush right home to watch a game. Since I don't know the first thing about football, I decided to go eat by myself. I drove around a bit before deciding on a place. 

I was almost through my meal when the thought crossed my mind. and I almost said aloud, Lord, wouldn't it be something if someone paid for my meal today? 

Immediately I backtracked. Lord, that was out of the blue. What am I thinking? I must have that backwards. So I looked around the restaurant for someone I could bless. Most of the time, I prefer to be the one who blesses someone else. 

About that time, the manager brought my bill. While I reached in my purse to get my credit card, someone tapped me on my shoulder. A woman I did not know said, "If you don't care, I'd like to buy your dinner." 

My eyes immediately filled with tears. We talked for a couple minutes, I thanked her again and said, "God bless you!" 

Sometimes I think, no - I know, my pride gets in the way of my blessings. The Lord intended to bless me on this day in that restaurant by that person. I'm thankful to Him, and appreciate the woman He spoke to who followed His leading. 

I also know that sometime soon, it will be my turn to bless someone else. 

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” - Luke 6:38 NKJV  

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Review Moment: Make Their Day by Karen Ehman

What a fun book! When life gets so busy you don't have time to come up with ways to show your loved ones how much they mean to you, this book's contents might come to your rescue. Some ideas are simple, while some require more time and money, but there are 101 from which to choose, so you're sure to find a few ways that will work for you. I appreciated the Bible verses and the focus on godly hospitality. During stressful times, it's important to focus and take time to show kindness and love for our family and friends. I'm planning to use the ideas in this book myself. 

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.

Product details

  • Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (February 2, 2021)
  • Publication date : February 2, 2021
  • Language : English
  • File size : 15311 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 142 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 076423904X

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Poetry Moment: Rain from Heaven

Rain from Heaven

Oh, Lord,
I long to drink of Your healing rain.
My soul lies battered and parched
from the dryness
of an arid earth that drains life
from me.
I raise my face toward You –
my mouth and spirit
ready to receive a cleansing,
a restoration,
only You can pour out.

As a sparrow, helpless and hungry
waits for sustenance from her mother,
I wait in expectation
for You to fill me
to overflowing.

I cry out to You
in praise and thanksgiving,
trusting Your faithfulness
to supply my every need,
and know only You
can quench this awful thirst.

My spirit trembles
with awe.

My body quakes
in anticipation.

Then like a spring shower brings life and hope
after winter desolation,
Your blessings cascade
over my thirsty soul.

Warm waters cleanse within,
healing flows into the deep,
and my soul hungrily,


by Donna J. Shepherd 

Photo by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Review Moment: NIV Verse Mapping Bibles and Journal

The NIV Verse Mapping Bible is a Bible with what is referred to as a mapping journey, and is for anyone who wants to dig deeper into Scripture. 

First, select a scripture and note the key words and phrases. Then do what I find most important, read that verse in context and look for the action and write a summary of what you’ve learned. This Bible is formatted with wide columns and lines on every page to make notes. There are 350 verse maps already partially filled out to get you started with the process. 

The Verse Mapping Bible Study Journal (as an additional purchase) has fifty blank ones to continue your journey. I found the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) word studies especially helpful. 

As a long-time Bible teacher, I’m happy to see a system that helps us study the Word more thoroughly and apply it to our lives. That there is a version for girls (NIV Verse Mapping Bible for Girls) brings me joy. Starting a journey through the Bible early in life will bring many benefits and encouragement to serve God. 

Overall, I like the concept, but willingness and determination and, I daresay, discipline is required for this type of study. If you crave going deeper into God’s Word, this is the study Bible for you. 

  • Adult Bible: https://www.amazon.com/Verse-Mapping-Bible-Cloth-Comfort/dp/031045459X
  • Girls Bible: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0310454689
  • Journal: https://www.amazon.com/Verse-Mapping-Bible-Study-Journal/dp/0310124018
  • Bible Gateway Blogger Grid provided me with complimentary Bibles and journal to review. All opinions are entirely my own. #BibleGatewayPartner

    Tuesday, February 09, 2021

    Devotion: Valentine's Day - Say, “I Love You” to Someone Today

    “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”1 Thessalonians 4:9

    February is the month of love. A lot of people think Hallmark thought up Valentine’s Day, but few know how it really originated.

    One legend says Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

    Other stories suggest Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

    According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that he fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression still in use today.

    Since America has been at war, there is a heightened awareness of the fragility of life. If you haven’t told your spouse, your children, or your loved ones you love them, why not do it today? We don’t know what tomorrow holds or even if there will be a tomorrow and of course the Lord could return at any moment for His Church.

    Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, perhaps you can think of someone who could benefit from an expression of love from you. Just think – there may be someone in your life who won’t be hugged or told someone loves him or her if you don’t take the initiative.

    What about your church family? What is one of the ways we know we are in the body of Christ? I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

    Lastly, but most importantly, I want to tell the Savior of my soul, the Maker of my heart and the Creator of love itself that I love Him.

    Say, "I love you" to someone today!

    Prayer: Lord, I thank You for all those who love me, and for the privilege of loving others. Most of all, I thank You, God, for Your love, mercy, and grace shown through Jesus Christ.

    Donna J. Shepherd © 2012 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!

    *First posted 2-14-06

    Thursday, March 19, 2020

    Review Moment: The Jesus Bible Artist Edition, NIV, Leathersoft, Multi-color/Teal, Comfort Print Imitation Leather

    Do I want a Bible that's pretty or one that full of helpful articles, commentary, and a concordance? Why not a Bible that's all those things? That's what you find with The Jesus Bible Artist Edition.

    Jesus is featured prominently from Genesis to Revelation with an introduction to each book that highlights His story. The fact that some of my favorite authors wrote essays for the Bible is a huge benefit. And it's fitting that Randy Alcorn writes "Forever - Made for a Different Place" to summarize Revelation 21-22.

    This Bible is a hefty one. The pages aren't thin - which is good for journaling, but makes for smaller print and a thicker Bible. The cover is beautiful and having two ribbon markers is nice.

    Overall, I recommend this Bible because the focus on Jesus in the Old Testament is refreshing and educational which makes this Bible one to add to your library whether you're a new convert or mature Christian.

    As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. #BibleGatewayPartner

    Product details

    • Imitation Leather: 2016 pages
    • Publisher: Zondervan (October 22, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310454468
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310454465
    • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.2 x 9.5 inches

    Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    Promotion Moment: Vote for Ava's Secret Tea Party


    Cover of the Month

    Ava’s Secret Tea Party

    My book has been nominated for Book Cover of the Month on AllAuthor.com. It would be greatly appreciated if you could take a moment to vote.
    Vote Now »
    Thank you for your support,
    Donna J Shepherd

    Saturday, December 21, 2019

    Moment of Devotion: Indescribable Gift

    Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 1 Corinthians 9:15

    For many Christmases, I decorated a tree for every room – even the bathrooms. I had a tree with kitchen items, one with intricate, old-fashioned ornaments, another with all the ornaments my children made, and a teeny tiny tree in the bathroom with miniature ornaments. The trees were of all shapes and sizes and colors, like all white lights or big fat colorful bulbs or fiber optic trees with changing lights.

    Of all the trees, my favorite was the one with ornaments my children and I made like felt crafts with school pictures inside or sloppily painted candy canes. Most visitors oohed and complimented the big, gold, fancy tree in the family room, but the most beautiful tree in the house held the handmade ornaments that brought back memories of wonderful times spent with my family.

    What part of the holidays is most beautiful to you? The smiles on your children or grandchildren’s faces? The parks with thousands of lights strung for miles on end? The warms glow of Christmas trees with lovingly wrapped gifts underneath? Or it might be a table of food spread for your family to enjoy.

    All these things are beautiful, but the most beautiful sight is the Nativity. I have many throughout my house and one in the front yard to remind all who come to my home that the holiday is beautiful because a Savior was born and laid in a not-so-beautiful manger in a smelly stable. Jesus brought grace and salvation to an ugly world. He is the Gift. Let us not forget His love and grace that’s indescribable.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the precious and holy gift in the form of a baby that we celebrate this CHRISTmas. In Jesus' sweet and beautiful Name, I pray. Amen. 

    Friday, November 08, 2019

    Review Moment: Life Application Study Bible - Third Edition; NIV

    I remember it clearly. In fifth grade, I asked my history teacher why our class didn’t include the events in the Bible in our World History class. After all, Jesus Christ’s life and teachings affected the entire world – and still do. In the front of the Life Application Study Bible, I finally have a chart that is a Chronology of Bible Events and World Events. As a visual learner, this is invaluable, as are the maps spread throughout the text in both the Old and New Testaments. Many Bibles have color maps in the back, and this one does as well, but I appreciate the attention to detail and that smaller, black and white maps are easily accessible in each book of the Bible.

    When I teach a Bible class, I stress the importance of applying the Word of God to your life. This Bible helps you do just that with practical resources like a 365-Day Reading Plan and a Christian Worker’s Resource along with an extensive dictionary and concordance. Practical suggestions help readers to apply the principles in the Bible to everyday life.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this Bible as an excellent study Bible whether you’ve been a Christian a long time or a seeker just learning about Jesus.

    As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

    Product details

    • Imitation Leather: 2496 pages
    • Publisher: Zondervan; 3 edition (October 1, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310452821
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310452829
    • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 2.2 x 10.2 inches

    Monday, September 30, 2019

    Review Moment: Quest Study Bible, NIV

    The New International Version (NIV) text is the most widely read modern-English Bible translation, but this one is different. It has 7,000 – yes, you read that right, 7,000 questions and answers concerning some of the common and some of the most perplexing parts of the Bible. I turned to Psalm 23 to get an idea of the questions and answers. There were three - how does God guide us?, how could God’s rod and staff bring comfort?, and why prepare a meal in the presence of enemies? I was sufficiently satisfied with the answers.

    I then went to the New Testament and looked up Acts 10:9. The question posed is “Why did Peter go up on the roof?” and has an excellent, succinct answer. With all the other helps - like articles, maps, charts, and timelines, even someone who dreads Bible study could become an avid Bible reader. I recommend this Bible because it encourages study and research - along with other Bibles and study helps, of course.

    As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

    Product Details:

    • Hardcover: 1984 pages
    • Publisher: Zondervan (August 27, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310450810
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310450818
    • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches

    Thursday, August 29, 2019

    Review Moment: NIrV Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids, Hardcover By: Zondervan

    The NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids had me excited with the word 'illustrated.' I am a visual learner as are many children, so the idea of having a full-size, Genesis-to-Revelation, almost 'grownup' Bible with visual aids will appeal to children from about 4-8 years of age. The single columns make for easy reading, although the font is small for my older eyes, but then again - it's not designed for me.

    At first glance, I wasn't sure about the lack of verse numbers, but as a Bible teacher, I always stress reading verses in context, so this layout encourages that practice. I didn't realize until I'd handled the Bible a few times that a two-sided poster comes tucked into the back cover with the Holy Land on one side and a genealogy of Bible characters on the other - an excellent bonus and learning tool.

    This won’t be a first Bible, but I would certainly introduce this to children once they are able to handle a special book like this with care.

    As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

    Product details
    • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
    • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
    • Hardcover: 1552 pages
    • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Illustrated edition (June 4, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 031076579X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310765790
    • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 5 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds

    Monday, November 06, 2017

    Poetry Moment: Ideal Meal - a Fun Thanksgiving Poem

    A Thanksgiving poem - for fun!

    Ideal Meal

    The Thanksgiving turkey
    Tasted like jerky
    With lumpy potatoes
    And sour tomatoes
    The dressing too sodden and moist.

    The rolls didn’t rise
    And Mama’s sweet pies
    Were bitter to taste
    Gooey as paste
    But in spite of it all, we rejoiced.

    We thanked God above
    For His bountiful love
    For freedom to meet
    And for food to eat
    Taking time to tell God how we feel.

    For even though dinner
    Wasn’t a winner
    We all overlook
    That Mama can’t cook.
    Thanksgiving is more than a meal.

    © 2008 Donna J. Shepherd

    Thursday, December 03, 2015

    The Night Before Christmas

    I love these lyrics that so beautifully capture the beauty of the Holy Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Be blessed and Merry CHRISTmas.


    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Devotion: Better Than It Was

    Better than It Was

    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  
    - Colossians3:23-24 (ESV) 

    Today I listened to a recording on NewLife.com about procrastination. The two counselors giving advice had a good deal to say about perfectionism and the phrases and attitudes our parents had. My dad's favorite saying was, "If you can't do something right, don't do it at all." While his heart was in the right place and he meant that you need to do things properly, for me, it meant that if I didn't have time to do a task perfectly, I just needed to put it off.  And as life always has a way of getting in the way, I never could find the time to do many of the things I longed to. My ‘to do’ list got longer and longer and more and more overwhelming.

    Dr. Milan Yerkovich talked about his own perfectionism and how his wife’s attitude freed him. I love Kay Yerkovich's saying and will adopt it from now on:  "It's better than it was." If I can't clean the entire house and instead, only get to one room, well, it's better than it was. If I can't write the entire devotional that I long to, as long as I can get a few words written, my book is better than it was. If I'm unable to read ten chapters in the Bible and pray for an hour a day, but have time to read a few key verses and pray with a sincere heart, then my soul will have been fed and you know what? I’m better off spiritually than I was.

    Yes, in my advancing years, I’m adopting a new, less perfectionistic, and less stifling motto. I won’t be a slacker – I'll always offer my best, but my best will be all that I can do at the time with God’s help.

    The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 1:31b). I have many goals, but I’ll never accomplish anything if I wait for the perfect time and place. The key word for me is ‘Do!’ – not wait. Let’s get busy working for God’s glory.

    Now where did I put that list? 

    Thursday, May 07, 2015

    Mom Moment: For Mother's Day

    I wrote a poem called Mom's Retreat and I'm certain I'm not the only mother who's ever escaped to this special place. To read it on CWAHM.com, click HERE and leave a comment there or here on this blog. Thanks!
    Happy Mother's Day. - Donna


    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Accused Without Cause - Devotionals by Donna (with Audio)

    Today I listened to Mark 15. I have Audio Bible bookmarked and love to listen to the Bible while I work.

    One verse caught my attention: "And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.” Mark 15:3

    Jesus stood before Pilate while the chief priests accused Him of perverting the nation, rousing troublemakers, creating riots and dissension. In addition, they charged Him with forbidding the payment of tribute to Rome, and teaching people to not pay their taxes. Third, and most serious, they charged Him with wanting to be king instead of Caesar. Pilate marveled at the fact that when accused of these crimes, Jesus did not speak up in a defensive manner.

    Have you ever been falsely accused? I'm one of five children. When we were little and Mom couldn't get to the bottom of a story, she'd discipline ALL of us. Oh, how exasperating it was to be disciplined for something I didn't do!

    To think of Jesus, Who had never sinned, having to endure the mocking and jeering crowd of accusers both amazes me and breaks my heart. He did it for me. He did it for you. Why would He do it? The only possible explanation is His compelling love.

    The curse He suffered was not for His own sin, but for ours. Clearly, Pilate thought Jesus to be innocent, undeserving of the death penalty so aggressively sought by the Jewish authorities, but His accusers forced Pilate to make a decision about Jesus.

    We must all decide what to do about Jesus. I hope you’ve chosen to accept Him as your King.

    Our response to Christ’s suffering on our behalf should be one of gratitude. Only because of His sacrifice do we have hope for eternity.

    Jesus' death was followed by His resurrection, ascension, and sending the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, enabling us to obey Christ and follow Him.

    The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Because Jesus gave Himself for me, I want to give my life to Him. How about you?

    Oh, and I'm sure you know - sometimes I was the culprit, and my siblings were the exasperated ones!

    Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit, Who helps me live for You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

    *Posted 3-25-05; Audio 4-23-11

    Fun Moment: I Know Jesus Loves Me

    On an Easter Sunday, to introduce my husband's sermon, I sang the song “Redeemer” written by Nicole C. Mullins. One of the lines in the chorus says, “I know my redeemer lives.” Then my husband preached an Easter sermon titled “I Know He Lives.” During his sermon, he spoke of the tremendous love of Christ.

    So after church when a little girl about seven came running up to Don exclaiming, “I know Jesus loves me!” he thought she must have been paying attention to the sermon.

    “I know, Honey! Jesus loves you.”

    She grinned even wider, followed him a few more steps and said, “Pastor, I know Jesus loves me.”

    Don turned around, patted her on the head and said, “Praise the Lord. He does!”

    Finally, the little girl sighed in exasperation and said, “I KNOW 'Jesus Loves Me.' Don’t you want to hear me sing it?”


    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Review Moment: Cook'n Recipe Management System

    In February 2012, I posted a review of Cook'n, a Recipe Management System. My original review can be found here: http://reviewsbydonnashepherd.blogspot.com/2012/02/review-of-cookn-recipe-organizer.html

    Cook'n has been the #1 recipe software program for more than 20 years, and the best way to organize your recipes. I liked the program very much, but now - a new version has been released with even more features. Are you on Pinterest? I have entire Pinterest pages devoted to recipes. I'm excited that Cook'n can even sync Pinterest recipes. Yes! 

    Watch  the video for more information and visit the website for more videos and to purchase: http://www.dvo.com/. You can like Cook'n on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Recipe.Organizer

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Interview Moment: Authors' Garden

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