Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

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Book Review: Middle Bear

Middle Bear, Susanna Isern, Kids Can Press, 2017.

Middle Bear is the second of three brothers. When the brothers go out into the forest to do various errands, Middle Bear is either too big or too small to be of any help. His older and younger brother both seem to be the right size. But Middle Bear seems to always be in the middle.

He seems to go unnoticed. And he longs to be different, to be as special as his brothers.

Susanna Isern’s little book is perfect for children to may seem that there is no place for them. And it is great for helping children experience some empathy for the child who reads alone or who cries because of his or her sadness.

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Guest Post: A Bucket of Hope in Texas

Not long after Hurricane Harvey left a path of destruction in southeast Texas and southwest Lousiana, my colleague Rev. Joanna Dietz, an ordained deacon in the Virginia Conference, organized an Early Response Team to travel to Texas to engage in the clean-up efforts in Texas. After following her post on Facebook, I invited Joanna to write a guest post. She and her son, Andrew, blog together at Mother, Son, and … Where’s the Holy Spirit?!

It started out like any other day, watching the news and moving through my work routine. But as Harvey hit and people began calling from around the Winchester District to see what we were doing in response, I felt that tug. You know, the one that says, “You need to do something radically different here and step out in faith.” Things quickly took shape and I found myself with four other people in two cars headed down to Texas with our ERT (Early Response Team) badges, which allow us into locations that have experienced disasters.

Our first impressions were of piles of possessions on the road, hay bales that had floated across roads, and business signs ripped from their posts and scattered across parking lots and sidewalks. Some areas had remained virtually untouched beyond the occasional blue tarp on the roof, but down by the river in the poorer section of town, flooding had done severe damage to many of the homes. This is where we spent our time in Victoria, TX.

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Book Review: No Room for Baby

No Room for Baby!, Émile Jadoul, Kids Can Press, 2017.

Leon is a toddler penguin who is not too sure about having a new baby brother. As long as the infant Marcel is in his crib, Leon is okay with him. But once the baby cries, and mom and dad’s attention are taken away, Leon begins describing all the ways in which there is no room for a baby.

The Penguin family lives in a spacious igloo with all the trappings of a human home that would be familiar to a toddler. This familiarity along with the cartoon style illustrations, make it appealing to the listening toddler.

Despite Leon’s hesitantly about Marcel living in his home, Leon does find one place that is big enough for the baby. Leon’s arms are just the right side.

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Giveaway: Love You Always book

Love You Always, written by Eileen Spinelli with illustrations by Gillian Flint, is the latest gift book for new babies or for Christmas. The verses are gentle and the repetition is soothing. The book aims to communicate to the child that he or she is loved – always – but a host of family members. Mostly by Mama and Daddy.

But other family members are included. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, and Uncle. Counsin and family friend even get a shout out. At first, this inclusion of extended family members is great. It is often rare to see Auntie and Uncle included in a children’s book. While the book seems to include a lot of the family tree, there is no inclusion of siblings or step-parents.

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YouTubevotional: Fair and Square

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

We have heard the phrase, “fair and square,” and “cheaters never prosper.” We usually hear them in the context of sports or in education.  Remember playing a pickup game of baseball in the backyard and someone, maybe you, telling your friends that something was “fair and square?”

It can speak to a sense of justice and integrity.

In the Mickey Mouse short below, Mickey is faced with the challenge of cheating (like everyone else) or being faithful to the spirit of fair play.

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Book Review: My Potty

My Potty, Anita Bijsterbosch, Clavis Books, 2017.

At our house, we are in the midst of potty training. We have set a sticker system so that everytime Toddler J uses the potty, she receives a sticker. Once her sticker card is full, we take a trip to the Dollar Tree and she picks out one item (toy, coloring book, etc.)

During this phase of life, we are interested in books about using the potty. Something you never quite appreciate until you are a parent.

Anita Bijsterbosch’s board book My Potty is yet another book in this help-the-parent-out genre. While My Potty is no Daniel Tiger, it is a fun read. The illustrations are fun and bright. The animals in the story was a plus for Toddler J.

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YouTubevotional: Is God Calling?

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

Brother Casey is a Franciscan friar who is using the wonders of YouTube to engage thousands of viewers. From blogging about his life as a friar to producing YouTube videos to communicate the gospel, Brother Casey seems to be committed to reaching people through modern media.

In the video below, Brother Casey asks the question, “Is God calling you?”

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Book Review: The Tiny Tale of Little Pea

The Tiny Tale of Little Pea, Davide Cali, illustrated by Sebastien Mourrain, Kids Can Press, 2017.

“When he was born, Little Pea was tiny. Teeny-tiny.”

And the story of Little Pea begins. Little Pea is a tiny little, light-skinned human being the size of a pea. He never gets taller than half the length of a normal pencil.

Even though he is small, Little Pea does not let his smallness keep him from doing things. He climbs a lego tower. Little Pea rides a grasshopper as if it were a small horse. He reads and teaches himself how to swim.

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Giveaway: God Paints/Loves the World

Gary Bower is an ordained pastor who has years of experience in ministry with children, teens, and adults. His ministry has developed his ability to communicate to a wide ranging audience. He is the author of sixteen books, including two new board books, God Love the World and God Paints the World.

Both books use rhyme, which is attractive to young ears. The illustrations by Tracy Cottingham are colorful and engaging.

God Paints the World

In this little book, children are introduced to various colors. As well as parts of creation that are that color. For example, when the color red is introduced, we meet a cardinal who likes to eat berries. Cottingham’s illustrations make use of the color in creative ways, making it fun and educational.

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YouTubevotional: Mattress Mack

YouTubevotionals are designed to be used in personal devotion time, with small groups, youth groups, or Sunday school classes. To see other YouTubevotionals, click here

Introduction

Hurricane Harvey has brought with it a lot of anxiety and worry. This has prompted a lot of prayer and action on the parts of many. And in a time when we seem to be more focused on the things that divide us, stories of strangers helping strangers come out of Texas and remind us of what humanity is all about.

Local furniture store owner, Jim McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack, is one of those stories.

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