Monday, November 18, 2013

A Better December - A Give-Away & A Special Short Story from Steve Estes!

A Better December coverAs of this writing, I mostly work from my home. I get up each morning and fix breakfast for my husband then pack his lunch. We chat a bit and he goes to work. Then I get to work checking my email; responding to any which need immediate attention, and then write my posts for the day for this blog and grandma's cookie jar. From there I work on writing, cleaning, laundry, and at this time of year, I also work on projects for family for Christmas (I've made Perry the Platypus hats for my grandsons - and their parents :-) - and Minion hats and am now working on blankets!)

However; on Wednesdays this schedule is very different. I go with my husband to work, drop him off and take the car to pick up my grandson Josiah and drive him to school. Then I return home to do my writing. At 12:30 I go and pick him up (sometimes we go get his younger brother Caleb) and then we hang out and do special things . . . such as visit a candy store, or go to a bakery for a cookie and cocoa or a pet store to get a surprise for their new puppy! When it is time we pick up Poppa from work, get some supper and then take Josiah to Kids 'n Action (the mid-week children's ministry at my church). It is a busy, but very fun day for this grandma to spend time with my sweet grandsons!

On Wednesdays I spend time in the car so I listen to the radio. I'm already hearing "debate" as to if it is too early to decorate for Christmas, begin Christmas shopping and hear Christmas songs on the radio! There is a "debate" about these things because some people think it is too early for Christmas and others are ready for it.

Whether you think it is too early, or are ready to begin celebrating, you will identify, enjoy and be challenged by a new book by Steven Estes which I'm delighted to share with you today: and announce a give-away as well! A Better December takes us all somewhere we may not have ventured previously in December; the Book of Proverbs.

A Better December
Author - Steven Estes
Illustrator - Sarah Bland Halulko
Publisher - New Groth Press

Favorite Features -
  • The author take us along on thirteen little "jaunts" through the book of Proverbs from the perspective of Christmas; as he says, "The shopping, the family get-togethers, the office Christmas party, the decorating, the memories of loved ones who are no longer with us . . . What should be the happiest time of the year often becomes a stressful, anxiety-ridden, and emotional season for many who are seeking perfection and trying to meet unrealistic expectations. But December doesn’t have to get the better of us."
  • I found the line drawings throughout to be the perfect compliment to the content of the book!
  • Challenges us to stop and think and focus - or refocus - on what really matters this time of year by helping others - and all year long! As the author says, "Get yourself some joy when passing those sidewalk bell-ringers with their red kettles, because “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (19:17)Write a letter to a soldier overseas this time of year, he prods, for “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land” (25:25)
  • As the publisher says, "But A Better December offers more than mere clever tips for surviving the Christmas holidays. It is also intended to be a gift book for non-Christian friends and neighbors. Through its gradual, non-threatening introduction to the gospel, readers begin to grasp that Solomon is good, but Jesus is better." 
  • The last chapter/entry in the book includes six ways to carry your "Better December" into the entire year
A Better December is a book which will help you get a new perspective on this month when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. As Joni Eareckson Tada said, "He's done it again with A Better December. Flip to any page and Steve gives an arresting twist on our modern Decembers gone crazy. Overspending and overeating. Too many Christmas sales, too many parties. Too many battles over manger scenes in the public square . . . and for some, too many sad memories from yesteryear. Between the pages of this special little book, you'll find a genuine guide to the purposeful and peaceful holiday we all long for. Who'd ever thought Proverbs would make a good Christmas read? But it does."

I'm delighted to also make available to everyone who reads this, a special short story, written by Steven Estes which you will only find on About the Children's Department. In this story, Steve writes, "Anyone dreading this Christmas? Is anyone convinced you simply can’t endure one more “happy” holiday? Not with this spouse. Not without that child. Not minus any family at all. Or perhaps not with yesteryear’s good memories now just a puddle of melted snow — or with that sadness from childhood hanging on like the flu. Maybe you should meet Coleen." He then goes on to share some of Coleen's story; it will bring tears to your eyes (it did to mine) and says, "Coleen learned that God draws near to those who groan in body or soul but who seek him anyway. That nearness, she found, is worth more than everything in the world. If God could do that for her at such a season . . . don’t you think he’s a match for whatever longing you face this bleak December?" You'll find this special short story by Steve Estes at this link.

And one more treat for one reader; a copy of A Better December! I'm giving one away on November 25, 2013 (USA only)  If you would like to be in the drawing for A Better December, please comment below to let me know if you have followed on Google Friend Connect, followed by liking on facebook with the tab in the "Find us on Facebook" box ON THE BLOG or at this link (not just liking the post) and/or have followed About the Children's Department by email. For each of these which you have done you will receive one entry. In addition, if you "share" this post, you'll receive an additional entry (please let me know if you share). This will help me be able to draw names from among people who would like to win A Better December and  it gives you several ways to enter the give-away! Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!


  1. Sounds like an excellent read...I follow on fb and email.

  2. I follow on google and via email (through Challies). This book would be a blessing to my neighborhood! Thank you!

  3. 1) I follow on FB
    2) I follow on Google Connct
    3) I shared on Twitter
    4) I shared on FB

  4. I follow on FB. Just read your today's post, wow, so touching. Oh, and thanks for all you do. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you and have a great Thanksgiving as well! :-)

  5. I like you on FB, google +, and shared your link on FB. Happy thanksgiving!

  6. Wow. I want to get several copies of this for Christmas presents. I follow on fb and shared.