Thanking your good aunt

The month of guest posts has ended. The contest is over. And now it’s time for me to say several thank yous.

First and foremost, I’m grateful to the four talented (and busy) writers who said “Yes!” when I asked if they would write a guest post for me in September. Please know that I deeply appreciate all of you for adding one more thing to your busy schedules. The results were beyond what I was expecting, and for sharing your gift with me and your inspiring messages with my blog readers, I thank you.

For those of you who might have missed a guest post along the way, here are links and a brief summary:

  • Jerel Law, author of Spirit Fighter, blogged about his sister-in-law, an amazing good aunt who thinks nothing of flying the less-than-friendly skies to get from Hawaii to her niece and nephews on the East Coast. Her presence is a soothing, necessary balm as the Law children learn to navigate life without their mother.
  • Tracey Finck, author of Love Letters to a Child, blogged about the power of a good aunt’s pen. I hope you took her up on her suggestion to buy some stamps and sit down and write your niece/nephew/significant-other-child-in-your-life to let them know you’re thinking about them. If not, it’s never too late. I hear they even sell stamps at CVS and Wal-mart these days.
  • Allison Cain, author of Revision of a Heart and several other good reads, blogged about a great way to pray about and through pain, whether emotional or physical. And who among us can’t use a good prayer cue for turning our troubles over to God?
  • Shannon Hale, author of How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still, blogged about her remarkable aunt Grace who had the courage to show her nieces she loved them, even though she couldn’t shower them with perfect gifts or perfect amounts of attention. I hope Hale challenged you to rethink a reluctance to share your love with those who are important to you.

And now about that contest
I want to thank those of you who embraced the guest bloggers and commented on their posts. And a huge thanks to those who entered the contest, too. I loved reading stories of your own aunts and how they’ve influenced you. Thank you for sharing those stories, and thanks for taking time away from what I know is a busy month to pay tribute to a special aunt in your life.

Thanks also to those of you who have told me about your own good aunts in person. And also to those of you who have spoken of a deep lack of good aunts in your life or a loss of a good aunt in your children’s lives when a sister or sister-in-law died too young.

Of those who entered the contest, Wendy ended up winning (congrats!). I was literally pulling her name from the folded pieces of paper when a telemarketer’s number popped up on my caller ID, identifying itself only as “Winner.” Serendipity? Coincidence? Just plain fun (so atypical from the caller ID these days)?

You can read Wendy’s tribute to her aunt Kate in the comments to the contest announcement. Wendy is a talented writer in her own right, and I encourage you to check out her blog, especially today’s post that might give you an idea of the type of friend you can be to the moms of your favorite kids.

Wendy: look for an email from me in your inbox asking which of the four guest bloggers’ books you’d like to receive as your prize. You can’t go wrong with any of the choices, and I’m looking forward to seeing which one you select.

If I could declare each and every one of you readers a winner, I would, but I don’t have enough money in the budget to send all of you books. Maybe as a pat on the back for encouraging me, you’ll treat yourself to one or all four of the books highlighted over the last month? If you do, let me know what you think of them.

I also encourage you, if you haven’t already, to thank a good aunt in your life. These woman can be easy to overlook, but if your good aunt is still alive, I’m betting she would love to hear your words of gratitude.


Guest post: The courage to love imperfectly

If you’re struggling with how to be a good aunt, take heart. You don’t have to be perfect to share a lifetime of love with all those special children in your lives. Today’s guest blogger Shannon Hale shares a lesson she learned from an aunt who had the courage to love her imperfectly.

Shannon Hale, photo provided by the author

Shannon’s new book How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still is hot off the e-presses. Her family has learned to live with ADHD, and in her book, she offers fresh, fun new ways to make prayer an integral part of your busy life – a great read for anyone dealing with ADD/ADHD or simply a mind too distracted with the busyness of life to sit down and pray. Be sure to check out Shannon’s blog, too.

That’s Charles on the cover (photo provided by Shannon Hale). I got to name him in a contest on Shannon’s blog last week. And speaking of contests …

Thank your good aunt contest deadline
Today marks the last of the guest posts for the Good Aunt series, and you know what that means: The deadline for the “Thank your good aunt” contest is upon us! I originally intended to stop accepting entries today, but knowing that many of you can’t always find time to sit still and submit your contest entry, I’m extending the deadline to this Friday, September 28. If you win, you could choose to receive How to Pray When You Can’t Sit Still as your prize. So get those entries in that describe a wonderful woman in your life who deserves a letter of love from you.

Now, here’s Shannon with some inspiration about being a good aunt:


Christmas in our house was filled with love, but not with the anticipation of wonderful gifts. My single mom worked two and sometimes three jobs to raise the five of us girls, so presents under the tree usually consisted of necessities like socks and underwear, with one special exception. Continue reading

Guest blog post: Dealing with pain

Many of you good aunts know that being a good aunt doesn’t always come without pain. Sometimes not having children can be accompanied by physical pain (miscarriages and endometriosis come to mind), and other times the pain can be emotional or mental anguish or spiritual disillusionment.

Today’s guest blogger Allison Cain talks about dealing with pain through prayer, as you revise the expectations you had for your life. Her message comes from her personal experience during the recession, when her family’s economic reality forced a dramatic downsize and, ultimately, a revision of her heart. You can read about her journey in her latest book Revision of a Heart. And be sure to check out her blog: The Whisper of God.

Allison Cain, photo provided by the author

Now, here’s Allison:


“I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me.” – Psalm 69:29 (NIV)

I was in the kitchen chopping potatoes when my newly sharpened knife slipped and sliced a nice gash in my thumb. It shocked me, and I instantly dropped the knife and grabbed my thumb, unable to even look at it as my husband came in and said, “Are you going to need stitches?” It just needed a little super glue. Thank goodness!

When you experience pain from an external injury, wounds are usually quick to heal. You can see the healing occur as a scab or bruise forms. You can also determine if you are healing correctly and, if there is an infection forming, quickly take action to continue healing.

However, with emotional injuries we can’t see the scars and infection. It is easier to leave these wounds unattended or simply ignore them because they aren’t on the surface. Leaving these internal wounds unattended can lead to catastrophic results. Continue reading

Guest post: The great good aunt

Today marks the beginning of a series of guest bloggers writing about the good aunt. In the post below, you’ll get to meet an amazing author and friend of mine, Jerel Law. He’s going to tell you about his sister-in-law, who isn’t just a good aunt. She’s a great good aunt.

Jerel is the author of Spirit Fighter, the first in the Jonah Stone: Son of Angels series. For all you good aunts, uncles, moms and dads out there, this is a great read for ages 10 to 14 (but I also think it’s a great read for anyone older, too). Fire Prophet, the second book in the series, is due out this December.

Jerel and his son Christopher at a recent book signing

Just a reminder that the “Thank your good aunt” contest is still going on, and if you win, you could choose to receive Spirit Fighter as your prize. So get those entries in. And now, here’s Jerel:


I’m grateful that Hope asked me to contribute to the Good Aunt series. I’ve had some terrific aunts in my life, and my children have some now. I want to tell you about one in particular, though – my sister-in-law, Dana. I want to share with you what it is that makes her a very, very special aunt. And to understand that, you need to know something about our last couple of years. Continue reading

The good aunt and thank yous

Today was the first day of school here where I live. I know some of you had your first day of school earlier in the summer, and others won’t send the kids back until next week. Those of you who don’t have children to pack off to school may still find yourselves reacting to the changes all around you: driving to work through hectic school zones, shopping among the back-to-school frenzy or even gearing up for the last month of the quarter at work.

Trust me, I know this is a busy season for many of you. So thank you for taking the time to drop by my blog today. I’ve got an exciting contest to announce at the end of today’s post, and I’m thrilled you get to hear all about it first.

Today’s theme is all about thank yous. Show of hands: how many of you learned to write thank you notes at an early age? My mom always made sure that by the end of Christmas break, we had written thank you notes for every gift we received from someone other than close family. Birthday thank you notes didn’t have such a hard-and-fast deadline, but my mom still made sure we wrote them in a timely manner.

Continue reading