Designed to Pray: New Book by Kellly O’Dell Stanley

Written for the creative heart, Designed to Pray is an interactive, 8-week devotional on creative ways to engage with God.

Kelly Stanley’s casual and fascinating style opens her reader’s eyes to new ways of connecting with God through prayer.

This book would appeal to the right-brained, artsy reader, but would greatly benefit anyone desiring to pray more and pray more effectively.designed-to-pray-cover-666x999

Each week offers a situation that may arise as we begin to pray, whether it’s fear, or a desire for increased faith, or how to intercede for others. Then, each day of that week Kelly shares ways to overcome or prevail in the situation.

She uses unique ways of working through the prayers and the week’s situation. Some of those ways include filling in the blanks, creating key chain prayers, filling in the root system on a family tree and using a color palette as a reminder of certain prayers offered for certain people.

This is a great book to use in your family devotion and in your own personal prayer life. I highly recommend it to my family and friends.

Giveaway Contest: Win a Copy of Karen Ehman’s New Book and More



Great News! It’s time for another Giveaway! Contest starts today, 11/26 and runs through 12/3. Win your very on copy of Listen, Love, Repeat; along with the Study Guide and DVD! All you have to do to enter is follow the directions below:


How to Enter:

  1. Subscribe to my blog, Created to Climb, by entering your e-mail address in the Follow My Blog link located in the right column of my blog site; (Don’t worry, if you are already a follower, just make sure you follow the next direction and you’ll have your chance to win).
  2. Share my blog post on your Facebook page by posting: “I just entered to win Karen Ehman’s new book, Listen Love Repeat, at”

That’s it, YOU’RE ENTERED!  The winner will be randomly picked and announced on December 4th.

A Book Review by Carla Pollard: Listen, Love, Repeat

listen-love-repeatI’ve just finished New York Times bestselling author, Karen Ehman’s newest book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.  (For your future fun: I will be giving away a copy along with the Listen, Love, Repeat  Study Guide with DVD  later this month).

I became acquainted with Karen’s work through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed studying some of her ten books, including Let It Go: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith and Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It & When to Say Nothing at All.

Karen is a speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She also writes for the online devotional, Encouragement for Today. She met her husband, Todd, while in college and they have three children. Karen draws from her experiences as a wife and mother and shares what she’s learned so that her readers can grow to be more like Jesus. You can connect with Karen through her website,

Karen Ehman

Karen’s down-home style makes for a relaxed read. She draws her reader in with the warmth of a gracious hostess and you feel like you’re sitting around her cherished and well-used kitchen island enjoying little bites of quick wit and wisdom. You can tell that she values relationships and believes that through relationships we can all experience what ancient philosophers called “the greatest good.” In fact, she shares this belief throughout Listen, Love, Repeat.

Through the pages of her newest book, Karen stresses the need to look beyond our self-centered world. She encourages us to pay attention to others and listen for their “heart drops.”

Heart drops are “… when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or her heart. It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness” (Karen Ehman, 2016, page 15).

When we hear the heart drops of others we can choose to honor them in some way. Through a small gift, card, or kind word, we have an opportunity to connect with their heart drop and touch them deeply for Jesus. Using her life examples and biblical accounts, Karen helps us to understand why we’re here and what God really wants from our lives.

This book deals with being kind, hospitable and loving to those God brings across our paths. Karen writes of a time when a neighbor decided to end her life. This account underscored the importance of lay down “too busy” and taking time to pick up on “heart drops.” That’s where God lives. That’s where God wants to minister through us. If we ignore those around us we miss the opportunity to shine His light in lonely and desperate hearts.

Through Listen, Love, Repeat, Karen once again is a shining example of how important it is to honor our families. She shows through her thoughtful actions, her deep love and desire to connect with her family in a God-honoring and profound way.

Karen doesn’t just share what we should do; she shows us what to do by giving us practical ways to listen to others, love them through our actions and make a difference for Jesus. After all, that’s why we’re here. God wants to use us to touch others.

I recommend this book to all my family and friends. It is a timely read for the upcoming holiday season. There are so many who lose hope during this time of year. Karen breaks down in simple suggestions how we can reach out to other during this season and throughout the year.

When you read it, make sure you have a marker in hand. It just may be while you’re cozied around that kitchen island the Holy Spirit will speak to you. He spoke to me: “Carla, this is a wise statement. You need to mark it and remember it. It’s going to come in handy one day.”


Give Away: Ann Voskamp’s New Book, The Broken Way

Hi Everyone, It’s GIVE AWAY time!!! I’m giving away a copy of Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Broken Way. All you have to do to ENTER is READ my review of Ann’s  new book, LIKE it, post a COMMENT, the SHARE the link to my review. Contest STARTS now and ENDS November 1st. Winner will be announced here on November 2nd. Happy Reading!!

A Review: Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life ~Carla Pollard

I read a quote back some 20 years ago. It said, “When we have words to describe our deepest pain; we discover there is a deeper pain that eludes words.”

Sometimes words never reach the brokenness we feel inside. So what do we do with our pain?

I received an advanced copy of Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Bthe-broken-wayroken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (Zondervan), set to be released on October 25, 2016. In it she describes an “unspoken broken” as a pain too deep you don’t dare to utter.

Ann Voskamp packs a powerful message of hope through brokenness. The opening pages descend to a dark place of hurt, anger and despair as Ann describes cutting herself with shards of glass from broken jars dropped around her feet. It is a distressing account of a soul bound by pain and desperately desiring escape by feeling a sense of relief when the blood streams out of her open wounds. Her words burst of agony and my heart broke as I read them.

Even though Ann’s word-pictures draw for us darkness of soul, The Broken Way leads us to the cross where we understand the brokenness of Jesus and discover meaning by laying down our lives for others. As Jesus took the bread and fish, blessed and broke them to feed thousands, The Broken Way describes the value in being broken and how abundant life is found when we allow Jesus to use our broken places to touch the lives of others.

The Broken Way is written to those of us who want to learn more about living an authentic Christian life through sharing with others in our “unspoken broken.”

I was blessed through the pages of this book and will be discussing it more in the days ahead.

Be sure and check back with me next week to learn how you can win your very own copy of The Broken Way.

Take a few minutes and listen to Ann as she discusses her book: