Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Speaking/Book Readings

 "When you have a relationship with the Lord, 
a little seems like a lot." 

—3rd grade students after hearing The Marvelous Mud House

I love to share my children's book, The Marvelous Mud House with children at schools, churches, and libraries! Book readings with discussion afterwards take 20-30 minutes. Below are the responses from some of the schools and churches I have done readings for: 

Our school had the privilege of not only getting to see a beautifully illustrated book, “The Marvelous Mud House”, the author actually read it to our students.  April Graney has written a wonderful book that children of all ages will enjoy.  As I looked around the auditorium while she read her book to the students, I observed that they were totally engaged and listened as she shared. Our students range in age from 4 years to 12 years old. Each child loved the book, which was evident by the way they stayed attentive throughout the story and by the rich questions they asked at the end of her presentation. “The Marvelous Mud House” crosses cultures in a beautiful way and teaches some great life lessons about contentment with what you have, less can actually be more, working with a good attitude, and sharing with others who have a need. We hope she will write another book and come back again!

Libby Jeffers
Teacher, Chapel Coordinator
 Mingo Valley Christian

      "Our Kindergarten through fourth graders loved  Mrs. Graney ‘s read aloud of The Marvelous Mud House. By evidence of their comments and questions, students engaged in perspective, empathy, and problem solving during the read aloud all the while experiencing “the God who provides” in a new way. Our students and team greatly enjoyed the experience and learning that Mrs. Graney brought to us, and hope to partner with her again in the future."

Ryan Schmuck
K2 Coordinator
Fellowship Bible Church, Lowell, AR

"The Marvelous Mud House is a delightful book which opens the hearts and minds of the reader to the possibility of joy and happiness while living in needs.  When reading aloud, April Graney has an engaging manner that pulled my students into the world of Kenya.  She interacted with the students and graciously answered the questions and listened to the comments of my little ones.  The Marvelous Mud House would be a great addition to any classroom and an excellent resource to start a discussion about having an attitude of gratitude and way we can make a difference in the world." 

Mrs. Karen Hodges
Elementary Teacher
Cookson Hills Christian School

You can email me for book readings or speaking engagements at:!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roxy Board Coat Giveaway

Here's the thing. I don't really want to give my coat away. I love it! A few weeks ago, my family and I had a great time hiking around the Rocky Moutain National Park. When I found this coat at our local goodwill for $4.50, we had no plans to visit Colorado, but it sure came in handy! Freezing cold winds across snow covered trails, and my Roxy board coat layered with a light adidas sweatshirt kept me fairly comfortable. On the fashion side, I have to say that I have received dozens of compliments from complete strangers on the coat several while in Estes Park, one while hiking, another at a trendy sourvenir shop, and another from the employee at the movie theater there. I'm thinking Aztec prints are in!
Here's a link to a similar coat that gives a bit of the description. I don't know what my coat was priced at new, but this one is $199. Mine is long slim fit, size medium, and is definitely waterproof.

So what you really want to know about is the giveaway right? Well, since I really like my coat, you're going to have to do something for me. A few weeks ago, I had the incredible priviledge to meet the founder of a school in Uganda. This woman, when she was in her mid-twenties, followed the Lord's leading and moved to Uganda with $300 in her pocket to start a school for orphan, foster, and underpriviledged children. Today they have over 450 students, and the founder, Rebecca has 20 foster children that live with her! Just incredible to see how God has used this woman of faith! I have a friend who has actually visited My Father's House, so I know it is legitimate. My Father's House has a goal to add 20 child sponsors by the end of the year. I want to support this cause. So....if you decide to sponsor a child with My Father's House for a year, I will send you my coat. Just visit their website, sign up to sponsor, send me proof of your sponsorship (like an email confirmation from My Father's House to, you name and address, and the coat is yours, or at least the first person who does this gets my coat. The rest of you will have rewards eternal in heaven for your investment! :)

Ready, Set, Go!

Here is the link to My Father's House:

Here's a GREAT video highlighting their amazing ministry to kids in Uganda:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jeans and funky flowers

     There's risk involved in posting here. It is in posting pictures of myself in clothing finds like this great cute blouse from the Goodwill, but it is also in the writing. "Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, 'listen to me'." I'm going to take the risk. And I am going to keep writing. Why? Because the love of Christ compels me. 2 Corinthians 5:14 say, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 

    Everything we do influences those around us. My desire to spend less and give more is impacting my children. Yesterday, my girls told me they needed jeans for this winter. You know what they asked me? They asked to go look at the Goodwill for jeans. They are understanding the reasons behind spending less, and they are on board! (They found 4 pairs of jeans and some boots, plus a few items I added, for under $50.00!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Comparison Trap

It's embarrassing to admit, but I sometimes get stuck in the comparison trap. I let myself get so distracted comparing others' successes to my own, that my focus is completely wrong. It's not the way I was intended to live. 

The movie, Mom's Night Out is cutewith a valid message. But, at the end of the movie, the main character writes a blog post. We learn she has gone from 3 followers to 260 followers, seemingly over night. She's a mommy blogger! I found myself comparing myself to a fictional character! I'm not even sure how to add followers to my blog, but if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't grab 260 followers over night! 

I found this great blog created by actual women. It's call (in)courage. Basically it is a group of 36 women who have been writing on it regularly for the last 3 years, and they have over 32,000 subscribers! They take guest posts every week, and I began beating myself up for never submitting a guest post, even though I just found out about the blog last night. 

Comparison is not supposed to be my life. This is not a trap God intended or wants for me. As much as I want my writing to be noticed and to make an impact on others, my identity cannot be wrapped up in it. I don't want it to. I want Jesus to be my minute by minute focus, not my children's book. I want to be consumed by thoughts of Him. I love my Lord. I hate these distractions. Out on my back porch this morning, drinking my coffee, these verses came to mind:  

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside the quiet waters,
he restores my soul
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake
Psalm 23:1-3

Comparison is being in want. My job is to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from him. He gives the direction, peace, hope, and encouragement that I need. As long as I am honoring Him in all that I do, comparing myself to what everyone else is doing can't affect me. He quiets my soul. He restores my soul. He guides and protects me. I am content and secure in the arms of my shepherd. It's a much nicer place to be than the comparison trap. 

The comparison trap only makes us feel small. Get it? :) 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The $5 Ann Taylor LOFT dress

If you follow my posts, you know that I recently made the decision to stop buying brand new clothing for a year. But that doesn't mean if I need something I can't stop at the Goodwill and buy a super cute Ann Taylor LOFT dress for $5! Here it is:

Because it is starting to feel a bit like Fall, I wore it today with this black shrug. Every girl should own a black shrug. You can seriously put it with everything, and it allows you to wear your summer dresses year round! 

And because my cat wouldn't leave me alone and wanted in the picture, I kept having to throw him out, which of course my daughter couldn't resist capturing in photos. 

Last summer, our great friends, Michael and Beth Ann came to visit. You know you have a great friend, when you can sit around together reading and laughing at your ridiculous blog posts! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Kissed Old Navy Goodbye

Don't get me wrong. I love Old Navy as much as the next girl! Lots of my clothes have Old Navy tags. But I'm trying something new. Here's the thing. There are a lot of needs in this world: clean water, education, medicine, Bible translation, and global missions. I'd like to be able to give more. Even though I don't spent a huge amount on clothing, buying less is one simple way to cut back and be able to give. So I am committing to not spend any money on brand new clothing for a year.

Instead, if I absolutely need clothing, I will shop resale instead. Since I started shopping for clothing at thrift stores, resale shops, and Goodwill, I've actually gotten more compliments than ever before. I just say thank you and think "If they only knew," except that one time at my niece's wedding when all the bridesmaids were ogling over my dress, and I proudly proclaimed it was from Goodwill. I have to admit, there was a bit of strange silence afterwards.

So, there is it. No more Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle,  or Target (Oh no, I forgot about Target!) If you see me shopping in one of those places, it might just be for jewelry or sunglasses.