Monthly Archives: May 2015

Does Your Name Tell a Story? Put Namesake—When God Rewrites Your Story, A Bible Study by Jessica LaGrone on Your To-Do List!

Growing up a “Lonely Only”, there were a few things that got on my nerves. One was whenever anyone tried to nickname me, be it “Beth” or “Liz” or “Betsy”, my Mother always corrected them. “No,” she’d say, “Her name is Elizabeth. Please call her Elizabeth.”

Mom and Dad named me for one of my Mother’s sisters, who was Sarah Elizabeth. Never mind we called her “Bem”. So maybe I wanted a nickname too?!!!

One year when I went to camp I told everyone to call me by my middle name, “Lee”. If you could’ve seen the look on my parents’ faces when they picked me up…everyone saying, “Goodbye, Lee!” (Can you say, “Rebellious child”???)

Last week, my friend Sherry and I were doubly blessed to spend time with two fantastic ladies. One of the ladies is Ellen Stamps, who I wrote about in “Lunch with a Modern Day Saint Makes for an Extraordinary Day”.

The other young lady we had coffee with at a charming spot in Wilmore, Kentucky called Solomon’s Porch ( ). I’m still not over the Pumpkin Pie Latte I had, so I’ll share the picture with you just one more time.


Once again, Sherry’s daughter, Laura, graciously connected us with a wise-beyond-her-years young Mom named Jessica LaGrone. She is the new Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary. ( )

Jessica and her husband, Jim, have recently moved from Texas so she can assume this challenging post. After she told us they have three worship services a week, offer daily communion, enlist numerous preachers and musicians every day, involving the students, my head started to spin.

Jessica shared this with Sherry and me as if she were rattling off her grocery list. Before taking another breath, she then gave us a copy of her first Bible study she wrote, Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story.

When God Rewrites your story

Before I share with you a snippet or two from this excellent study, you must know that this is one of four studies she’s written, the fourth of which comes out next month, entitled Set Apart: Holy Habits of Prophets and Kings. It’s a Bible study on 1st and 2nd Kings.

Set Apart

One more piece to the puzzle is Jessica and Jim are blessed with two young children, son Drew and daughter Kate, ages five and two. Now do you see why I say Jessica is wise-beyond-her-years??? (I wanted to ask if she had experience as a plate spinner, visualizing her spinning about twelve at a time….)

Jessica says Namesake—When God Rewrites Your Story “is intended to help you discover the transformational power of God thru’ the stories of biblical characters who came to know God and whose lives and names were never the same.” Readers will learn about Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Naomi, Daniel, Peter and the Unnamed Woman who was caught in adultery.

Jessica adds, “You will see that God wants to be just as intimately involved in your stories, offering each of you an identity that shines with the purpose for which you were created—to know Him thru’ His Son, Jesus, and to become more and more like Him, bringing God glory for His name’s sake.”

I love the format of this Bible study. Rich with Scripture look-up, Jessica’s studies are six weeks long, with “heartwork” for Days One thru’ Five. “The first four days explore the theme of transformation found in the featured Bible story, and the last one focuses on the theme of God’s revelation of Himself.”

She reminds us, “The word Christian bears, at its heart, the name of Christ. When that name is bestowed on us, God hopes and dreams that we will grow to favor His Son, to be like Him in all that we are and do.”

Then she encourages us with, “Becoming Jesus’ namesake is a complicated, lifelong process of transformation that begins with the simple act of trusting Him.”

Allow me to share three of many killer application questions in Jessica’s study that’ll make you think:

“Will I be discontent because I don’t yet have what I want, or can I find contentment along the way with God’s help?

What will I learn in my time of waiting?

Am I willing to listen for God as I wait?”

If you and your small group and/or your church are on the hunt for a Bible study, I highly recommend this one and I suspect, just from our few minutes with Jessica, her other studies are equally challenging. They also have DVD’s to accompany them. (Abingdon Press is her publisher. )

You can find Jessica via her blog at:

Here are the covers of her other books and studies:

Broken and Blessed Broken and Blessed book

Under Wraps

Thank you, again, Jessica, for your time and for the wonderful resources. Blessings to you and your family and may God stretch your time and richly bless your students at Asbury in your new job! Keep writing!!!

‘Til next time!

Comments Off on Does Your Name Tell a Story? Put Namesake—When God Rewrites Your Story, A Bible Study by Jessica LaGrone on Your To-Do List!

Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews

Lunch with a Modern Day Saint Makes for an Extraordinary Day (Ellen DeKroon Stamps, Former Personal Assistant to Corrie Ten Boom, Blesses a Thousandfold.)

Did you know there’s treasure hidden in Wilmore, Kentucky? By treasure, I mean staffers at Asbury Theological Seminary ( ) who you wouldn’t believe me unless I told you. My friend Sherry’s daughter Laura, and Sherry’s future son-in-law Stephen, a graduate of the Seminary, uncovered the treasure. As a result, Sherry and I had the road trip of a lifetime!

Now, I do have several friends whose kids are attending Asbury University ( ), so they of course know of Wilmore. Upon relaying to one of them our first meeting of the day was to be at Solomon’s Porch ( ), my friend Fay’s daughter, Sarah Grace, suggested the Pumpkin Pie Latte which was to die for, whipped cream and all!


While sipping our coffee, Sherry and I met a wise-beyond-her-years young Mom who is the new Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Seminary.  Her name is Jessica LaGrone. (More on this very fun meeting in another post.)

Next up, Sherry and I dashed into Lexington (all of about ten minutes) to Ramsey’s Diner ( ) to meet what we’d both call a Modern Day Saint. You’ll be astonished to know that Dr. and Mrs. Bob Stamps have been at Asbury Seminary for four years. Bob’s been the Dean of the Chapel all the while he and his wife, Ellen, have ministered to, nurtured, and fed countless seminary students and their families. Bob and Ellen are returning to Richmond, Virginia in early July.

You’ve got to read Ellen’s book, My Years with Corrie, about her nine years as Personal Assistant to Corrie Ten Boom. It’s jaw-dropping fascinating, filled with story after story of how the Lord met and provided for them wherever in the world they happened to be ministering. You’ll see where God stretched Ellen so far out of her comfort zone, her only choice was to rely on Him.

My Years with Corrie

One of my favorite parts is where Ellen said, “God can use us even when we feel unusable.” When she first began working with Corrie, she didn’t speak much English, nor German, and didn’t know how to drive. Yet one of her many duties as Personal Assistant was to be Corrie’s driver. You’ll be amused at how this unfolds. Ellen is extremely candid. She reveals many wonderful lessons we can heed today. 

During their nine years together, Ellen said she and Corrie read and re-read Oswald Chamber’s devotional My Utmost for His Highest every morning. She said of her time with Corrie, “In many ways I had to learn to be like a child again in learning a new language and feeling comfortable in a new culture. I was trying to make sense of a new world—wanting to be a part of something I didn’t fully understand, relying on the help of friends to help me discover this new land.”

My Utmost for High Highest

The first chapter of James speaks about learning the new life of a Christian:

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.  

But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of integrity with no weak spots. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem, he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.” (James 1:3-5 Phillips)

Sherry asked Ellen which of Corrie’s books were her favorite. She gave us several, two of which are In My Father’s House and Tramp for the Lord. She also suggested seeing the movie The Hiding Place. 

Tramp for the Lord In My Fathers House

We read The Hiding Place for Book Club a few years ago and it was a favorite for all of us.

The Hiding Place

Sherry and I were a bit late arriving to Ramsey’s. We worried when it became 12:15 and still no Ellen. Sherry contacted her and somehow we had our days wrong! Ellen was already with a young mom whose husband was about to graduate from the Seminary. She prayed, “Okay, Lord, what shall we do with these two opportunities?” She called Sherry back and said, “We’ll be there in a few minutes!”

Ellen brought Beth who is precious along with two of her four children. We sat outside and were completely mesmerized by Ellen and her stories of adventure, as well as Beth and her exciting future of their family moving to Michigan to pastor not one but two churches!

The Lord blessed us with quite a party overflowing with stories of His goodness. Beth’s future and Sherry’s daughter’s future are similar with both being married to pastors. This God-incident wasn’t lost on any of us!

Eliz Sherry Ellen group pic

Beth left to pick up her school-age boys and Ellen sat back down with Sherry and me and said, “How may I pray for you?” Stunned, and speechless, we held hands and listened as our Modern Day Saint, who’d traveled the world and learned from one of the best evangelists, yet another Modern Day Saint, Corrie Ten Boom, began to pray.

The world stopped while tears flowed. Awed and blessed, we stood to say our goodbyes. Sherry and I had a foretaste of heaven that day. We wish the best to Ellen and Bob on their next adventure. God’s blessings! (And Ellen, thank you so much for your gift of time!)

Bob and Ellen have one son, Peter, who turned thirty-six the day we met for lunch and one daughter, Johanna, who’s thirty-two. Peter is in Colorado while Johanna is in South Africa. Please keep them all in your prayers!

Eliz Sherry Ellen

As Corrie would say, and as Ellen signs each of her books, “Jesus is Victor!” (This encouraging phrase came from Blumhard who was a minister from Germany. “Jesus ist Sieger”. Ellen attended Blumhard Fellowship gatherings where the theme of Blumard’s ministry was always “Jesus is Victor”.  Corrie first heard that phrase from the Blumhard people.  She adopted it and made it famous world-wide.)

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews

Why Can’t Anyone See I’m Still Mourning??? GUEST AUTHOR Angela Correll Teaches About Grace While Mourning… PLUS FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!


Our gracious God orchestrated a connection with Stanford, Kentucky author, Angela Correll recently. Thanks to several friends, Jan Watson being one of them, our paths began to cross. (Jan was recently interviewed and featured here and here)

Additionally, Angela and I were connected via Nancy Sleeth as their husbands are friends and they share many interests. (Nancy also recently wrote a challenging article on Sabbath)

Next up, my buddy Judy Russell, (Hoping to hear from Judy in the next few weeks for you readers!) of the notorious Butter Babes, got to meet Angela when she was in Louisville doing a book signing at Carmichael’s for her novel GroundedJudy said, “You have GOT to meet Angela!”


 (***IF you comment at the end, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Angela’s book!***)

We (The Butter Babes) took it upon ourselves to take a road trip over to Stanford, become acquainted with Angela, and check out the farm-to-table restaurant she’s co-owner of, The Bluebird Café.   ( )  Angela met us for a scrumptious lunch, even graciously treating us(!!!).  During lunch she and Fay realized they were at Georgetown College together, just a few years ago.  Can the world be any smaller?

Fay Bloyd, Angela Correll, Bonnie Johnson, Nancy Aguiar, Judy Russell and Yours Truly

Fay Bloyd, Angela Correll, Bonnie Johnson, Nancy Aguiar, Judy Russell and Yours Truly

bluebird salad

After lunch, Angela took us across the street to her darling store, Kentucky Soaps and Such.  We did some feverish shopping, including snagging some of her wonderful goat’s milk soaps and lotions and made-in-Kentucky gifts. ( Sidebar:  After running out of what I’d bought,  I ordered more products for myself and have given countless others away for gifts.  These have been a huge hit among my friends. My favorite is the body cream with the “summer rain” scent.

Kentucky soaps and such

A woman of many talents, Angela gave us tours of some of their newly renovated guest houses which are lovely. One of my friends booked one during Centre College’s graduation as they’re only ten miles from Danville.  These would be perfect for retreats, weddings, a romantic getaway, etc.  ( )


Pictured here in the front row are: Nancy Aguiar and Bonnie Johnson. Back row, left to right is: Judy Russell, Fay Bloyd and Yours Truly

Pictured here in the front row are: Nancy Aguiar and Bonnie Johnson. Back row, left to right is: Judy Russell, Fay Bloyd and Yours Truly

The Butter Babes are pictured above on Angela’s front porch.  We loved seeing the goats wandering around whose milk they use to make the soaps and lotions.  Angela lives on this beautiful, rolling farm with her husband, Jess.  They raise grass-fed cattle, horses, goats and chickens.  (The Proverbs 31 Woman comes to mind.)


 A Time For Everything - Sunpic

by Angela Correll

There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4

A season of mourning used to be practiced in our country as a time set aside for people to show the signs of grief outwardly.

Most of us are only able to picture that kind of grieving because we’ve seen a movie like “Gone with the Wind,” where proper society demanded the bereaved wear black for a year and turn down social engagements.

But well into the last century, a time of mourning was still common practice, with department stores having entire sections devoted to mourning clothes. A bereaved person was given the time and space to properly mourn and heal the loss of a loved one.

Everyone who came in contact with a person in mourning understood that something quite devastating had happened. They were given a little extra understanding, more time to be out of a normal routine, and more patience in everyday expectations. The time periods allotted could be anywhere from a six months to a year.

We lost our son-in-law two years ago in April. We loved him as a person, but he was also husband to our daughter and father to our dear grandchildren, only three and five years old. It was unexpected and it was shocking.

For about two weeks, we were able to grieve and stop our normal routine, but work demands gradually pulled us back in, and we made the attempt to continue life as we had before since it seemed that was what was expected of us.

But that’s like walking out of the hospital after your foot has been amputated and having everyone expect you to start running again in two weeks. No one thinks that though, because the bandages are a visible reminder of the surgery. That’s where mourning clothes would come in handy. It’s that outward sign that says to the world, “Give this person some room. They are not whole yet.”

Just as when a person heals from surgery, the whole of their physical strength is working to heal the injured place. This means they’re left with very little energy to do anything else. It’s the very same with an emotional injury like grief.

By the end of that first summer, the smallest of tasks exhausted us. I realized we made a mistake by trying to get back to normal far too soon. Yet it seemed everyone around us expected life to go on as before, although it would never be quite the same for us again. I longed for the culture of mourning so I could wear a reminder to others that things weren’t quite right yet and to please give us a little extra grace.

Truthfully, I have done the same to others by carrying on with unrealistic expectations. And it’s unlikely our society will go back to the mourning period anytime soon. But, it did make me think about others who have suffered losses. Since they aren’t wearing black, I don’t always know, but maybe it’s the store clerk who was a little short with me when I asked a question; maybe it’s the church member who didn’t smile and greet me; or maybe it’s someone I do know is grieving.

Whatever the case, I hope I can give out an extra measure of grace, just in case.

Angela Correll is the author of Grounded and the upcoming novel, Guarded.

——————————————–THANK YOU, ANGELA!————————

From Elizabeth now:

What wonderful words to live by!  It’s a shame we grievers don’t still wear black beyond the funeral!  May we all be in tune to those around us who are grieving while extending more grace.

Angela, we cannot wait for your NEXT NOVEL, Guarded, to hit the stores!!!  Coming December 1st!!!  (By the way dear readers, if you’ve not read Grounded yet, be sure to do that before Guarded hits the bookshelves!  It’s a wonderful page-turner full of blessings and surprises.)

Here’s what we have to look forward to in Guarded:

“When restoration of the old stone house uncovers a family secret, Annie must travel to Italy to search out the answer, leaving her grandmother with a disruptive houseguest, and dealing with her own paralyzing fears about her relationship with Jake.  Guarded is the sequel to Grounded, a bestseller on Amazon in Christian fiction and contemporary romance.”

(Favorite four words in the above paragraph: must travel to Italy.  Mamma Mia.  You’ve got my attention!!!)

Blessings to you, Angela, and we hope to make another road trip your way real soon!

Seems we are all on the same page over mourning this week… Please read more words of encouragement from Kurt Sauter.

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Guest Post

I Will Never Yell, “Hurry Up!” to Our Children, And Other Motherhood Myths…

This Mother’s Day Week I thought I’d amuse you with some of my own horrific mothering no-no’s and then point you to a quick read: Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson. It’s a powerful little paperback that will change the way you think and pray.

Praying Circles

First, here are some of my Motherhood Myths, and then we’ll get to the prayer tips:

I’ll never chuck a pop tart into the back seat on the way to school.” (Well, at least this didn’t happen ‘til child #3 arrived.)

I’ll never yell at our children before church.” (Yeah, that happened more than once: Verrry ugly.)

“We will never blow thru’ a drive-thru’ two nights in a row.” (That didn’t last thru’ the first soccer season.)

I’ll always realize what a blessing they are when they seem to be a pain in the you-know-where.” (I need to write this on a blackboard about a hundred times while begging the Lord for His forgiveness about a thousand times.)

I’ll never cry uncontrollably in front of them.” (Scares our boys silly.)

I’ll stop worrying about them when they reach age _____.” (Hasn’t happened yet.)

I’ll never forget they’re really on loan from the Lord.” (This is a primo reminder I’m suspecting we ALL need. Frequently.) PLUS, He loves them more than we do.

Don’t mess with these Motherhood Myths! While you’re at, pitch your own if you have any! Instead, begin with this beautiful Scripture:

Lamentations 2:19 says,

“Rise during the night and cry out.

Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.

Lift up your hands to him in prayer,

pleading for your children.” (NLT)

Lamentations 2-19

Author Mark Batterson tells of a legend he discovered in the Jewish Talmud about a prayer warrior named Honi. Honi literally drew a circle around himself in the sand, and stayed there praying for much-needed rain, for mercy on the people of the village, and for favor, blessing and graciousness. He was ultimately honored for “the prayer that saved a generation.”

This eye-opening little book, Praying Circles Around Your Children, gives you loads of promises in Scripture to “circle” around your children. It gives you ideas for circling a place of work, or a school, or a piece of property, or a home, covering that concern in prayer.

“Circling” something or someone in prayer is really akin to:

I Thessalonians 5:17 which simply says, “Pray continually.” Mark recommends we endeavor to rev up the intensity and tenacity of our prayers.

Mark adds, “Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God.”

Of the five prayer circles Mark gives his readers, the second one, Making Prayer Lists, is my favorite. Being a list maker (to a fault!!!), this idea grabbed me. Look at the verse he gives us:

“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3 NLT)

What’s on your list? I have short-term and long-term requests on mine. I have a list of friends with health challenges. The blessing in seeing how God answers them is worth the time and effort of writing them down, plus you know the direction to keep praying.

Recently I drew circles in my journal and placed people in them according to their circumstances. The visual effect is comforting. Remember, tho’, these lists are not just your wish list.

Mark reminds us, “Every prayer, including your prayers for your children, must pass a twofold litmus test:

Your prayers must be in the will of God and for the Glory of God.”

I love one of Mark’s prayers for his children, “Lord let their ears be tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. I want my children to find their voice, and the key is hearing the voice of God.”

Don’t miss this warning: “If they don’t hear the voice of God, they will echo our culture.” Hello? Anyone aghast at the goings on of our culture???

Checkout the other prayer circles (I’ve only given you a snippet!) in the book. May we heed Mark’s closing remarks,

“Don’t lose heart.

          Don’t lose hope.

                    Don’t lose faith.

                              Keep circling!”

May we all be reminded of Psalm 127:3:

Children are a GIFT from the Lord; they are a REWARD from him…”


‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Family