Monthly Archives: January 2017

When You’re Bold Enough to Ask…

Friends!  Ever have something happen to you which completely unravels you?  This happened to me this past week in my favorite nail salon…

Do you think a nail salon could possibly become a sanctuary?  Oh, stick around and find out…

My friend Jane and I go to the same fabulous manicurist.  Her name is Savang and she and her family’s nail salon give the best pedicures in town.  (Think hot stones, oil, ahhhh-so-spa-like.)

The place?  If you’re in Louisville, it’s at the corner of Brownsboro Road and Rudy Lane, near Fresh Market and Panera.  CND Nails—Tom and Savang are the owners and not only are they incredible manicurists, their entire crew is.  Even better, the majority of them love Jesus.

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1901 Rudy Lane, Louisville, KY  40207 (502) 894-4445

 

And if you want to hear an incredible testimony, be sure and ask Savang how she arrived in the United States.  It is nothing short of a miracle.  Seriously.

Nearly monthly, I’m blessed to visit Savang and be pampered by her.  Our conversation is always filled with what the Lord is doing in her life, how we can pray for each other and our families, etc.

It’s also not lost on me she washes my feet when I visit her.  Selfless and dedicated, she perseveres day after day, literally being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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Appointments with Savang are one of my favorite activities. I come away more blessed than when I arrived every single time. If I’m really lucky, sometimes I get to take one or more of our daughters-in-love.  Savang always stops what she’s doing and prays for them.  Warms this Mom’s heart, let me tell you.  Savang is definitely one of my sisters in Christ.

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Funny tho’, Savang’s faith has grown by leaps and bounds.  As in she sorta left me in the dust.  I’m not trapped by comparison, however, I simply delight in her ever-growing faith. She shines for the Lord.

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Perfect example occurred this past week. My friend Michelle was sitting opposite me.  We chatted while our feet received major pampering.  Nearly every pedicure chair was occupied, however one still remained.

Two gals came into the salon.  One escorted the other to the remaining pedicure chair.  This young woman was beautiful.  Another gal recognized her and said, “Hello.”  She smiled.  (I’ll call her Grace from now on…she exudes grace without realizing it.)

A few minutes later, Grace’s nail tech asked her what color she’d like on her toes. Grace didn’t understand.  The nail tech asked her again.  Nothing.  Just a blank look.

Savang and I could tell Grace wasn’t processing the conversation.  I wondered if she’d had a stroke and perhaps wasn’t able to carry on a conversation.  She seemed so young.  This troubled both Savang and me.

stop worrying no more worries solve all problems and relax keep

We left the pedi station and headed to Savang’s table to begin a manicure.  Grace’s friend helped her from the pedi chair to also have a manicure.  Several people in passing spoke to her.  She smiled and nodded. Her friend revealed Grace is a wife and mother and her family was going on a trip the next day.

Savang’s husband came over and told us Grace has advanced Alzheimer’s.  We were stunned.  While I was trying to absorb that, Savang immediately said, “I want to pray for her.”

Before I could take another breath, she asked Grace’s friend if it would be alright if she prayed for her.  The friend, somewhat surprised, said, “Sure.”

Savang went over to Grace, placing her hand on her shoulder, praying  with boldness and beauty.  I fought back tears.

At that very moment, the nail salon became a sanctuary, with prayers ascending Heavenward. Godly thunder surrounding us.

Did I believe God could heal this woman on the spot?  Most definitely.  Will He?  We don’t know.  Perhaps it’s His plan, within His timing. Here’s where we have to trust in His Sovereignty.

Savang was bold. 

She thought to pray. 

She thought to boldly ask.

Matthew 7:7 says,

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.
Keep on seeking, and you will find.
Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (NLT)

Open Door

Matthew Henry said,
“Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining what we need. Pray; pray often; make a business of prayer, and be serious and earnest in it.
Ask, as a beggar asks alms.
Ask, as a traveler asks the way.
Seek, as for a thing of value that we have lost; or as the merchantman that seeks goodly pearls.
Knock, as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door…”

May we all have eyes to see someone’s need for prayer and may we boldly ask, followed by boldly praying.

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite Scriptures….Watch what we’ll receive and find when we’re bold:

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Let’s pray:

Lord, please forgive us when we don’t notice a need.  Open our eyes to see others as you see them.  Guide us to shine your light among our surroundings and to be bold for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

‘Til next time! 

 

 

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Five Friends Buy One Wedding Dress. Will They Each Get to Wear It? Come Find Out at Book Club, Monday January 23rd!

Friends!  You and your friends are invited to Book Club next Monday night, January 23rd, when we’ll discuss a delightful novel, Five Brides—Five Brides…one dress…a lifetime of memories by Eva Marie Everson.

Five Brides

Whether you’ve read the book or not, please come join us as the discussion will be wonderful PLUS we’re having a WEDDING CAKE and we’re all encouraged to bring something you’d eat at a wedding reception.  Nuts, finger sandwiches, fruit, chocolate (!!!), you pick.  We also would love to see a picture from your wedding!

We meet at Middletown United Methodist Church from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Please call Nancy Tinnell to rsvp:  (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 www.middletownumc.org

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

Without revealing the entire story, I’ll share a brief snippet about the book.  I’ll also be telling you about two other upcoming events you won’t want to miss…

Five Brides involves five girls who meet thanks to many different Godly orchestrations, ultimately landing them in the same basement apartment in Chicago in the fifties.  You’ll get to know Joan, Betty, Magda, Inga, and Evelyn.

Very different, with varying jobs, these characters each win the reader’s heart.  Two of the five are sisters, and even they are like night and day.

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On a whim one day, when the five girls are all together, they pass a bridal shop, instantly falling in love with the dress in the window.  They not only fall in love with it, they buy it! (You don’t want to miss those chapters, the girls are hilarious infuriating the sales clerk.)

One other teensy weensy detail:  not one of them was engaged, much less attached to anyone, at the time, making the reader wonder how five grooms will materialize.  Relationships begin to blossom, however some look bad from the start.  You find yourself talking to these girls, saying, “Honey, he is not your man!”

Author Eva Everson is a visual writer, making you feel like you’re right there in the girls’ apartment. While it’s a long book (453 pages!), it’s such a page-turner,  all of a sudden you’re  finished and you don’t want to be! Plus, you’re cheering these potential brides on to be able to WEAR THAT DRESS!

I also enjoyed learning about the girls’ faith. Some struggle with theirs, learning invaluable lessons.  Those struggling finally realize they’d been out of God’s will all the while He was wooing them back. God is also gracious to place a few mentors along their paths. (This is the beauty of a Christian novel.)

The five friends had a Scripture that tied them all together:

Isaiah 45:2 says, “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.” (KJV) Look how the NIV puts it:

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So will each of the five girls get the opportunity to wear the wedding gown?  Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out.  Everyone loves a good love story and we readers are blessed by four plus a surprising arrangement.

Please join us next Monday night, January 23rd, from 6:30-8:00.  Enjoy a slice of wedding cake and bring a treat for our “reception”, plus a picture from your wedding if time allows.

Here are two other activities for your calendar:

This Friday, January 20th, Beth Moore is hosting a Book Club, Live from New Orleans where her debut novel, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, is set.  This is a FREE live web stream event you can register for and watch. It begins at 7:00 p.m., EST. Go to www.BethMooreNovel.com

Undoing of Saint

Next month, on February 27th, our Book Club will be discussing Beth’s novel.  Beth has promised to send us a recorded Skype to share about her book and other fun topics.  It’ll be almost like having her with us!  We’ve already got a New Orleans theme running where we’ll have beignets and coffee, of course.

We hope to see you Monday night, January 23rd!  Bring a friend!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews

I’ve Had 20,440 New Mercies, You? (With Help From Mark Batterson and Paul David Tripp)

Happy New Year, Dear Friends! January  ushers in a new year, new beginnings, and thankfully, a clean slate.  That spells relief for yours truly, how about you?

There’s a verse in the Book of Lamentations I’ve always been fond of:  Lamentations 3:22-23 says,

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The ESV says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…”

One year, I put this verse on our family’s New Year’s card.  This past year, two of some of my favorite authors happened to write about this verse.

When things like this happen from two different authors, in two different books, written in two different years, I’ve finally realized I need to sit up and take note.

The first book that grabbed me is a wonderful devotional by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. I learned about this from Ann Voskamp and several of my friends are now enjoying it. My dear friend Judy Russell told me she’s reading thru’ it now for the third year.

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While I don’t know Paul Tripp personally, he seems like a no-nonsense guy loaded with passionate, challenging information centering around several verses each day.  On tackling our verse of Lamentations 3:22-23, he begins by reminding us “the battle for your heart still goes on.”

He suggests we consider how blessed we are in a twofold way:  one as recipients of God’s “steadfast, faithful, and never-failing love.”

Paul reassures us:

God will never give up on you.
He will never walk away in disgust.
He will never regret that he placed his love on you.
He will love you just as much on your worst day as he does on your best day.
This gift of love is yours forever.”

The worst day/best day point is my favorite!  Isn’t that the best news?

The second way he shows us how blessed we are is comforting:  Because we are God’s children, “we’re blessed with eternal mercies that are new every morning….fresh mercies for you today, formfitted for all the things you will face.”

Oh, and I’ve got even more good news!  Pull up a chair, a pen and some paper, and let’s do some math…

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Mark Batterson taught me this in his book, If:  Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities.

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Mark begins by confessing he has trouble remembering things.  Oh yes, I can relate. I remember phone numbers from when I lived in Lexington, thirty-five plus years ago while I forget hamburger at the grocery when we’re making tacos…

He says, especially of Scripture, if he can find a song to learn with Scripture in it, he’ll listen to it over and over and over.  One of his favorites is From the Inside Out by King and Country.

It opens with “A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains.” Sounds like our verse, doesn’t it?

Then Mark teaches us the Hebrew word for new. It’s  hadas which means “different—as in never before experienced.” Therefore, Mark relays, “Today’s mercy is different from yesterday or the day before or the day before the day before. Just as the seasonal flu vaccine changes from year to year, God’s mercy changes from day to day.  It’s a new strain of mercy.”

Here’s the math:

Jot down how old you are.
Multiply that by 365.
(I told you at the top of this post, I’ve received 20,440.  You do the math. Smile.)

That’s how many mercies YOU have received from God.  Call me crazy, but dare I say few of us have thanked Him, much less realized we’ve received that many mercies?

Good at guilt (!!!), I think, “Oh man, I’ve wasted so many.”  But hey, we all must remember God is not a God of guilt, He’s a God full of grace, readying to gift us with yet another mercy tomorrow.

May we begin tomorrow morning, before that first cup of coffee, to praise Him for another new mercy.

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Amen.

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews

To Exercise, or Make Fudge? (Two Fun Ideas with Favorite Things for You and Your Friends)

Friends!  Happy New Year!  Are we really in the year 2017?

Happy to report we will not be discussing New Year’s Resolutions this week because research shows those of us who make ‘em, break ‘em.  Just sayin’….

New Year's Resolutions

This week I’m sharing a new recipe which turned out to be a stellar experiment.  I also have an idea I received from a fabulous party I attended.  You may wish to try these with your friends next Christmas, or sooner!

First, the recipe discovery is for Million Dollar Fudge.  It’s easy, it’s delicious, and while you may be irked at my timing, once you taste it, you’ll thank me, trust me. (Recipe’s at the end of this post.)

Secondly, watch how the other idea transpired:  My Spiritual Mom, Lynn Reece, invited all of our Wednesday Bible study gals to her home for a Christmas Brunch. (100% of us refer to her as our Spiritual Mom.) While Lynn was making most of the meal, she did let some of us bring a few goodies.

This group is a beautiful picture of Hebrews 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)

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The week before Lynn’s Brunch, she and our other fearless leader, Jane Chilton, attended a cookie exchange where one of the gals brought Million Dollar Fudge.  We all met for lunch the next day while Lynn and Jane rattled on and on and on about this fudge until I could stand it no longer.

“Okay,” I said.  “I think we need some of that fudge to complete our Brunch next week.  I’ll hunt for a recipe, make it, and bring it.”  That was that.

Visions of huge storefront windows revealing expert chefs making fudge, rolling it out onto tables,  floated thru’ my head.  Think  small-town charm, accompanied by delectable aromas wafting thru’ the streets.  I never pass those stores up without marching inside and buying a slice to sometimes share with Hubster.

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Once googling Million Dollar Fudge began, I landed on a recipe  from www.allrecipes.com  Per usual, the day evaporated and Hubster would soon be home to pick me up to go to a Christmas party.  I either had to run upstairs for a quick workout, or dash into the kitchen and make the fudge so as not to be up too late the night before Lynn’s Brunch.

Plus, I didn’t want to disappoint my sisters who all really wanted to re-live the fudge experience.  You can guess the exercise flew right out the window and ooey gooey fudge began to appear in our kitchen.  (Scarlett told me there’s always tomorrow.)

Being a complete chocolate snob, I was elated and relieved to learn two kinds of super tasty chocolate are in this recipe:  bittersweet chocolate (I keep a huge container of Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chips in our pantry. Know you’re shocked.) and sweet German chocolate.

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Arriving at Lynn’s our usual fifteen minutes late, our Bible study gals rushed in, covered dishes in hand. Gathering around the table, holding hands, Lynn led us in a chorus of O Come Let Us Adore Him to open our morning.

Our worship and fellowship looks like this:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

Lynn’s  beautiful table, complete with linen tablecloth, china and silver, made our time together even sweeter.  Doris had fun with the cardinal napkin rings since we lovingly dole out UK and U of L jabs from time to time.  (They were playing each other that evening and well, we won’t discuss the outcome.)

We also belatedly celebrated Olivia’s birthday.  Translation:  Big birthday cake!  Another sure-fire reason we needed fudge to go with it.

Clearly 1 Corinthians 6:19 escaped our brains:  “Do you now know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own…”  (We claim the 80/20 rule which probably regresses to 50/50 at best during the holidays.)

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Lynn started the ball rollin’ last year for a Favorite Things Party.  She gave all of us Scrub Daddies. This snowballed into all of us bringing our newest favorite things this year. All eight of us chose one of our favorite things, wrapped them, and presented them, one by one to each other.

The variety and the discoveries are priceless.  (Lynn suggested we limit the expense to $5-$10 dollars/item which some adhered to and some sorta/kinda did if one were grading on the curve.)

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From left to right on the top row is: Doris Bridgeman, Gwen Paten, Lynn Reece, Olivia Kirtley, and Reggie Willinger.  Seated left to right is: Jane Chilton, Yours Truly, and Betsy Heady.

For your enjoyment and education, here’s what we received from each other this year:

For you straw lovers, we learned thanks to Doris’ gift, there’s a package of straight and bent stainless steel straws, complete with brushes to clean them.   Saves the environment and your pocketbook. (Amazon has several varieties.)

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Lynn introduced us to a nifty gadget called The Eurosealer for anyone needing to seal their bag of chips, or crackers, or anything else you wish to keep fresh.  Once activated, a rolling ball heats up, meshing the two sides together.  Between the Scrub Daddy and this contraption, Hubster is in Gadget Heaven. (Both are available at www.bedbathandbeyond.com )

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Reggie gave each of us a Jude’s Miracle Cloth (available at Two Chicks, www.twochicksandcompany.com ) which is amazing on stainless steel appliances, car windows, mirrors, etc., plus it goes in the washing machine! Gwennie suggested cutting it in half, one for inside your house and one for inside your car.

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Reggie topped her gifts with Modjeskas, a local treat no one can pass up. The history of this candy is fascinating.  Check it out via www.bauerscandy.com

Also from Two Chicks, Gwennie gave us Captain Rodney’s Private Reserve Scotch Bonnet Pepper Boucan Glaze:  “A Grilling and dipping sauce from the heart of the Caribbean”.  (Our boys go gaga over this because bacon is involved.)

Jane gave us a wonderful, ultra flexible, Mrs. Anderson’s Mini Serving Spatula, only one and a half inches in width that’s perfect for flipping brownies out of the pan or anything similar.  Much better than a regular-sized spatula and easy to find in your drawer, being red.

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Betsy had a theme of a good night’s sleep going with her favorite things:  Lavender Bath Bombs to make us sleepy followed by a Rest and Renew satin pillow protector to keep our coifs at bay. (Available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.) Clever, Betsy!

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We all agreed Betsy’s packages won the most creative and beautiful award plus she’d written an attribute for each of us along with a Scripture to expound on it on our gift tags.  She was spot on with each of us and we had trouble fitting our heads thru’ the door on the way out.

“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23 (NIV)

Finally, Olivia and I chose books. (Surprised???) I gave my current favorite du jour:  31 Verses to Write on Your Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs.  My Tuesday Bible study group is reading this as a devotional, attempting to memorize a verse a week.  It’s wonderful regardless of how you use it.  You’ll learn fascinating things about each verse, thanks to Liz, which helps the reader understand it better, making it easier to remember.

31 Verses to Write on your Heart

Olivia’s choice is sitting here on my desk staring at me because I’m dying to dive in….soon.  She gave us French Women Don’t Get Fat—The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano. (Is that some kind of title, or what?)

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It appears to have loads of great info’ in non-diet fashion, as well as recipes, many of which contain chocolate.  (Hallelujah.) There’s even a chapter entitled, Bread and Chocolate. (My two very favorite things.)  My guess is you’ll hear more about this soon. Smile.

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for:

Recipe for Million Dollar Fudge: (This makes two 9 x 9 pans, so you may want to cut it in half like I did.)

4 ½ cups white sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 cups chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1-12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle’s Toll House chips)
12-1 oz. squares of German sweet chocolate (I used Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar.)
2 cups marshmallow crème

1 – Butter two 9 x 9 baking pans and set aside.
2  – Place chocolate chips, German chocolate, marshmallow crème, and nuts into a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
3 – In a large saucepan, thrown in sugar, salt, butter, and evaporated milk, stirring over low heat ‘til sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 6 minutes.
4 – Pour boiling syrup mixture over ingredients in the bowl, stirring ‘til all the chocolate is melted.  Pour into the prepared square pans.  Let stand a few hours before cutting (if you can stand it).  It literally melts in your mouth.

Furthermore, your friends and family will love you.

I pray you all have a Wonderful, Happy, Healthy 2017 and am excited to talk with you about a variety of books-n-topics in the New Year.

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Friends, Holidays