Monthly Archives: December 2017

Three Last Minute Gift Ideas and One Killer Question…(Part 4 of 4)

Friends! I pray this post finds you skipping and singing, altho’ by the looks of some shoppers at the mall yesterday, several Scrooges were spotted.  Sigh…

Good news is if you need a couple of last minute things, I’ve got three ideas for you.  One devotional for, say teens to centenarians, another for wee ones, plus a very cool way to help you and your friends get your face in the Word every day. (And in a perfect world, perhaps memorize a Scripture or two. Hey, no groaning now, it’s Christmas time!)

First up, allow me to give you a glimpse of a gorgeous coffee table book that’s also a lovely devotional.  Artist and author Ruth Chou Simons’ book, Gracelaced—Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart will bless the socks off you and anyone else you happen to give it to.

From its’ beautiful cover and on into the book, you’ll be met with splendid artwork and photographs divided into the four seasons of the year.  Each season has eight words/entries for you to pour over, including extra Scriptures to look up to help you “delve deeper” as well as a section at the end with questions to help you consider how you’ll respond once you’ve read it.

For example, in the Winter section, Ruth shows us what resting in God’s character looks like, “reminding us that true rest comes when we rest in Him.” The next eight entries help us:

“Rest in God our Refuge,
Rest in God’s Faithfulness,(two different times)
Rest in Christ’s Sufficient Grace,
Rest in God’s Nearness,
Rest in God’s Wisdom,
Rest in God’s Mercy, and
Rest in God’s Power.”

I was stunned to discover Ruth and her husband, Troy, have quite the full quiver:  SIX BOYS. After raising three, I can only imagine TWO three-ring circuses!!!

Ruth’s down to earth writing style is relatable and she tells on herself more than once.  She gifts readers with the courage to press on.

Don’t miss her website.  She includes opportunities to order her artwork in the form of printables, notecards, journals, along with some fun recipes. Go to her Shoppe and see what’s available!

Second idea is a devotional for wee ones entitled Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  My friend, Aletia, gifted me with this when our first granddaughter, Claire, was born. While it’s for children, I’m enjoying reading it before Claire’s old enough to understand it!

There are 101 thoughts on faith which include spiritual truths straight out of the Bible. One of many favorites is “Bless You!”. Sally teaches, “When God promises to bless you, He is saying,’I’m going to make you into everything I ever meant for you to be!’ It means God is taking every day and every single thing that happens in it—good or bad—to make you stronger, to mend  whatever is broken inside, to change you into the person you were always meant to be.”

Tim Keller wrote the Foreword saying this book “may be the best, first introduction for children to have their own time with Jesus which has long been a missing piece that has direct effect on whether a child grows up with a balanced spiritual life or one that is dangerously one sided.”

Many of you know Sally from her infamous Jesus Storybook Bible.  Jago did the illustrations for both of these books. I learned of this book from our middle son, Gordy, when he was in college. Campus Outreach leaders introduced the kids to it. When he asked for a copy I bought one for us too. Kathy Keller, Tim’s wife, says she gives college students and many visitors to their church copies as it’s so easy to understand.

Sally has also written other numerous children’s books, my favorite being Skip to the Loo, My Darling! Grand for potty training your kiddos and it’s illustrated by Anita Jeram who also illustrated Guess How Much I Love You.  The book is beyond clever. Whether you’re successful at potty training or not, you’ll find yourself howling.

I’ve caught Sally on the Eric Metaxas show several times.  They’re good friends and are hilarious in each of the interviews they’ve done.  Many times she’ll read one of her children’s books which is delightful getting to hear her British accent. (www.metaxastalk.net)

Checkout Sally’s website to see all the books she’s written:

The third gift idea was discovered at a store here in Louisville called Lulubelle’s in Norton Commons, thanks to our daughter-in-love, LT.  It’s called “Small Squares with Mighty Words…” I bought all they had(!!!), but LT tells me they’re getting more in.  I gave these to my friends at our Favorite Things party, plus got more for stocking stuffers, and well, figured I could use one too.

I found two of a few color options in these little square boxes.  You get 50 multi-colored cards with Scripture verses on the front and back. (You math geniuses have already figured out you’ll get to read 100 verses.)

The white box includes a clear acrylic stand, with Scripture cards in muted, pastel colors, packaged as “Small Squares with Mighty Words of Love.” The brown box includes a brown, wooden stand with primary colored cards.

I’ve placed mine on my bathroom vanity where I’ll see it every morning.  Others have put theirs in their kitchen window or by the kitchen sink.

If you live in Louisville, head to Lulubelle’s (www.lulubelles.com). If you live out of town, visit the manufacturer’s website: www.thimblepress.com

Finally, while I’ve talked about gifts all month, the fact is we’re fast approaching Christmas and the birth of our Savior… Here’s your killer question to keep you focused in the midst of the mayhem (I heard this on the radio and it stopped me in my tracks.):

What are YOU giving YOUR KING this year for His birthday? (Share your answer with friends and family.)

May you and your family and friends have a most blessed Merry Christmas as you savor the season and have a lovely, healthy, Happy New Year as well!

 

‘Til next time!

FYI:  This computer and its’ operator (Moi) are shutting down for a couple of weeks…on purpose.  We’ll do a fun series come the second week of January on starting the New Year off slowly. No stress allowed!

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Perfect Gift Idea for History Buffs: “Mrs. Oswald Chambers—The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional” by Michelle Ule (Part 3 of 4)

Friends! I’m sad to report I’ve just finished a total page-turner, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, however I’m GLAD to report it’s a must-read for you and the history buffs in your life!  Hurry and grab some copies for Christmas gifts! You’ll be a hero to whomever you give it to.

Author Michelle Ule has gone to amazing lengths (I cannot even fathom the amount of research she’s done to write this book.) to give us glimpses of life with Mr. and Mrs. Oswald Chambers.

Don’t miss Michelle’s website as she’s included loads of extra tidbits from her research. http://www.michelleule.com

Reading Mrs. Oswald Chambers is akin to opening a treasure chest, each chapter more mind blowing than the previous one.  You’ll fall in love with each person you meet, some friends and some family of the Chambers’, plus you’ll feel as if you’re traveling with them, about to have tea at their table, or sitting in one of Oswald’s classrooms.

I confess I’d never considered learning more of Oswald or his family until I caught Michelle being interviewed by Eric Metaxas recently. (www.metaxastalk.com Interview aired October 19th, 2017) After hearing Michelle’s discoveries, I promptly ordered her book.

I have the well-known devotional My Utmost for His Highest thanks to a copy my Mother gave to my Father.

I also learned there’s a modern-day version of the devotional which is on my Christmas list as some of the original entries are a tad tricky to comprehend for this feeble brain of mine.  (This scenario reminds me of the time we read Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven for Book Club.  It was like attending a class at the seminary.  Shortly afterwards, the children’s version came out and we were all so happy. I digress…)

Michelle’s book reads like a novel.  Her skillful writing introduces you to Oswald and “Biddy” as she was called, allowing you to see how they met and watching how they lived their daily lives. Everyone loves a good love story, especially a true one!

Biddy’s name evolved from the nickname Oswald gave her, “Beloved Disciple” which she said was a mouthful.  A sweet one at that!

Their lives exemplify Romans 8:28 like I’ve never seen…

Biddy was a good student growing up, however repeated cases of bronchitis caused her to miss so much school she had to drop out. She ultimately landed in secretarial school and became highly proficient as a stenographer, able to take down 250 words/minute vs. an average 150 words/minute.

Don’t you know upon meeting Oswald, clearly orchestrated by our gracious God, Biddy was the one who took down all of his speeches, talks, sermons, word for word, accumulating trunks full of his wisdom.

It was Biddy who compiled My Utmost for His Highest, which wasn’t published until ten years after Oswald’s death. He died seven years after they married.

This devotional, now translated into many different languages, has NEVER been out of print and is still today the bestselling devotional of all times. (It is one of twenty-nine books Biddy put together.)

After Biddy and Oswald married, they were blessed with a one and only daughter they named Kathleen.  Sadly, Kathleen never married. She was only four years old when her Daddy died, thus her memories of him largely came from her Mother’s stories.

Biddy and Oswald’s love for the Lord and His Word is hugely inspirational to us readers.  We see them plan their days, bookending them with prayer and reading of Scripture. Their prayer times and study of God’s Word were non-negotiable.

Their utter trust in God and His sovereignty is equally inspirational. They never worried about money from the very start of  their marriage and Biddy didn’t change that tune once she was widowed.

Biddy prayed this prayer every morning, “I give the day over into God’s hands, completely so that He will look after who comes.” Biddy’s friends said she was known to drop whatever she was doing when someone stopped in, brewing countless cups of tea.

It was fascinating to me to learn Biddy and Oswald faithfully read The Daily Light.  I first learned of this book from Anne Graham Lotz.  She’s republished it thanks to her learning of it from her Mother and Grandmother.

Anne’s Grandmother gave a copy to her Mother, Ruth, who in turn gave a copy to each of her children when they were ten years old.  Anne has now given copies of The Daily Light to her children and grandchildren.  This way, they’re all reading the same Scripture every day.  It was the Bagster family who originally published the book in the late 1800’s.

Early into the book we glean tidbits about Oswald:  “The six-foot tall man who addressed the congregation that December was in his early thirties. Angular and lanky with deep-set blue eyes and brown hair swept from a receding hairline, Oswald Chambers relished opportunities to talk about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God himself.”

“Genial, with a playful sense of humor, and gifted with words, he talked quickly and with an intensity that captured his listeners’ attention. Oswald lectured extemporaneously, without notes. His only goal:  ‘To have honorable mention in somebody’s life in introducing them to God.’”

Devoted workers/teachers/missionaries, Biddy and Oswald did manage to escape for a holiday each year where they could recharge. Both lovers of nature and God’s creation, they referred to their al fresco picnics as “My Heavenly Father’s Dining Room.”

How they later wound up in Egypt during World War I is a grand story you won’t want to miss. Their ministry’s impact was far reaching, one soldier claiming he realized the reason he was enlisted must’ve been for the Lord to reach him thru’ Oswald’s preaching. That’s one of many, many heartwarming stories.

Oswald’s determination to reach as many people for the Lord as possible caused him to burn the midnight oil.  I worried about his health wondering how he could possibly keep up such a rigorous schedule.

You’ll not want to learn about his untimely death, however Biddy’s reaction and dedication to the Lord following Oswald’s death are what kept her going. What she accomplishes afterwards is simply miraculous.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Mrs. Oswald Chambers—the Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional for yourself and for your friends this Christmas.  I promise you all will be beyond blessed.

‘Til next time!

 

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More Christmas Gift Ideas! New devo’ by Liz Curtis Higgs and Beautiful Custom-Made Mirrors! (Part 2 of 4)

Friends! Oh, each week leading up to Christmas gets better and this week I’ve got TWO gift ideas just for you!

Liz Curtis Higgs’ newest book, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path would make a spectacular gift for your friends or family.  The book’s jacket gives us a teaser saying it’s “A daily devotional and small group Bible study gift book brimming with encouragement.” You can take that to the bank a la Lizzie…

Each of Liz’s thirty-seven books, upon launch, is my current favorite du jour, but this one, call me crazy, is really, really, special—in a bizarre-o way. Most of you know Liz was diagnosed with cancer this past summer. She had completed the manuscript for this book prior to her diagnosis.

When you read 31 Verses, it is uncanny how the Lord went before Liz, as if preparing her for what was ahead.  Each chapter gives me chills, especially “Tomorrow, Tomorrow.”

In true Lizzie fashion, Liz dissects these verses, word by word and phrase by phrase, showing us different translations of the Bible which are eye-opening. I’ve highlighted and dog-eared many a page.

The verse in this chapter?

Liz reminds us, “A thousand years after Solomon wrote this verse in Proverbs, Jesus offed the same wisdom:

While statistics can scare us silly, Liz, a lovely ambassador for hope, tells us point blank, “I am not a woman without hope.” In the wake of chemo’ and radiation, Liz will be boldly speaking about “Endless Hope” in her talks for Prison Fellowship events, pointing us to the One who promises hope:

Each chapter concludes with a fun little activity called, “One Minute, One Step.”  It’s a suggestion to help you grab onto the concept of the Scripture verse Liz has just written about.  These are easy and make you say, “Huh, why haven’t I thought of that before?”

At the end of the book are 2-3 Bible study questions per chapter which you can do on your own, or with your Bible study group or Small Group.  They’re thought provoking and rich with application.

I could never choose a favorite chapter, but I can give you one more peek into one more chapter because I have yet another special gift idea for you which relates directly to this verse!

This comes from the chapter called “Looking Glass” and the verse Liz helps us with is Proverbs 27:19,

Each chapter also concludes with a prayer and the one from this chapter is the perfect lead in to our next gift idea:

Amen.

So, while we’re talking about our appearance, allow me to introduce you to a darling, young entrepreneur by the name of Nicole Tarpoff. She is creating custom designed mirrors in all sizes and colors.

For an early Christmas gift, Gordy, Lauren and Lauren’s Mom, Pam, presented John Jr., and Diana with a gift during Thanksgiving.  They’d given Nicole a picture of our granddaughter (Well, ok, their niece, too. LOL), Claire Elizabeth. Nicole prayed for Claire while she made this mirror and included a personal prayer especially for her on the back of the mirror.

Nicole started her ministry by saying, “An object that the enemy once used for destruction in my life is the very same object that the Lord is using to birth a ministry.”

She adds, “Every mirror is prayerfully designed to be a piece that shifts the atmosphere in the room. These pieces are to serve as a reminder we’re called to reflect Him. We were made for love, we were created to serve, and we were designed to bring Him glory. But it starts here. It starts by us boldly claiming who we are in Him, declaring over ourselves the very truths that He has spoken over us from the beginning. This is more than mirrors, it’s a movement.” AMEN

Here’s our little Claire when she received her mirror:

Here’s a snippet of the prayer Nicole wrote out for Claire (…and may I add there were several tears flowing down all of our cheeks during the reading.)

 

I recently heard Andy Stanley talking about when people do something nice for your children (or grandchildren in this case)…You discover it brings you honor and you never forget it.  It blesses your socks off and warms your heart. It’s the BEST. Who are you thinking about who could be blessed by one of these mirrors?

If you’d like to contact Nicole about making a mirror for your daughter or granddaughter or niece, her email is:  Nicole.tarpoff@uky.edu  She’s also on Instagram under her name and you may direct message her @nicoletarpoff.

May you and your families savor the wonder of this Christmas season.

‘Til next time!

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