Monthly Archives: April 2018

When You Get to be Cinderella for 2.5 Hours… (2 Louisville Artists You MUST Know!)

Friends! Have you ever found yourself luxuriating in the Land of Denial?  Then POOF!  Back to reality?

Paralleling one of my all-time favorite stories, Cinderella, Yours Truly was blessed to escape for two and a half hours recently.

Why, you may be asking? I’ll blame it on my writer friends who strongly suggested I have a professional photo taken for a head shot for my upcoming book.

I’m beyond blessed to share with you two, count ‘em two, crazy talented artists right here in Louisville.  One’s a make-up and hair artist and the other’s a professional photographer.  These incredible people happen to be friends with our children.

Both of these young adults are completely in their sweet spot.  They could be a case in point in Max Lucado’s book, Cure for the Common Life—Living in Your Sweet Spot.

First, allow me to introduce you to these artistes extraordinaire, and then I’ll show you a little trick to see if YOU are in your sweet spot.

The first miracle worker (!) is Carley Brooks.  Her company is Carley Randall. www.carleyrandall.com She does hair and make-up primarily for weddings and has teamed up with two other gals, one who’s a photographer, and one who’s a wedding coordinator so they can take wedding parties thru’ the entire event, sans angst.

Our kids went to Christian Academy of Louisville with Carley. She’s also great friends with our daughter-in-love, LT, and even helped choose LT’s wedding dress when she worked at Rebecca’s.

When LT gave me Carley’s number, I called and asked if she’d entertain such a “pushin’-60-project” as myself and she said, “No problem!  I can have you outta here in 90 minutes.”

My visit to Carley’s adorable studio was a blast and seemed to last nine minutes, not ninety. Complete with false eyelashes (a first), I could hardly see to drive home.

Enter artist #2, gifted photographer Lang Thomas. www.langthomasphotography.com   Lang and his wife, Kate, who’s also an accomplished photographer, shoot weddings together. When you book Lang for a wedding, it’s like getting two for one as he and Kate are shooting photo opps all over the wedding venue.  It’s wild seeing them in action.

 

Here they are with their two beautiful daughters, Leonelle and Dolly. Our little Claire was mesmerized by both of them at church on Easter Sunday.

Lang and Kate shot Woody and LT’s wedding, and several other of our friend’s kid’s weddings.  He was recently named “one of the top wedding photographers in the country” by Martha Stewart Weddings. The Thomas Duo also take family photographs, and even grandchildren.  Oh, yes.

This is one of my favorite shots Lang snapped before Woody and LT got married.  They didn’t want to see each other before the wedding, but wanted to pray together. (Note the plaque on the wall.)

Hair and make-up tackled, I got home in time to meet Lang for the photo shoot.  It was a dreary, cloudy day, so most shots were taken inside.  It was over before I knew it. Alas, my glass slipper turned into an Asics tennis shoe.

Here’s a sample of one of the shots which I’ll use for my website once my book is out. (Working Title:  Let’s Be Friends—What My Sister-Friends Taught Me About Faith, Food, and Fun. Stay tuned!)

Happy to report my Cinderella moments weren’t all lost as Hubster and I dashed to Bonefish for dinner. Eating out is more our m.o. than eating in, thus the shots Lang took in the kitchen should have the caption, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Thanks again to two of Louisville’s finest artists, Carley and Lang.  Y’all are WAY in your sweet spots and our gracious Lord is smiling over you.

Speaking of sweet spots, see if YOU can write YOUR “S.T.O.R.Y?”

Max Lucado spells this out for you in his book Cure for the Common Life and here’s a peek to get you rollin’:

“S = Strengths: how you get things done using your unique gifts. The verbs you use to describe your activities reveal these strengths.

T = Topics:  what you want to work with. You feel completely absorbed when you get involved in this, whatever it is—be it a person, a group, a car, a concept, food, music, fabric, furniture, or anything else in God’s creation. The nouns you use reveal these topics.

O = Optimal conditions:  the conditions in our environments that make things best for us. For example, some people work best under pressure; some need challenges; some like structure; some like an audience. What triggers you, gets you started, sustains your drive, defines the tasks, and provides the setting for you to feel highly motivated to effectively accomplish the task is part of your optimal conditions.

R = Relationships: what kind of role and relationships to others you seek in the task.

Y = Yes! You achieve this joyous affirmation when you fulfill the purpose for which you were designed. At that moment your sweet spot experience tastes ever so sweet!” (From Part One:  The First Step Toward Finding Your Sweet Spot)

‘Til next time!

P.S.  Thanks to Val Manley, who gave me Max’ book in 2006!  The BEST!

 

 

 

 

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You’re Invited for Our Last Book Club Meeting of the Season, Monday, 4/23, Featuring Julie Klassen’s THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL

Friends!  Save next Monday night, April 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.,  where we’ll have a delightful time discussing Julie Klassen’s Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Come and bring a friend with you!

Thanks to my sweet friend, Nancy Tinnell, bailing me out yet again on the write up of our selection (She’d finished the book and I had not yet!), you’ll get to enjoy her teaser on the book below:

 

On Monday, April 23rd, Branches Book Club will end the season with a discussion of Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. What a contrast this book is to last month’s selection, The Choosing, which took place far in the future.

For April, we have traveled in our literary time machine back to Wiltshire, England in the year 1820. Passenger coach travel supports the existence of charming inns, where travelers can find good food and a soft bed before resuming their journey.

After the death of her husband, Jane Bell is expected to keep the Bell Inn running efficiently. Her knowledge of business in general and how the Inn functions from day to day are equally lacking, but she must somehow pull things together. She is surrounded by long time Inn employees and relatives of her late husband, but can she trust them to help her and not take advantage of her? We are left wondering for a while just who the good guys and bad guys are in this novel.

Publishers Weekly had this to say: “Klassen blends her tale well; each ingredient-romance, friendship, mystery-is measured to produce a lively tale that will satisfy Regency aficionados and general readers, too.” I totally agree! I loved attempting to assess brother-in-law Patrick’s motives; the intentions of Mr. Locke, and how long it would take mother-in-law Thora to soften.

Many of our Branches Book Club members have a soft spot for Regency fiction, and this book, first in Klassen’s TALES FROM IVY HILL series, does not disappoint. We look forward to sharing with you on the 23rd!

Yes, we will be in the sanctuary! This will keep us near the special LifeWay display in the lobby. Our friends from LifeWay will have all of next year’s books for you to purchase at a discount, in addition to other titles you may be interested in. Posters of next year’s book list will be available for you to share with others. We hope to see you there!

 

Thank you, Nancy!

Another fun fact is several of us have also enjoyed another book by Julie, “The Apothecary’s Daughter“, just in case you’d like to read another selection by her.

We hope to see you next Monday night, 4/23, from 6:30-8:00.  Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839 and don’t forget we’re meeting in the sanctuary.

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

Also you will NOT want to miss this opportunity to learn of our selections for our next season (BIG REVEAL!!!), plus you’ll want to discover which authors are coming to be with us, and to snag the books early for your summer reading that LifeWay is so gracious to set up for us!

‘Til next time!

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Why Biblical Meditation Brings Peace… (with help from Robert J. Morgan)

Friends! Is your spring fever producing heightened anxiety? Trying to calm down, but for whatever reason, you can’t? I’ve got good news for all of us!  Thanks to insight from author Rob Morgan, we can find true peace.  I’ll be sharing highlights from his excellent book, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation—Find True Peace in Jesus.

I confess I didn’t know what “Biblical meditation” was until I read Rob’s book.  He tell us, “meditation is not new and it’s not new age. God, not the gurus, devised it, and it’s based on the Bible, not on Buddha.”

We know any time anything is repeated in the Bible, it’s significant.  We readers learn how many times references to  “meditation”, “pondering” and “thinking” occur, “encouraging us to engage our thoughts with His Word.”

Rob quotes J. I. Packer in his powerful book, Knowing God:

“…the words meditate and meditation occur 21 times in the Bible.

…the words think, thinking, and thoughts, 252 times.

Mind is mentioned 163 times,

And the word ponder  9 times.”

Still a tad on the skeptical side, I continued reading.  Clearly reading my mind, Rob point blank says, “If you’re a bit allergic to meditation, well….get over it.” I about fell out of my chair.

Then we readers are shown how many heroes from the Bible meditated, such as Isaac (Genesis 24:63), Joshua (Joshua 1:8), the Psalmist (Psalm 1:2-3), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:16), Mary the Mother of Jesus (Luke 2:19), Paul (Philippians 4:8 in the Message), the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 3:1), and even the Lord Jesus! (Mark 4:20 in the Voice).

Rob credits the Navigators for getting him started on Biblical meditation. They use the visual of a hand to help us understand.  Hold up your hand and consider your 2nd thru’ 5th fingers to “hear the Word, read the Word, study the Word, and memorize the Word.” Then consider your thumb, “strengthening the grip on meditation.”

Rob shows us many benefits of Biblical meditation:

Spiritual growth

Emotional strength

Deeper intimacy with the Lord

Soul-steadying peace

Healthier attitudes

Lest any of you fear the thought of memorizing Scripture (I’m nodding with you!), Rob has also written an excellent resource for this very thing:  101 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.

Quoting painter Paul Maze who had listened to Winston Churchill on the radio. Maze wrote telling Churchill how he’d allayed his fears, “Every word you said was like every drop of blood in a transfusion.”

Rob says, “And so it is for us with the Bible. Every word is like a transfusion of strength, of peace, of wisdom, of knowledge about both everyday life and eternal life.”

While each chapter has wonderful take home value, my favorite is Chapter Six: Gaining Insight into God’s Will. The concept of “standing in His council” will blow you away, never reading the Word the same again.

After the Conclusion, you’ll arrive at the golden nugget of the book:  We readers are gifted with examples of ten days of a “Meditation Guide” where we’re taught how to “Ponder”, “Personalize”, and “Practice” a portion of Scripture.

There are lined, blank pages after each example for you to make your own notes.  THIS IS WORTH A SMALL FORTUNE! Ah well, a wee exaggeration perhaps, but Rob’s suggestion to take these “ten passages, ten minutes, ten days”… is well worth your time. DO TRY THIS AT HOME!

Walk, don’t run, to your nearest bookstore and secure Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation!  Peace will pour over you like you’ve never experienced.  (Bravo, Rob for this tool!  Bravo to our Sweet Lord and His Word, where His well of wisdom never runs dry.)

‘Til next time!

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