Monthly Archives: December 2018

When You Dread the Holidays… Where’s Our Hope?

Friends!  I pray today finds you well, at rest, at peace, all things trimmed, wrapped, and prepared for Christmas.  That little statement makes me laugh and cry simultaneously.  It looks like a bomb went off in this household.  Sigh…

It recently dawned on me that many folks who’ve lost a loved one may not be looking forward to Christmas or New Year’s or any upcoming holiday for that matter. Where do we find our hope in such circumstances?

I’m delighted to tell you about a new non-profit offering help in a multitude of ways, plus an additional treasure trove of hope from our buddy, Max Lucado.

One of my long-time friends endured the loss of her husband to suicide some seven years ago.  Not one of us would’ve predicted this, and only those who’ve found loved ones that have taken their own lives could possibly relate.

My friend is one you may also know:  Karen Buchanan Meyer.  She told me this week that within days of Don’s death, she felt more than a nudge from the Holy Spirit to figure out ways to help others going thru’ such horrific experiences.

Other friends met with her and over these past few years, Karen and her friend, Lisa Schardein, have formed a non-profit called First Hour Grief Response. (www.firsthourgrief.org)

 

Between Karen’s experiences and Lisa’s (Lisa’s 19 year old son, Ben, was killed by a drunk driver in June of 2011.), and with the help of others, they felt led to start First Hour Grief Response (FHGR) whose mission is to: “Provide free guidance and compassionate support for people who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one.”

We learn “grief left unaddressed can lead to anger, aggression, deep depression, substance abuse, divorce, and even suicide.” FHGR, Inc. makes it their goal to “help grievers take the path toward hope and healing.”

They offer help over the loss of a child, spouse, parent, friend, or loss by suicide.  Multiple resources for counseling, books, legal assistance, workshops, funeral homes and planning, clergy and churches, etc. are available on their website.  Their office in Louisville is at 4055 Shelbyville Road, Suite B, 40207. You can reach them at (502) 791-9938.

This non-profit is a beautiful visual of 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

The website, www.firsthourgrief.org also offers a weekly blog covering all kinds of topics. Two of my favorite sections in their flyer is also on their website for when you’re talking to a friend who’s just lost their loved one:

Karen said many organizations are jumping on board, spreading the word about FHGR, Inc., including a grief support group starting at Northeast Christian Church in the NECC Student Lobby building on January 22nd next year.

Our meeting was timely with it being year-end, should you be looking for other entities to donate to prior to December 31st.  (Their approval to become a non-profit just happened in November.) Please consider helping this well thought out and prayed for organization.  My guess is you can think of several friends or loved ones who could benefit from FHGR, Inc.

And as always, may I recommend a book you don’t want to miss which will bless you with an abundance of hope?  Unshakable Hope:  Building our Lives on the Promises of God by Max Lucado.

Chapter 14 gifts us with Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Max teaches, “Our anchor, in other words, is set in the very throne room of God. We might imagine the anchor attached to the throne itself. It will never break free. The rope will never snap. The anchor is set, and the rope is strong. Why?

Because it is beyond the reach of the devil and under the care of Christ. Since no one can take your Christ, no one can take your hope.” Yes!

We also learn God wants us to “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NKJV) Max says this promised hope is “an unbreakable spiritual lifeline.”  Wow, don’t miss that phrase!

He adds, “Since His promises are unbreakable, your hope will be unshakable.”

Let’s close with Russell Kelso Carter’s rich words from a hymn he wrote after enduring a critical heart condition which initially looked as if he was on the brink of death.  During those frightening days, he recommitted his life to Christ and began leaning on the promises he found in the Bible, living with a healthy heart for another 49 years!

(Second verse and refrain)

“Standing on the promises that cannot fail,

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

By the living Word of God I shall prevail,

Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing, standing,

Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

Standing, standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God.”

 

Friend, whatever you’re going thru’, our Lord is by your side. Friends and helpers like those with First Hour Grief Response are standing by.  Don’t go it alone.  Cling to the promises of God and Savor this Season of Christ’s birth.

Our family wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas with hope for a blessed New Year.

‘Til next time!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Grief

Stellar Stocking Stuffer Idea for Any Stressed Mom… And Please Dash to Peggy’s Gifts in Lexington this Saturday 12/15!

Friends! Got any stressed moms on your radar this season? I’m flailing my hand…It’s mid-December, and so far our tree is up, but still sitting miserably undecorated. Sigh…

I’ve got good news for ALL of us. Yes, it happens to be a book, and it’s pocket-size, ready to stuff someone’s stocking ASAP. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab copies for all the stressed out moms you know of Debora M. Coty’s book, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms.

This book is your ticket to stress relief, laugh out loud knee slappers, AND timely encouragement and advice. Deb often admits her mom failures and show us what we can learn from her. (Secret: all three of my daughters-in-love are getting copies in their stockings, as well as some of my friend’s daughters who are moms or moms-to-be. Shhh, don’t tell.)

Set up in four sections with twenty-five chapters, you could read this each month as a devotional, one chapter at a time. Take home value is at a premium, you may wish to have a journal handy as there are many pearls you’ll want to read and re-read and record.

I have several favorite chapters from each section. From Section 1, don’t miss “PMS: Pretending Mom’s Sane (Motherhood Mayhem)” and “I’m Not Crazy—I’m Crazy Busy”, which include ideas for how to prioritize, plan, and pace yourself. Deb shows us why “should” is a dangerous word, being a “stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver.” Amen to that having sulked over the shoulda/coulda/woulda scene time and time again.

Section 2 favorites include “Too Blessed to be Obsessed (Letting Go of Mom Guilt) and “Chocolate Caulks Relationship Cracks (Forgiveness)

Each chapter begins with a Scripture verse. Chapter Eleven offers Ecclesiastes 6:11 in the NLT:

Chapter eleven is loaded with ways to combat our accuser, a/k/a Satan. Deb quotes Charles Spurgeon who said, “The devil never kicks a dead horse.” In other words, we who are still drawing breaths in this world are all marching around with targets on our backs. We’d be wise to “don the armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

We also gain…


Another bonus of each chapter is Deb closes with four excellent, thought-provoking questions called “Navigating the ‘Hood” (short for motherhood). One of my favorites is, “Need a good meme to remind you to pray for your kids? Try Lamentations 2:19 in the NKJV:


Favorite chapters from Section 3 include: “Zombie in Sweats (Finding Elusive Rest)” and “My Hair Stylist is from Oz (Confidence)”. Finally, Big Drum roll: hugely fav chapter from Section 4 is: “Morphing This Worrier into a Warrior.

One of my bigger sins is worry. I know, I know, it is NOT GOOD. But, good news! Deb gifts us reader with TEN simple ways to “rejuvenate your prayer life. Don’t miss these!

Let’s close with this quote to make you think, smile, and savor each day:

Start making your list for who you’d love to bless with this book!

And if you’re anywhere near Lexington, KY this Saturday, December 15th, please come do some Christmas shopping at Peggy’s Gifts. They have everything and then some. I’ll be signing my book from 10:00 a.m, to 2:00 p.m. and Peggy tells me they’re having a trunk show too. Double the fun!

http://peggysgifts.com/
112 Clay Avenue
Lexington, KY 40502

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Author, Book Reviews, Let's Be Friends, Speaking Engagements

When a BAT Swoops Over You at 5:00 a.m., PLUS 1 of 2 Stocking Stuffer Ideas…( Perfect combo’, right?!)

Friends! What do you do when you’re trying to fly outta town super early, you go to close up the porch, and, “Whoosh!” A BAT scares the willies out of you?

Happy to report this didn’t happen to me, but to my better half. He admitted he didn’t want to be battling a bat at 5:00 in the morning. “But…” I whined, “Think of what we’ll find upon our return!” (Envisioning a dead bat and it’s remnants all over our newly recovered porch cushions. Because of course it’s all about the new porch cushions?!) Oh ye of material mind….

One attempt, armed with a tennis racket, John reported, “No sighting.” Stay tuned to what we will find in a few days. Sigh…

Moving on to better things to fill your mind with(!!!), allow me to give you a stocking stuffer idea this week and next. Both are books (shocking) and both are pocket size to where you could stuff them in a friend’s or a family member’s stocking.

My friend Jane posed a thought provoking question this week: “What gift will you offer to Jesus this Christmas?” Stumped, we let Jane offer her answer first.

“I want to extend grace to all who cross my path this season, not to just those I’m partial to. After all, Jesus gave us all more grace than we deserve, how can we not do that?” she said.

To which I said, “Big ditto!”

Our friend Gwen answered, “Id like to offer Him worship.”

Which made me think of an awesome book by one of my all-time favorite worship leaders and songwriters, Chris Tomlin. He co-wrote the book with pastor Darren Whitehead.

The book? Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship

In addition to the book, Chris just released a new cd by the same name. Every song is excellent, but “Is He Worthy?” makes me come unglued. Every. Single. Time. Several of my buddies and I were blessed to hear him sing many of the songs at Southeast in November.

Recently, Pastor Darren Whitehead, of Church of the City in Nashville, preached a sermon on “The Seven Words of Praise”, explaining the “different words the ancient Hebrew people used to express their praise to God.”

What’s so mind blowing about this, is the different meanings of the words because in our English language, we only have ONE word: “praise.” Wait til you read the seven chapters. Each will open your eyes.

Not only educational, both Chris and Darren are also engaging to where you’ll say to yourself, “Why didn’t we know this? This is a game changer.”

Let’s take one of the seven words: “Yadah,” which means “To revere or worship with extended hands…” This is one of the seven. Get this: It’s “found over 111 times in Scripture.” What?

One fun point re: the format of the book is Darren begins teaching us the Hebrew words and Chris answers with a song and the story behind its origin. You’ll know the songs and love discovering their very own stories.

Each chapter offers additional Scripture to look up for “reflection and discussion.” Chris and Darren invite us readers to become a part of the “holy roar.” Chapter Seven is on the word, “Shabach,” which literally means “to raise a holy roar.”

Do NOT miss Chapter Six, where you’ll learn how Darren, who’d been in Christian radio, came to America from Australia. As a pastor. You will fall out of your chair. Only God.

Ah, you know what’s next! Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Holy Roar. Your worship of the Lord will forever be changed and whoever you bless with this as a gift will love it!

Next week we will discuss another neat little book that packs a punch, “Too Blessed to be Stressed” by Debora M Coty. Bundles of fun a la Deb and pearls-a-plenty of wisdom.

And if you’re anywhere near Lexington on December 15th, you’re invited to a super fun Saturday. Please come shopping and join me and the gals from Peggy’s Gifts. I’ll be there signing books from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Peggy’s has something for everyone. (I got into a little trouble there a couple of weeks ago. Sorta bought some Christmas gifts as well as fab flannel PJ’s for Santa to give, well moi.) There will also be a trunk show, so double the fun!

http://peggysgifts.com/
112 Clay Avenue, Lexington, KY 40502

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Author, Book Reviews, Let's Be Friends, Speaking Engagements