Category Archives: Family

If You’re Wondering What to Read Next, Look No Further! (Part 2 of 2)

Friends!  If I didn’t load you up with enough book ideas last week, fear not! I’ve got a few more. These are geared for families…

Our first book is a stand alone, but the second one leads to the third and the author of the third happens to be an endorser for our first selection. (Who’s on first?) Stay tuned…

I confess I bought this first book purely from the cover as I’m obsessed with penguins:

I wanted to jump in the cover, a la Mary Poppins and the chalk drawing in the sidewalk, and follow the Pied Piper, girl, and penguin, also toting a book along.

“Most engagingly conversational” would be my assessment of Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone’s writing.  I love the book because it does two things for the reader:

1 – It shows you why the authors want their book club participants to not just merely read their selections on the surface.  They help you become detectives.

2 – The book also helps you should you be considering starting a book club.   You’ll receive all kinds of ideas and advice. Clearly the Goldstones are experienced and love every single second of their time doing this!

Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook (which we’ll get to in a minute), said of Deconstructing Penguins, “Not just the single best book on leading a book discussion group, it is also about how to dig a tunnel into the heart of a book. In my ideal world, every reading teacher would trash that boring classroom text and adopt this book as a curriculum bible.”

The Gladstones say,

Early into the book, we get to see the Gladstones in action with parents and their children who’ve come to their book club.  Even more fun, the first book they discuss is none other than Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Simply delightful!

Our second book is by a lovely author I learned about from one of Ann Voskamp’s blogposts.  She raved about Sarah Mackenzie who founded the Read-Aloud Revival podcast.  Sarah’s book is called The Read-Aloud Family:  Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids.

Sarah and her husband, Andrew, live in Spokane, Washington with their six kids, so trust me, she knows what she’s talking about in this book!!! We get to learn from her experiments with her own children and see firsthand how reading aloud blessed and hugely benefited their whole family. Her strong, Christian faith overflows in her writing too which is an added bonus.

The book’s divided into three parts.  We watch the experiment unfold, we learn how to ask compelling questions, how to create a book club culture in your own home, etc. and finally we gain huge lists of recommended books, their synopses, all for certain ages.  Invaluable!

Finally, the last two books are by the same author. One happens to be one of a gazillion books my own Mother gave to me.  The author is Jim Trelease and the book Mother gave me is Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud. (Notice it says “edited by Jim Trelease.”)

It includes books in categories, sometimes only excerpts from novels, causing you to want to run out and find the entire book.  He introduces authors, many times telling stories of their upbringing or why they began to write, all of which is as interesting as the actual excerpt he includes! Categories include:  Tell Me a Story!, Tales from Long Ago, School Days, Food for Thought, etc. (There are eight more!)

Jim Trelease is best known for his The Read -Aloud Handbook: Includes a Giant Treasury of Great Read-Aloud Books. (I have the 7th edition, which says, “Now completely revised and updated.”)

This book is so thorough. From convincing statistics in the beginning to over a hundred pages of pure lists of books, age appropriated, succinct synopses, it’s easy to see why Sarah Mackenzie flipped over it and adopted Jim’s strategies immediately.

Pulling these four books out again has renewed my enthusiasm for reading to our grandchildren. I’d totally forgotten that the book my Mother gave me is autographed by Jim Trelease and dated 4-23-96, so John Jr. would’ve been ten years old by then. She must’ve gotten to hear him speak somewhere and had him sign it.  I wish I’d paid closer attention back then!

I’ll stop before throwing any more book suggestions at you (this is the end of Part 2!), before you throw some books at me!  Regardless, you cannot go wrong with any of these and your friends and family will thank you for your efforts.

Psalm 127:3 reminds us, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.” (NIV)

’Til next time!

 

 

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If You’re Wondering What to Read Next, Look No Further…(Part 1 of 2)

Friends!  2020 has found me in three lovely locales of our home on a mission to declutter. (Audible groan.) Problem is I don’t spend enough time, thence the improvement isn’t visible yet.

While on one of these missions, I uncovered a pile of “I didn’t know I had these books?”  So, dear reader, it’s your lucky day as I was elated to rediscover these books!

This week and next, I’ll be sharing snippets for you because you will want to have your own copies or at the very least, check them out from the library to help you with your reading—for yourself, for your children, and for your grandchildren.

This week we’ll unpack two excellent resources by Gladys Hunt.  I’m sad to report Gladys died at the age of 83 in 2010.  But, it’s our grand fortune she’s left us such rich, rich books.  (At the end of the post, I’ll tell you about some of her other books. Today we’ll just discuss two of hers.)

The books?

Honey for a Child’s Heart:  The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life (4th edition with an Annotated List of Books for Ages 0-14) by Gladys Hunt

Honey for a Woman’s Heart:  Growing Your World through Reading Great Books by Gladys Hunt

The title for both books begins with the word, “honey”. This was inspired from Proverbs 16:24 which says,

One of the many things I love about the book for children  is the emphasis Gladys places on family time and how it’s enriched by reading. She offers ways to do this in addition to the incredible age appropriate lists with brief descriptions of the books. She also notes awards the books have won such as the Caldecott Medal, Caldecott Honor, Newberry Award, Honor, and Medal, the Corbetts Scott King aware, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book award.

Regarding her lists, we also learn, “Two chapters list special books considered long-standing classics:  picture book classics and classic children’s novels.”

Gladys says,

Gladys is obviously a wordsmith. She advocates reading not just for our education, but to increase our faith. She adds, “I can’t imagine any pleasure greater than bringing to the uncluttered, supple mind of a child the delight of knowing the many rich things God has given us to enjoy.”

Now watch how she ends this particular paragraph:  “Parents have this wonderful privilege, and books are their keenest tools.”  Yes!

Early into the book, we readers are gifted with a quote from Emily Dickinson from The Poems of Emily Dickinson. It captures the case for reading Gladys is building:

Actual illustrations from various books such as Mary Poppins and Charlotte’s Web, for example, delight our eyes every few pages. They are wonderful windows into these many books!

Gladys’ book for women, “Honey for a Woman’s Heart:  Growing Your World through Reading Great Books,” is equally filled with a wealth of information.  She opens with this from Mark Twain:

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.”

Then we get FOUR reasons we need to dive into this book, the fourth of which is my favorite:

“Fourth, expect books to become ‘ministers’ to your life, to say to you what you need to hear…The books recommended in the chapter on spiritual growth and the ideas for taking the Bible seriously could start a personal revolution!”

Every two to three pages, Gladys has little gray boxes with “extra” interesting topics such as:  “Children’s books I read at adult dinner parties”, “Books that inspire courage in Me” , “Books that touched every sense of my being,” and “Books that propelled me forward on my journey with God,” just for starters.

Don’t miss Chapter 7:  “Honey from the Rock:  Reading the Bible.”  Her love for the Lord is positively contagious and you’ll learn about so many books you probably didn’t know about!  I howled out loud at this recommendation:  The Bible for Blockheads by Douglas Connelly.  Here’s Gladys’ synopsis:  “In the kindest way, Connelly helps increase the reader’s biblical understanding.”

I’m making a list, or two, or ten, of books that sound like must-reads.  I’ll head to the library and see if I can’t look at them first before I jump in and buy them.

When I was corresponding with author Kay Swatkowski about her book, A Grandmother’s Prayers, that I recently wrote about, she told me she used Gladys’ books with her own children and when she was a teacher. She added, “I’m a firm believer that good literature is one of the best teachers for children!”

Here are two more books by Gladys and Barbara Hampton:

Read for Your Life:  Turning Teens into Readers

Honey for a Teen’s Heart

Now you know what I’m about to say, “Run, don’t walk, to your nearest library or bookstore and grab these books!  They’re worth telling all your friends about!”

‘Til next time!

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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Christmas Gift Ideas – Gift Idea #2 of 4: This is for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews…

Friends!  Please allow me to share another Christmas gift idea. This one is for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or neighbors and especially if you hail from Kentucky…

I met a lovely author at the Kentucky Book Festival last month thanks to our daughter-in-love, Lauren, who discovered her.  Her name is Evelyn B. Christensen.  One of many books she’s written is called The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky. (It was chosen to represent Kentucky at the 2017 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.)

Much to my delight, not only does this fun book offer loads of information about our state, children and adults will learn a LOT about the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Literally the wealth of information you’ll gain will astonish you.

Many of you know our family has exploded this year with three wee bairns arriving:  Ford in March, Henry in April and Charlotte in August.  One of many delightful discoveries in The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky is the interaction between Marybeth and her cousin Martin.

Naturally, reading about the cousins with our now four grand angels, who are all cousins, got Lauren and me so excited.  Evelyn’s book comes in two types of editions:  a board book (which I scooped up for all the cousins, shhhh, don’t tell) and a regular slick paper edition for older ones.

We readers get to travel all over the state, learning as we go about the state bird, the cardinal, and the state tree, the tulip poplar, just for starters.  We go to the Louisville Zoo, Mammoth Cave, the National Corvette Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum, a coal mining museum, the Kentucky Horse Park and many more fun stops.

 

Evelyn’s description on the back of her book gives us its plot:  “Marybeth is so excited about cousin Martin coming for a Kentucky visit that she gives him one VERY unusual gift on each of the twelve days of Christmas. As the days pass and the gifts pile up, Martin writes lively letters home to tell his mom and dad all about this trip.”

Illustrations by Kent Culotta are most appealing to the eye and fun to look at on each page.  His details will delight readers of all ages.

Our Lauren suggested we take all the cousins to many of these destinations together as a family.  What a fun goal to have!  Be thinking of your relatives and friends who would enjoy this book…

Finally, don’t miss other books by Evelyn. She’s a master at creating puzzles and she includes new ones each week to try out on her website which is a tremendous resource for us parents and grandparents:  www.evelynchristensen.com

This book, Mensa for Kids:  Fun Puzzle Challenges, was also available at the Kentucky Book Festival. Mensa actually asked Evelyn to create this book!

Finally, I love how Evelyn shares her faith with us on her website, telling us she learned over the years God had gifted her with a mind to create these puzzles to teach children fun ways to learn math skills.  She teaches us learning can be fun and not a chore.

She credits a study her small group was doing by John Ortberg called If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.  She said that was the turning point for her with her writing, realizing God had given her these gifts to share.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and GRAB The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky!  Your family and friends will love it!

‘Til next time!

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When You’re Married Almost SEVENTY YEARS… (“Great is Thy Faithfulness”)

Friends! Our family has been on an emotional roller coaster for several weeks over my Father-in-Love, Bill Hoagland.  He was taken into the arms of our Sweet Lord on Sunday, September 22nd. He would’ve been 92 this month.

A sympathy card we received in yesterday’s mail says, “A life is a continuous thread. It weaves itself through love and memory, and remains a part of everyone it has touched.”  My friend Jayne Combs, who sent the card said,

What a dear, dear thought.

Bill and Adeline are blessed with four children, two daughters-in-law, 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren for starters!  The number of friends who flowed thru’ the visitation and funeral were astonishing and such a beautiful blessing to all of us.

When planning Bill’s funeral (I called him “Possum” while our kids called him “Huggy”), all of John’s siblings, plus Marte and I, gathered at the Hoagland’s house Sunday afternoon and came up with thoughts for the obituary, favorite hymns for the funeral, etc. Many of our memories were like warm blankets, comforting us, making us laugh one minute and cry the next.

One of my favorite memories of Possum was watching him play the piano.  He could play be ear which always fascinated me.  When I met him for the very first time and shared I, too, play the piano (but NOT by ear!!!), I believe he decided I was okay to enter the family.  That was one of our fun things we could do together.

Possum frequently sported a bow tie.  At his funeral, there were twelve grandsons who became two teams of pallbearers, each wearing a bow tie.  That was one of many scenes causing us all to tear up.

The final honor guard presentation was a sight to behold:   Two young men from the Unites States Navy entered the sanctuary accompanied by taps, saluting the casket, reverently folding the flag, and presenting it to Adeline.  Not a dry eye existed, and I know Bill would’ve loved this.

Beyond all of Bill’s accomplishments, far and away were the heights he and Addie would go to for their marriage.  Addie often says, “He was always so kind to me.”

Those of you who knew Bill, know he and Addie were inseparable.  What one couldn’t do, the other could, always helping one another.  They sailed all over the city eating at many restaurants along the way. They would’ve been married SIXTY-NINE YEARS this November.

Below are a couple of older photos of the two lovebirds.  I think they look like movie stars!

One of the many lovely hymns sung at Bill’s funeral was “Great is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Obediah Chisholm. Thomas was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky. Rob Morgan, in his book Then Sings My Soul:  150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories, tells us Thomas began teaching school at the early age of 16.

He came to Christ when he was 27 and because of numerous illnesses, went from job to job. Upon discovering his many new blessings each day, He wrote “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” taking the phrase from Lamentations 3:22-23,

The lyrics speak not only to our own faith in God, but I believe they speak to Bill’s devotion to Adeline and to his family:

Thomas wrote over 1,200 poems and hymns. His friend, William Runyan, is who composed the music to this song and many others.  He was so moved in particular by this one, Rob tells us “he prayed earnestly for special guidance in composing the music.”

The hymn didn’t take off at first.  Finally, Dr. Will Houghton of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago made “Great is Thy Faithfulness” an unofficial theme song for the school.  But who really made it popular was the one and only George Beverly Shea and the choirs at the Billy Graham Crusades. (These are only a few of the many fun facts you can learn from Then Sings My Soul.)

This summer, soon after our two new grandsons, Ford and Henry, were born, they got to meet Huggy. This tickled us pink to see so many generations.  There’s that thread Jayne taught us about.

When I stop and think John and I’ve been married thirty-five years, right about half of what Bill and Adeline were, I can’t imagine life without my “better two-thirds”.  Our family would covet your prayers for Adeline as this journey ahead will be challenging.

My sis-in-love, Marte, told me soon after both her parents died and mine were both gone as well, “Oh, but we’re only shortly separated.”  Amen and Amen.

Below are the “Fabulous Four Sibs” :  L-R:  Van, Billy, John and Margee, and a more recent photo of Bill and Adeline.

 

May it be said of us as we lean toward Heaven, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” And as Bob Hope used to sing, “Thanks for the Memories.” We miss you, Huggy!

‘Til next time!

 

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A “Fear Not” a Day Keeps the Devil Away

Friends! Remember your parents telling you “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?”  I didn’t fall for that for long. To this day, I have to force myself to sit down and eat an apple. Don’t ask me why…

Fun sidebar:  A more interesting proverb about the apple first appeared in 1866 in Wales,

“Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

While most medical experts agree this isn’t true re: docs, some say the act of eating an apple can keep the pharmacist away. Do try this at home…

I have even better medical news (as in “prescriptions” to lower your stress, coupled with giving-peace-of-mind-news), thanks of course, to a book with my name on it. Not literally, but you’ll learn why this book jumped out at me recently…

The book? Facing the Future without Fear:  Prescriptions for Courageous Living in the New Millennium by Lloyd John Ogilvie.

Lloyd was the  61st Chaplain to the U.S. Senate from 1995-2003. Prior to that he pastored First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California for twenty-three years.  He also authored fifty plus books!

Sadly, Lloyd John Ogilvie died just this month (June of 2019) at 88 years of age. U.S. Senator Mark O.Hatfield said to hear him preach was like experiencing a “living gospel.”

In an interview in 1989, Ogilvie said,

Now, to the book:  First off, and primo to remember, Lloyd teaches us there are 366 “Fear nots” in the Bible.  One for every day, including leap year! Thence the title of this post:  “A ‘fear not’ a day keeps the devil away.”

Each of the book’s twelve chapters are “prescriptions for courageous living.”  If I had to pick a favorite, I’d choose Prescription #9:

 

Lloyd took a survey of the causes of fear and many answered, “imaginary fears.”  He said, “Some went on to explain that many of their worst fears never happened. And yet they continued to be victims of their gloomy imaginations.”

Look at these ever-so-true words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Some of your hurts you have cured

And the sharpest you still have survived

But what torment of grief you’ve endured

From hurts that never arrived.”

It never occurred to me to confess our fearful imaginations to the Lord and BEGGING (my word choice, lol) Him to make our imagination “a channel of His vision and NOT a breeding place for fear.” Lloyd adds the importance and the dire need of our understanding what the Lord intended for our imaginations to do, that it must frustrate and distort His original purpose when we don’t consider such.  What a way to think!  Lloyd assures us if we do this, “then we can claim His power to live out each day as fearless, imaginative, and healthy Christians.”

Let’s reiterate those three adjectives!  FEARLESS, IMAGINATIVE, and HEALTHY!!!

Lloyd continues to define imagination for us:  It is:

“The God-given ability of the thinking brain to form and hold images of thought.

“The drama department of the mind, giving our ideas form and structure,

“It produces the motion picture version of our thought.”

And, if that’s not mind-blowing enough, we’re reminded of Joel 2:28-29 which says,

Lloyd said, regarding the above verse, “It’s not only the prediction of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, but it’s also the promise of the renaissance of the imagination.”  Friends, I HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED THIS BEFORE, HAVE YOU?

Frankly it was a relief to discover later in the chapter that Lloyd had never considered this before either until he kept reading Paul’s words regarding “the fullness of God.”

Let’s read Ephesians 3:17-19:

Now, tuck your toes under the table as they’re about to get stepped on:  Lloyd then asked himself this question:  “If I have been created to receive all of the fullness, have I responded with all of my life?”

He had the revelation he’d been using his imagination to promote fear, not faith, so he made a deep commitment to the Lord re: his imagination and prayed for the fullness of His Spirit to fill it, heal it and use it to help him see himself and other people and the church the way the Lord does. This was a huge “aha” for Lloyd and is also, I’m sure, for us readers! WOW.

The end of the chapter includes six points to recap the wealth of information we’re given in Chapter Nine. The sixth point is my favorite because it truly reminds us to bookend our days with prayer:

I must admit I was deeply saddened to learn of Lloyd’s recent death because I wanted to write him and tell him how much this book has meant to me.  Being fearful is one of my many activities du jour which produce ridiculous worry, thence the need to “readjust” my imagination just as Lloyd advises.

I nearly fell out of my chair while reading another faith-equipping book (which I’ll be writing about next!), called Bella’s Gift:  How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation by Rick and Karen Santorum with Elizabeth Santorum.

I’m sure y’all remember Rick and his run for presidency.  He tells us early into the book how Lloyd John Ogilvie transformed his faith, calling Lloyd a “great man of God.”  (This was while Rick got to sit under Lloyd’s preaching and teaching when he was Chaplain to the Senate!)

Finally, another big fan of Lloyd was author and pastor John Ortberg.  When John was a student at Fuller Seminary, he would sneak over to Hollywood Presbyterian (where Lloyd was the pastor) to watch and learn.  John said, “LLoyd John Ogilvie was a kind of statesman in the world of evangelical Christianity whose type is sorely needed and will be badly missed. He deeply valued the life of the mind and was a model scholar-pastor. At the same time, his commitment to a life of prayer and a fresh experience of intimacy with God shone thru’ almost every sermon…How good God was to lend him to us for a while.”

Dash away, dash away all to your nearest bookstore and grab Facing the Future Without Fear:  Prescriptions for Courageous Living in the New Millenium. You will be so blessed!

‘Til next time!

 

 

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

Friends! This Mother’s Day Week I thought I’d amuse you with some of my own horrific mothering no-no’s, show off our newest grandchildren (Oh yeah, I’m one of those—pics are at the end!), and then point you to a quick must-read for all parents and grandparents: 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

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 our children and place them 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…”

I loved seeing this Scripture on the wall of Central Baptist Hospital where our 3rd grandchild, Henry Pierce Hoagland was born in Lexington, KY on 4/22/19. Gordy and Lauren told us a prayer is said over the intercom every morning.

Here we are cuddling with Henry.  What a blessing.

John and Huck with Baby Henry

 

Yours truly with Baby Henry

 

Baby Ford (Woodford Lee Hoagland, Jr.) is now smiling! He is Woody and LT’s baby, born 3/18/19. Ford and Henry are five weeks apart to the day and almost the hour.

 

Claire and Diana at Dawn at the Downs Derby Week. Claire Elizabeth Hoagland turns 2 years old on 5/9/19! John Junior and Diana are expecting Baby Charlotte September 1st.  Let the games begin!

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Week and Weekend!

‘Til next time!

 

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When Your Beloved Pet is Diagnosed with Cancer…

Friends! It’s been several sad weeks here in the Hoagland household. Our beloved Gracie, our wire-haired fox terrier who was only 7 1/2 years old, got sick on Christmas Day and got worse and worse, week after week, until we discovered she had liver cancer and lymphoma. Only five days after that hard-to-believe diagnosis, we knew “it was time.” Beyond awful.

I know many of you have been thru’ this. One of our dear couple friends dropped off a new-to-us children’s book you need to know about: It’s called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant.

The book is super sweet and we will enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren later while it helped comfort us immediately.  Additionally wonderful, our six children commissioned a super talented local artist to create a watercolor of our Gracie. What a keepsake.

Special thanks go to Taylor Grimm! Find her on Instagram at: Taylor_Leigh_Grimm

Since we’ve been empty nesters, Gracie has been our little shadow, going everywhere with us, especially my better half. We logged miles and miles a day walking with her, she chased a thousand and one squirrels, and was quite the mole hunter and conqueror.

Claire “calms” Gracie before bedtime…

Gracie perches over Poppy’s shoulder while he reads to Claire Bear.

Gracie’s favorite hangout, by the fire…

The Great Squirrel Hunter…

Thankfully, I remembered an invaluable resource we read years ago in book club: Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s a tome, and is seminary-worthy. Even tho’ we read it over the summer to discuss once we resumed in the fall, it was a little more than we bargained for.

We howled when the children’s version came out about the time of our meeting. However, the adult version is truly a resource readers can consult over and over for just about any topic you’d be interested in. (Try 12 sections, 46 chapters!)

Yes, there’s a chapter called, Will Animals, Including Our Pet’s, Live Again? You can bet I went to grab the book and reread this chapter.

Let’s read the first paragraph (Ch 40):

“Christ proclaims from his throne on the New Earth: ‘Behold I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:5 ESV). It’s not just people who will be renewed but also the earth and ‘all things’ in it. Do ‘all things’ include animals? Yes. Horses, cats, dogs, deer, dolphins, and squirrels—as well as the inanimate creation—will be beneficiaries of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Two well-known authors are also quoted in this chapter. First, let’s hear from Joni Erickson Tada from her book on Heaven:

And you all will LOVE to read this poem from none other than John Piper:

Randy Alcorn’s chapter on pets also includes answers to:

“How closely are animals tied to our resurrection?”

“Will extinct animals live on the new earth?”

“Will our pets be restored on the new earth?”

“Is it wrong to grieve a pet’s death?”

“What future is God planning for animals?”

“Might some animals talk?”

You can tell these are deep questions, Likewise goes the rest of the book. You’ll get to see and read Scripture after Scripture on animals (in this particular chapter) and see the wonder and the love the Lord gives us through our pets, ultimately created for God’s glory.

Already John and I’ve been asked the big question, “So, will you get another dog?”  To which, for today, I’ll answer “no.” We wish (!!!) to hold off until our future grandchildren arrive (two grandsons super soon, Lord willing!) and we see how much time we’d have to raise a puppy!?!

Meanwhile to those of you who’ve survived losing a pet, we’re with you. Gracie’s our third terrier and it gets much more difficult each time.

So, as Bob Hope would sing, Gracie, “Thanks for the memories…”

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grief, Life Lessons