Category Archives: Family

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!

 

14 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grief

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!

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Life Lessons, Scripture

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!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family

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!

11 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grief, Life Lessons

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? What We May Have Missed from Mister Rogers…

Friends!  I’ve just discovered a wonderful book that’s chock full of “spiritual toast sticks.”  Grab a cup of joe and join me…

Whether you were a fan of Mister Rogers growing up or not, I predict you’ll become one after diving into this book:

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers:  Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor

Author Amy Hollingsworth takes us on a journey where we gain a birdseye view of her relationship with Mr. Rogers.  She worked in television with CBN and has written five books. She’s also a pastor’s wife.

After Amy’s first interview with Fred Rogers, they forged a long-time friendship. They wrote to each other for eight years, until Fred’s death from stomach cancer in 2003. Many excerpts from their letters are shared. Beautiful Scripture is expounded on plus great anecdotes are included in each chapter, including the story of Mr. Rogers’ car being stolen, and then returned, once the thiefs realized who it belonged to!

Amy tells us of Mr. Rogers’ first friendship he recalls when he was but five years old.  It was with an elderly neighbor, Mama Bell, who taught him how to make toast sticks.  He loved being able to make something for himself, popping the bread into the toaster, then buttering it and putting jelly on it prior to cutting it into four sticks.

His words of wisdom became what Amy calls “spiritual toast sticks.”  She says they are “sustenance to be shared.” She divides them into three parts in her book, each with three beautiful chapters:  Toast sticks for the heart, eyes, and hands.

We learn Mr. Rogers intended to attend seminary after college, but he landed in tv before that could happen.  He did later become a Presbyterian minister, thanks to studying during his lunch hours. (Don’t miss that story!) His degree in music composition came from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida,  which I happened to have also attended. (Only for one year before going to UK.)

Mr. Rogers’ degree from Rollins obviously came in handy considering he wrote over two hundred songs and filmed more than nine hundred episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The first three chapters under the first spiritual toast stick happen to be my favorite.  The other six chapters are excellent as well, tho’, don’t miss them, especially chapter nine on “Heading Toward Heaven.” I’ll give you a few teasers to get you going…

Chapter One is called, “The Importance of Taking Time. The Importance of Silence.”  I was reminded each episode of his show opened with “a shot of a traffic lights flashing in yellow caution mode. That message is the essence of every episode:  It’s time to slow down.” He also warned his audience against hurry, and often sang the song, “I Like to Take My Time.”

You may be as shocked over this as I am:  Yale psychologists compared Mister Roger’s Neighborhood to Sesame Street, which was much more fast-paced than Fred’s.  They concluded, “Children who watched his show were more likely to be patient in waiting for materials or for an adult’s attention, saying there was an increase in ‘tolerance of delay.’”

One of Fred’s favorite writers was Henri Nouwen. They became close friends.  He quotes him often. Fred said, “Even though most of the world knows Henri best by his words, I’ve come to recognize his deepest respect for the still, small voice among the quiet of eternity. That’s what continues to inspire me.”

Fred believed everyone should experience silence daily.  He went so far as to suggest a moment of silence when he was invited to the White House on one occasion.  He declared, “Would you please just have a half-minute of silence to think about somebody who has helped you become who you are?”

After the meeting, a guard approached Fred and told him of his grandfather’s brother being so kind to him, offering him a fishing pole.  He said he probably loves to fish today because of that gift when he was so young. He was about the same age Fred was when he learned to make toast sticks from Mama Bell.

Silence is a gift as well as a legacy when you share it with others.

Chapter Two is entitled, “A Presence Transformed by Prayer.” With an emphasis on daily rituals, not only on his show, but in his personal life, Fred stuck to the same schedules. We learn predictability also brings comfort.

His personal routine included rising at 5:00 a.m. for “prayer, reflection, and Bible reading; followed by a 7:30 swim (where he weighed in at 143 pounds daily); followed  by his usual workday routine; keeping a 9:30 p.m. bedtime. Each morning he prayed for his family and friends by name.”

He sang a song his friend, Henri, taught him called, Jubilate Deo prior to diving into the pool.  Before the taping of his show, he’d say, “Dear God, let some word that is heard be Yours.”

Scores of people agreed Mister Rogers had a calming effect on those he encountered, whether in person or via the tv.  Amy called him “Mother Teresa in a cardigan.”  (My poker face just left the building.)

Don’t miss the story about the Sturgis Pretzel House where Mr. Rogers took his viewers one day.  It’s a memorable lesson on prayer.  (Not spoiling it!)

Amy said of this toast stick on prayer:

Finally, Chapter Three is “The Wondrous Work of the Holy Spirit.” In this chapter, we readers are introduced to an interesting concept, that of holy ground.  Fred believed, “…the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground.”

Words from an old pastor friend Fred enjoyed builds on this concept:

“What is offered in faith by one person can be translated by the Holy Spirit into what the other person needs to hear and see. The space between them is holy ground, and the Holy Spirit uses that space in ways that not only translate, but transcend.”

This quote is followed by several testimonies from celebrities who viewed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and were moved for one reason or another, usually markedly changing their lives forever.  Don’t miss Lauren Tewes (who played Julie McCoy on The Love Boat) or Beth Sullivan who during a long-term illness discovered Mister Rogers’ show and later went on to create and produce Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!

The Epilogue centers around 1 Timothy 6:20 which says, “guard what has been entrusted to your care.” It hadn’t occurred to me the huge responsibility Amy must’ve felt in writing this book about Mr. Rogers.  She discovered the word “trust” is translated in the Greek as “deposit.” Thus Paul’s words to Timothy challenged her to greatly render what she’d learned from Mr. Rogers and share it with the world.

Great job, Amy!  I learned so much and I know anyone who reads your book will do the same and enjoy the journey. Thanks for being brave enough to write it!

Here are the other chapters to further entice you to read the whole book:

4 – The Best Gift:  Your Honest Self

5 – Who is My Neighbor?

6 – The Power of Forgiveness

7 – The Least of These

8 – Difficult Times

9 – Heading Toward Heaven

A favorite quote by Saint Francis of Assisi, which I first learned when attributed to President George Herbert Walker Bush, is also said of Mister Rogers:  “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.”

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this powerful book.

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family

Grab This Devotional for You, Your Kiddos, and Grands! You’ll Learn More Than You’d Ever Guess…(with help from Louie Giglio)

Friends!  This past Christmas, I bought FOUR copies of Louie Giglio’s devotional for our grands and our library. Let me tell you why…

You may be familiar with pastor, speaker, teacher, and writer, Lou Giglio. He’s who started the Passion conference for 18-25 years olds and their leaders.  These conferences have been filling arenas for years.  Just a week ago, four different arenas sold out to thousands who got to hear messages from Louie, Christine Caine, and Matt Chandler, with worship being led by David Crowder and Kari Jobe, among others.

Louie and his wife, Shelley, pastor Passion City Church and make their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Louie says the Passion movement “exists to call a generation to leverage their lives for the fame of Jesus.” Early on, their story connected to the confession found in Isaiah 26:8 (now known as the 268 Declaration) which says,

So, let’s dive into this eye-opening devotional aimed at kids, but equally interesting for us adults.  It has 100 devotions based on four categories:  Space, Earth, Animals, and People.  Each entry opens with a Scripture, a brief devotional with pictures, always ending with a fun fact called, “Be Amazed,” and a simple prayer.

Louie tells us, “My prayer is you’ll be truly amazed and in awe as we learn that the God who created Betelgeuse, one of the biggest stars we know about, also created YOU—from the number of hairs on your head to the color of the skin on your toes. This indescribable Creator knows you better and loves you more than anyone on Earth ever  could.”

One of many favorite entries is #36, called “The Eyes Have It.”  Our Scripture is,

In this entry, we learn that at five months into a baby’s life in utero, his/her eyes will have two million optic nerve endings. (“One million stretched out from your brain to meet and match up with another million optic nerve endings stretched out from your eye.”)

Louie asks, “Can you imagine matching up two million different wires and getting them all exactly right?” He teaches us that’s what God does when making our eyes. This is just one of many reasons each and every baby is an absolute miracle.

And while at five months, babies can’t see yet, at six months, the skin covering of the eyes separate, giving us eyelids. How beyond wild is that?

Now, let’s “Be Amazed: Chameleons have some of the coolest eyes around.  A chameleon can see in a total 360-degree circle—all the way around its body. Each eye can move separately from the other, so it can look in two different directions at once!”

And, let’s pray:

There are ninety-nine more equally fascinating entries in this devotional.  It’s impossible to choose a favorite. Each can be a great topic at your dinner table! (The day after Christmas I read another fascinating entry about the starfish, entry #90, to all six of our adult children who loved it. Boys and girls, young and old will gobble this devotional up. The challenge will be to only read one at a time!)

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Grab This Devotional for You, Your Kiddos, and Grands! You’ll Learn More Than You’d Ever Guess…(with help from Louie Giglio)

Filed under Book Reviews, Grandchildren

Why We Must Consider the Legacy We’re Leaving… (With help from the Green girls of Hobby Lobby)

Friends!  Just wait ‘til you hear about this life-changing, must-read book…

It’s written by Jackie Green and her daughter, Lauren Green McAfee. (Jackie’s husband, Steve, runs Hobby Lobby and their stories woven throughout are incredibly fascinating.) The book is called Only One Life:  How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy.

I heard the authors interviewed on the Eric Metaxas show recently (www.metaxastalk.com ) and promptly ordered the book. What intrigued me is the book’s format.  Each chapter focuses on an attribute of what makes a good legacy:

What’s super cool is how the girls introduce you to a Biblical character, a historical character, and a modern-day character for you to meet and see how their lives exemplify these attributes in each chapter.  Some I was familiar with, while others were lovely discoveries.

For example, Winston Churchill’s nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, was a very strong Christian and had a huge influence on him, teaching him to memorize Scripture, giving him a personal faith.

Let this soak in for a minute:

“It can be argued that because of her, the Nazis did not come to rule Europe, and because of the way she carried out her duties, the Soviets would not realize their aspirations to extend their brand of Communism to the world.”

The Green girls said Churchill “would attest that the prayers and spiritual principles he had absorbed from Elizabeth Everest were the anchor of His soul.”

Another new-to-me historical figure is Elizabeth of Hungary who’s in the chapter on the legacy of generosity. Elizabeth’s mother is who gave her such a strong faith.  She was born in 1207.  Her father was King Andrew II of Hungary.

She was highly influenced by Francis of Assisi who said,

Elizabeth married at age 14, having been betrothed to Prince Ludwig of Thuringia at the ripe age of 4! Amazingly, she “helped establish a monastery in Thuringia. She also used her dowry to found eastern Europe’s first orphanage.” Her story is full of intrigue you won’t want to miss.

You also don’t want to miss Jackie Green’s relation to Queen Elizabeth II!  This is in the chapter on the legacy of wisdom, Queen Elizabeth being our modern-day character. Other modern-day women we meet include fireball Christine Caine on the legacy of rescue, wise teacher Kay Arthur, and on loyalty, the one and only Ruth Bell Graham. (These are just 4 of the 12!)

We also learn that Marie Green “imparted her faith and values to David Green” (Jackie’s father-in-law) who then left his faith to his children, one being Steve, Jackie’s husband.  She adds, “There is nothing more important than to point a child toward their Heavenly Father and the redemption available through Christ.

You’ll learn how Hobby Lobby came to be as well as their thoughts on generosity, how they run the company, and even the details about the Supreme Court’s ruling over their health insurance, regarding their pro-life beliefs.  Your jaw will drop more than once over the details the Lord helped them overcome in an excruciatingly long trial, especially with such intense scrutiny from the media.

Also in the chapter on generosity Jackie discusses “the legacy-building power of a lifestyle of generosity.” We glean pearls from their family discussions.  She shares,

“A committee reviews and makes decisions on giving corporately,

…viewing each request through a specific lens

Will it advance God’s Word?

Will it save a person’s soul?”

We readers also get to learn about the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., that the Greens started.  It’s a wild journey you won’t want to miss.  The Museum is at the top of my Bucket List. (www.museumofthebible.org )

Further details on the museum can be found in another book the Greens wrote called, This Dangerous Book:  How the Bible Has Shaped Our World and Why It Still Matters Today.

Of all the Biblical characters we meet and learn about in Only One Life,  my three favorites are:  Huldah the prophetess, Hannah, and Ruth (but then how could we leave out Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Esther, and the seven others??!!!).  The chapter on teaching stands out to me perhaps because I love to teach.

Huldah is introduced to us in 2 Kings, chapter 22, Mary Lyon, who started Mount Holyoke College is the historical heroine, choosing Psalm 144:12 to be the college’s motto:  “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (KJV), and Kay Arthur is our modern-day teaching example, having started Precepts Ministries International with what the Greens call an “unlikely start.”

The legacies left from Huldah, Mary, and Kay are astonishing.  Don’t miss the details included.  Seeing their impact on countless souls makes you think in each case, “Wow, that is just from one woman!”  Exactly the point of the book.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Only One Life.  You’ll find yourself sharing story after story with your friends and family, and the best part is they’re all true!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments Off on Why We Must Consider the Legacy We’re Leaving… (With help from the Green girls of Hobby Lobby)

Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Grandchildren, Scripture