Category Archives: 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Barefoot Hope?

Friends! I learned a new, fantastic-n-fun phrase this week. The crazy thing is the phrase popped off a page I was reading in a book I’ve read more than once. Huh? How did I miss this?

The phrase is barefoot hope.  Its inspiration came from a winsome and bright four-year-old little girl.

Author Kay Swatkowski had her four-year-old granddaughter, Nikki, over for a visit. It was a cool, crisp spring day. Kay had just let Nikki out in the backyard to play. Within seconds, she noticed Nikki had plopped down on the ground, immediately taking her shoes off and “flinging her socks through the air.”

(This story comes from Day 43 of a Grandmother’s Prayers: 60 Days of devotions and prayer. This is one of my favorite daily reads, thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gave it to me when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. I read it, and when I complete the 60 days, I start all over. It’s a superb gift for new grandmothers!)

Kay said Nikki was barefoot and dancing with joy. Nikki hollered to her, “Grandma, where is my pool? Can Papa put up the swing? Summer is here!”

Kay told her summer wasn’t here yet, that it was too cold, and she best put those shoes and socks back on. Clearly determined and overly astute (!!!) Nikki said, “But Grandma, look at the trees! Summer is here.”

Kay couldn’t argue with that as many of their maple tree’s branches were dotted with green buds. Nikki correlated the buds with summer.

Kay said, “Nikki was filled with hope. Barefoot hope—a hope that made her act in faith on the promise of warmth, sunshine, and hours on a swing.”

We readers are then shown Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:32,

Kay said Jesus “shared this parable to encourage His followers to be as observant about watching for the signs of His coming as they were about anticipating the coming of summer.”

As if reading my mind, Kay confesses she wishes she had a barefoot hope not only for the coming of summer, but more importantly for His coming, Jesus’ return. She said her hope is “more of a wouldn’t-it-be-nice hope that does little to change my daily life.” My excuse is I simply forget. Ouch!

Now she shows us how to tie this subject to our grandchildren, defining barefoot hope as a prayer for them, praying they will:

“Hope in His promises.

Hope in their future.

Hope that God will always be with them, even in their struggles.

Hope for forgiveness.

Hope for divine intervention.

Hope for healing hurts and broken relationships.

Hope that Jesus is coming again to right the wrongs of this world and to take us to live with Him.

…as they trust in Him, they will overflow with a barefoot hope that makes them sing and dance with joy.”

Kay’s love for God and His Word permeates all of the pages of her book. She blesses us readers with numerous Scriptures which pertain to the day’s subject matter, and  in this case, hope of all kinds.

To learn more about Kay’s book, CLICK HERE for my post from last August.

Run, don’t walk, and grab this book! And kick your shoes off while you’re at it!

‘Til next time!

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Humans Go on Summer Vacation, Can Goldfish??? (Check out this new book by Sally Lloyd Jones!)

Friends! I’ve got a mini-vacation for you even if you’re not vacationing anywhere any time soon.  After this discovery, you’ll feel as if you’ve been to New York City on a summer vacation…no foolin’.

Author Sally Lloyd Jones has created an adorable children’s book which she says is a “completely true made-up story,” as parts are true, parts are amazing U.S. history, which history buffs will chew on, and the characters represent Sally’s relatives, however they live in England, not in New York City. Us adults will be charmed as well.

The book?  Goldfish on Vacation

I predict those of you anywhere close to NYC will go hunting for this fountain we’re about to learn about. I will for certain next time we visit.

Once again, I learned of this book thanks to Eric Metaxas on his radio show, www.metaxastalk.com This particular show aired 5/3/18. You don’t want to miss Sally and Eric’s banter, how this book came to be, plus her adorable accent.  (She’s the very same author who penned The Jesus Storybook Bible among many other books.)

Goldfish on Vacation opens with three children, “H, Little O, and Baby Em,” proud owners of three goldfish, “Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss.” The children go round and round in their New York City apartment just like the goldfish go round and round in their bowl. Not such a fun way to start your summer vacation.  Stuck.

At the end of the street where the children live, there’s an old, abandoned fountain which in its day was a place for horses to drink from…until cars were invented.

Because of the cars, folks no longer needed horses and the fountain became overgrown, abandoned, and a place for people to dump trash, sadly.

But, a curious thing happens. To the children’s great discovery, a sign is posted one day at the nearby Hamilton Fountain Water Garden:

“COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL GOLDFISH LOOKING FOR A SUMMER HOME!”

Out of the blue, a man begins cleaning up the fountain, restoring it, complete with plants such as lily pads, suitable for a LOT of goldfish to inhabit. The children’s Grandpa marks their calendar accordingly.

The fourteen days fly by and before they know what’s happening, the children can no longer see the man working on the fountain. It appears ALL the children living close by have arrived with their goldfish, swimming in their bowls, more than ready to let them have their own summer vacation.

Let me pause here to say the illustrator, Leo Espinosa, brilliantly captures the  plot of this story, offering the reader of any age to delight at the wonders on every page. (www.studioespinosa.com) You can see and feel the excitement of all the characters!

Scores of parents, grandparents, and children all become friends because of their goldfish. Fever pitch jumping up and down, in and out of the fountain ensues, and suddenly, summer’s over and school’s about to begin.

You may wonder HOW H, Little O, and Baby M get EXACTLY Barracuda, Patch and Fiss back home. Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out.  You’ll be grinning ear to ear.

If by chance you live in NYC or near, head to Riverside Drive and 76th Street. You’ll find the real-live Hamilton Fountain which is named after Robert Ray Hamilton (who lived from 1850-1890).  He gave the fountain to New York and believe it or not, he just happens to be the great-grandson of one of our founding fathers of the United Sates:  Alexander Hamilton. Don’t you history buffs just love that?

Sally tells us a man by the name of Brad, who’s a volunteer for the Riverside Park Conservancy is who cleaned up the fountain.  Bravo, Brad! Thanks also goes to someone who gave money for the fountain to be restored in 2009.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Goldfish on Vacation.

You’re welcome.

Smile.

‘Til next time!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The verse in this chapter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Friends, Grandchildren, Holidays

What Every Grandmother Needs…

Friends!  Whether you’re already a grandmother or have a friend who’s a grandmother, I’ve got just the book for you and/or for you to give to a friend.

I discovered this book thanks to my sis-in-love, Margee, who gifted me with it when our little Claire Elizabeth was born. The book?  A Grandmother’s Prayers—60 Days of Devotions and Prayer by Kay Swatkowski.

Not only was the book new to me, so was the author, Kay Swatkowski.  I’m already a huge fan of her ideas and creative writing, plus I discovered her blog:  www.americangrandma.com which also offers a wide variety of information.

The book includes sixty devotions.  Each is short, including five parts:

1 – Kay opens with a story which illustrates the point of that day’s devotion.

2 – “Let us pray that…” This part offers points to pray about related to the story along with a Scripture to bring that point home.

3 – A prayer to help us apply this idea into our lives with our grandchildren.

4 – “Think and Do”:  This part includes questions to get us thinking about how to incorporate the devotion’s idea into our lives, sometimes a Scripture to look up and sometimes a children’s book is recommended.  (I grinned after Kay recommended children’s books by Max Lucado on more than one day.  This is yet another reason she and I could be big buddies. Bigger smile.)

I’ve made quite a list of books purely from Kay’s recommendations to look into for reading to Claire and our future grands, Lord willing. (This may be a bit of an investment!)  Kay gives a brief snippet of each book she recommends for younger and older children.

Here are just a few:

 

Bedtime Blessings by John Trent

Just in Case You Ever Wonder, The Crippled Lamb, and The Christmas Child by Max Lucado

God is With You by Larry Libby

My Friend Jesus by Kathryn Slattery

Too Small to Ignore by Wes Stafford

The Lord’s Prayer by Rick Warren

A Child’s Look at the 23rd Psalm by W. Phillip Keller

A children’s adaptation of Les Miserables by Monica Kulling

The Priest with Dirty Clothes by R.C. Sproul

She also recommends reading missionary stories of Gladys Aylward, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, and Jim Elliot.

5Each devotion closes with several Scriptures to reinforce its’ focus.  Each entry is empowering and encouraging for us grandparents to boldly press on praying for our precious grandchildren.

Kay opens the book with a charge of sorts:

“Research reveals that the love and care of the older generation has a positive impact on children in many ways.

One study found a definite link between grandparent involvement and adolescent well-being.

Grandparents provide  not only affection and support, but also wisdom, problem-solving, and stability during times of family crisis…

GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH US.

WE HAVE A CRITICAL JOB TO DO.”

As God would orchestrate, when our whole family was at the beach in South Carolina in July, I opened Kay’s book to “Day Thirty:  The Sea.”  There I was, on a deck overlooking the ocean while Kay talks about us  being drawn to the sea.

All I have to do is see the sea and my soul begins to stir.  I recharge by the sea better than any other place on this earth.

Kay reminds us, “Our God is a Sea of limitless love and forgiveness. He is a Sea of acceptance and mercy. He is a Sea of strength and comfort…”

When the tide was out, walks on the beach allowed us to tote Claire along in her stroller.

Even this poor guy, having lost an eye and a claw, strolled the beach!

This particular morning, Diana and I started out with Claire in her Baby Bjorn.  It was so hot, Claire immediately fell asleep.  We decided to ditch the walk and grab an iced coffee in the air-conditioned shops.  Certain the whipped cream smothering that coffee was walked off from our other beach walks???

This year’s family vacation not only included the beach, but our new little beach baby.  Please note the wee bit of attention Baby Claire received from all of us:

In the devotional’s closing on the sea, Kay gives several Scriptures to pray, my favorite of which is:

“Let us pray that our children will have the delight of leading their children to an understanding of the deep love of God and of becoming part of one endless line of faith until Christ returns.” (3 John 1:4)

Amen and Amen.

 

Thanks to the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina for a week of fun for our entire family…What a blessing!

Til next time!

 

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