Tag Archives: 24/6

Lunch with Lexington Authors: Slice of Heaven Part 2 of 2 on Road Trip to Lexington…

Could there be anything better than being in a fantastic bookstore (Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky), while eating in their café, with amazing authors?

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Few things thrill me more than soaking in conversation with fellow wordsmiths.  With these gals, we never lacked for a thing to talk about.

But the best thing about this group is they ALL love the Lord and talk about what God is doing in their lives, their ministries, or a book or Bible study that’s helped them in their walk of faith. I simply sat and soaked it all in.

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(Clockwise from left around the table is Yours Truly, Jan Watson, Kelsey Ach, Laura Leavell, Nancy Sleeth and Dr. Pam Stein. Notice we had Liz Curtis Higgs’ new Christmas book, The Women of Christmas—Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna for party favors and had Jan signing her newest novel Tattler’s Branch.  We’re going to talk about Jan’s book in just a minute!)

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Allow me to share some insight into these fascinating gals:  On the right in the front is my good friend, Dr. Pam Stein.  Pam and I’d just dashed over from Lexington Christian Academy (LCA) where her son, John, had spoken powerfully on prayer. (click on…”Seventeen year old preaches w/power” to hear more…).

The icing on the cake is Pam and I are about to be related as our son , Gordy, is marrying her daughter Lauren! (Woo-hoo as they holler here in Kentucky!)

You also must know, for those of you with upcoming weddings (which seems to be about every other person I encounter lately) that besides teaching at the Dental School at The University of Kentucky, Pam and Lauren have a new, fascinating website regarding weddings.  Check out:  www.thelocalbride.com

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Next to Pam in the middle, on the right is my buddy Nancy Sleeth.  You’ve heard me speak of Nancy and her book,  Almost Amish, as well as her husband Dr. Matthew Sleeth, who wrote 24/6, and let’s not forget their awesome ministry, Blessed Earth. (www.blessedearth.org )

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This summer Nancy and I realized we are exactly three months apart age-wise and have many things in common.  However, were she to enter our home, she’d give me “what for” as my Mother used to say, because I’m so far from being Amish.  Let’s just say I aspire to be Amish-like.  (By this point Nancy is rolling on the floor laughing.)

Almost Amish Sleeth

Next to Nancy, at the end of the row on the right, is sweet Laura Leavell.  Laura’s Mom, Sherry, is one of my dear friends and I’ve been blessed to meet the Sleeths thanks to Laura, because she works for Blessed Earth.  Laura is a ten-talent gal. Besides helping the Sleeths, she juggles many more brilliant balls in the air.  She’s wise beyond her years.

Across from Laura on the left side is Kelsey Ach.  Kelsey and I met thru’ a number of connections.  A graduate of LCA and Georgetown College, she’s only in her twenties, but amazingly, she’s about to get a book published! (I thought this opportunity to meet some of these authors would be fun for her.)   Be on the lookout for her and her book, A Beautiful Darkness—Finding Jesus in the Middle of a Sexual Revolution.   Checkout her website: www.couture31.org

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Next to Kelsey, in the middle of our row is my friend and mentor/guardian angel, Jan Watson.  I can’t say enough about Jan.  Funny she’s wearing butter yellow, because it’s highly appropo’ to tell you that the year I met her, Nancy Aguiar and I had ventured over to Lexington to the Book Fair Joseph Beth was hosting.  We were also scheduled to have lunch with Paula Deen.  Yes, the Butter Queen.

Well, Nancy and I ate with Paula and sixteen hundred others.  Small detail.

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But that day, precious Jan was about the only welcoming author, willing to chat with us and willing to entertain the thought of running over to Louisville to speak at our Book Club.  (Which she’s now done several times and is a favorite of Book Club.)  www.janwatson.net

Jan’s writing career is highly unique.  A nurse for thirty-plus years, devoted Mom to three boys, and dedicated wife to her dear husband (who’s now in Heaven), Jan had had a  story in her heart and mind for years.  Her husband encouraged her to enter a writing contest.

Never mind that it was Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild Writing Contest.   Never mind that SHE WON, which translated into a book contract with Tyndale Publishers!

Here’s her first novel which was published the year Jan turned sixty years old…

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Never mind she recently released her seventh novel!  Every single time I read her novels, I say, “Okay, this one is your best!”  And then I read the next one and say the exact same thing.

While she’s currently working on her eighth novel, I’d like to share some highlights from her seventh, Tattler’s Branch. But only enough to entice you to read it…

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Jan is hysterical funny in a dry wit kind of way. Her characters readily come off the pages to greet you, some of which you love, and some you’re ready to call the authorities on.

An animal lover, Jan sprinkles critters throughout her novels for your entertainment and attachment.  Her real-live dog at home, Maggie, is a “terrific terrier” like our Gracie is.  That phrase could be an oxymoron.  I suspect Maggie’s influenced more than a few of these novels.

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I love how Jan uses Scripture and prayer to help her characters cope.  In Tattler’s Branch, Sunday school lessons and Scripture memory play a big role.  Her main character, Doc Lilly, reveals her love for and need of God’s Word, a great lesson for every reader.

One favorite part comes in a letter written to her Mother where Lilly says, “Just as I’ve watched you do in moments of travail, I cling to Scripture for solace.”  Another is “The Word.  His Word, brought the Lord so near, it frightened her, but at the same time delighted her.”  Love that!

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Page-turning suspense, including a murder, set in the hills of Kentucky, are just about all this Kentucky girl needs for a lovely afternoon of reading.  Jan’s medical background makes her book all the more real and full of intrigue as well.

Only in the hills of Kentucky would Jan offer, “She packs a grudge like a ten-dollar mule!” Or, “His Daddy had been tough as groundhog leather!”

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And about her bad guy, appropriately named Shade, Jan writes, “Like a snake hiding under a riffle, he was waiting to strike.”

(Okay, so not-so-smart me thought the above sentence was a typo’ and I wondered why a snake would hide under a rifle, as in a gun. Then I looked up “riffle” for those of us who don’t know, that according to Wikipedia,  it’s a “short, relatively shallow and coarse-bedded length of stream over which the stream flows at higher velocity and higher turbulence than it normally does.”)

One more element Jan includes, which totally convicted me of God’s love for everyone, even those as slimy as this atrocious man named Shade, is when Doc Lilly offers the Gospel to him.  One of many beautiful elements in this conversation includes, “The ground at the foot of the cross is even.”  Why do we forget that?

What transpires because of  Lilly’s Godly love for Shade, regardless of his treatment of her, is unbelievable.  It’s an only-God-could-pull-this-off moment.  And the stunner-of-an-ending?  Well, you’ll have to read it to find out!

Bravo, Jan!  Another out-of-the-ball-park book! If you want to read more about Jan check out this article!

Thanks to ALL you girls:  Pam, Nancy, Laura, Kelsey and Jan for a fun time of fellowship and lunch.  Only grave error on our part was we didn’t partake of some sinful chocolate dessert.  Next time!

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to all my lunch buddies that day!  Thanks for joining me and for your time.  Always a blessing!  Big hugs from Louisville!!!)

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Is It Possible to Have Lunch with Ann Voskamp and Breakfast with Matthew and Nancy Sleeth?

Yes, yes, and yes to LOADS of opportunities to meet and hear incredibly gifted authors and preachers at the North American Christian Convention (NACC), from July 9th to the 12th, right here in Louisville, Kentucky! (www.gotonacc.org)  ‘Tis time to get this on your calendar!

The Women’s Ministry portion of the convention has two exceptional offers which include the opportunity to hear Ann Voskamp speak at the Ladies’ Luncheon on  Thursday, July 11th, from 12:00-1:15 p.m.  Ann is the author of the best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts—A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  (A  must-read for us all.)

One Thousand Gifts

I was blessed recently to trek downtown with my sweet friend, Judy Russell, to taste what we’ll be having at the luncheon.  You will be delighted in so many ways, not to mention the piece de resistance, the chocolate mousse cake! Chocolate and more chocolate!!! (Hey, I’m not beyond bribing!!!) Add to that the chance to hear Ann speak and you have a win-win scenario.

I also had the pleasure, this past March, to meet Ann at a conference where she and Liz Curtis Higgs were speaking in Minneapolis, MN.  (to read more, click on….Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis…)  She is a profound and sincere speaker.  She was written up recently in Christianity Today for being one of the fifty most influential Christian Women in the country!

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Believe it or not, our other speaker, Nancy Sleeth, was also one of the top fifty most influential Christian Women in the same article!  Nancy’s newest book, Almost Amish–One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Lifeis delightful.  She spoke at our Book Club last fall and was incredibly encouraging.  You’ll get the opportunity to have breakfast with her on Friday, July 12th.  It begins at 7:30 a.m.

Almost Amish Sleeth

To add further intrigue to that early morning breakfast (We must have incentive to rise so early, huh?!!!), Nancy’s husband, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, will also speak.  He, too, has a new book out (Quite the inspirational pair, aren’t they???), 24/6—A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life. The first chapter will hook you while the entire book enlightens and inspires you to cherish and savor the Sabbath.

24-6 Sleeth

Matthew and Nancy will be speaking on “A Simple Plan that Simply Works.”  You do not want to miss this opportunity!  Look at their company, Blessed Earth, and you can see where their hearts are. (www.blessedearth.org )

Judy and I were also blessed to get to taste our menu for the breakfast (Well someone must take the time to make sure you won’t be disappointed!!!) and it, too, will be delicious!  The breakfast will get your day off to a great start coupled with fantastic teaching and information from the Sleeths.

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Both events, the luncheon and breakfast, are ticketed events.  You can purchase tickets via the North American Christian Convention’s website:  www.gotonacc.org

Please join me and several others at these highly inspirational events. Incredible workshops will also be offered.  Checkout the program line-up on the NACC website.   You will be BEYOND blessed.

The convention’s theme this year is VICTORIOUS:  When Life Seems Hopeless, Read the End of the Story—The Message of Revelation.  Meanwhile, please pray for all of these speakers, all of the details to come together, etc.  Pray for the attendees whose lives will be changed because of the Gospel.  VICTORIOUS!!!

See YOU in July!!!

‘Til next time!

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Get Over the Guilt: Grab a Nap! (Beating Busyness: Part 4 of 4)

Slinking up the stairs, barely putting one foot in front of the other, the oh-so-tired Wife/Mom/Crazy Girl crawled into bed.

Long sigh…

Buried under the covers, sleep enveloped her quickly.

Oh, but not for long.  The world pursued…  Startling her, something was ringing, and ringing, and ringing.

Eyes wide open, she snapped: “I promise, if it rings one more time, I’m chuckin’ that thing OUT the window!” …as if her cell phone could comprehend.

She’d told herself all she needed was a quick, fifteen minute power nap…

Fuming at the interruption, she climbed back out of bed and returned to the first floor, where laundry, emails, and dishes awaited.

A rather large hamster wheel comes to mind.

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How does one find time for a break???

Why does the word “R-E-S-T” seem so foreign to us?  Today we’re going to address the four letters of “rest” to help us rest.  Let’s not forget how God created rest and fully intends for us to find it.

Genesis 2:2-3 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” NIV

R: “Remember to take a nap REGULARLYand do not, do not, do NOT feel guilty about it! Get over the guilt and get off the hamster wheel.  Remember from last week how Mary Byers taught us that even Jesus got away to rest.  (Click on Part 3 of 4 on Beating Busyness here for more information.)

So IF we are rested, we’re more apt to glorify God, as He longs for us to do.  John Piper says it best: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Please mimic our friendly polar bear below:

Sleepy Polar Bear

E : “Engage in LAUGHTER!”

Make a lunch date with your funniest friend.

Rent a funny movie.

Hang out at a preschool!  What?  Richard A. Swenson, M.D., in his book Margin–Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, shares remarkable stats:   Did you know the peak age for laughter is age four???  It’s reported that four year olds laugh once every four minutes, or four hundred times a day!

Can you guess how many times adults laugh?  An average of  fifteen times per day. (Not sure I make that on a daily basis.)  You WILL feel better if you can find the humor in your daily situations.

Dr. Swenson adds, “Perhaps the best kind of laughter is when we laugh at ourselves–we never run out of material.  After Hurricane Andrew leveled his house, a man in south Florida put out a sign reading:  ‘Open House.’  He will heal faster than his neighbors.”

Write these verses on a post-it note to take with you:  Proverbs 15:13 says, “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face, a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.” (The Message)

Proverbs 17:22 helps as well: “A cheerful heart is good medecine…” (NIV)

Kick in those endorphins!

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S:  “Sabbath Keeping”

Read, very slowly, the following phrase: “Seven FULL days makes one WEAK.” Nope, not  w-e-e-k,   w-e-a-k.

This truth hails from Lynne Baab’s excellent book Sabbath Keeping.  We read and discussed her book in Book Club a few years ago.  Sadly, not one of us at the time could honestly say we even tried to keep the Sabbath.

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One teensy-tiny detail I believe we all overlook:  One of the Ten Commandments (not “suggestions”!) happens to be about keeping the Sabbath:  Exodus 20: 8-11 says,  “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day.” (NIV)

The word “Sabbath” is from the Hebrew word, “Shabbat”, meaning “stopping” or “ceasing.”  God’s true desire is for us to purposefully carve out time to be still and enjoy Him.

Matthew Sleeth, M.D. recently wrote   24/6—a prescription for a healthier, happier life.  (This is my new favorite book to give to people!)

Matthew shares his own discovery of the Sabbath along with his family’s journey in keeping it.  His excitement is contagious.  His medical experiences from running an Emergency Room, combined with his honesty and sense of humor, makes this book a fascinating page-turner.  What makes it unique is he backs up the cases he builds with Scripture.

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Matthew says, “In learning how to rest, we actually gain knowledge of Christ.  We learn to be gentle and humble and to GIVE UP OUR PRIDE.  My ideal day of rest …is a day when I trust that the world can get along just fine WITHOUT Matthew.”  Hmmmm, this is a good reminder for some of us control freaks (!) to mosey on over to the passenger seat.

Removing his wristwatch, Matthew and his family’s Sabbath begins.  They are “wealthy with time”.  Give it a try!

Shutting down their computers, they remain media-free for twenty-four hours.  (No more interrupted naps from cell phones! Someone ought to notify that Wife/Mom/Crazy Girl in the beginning of our story….yeah, you guessed it, that would be me.)

A clever promotional magnet to go along with 24/6 is a prescription for us all.  The Rx reads:  “REST for 24 hrs., Dispense 1x/wk, Do NOT mix with work.  Refill:  52x/yr. “  (www.246.com )  Don’t miss that last little number:  FIFTY-TWO TIMES….That equates to FIFTY-TWO GIFTS from God.  Don’t waste these!

If an entire Sabbath seems too extreme for you right now, please allow me to share “The 14 Challenge” from Priscilla Shirer and her book Resolution for Women.  I referred to an “aha moment” when I heard Priscilla speak on this last summer.  She  opened my eyes to the concept of margin. (Click on  “But I Don’t Have Time for a Bible Study!”- Part 1 of 4 of Beating Busyness for more information.)

Resolution for Women

Priscilla occasionally finds herself in need of some “retail therapy”.  She claims she has a “shopping anointing”.  (Not sure I’d share that “gift” with my husband!)

Priscilla’s visual aid was a whole mess of belts she toted up onto stage.   Wide belts, narrow belts, belts with bling, belts  with ropes, belts with dangly-thingys, and well, you get the picture.  Some of us “collect” shoes, Priscilla obviously collects belts.

She bravely confessed to her excess purchases, remarking that clutter causes chaos.  Got clutter?  I’d be happy to share some of mine!  Big sigh…?????????????????

Let’s go back to The 14 Challenge.  Here’s how she came up with the number 14: The Sabbath, being one of seven days is fourteen percent (14%) of your week.  Start little by little.  Try fourteen minutes per day to “be still”.  Gradually, you can add more minutes.  Simple,  right? (This helpful information is in the chapter called “Sabbath Spaces”.)

Additionally, consider clearing Sabbath SPACES (or Margins) in areas of your home.  Try clearing fourteen inches of space somewhere in your living area once a week.  Think of it as an act of obedience to God to “literally give your home some BREATHING ROOM!”  These are very manageable ideas.  (As the piles on my desk are begging to be cleared…)

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Hebrews 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” (NIV)

(Last but not least….)  T: “TEARS”

Seriously?  YES!!  Tears from laughter or tears from sadness, BOTH  are good for you!  Emotional tears have a therapeutic chemical consistency.  How awesome is God to hardwire us to weep when we come to the end of ourselves?

THIS week, I pray we will really make a concerted effort to REST. (R– Remember to take a nap REGULARLY, E– Engage in laughter, S-Begin this Sunday, or the day that best fits your schedule, to take steps toward keeping the Sabbath, T-Tears- Shed some!)

Priscilla’s ideas in The 14 Challenge are your first steps to reaching the Sleeth’s type of all-in Sabbath.  Again, it wasn’t their idea.  It was God who ordained it.

Beyond this week, now that we’ve completed all four parts of Beating Busyness, I pray we will be ever mindful of the meaning and blessing of margin. Let’s go back one more time to that hammock photo….Ahhhhhh…

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R-E-S-T.

Savor the Sabbath.

What have you got to lose?  Chime in and let me know if you try it.  No guilt and remember, it’s a process on this heavenward journey.

Next post, we’re going to talk about a book that’ll make you laugh and cry.  Just addin’ to those endorphins!!!

‘Til  next time!

(This week’s blog post is dedicated to Dr. Matthew Sleeth.  He and his wife Nancy are my newest and super fun discovery thanks to my friend Sherry who introduced us.  Nancy’s book, Almost Amish,  has also blessed my life.  Not converted yet, but sure am thinkin’!   Additional details can be found in a previous blog post about 3 new books & Branches Book Club…May God continue to bless you, Matthew and  Nancy, your family, and your ministry with Blessed Earth. www.blessedearth.org )

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