Tag Archives: Corrie Ten Boom

When You Flunk Generosity 101… (Inspirational Antidote from Sherry C. Leavell)

Friends! Have you ever been the recipient of a pay-it-forward scenario?  Or perhaps you started a giving chain in a McDonald’s drive-thru…

One very cold Monday morning, sportin’ a severe attitude, I had to haul myself way out east for a mole check with my dermatologist. Who wants to do that, much less on a cold Monday morning?

Further aggravating the situation, my rushing around left me no time to eat breakfast.  Horrors.

Appointment finished, I hightailed it to McDonald’s for a not-so-nutritious-but-oh-so-good bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit.  Surely the unsweet tea canceled the biscuit’s calories?

Fishing a five-dollar bill out of my wallet, I pulled up to pay.

The drive-thru employee said, “The car ahead of you paid for your meal, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

Stunned, I could barely articulate, “Wow! Thank you.”

Still holding my five-dollar bill, I grabbed my breakfast and drove on.

Oh dear.  Why didn’t I give the guy my five and offer to pay for the person behind me?  I’m ashamed to say it never crossed my mind…until I pulled out of the parking lot.

I blew it.  Period.

I rationalized, “That has never happened to me before.  No wonder I couldn’t think on my feet.” Oh brother.

Later that day I picked up dinner for our friends Liz and Bill.  As I sat down at their table, I relayed my gaffe. Bill confirmed my act, “Wow, you broke the chain!”  Yes, well, that helped tremendously. We all laughed in spite of ourselves.

Oh, but then I rationalized again, “Well, at least I’m taking dinner to friends.”

Bottom line?

Grace wins.

Guilt loses.

Shame evaporates.

Lesson learned.

Enough of my saga, allow me to introduce you to the perfect antidote for when you flunk generosity 101.  My dear friend, Sherry Leavell, has just written a marvelous little book that packs a punch.  The book?

Grateful Living:  30 Days to GRATITUDE

Sherry’s written thirty short devotionals which offer help via God’s Word along with excellent questions and ideas on how to apply these Scriptures to our daily lives.  I’ve highlighted, underlined, and dog-eared many a page.

Pictured here left to right are: Yours Truly, Sherry Leavell, and Judy Russell. This was a fun rendezvous for lunch in Fort Myers, FL one day in January while our hubbies played golf.

Sherry shows us the longer we walk with the Lord, the more our gratitude grows.  She takes us on a thirty-day adventure causing us to consider, “Because Jesus paid it all, and all to Him we owe (like the hymn says), what is the best way to live that out?”

Grateful Living also includes a gratitude journal in the back with thirty spots to record small or big things you’re grateful for.  Sherry’s own experience, from a challenge thanks to Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, profoundly impacted her gratefulness.

I’ll share a few of my favorite entries, and pray you run as fast as you can to The Living Word Bookstore ( www.livingword.org ) or call the gals there to order: (502) 253-8220. You may also contact Sherry via her email:  Sherry.Leavell@gmail.com .

My first favorite entry is #16:  Life as a Bouquet. Scripture given is Psalm 86:12:

Sherry tells a story about Corrie Ten Boom and how Corrie handled receiving accolades for her books and speaking engagements. She accepted these “as if they were flowers. She would present all these compliments (flowers) to the Lord as His bouquet at the end of each day.”

I love that visual! Sherry adds, “Each success, victory and compliment can be accepted as a flower to be arranged in a lovely bouquet and handed to Jesus on a daily basis…sharing it’s Christ’s love which compels us to love others.”

I didn’t expect my toes to be stepped on, but after my faux pas at McDonald’s, clearly I still have much to learn.  In entry #17, Sherry has the gall to suggest (kidding, sorta) we are ALL missionaries.  Yikes.

She proves this by giving us Matthew 28:19,

We readers learn about a young missionary named Val who said, “I keep thinking about what you said that many folks have never met a missionary before. I feel honored and privileged that the Lord has called us to this and then provided, so it can happen. But I hope we all realize that we are all missionaries.” (Please take a moment to pray for our dear friends, Val, Clark, and Hannah Sleeth who are serving at Tenwek Hospital in Africa. www.wgm.org )

Sherry gently reminds us, “As followers of Christ, we’re ambassadors for Him…missionaries who are to share the Good News of Jesus Christ every day, everywhere, with everyone we meet.”

Not only does each entry begin with a Scripture, it also ends with a prayer.  These are so helpful as many times I can’t come up with the best take-away from a devotional and Sherry helps us do just that.

Entry #17 is the perfect example of applying the Word to our life:

Three more of my favorite entries are:  #20 – Walking Like Jesus (Glean helpful ideas to take with you the next time you walk with a friend), #22 – Seeking Answers (You won’t believe how specifically God answered one of Sherry’s prayer requests. Discover Liz Curtis Higgs’ connection in this entry. Liz is also who challenged Sherry only a year ago to write this book!), and #28 – Living the Life That is Truly Life (Uncover Sherry’s incredible bad timing with her first job, you won’t believe it! Plus grab lifelong advice from Jess and Angela Correll. www.angelacorrell.com )

Finally, here are 3 of a gazillion pearls Sherry equips us with:

Grab your own copy of Grateful Living and see which entry is your favorite!  May all of our eyes be opened to grateful living, passing Generosity 101 with flying colors.

’Til next time!

P.S.  Sherry’s first book is one you moms don’t want to miss:  A Mother’s Mission:  Thirty Thoughts for Thirty Days.






Filed under Book Reviews, Friends

A Peek into History Proves Priceless (You won’t believe this…)

Envision Thelma and Louise blowin’ and goin’ over the hills of Woodford County. Horse farms flanking both sides of these country roads were made complete with horses frolicking in the fields. We’re talkin’ some kind of sweet Kentucky scenery!

Thoroughbred horse series. More in portfolio

While my dear friend, Sherry Leavell, captained her car, yours truly had the job of feverishly reading our MapQuest to “get us to the church on time”. (Hum a few bars…)

Sherry’s daughter, Laura, told us about a significant event at the Chapel Service of Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS) on December 9th. We were determined not to miss it!

Both Asbury campuses are situated picturesquely in the city of Wilmore, Kentucky. (Asbury University: www.asbury.edu and Asbury Theological Seminary: www.asburyseminary.edu ) The city is akin to stepping back into time.

We met several friends there: Nancy Sleeth and Pam Stein VanArsdall from Lexington, Sarah Grace Bloyd, who’s a student at Asbury University, and Evan Wehrle, a student at ATS (and friend of all three of our boys.) We filled a pew and excitedly waited for the service to begin.

The chapel was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The current Chaplain, Jessica LaGrone, opened the service, telling us we were about to witness a “piece of history.”

(You can learn more about Jessica and her many talents from this link)

Estes Chapel

We stood while students from all over the world marched in bearing candles. My favorite sight to behold included a beautiful African American girl holding up a very large, opened Bible which she placed upon a stand at the altar.

The worship band led us in traditional Christmas carols and contemporary worship songs. These kids’ talent blessed our socks off. We felt as if we were standing on holy ground.

The icing on the cake came from an amazing couple, Bob and Ellen Stamps, who served at Asbury for four years. Bob was the Chaplain there until they retired this year.

Ellen has many fascinating claims to fame, one of which includes her being Corrie ten Boom’s Personal Assistant for nearly ten years. Ellen wrote a book, My Years with Corrie, about their many only-God-could-pull-this-off-experiences.

My Years with Corrie

At the end of Ellen’s tenure, Corrie wanted to give Ellen a gift. She decided to give Ellen and Bob the clock Corrie’s Father wound every night while they were hiding the Jews in their home.

The program from the service informed us, “We revere the courage, love, and faith the ten Boom family demonstrated to the world as they risked their own lives to help save eight hundred Jewish people during the Holocaust in World War II.

Their courage and faith came from their belief in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

From Left to Right: Tine (wife of Willem), Baby Kik, Willem, Nollie, Corrie, Cornelia, Betsie and Casper Ten Boom

From Left to Right: Tine (wife of Willem), Baby Kik, Willem, Nollie, Corrie, Cornelia, Betsie and Casper Ten Boom

The last thing Corrie’s Father did, before her whole family was taken away by the Nazis in 1944 to the concentration camps, was to wind the clock. He died ten days later. Corrie’s sister, Betsie, also died after a brief time with Corrie in the camp.


Ellen’s moving sermon reminded all of us that we carry the Gospel and must share it with all who cross our path. We also learned that Psalm 91, which we read earlier in the service, was Corrie’s favorite. She truly believed the Lord was her refuge, a phrase repeated frequently in it.

Ellen said, “Everyone must bring the message of Christ. We must share there’s no pit so deep that Jesus isn’t deeper still to rescue us.” She continued, “We mustn’t bury our talent whether one or ten. We must give of our talents—not hide them as the servant did in the Parable of the Talents.” (She pointed us to Matthew 25: 14-30.)


The purpose of this incredible Chapel service was for Ellen and Bob to present the clock that Corrie gave her to ATS. While the wording in the program said the Stamps were “loaning” the clock to Asbury, Ellen quipped, “Yes, it says the clock is ‘on loan’, but I’m seventy-five years old!!! We know you will care for it and keep it safe.”

If you’ve seen The Hiding Place movie, this beautiful clock is in it! It belonged to the ten Boom family for one hundred and fifty years in Haarlem, Holland.

The Hiding Place

The path the clock has traveled is astonishing. Once shipped from Holland to the United States, Ellen and Bob kept praying about what to do with it.

A ninety year-old clockmaker who worked at Monticello repaired the clock after its’ transatlantic journey. He relayed he was honored to have worked on it knowing of Corrie’s tremendous ministry. He died shortly thereafter.

Because of Corrie’s stay and miraculous release from the concentration camps, the Stamps decided she would’ve approved of it being in the Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA where it stayed for years.

After their remarkable experience at Asbury, Ellen and Bob were so taken with the students and with Asbury’s heart for missions, they felt Corrie would have loved the clock to be at Asbury. After all, she lived her entire life as a missionary!

Following Ellen’s sermon, Bob led us in communion. His booming, enthusiastic voice was contagious as it exuded heartfelt worship of our Lord. Sherry and I realized we both had an aha! moment thanks to Bob.

He prayed that while we were at the Communion Table, we would commune with the saints of old, that perhaps while we were partaking of communion, we’d be in community with the ten Boom family. What an eternal perspective and comforting visual!!!

After communion, we were dismissed to the Administration Building’s Lobby where the clock is hanging. We participated in a brief “Litany for the Dedication of the ten Boom Clock.”


(Sherry and I were amazed at the size of the clock. We’d pictured a small desk clock, not this large-yet-intricate wall clock, nearly the size of a Grandfather clock!)

Dr. Timothy C. Tennent led us thru’ responses, a few of which I’d love to share with you:

Now is the time of God’s favor.

Now is the day of salvation…

We trust in you, O Lord and say, ‘You are our God.’

Our times are in your hands. 

For His choice servants, the ten Boom family:

We give our praise and thanks to God

Grant, that, by Your grace, Asbury Theological Seminary will continue to teach the faith once delivered to the saints.

Hear our prayer.”

Friends, please keep ATS students and staff on your prayer radar.


Here’s a great shot (above) of Ellen and Bob after the dedication.  Following our responses, there was an unveiling of a plaque which hangs right next to the clock. It has the amazing story of the clock inscribed on it.

hiding place clock plaque

Dr. Tennent also read from Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three which reminds us about time. This passage offers thirty different kinds of time/seasons we may experience. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Ellen said Corrie believed that each season prepares us for the next. 

Ecclesiastes 3-1

After the service, Sherry and I stole a few more minutes with Ellen. It was a bit of a reunion as Sherry and I were blessed to have had lunch with her this past May, which was another adventure! LUNCH WITH A MODERN DAY SAINT MAKES FOR AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY

Ellen and Bob had other commitments afterwards, so Nancy, Pam, Sarah Grace, Sherry and I headed to the Cafeteria for lunch to catch up. Two hours later (!!!), we sadly said our goodbyes and returned to Louisville.

We were filled to overflowing, beyond blessed by witnessing a piece of history, thanks to a faithful “Tramp for the Lord” as Corrie called herself. She’d be so proud of Ellen and Bob Stamps and the legacy they’re leaving everywhere they land. “Jesus is Victor” was Corrie’s and still is Ellen’s favorite reminder to bless all who they encounter.


clock with friends

Pictured left to right: Ellen, Sarah Grace, Sherry and Yours Truly

Blessings to Bob and Ellen Stamps and HUGE Congratulations to Asbury Theological Seminary!

Who knows where Thelma and Louise will venture next. Stay tuned…

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews, Friends

Lunch with a Modern Day Saint Makes for an Extraordinary Day (Ellen DeKroon Stamps, Former Personal Assistant to Corrie Ten Boom, Blesses a Thousandfold.)

Did you know there’s treasure hidden in Wilmore, Kentucky? By treasure, I mean staffers at Asbury Theological Seminary (www.asburyseminary.edu ) who you wouldn’t believe me unless I told you. My friend Sherry’s daughter Laura, and Sherry’s future son-in-law Stephen, a graduate of the Seminary, uncovered the treasure. As a result, Sherry and I had the road trip of a lifetime!

Now, I do have several friends whose kids are attending Asbury University (www.asbury.edu ), so they of course know of Wilmore. Upon relaying to one of them our first meeting of the day was to be at Solomon’s Porch (www.solomonsporchwilmore.com ), my friend Fay’s daughter, Sarah Grace, suggested the Pumpkin Pie Latte which was to die for, whipped cream and all!


While sipping our coffee, Sherry and I met a wise-beyond-her-years young Mom who is the new Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Seminary.  Her name is Jessica LaGrone. (More on this very fun meeting in another post.)

Next up, Sherry and I dashed into Lexington (all of about ten minutes) to Ramsey’s Diner (www.ramseysdiners.com ) to meet what we’d both call a Modern Day Saint. You’ll be astonished to know that Dr. and Mrs. Bob Stamps have been at Asbury Seminary for four years. Bob’s been the Dean of the Chapel all the while he and his wife, Ellen, have ministered to, nurtured, and fed countless seminary students and their families. Bob and Ellen are returning to Richmond, Virginia in early July.

You’ve got to read Ellen’s book, My Years with Corrie, about her nine years as Personal Assistant to Corrie Ten Boom. It’s jaw-dropping fascinating, filled with story after story of how the Lord met and provided for them wherever in the world they happened to be ministering. You’ll see where God stretched Ellen so far out of her comfort zone, her only choice was to rely on Him.

My Years with Corrie

One of my favorite parts is where Ellen said, “God can use us even when we feel unusable.” When she first began working with Corrie, she didn’t speak much English, nor German, and didn’t know how to drive. Yet one of her many duties as Personal Assistant was to be Corrie’s driver. You’ll be amused at how this unfolds. Ellen is extremely candid. She reveals many wonderful lessons we can heed today. 

During their nine years together, Ellen said she and Corrie read and re-read Oswald Chamber’s devotional My Utmost for His Highest every morning. She said of her time with Corrie, “In many ways I had to learn to be like a child again in learning a new language and feeling comfortable in a new culture. I was trying to make sense of a new world—wanting to be a part of something I didn’t fully understand, relying on the help of friends to help me discover this new land.”

My Utmost for High Highest

The first chapter of James speaks about learning the new life of a Christian:

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.  

But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of integrity with no weak spots. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem, he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.” (James 1:3-5 Phillips)

Sherry asked Ellen which of Corrie’s books were her favorite. She gave us several, two of which are In My Father’s House and Tramp for the Lord. She also suggested seeing the movie The Hiding Place. 

Tramp for the Lord In My Fathers House

We read The Hiding Place for Book Club a few years ago and it was a favorite for all of us.

The Hiding Place

Sherry and I were a bit late arriving to Ramsey’s. We worried when it became 12:15 and still no Ellen. Sherry contacted her and somehow we had our days wrong! Ellen was already with a young mom whose husband was about to graduate from the Seminary. She prayed, “Okay, Lord, what shall we do with these two opportunities?” She called Sherry back and said, “We’ll be there in a few minutes!”

Ellen brought Beth who is precious along with two of her four children. We sat outside and were completely mesmerized by Ellen and her stories of adventure, as well as Beth and her exciting future of their family moving to Michigan to pastor not one but two churches!

The Lord blessed us with quite a party overflowing with stories of His goodness. Beth’s future and Sherry’s daughter’s future are similar with both being married to pastors. This God-incident wasn’t lost on any of us!

Eliz Sherry Ellen group pic

Beth left to pick up her school-age boys and Ellen sat back down with Sherry and me and said, “How may I pray for you?” Stunned, and speechless, we held hands and listened as our Modern Day Saint, who’d traveled the world and learned from one of the best evangelists, yet another Modern Day Saint, Corrie Ten Boom, began to pray.

The world stopped while tears flowed. Awed and blessed, we stood to say our goodbyes. Sherry and I had a foretaste of heaven that day. We wish the best to Ellen and Bob on their next adventure. God’s blessings! (And Ellen, thank you so much for your gift of time!)

Bob and Ellen have one son, Peter, who turned thirty-six the day we met for lunch and one daughter, Johanna, who’s thirty-two. Peter is in Colorado while Johanna is in South Africa. Please keep them all in your prayers!

Eliz Sherry Ellen

As Corrie would say, and as Ellen signs each of her books, “Jesus is Victor!” (This encouraging phrase came from Blumhard who was a minister from Germany. “Jesus ist Sieger”. Ellen attended Blumhard Fellowship gatherings where the theme of Blumard’s ministry was always “Jesus is Victor”.  Corrie first heard that phrase from the Blumhard people.  She adopted it and made it famous world-wide.)

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews