Tag Archives: Kay Swatkowski

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

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

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

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

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

The books?

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

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

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

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

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

Gladys says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are two more books by Gladys and Barbara Hampton:

Read for Your Life:  Turning Teens into Readers

Honey for a Teen’s Heart

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

‘Til next time!

 

 

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

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Calling All Grandparents: We Have a Mission!

Friends!  I’m on my fourth trip of reading thru’ a devotional for grandmothers.  Every single trip thru’, I flip anew over a myriad of pearls of wisdom author Kay Swatkowski shares.

When John and I first became grandparents in May of 2017, my sis-in-love, Margee, gave me this book:

I’ve since given it to countless friends who were also becoming grandparents. And, I have even more exciting news if you’re thinking of someone to give a copy of this book to…Just this week I popped in a Hallmark store and lo, and behold, there was Kay’s book in a beautiful gift-style cover! It’s hardback and the title is in white stitching—exquisite! (Visit your local Hallmark, or I bet you could order it on-line.)

Available at Hallmark.com.

Each entry offers excellent prayer ideas, accompanied by Scripture along with a “think and do” section which almost always offers books for further reading (Kay has cost me a small fortune!), questions to ponder, followed by more Scripture.

Day Fifty-Six’ entry stopped me in my tracks this week.  Kay strongly urges us to consider ourselves our grandchildren’s first prayer partner.  Before they can even pray by themselves, or with you, pray for them faithfully.

Kay says, “Intercessory prayer is a privilege. Bringing a Christian brother or sister’s needs before the Lord is an honor…as great a privilege it is to pray for other believers, it is an even greater honor to pray for our grandchildren.”  And here’s where she got me:  “Imagine the joy of being your grandchild’s FIRST PRAYER PARTNER.” Kay asks, “Could our greatest work be the work of prayer?”

Checkout the below Scripture:

Some days I don’t feel so “fresh and green,” more like tired and worn out, yet notice the verse says we will “STILL bear fruit in old age.” May we take this as our “mission,” to faithfully and daily pray for our grandchildren.  When they’re old enough to realize our efforts, let’s pray they’ll come to rely on us and trust us with their prayer requests.

Yesterday I attended a Bible study at Christ Church Methodist taught by my dear friend and mentor (and therapist!), Liz Curtis Higgs. We spent some time studying a passage where Paul tells us about Timothy and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, who each taught him about the Lord, giving him a deep, and sincere faith. (See 2 Timothy 1:5)

Liz reminded us that while some of us may never have grandchildren, there are always children in our lives whose lives we may have the privilege of influencing.  She shared how the Lord crossed her path with “foster parents” (whose last names are Foster!). They  poured into her when she was a new Christian and have kept pouring into her all these years. Liz gave us a fabulous quote to ponder:  “Family is God’s workshop here on earth.”

 

Checkout our author Kay’s website. The above picture is of Kay and her husband, Ray. Her website has a little bit of everything! Here are the headers: About Kay, Faith, Food, Fun, Read Aloud, and Everything Else. It’s a goldmine!

2019 was a huge, banner year in our household. John and  I celebrated our thirty-fifth anniversary, and God blessed all three of our sons and daughters-in-love with babies.  Christmas of 2018 found all three of our daughters-in-love pregnant!  We now have four grand angels to pray for…And now, a shameless photo for you:

Pictured left to right:  Charlotte Elise (born 8/30/19), Claire Elizabeth (born 5/9/17), Woodford Lee, Jr., a/k/a “Ford” (born 3/18/19) and Henry Pierce (born 4/22/19)

In this particular entry of Kay’s devotional, she recommends three excellent books (Yes, I have all three and they really are superb resources loaded with pertinent Scripture):

Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson

This is a really cute and clever children’s book:  One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Christine Bowman

And I love how Kay promotes other books similar to hers yet different:

Grandma, I Need Your Prayers by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock

Let’s close with the prayer from Day Fifty-Six:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the loving Christians who have prayed for us throughout our lives. Their prayers were a gift to us. Father, teach us how to pray so we can be effective and powerful as we bring our grandchildren’s requests to you. Give us sensitivity to their concerns. Teach us to honor their privacy by not sharing their concerns with others. Help us to be consistent in our prayer lives, not only for our own growth, but also so our grandchildren can truly trust us with their requests.  Thank you for the opportunity and privilege of praying for these children. Lord, we want to be their prayer partners. Thank you that we can still be of use to you at this stage of life. May our prayer life keep us young and vibrant in spirit and bearing much fruit for your kingdom. Amen.”

May we endeavor to pray faithfully for these grandchildren as they grow up in our crazy culture.  Let’s also pray for each other while we’re at it!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  If you’re looking for a spring-time Bible study, reach out to Christ Church United Methodist and sign up for The Women of Easter Bible study, taught by the author (of the book of same name), Liz Curtis Higgs.  The classes will meet on Tuesday mornings, March 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Four hundred of us have loved learning about “Jesus Girls” this month of January and my guess is many of us will continue to come in March!  Please purchase the book prior to the study either via your favorite bookseller, or you may pick it up at Christ Church for a suggested donation of $10. You can either call Christ Church or sign up on-line:  www.ccum.net or 502-897-6421.

 

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

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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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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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