Tag Archives: Liz Curtis Higgs

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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Thanks for a GREAT Launch! Come SHOP at Two Chicks Louisville this Saturday, December 1st!!!

Friends!  WOW. Just wow.  Monday night at Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) was a dream come true!  Did it really happen? To God Be the Glory.

THANK YOU to ALL of you who came.  What a fun crowd!  Liz Curtis Higgs was the bomb to kick off our night with beautiful, funny, and hope-filled words.

Nancy Tinnell, from MUMC, and all the gals of Branches Book Club pulled out all the stops and put together quite the celebration.  Huge thanks. (Please keep Nancy on your prayer list as she got a new knee the morning after our Launch!  Healing hugs, Nancy! She told me she comes home this Thursday.)

One of my many favorite take-aways from Monday night was seeing y’all savor Bonnie’s Butter Bride story we shared from the 4th stop in my book.  Thank you, Bon Bon, for letting me include excerpts.  Y’all can truly picture the Butter Babes hearing this for the first time! Unstoppable laughter!!!

One thing I forgot to share with you is that on the second page of my book, where all the copyright info is, you’ll see “Interior Art by John Hoagland, Jr.” Yes, dear friends, that is our oldest son!  He did all the sketches at the beginning of each chapter.  Don’t miss them! Way-2-go, Johnny! (He was home putting Claire to bed Monday night.  He said she was out by 7:01 which is about the time Lizzie launched my book.)

Another highlight happened Monday afternoon when Jane Chilton and I got to go on Rachel Platt’s 4:00 LIVE newscast, on WHAS 11.  We were both Nervous Nellies, but Rachel’s welcoming demeanor put us at ease and we had a blast.  Jane made her famous pound cake to share with the folks at WHAS. (Recipe’s on my website! Go to: www.elizabethhoagalnd.com and click on  “My New Book” , then  “Recipes”.  It’s “Pound Cake with a Boatload of BUTTER.”)

Next up?  Oh, the super fun girls at Two Chicks Louisville have invited me to come sign books this Saturday, December 1st, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pop in and see all their fabulous Christmas gifts, among other goodies, such as jewelry, baby gifts, foodie gifts, etc. I’ve already been in twice since they decorated for Christmas and have found great hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. (A dress jumped off its hanger and landed in my arms. Imagine that!) Maybe grab lunch at the Cheddar Box and shop at Two Chicks before or afterwards?

http://twochicksnandcompany.com
1212 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243

Finally, allow me to close with the beautiful words by the late Eugene Peterson. He wrote the Afterword in his wife, Janice’s new book six months before he died. The book is:  Becoming Gertrude:  How Our Friendships Shape Our Faith.

Everyone is in a process of becoming. More gradually than rapidly, we grow into the unique people we were created to be, throughout a lifetime of learning in Christ and practicing the way of Jesus…

Even eighty years is still a relatively short time to prepare for citizenship in the Kingdom of God…

We need the companionship of fellow disciples as we make our way on our lifelong pilgrimage. Such companions, have holy agency:  Our lives are healed and shaped by the people whose company we keep.”

THAT is a perfect depiction of friendship.

Hope to see you Saturday!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Author, Book Clubs, Let's Be Friends, Speaking Engagements

Come Help Me Launch My New Book! Bring a Friend and Travel to MUMC, 11/26 @ 6:30 p.m. Liz Curtis Higgs will Kick off the Evening!

Friends!

Guess what? My first book is here and the girls from Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) are throwing a party! Call up a friend and join us Monday night, November 26th at 6:30 p.m. to launch this baby. (It’s been a very long twenty-seven months in the making!)

Another highlight that evening will be when my friend, mentor, and well-known author, Liz Curtis Higgs, kicks off the Launch. (She wrote the Foreword, God bless her.) You’ll learn why she had such an integral part in the birth of my book.

I’ll share with you some crazy anecdotes from this journey as well as do a reading for you. We’ll be meeting in the newly remodeled Connections Center.

We will have books available Monday night and I’ll be tickled to sign them if you like. This is a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming-scenario for certain!

You can also find my book and Kindle format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and www.christianbook.com. Locally, The Living Word Bookstore in Southeast Christian Church is selling my book as well as both the Frankfort Ave. and Bardstown Road locations of Carmichael’s Bookstore. (My website has more info on the “my new book” tab and more recipes! More fun things coming soon.)

Many of you will know my friends who wrote beautiful treatises in the book as well as who gave me fabuloso recipes! Two prominent and favorite restaurateurs also graciously gave me recipes: Nancy Tarrant from the Cheddar Box St. Matthews location and Kelley Ledford from Uptown Cafe. These would be great to try with your friends.

I pray my book becomes a fun resource for you and your friends on many levels. (There are questions for Book Clubs as well as questions for your small group for a mini-Bible study.)  I hope to see you Monday night the 26th! Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502)245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

FYI: Before Liz kicks off the launch, we will have a short, mini-book club discussion about our November selection, Merry Hmbug Christmas: Two Tales of Holiday Romance by Sandra Bricker. If you’d like to participate in the ornament exchange, please bring a wrapped ornament with you. I’ve received the cutest ornaments the last couple of years from this exchange!

Have a Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving and I’ll look forward to seeing you next Monday!

‘Til next time!

P.S. My friend, Jane Chilton, and I will be on the 4 o’clock news LIVE on Monday the 26th on WHAS 11 with Rachel Platt to chat about my book. Oh, I see you laughing.  We are too, believe me! Please pray we’re able to say something that makes sense in some wild way.😍

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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

Let’s Add a Side of Grace for Thanksgiving… (With help from Kyle Idleman – Part 1 of 2)

Friends!  Readying for Turkey Day? Are you cooking or dining out?  What kind of attitude are you sportin’ to go with that?

For years and years and years, our wee family traveled to Owensboro, Kentucky, where my Aunt whom I’m named for, produced the largest Thanksgiving feast I can recall.  Cousins traveled from afar and we mimicked the children’s book, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.

Years later, my cousins in Florida hosted Thanksgiving. Those were some wonderful memory making years of traveling with the boys, Woody eating sand during his first trip to the beach, John Jr. saying we’d better stop for gas when he’d slept the entire night, and Gordy waking but not crying, going right back to sleep provided he could hold a ball of any kind. We could pack a station wagon better than the Beverly Hillbillies.

A few more years rolled by and we found ourselves hosting Thanksgiving in Louisville.  Can’t say I had the best attitude…Juggling teenagers and multiple houseguests wasn’t my strong suit.  One afternoon John came out into the hallway and proclaimed, “We’re running a hotel.”  Had I written a sequel to Cynthia’s book, it would’ve been, The Relatives Came and Stayed and Stayed…

One funny memory after the other accumulated. Our lesson in that season was a novel idea:  BE THANKFUL DURING THANKSGIVING

Best quote ever came from my Uncle Bruno, God rest his soul.  Upon his departure, he’d say, “You worry, I’ll be back!”

So, as Thanksgiving is upon us, (Praise the Lord my in-laws have been hosting Thanksgiving the past few years, so we just show up!) let’s look at a couple of excellent authors’ books on grace, one per week to help us add a side of grace to our Thanksgiving meal.

First up, is a fab book by Kyle Idleman called Grace is Greater—God’s Plan to Overcome Your Past, Redeem Your Pain, and Rewrite Your Story.

Kyle writes just like he talks in a fun, easy way, making you feel like you’re sitting down to a cup of coffee with him.  His humor dotted throughout the book will keep you laughing while his teaching points will move you. (Killer funny footnotes!)

This book was inspired from a Scripture that one day hit Kyle between the eyes:

Kyle shows us that “when we miss grace, things become toxic.”

He says, “My prayer is that you won’t miss grace but rather will powerfully experience the grace effect in your life—and no matter what you’ve done, no matter what’s been done to you, you will personally experience the truth that grace is greater…”

The book’s divided into three parts:  Grace is greater than your mistakes, your hurts, and your circumstances.  Kyle covers any possible scenario you may be experiencing.  If you’re thinking, “Yeah, but you don’t understand my life right now.”  Maybe so, but God does and Kyle will prove it to you.

He explores all the uglies:

Guilt (my challenge du jour),
Brokenness,
Regrets,
Wounds,
Bitterness,
Vengeance,
Resentment,
Disappointments,
Weakness and
Despair.

Quite the shopping list!

Kyle’s honesty is refreshing and reassuring, reminding us none of us are perfect.  He shows us example after example of grace, opening our eyes to see people as Jesus sees them. He says, “I’ll say it in a way that might make you more uncomfortable: the litmus test for the reality of grace you’ve received from God is the extent to which you give grace and offer forgiveness to the person who’s hurt you the most and deserves it the least.”  OUCH!  We’d better re-read that for a minute…

Another way to look at this comes from Kyle’s friend, pastor Pete Wilson.  He says, “What you inhale is what you will exhale…If you’re intentional to inhale God’s grace and forgiveness, you will also exhale it in your relationships. But if you’re breathing in anger and rage, you’re going to breathe it out in your relationships.”

In reading the many wonderful endorsements of Kyle’s book, I laughed at one gal who said she was at first skeptical about another book on grace.  I was with her there.  In fact, my all-time favorite book on grace is by my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs:  Embrace Grace—Welcome to the Forgiven Life.

But wait for this:  Liz happens to be one of Kyle’s endorsers! She says, “…Grace is Greater is practical and inspirational, providing a clear path to freedom through God’s amazing gift of grace. I loved it!”  Friends, this is HUGE not only coming from Liz, but I maintain grace is one of the most difficult subjects to articulate.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of Grace is Greater before Thanksgiving and before those relatives roll in!  Bravo to Kyle.

‘Til next time~!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Holidays

She Speaks Conference Equips Over 700 Women in Charlotte, NC…

Friends!  Any of y’all interested in writing or speaking?  Pray about attending next year’s She Speaks Conference, hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org). I had so much fun at the most recent one on July 21st and 22nd, in Charlotte, NC, I just have to share some tidbits with you…

Whether you’ve written a book or are contemplating writing one, or have been speaking various places and think God is calling you to do more speaking, She Speaks is the conference to attend. (7/26-28 are the dates for 2018.)

Due to some perfecto peer pressure a/k/a strong suggestions from my friend, Liz, I signed up for this year’s conference. Not knowing a soul except for Liz Curtis Higgs who would be teaching two workshops and speaking for one of the Main Sessions, I prayed I’d meet some fun friends.  God was gracious.

The morning of registration, I immediately met two gals, one from Wheaton, IL and one from Naples, FL.  We were all three newbies. We had crazy fun connections and promptly agreed to meet up for every meal, sharing tidbits from our workshops.

My new friend, Dawn, and I posed by the She Speaks sign near Registration.  This was a popular photo opp, all of us dumping our book bags which amazingly no one tripped over.

The challenge of the conference was which workshop to sign up for as each one sounded better than the next. Just as an example, here are the ones I took:

“Creating Biblical Content to Engage Your Reader”

“Storytelling on the Page and the Stage”

“Creating a Message That is Powerful, Memorable, and Life Changing”

“How a Small-Time Blogger Can Actually Get a Book Contract”

“60 Things You Can Do to Become a Better Speaker”

“Study Strategies for Teaching Scripture”

The above are a glimpse of the many, many, many workshops offered, plus each attendee had the opportunity to attend Four Main Sessions over the two days with these top-notch speakers:

Pastor Chris Hodges

Chris kicked off the conference Friday morning with a powerful message from Exodus 28 and 29, called “Dress for Success.”  His connection with the Proverbs 31 gals is a sweet one:  One of his children is married to one of Lysa TerKeurst’s children.

Chrystal Evans Hurst is a  fireball like her Dad, Tony Evans, and her sister, Priscilla Shirer. Chrystal equipped us Friday night to take care of ourselves in order to be better used by God. Her stories of biking across the Golden Gate Bridge numerous times were priceless. Some trips were more successful than others, as in “let’s not bleed to death in the process.” (A trip over the handlebars brought about that illustration.)

Sometimes we need to slow down! Rest is a form of worship!

Chrystal also gifted us with several Scriptures, my favorite being:

She closed with, “Be true to your journey, it is enough.”  Amen.

Whitney Capps  was a wonderful wake-up call Saturday morning after many of us had had a sleepless night due to the power going out in our area.  Hotel rooms defined dark and became stuffy hot without the air conditioning.

Whitney remarked that Satan is always trying to thwart her efforts for her messages and this time was no exception…  Seems a snake crawled down into one of the substations and nibbled on some high voltage equipment, causing damage enough to knock out the electricity in a huge grid most of the night.  This included our hotels plus 14,000 other households.  Come on, now!

Here’s the pic the local paper ran:

He looks way too friendly.

Good news is the conference went on as planned, coffee was at the ready, and Whitney preached a meaningful message on “Six Reasons Your Church Needs You.” Thank you, Lord.

Liz Curtis Higgs closed out the conference Saturday night with a bang, working our tear ducts overtime from laughter one minute, to moving testimonials the next.  A few of my favorite quotes from her are:

“Minister to those who are in front of you. Don’t count numbers, because everyone counts to God.”

On writing, Liz encouraged us with, “If He knows every word we are going to say, surely He knows every word we’re going to write.” And I LOVE this:  “You don’t have to write THE best book, you just have to write YOUR best book.”

Obviously, take-home value was at a premium.

One of many bonuses we attendees received was the opportunity to sign up for cd’s of other workshops we weren’t able to attend.  Incredible resources!

Saturday afternoon I rode up the elevator with a gal who had attended this conference the previous year.  She said this year’s conference was so different.  I was astonished because the number of workshops and their variety causes one to wonder how you could keep changing it up?

The brainchild of Lysa TerKeurst, She Speaks ran like a top. Lysa’s beyond blessed to have such a sweet and compassionate team who somehow took all seven hundred of us under their wings!

Here are a few other workshops I also wanted to take but couldn’t squeeze into my two days:

“Writing a Bio That Gets You Hired”

“The Verses That Keep Me Up at Night:  The Risks and Responsibilities of the Christian Writer”

“Creating Your Book Proposal from a Marketing Perspective”

“Guarding Your Capacity to Pace Your Race”

“Finding Soul Rest in the Midst of Busyness”

“How to Write When You Have Kids”

And there were more!

Another bonus of She Speaks was the amazing worship offered before each of the Main Sessions.  Worship  was led by the worship team from Elevation Church in Charlotte.  (www.elevationworship.com )

They were incredible, opening the conference with my current favorite song:  What a Beautiful Name.  Another song they sang I learned they also wrote:  O Come to the Altar.  You can imagine the effect of 700+ gals singing their hearts out.  The Holy Spirit filled the room to its’ brim.

One exciting discovery was learning about the “First 5” app available FOR FREE to us all.  (Go to:  www.first5.org ) Many gals I met were familiar with this app and were “regulars”.  Its’ premise is we all need to plant our faces in Scripture the first five minutes of every day.

The First 5 teachers and writers taught different workshops. It was a blast to meet them and hear from them up close.  They were most gracious in sharing their various methods, all of these gals wise beyond their years.

We attendees also had the opportunity to sign up to meet with publishers and agents.  These were offered on a first-come basis.

She Speaks had about twenty-five people (publishers and agents) to choose from, of which I had to pick five, and of those five, they’d pick two.  How they orchestrated all of this made my head spin.  We each had fifteen minutes for our meetings which evaporated like fifteen seconds.  This was an invaluable experience.

At one point in the worship, as the conference was about to close, I thought, “What if all seven hundred of us goes home, ready to be used by God for God to reach so many for the Kingdom?  What if?”  That’s my prayer for all of us and for any of you considering such an opportunity.

‘Til next time!

 

Liz and I sat together Friday night when Chrystal spoke.

 

 

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Let’s Prepare Our Hearts for Easter With Help from Liz Curtis Higgs and Her New Book: The Women of Easter—Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene

Friends!  Greetings this lovely Lenten Season!

I confess I haven’t proclaimed what I’m giving up yet even tho’ Ash Wednesday was March 1st…usually it’s chocolate and I manage to fail at keeping the promise.  Deep, I know…

My freshman year of college I gave up the elevator and walked the four flights of stairs to my room.  Deeper…

I love what my friend, Nancy Sleeth from www.BlessedEarth.org , suggests:

Consider what you might ADD during this season to draw closer to God?”

Nancy offers the following ideas:

All  great ideas, thanks Nancy!

I have another stellar idea for you that our Tuesday Bible study group, a/k/a “Blessings on Burlington” is about to embark on to help us appreciate Easter more.  We’ll be reading Liz Curtis Higgs’ newest book, The Women of Easter—Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene.

Before I even opened the book, I need to own up to the fact I wasn’t certain who all these Marys were.  Once I dove in, I realized “Mary of Bethany” is none other than the chill-child-Mary vs. the nervous-Nellie-Martha…you know, that Mary and Martha duo.

How many times have we all said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things…” (Luke 10:41) Liz calls Martha the “first century Martha Stewart”. She kills me.

Mary of Nazareth was Jesus’ Mother and Mary Magdalene was the demon-possessed woman who Jesus healed and who became a devout follower of our Lord.  The numerous details Liz reveals within each chapter on these Marys is fascinating.

Liz tells us readers, “We’ll meet three women of Easter who poured our their lives for their beloved Teacher. .. Mary of Bethany prepared the Lord for burial by anointing Him with a priceless perfume. Mary of Nazareth, who’d watched Jesus draw His first breath, bravely watched Him breathe His last. Mary Magdalene witnessed His resurrection and proclaimed the good news to His disciples.”

Liz walks us thru’ several parts of the Bible, teaching us along the way via various translations, making us feel as if we’re right in every scene.  When Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave, you experience not only His affection for Lazarus, but the palpable grief from the sisters, Mary and Martha.

She explains what’s happening in certain passages, drawing a teaching point for us to think about, showing us how we can apply it to our life.  She also builds the tension toward what we know is coming:  the crucifixion…

Blissfully dotting the pages with her humor, we readers find this to be a relief from some of the very tough subject matter.  For example, when Liz is talking about the disciples deserting Jesus and fleeing (Matthew 26:56), she says, “It’s heartening to realize that Scripture has no parallel stories of women betraying Jesus, denying Jesus, or abandoning Jesus.”

Frederick Dale Bruner said, “They’re not like the disciple-defectors.” (!!!) Lizzie calls Jesus’ female followers “loyal from start to finish.”

Good luck getting thru’ Chapter Seven without hunting down a Kleenex or two, or ten.  Liz’ description of what Jesus endured as well as the women looking on will take your breath away.

Liz reminds us, “Lent is a time of remembering, of revisiting the familiar scenes in Scripture and discovering what God wants us to learn this year. We are not the same women we were twelve months ago. Our lives have changed and our perspectives have shifted. …His love for us has not changed, and our need for Him has not diminished.”

May we STOP… and consider what we’ve learned this past year as we refocus on the cross and the miraculous resurrection this Easter.  Liz’ book is akin to a guided tour toward the cross…and yet, praises we sing,  with an empowering ending.  Let’s celebrate!

More GOOD NEWS:

If you live anywhere near Louisville and are nearby next Wednesday, March 22nd, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Liz speak at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church at 6:00 p.m.  She’s one of their Lenten Series speakers and will be talking about this excellent book. She’s the third of five speakers each Wednesday before Easter. For more information, visit www.stfrancisinthefields.org

‘Til next time!

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