Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm all Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up in Jesus


Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up

I’m all wrapped up,
I’m all tied up,
I’m all tangled up in Jesus.
I’m all wrapped up,
I’m all tied up,
I’m all tangled up in God.

I’m all wrapped up,
All tied up,
All tangled up in Jesus.
I’m all wrapped up,
tied up, tangled up in God.

Repeat, faster each time

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cancer and talking about the hard stuff

 Part 2 of an Interview with Becky Baudouin,
Author of Cancer, Faith and Unexpected Joy
  
In Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy: What My Mother Taught Me About How to Live and How to Die (Kregel Publications/September 26, 2017), Becky Baudouin shares the invaluable wisdom imparted by her mother during her final days. However, Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy, is much more than a memoir. Baudouin equips readers to face death from a Christian perspective by sharing her insights on fear, loss and grief. These honest insights are applicable to everyone's story, not just her own, and can extend real comfort to every reader. Questions for personal reflection or group discussion help both those who are losing a loved one and those who are facing death. Baudouin’s story reveals God is the only source for a spirit's true healing.

Baudouin digs into the sensitive areas people are often hesitant to talk about:
  • What to do and say when someone has received bad news
  • Inviting others into your journey and asking for help
  • Grieving as you go
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Facing life after loss

Q: Sometimes we don’t know what to do or say when a friend is diagnosed with cancer. We wonder if we should reach out or give him or her space. In your experience, what is the best approach?

I think it is best to reach out in some way, at least initially. In the book, I talk about my friend Gerry and finding out she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her husband told me about it, and I waited several days before reaching out to her. I was in shock and just sick about it, and I kept thinking I don’t know what to say to her. I was afraid I’d say something stupid so I procrastinated. However, one night I thought, I have to call her. If she doesn’t want to talk she won’t pick up. Well, she answered, and what I realized during our conversation is it was OK I didn’t have any words to make it better. It was OK I didn’t know what to say. She just needed to know I cared. She needed to know I was there and was going to walk this road with her.

Our fear of saying or doing the “wrong” thing shouldn’t keep us from reaching out because they are most likely in the same boat, scared and not sure of what to do or say. The important thing is to be there. To show up and let that person know you are in this with him or her, that you want to walk this journey together, and offer support any way you can. We also need to keep in mind some people are very private, and they may not invite us into their journey the way we would like. It can be painful and feel like they are pushing us away. It’s important to listen to their wishes as well and to be sensitive to where they are at.

Q: Many people say God will never give us more than we can bear, yet you’ll never find that stated in the Bible. What did you learn about facing circumstances you never thought you would be able to bear and the power of bearing one another’s burdens?

Yes, that is a quote is used often, and many people think it is in the Bible. However, it’s not. The idea God burdens the strong with more difficult, weightier problems is just not true. What we do see over and over in Scripture is God equipping people who feel inadequate. Moses, Esther, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Paul (with his thorn in the flesh) . . . even Jesus, the night before He was crucified, was overcome with sorrow to the point of death. Jesus asked his disciples to stay and pray with him. He prayed, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me.” Jesus felt our human weakness in those moments. We see in each of these stories how God gave everyone what they needed in the moments when they felt weak. Rather than being strong enough to carry their burdens, they learned to depend on God. They drew their strength from Him. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, and we find strength when we come to Him in our moment of need. He also strengthens us through one another as we come alongside each other and help carry one another’s burdens.

Q: What does it mean to grieve as you go?

Most of our losses are not singular, meaning one loss in one moment in time. There are layers and levels to our losses. Grieving as you go means as you experience each layer of loss, you grieve. For an aging parent, it may mean giving up certain freedoms and becoming more dependent. If a loved one has a progressive illness, we may feel we are losing pieces of him or her at a time. In these situations, we grieve each layer, each stage of loss. Then after a loved one dies, whether suddenly or after an illness, we will experience more layers of loss in the weeks, months and even years that follow. Holidays and milestones, moments when we wish our loved one could be there — we grieve those losses as they happen. We acknowledge our sadness. We grieve what we’ve lost and what we missed out on and never got to have. We grieve what now can never be.

Q: As Christians, we should be secure in what will happen to us after we die, but we still experience fear in relationship to death. What is it we are afraid of?

I think we are afraid of the unknown. We believe in the promise of heaven, but even with all we think we know about it, we don’t have proof of it or know what it will be like once we get there or about our transition from this life to the next. In 1 Corinthians we read that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him.

We can only think about Heaven with our human minds, with our human limitations, and from our human experience. It truly is by faith we believe it.

We also don’t want to leave our loved ones. Most of us want more time, and we don’t want to miss out on seeing our kids or grandkids grow up. We want to enjoy life and aren’t ready for our journeys on earth to be over. We don’t want to suffer; we don’t want to see our loved ones suffer. We may also still have some doubts about our faith. Most of us do. I think it is understandable, even as Christians, we still have fears around death. We are human.

Q: On the topic of fear, what were your biggest fears as a child, and how were you forced to face those fears, even into adulthood?

As a child I was afraid my parents would get divorced. It was always a big fear of mine. I lived with this sense our family was on the verge of falling apart.

I also feared I would never outgrow my stuttering problem. I had a ton of anxiety related to this, and school was extremely difficult for me because of it. (Interesting fact: When I was in high school, my speech therapist had me create a list — sort of an “anti-bucket” list — of all the things that were difficult for me to do, such as ordering in a restaurant and answering the phone. She had me include things I could never see myself doing, such as speaking in front of a group. Doing a radio interview was on that list as the scariest thing I could think of.)  

Because my mom smoked cigarettes, another pervasive fear I had growing up was my mom would get lung cancer and die.

My parents got divorced when I was in college, and my stuttering continued well into my mid-20s. Then, just when I thought the risk for lung cancer was behind her because she had finally quit smoking, Mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she died. I had carried these fears with me for many years, and what I found was even when I had to face them — when they became realities in my life — God was with me. He helped and gave me what I needed in the midst of these dark times in my life. He became my true refuge and my ever-present help in times of trouble.

Q: The holidays will be coming up soon. What words of encouragement would you like to offer those who are facing their first Thanksgiving and Christmas without their loved one?

Expect the holidays to be hard and for feelings of sadness and loss to be magnified. Also expect God to comfort and help you through these difficult seasons. It’s important to think about things ahead of time and come up with a plan. It can be tempting just to play it by ear, but with the holidays being such a busy, stressful season with lots of social events and scheduled family gatherings, we really need to be intentional about what we would like these days to look like. Some questions to consider are:
  • What traditions do we want to hold on to, and which ones are too painful this year? Do we want to try something new, such as traveling to a new location or going out for dinner or a movie?
  • Do I need to be with people, or do I need to spend time alone? Usually it is a combination of both, but it’s very important to consider.
  • In terms of the “have-to’s” (decorating, shopping, baking, sending out Christmas cards, parties, etc.), what is most important for me to do, and what can I let go of? Maybe you don’t send out cards or decorate to the extent you normally would. Maybe you cater the dinner and shop online.

Talk to your loved ones about these things, and be honest about how you are feeling. Then try to come up with a plan that will allow everyone space and time to be together and to grieve. Lean into the true meaning of the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we still have much to be thankful for. Spend some time focusing on those things. At Christmas, embrace the hope of Christ’s birth, allowing Emmanuel — God with us — to bring you comfort.




Monday, November 13, 2017

World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common


If we reacted to our common culture with not just biblical facts, but also grace and compassion, what would our world be like? Marvin Olasky explores the answer to this question and more in his new book, World View. While regular readers of World Magazine may remember some of the columns contained in World View, never before has a collection of Marvin’s work over the last 25 years been curated like this. These 60 columns cover a wide variety of issues that remain relevant today, ranging from political issues such as immigration and welfare to social issues including homosexuality and racism. Marvin also touches on everyday conversations such as movie reviews, career paths and the impact of Millennials. While reading his commentary, readers will learn a new way to consider and respond to any situation in a way that lives out all biblical virtues, including mercy and grace as well as truth.

{MORE ABOUT WORLD VIEW}


World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life (New Growth Press, November 2017)
How could our world be different if Christians were recognized for not only speaking the truth, but also demonstrating mercy?
What would our lives be like if we reacted to our common culture with not just biblical facts, but also grace and compassion?
For more than 25 years, Marvin Olasky has offered this kind of viewpoint in his columns as the Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, the leading news magazine written with a Christian perspective. In this collection of far-ranging columns, Olasky’s commentary on world events and affairs, as well as his own personal interactions, encourages readers to respond with both grace and truth in every encounter.
A leading voice for standing for biblical truth in the public square, Olasky also believes Christians should incorporate the biblical virtues of humility, kindness, and mercy in all of life. His call for biblical values to include both truth and mercy makes his voice stand out in a world that often falsely divides those goals and settles for a poor imitation of the robust Christianity described in Scripture. These short and punchy columns offer readers a new way to consider challenges in today’s world and shows them how to respond to any encounter biblically, but not hysterically, providing a wake-up call for the complacent, while also calming the frantic.
Marvin Olasky

{MORE ABOUT MARVIN OLASKY}


Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of  World News Group, a distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College, and the author of more than twenty books, including Compassionate Conservatism and The Tragedy of American Compassion. He and his wife, Susan, have four sons and five grandchildren.
Find out more about Marvin at http://stores.newgrowthpress.com.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Want to Be Like Daniel


I Want to be Like Daniel,
I Want to be Like Ruth

(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…

(Girls) For Ruth was so, so, sweet and kind
(Boys) And Daniel was a mighty man
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel.

(Girls) I want to be like Ruth.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Travel don'ts

Here are a few tips of what not to do while traveling, from personal experience on my latest business trip to Nashville.

Don't twist and sprain your ankle 36 hours before you are set to fly out on a business trip. This is especially true if you are traveling alone and aren't getting dropped off at the curb.

Don't get caught behind a wreck on your way to the airport and sit on the highway for 45 minutes in one place.

Don't arrive at the airport only 30 minutes before you are set to take off (see above). Thankfully my suitcase with the big late tag on it did arrive on time. However, by the time I got to the gate, they were in the process of giving away my ticket. I arrived just in time for that not to happen.

Don't freak out when they pull your laptop out on the security line (see above.) Ain't nobody got time for that. For some reason, this was the day they decided to test my computer for explosives, and when I didn't see it with the rest of my stuff when it came out of the detectors, and I stepped out of the x-ray scanner, I thought I was going to lose it.

Don't reserve your rental car through Hotels.com and their services. The rental car company will not be able to find your reservation.

Don't drive unfamiliar highways in a rental car that's low to the ground with grooves and potholes during a thunderstorm at night. It will only add to your anxiety condition.

Don't stay in a hotel without an ice machine. This means you will have to go to the closest Walgreens to buy a bag of ice and plastic bags to ice your ankle (see above).

Don't expect to get your real work done while you are gone. It just won't happen, and you'll wheel your laptop bag around for no reason other than propping up your bad leg(s) (see above).

Don't catch the first flight back home because getting up at 5 AM to avoid travel headaches such as the one above is really early even though you do get home early.

Don't try to roll two suitcases onto escalators when you are worried about twisting your already injured ankle. You will have to beg strangers at the top of the escalator to push your suitcase onto the escalator because you can't get your act together.

Don't take your credit card out of the reader when you pay for parking like you would at any other pay station. It won't read it and you have to call for help like an idiot.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Catherine Marshall’s ‘Christy’ Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Facebook Live Party


Some stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall's beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her—and her one-room school—as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!

 

TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who've been impacted by Christy and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!


{MORE ABOUT CHRISTY}


50th Anniversary Edition - Evergreen Farm, October 2017
New edition of Catherine Marshall’s inspirational classic!
The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.
But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.
Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?
Catherine Marshall

{MORE ABOUT CATHERINE MARSHALL}


Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.
Find out more about Catherine at http://gileadpublishing.com/christy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pass it On


Create a legacy of wisdom and faith to share it with your children and grandchildren with Champ Thornton’s Pass It On, a Proverbs journal for the next generation. There are many different kinds of legacies we can leave, but sharing yourself and your faith with the next generation will always stand the test of time. Through showing himself and his wisdom in the book of Proverbs, God has also left his legacy with us and relies on us to share it with our children and grandchildren. But before we can share that wisdom, first we must grow in our own understanding and knowledge and record, reflect, and consider what we have learned. Pass It On is an innovative resource to strengthen families and help them grow in their love for God and each other.

{MORE ABOUT PASS IT ON: A PROVERBS JOURNAL FOR THE NEXT GENERATION}


(New Growth Press, October 2017)
Let Scripture reform the next generation.
There are many different kinds of legacies we can leave, but sharing yourself and your faith with the next generation will always stand the test of time. Through showing himself and his wisdom in the book of Proverbs, God has also left his legacy with us and relies on us to share it with our children and grandchildren. But before we can share that wisdom, first we must grow in our own understanding and knowledge and record, reflect, and consider what we have learned.
Pass it On provides readers with an opportunity to create a legacy of wisdom and faith and to share it with their children and grandchildren. As readers are guided through the book of Proverbs, they are asked to create their own personalized, wisdom journal with the aim of giving it to someone they love. Through careful study, answering questions, writing out prayers, and sharing personal stories, readers can create a lasting keepsake for themselves and for their families and friends.
Created by Champ Thornton, best-selling author of The Radical Book for KidsPass It On is an innovative resource to strengthen families and help them grow in their love for God and each other. This is a perfect gift for an older and wiser friend or relative, so they can share themselves and what they have learned about God with the next generation.
The fresh and careful translation provided comes from Dr. Bruce Waltke, who, now in his eighties, has devoted his life to a humble and Christ-focused study of God s Word, and especially the book of Proverbs. His two-volume work on Proverbs is considered by many as the premier commentary in the English language. As you study the translation of individual chapters, add your own comments in the margins. And feel free to circle, underline, and connect key words or phrases as you see them in the chapter for the day.
Champ Thornton

{MORE ABOUT CHAMP THORNTON}


Champ Thornton, MDiv, is associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Delaware. He has pastored in South Carolina and served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, OH. He is also the author of Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next GenerationThe Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith, God’s Love: A Bible Storybook, and Bible curriculum for early and upper elementary-aged children. Champ and his wife, Robben, have been married since 1996 and have three children.
Find out more about Champ at http://www.champthornton.com.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Gift from Shelley Shepherd Gray

The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County . . . until gunshots remind them that someone wants them gone in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Gift. Neil Vance thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna Schwartz’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.
Enter to win a copy of The Gift. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced November 22nd on the Litfuse blog!

{MORE ABOUT THE GIFT}


The Gift: The Amish of Hart County (Avon Inspire, November 2017)
A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series
The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.
Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.
Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.
Shelley Shepard Gray

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}


Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Have you started watching Hallmark Channel Christmas movies yet?

Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. Christmas comes at the same time every year, but society, the world, retailers, someone, some people, whoever, start the holiday hoopla earlier and earlier.

Yes, this coming from the person who was actually looking for Hobby Lobby to put out Christmas decorations in June. I still stand by the fact I have to do that in order to have Christmas product ready for when fall craft shows start. Yes, I start selling Christmas decorations at the the first craft show after school starts. It's expected there, and I'm still saying it's different for me. I'm not ready to celebrate it yet. For example, my own Christmas tree will not go up (if I put it up) until around Thanksgiving. (I say if because I get in a funk every year putting it up, but I'm sure it will go up. That's another post for another day.) It's just something I make. I may sing Christmas songs as I write lyrics on items, but I'm kind of de-synthesized to it if that makes sense.

I know a family that gets out all of their Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, just like Walmart. Well, Walmart started before then, but they finish up around that time. 

Another sign of the holiday season is when the Hallmark Channel starts their daily Christmas movies with Countdown to Christmas. Yes, that has started as well! The female friends on my Facebook feed are giddy over it. Absolutely giddy. 

I'll make a confession... I turned to the Hallmark Channel yesterday as I propped my ankle up with ice bags on each side as I collapsed onto the couch. 

Let me share a sneak peek with you about the premiere of one of this year's new movies with you. It's one of TWENTY-ONE new holiday features premiering on the network this season. There is plenty of sweet, family friendly goodness to go around. It’s called Enchanted Christmas*. Here’s the description of the movie:

Young widow, Laura Trudeau (played by Alexa PenaVega) was a remarkable dancer. Now working as a project manager in LA, she is tasked to renovate a rundown hotel lodge, in her hometown of Rosemont, Utah and have it ready by Christmas eve. She is stunned to run into her former love and dance partner Ricardo Archuleta, (Carlos PenaVega) who she discovers is in rehearsals for The Christmas Eve shows grand finale, with his new dance partner Taylor (Chelsie Hightower, “Dancing with the Stars”).  When Taylor has an audition abroad, Laura once again finds herself back in Ricardo’s arms. Feelings are rekindled, and with both the hotel opening and the show in jeopardy, Laura has to make some difficult decisions, both personally and professionally.


If you thought you recognized the main character, Laura, you probably did. Alexa PenaVega skyrocketed to fame in the Spy Kids series of movies. Now she’s all grown up and co-starring with her husband, Carlos PenaVega. They even contributed their musical talents by recording one of the songs for the movie. Is there anything they can’t do?

Enchanted Christmas airs on November 12th on Hallmark Channel at 8 PM EST/7 PM CST. Don’t miss it!

*Enchanted Christmas is a Mission Pictures International and Gabriel Productions, LLC production. Cindy Bond and Gene Davis serve as Executive producers. James Wilberger and Jarrod Phillips are producers. Terry Cunningham directed from a script by Rick Garman and Catherine Y. Friday.  #HallmarkChannel #EnchantedChristmas #CountdowntoChristmas #Missionpicturesintl


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sing and Be Happy

I feel the need to apologize that you hear so much of me. Sometimes it takes a little more help than others.