Thursday, March 31, 2016

My week in My Big Fat Greek Wedding Memes

As you read right here on my blog last week, I did go to to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Though I was disappointed in some ways, I am not going in that direction today. I'm trying something different because one quote in particular from both the original and the sequel sums up my week.

This may be my best blog post ever. I will tell about my week thus far in memes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Monday was actually a good day as far as Mondays are concerned. 


Part of that was because a lot of people were evidently out of the office for a long Easter weekend (we took Friday). However, on Tuesday I knew that I had to get to work on a big proposal and that was going to be occupying my time. The day didn't start as well. My email started to explode with questions I needed to answer.


(That meme is not actually true, but I wanted to work it in. Besides Voula didn't really mean it.)

Then our publicity assistant who is my absolute right hand called me to say...


Ok, so she didn't really say that. I shouldn't say that about her either because in reality I'd be all like...


She did say that she was offered an opportunity that was wonderful for her and that though the choice was really difficult she had to take it.

Then, I really did say...


That right there is really all this blog would take, but who wants to end there?

That just means that it's time to accept and resumes.


What I have found out is:


And by Greeks, I mean "book publicists."

As you read through resumes, you realize


while others


Then sometimes, 


but not in a good way. Because sometimes you have actually heard from this person before.

I was sort of interested in what one said until I realized...


like a job history (or lack thereof).

We are a team of all women, but along comes a guy on Facebook asking questions about what working in PR is like.


But within the batch of submissions, there are a few possibilities that you begin to think you could actually say,


In between all of this, I'm still trying to work on a proposal that impresses.


I am not sure that gif is entirely appropriate for the situation, but it's the only way I can work it in.

There is one thing I know for sure. Within 48 hours (which corresponded to this morning) my stomach and head both hurt something fierce.


Even with my stomach in knots...


I decided I need to get out of the house and take a break, so I asked my friend Angie if she could go out for lunch today. Other than church last night, I had not been out of the house since Sunday night when I got home for church.


No, I'm not Greek Orthodox, but this is a loose telling of my week.

We don't have a Greek place in town, so we had to settle for Mexican. Angie asked for double rice, no beans, and the kitchen did both of our plates with double rice. 


Beans... lamb... Ok, I'm sorry, I know I'm losing it now.

One thing I have learned through all this week and am keeping in mind as I search out my new assistant...


Or nuts... we all may be nuts.





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Saturate the World


What if every Christian believed they’ve been called to full-time ministry?

Authors ask believers to move beyond Sunday morning Christianity to true missional living

For far too many Christians, the idea of being part of a church simply means attending a Sunday morning service, maybe a small group or a sprinkling of special events each year. Is that what God had in mind for his bride, the Church, when he sent his son to save her? Pastors and church planters Jeff Vanderstelt, and co-author, Ben Connelly, invite readers to experience something deeper in their new book, Saturate Field Guide: Principles & Practices for Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life (Saturate/February 15, 2016).

Inspired by Habakkuk 2:14, which reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” Vanderstelt and Connelly wrote the Saturate Field Guide to show believers how the gospel permeates every aspect of their life. This begins with understanding ministry isn’t just what pastors do on Sundays and discipleship is much more than a class or program. Instead, both are a 24/7 call to live in absolute submission to the Lord, joining with others on God’s mission, where each person sees himself or herself as a servant missionary sent to make disciples.

“This is not just about being a part of a Bible study,” Vanderstelt explains. “It’s about engaging in everyday life with a group of believers, who together, are committed to bringing the experience of Jesus’ rule and reign into a dark world and proclaim the gospel.” Both authors encourage readers of Saturate Field Guide to imagine their cities, neigh­borhoods, schools and workplaces proclaiming the glory of Jesus through words and gracious deeds so that every man, woman, and child has a daily encounter with Jesus.


Saturate Field Guide is designed to help readers of all levels of spiritual maturity maintain their eternal perspective and bridge the gap between what they know about God and his mission for them and the mundane realities of everyday life. With an eye toward keeping the gospel at the center of every interaction, the guide is an incredibly practical and engaging manual. Each chapter builds on the next, asking readers to align their heart with the will of God, examine their core beliefs and then launch into a mission where they can put their knowledge into hands-on practice. The 8-week guide offers questions, prayers and exercises designed to create disciples of Jesus Christ who, in turn, make other disciples.

The book, while inspired by Vanderstelt’s 2015 release, Saturate, (Crossway) is a stand-alone resource, intended to be used by both groups and individuals. “No aspect of Christianity is designed to be an individualistic pursuit,” Connelly adds. “The best way to pursue sanctification and discipleship is lock-arms with others, working toward the same things and supporting each other along the way.”


Vanderstelt and Connelly hope Saturate Field Guide affirms the truth that when God’s people commit together to sow gospel seeds in the everyday rhythms of life, the ripple effect will move through their own lives out toward the whole earth, saturating it with the good news of Jesus.

Learn more about more about Saturate at book.wearesaturate.com or on Facebook (SaturateTheWorld) or Twitter (@SaturateWorld).


About the authors

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of the Soma Family of Churches and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington. He also travels around the U.S. and the world equipping the church in the gospel and missional living. Vanderstelt is the author of Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life.

He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb and Maggie.

Keep up with Jeff Vanderstelt online at www.jeffvanderstelt.com, on Facebook (SaturateTheWorld), or Twitter (@SaturateWorld).


Ben Connelly started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts 29 network and Soma Family of Churches. He is also the co-author of A Field Guide for Everyday Mission (Moody Publishers). With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary, Connelly taught public speaking at TCU for six years. He now leads church planting for the Soma Family in North America, writes for various publications, trains folks across the country and blogs in spurts.

Connelly, his wife Jess and their kiddos Charlotte, Maggie and Travis live in Fort Worth, TX.

Keep up with Ben Connelly on his blog benconnelly.net or on Twitter (@connellyben).


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Playing the Part by Jen Turano - Book giveaway!

A fan’s interest takes a threatening turn, causing actress Lucetta Plum to take refuge at the mysterious Bram Haverstein’s estate. Don’t miss the hilarity, hijinks, and danger that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into in Jen Turano’s Playing the PartWhile Lucetta has no interest in her friend’s matchmaking machinations, she can’t ignore the strange things going on in Bram’s house and the secrets he hides. Can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?
Enter to win a copy of Playing the Part—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced April 7 on the Litfuse blog!
Click here to enter.

{MORE ABOUT PLAYING THE PART}


(Bethany House, March 2016)
Can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?
Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson’s estate to hide out.
Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.
Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can’t ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it’ll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.
Jen Turano

{MORE ABOUT JEN TURANO}


Jen Turano, author of the Ladies of Distinction series and the A Class of Their Own series, is a graduate of the University of Akron. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
Find out more about Jen at http://jenturano.com.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Finding God in the Ruins by Matt Bays

Even in the midst of pain, it is possible to overcome the temptation to abandon your faith and discover the God who can heal and redeem. Author Matt Bays tells his unforgettable stories of loss and healing in Finding God in the Ruins. The book will usher you into a life where gratitude overpowers anger, hope overcomes despair, and hunger for God replaces indifference to God. With a fresh and original writing style, Bays demonstrates that true redemption is far more powerful than the temporary fixes of sanitized Christianity.

{MORE ABOUT FINDING GOD IN THE RUINS}

(David C. Cook, March 2016)
If God is love, why do we hurt so much?
When the reality of your pain doesn’t line up with what you’ve been taught in church, then what? While many abandon their faith or embrace hopelessness, it is possible to discover the God who heals your heart in the midst of the pain.
Matt Bays has been where you are. His unforgettable stories of loss and healing will usher you into a life where gratitude overpowers anger, hope overcomes despair, and hunger for God replaces indifference to God. With a fresh and original writing style, Bays demonstrates that true redemption is far more powerful than the temporary fixes of sanitized Christianity.
Matt Bays

{MORE ABOUT MATT BAYS}


Matt Bays is a writer, speaker, and musician with a passion to call people out of their hiding places. In ministry for twenty years, he and his wife, Heather, live in Indianapolis with their fun-loving and insightful teenage daughters.
Find out more about Matt at http://mattbayswriter.com.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bind Us Together


Bind Us Together

By Bob Gillman
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

Bind us together Lord;
Bind us together with cords
That cannot be broken.
Bind us together Lord;
Bind us together Lord;
Bind us together with love.

There is only one God.
There is only one King.
There is only one body;
That is why we can sing.

(repeat first part) 



Saturday, March 26, 2016

The wind is not my friend



Today was another windy day for The Crafty Dad and Daughter, this time in Cedar Hill.

Last week, we came home with items to fix that fell after being blown over by the wind. Today the wind wasn't as bad throughout the day, but the damage was worse. Our big back display fell after I took about half of the items off and beat up the ones that remained. We're going to have to fix way more merchandise than we sold.

I think we're going to have to go back to all inside events. The weather isn't kind to us, and the sun, wind, and rain just mess everything up. Not to mention the fact that the last two weekends have not drawn crowds. I did better the past month on Facebook and Instagram.

Ok. Rant over. At least we got to eat at Babe's afterwards, got some really good deals at Bath & Body Works, a new coloring book at Hobby Lobby and got to use a gift card at Starbucks on the way home!

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Not-as-good-as-the-first-one Wedding

What movies can you quote multiple chunks from on demand because you have watched them so many times?

My list...
  • Steel Magnolias
  • Ocean's 11
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (and for the life of me, I have no clue why I get sucked into it every time)
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
I rarely go to the movies. Rarely. Strangely enough, I've been twice this week. Very rare. Tonight I went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 because I have been giddy about seeing it ever since I heard there was going to be a sequel.

Here's a fact for you, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of three or four movies I ever saw twice in the theater. (The others were Titanic, Four Christmases {huge mistake}, and I think I may have seen The Blindside though I cannot remember for sure.)

Back when MBFGW came out, it was during a period of time where I went to the movies an average of every week with friends who were movie fanatics. I almost went broke during that time in my life. It was so funny we wanted to take more friends the second time.




If you haven't watched the first one, you may not get half of the jokes in the second one. Honestly, parts of it really depend on the audience not just watching it when it came out 14 years ago, but to have watched it and watched it as many times as I have. 

As the first line of both movies go, "You're starting to look old," I'm not sure if they did everyone's make-up to make sure it looked like they had aged 18+ years (the elapsed time between the two movies), or if everyone just aged. Whatever the case, poor Joey Fatone, or as the joke went on Dancing with the Stars, Fat One, looked really old. I just looked up on IMDB, and had to verify on Wikipedia, and Joey is two months younger than I am. It begs the question, "how old am I starting to look?"

Don't get me wrong. It was funny. I enjoyed it. You just can't beat the original.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nourish Your Family's Spiritual Health this Easter

Spring-into-Faith-&-Fun

If your family is like most, breakfast is rushed to get everyone out the door. Lunch is spent at school or work. So where does that leave dinner? Nourish your family's spiritual health as you eat supper together. Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club want to give you a free resource to help you begin your new dinner tradition of making the most of your family mealtime, beginning this Easter season. Simply head to this page and fill out the form to receive a free sample of Whit's End Mealtime Devotions.

90-Devotions-for-Kids-Quote-4 

Want new resources to continue to build your family's faith, even after Easter is over? Consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Honest, critical conversations about homosexuality

Part 1 of an interview with Tom Gilson,
Author of Critical Conversations:
A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing
Homosexuality with Teens

Parents of teens today may have a tougher job in front of them than parents of any other generation in recent history. While immorality has always existed in the world, the Western world has never seen such a time of moral confusion, especially regarding sexuality, gender and the definition of marriage. To help parents cut through the lies and political correctness and find a way to impart truth to their teens, Tom Gilson has written Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel/February 27, 2016).

This is one of the most complex issues Christians face today, and it’s rife with landmines. In Critical Conversations, Gilson describes the efforts by some to paint Christian beliefs as hateful, making many believers hesitant to speak truth for fear of being seen as homophobic.

Q: You describe the content of your new book, Critical Conversations, as the “perfect storm” of awkward parent-child topics. What elements combine for making discussions on homosexuality so difficult?

This topic opens up the threefold potential of intergenerational conflict, young people’s sometimes-accurate belief that their parents are out of touch and, of course, the awkward topic of sex. Conflict in particular can arise because young people are frequently far more accepting of homosexuality and gay marriage than people in their parents’ generation.

Q: Parents sometimes avoid addressing tough subjects such as homosexuality and gay marriage with their kids. Given how difficult it is to talk about, why would a parent even want to have these “critical conversations”?

Parents sometimes avoid the subject because it’s as awkward as it could be, and it’s a contentious issue, often with one generation pitted against another. Parents fear it will start out bad and get worse. Above all they’re not sure they have what it takes to explain why they believe what they believe.

There’s an awful lot at stake. Teens are typically suspicious of the way Christians treat LGBT people, and they see themselves as morally advanced on this topic, compared to their parents’ generation. Tragically, for many this separates them from their own church, from their parents and most significantly from belief in Christ himself. However, with proper equipping, these critical conversations can draw teens back into closer relationship with their parents and give them new confidence to stay connected with Christ and Christianity.

Q: How can a tough topic like this one actually help build parents’ relationships with teens?

Teens appreciate being taken seriously. If parents will talk with them respectfully about this topic, they’ll know they’re being treated seriously. If there are hard questions parents can’t answer, that’s actually OK — as long as the parents stay in the process and seek to uncover the right answer alongside the teen.

This depends, however, on parents being at least moderately well-informed. It’s no help at all (and it’s not respectful to teens) for parents to launch into a discussion in total ignorance! (Teens can tell.)

Of course, it also depends on the parents maintaining the proper position as parents. Teens still need someone at home to act as their authority person. Their need for that changes a lot as teens grow up, but it usually doesn’t go away until after the teen years. But a person who’s in authority should know what he or she is talking about — especially on crucial issues like this one.

Putting all that together, parents who are well-equipped on this topic are in a good position to act as real parents while showing genuine relational respect to their teen. That’s a great way to build relationships with teens.

Q: In what ways is parenting teens different today than 20 or 30 years ago? How did our culture decline so far, so fast?

There’s always been immorality, but never before such moral confusion. We’ve lost touch with the moral reality that sexual relationships are for a married man and woman, and that this is for our good. Right is now considered wrong, and wrong right.

In some ways the decline has been slower than it might seem, though. Same-sex marriage arose quickly in our culture, yes, but it came as a direct consequence of a long-term decline in heterosexual morality, by which sex — and even marriage — became practiced strictly for the pleasure and happiness of the couple. It was just a short slide from there to accepting gay and lesbian sex and marriage.

Q: What advice do you have for handling this topic in a way that’s age-appropriate for teenagers?

There’s no need to talk about the sexual mechanics. Most teens know everything they need to know about that already.  What teens usually need instead is to be assured that Christianity is still true and still good in spite of the anti-Christian challenges put forth against them on the Internet, in music, on film and TV and even in the classroom. They need to know how to live as faithful Christians and being authentic friends with those who disagree with them, while keeping proper moral boundaries in place.

In short, they need to know what’s true with respect to this issue; they need to know why it’s true, and they need to know why it’s good that it’s true, and how to live in light of that truth.

Guidance of this sort can be immensely helpful to pre-teens, too, except they may not be ready for detailed explanations. My best advice in that case is to invite questions — lots of questions — and when an answer seems to be going past the pre-teen’s comprehension point, invite another question.

Q: Some parents may even struggle with understanding certain issues themselves. How does Critical Conversations help prepare parents for these difficult conversations?

First, this book explains the biblical and common-experience reasons for keeping sexual relationships within the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. Through this, parents will know how to answer with more than just, “The Bible says so.” They’ll know how to explain the Bible’s teachings in a way that shows the Bible’s teaching is both true and good.

Second, there is an introductory chapter that briefly describes the social history of homosexual activism. It’s the kind of background knowledge that helps parents be confident they know what’s going on in this issue.

Q: How is the design of Critical Conversations different than other parenting books?

The book is written in three parts:
  • Understanding the issues (reasons for biblical morality and a brief social history of gay activism).
  • Navigating the rocky relationships: how parents can help teens live in the real relationships they’ll find themselves in.
  • Practical help in handling the challenges.

This third part is where the book is really unique. It lists more than two dozen anti-Christian challenges and explains briefly where these challenges go wrong. But that’s not all. If it were, it would be just another piece of information for parents to absorb. Instead with each one of these challenges I include “Conversation Coaching,” advice for parents on specifically what they can say to their teens to help them deal with the challenge. It’s extremely parent-friendly and practical in that sense.

Q: To get a better understanding of the third section of the book, could you share a few examples of conversations that are included?

I give advice for parents on how to coach their teens when they’re faced with challenges such as:
  • “You’re homophobic.”
  • “If you disagree with homosexuality, you’re a hater.”
  • “You’re against marriage equality.”
  • “You’re on the wrong side of history.”
  • “The Bible doesn’t even mention gay marriage.”


Learn more about more about Critical Conversations and Tom Gilson at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Because the marriage matters even more than the wedding

Part 2 of an interview with Rob Green,
Author of Tying the Knot: 
A Premarital Guide to a Strong & Lasting Marriage
  
Every engaged couple hopes to build a lasting and satisfying marriage, but it doesn’t happen automatically. In his interactive premarital study, Tying the Knot, author and counselor Rob Green explores how key issues such as conflict, communication, finances and intimacy are successfully navigated in a Christ-centered marriage. Green seeks to help a new generation of newlyweds build their marriage on the lasting foundation of God’s grace.

Q: Many brides and grooms spend more time planning their wedding day than planning for their marriage. What marriage plans should an engaged couple make before their big day?

In many ways, that is what this whole book is about. I tell couples as sweetly as I can I care a little bit about the three hours surrounding their ceremony and reception, but I care a lot about the 50+ years they will have after those three hours. I understand there are many tasks involved in preparing for the wedding day (not to mention the financial commitments), but when the party is over, two people must learn to love and live with one another.

Time spent together on improving their personal relationship with Christ will pay huge dividends after the wedding and help them love one another.

Please don’t hear me say I don’t care about the “big day.” It is a big day, and I want them to enjoy every minute of it. I just want them to spend as much time thinking about their walk with Jesus as they do which invitations to choose, which dress to buy, and what type of food will be served at the reception.

Q: In your counseling experience, what is the number-one issue that trips up young couples? How do you address it in Tying the Knot?

I have had the privilege to teach an adult Bible fellowship class of young couples (married for five years or fewer) for 10 years and have seen all sorts of challenges. Some struggle with sexual things, whether it be intimacy with one another or with issues such as pornography. I have seen some struggle with problem-solving while others have struggled financially. While there is not one single issue that occurs more than others, the root of those issues is that one or both do not live for Christ as they should. When that happens, they become very susceptible to all sorts of issues. That is why throughout the book, in relationship to all topics, I write about putting Jesus at the center.

Q: Why do you write so candidly about intimacy? That is a subject most people do not like to discuss.

I used to be the same way. I was afraid to speak about intimacy. However, I have found a large number of couples struggle with intimacy during their honeymoon. Despite our society worshipping at the altar of sex, not everyone has bought into that thinking. So for one person, or maybe both, there is a little fear about how the sex part of their relationship will go. It is important for them to understand sex is not about performance but about relationship. Why did God say all sex was wrong outside of marriage if it were not first a relationship issue? If sex was exclusively for pleasure, then God could have opened the floodgates on sex.

This is a very simple and yet profound point in Scripture. Sex is wonderful in the right context. Couples will be on a journey together. It might be that the couple will never look better than on their honeymoon, but it will not be the time for their best sex. That comes as the relationship develops and matures.

Q: What was the biggest lesson you and your wife learned during the early years of your relationship?

As with any couple, in our early years of marriage we experienced some unexpected things no one could have prepared us for. These were things we simply had to live through. What helped us was remembering our lives were first dedicated to God. Stephanie could not be my hero and nor could I be hers. God designed us to be husband and wife, not each other’s saviors. Stephanie could never be all I needed nor could I be all she needed. Instead, we both understood what we needed is what the Lord provided. As long as I thought that way, I could freely give, love and serve.

In some moments, I did not believe Jesus was all I needed, so I demanded love and service from her. When that happened, it would result in conflict. The more we saw Christ at the center of our life, the less we relied on our spouse to be our savior, and the more we were able to love, give and serve each other.

Q: A lot of young people are cynical about marriage. What would you say to convince them it is still one of God’s greatest institutions?

Some young people are cynical about a lot of things, not just marriage. I believe cynicism, in part, is driven by the lack of great role models. Who wants a marriage if your parents had a lousy one or you were carted back and forth trying to figure out how to make dad happy at his house and mom happy at hers? The media is full of stories featuring marriages coming to an end.

My response is first, “I get it. I completely understand why you would not want marriage.” But I also believe there are two more important mitigating factors.

First, we cannot “do what we do” simply by watching others. The Word of God provides the standard. The more focus on Scripture, the more we will be convinced marriage is an institution designed by God to bring him glory and to give us blessing.

Second, just because you have seen some bad examples does not mean they are the only examples. There are people around us who are enjoying marital bliss. The news and tabloids do not talk about them, but they are there. They are trophies of God’s grace. They have learned to love Jesus first and thus are fully prepared to love their spouse.

Q: How is your chapter on finances different than the classic financial counsel?

I am interested in couples pleasing God with their money, not just working out a system where income is more than expenses. Some of the classic rules like “do not spend more than 28% of your income on housing” are not important to me because they are not based in Scripture. The Bible addresses issues of the heart.

It also is concerning to me that some couples have accumulated a lot of debt, which can be crippling. While the decisions that put them into debt may have been made before I speak with the couple, we can at least begin to discuss a strategy to get out of debt.

Q: Why do some couples struggle with problem-solving?

There is a natural tendency in all our hearts to want to blame others for conflict. We believe conflict would never have happened if “the other person had not done _________.” This kind of thinking never leads to problem-solving; it just creates more problems. Jesus taught we have to consider our own part (Matthew 7:3) before we think about the part others might play.

Some couples ignore conflict because they are in love! While there is something healthy about that, there is also something very dangerous. It is healthy because we do not have to make a big deal about every little detail. At the same time, it is dangerous because we do not want to develop the habit of ignoring problems. So helping couples learn to solve problems really helps them avoid bitterness.

Q: You cover eight key topics, including love, conflict, expectations, communication, finances and intimacy in Tying the Knot, but if you had to give just one piece of advice to engaged couples, what would it be?

I had the privilege of doing a Ph.D. in New Testament under a man named Dr. Rod Decker. He was a true scholar and a very kind man. He wrote a paper about the time Jesus was questioned by the Sadducees regarding marriage. Their point was to prove that the belief in the resurrection was silly. They said a woman married a man who died. His brother fulfilled his obligation to marry this woman and he died. And so the story goes that the same woman married all 7 of the brothers before she died. They ask Jesus who will be her husband in the resurrection? Jesus said marriage is not part of resurrection life.

As I reflected on my mentor’s paper it dawned on me — marriage is for now. Marriage is a blessing God gave us to navigate through this sin-cursed world together. We may not know what is in store for our lives, but marriage is a part of God’s care. He gave us marriage to make the challenging life on earth better while we wait for the coming of Jesus where our concern will be more about him than it will be about us.

So what would I tell them is, “Enjoy every minute of your marriage. God gave it to you as a blessing for the here and now. Every minute you spend feuding is a minute of blessing you are missing.”

Learn more about Tying the Knot and Rob Green at www.newgrowthpress.com.




Monday, March 21, 2016

As much as I hate to admit it, my brother's idea worked

Sitting around at Christmas, my brother came up with the idea of painting syrup buckets used to feed cows as planters to sell in our booth. At the time, I thought, "yeah, you have no idea how little space we have. Plus, I don't have time to make anything else."

This past weekend was our first event since Christmas. The first thing to sell, before we even finished setting up our booth was two out of three of the buckets we had painted up.

I'm not admitting this though. Dad can tell him. ;)

While the strawberry bucket hasn't sold quite yet, I have an order to make one in the same colors accept with a watermelon on it.




Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up


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


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Out and about again

It was a very windy day for The Crafty Dad and Daughter at the Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration in Palestine today.

Very windy. We kept having to take things down tightening up our displays because it was so windy.

This was the first of several events we have lined up for the next couple of months. Keep checking the Facebook page for more details on where we will be.



Friday, March 18, 2016

And it Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye

How do you celebrate grace when your life turns out differently than the one you dreamed? Kara Tippetts shares how you can celebrate life in the midst of pain and suffering in the final book, And It Was Beautiful, she wrote before her death in March 2015. Her ideas for living are hard-won, wrestled with in the crucible of family, illness, and faith. And her constant reminder is that whether we are in the midst of dark days or mundane moments Jesus is always there, life is surprisingly beautiful, and God is forever good.

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(David C Cook, March 2016)
“I was here. I saw beauty. I embraced it.” —Kara Tippetts
How do you live out extravagant love in the everyday moments? How do you celebrate grace when your life turns out differently than the one you dreamed?
Kara Tippetts discovered how to find joy in the small moments of life. She learned how to hold tight to hope even while battling intense physical and emotional pain. And she lived out the truth that God can redeem any story.
In her final book, Kara offers gentle reflections on living and dying well. She invites us to cultivate soft hearts even when we face great disappointment. Her ideas for living are hard-won, wrestled with in the crucible of family, illness, and faith. And her constant reminder is that whether we are in the midst of dark days or mundane moments Jesus is always there, life is surprisingly beautiful, and God is forever good.
Kara Tippetts

{MORE ABOUT KARA TIPPETTS}


Kara Tippetts was the author of The Hardest Peace and the co-author of Just Show Up. She blogged faithfully at mundanefaithfulness.com. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, has been parenting their four children and leading the church the couple founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Find out more about Kara's life at http://mundanefaithfulness.com.