Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith

Part 1 of an interview with Champ Thornton,
Author of The Radical Book for Kids:
Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith


What images does the term “radical faith” conjure? The Latin origin of the word “radical” literally means “roots.” Today the word also means extreme or revolutionary — even excellent or cool. With The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith (New Growth Press), author Champ Thornton takes children deep into the ancient roots and origins of the Christian faith in both exciting and innovative ways.

Brilliantly illustrated and extremely kid-friendly, The Radical Book for Kids is an explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history and life, mixing practical and theological elements with fun activities such as a 3,000-year-old board game and a tutorial on how to make a (kid-safe) David-style slingshot. The hands-on approach will help kids grasp the Bible’s relevance for daily life and leave them with a curiosity driving them to learn more.


Q: Your new book is The Radical Book for Kids. What makes the book radical?

In this book, I introduce young readers to the stories of men and women who have lived out their faith in Jesus in radical ways. God sustained them to trust him despite great opposition and difficulty. The book also focuses on the radical roots of our faith. (The word “radical” comes from the Latin word “radix,” which literally means “roots.”) So in many ways it is a “root” book, leading young minds on a tour of the roots of their faith — a tour of the Bible, what it teaches, how to read it and why we should believe it and tell others about it. The Radical Book for Kids also includes radical fun with a 3,000-year-old game, a secret code, hands-on activities, fun facts and more. It’s radical strength, depth and fun.

Q: How did your children provide inspiration for writing this book?

My wife and I have three children, all currently under the age of twelve. So this age group is on my mind and in my heart regularly. I want them to grow up to know God, trust him, love him and serve him with all of their lives. This book is an attempt to point my kids and others toward that goal. In the background of this desire is that in 2003 I was diagnosed with a blood clot and a genetic blood disorder. When you’re 29 years old, you think you’re fairly invincible, but God brought into my life a daily reminder of my mortality. I’ve not had another scare like that since, but God has used this diagnosis to raise my awareness of the importance of passing along to the next generation the good news of Christ and the truths of His Word.

Q: The Radical Book for Kids is described as a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history and life. What are some of the specific topics kids will be able to explore?

In The Radical Book for Kids, readers of all ages will be able to explore topics such as:
  • The Bible in one sentence
  • How to read the Gospels
  • The names of God
  • How we know the Bible’s true
  • The secret to growing up
  • How to deal with parents who aren’t perfect
  • How to make good decisions

In addition to these topics, there are also fun-focused and practical application chapters too.

Q: You say you want to whet kids’ appetites for God and the Bible by giving them samples of various aspects of the faith. What are some of the samples offered in the book?

The Radical Book for Kids opens doorways to rooms to be explored later. It cracks doors and provides glimpses into the lives of faithful men and women through church history, such as Augustine, Martin Luther, Amy Carmichael and Sarah Edwards. Sometimes the focus is on someone famous, such as John Bunyan, or in contrast someone nearly forgotten, such as Hannah Faust.

Other open doors included are theological topics: the gospel, union with Christ, the mission of God, and the names of God. Daily Christian living is also explored: how to pray, how to grow as a Christian, a theology of work, how to deal with heart idolatry, what to do when you’re angry, what to do when you’re afraid and what to do when bad things happen. Then there are just practical matters of biblical wisdom, such as how to make good decisions and how not to apologize.

Q: What are some of the fun, hands-on activities included in The Radical Book for Kids?

Kids will find instructions and opportunities to do some fun stuff. Activities include how to make your own pottery, how to make a (safe) sling shot like King David’s, how to make a functioning sundial, how to make a miniature catapult and how to set up and play a game that’s as old as Abraham. In addition to hands-on activities like these, there are other fun elements: making a secret code, learning elephant jokes and trying to answer Bible trivia questions that are scattered all throughout the book.

Q: You also provide sections with practical advice, such as “How to Clean Your Room” and “What to do When You’re Angry.” How do those chapters fit in with the idea of the book as a whole?

In this book I aim not only to deepen the faith of young readers, rooting them in the Bible and its truths, but also to strengthen their daily life of faith in Christ. I hope to strengthen daily faith by introducing radical role models — the lives of men and women from church history. But this daily faith dimension also has practical, real-life aspects for kids. They have to learn to deal with heart issues, such as anger, forgiveness, guilt, fear, and disappointments. Kids also need to mature in more mundane matters such as being a good friend, avoiding harmful friends, making wise decisions and keeping your life (or room) organized.


Q: What is your hope for the children and families who read this book?

On one level, I hope those who read this book — whether children and teens or their parents and grandparents — would come to love, trust and follow the Lord Jesus Christ more. It’s my prayer this book will be used by God to grow deep roots of faith in all who read it.

In addition to this, it’s my hope that the middle schoolers and young teens who read about the spiritual disciplines, the names of God, biblical wisdom, union with Christ or men and women who gave their lives for the Lord will one day come back for more as they later decide to explore more deeply and widely the riches of God’s truth. In other words, I want to scatter a packet of assorted seeds across the minds and hearts and imaginations of the next generation, which in God’s time and by His Spirit will take root, sprout and bear much fruit. If this book makes children and teens (and adults) more curious and thirsty to know God and the good news of His Word, then it will have done its job.


Champ Thornton invites you to connect with him at www.champthornton.com, on Facebook (Champ.Thornton.7) and via Twitter (champthornton).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Letitia Suk invites readers to take a “Getaway with God”


How a simple day away can recharge

your soul and transform your life


Our spiritual lives can often resemble our cell phones at the end of the day. The battery is run down and in need of a charge. Sometimes we are down to 2% before we even realize it. It’s important we reconnect to our power source. Even a single day set aside to recharge fully with God can do wonders for the soul. In Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat (Kregel Publications/ November 27, 2016/ISBN 978-0825444159/$14.99), Letitia Suk offers women a step-by-step, no-excuses guide to getting back in sync with God.

Many women are desperate for more time with God, but with the demands of modern life, simply getting up earlier in the day to fit in a longer devotion is no longer a viable — or fulfilling — option. Every now and then, concentrated time alone with the Father is just what the soul needs to reconnect with Him and refresh for the journey ahead. Getaway with God provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman to plan time away — whether a work day, a weekend, or even a full week — on any budget.

“Time after time, year after year, I come away filled with a renewed sense of purpose, clarity of vision, trust in God’s ability to untie all the knots of my life and an overwhelming sense of being loved after my getaways,” Suk shares. “Many of us are familiar with the relationship boost a getaway with our spouse or family can provide, and a getaway with God has the same results for our souls.”

While the idea of pulling away for a night or two might sound enticing, the practicalities of such a venture are enough to stop most women before they even begin. Suk addresses many of the common questions that arise, such as: 

    Getaway with God Letitia Suk
  • Where should I go?
  • How long should I stay?
  • Will it cost a lot of money?
  • Should I fast?
  • What would I do? Pray the whole time?
  • Do I need a structured plan?


With a warm and inviting voice, Suk walks readers through exploring the type of retreat they need most (restorative, listening or goal-setting) and then provides all the details needed to plan and implement it, including templates offering ideas of what to do each hour.

The second half of Getaway with God focuses on designing a five-day life-review retreat, including guided questions and ways to bring the retreat home. The longer retreats are a way to reflect on the past, present and future, especially after significant life transitions such finishing school, job changes or children leaving home for college. The practical appendices provide optional retreat exercises, tips on how to change your picture of prayer and how to find retreat centers nationwide, as well as a checklist for what to bring.

Suk’s soothing and mentoring style will assure readers that sometimes the best thing they can do is retreat, and no matter their season of life, the time for retreat is now.


Advance Praise

“As women, we can get so caught up in taking care of others and in our to-do lists that we lose track of nurturing the most important relationship of all — the one with God. This book is a gentle, beautiful invitation to say yes to the Lord’s invitation to come with him to a quiet place. Letitia provides step-by-step instructions to those who desire them, but also encourages women to find their own retreat path. She shares her own journey with humility and grace. It’s a book any woman at any stage of life or spirituality will learn from and savor.”
~ Melanie Rigney, author of Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith

Getaway with God taps our deep longing for space of our own. In a world with lots of noise and little quiet, the personal retreat becomes a countercultural — and life-giving — choice. Let Letitia Suk walk you through your doubts, fears, questions, and reticence.”
~ Jane Rubietta, international speaker, author of 19 books, including Worry Less So You Can Live More


About the author

Letitia Suk is an author and life coach who is passionate about helping women create a purposeful life and experience the fullness God offers. She writes about intentionality in the day-to-day — family life, spirituality, holidays and friendships.

Suk received her Personal Life Coach certification from the Coach Training Alliance in 2003. She has served as a hospital chaplain for nearly a decade and is a sought-after speaker for women’s events and retreats. Suk has had more than 100 articles appear in various print publications and is the author of Rhythms of Renewal and Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat.

Suk lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Tom. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.



Learn more about Getaway with God and Letitia Suk at www.letitiasuk.com, on Facebook (Letitia.Suk.Author) and via Twitter (@LetitiaSuk).

Monday, November 28, 2016

The teaser about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

I wasn't a watcher of Gilmore Girls when it first aired, but I heard so much about it, a couple of years ago I started watching it on Netflix. Since then, I've watched it through four or five times. I'm not even sure anymore.

Like many others, I was excited to hear of the revival. I tried to not read spoilers as everyone started watching on Friday while I was on my way home. My normally busy life picked back up as soon as I got home, so I started the first episode on Saturday and finished about midnight Sunday while assembling my Christmas tree.

I WILL, at some point as soon as I have time (at this rate March), share my thoughts on the whole thing. I have lots of thoughts to share. I know you can't wait!

 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Lord's Army


Lord’s Army

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army! 
Yes, sir!

I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!
I’m in the Lord’s Army!
Yes, sir!

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never fly o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s Army! 

Yes, sir!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas in a box

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but this is the last of my vacation recaps. It wasn't just real exciting.

This is the tree at a hotel in Springdale, Arkansas my mom is kind of obsessed with. She had taken a picture of it a couple of years prior when she stayed at the same place.


Monday night, we went through Shepherd of the Hills to see their light display. They have lots of animatronics set in plastic boxes. It's really rather odd, and some of them are really old.



This is from the farm animal section.



There was even a frog section with really loud croaking noises.


An island themed section with a waterfall and volcano. 




And a trip up the observation tower. It was freezing up there. It reminded me of being on the winter youth retreat with no heaters.


On our shopping day, I did want a picture with the polar bear.


I made mom sit in Santa's lap.


The tree at the Sight and Sound Theater where we saw Moses. That was neat. I had never been before though I was begged to go see Noah and/or Jonah.


Branson Landing's big tree.


We ate breakfast here twice. It was really good. It's one of those Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives places.


We also went to Pasghetti's. Yes, it's how a kid says spaghetti.


Someone's car at Lamberts, home of the throwed roll. The rolls were the best part of eating there. I was disappointed after all the hype surrounding wanting to go there.


Friday, November 25, 2016

This is what fall is supposed to feel like

My posts of my time away aren't in chronological order. (Of course, I'm also days behind on posting and back posting dates because my time of relaxing is over! I rested up while I was gone, but I've been running in circles again since I got back.)

On Monday and Tuesday we shopped. On Wednesday afternoon we went to Silver Dollar City with the plans of going back on Thanksgiving afternoon when it opened back. The two day passes were just a little bit more. 


The park was so packed that we only got into one of the shows, and the line to one of the rides I wanted to go on was super long. No one would ride one of the other rides I wanted to go on, and I don't go on the big rides. 

However, we did get a taste of what I believe is holiday weather. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" just doesn't resonate when it's 75 degrees outside and people are wearing shorts and flip flops. 

Because it was packed as it was on Wednesday, walking the hills and fighting the crowds just didn't seem worth it on Thursday. I admit, I was kind of disappointed because Mom and Dad had been talking about two days at Silver Dollar City for weeks.

Oh well! So it goes.

Here is my obligatory picture of a squirrel. I have to have one every vacation. Yes, I take a picture of a squirrel, as common as they are around here. They must be a rarity to the others who saw him. Everyone else was in awe... of a squirrel. I hear them running across my roof daily.


The pictures don't do justice to the icicle lights on the trees. We stayed in one place waiting for the tree lighting and parade to follow, so I got a lot of pictures of the same trees.














Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Thanksgiving Goose


This year for Thanksgiving, we fled north. Opposite migration you might say. 

It was the only the second time in the memory of my entire life that I didn't have Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Normally, I spend most of Wednesday cooking.

There were most definitely positives of being gone for the week. It didn't really feel like Thanksgiving though. 

It's never my first choice to spend any time in Branson. As a side note to anything of relevance, the town has taken a swing down except when it comes to shopping. I'm not sure if the tornado of a couple of years ago wiped everything out or everyone took to the same opinion of the town that I've had. So many things were closed. Churches have taken over a number of theaters. Some of the hotels torn down needed to be torn down anyway.

So, back to Branson. On the way to some show one weekend, Mom mentioned how Stillwaters had been sending condo deals via email. Mom and Dad are always game to go to Branson. I have not had a week off in three years, but did have vacation time this year I thought had to be taken by the end of the year (I realized it didn't the first day of my vacation, but that's another story). Plus there was the added convenience of fleeing town to avoid family gatherings for certain reasons. 

It was so nice to get away. It was so nice to get out of the house. It was so nice to have downtime. It was so nice to not paint, "Be the one everyone wants to watch but no one wants to play against," on a softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer ball or baseball. 

Instead of cooking, we wandered out to the lake and observed the resident geese.





I did spend some time on the laptop sorting through some email and at one point came close to asking when we were going to head into town because goodness knows there was going to be a line to get into Cracker Barrel to eat. 

We eventually headed into town to get in line. There was a line. An hour and a half wait. 

That's where things got a little ugly. I'll skip that part of the story. 

After going back out to the condo, Mom and I went back out to shop around 4:00 while Dad watched the Cowboy game. We passed by Silver Dollar City and decided not to go back out there later because the lines of cars going into the park were insane.

We made it to Belk about 30 minutes after they opened and whole areas were wiped out from sales. We had been there a couple of days before and those sections had been full. 

We went by places such as Target before they opened. While not a long line, there was a line. 

One of the things I missed most was the "pink salad" aka Queen Salad. I'll have to share that recipe sometime. Part of the deal of me agreeing to go to Branson was that we would be cooking the Thanksgiving feast for Christmas. I want my own dressing at some point. There will be pink salad. Peyton will agree with me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A celebration of motherhood, creativity and the faith that binds them

Part 2 of an interview with Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart,
authors of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom


In our social media age of handcrafted children’s parties, artistic Instagram photos, tutorials for renovating old furniture into new treasures and blogs filled with poetry, prose and other expression, clearly a brand-new generation of inspired women is rising up. It is a renaissance born not in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but in kitchens, nurseries and living rooms around the world. However, when Christian women become mothers, they often feel expected to give up their creative pursuits to parent properly.

In Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (Kregel Publications) authors Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart show that “a mother’s natural bent toward imagination doesn’t just wither and die with thebirth of a child. This core component remains part of her intricate design.”

Q: Why do you think a woman feels like she must give up some of her own interests when she becomes a parent?

Wendy Speake: It’s simple math really. There are only 24 hours in a day, and children fill up nearly all those little minutes. The leftover spaces are few and far between, and when they present themselves there’s another pull: simple self-care! Most moms would also like to lose that baby weight by walking on the elliptical machine out in the garage, and a shower would be a delightful extravagance as well! Such small space is left over for a woman to indulge in the passions that once fueled her days. For the majority of creative women who become mothers, there are few afternoons at her easel; dinner parties with multiple courses are exchanged for simple suppers feeding baby as her own food gets cold, and slipping out the door to rehearse with the worship band at church requires all the planets aligning.


Kelli Stuart: We begin the book by acknowledging the tug-of-war that happens in an artistic mother’s heart when she gives birth to children. Suddenly her attention is divided, and when the children are very small they take up a lot of mental and emotional energy. Art is naturally pushed aside during this season, and this is a sacrifice many mothers make willingly. But God never intended for us to sacrifice our unique gifts on the altar of motherhood. Though the creativity and art may need to be set aside for a time, we believe when the slivers of a creative mother’s days begin to lengthen, she’ll find the art is there waiting. It may look different — in fact, it likely will be different! Motherhood changes the creative woman, but the miracle of this metamorphosis is the art transforms with the mother. What once looked like opera and poetry pre-children comes out of her life today as home-decorating and party-throwing, or any number of beautiful displays of her creative self.

Q: Often young mothers tend to feel reprimanded for dreaming dreams outside the home. What advice can you give them?

KS: There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming! Our children need to see mom chasing after her dreams. I worked on my novel for 10 years, all of it with growing children by my side. I let them see the process, and I made sure they understood what I was working for. I got up in the wee hours of the morning to work because I had a dream I wasn’t willing to sacrifice. And when the box of books arrived, my oldest was there to help me open them. He’d been there through the entire process, and that moment with him was one of my proudest mothering moments because he saw the reward of all the sacrifice and work.

As mothers, it is second nature to cheer our children on toward their dreams. We do it with our husbands too. But we tend to tuck our dreams aside, afraid to define them or offer parameters to our hopes outside of motherhood. What Wendy and I found in talking to the many women featured in Life Creative, however, is when we’re willing to embrace our own dreams and to bring our husbands and children into the journey, a unique blend of life and art starts to come together. It’s beautiful and messy, and it looks different for every woman and every family. This book offers many examples of women who are walking the tightrope of motherhood and creativity.

Q: In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, it seems as though there’s a lot of pressure on mothers to be creative. Is that a new trend born from social media?

KS: Absolutely, and for some women the stress is real! They feel it when throwing birthday parties for their children, or when it’s their turn to bring refreshments to a Sunday School class. Others feel like losers on Facebook because they don’t think of themselves as articulate, or they’re embarrassed their picture of their children on Easter Sunday is less than share-worthy because the family’s outfits didn’t match, the baby’s hair looked like a rat’s nest and the middle child never looks at the camera. Oh, the shame!

But creativity isn’t doing things like every other pinning, uploading, Etsy-selling woman is doing! Creativity is being exactly who God created you to be! I love that. Our creativity is simply us being who He created! Picking up pre-made cupcakes from the grocery store can feel like you’re admitting defeat before you even try to whisk up some simple ingredients. But if God made you an extraverted singer, then embrace that and yodel “Happy birthday to you!” over store-bought confectionaries! Embracing the person God made you to be is our spiritual act of worship.

Q: What advice would you offer for the mom who sees herself more as a “Pinterest fail” rather than having creative talent?

WS: I have friends who love social media because it fuels them and other friends who despise it because it makes them feel like a failure before they even try their hand at the simplest DIY project! In Life Creative we welcome women from both camps: those who are self-professed creatives and those who are only now, on the other side of birthing children, trying their hand for the first time at calligraphy, cooking, blogging, photography, jewelry-making, etc.

Pinterest and Instagram are definitely capturing this modern-day Renaissance! But you don’t have to pin a single recipe or upload one lovely little square to Instagram to be invited to our Renaissance Faire.

Comparison is a terrible beast, killing creativity before it’s even given life. We believe all of us, and our husbands and children too, were created in God’s creative image. There was no mistake made when God doled out gifts. Just as there are varying skin tones, eye colors and pitches to our laughter, so are there innumerable talents living from home to home throughout the world.

Q: You believe all women were made to be creative. Can you explain why?

KS: Yes, we believe we were all created creative in some capacity. Each and every one of us is a perfect reflection of the Creator Himself, endowed with His ability to imagine something out of nothing. We call this inspiration, and isn’t this how the universe came to be? His creation, first imagined and then executed. From nothing He made every atom, every molecule. We were fashioned able to live, move and breathe in the fullness of His creative likeness!

WS: One of the things I discovered in the writing of Life Creative was creativity is a very broad, all-inclusive camp! Some men and women, boys and girls are creative thinkers, problem solvers, changing the world one answer at a time. Businesswomen opening online stores, using their profits to do extraordinary things throughout the world are creative, out-of-the-box people too! The woman who makes scripture art for your wall or bibs for your baby — creative! The teacher who loves on your child with dyslexia, coming up with new methods to teach him, though others have thrown their hands up in exhaustion — creative! My husband who built our boys a tree fort and my mother a back porch — he’s creative. And my father whose main love language is mathematical diagrams — creative!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: All are welcome to this modern-day Renaissance Faire!

Q: How will the mom who doesn’t see herself as creative benefit from Life Creative?

WS: While we believe all women are fashioned in God’s creative likeness, not every woman sees herself as an “artist.” Life Creative is a call for women to embrace their God-purposed uniqueness and to remember God didn’t just make her children “fearfully and wonderfully.” He crafted her that way as well! Whether she once delighted in canning preserves or reading novels late into the night, writing letters or hosting dinner parties, Life Creative is a letter to all women to look at how God created her and say, “Good job, God!”

KS: Life Creative isn’t just about the painters, writers and photographers. It’s also for the woman who loves her home. It’s for the woman who delights at creating new meals in the kitchen or moving furniture around to give the living room a quick face lift. Life Creative is for the mom who finds great joy in throwing birthday parties or who pours her energy into her duties as the home-room mom at her kid’s school. Life Creative isn’t just for women who are making a living from their art, but it’s for all women who simply enjoy pretty things. Women will walk away from this book with a new appreciation for how they were uniquely designed as creative beings.   

Learn more about more about Life Creative at www.lifecreative.me, and join the community on Instagram (@lifecreative).



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Linda Znachko’s small “yes” changed her life — and her community — forever

Part 2 of an interview with Linda Znachko,
Author of He Knows Your Name

(read part 1 here)
Linda Znachko has found herself in places she never dreamed she would be: at the graveside of the child of an abused mother; by the side of a mother fighting for her lost child; and at the funeral of a Texas stripper who died two days before her baptism but left a legacy of love behind. When Linda stepped out of her comfort zone and into these implausible places with people she was unlikely to otherwise encounter, she discovered the life she never knew she wanted—a life of saying yes to God whenever He asks.

In her book He Knows Your Name: How One Abandoned Baby Inspired Me to Say Yes to God (Kregel Publications), Znachko tells her story of saying, “Yes,” to nudges from God. Today, she has a ministry that gives children a name in life, and dignity and honor in death. When she shares her stories of broken lives redeemed, other broken people respond, and so the ripple effects of that long-ago yes continue to spread, touching lives that yearn for healing, and underscoring the fact that every life matters to God.

Q: Your book, He Knows Your Name, tells of how your ministry by the same name got started. Tell us a little bit about how the news story about an abandoned baby inspired you to say yes to God’s plan for you.

It was a headline about Baby Doe, wearing a diaper and found in a dumpster, that grabbed my heart. God spoke to my spirit with a contrasting message — Doe is not a name, a diaper is not burial clothing and a dumpster is not a grave. God’s plan for me was to make this injustice right. I had no idea how that would look; I only knew I needed to call and ask some questions. When I asked what would happen to this child if never claimed and was told “nothing,” my “yes” turned into action to make sure the child would be named, dressed and buried with dignity.

Q: Your journey began with wanting to provide a funeral for one abandoned baby but quickly grew into something much larger. Share with us the call you received while waiting to hear back about Baby Doe.

Alfie, the coroner, asked me about another need when we were talking on what had become our weekly Friday morning calls. She asked me plainly if “my organization” could provide a headstone for an under-resourced family. In my head I said to myself, “What organization?” I asked her if I could call her back because I had to ask the Lord if this request had my name on it. It was that phone call that started to shape the idea in me that God was expanding my heart for more of His purposes. It was also when I realized that naming “my organization” was my next step.

Q: What other situations have you and your ministry been able to assist with?

I have provided headstones for families who are under-resourced, and I give a headstone blessing dedication for the family. I also have established a foundation at Indy Parks in the name of a child who drowned. For six years, we have offered a free session of swim lessons and water safety to inner city children so they can learn to swim. I’m currently advocating for the Baby Box legislation by giving testimony at the statehouse about the importance of enhancing the Safe Haven Law for awareness and alternative ways to surrender a baby safely.

I also help families who have lost a loved one in a violent crime organize memorials for their loved ones. I connect them with resources that help give dignity so death doesn’t have the last word, but redemption of life does! One family is putting a bench at a park, near where a girl was found after being killed. The bench has her name engraved on a plaque, and the bench brings beauty to the park.

Q: He Knows Your Name is full of the imagery of God as a Father. How did that aspect of God’s character influence you to reach out to these families?

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families,” and John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans.” These two verses are foundational for me as I consider what it means to live out the gospel in my community. In dark times of grief, the enemy strikes hard with a spirit of isolation. I feel as a follower of Jesus I need to stand in the gap with families in crisis by bringing the Light. Light always overpowers darkness, and my presence is a powerful gift when loneliness sets in because of loss. I believe with all my heart that death, the method God used for salvation, is the vehicle He uses to bring about life. So when I stand at the grave with families, I know the hope of life is in the story of the resurrection. I tell them they are loved by their Heavenly Father, who knows how they feel, and only He can heal their broken hearts.

Q: Explain how your definition of “family” has changed through this process.

I have four biological children, and it wasn’t until I adopted babies in death that I understood how much I could love a child I didn’t carry. The carrying in my heart and claiming through fighting the systems of justice was every bit as laborious for me. Naming a child is a parental right that gives authority, so when I name a baby, I feel the inheritance of family fill my legacy. Another dynamic of “family” that expanded for me was when others “adopted” me. Walking through the sacredness of suffering creates a forever bond, such as when families tell me I am family to them because we shared the intimacy of grief in the most difficult of losses — a child. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the attachment others feel to me, but I have to say I have not felt taken advantage of by anyone I have served.
Q: Each time God led you to minister to a family, you came upon potential spiritual, cultural and economic barriers. How have you been able break down those barriers and cultivate meaningful relationships?

Breakthrough happens every time I give the gift of time. Time has a profound way of tearing down all barriers. I used to think that “time, talent and treasures” had equal weight of importance in showing love to our neighbors. One of the foundational changes I have made during the growth of He Knows Your Name as a ministry is time is the most precious of all gifts. Most of the people I serve never ask me for money; they just want friendship. They want someone to stand with them. They long to be known. Nothing says, “I see you,” like time spent together.

Q: How does sharing in the pain of others cause a ripple effect of healing?

Everyone has pain in his or her life. Living life honestly in community through the local church is God’s way of helping us have a loving family around us for support and strength. God designed us to be the body of Jesus so we could bring the kingdom and be a taste of heaven to this broken world. When we live healed, whole, transformed lives, others can too. When we heal together, we live redeemed lives that are joyful rather than sorrowful. When we surround ourselves with healed people, we can extend reconciliation and restoration, resulting in hope. Hope births joy!

Q: He Knows Your Name Ministry works to honor every child with a name in life and dignity in death. What are some ways people can partner with your ministry?

People can reach out to me through my website. I would love for them to tell me their story! So much healing happens through testimony and the revelation of redemption. Also, please send me information about what’s happening in your local news. People find it funny that I don’t read a lot of news, but I don’t. I count on my community and communities around the country to be my eyes and ears on the street to keep me informed. Get involved with your local Safe Haven Law advocates. We need to educate young people about the law and support local organizations that are doing grassroots work to protect life. 

Learn more about more about He Knows Your Name and Linda Znachko at www.heknowsyourname.org, on Facebook (HeKnowsYourNameMinistry) and via Twitter (@LindaZnachko).





Monday, November 21, 2016

The Remnant

What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn’t return? Take a physical and spiritual expedition through a dystopian world in the inspiring and satirical new book, The Remnant, by Monte Wolverton.A cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world. Grant Cochrin leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible.

{MORE ABOUT THE REMNANT}


(Plain Truth Ministries, August 2016)
In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected.
Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.
Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant’s grandparents.
What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn’t return? What if the survivors found themselves living in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where religion is forbidden and all religious texts have been destroyed?
In The Remnant, award-winning author Monte Wolverton tells the tale of a band of concentration camp escapees who trek through the lawless American wilderness on a quest for authentic Christianity, only to come face to face with an unthinkable dilemma. The Remnant is a fast-paced story punctuated with dry satire, memorable characters and hard questions about religious institutions.
Monte Wolverton

{MORE ABOUT MONTE WOLVERTON}


Monte Wolverton is an award-winning author and syndicated editorial cartoonist. He is associate editor of CWR magazine. He is an ordained minister and holds a MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Along with his wife Kaye, he makes his home in southwest Washington State.

Sunday, November 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, November 19, 2016

Mark that town off the list

After today, we've decided to give up on the town of Waxahachie.

At the same high school craft market we did today we did so-so last year. Today we had lookers, but no buyers which was a huge disappointment after the success of our last four high school shows. The last event in Waxahachie was not good either. We were glad to be close to home though. We hate to not do something so close, but we're going to keep to traveling, I guess.

It's a good thing we were near home because I don't have a thing in the suitcase and leave right after church tomorrow.

Most of what I have been making lately have been replacements for the same items we've done before, so I haven't had new pictures. This week, I did make a few different.