Wednesday, May 02, 2012

In Remembrance. . .

 Cynthia Malone has been a bright spot in my life that no amount of time will ever dull.  At 9, she listened to me recite bible verses, at 17 she coaxed, prodded and believed in my abstinence speeches to local high schools.  In my thirties she'd send me cards, pictures and scripture to lift me from the grief of miscarriage.   She always gave me her time, laser focus and unequivocal wisdom. My husband even carries a photo she sent with scripture and encouragement long before our paths ever crossed.

She connected right into the center of my soul and passionately spoken truth over me.  She gave my fledgling heart dignity, honor and wisdom.

Today, its her beautiful script that brings me comfort. Her heart leaps off the page with the same focus and patience she's always blessed me with.  In one of her last letters she admonished me and encouraged me with challenges that mark my life.

"God does not expect us to wear ourselves to a frazzle, I grew up believing it was the righteous "Christian" thing to always be available for those in need.   Now, I am finally listening to the message God has told me over and over again since 1976-'Be still and know that I am God,' "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.'

I have often thought about how Jesus 'slipped away' and 'went across the sea' etc-to find much needed rest.  Here He was the God-man with all the answers and all the power to heal-but physically limited. If he took time away from all those clamoring for His listening ear, words of wisdom and healing touch can we do any less?

Ask yourself, God and Nate--what did God create in me? How did He create me to BE not DO? It's easy to ignore our WHO and focus on our DO especially in a society that values doing over being, products over people, and service over self care.  

I am now determined to learn the lessons of being still, resting and trusting Him. Now I spend alot of time drawing, reading, praying and being.  There are times I want to get into the fray and feel like a horse that wants to run but is being held back by my owner for my own good."
Love and Prayers, 

I am so thankful to a gracious Lord for this powerful woman's influence in my life. For her dedication, her faith and her willingness to listen to her creator even when it meant admitting weakness.  My road seems emptier today but I'm grateful that Cynthia is at peace.    She's celebrating with her creator!  Oh what joy they must be having together.  My prayer, personally, is that I would leave a portion of the legacy this Godly woman dealt.   I smile when I think of her whole, both resting and running, never tiring for all eternity!

Cynthia (in blue) at our Imago send-off.  Never shy, I owe some of my stage presence to her quick wit and courage. I don't think she ever met a stranger or someone who didn't deserve His love.

Monday, April 30, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore

James: Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore
One of the privileges of having the Lord lead you through suffering--is comforting those who find themselves walking through heartache.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 
 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Part of my greatest joy, coming to The Village Church, has been finding a community of others seeking God in the midst of their pain and being able to encourage and uplift. It's brought dignity and purpose to the most chaotic and humbling portions of my life.  Experiencing the God of all comfort work through me has been powerful.   It's also created a thirst for more of Him and a hunger to fill up the well as it runs dry from use.  I'm learning how important it is to ingest God's word in order to pour yourself out in His name, for his people.

James has been a feast to my soul. Not only have I loved the study, the in-depth time in the word and the challenge to memorize it. I've loved Beth's teaching available on-line. As well has the amazing Rush Creek women who've opened their lives to me. I simply set out to refresh my own soul, and the Lord has blessed me with Godly women who inspire and carry me.

My take: 4 out of 5

Book Description: Lifeway Publications
Bible scholars compare James to the prophet Amos. In other ways James more closely resembles the Book of Proverbs than any New Testament book. Come along with Beth Moore on a journey to get to know both the man and the Book of James. You will never be the same again.
Topics in this study include: joy, hardship, faith, reversal of fortunes for rich and poor, wisdom, gifts from above, single-mindedness, the dangers of the tongue, humility, and prayer. Plus, Beth introduces a 5-tiered study approach that she has never done before.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie

Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie
   All of Nancy's faith, suffering and perspective find their voice in this brilliant book. Blessing us with her hard earned theology.   Refined in the crucible of suffering, this book is every woman's guide through the difficult questions of life including but not limited to infertility and loss.

 This book has ministered to me and my dearest friends as we have wrestled with God in the face of deep heartache and sorrow. I adore how Nancy mine's the scriptures for the heart of God and his heart for his children amidst the destruction of life this side of heaven.   I'm so thankful for how she has grounded my wandering faith that struggled to hear God's heart in the midst of my grief. This book is great for a support group, or anyone who's trying to shed deeper insight on the theology of suffering.

My take 5.5 out of 6

Book Description by Tyndale House Publications:
In this paradigm-shifting book, Nancy Guthrie gently invites readers to lean in along with her to hear Jesus speak understanding and insight into the lingering questions we all have about the hurts of life: What was God’s involvement in this, and why did he let it happen? Why hasn’t God answered my prayers for a miracle? Can I expect God to protect me? Does God even care? According to Nancy, this questioning is not a bad thing at all but instead an opportunity. It’s a chance to hear with fresh ears the truth in the promises of the gospel we may have misapplied. It lets us retune our souls to the purposes of God we may have misunderstood.

Holding onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie

Holding Onto Hope: Nancy Guthrie This touching, true-story of one women's walk through the loss of a child, will have you weeping and rejoicing as you follow in her footsteps.  I adore the power of narrative to draw in the reader, deepen understanding and grow compassion. This book does all of that while uplifting the name of God. The first of many for Nancy Guthrie this books strength is it's simple honesty. Nancy shares from the heart, her journey through doubt, anger, pain, heartache and back to a stronger, deeper faith in God.  This book is best read by the person who's is new to anguish and simply wants to hear they aren't alone or someone who wants to understand a loved one's pain better.

My verdict: 3.5 out of 5

Book Description from Tyndale Publications:
Framing her own story of staggering loss and soaring hope with the biblical story of Job, Nancy Guthrie takes her fellow sufferers by the hand and guides them on a pathway through pain—straight to the heart of God. Holding on to Hope offers an uplifting perspective, not only for those experiencing monumental loss, but for anyone going through difficulty and failure. Includes a study section for readers who want to dig deeper into what the Bible says about dealing with suffering and grief. Additional sections include a Foreword by Anne Graham Lotz and a Resource section linking Scriptures with each chapter's lesson.
“Only God could orchestrate such events. And only God could give the Guthrie family the faith and courage to live them. May he use this story to strengthen us all.”—Max Lucado
“Nancy Guthrie's faith shines through some of the darkest clouds of human pain. This book and her story will touch your emotions and inspire your mind in an unforgettable way. Seldom will you read anything with such candor and insight, probing one of life's toughest questions: How can grief be a friend along life's journey?” —Ravi Zacharias
“Holding on to Hope reads easy, runs deep, and enriches the heart! If you are stymied about God's goodness amidst life's heartaches, then this book's for you.”—Joni Eareckson Tada

Redemption by Mike Wilkerson

  Redemption, by Mike Wilkerson  Handed to me by our pastor at The Village Church, Dallas. It's not only the primary foundation for our Recovery ministry it's also had more impact on my life that a whole stack of the books I've previously recommended to hurting people.  What I love about Redemption is the intensive focus on scripture and the human heart. No matter the issue that's plaguing the Christian, the holistic focus of the heart and sin gets so deeply to the heart of personal pain.  This book is a resource I turn to over and over again and it's a pleasure to share with you

My take: 6 out of 5

Book Description from Crossway Publications

Exodus is a real story about God redeeming his people from the bondage of slavery and how their difficult journey home exposed their loyalties—though wounded by Egypt, they had come to worship its gods. Most Christians don’t make golden idols like the Israelites in the wilderness, but we do set up idols on our own desert road—idols like substance abuse, pornography, gluttony, and rage. And even those who don’t know the pain of actual slavery can feel enslaved to the fear and shame that follow sexual abuse or betrayal by a spouse, for we suffer at the hands of our idols as well as those created by others. We need more than self-improvement or comfort—we need redemption.
Redemption is not a step-oriented recovery book; it’s story-oriented and Bible-anchored. It unfolds the back-story of redemption in Exodus to help Christians better understand how Christ redeems us from the slavery of abuse, addiction and assorted trouble and restores us to our created purpose, the worship of God. Readers will discover that the reward of freedom is more than victory over a habitual sin or release from shame; it is satisfaction and rest in God himself. Part of the Re:Lit series.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A home without books is like a like a body without a soul ~Cicero 

Bruno Chief of Police by Martin Walker

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker.  A taste of France, wrapped in a fascinating WWII history, with great food, local color, and a fascinating mystery. This is the first in a great series written by Martin Walker, director of the Global Policy Business Policy Council who turned his hand to story telling.  It's a fascinating combination.

Personal rating 4 of 5

Bruno Chief of Police
Book Description: A Recipe for Success
  • Take a rural commune in the heart of the Dordogne and a one-man police department by the name of Bruno.
  • Add a brutal murder with the hallmarks of a racial crime against immigrant workers from North Africa.
  • Season with clues that point to unsettled feuds from the Nazi legacy of the Second World War.
  • Serve with Gallic charm in all good bookshops as the first book in a brilliant crime fiction series.
  • Set in the street markets, cobbled squares, vineyards and farmland of the Dordogne area of France, Bruno, Chief of Police features Captain Bruno Courr?ges, a man as charming and eccentric as he is wise. A formidable investigator, Bruno must rise to the challenge when the head of an Algerian family is murdered and the peace of Bruno’ s beloved village of St. Denis is shattered. Racism is the obvious conclusion, and the son of a local doctor who is caught playing sex games surrounded by Nazi paraphernalia is the immediate suspect. But Bruno knows his people well and sees a more complex explanation lurking in the memories and unsettled feuds of the German occupation. This addictively readable novel, filled with the sights and sounds— and politics— of the French countryside, launches a stunning new crime fiction series.

Jamie Oliver's Meals In Minutes

I respect chef's who use everyday items without the need of specialty items or special trips to the grocery store.  Teach me how to make good, simple meals, that can be served on a Thursday to friends or for special events. Throw in global inspirations like green curry, crispy chicken, kimchee slaw, rice noodles, or steak-indian style, spinach and paneer salad, naan bread, mango dessert.  I'm hooked. Thank you Jamie
Personal Rating: 4.5 of 5

 From the back cover: I’m going to show you how to put a whole meal on the table in a matter of minutes! Not just one dish, a whole spread of beautiful things.
If, like me, you love food and have hungry mouths to feed when you get home after a long day, then allow me to let you in on a totally revolutionary new way of cooking. In this book I’m going to show you how to make a complete meal in the time you’d normally spend on one dish. What you’ll be able to achieve in 30 minutes or less will absolutely blow your mind. It’s certainly blown mine!
This is not about compromising on quality. It’s about being organized, working fast, and using shortcuts and clever tricks to put insanely delicious plates of food on the table in no time. Each of the 50 meals inside has been carefully written so there’s no messing about—just good, fast cooking. I’ve created complete menus of foods that go beautifully together and planned recipes in a really unique, easy-to-follow way. This kind of cooking is all about using every minute wisely, having fun, and reclaiming your kitchen for the job it was meant for.
You might think it can’t be done, but I promise you it can. Have a look inside to see the sort of meals you’re going to get. Once you start cooking this way, not only will you absolutely love it; you’ll never look back.  Meals in Minutes, Jamie Oliver 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lyrical Inspiration: Allie Lapointe

"Abide with me, fast falls the evening tide."
Float the lyrics of Allie Lapointes, Treasures.

"Mommy, what does abide with me mean?"

"Abide, means to live in, like we want God to live in us, so we sing about him abiding in us."
"Oh, like how I asked God to come into my heart?"

How can a mother not rejoice to hear her little one belt out, the beautiful lyrics of Allie's latest combination of praise and hymns.

I've been a fan since her first public appearence in our highschool auditorium. To listen to Allie's intimate songs and compelling harmonies, you can't help but be sucked inside, soon the music spills over until your singing an ancient hymn while you fill up your gas tank. The deep theology of the Lord's taken root in your soul through the vehicle of song. Nick, Allie's husband and fellow songwriter, spend their passions on music, people and God. The result shines out through all their work. But I know Allie is even prouder of the worship that pours forth from her three little ones.

Track #1: "Abide In Me" By Allie Lapointe, Marcy Each, and Henry Francis Lyte

Henry Francis Lyte wrote the poem "Abide With Me" in 1847 and while he lay dying from tuberculosis at the age of 54. He survived only a further three weeks after its completion. Marcy Each and I trimmed, tweaked, and adapted the lyric, wrote a chorus, and set it all to a melody we crafted together on a rainy day in Marcy's hometown of Manchester, Iowa. We both had our little girls with us, and after several rounds of holding babies and holding guitars, we completed this song -- a prayer for God to be ever-present throughout our lives. We changed the title from "Abide With Me" to "Abide In Me" because of how Jesus said “Abide In Me” in John 15, and the emphasis Paul puts on abiding in Christ -- not just an external presence but an internal, closer-than-skin accompaniment of the Holy Spirit...the Counselor, who abides when other helpers fail and comforts flee, who comes not to sojourn but to stay, who holds the cross before our closing eyes ... who abides IN us.

A wise woman, once encouraged me to fill the ragedy days of motherhood with worship, so that Christ would abide in me in the midst of the chaos. Check out Treasures and more from Allie

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Today we've officially topped 100 degree heat for 34 days straight! Breaking 60 year old records with temperatures of 109. In other words, it might be hotter in other places but no one bakes as long as we can!

Seriously, we've been praying for our friend the postal worker who ended up in the ER recently. Sophia and I started to pray for rain weeks ago but we can't remember the last day the sky's leaked anything but sunshine. The monotony is down right life threatening and the pools feel like bath water.

Even the library is getting in on the weather watch. (We've been making daily trips to the library because it's a great place to get out of the heat and we need lots of inside entertainment.)Come On, Rain
is a deliciously written story about summer heat and sweet relief. Sadly, rain feels like a fairy tale these days.


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