Little Things and Small Stuff

Yes, the little things and the small stuff do matter!  Years ago, it was recommended to me that I meet with my mentor on a regular basis and work through a then-popular book. I did and let me tell you it was very difficult for me to do.  I have never believed the ‘little things’ simply don’t matter.

Suppose you’re given a job to do that requires many small steps but you choose to jump right to the finish.  Tell ya what… it doesn’t work that way.  Quite often it’s because something gets left out that was very necessary to the ongoing process.

For example, I have committed to a healthy eating program.  I eat only those things that are healthy for my body.  Since I have a sensitivity to wheat I am very careful about not eating it.  Refined sugar is an outright no-no.  By eating foods as close to nature as possible I am able to think more clearly, have more energy, and yes, lose weight.  Eliminating wheat and sugar, eating only foods close to nature, exercising, positive thinking, and sharing my journey with ‘helpers’ are all part of the ‘small steps’ in the journey.

As you know, I review books on a regular basis on this blog.  I do not cut corners in this process.  Reading just the title, author, first paragraph, and last paragraph would not allow for a fair review.  I definitely take the long route, read the book, take notes and then share my thoughts.  Many times it’s the little things in the narrative that create a lasting impression.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32) is a really good example of how much the ‘small stuff’ matters. Planting a very small seed and allowing it to grow creates a tree that provides shelter and food (more small seeds).  Jesus used these words to help people understand that in the small stuff (the seed) is provision (food and shelter) for all those who take refuge in it.  Yes, the little things matter!!!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Becoming Gertrude — Book Review

I have a beautiful, wonderful, friend.  She’s someone for whom I had looked for many years.  I have another beautiful, wonderful, friend who has been my friend for more than 40 years.  Both of these women speak caring, acceptance, service, hospitality, and encouragement into my life.  Both of them do friendship in their own way and I can trust them, love them, cry with them, be silent with them, and they know they can do the same with me.

Becoming Gertrude is the crowning touch of a life of relationships and good friendships that have shaped the faith of Janice Peterson.  The pages of this delightful, small book are full of stories that help the reader see how important friendship is in the life of a Christian woman.  Using the character traits mentioned above (caring, acceptance, service, hospitality, and encouragement) Mrs. Peterson shares how her life has been enriched by other women.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • Good friends challenge us in the areas where we are weak and encourage us forward.  pp.xxvii
  • Caring for someone isn’t about you–it’s about the other person. pp. 23
  • We must learn to navigate disagreements and life differences with grace, understanding that friendship is more important than being right all the time.  pp. 32
  • Some of us are called in certain ways to serve, but we are all called to be servants, whatever our gifts are.  No one’s gift is more significant than anyone else’s! pp. 47
  • Friendship grows best in intentionality, and hospitality is the warmest kind of intentionality there is.
  • Our friends can be those who fill us up, who build encouragement into our lives so that we can then do the same in theirs and others’.

Bible verses from the Message by Eugene Peterson that support strong friendships:

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.   Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Romans 12:2

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.  Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.  Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.  Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.  Romans 12:14-16

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Stumbling Toward Wholeness – – Book Review

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one the most well-known stories (parables) that Jesus told.  Most of us can see ourselves in the self-centered, wayward son.  In Stumbling Toward Wholeness, author, Andrew Bauman, delves deeper into the characters and proposes that we are actually all the characters.  At different points in our lives, we model the characteristics of the Loving Father, the jealous, frustrated Older Son, and the wayward, selfish, Prodigal Son.

Personal change begins when we see ourselves accurately and are willing to dig into the stories of our lives to become the person we were meant to be.  There has to be a willingness to see clearly the different people we are in different parts of the stories of our lives.  We also have to include others in the search for our purpose in life.  (The author makes a great point in saying we must be careful who we include in working through our story because there is always the potential for damaging relationships.)

The book is divided into three sections.  The Runaway Son deals with that part of us that deals with shame, self-contempt, and considering ourselves the victim.  The Entitled Older Brother looks at contempt (of others) and betrayal.  The Welcoming Father helps us understand the need to grieve our mistakes and being kind to ourselves.  Each chapter ends with questions that dig deeper into our own life experiences to draw us closer to understanding ourselves.  Questions like, what purpose has been served by your own pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain?  Or, reflect on a time when you felt shamed by another person.  And, identify some ways you have been resistant to kindness.

My favorite quotes include:

  • pg. 47  “To journey toward change, we must first make a commitment to be on our own teams.”
  • pg. 78  “Jesus continually calls us to look at ourselves in the mirror and tell the truth about what we see.”
  • pg. 125  “…no matter how hectic our lives or crazy our mental states, we can be still and know God (Psalm 46:10).  He is always available, even when we are not.”
  • pg. 152  “…superficial standards of perfection have no actual relation to personal piety or spiritual maturity.  If we have no safe places to bring our real struggles, doubts, and heartache, we are likely to stray further from the truth and deeper underground with our pain.”

If you really want to take a close, personal look at the person you are I highly recommend reading this book and truthfully answering the questions.  In fact, find a friend who you can trust and work through it with them by your side.  I guarantee, it will be worth it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday Psalms

 

Hear my prayer, Righteous God, and have mercy on me.

There are so many who want to turn away, who love lies and worship what the world has to offer.

LORD, You have set me apart for Yourself.  I know You hear when I call out.

In your prayers search your inner self and be still.

Trust God!

Shine Your light on us!

When others are finding joy in shopping sprees and worldly gain give me joy.

As the day ends let me sleep in the safety of You.

 

This is Psalm 4 in my own words.  Psalm 1, 2, and 3 are also finished.  Check them out by clicking on the number.

Blessings to you and Yours!

Marie

Brick Builders Illustrated Bible For Children – Review

I have just spent a delightful two hours reading through God’s story.  As the Word always has and always will, this version of the Bible speaks the simple, yet profound, truth in the language of children.

Storytelling is the favored method of Bible writers to point the way to the truth, particularly in the New Testament in the many parables used by Jesus.  In this collection of Old and New Testament stories, by Emily Dammer, the same thing is accomplished in the language of children.

I’m sure young children will love this ‘Bible’.  The illustrations, by Antony Evans, use brick-like figures to illustrate each story.  Each page colorful and eye-catching.

The building blocks at the end of each chapter give life applications in children’s language.  For instance, in the story of Moses God keeps His promises and He will keep you safe are the takeaways.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Brick Builders and can imagine parents and children reading the stories to one another over and over.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Hope Your Heart Needs – Book Review

I am a total fan of Holley Gerth’s work.  Her writing is always spot on for what I need.  Her new devotional is no exception.  There are 52 delightful and encouraging short stories about life and one of God’s many names with a verse and prayer to match.

This small sized book (It fits in my purse!) is jam-packed with just enough theology, just enough humanness, just enough transparency, and just enough of life’s joy, triumph, sorrow, and pain.

5 Favorite Quotes from Hope Your Heart Needs:

  • …rest is not simply the lack of activity but the presence of trust, because trust is a kind of inner leaning, an intentional reliance on someone else. pp. 209
  • Bread of Life, You are the only one who can satisfy the hunger in our lives. pp. 23
  • …He has specific assignments for us during our time on earth… They are original and only for us. pp. 71
  • Faith is not about what we want to happen; it’s about Who we’re trusting in no matter what the future holds. pp. 85
  • When we find our refuge in God, we can be who we are, do what we’re called to do, live without shame and guilt and fear.

And now,  I will go back and read the whole book again.  This time, one day at a time, savoring, sharing, and sensing the life-giving words on these pages.

Thank-you, Holley Gerth!  What a blessing this has been!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree – Day 1 – The Creation

Look at God’s Work!

In the beginning, there was nothing but water and God.

Then, God said, let there be light.  He knew the light meant nothing without darkness.  So he created that, too.  He separated the two and called them day and night, evening and morning.  The first day.

On the second day, God separated the water.  Some on the earth and some in the sky. He also determined there to be dry ground and separated it from the water.  Now, we have land and sea.  A place ready for the next day of work.

Here we are at the morning of the third day.  God tells the land to produce plants and trees that bear seeds and fruit.  And so it is.

God, on the fourth day, puts the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens and sets them in motion.  He knows the plants will need sunshine to produce as He intended.

Now, He creates birds and fish, in the sea and on the land.  He looks out over it all and says, “It is good!”  It’s the end of day 5.

Day 6 is going to be a busy one.  It’s all about creating livestock and animals that move along the ground.  Then He creates mankind.  Man and woman.  He makes them look just like Him.  He tells them to rule and subdue the earth.  He tells them what they can eat.  He looks around and says,  “It is good.”

Then God rests.

The Jesse Tree is all about knowing the genealogy of Jesus.  The people God put in place to point to the birth of the one who would save us all.  Adam and Eve were the first with many more to follow.

The Jesse Tree is a set of posts for the Days of Advent.  I am writing them for the Write 31 Days Challenge.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Wanted: Volunteers to be Christians

Thought provoking post from Butch Dean. He’s worth the follow friends.

Wordsmith's Desk

Wanted: Volunteers to be Christians

No experience necessary…immediate openings.

Training provided by the Holy Spirit

Must be willing to learn the following:

pray for your enemies…

forgive those who do you wrong…

love one another…

turn the other cheek…

die for your faith…

forsake everything for Christ…

suffer for Christ’s sake…

surrender all to Christ…

give all the glory to God…

deny self and follow Christ…

All this and more await you.

If interested, repeat after me…

“Jesus, I want to serve you. Forgive me my sins and lead me to everlasting life. Abide within my heart and help me to walk with you as a Christian.”

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