Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

Book Requested, Review coming soon....

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

The Flowering Cross

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan

I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than a children's book, when I ordered a copy of this book. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! This is a wonderful way to share the Easter story and it motivates children to share their faith with others. This book goes beyond the Easter story. The story makes a point to have talking points using real life examples and scripture references for other life lessons. The little girl obeys her Mom and there is a scripture reference at the bottom of the page to point out how God wants us to obey our parents. The story talks about the neighbor who is kind of cranky; the family in the story helps and loves on the older gentleman despite his willingness to accept their kindness at first. It shows how simple acts of kindness can be small ways to share God's love with another - and inevitably lead a person to the cross. One extra thing the book has are detailed instructions on how to make your own flowering cross. This is a wooden cross that has holes in it for the flower stems. This may be a tradition that you would want to start in your own family – especially after reading this touching story. What a wonderful book!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What Difference Do It Make?

I just finished this book and have to say that it was wonderful to hear about what has happened in Ron and Denver's lives since the first book - and also to hear about others that were inspired in so many different ways by the original story. It is wonderful that they have such a passion to help the homeless and are motivating others to move outside-the-box and beyond their fears to help others. For many reasons, we have such qualms about helping the homeless - one of the biggest reasons is that we associate stereotypes that give us the feeling that it is OK to not share with the needy. Both Ron and Denver have used this book to make people aware of these issues and to help encourage them to take the first steps in helping the ones that need help the most. Make an investment - help change someone's life. Move beyond just sending used clothes, toys and food at Christmas.

The part of the book that touched me the most was the personal story of Ron and his attitude towards his father. Ron makes a valid point that sometimes we are busy helping those that are essentially "strangers" and not helping the ones that God has placed in our own families. It is easier to give a little here and there and feel like we are doing such a great job of helping a "cause" while completely overlooking the loved ones we have that are hurting and need us - even if they are old and crochety and act as if they'd rather not have us around.

Excellent book! I highly recommend it!

Remember to be a blessing to people at every opportunity that the Lord grants.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book Reviewing

I love to read! I also have an opinion on most everything. Now, I have found a way to combine the two - book reviewing! Woohoo. The publisher sends me free books (Thomas Nelson Publishing) and I write reviews on them. I am SO thrilled! I am reading What Difference Do It Make  now. Look for the review soon. It's a good one!! So inspiring!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am being reminded over and over this week that marriage is not about loving your spouse - it is about loving our Lord and honoring the commitment we made to Him to love the other person as long as we both shall live. I am so saddened to see that marriages are ending or not even happening. It seems like that first marriage, you know, the one where you are blissfully in love and really do think it might be the one to defy statistics and last forever  - that it is pretty devastating when it does end in divorce. But, that marriages that follow, as soon as things start heading down that path of hurt, neglect, not meeting my needs -- it is a little easier each time to just call it quits. Couples also choose to just live together instead of getting married. All of this makes me so sad! It makes me sad for my own heart (previously divorced and all the pains of it are stirred up when I hear of other divorces), for the hearts of the people in these broken relationships, for the children that may be involved (who are adding another layer of brick to the walls around their tender hearts), for society as we all "pay" for broken homes and neglectful behavior, but most of all, for God. He is the Creator of the family and it seems as if family is almost a dirty word in our culture. As a community, it is ok to promote anything for a minority sector or a group of hurting individuals - but now that the traditional family unit is becoming a minority - who will speak up and rally for this cause? Is it worth the fight?

I believe it is. I heard someone say before that when you enter into a marriage with someone, it is like putting two pieces of duct tape together - sticky side facing each other. Yes, you can get them apart, just like you can end a marriage, but it is hard for both sides. The pieces of tape get ripped, stretched, and in the end, there is a residual of each piece of tape left on the other. A divorce is the same way. You can end a marriage, but your hearts both get torn and beaten up in the process and in the end, there is a piece of you that is lost and a piece of the other that remains. The other problem is that after the duct tape is removed from our heart, it leaves a tender place, which we quickly callous over for protection. So the next time we fall in love, we don't fall so deeply in love. We become sarcastic and cynical, never to be so vulernable with another again. With each divorce, a person becomes even more calloused - until their heart turns into a self-centered, what-can-you-do-for-me heart of stone. Only seeking to use others for what they can take, never to be hurt again. It is like the old song, "I Am An Island": a rock feels no pain - and an island never cries. How very sad.

But what if we reach these difficult points in live, in marriage and we dredge through the murky waters together? It is hard. It takes time. It takes patience and strength of character. In the end, we may end up falling back in love with the one who has been so patient, kind and long suffering with us. When God is about strengthening marriages and building families, why would we want to work against Him? When He is on our side, we can do all things (Phil 4:13). Does it seem like nonsense to our world. Yes. But does it show how awesome God is in the end when we are able to make it through such difficult, nonsensical times together?  For sure!

There are families and marriages hurting all around us - so let's all start rallying around the family and fight for the hurting.