WORLD BOOK DAY

TL 3-3 WORLD BOOK DAY

There are so many great books to read, but a few come to mind that seem especially right for the season of Lent.  Here are my top ten picks:

  1.  Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  He has been called America’s first great Christian writer.  If you like a bit of mystery thrown in as you learn, you’ll enjoy the Reverend Hooper in The Minister’s Black Veil.  His veil, like the gray cross on some of our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, proclaims the sinfulness of our hearts and forces us to reckon with it before God, alone.  I like this book because it’s a compilation of short stories, so I don’t get bored.
  2. Think Well On It:  Consideration on the Great Truths of the Gospel by Richard Challoner.  Well written and thought-provoking.  If you want to meditate and deepen your understanding of the Bible, this is a great book to help you.
  3. He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado.  I’ve read this book every year during the Lent season since 2009.  I never get tired of reading of the outstanding and perfect LOVE with which my Savior went to the cruel cross of Calvary. https://youtu.be/gnKiJnQAgsk
  4. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  I’m only on the first chapter, but it sets a great tone for Lent.  It talks about how we need to deny our own vanity – and all the sins to which it leads.
  5. The Power of Less:  The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta.  By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, you will be happier and feel lighter in your own life.  Contentment in Christ alone is what we all want.
  6. He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek.  God has powerfully used this book in my life.
  7. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur:  The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.This inspiring book gives you a splendid example of how to live as a Christian in a secular environment that can be indifferent or hostile to your Faith. For Elisabeth Leseur had two great loves: God and her husband Felix, who was an atheist. Felix loved Elisabeth as well; yet to their mutual sorrow, he couldn’t share the life of the Spirit that Elisabeth cherished.Occasionally the happiness of their life together in upper-class Parisian society was shattered by Felix’s frustration and impatience. How could such an intelligent woman waste her time, as he saw it, with ignorant superstitions? Sometimes he and his friends would even ridicule and mock her faith.But Elisabeth loved Felix too much to allow their home to degenerate into an emotional war zone. She realized that confrontations and arguments were useless; she chose instead to keep quiet and pray for Felix. In her secret diary she recorded how she used his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God.Throughout their life together, it grieved Elisabeth to think that Felix might be separated from her for all eternity because of his rejection of God.For her, life in Heaven wouldn’t be happy without him. Yet when she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever.The story doesn’t end there. When Felix found this diary, he discovered how Elisabeth’s whole life bore witness to the truth of the God she loved.

    In time, Felix was transformed by the diary and his memories of Elisabeth. He became a Christian and, later, a priest. Now she may even be declared a saint. Elisabeth’s diary and spiritual writings (all included in this one volume) map out for you a path to marital harmony and greater love for God — especially if you love someone who stands outside the Faith. Let Elisabeth’s two great loves, and her faith and perseverance, inspire you now.  This is an amazing book, an amazing journey which brought me to tears more than once.

  8. I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee.  Based on St. Therese’s little way, it stresses confidence in and abandonment to Jesus.  I’m reading it a few pages at a time.  It’s written with such depth that a little dab will provoke thought and provide inspiration.
  9. Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg.  A life changing guide about prayer.  It helps us discover how to increase loving thought and feelings toward family, then friends, then people we are ambivalent about, then people we dislike and eventually, all people.  It’s a perfect book for our journey to become more like Christ.
  10. Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar.  Pure paschal poetry of distilled Gospel.

I am actually very partial to one particular book – and I’ll bet you know what one!  😉  I want to encourage you to read Lucinda Berry Hill’s A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS, the follow-up to her popular book, COFFEE WITH JESUS.  Both of the books are excellent, but of course I’m going to recommend the one that she so graciously asked me to write prayers to go with her wonderful poetry.

I want to share the poetry for both books, in which Lucinda so cleverly used the titles of the poems in the book to write a poem!

Here’s the one for COFFEE WITH JESUS:

BE BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE GOD'S CHOICE

And here’s the poem with the titles from her book A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS:

FINDING HOM WITH A GOD OF ALWAYS

I hope you’ll check some of these books out.  They’re good reads no matter what time of year, but seem especially good during Lent.  I’d love to hear what your favorites are.  Please let me know in the comment section below.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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BOOK LOVER’S DAY

TL 11-1 BOOK LOVER'S DAY

11-1 WHEN I LOOK AT A BOOK

If you find prayer to be a bit intimidating like I do, read “Before Amen” by Max Lucado.

Would you like to go on a great adventure and make some new friends along the way?  May I suggest you pick up a book today?  Between the covers of a book are untold treats for the mind’s eye.  When I walk into a bookstore my brain kicks in and my heart beats faster.

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.  – Edward P. Morgan

Today is BOOK LOVER’S DAY!  What better time to explore all the different types of books we can use to make our lives richer and fuller (or maybe just get a good laugh).

There are several different sections to choose from in your local library or bookstore.  Maybe you’re not interested in going on a wild adventure today, maybe you just want some specific help with something personal.  I find the Self-help section very useful and have landed there many times.

 Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
– Author Unknown

Our local library has a Travel section that catches my eye when the weather is bleak and I have cabin fever during the winter months.  Those books – any of them, can transport me from Wichita in winter to anywhere I want to go.  It’s like a great vacation for my mind which ultimately improves my mood and attitude as well.

How about a Thriller?  As long as it is broad daylight and I’m not alone in the house, it’s okay on occasion.

There’s one thing I’m sure about.  An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story.  It should say:  Listen.  Come in here.  You want to know more about this.  – Stephen King

I enjoy a good Biography now and then.  Although fiction tickles my fancy once in a while, I enjoy the real life stories of people who have shaped the course of history.  The “killing” books that Bill O’Reilly has published come to mind – and they are very well researched and keep me turning pages for hours.

There are sections called Creative and Art, respectfully.  Whether you are interested in learning a craft or you just wish to appreciate art, there are plenty of books available.

The Religious section does, of course, interest me.  I have favorite authors such as Max Lucado and Billy Graham (of course, his latest project was in the form of a video called My Hope for America)  I’ve posted that video on my blog, but would encourage you to watch it on YouTube.  At 95 years old he is still pleading with us to pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.  There is a special place in heaven for that man.

As you all know, my favorite poet is Lucinda Berry Hill.  She has a new book coming out soon and I hope you plan to add it to your Coffee collection.  Her first book, “Coffee with Jesus” gives us a poem for every week of the year.  Her new book is “A Second Cup with Jesus” – and it is even better than the first book.  I hope you will make it part of your home library.  I know I will. 

A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS9

 

READ A BOOK DAY

TL 9-6 READ A BOOK DAY

9-6 BOOK IT

According to the Online Slang Dictionary, the term “book it” means to move very fast. But I could be wanting a room in another town for the night if I’m taking a trip – so I would have to “book it”. Isn’t slang fun… and confusing?

Well all of that nonsense was to introduce READ A BOOK DAY, which has nothing whatsoever to do with moving very fast or making reservations. This is a holiday that was began by a librarian, one we suspect was encouraging youngsters to read books. It was first observed at the end of the first decade of the 2000’s.

I take a book almost everywhere.  Books are the perfect entertainment:  no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.  What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.  – Stephen King

Don’t feel pressured to read an entire book today, but hopefully this day will remind you to read a certain passage of a favorite book. Maybe this would be a good day to look at some of your favorite Bible verses or read from a book of poetry. My favorite poet is Lucinda Berry Hill. I use her devotional book, “Coffee with Jesus” every day.

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To order this devotional, go to:
http://www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com/

I may be telling tales out of school, but there’s talk of a second cup of coffee with Jesus! Shh… don’t tell.

A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS
Some other ways to celebrate this day may be to volunteer to read to children or give a book to a children’s school library. How about hosting a book reading party. What ever happened to book clubs? When did we all get too busy to get together to talk about a book?

Times have changed but I must admit I miss the old days. These days we not only have print books but e-books as well. I’m sure they count on this Read a Book Day. The idea is to encourage reading, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Books open up a whole new world to young and old alike.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.  – Harper Lee

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to relax and read today. It’s good for the soul and mind. 🙂

VESUVIUS DAY

TL 8-24 VESUVIUS DAY

8-24 PLUG IN TO THE SOURCEToday is VESUVIUS DAY!!!  Italy’s Mount Vesuvius is in the Gulf of Naples.  It has erupted three dozen times since 79 AD.  It last erupted in 1944.  For more information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Vesuvius

As awesome as God’s creation is, it’s more important for me to be plugged in to God on a spiritual level.  How do I stay plugged in?  Through prayer.

This is an analogy that has been used for years, but it’s effective so I’m going to use it again. If you wanted a couple of pieces of toast (oh, that sounds so good) but did not plug the toaster in before pushing the bread into the toaster, would you still get toast? If you answered “yes” I’d like to see you after class to hear your hypothesis.

If you have an older toaster, the bread will sit down inside the toaster and do nothing until you plug the toaster into the outlet. If you have a newer toaster like mine, the toaster will pop the bread back up, as if to say, “Hey, stupid, you have to plug me in before I can make this bread into toast – duh!” Yes, my appliances talk ugly to me. Bad, bad appliances!

So how do you expect to have any power in your life if you refuse to get with God in prayer and Bible study? Do you think all that stuff you learn on Sunday morning is enough to get you through the deep waters that come along in life. Do you not think there will be any deep water in life? Seriously???

Pray without ceasing, – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray all the time. Ok, that doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour on your knees, but it does mean that you stay plugged in to the source of your power, strength, joy, peace, patience, loving kindness, gentleness, goodness, self-control. Wow – sounds like the fruits of the Spirit, right? Bingo! If you are not plugged in to the source – the trinity – Father, Son, Spirit – you can’t do life the way it’s supposed to be done. Yep, that’s what I said. An attitude of prayer – those little prayers that shoot through your mind all day long – they are heard by God through Christ. We pray those prayers all day – you know the ones, like, LORD HELP ME – you think He doesn’t hear it? Think again. That is an attitude of prayer. That’s how you stay plugged in to your source! Praise Him today! ❤

A great way to plug-in is to have a devotional book based on the Word of God. My recommendation is one by Lucinda Berry Hill called COFFEE WITH JESUS. It’s unique because it is her original poetry! Poetry, of course resonates with me. If you would like your own copy, please go to the link below. 🙂

http://www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com/

Oh – and hey… there’s a rumor she has another book in the works – I don’t know whether I was supposed to tell ya – but I guess I spilled the beans!  I shouldn’t be listening to rumors anyway, right???

BE BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE GOD'S CHOICE

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (2)

OBJECTS IN MIRROR
In Nazi-occupied Holland, 13-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are forced to take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse.  They took with them a strong faith that everything would be alright.

Why are morning devotions so important? I mean, I don’t tell my husband I love him every morning, but he knows I do. Doesn’t God just automatically know that I love Him too? Sometimes I think we look at the concept of devotions the wrong way. We think it’s for God, but guess what? It’s for our benefit. It’s something we do for ourselves.

God already knows the standard – He IS the standard. He never changes and He never moves. We, on the other hand, do the hokey pokey, turn ourselves around and change is as constant in this world as can be! Do we need to be reminded of God’s standard? Ya think???

I can only speak for myself, but some mornings it’s difficult to look at myself in the mirror. Aside from the ten hours of sleep in which I toss and turn and who knows what else, which makes me look funnier than a circus clown, I see other things. I see the imperfections in character. The bad things are magnified in my reflection. I need to read God’s Word. I need to be forgiven, restored, assured that I am as close to my heavenly Father as I can possibly be.

We may argue that those negative things are amplified in the mirror because our enemy makes them larger. That may be the case, but regardless, I still need to meet with my Savior every day. I prefer to meet with Him in the mornings, but I understand a work schedule and how difficult that can be. I’m not critical of anyone who does not have morning devotions. For me it just gets my day off to a great start. I need Jesus. I need His love. I need His wisdom. I need His assurance and His strength.

A large cup of coffee and God’s love through His Son, Jesus.  As I study His Word and lean on Him it strengthens my faith.  It’s going to be a great day!

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (12)

LOST IN A BOOK

Most writers are also avid readers. Picture a good book and a cup of flavored coffee or green tea, with a pet curled up either on your lap or on the floor next to you. That is a picture-perfect reading day. Add a nice little rain shower outdoors and it’s even better!

Reading is one of the best ways to escape reality known to man. If you check books out from the library, it’s also one of the least expensive ways to escape. I enjoy movies and TV shows, but to be honest, that costs too much and I’m not one for re-runs, so it’s better if I check out a book from the library. No re-runs and I save a ton of money.

There are some very good choices at my local library. There are imaginary worlds that I have no problem getting completely immersed in. I wonder why I am so easily sucked in? Maybe it’s because my brain effectively simulates the events of the book in the same way it processes events in the real world. I don’t know – just a guess.

When the Bible talks about how God will provide a WAY OF ESCAPE from sin and sorrow and difficult times, I believe that the number one escape is that of getting lost in a work of fiction!

It’s so easy to put myself in one character’s shoes and pretend I am her! So of course it becomes a quest of sorts to finish the book – to find out how the story ends – what happens to ME.

Maybe you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about. That means you’ve never gotten lost in a book before. Believe it or not, it takes a little practice to lose yourself in a book! Just find a book about something that interests you. I like books set in the Civil War era. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Try to relate with at least one of the characters. Pretty soon, you’ll become that character – if you will let yourself.

Give it a go… it’s really fun! 😉