forgiveness

Create Kindness

IMG_2649First, she offered a henna pencil, something that was home to her. She gave what was most precious.

There are reasons why she would be weary. She has accepted many apologies.

 

A science experiment and she has remembered the most objects. She takes her small prize, a magnifying glass.

He looks over at it, his fingertip touching the clear edge. She has accepted many apologies.

Five minutes pass, when he returns to his desk, the magnifying glass is sitting on its surface. She nods her head and pushes it towards his hand.

 

Kids create kindness effortlessly. They don’t see the color of skin. They don’t see inequality. They don’t see disability.

And they are willing to forgive, over and over again.

 

When you grow past seven the hand that extends slows.

The willingness to forgive hardens.

IMG_2648God wants our giving hearts to be soft, like the seven year old who continually gives what is most precious.

He longs for us to kneel every time, in love and in forgiveness.

To create Kindness each and every day.

 

How can you create kindness today? 

What changes as we age that makes kindness more difficult? 

Healing our Hearts

_240_360_Book.932.coverWounded by God’s People. 

This should be an oxymoron, but that is not reality. We are fallible.

 

I don’t know if I know any one who has not been wounded. It’s devastating and painful. I know the sleepless nights and the spaces of tears and not knowing where to turn, feeling lost and hopeless.

Wise Anne Graham Lotz offers us hope through the story of Hagar, Abraham’s Egyptian slave who bore him Ismael.

She offers us hope that God sees and loves the wounded…

here is the kicker. He sees and loves the wounders too.

 

Um… no. That is not how it works. But, yes it is.

If we seek complete healing this is how it works. Hard lesson? Yes. I struggle with this, I want the apology and justice. Do we always receive that? No.

The daughter of Billy Graham and a woman in ministry, Anne has sustained hurt. With honestly, she shares the moments when she inflicted hurt too.

wounders

She [Hagar] had to stop her sobbing, stop fighting her wounders- mentally, emotionally, and spiritually- and just be still.

 

It is then that we realize, God is still there. He never left us.

We realize that often wounders, have been wounded too, this should open space for forgiveness.

 

I also love her example of Jesus . “He demonstrates that one way to overcome emotional pain is to focus on the needs of others- to reach out and help someone else who may also be suffering.”

In the messy aftermath of being wounded, About Proximity was born. That is the honest truth.

 

The prayer she shared in the book is now my prayer, I share it with you.

lotzThis book is simply an important read for our hearts.

Leave a comment to win a hard-covered copy of the book! What do you need to let go of this day? 

{This book is from BookSneeze, where I review a title in order to give away the book to you!}

An End of Summer Read

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I wanted to give away one more summer inspired read! (Who can believe summer has drifted by again?)

Colleen Coble is a best-selling author of romantic mysteries.

Visit her website here.

 

I confess, I’m not a mystery girl. I read the end of the book before I finish more cases than not! I know it’s terrible. I know many of you love mysteries especially if there is a love story within the suspense. If that’s the case, you will love Rosemary Cottage. In my book giveaways, I am trying to find book genres for everyone!

The story takes place on North Carolina’s Outer Banks at Hope Beach Cottage. Reading the book is like taking a mini vacation to the shore. Amy Lang is a mid-wife and a surfer. She’s also mourning the death of her brother, Ben. His disappearance at sea during a surfing outing has left questions in her mind.

Down the beach lives Cost Guard Officer Curtis Ireland. He too is mourning the lose of his sister and single Mom, Gina, killed in a boating accident. Curtis now cares for his niece, Raine, left behind.

Together, they join forces to solve the mystery of their siblings deaths. Only to find there is much more to the story.

 

I loved the setting of the cottage beach house and the quaint town. Amy had a place of solace to return too when things were hard, we can all ask ourselves if we too have a place like that in our lives. There are some strong supporting characters, surfing Aunt Edith and misguided, young Heather. The story takes a number of surprising twists and turns. I’d be interested if anyone else figures out the mystery before the end. I like to be positive on my reviews, but I did find this one to be a little far-fetched. Still, quite entertaining and fast-paced. I enjoyed it enough to be interested in reading her other books.

There is a great reading group guide in the end and I love how it draws you more deeply into the story. Here is great questions to think about:

Have you ever kept something to yourself because it was too painful to talk about? This book at its core is about deception, secrets, and forgiveness. These are topics that are powerful to think about in our every day lives and face head on.

 

Leave a comment and take one last summer beach trip to Hope Island! I’ll be giving away one copy of the book. 

Amy, as a midwife, was a healer in her work and her heart. Do you know someone like this in your life?

{This review is part of BookSneeze: where I give an honest review in exchange for a book to give away to you!}

Here are some of her other titles.

coble

Take a Chance on Me

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Today I get to introduce you to Susan May Warren!

I’m learning that you all like fiction and she is a fixture in the world of Christian fiction. Susan has wrote more than thirty novels! Here is the link to her website full of great information. She spent eight years with her husband and four kids as a missionary in Russia. She and her family now live in Northern Minnesota, where she writes full-time.

Take a Chance on Me will be a part of series about the Christiansen family of Northern Minnesota. There are seven adult siblings in the family and this 7-book series will follow each one of them. Take a Chance on Me is the first! So, if you like the book there is more to come.

 

The setting of Deep Haven, Minnesota and the Christiansen resort of Evergreen Lake drew me into the story right away, think rustic summer vacation.

This first story follows the eldest Christiansen son, Darek, a single-father. And wait for it… the story has not one, but two love stories going on simultaneously. I know, it’s enough to make you pass out 🙂

 

I most enjoyed the book because of its theme of forgiveness. The characters in this story have deep frailty. To experience a future of hope they need to forgive the past.

The longing to be more and to let go of past hurts is something we can all relate to… to take a chance on faith and forgiveness.

 

I love these discussion questions:

In what circumstances have you doubted God’s kindness?

Looking back, are there any difficult circumstances in your past that you now see as pruning, shaping you into who you were meant to be? 

 

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of the book! 

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Be Still: Joanne Bishof

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Be Still my Soul is a novel of hope and forgiveness. Love stories are my favorite and this book needed to be finished in the late hours of the night! This touching story is also not your typical story of love. The author, sweet Joanne Bischof shares some words of encouragement about hope. I am so excited to read more of her work as it is published.

1. What role did hope play in lives of Lonnie and Gideon in your book Be Still My Soul?

Great question. For Lonnie, she clung to hope in a great way. Being married to a man she did not love, and who did not love her could have been a recipe for a life of sadness. But she held on to the hope that God would see her through somehow. That His eye was on her and that He had her best interest in mind. It wasn’t an easy road to walk, and though it was laced with heartache, she trusted in Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

For Gideon, he experienced the absence of hope. He was certain that a life of goodness, a life with the Lord, was too far gone to him. He didn’t think he was worthy of that. As he went through his days with Lonnie by his side, he began to sense something in her that was different from anyone he’d ever known. What he saw in her was God’s love, grace and goodness, and this planted a seed of hope within him. Throughout Be Still My Soul, that seed blooms and blossoms as Gideon learns what it means to care for others more than himself.

2. What encouragement can you give to someone who feels like they are in a hopeless situation much like Lonnie in your story.

There is a verse that I clung do during a very difficult time in my life, one that felt quite hopeless. “‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2) This is such a powerful reminder that we are never alone. Though it may feel like the river is going to overflow us, or that surely, the fire will scorch us, God’s word says that neither shall happen. And that he will be with us. Take comfort in these words and rest in the promise that you are never alone.

The Hope Chronicles:

Read a Letter from heroine Lonnie Sawyer.

“I’m reminded that the Lord works in mysterious ways. That hope and heartache can entwine.”

joanne-bishof Joanne Bishof is the author of Be Still me Soul and the forthcoming Though my Heart is Torn. Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Follow her work at her websitefacebook, twitter, and pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter here. 

Enter a comment below and WIN A COPY of Be Still My Soul.

Shakespeare Behind Bars

Shakespeare Behind Bars  is an award winning documentary film.

The movie documents a year of following the Shakespeare Behind Bars theater troupe. The troupe began in the mid 1990’s with volunteer director Curt Tofteland and inmates at Luther Luckett.

Shakespeare’s The Tempest takes place on a remote island. The story follows Prospero whose throne was taken unjustly by his brother. Prospero seeks to restore himself and establish justice. There are strong underlying themes of forgiveness and justice in this great work of Shakespeare.

The film is a beautiful and moving example of the power of creative arts in the lives of those who seek to be renewed.

This film is also an example of the term restorative justice.

The restorative justice page of the organization World Renew is a great resource.

Definition: Restorative Justice is a biblically based view of criminal justice that attempts to engage victims, offenders and the affected communities in bringing about deep and lasting solutions by focusing on restitution, restoration, healing, and the future. At its core, it’s about relationships.

Have you witnessed creative arts help restore life?