Friday, November 30, 2007

Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush

World AIDS Day - December 1 is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection. On December 1 and beyond, I urge you to pray for all the victims of this disease and to lift in prayer those who minister to AIDS victims.

Jenna Bush wrote a book for young adults called Anna's Story: A Journey of Hope based on her work with Unicef and specifically time spent with a seventeen year old girl who was infected with HIV at birth. Ms. Bush has a section at the back of her book with ideas on how we can be involved in helping those who live with HIV/AIDS as well as information and websites to educate youth. Go here to find out more about Ana's Story.

My church also put out a missions book dealing with AIDS that was quite moving - Africa’s Soul Hope: The AIDS crisis and the church **by Ellen Decker.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meeting Jesus by Keith Schwanz

I'm reading an interesting missions book called Meeting Jesus by Keith Schwanz. The book is about taking the Jesus Film to various third world locations. The author begins each chapter with Scripture from the book of Luke and continues writing as if the story of taking the Jesus Film into the world was continuing the gospel of Luke. Mr. Schwanz isn't adding to the Bible of course, but he helps us to realize that what we do with our time on earth does matter and has eternal significance. He gave me reason to pause and ask myself how I am fulfilling the great commission...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Reading

If you are looking for some tender, Christmas books, I have a few suggestions. The ladies at the library check-out counter will tell you that when I say a few it doesn't necessarily mean a few... I will update here as I read more. Some of the books listed below were read last year, others I just discovered this year on my public library's current release shelf.

The books in no particular order:

~ The Christmas Story: Luke 2, Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-23

~ An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson - A mother and her young adult son each have secrets, set in the 1960's.

~ Till Morning is NIGH by Leisha Kelly - A story that will help you to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Commercialism is far from the families represented in this book who barely have enough to survive, yet they do because of their faith in God, creativity, and by sharing their resources.

~ The Special Guest: A Christmas Story by Lee and Donna Hall - The authors wrote the book for their children, but it's a short story with a beautiful message that can be enjoyed by all ages at Christmas and throughout the year.

~ The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans - A children's book that I recommend reading aloud with children under 10 to make sure they understand what the author is attempting to teach to those with eyes to see. The book can be read in minutes, but the discussion that follows can help your children discover the true meaning of loving as Jesus loves and loving others as if they were Jesus especially at Christmas time.

~ The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans - A story of a widow and young family who moves in with her. Together they learn what Christmas is truly about.

~ The Gift by Richard Paul Evans - heart wrenching yet beautiful at the same time, story of a young boy's sacrifice and love.

The Red Glove Series by Karen Kingsbury (the next four books listed below).

~ Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury - a story of sacrifice and unconditional love.

~ Maggie’s Miracle by Karen Kingsbury - predictable, but beautiful story of an 8 year old boy and his mother who is a widow. (Karen Kingsbury includes several suggestions for "Red Gloves" service projects to aid children at the end of the book.)

~ Sarah’s Song by Karen Kingsbury - a life changing story shared in a nursing home.

~ Hannah’s Hope by Karen Kingsbury - a sentimental Christmas story of a 15 year old girl whose only wish is to be held by the father she never knew.

~ A Carol for Christmas by Robin Lee Hatcher - two people discover the true essence of Christmas.

~ Christmas Vows $5.00 Extra by Lori Copeland - Discover the joy of Christmas in this endearing tale of a desperate father stranded with his three young children and an eccentric old woman they met by accident.

~ Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright - Beautiful Christmas story that has the potential to transform lives.

~ Boo Humbug by Rene Gutteridge - quirky and fun, "A Christmas Carol" with a twist. An attempt to get a town to embrace the true meaning of Christmas.

~ The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado - every 25 years an angel visits a candle shop and touches a candle - whoever receives that candle gets a miracle...

Friday, November 16, 2007

365 Things to Do with Your Kids...

I just finished a cute, little book by Bill Adler, Jr. 365 Things to Do with Your Kids: Before They're Too Old to Enjoy Them. Basically he comes up with an idea and expands and describes it. I already do many of his ideas and plan to try others. Some of my favorites I've listed below:

# 34 Play Imaginary Stock Market

# 66 Create a continuing story with your kids.

# 137 Sit around thinking up "what ifs"

# 214 Every year on their birthdays write your children a letter telling them how much you love them

# 219 Celebrate a half birthday

# 226 Make wave bottles using colored water and oil and other liquids.

# 227 Make hand prints in plaster on paper plates; then paint and hang from ribbons

# 234 Have a family scavenger hunt

# 297 Play a memory game

# 352 Talk about what you would do if you had one hundred million dollars

# 353 Talk about all the great things you would still have if you didn't have any money at all.

# 355 Write a contract with your child over something important

# 365 Think up your own ideas for things you'd like to do together before your children are too old to enjoy them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Four Seasons Series

I'm reading a neat series co-authored by Gary Chapman (author of "The Five Love Languages") and Catherine Palmer. The books are fiction based on Gary Chapman's love languages and four seasons of marriage non-fiction works. Mr. Chapman says that "marriages are always moving from one season to another."

The titles of the four novels are:

It Happens Every Spring
Summer Breeze
Falling for You Again
Winter Turns to Sping.

He describes the four seasons:

"Winter - discouraged, detached, and dissatisfied
Spring - openness, hope, and anticipation
Summer - comfortable, relaxed, and enjoying life
Fall - uncertainty, negligence, and apprehension"

He says that "the cycle repeats itself many times throughout the life of a marraige, just as the seasons repeat themselves in nature." If you want more information on the Four Seasons of marriage check out his book - The Four Seasons of Marriage.

Regardless of the season that your marriage is in at this time you will find helpful advice and encouragement in story form. Enjoy!