Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review - Intentional Parenting by S. Goff, D. Thomas and M. Trevathan

This is about you, not just your child.

Regardless of age, parenting requires a certain amount of uncertainty. But you can be certain that your children look to you to help them discover who they are. And you can only offer that to the degree that YOU know who you are.

Over the years, Sissy Goff, David Thomas, and Melissa Trevathan have helped countless families through their ministry known as Daystar Counseling in Nashville, TN. Due to the unique setup of Daystar, each is frequently counseling not only the child but the parent as well. Having both perspectives provides an opportunity to speak into some of the most common struggles that parents face in today's fast-paced society.
Intentional Parenting is built around 12 chapters that each dispel some of the most common parenting myths and reminds all parents of truths that can empower them to be not only the parents that their children need but that God has called them to be. The book helps you discover first who you are and then takes that healthy person into a discovery of being more intentional, playful, consistent, merciful, and connected to your children.

Understanding your child. Understanding you.

I absolutely loved the idea of this book. A healthy parent produces healthy children, right? I had no idea the depth this book would go in with its 229 pages. You are paying for a book to sit on your shelves, refer back to at times as well as your own mini counseling service. It was extremely insightful.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of parenting from the general sense. Most parenting books have

Friday, April 12, 2013

Buy your NOT TODAY tickets ... today!

If you are a movie goer and tonight is the night you want to head to the theaters to hand over a lot of your hard earned money - then make your money count!

How many times have you bought tickets to a movie where you were entertained and someone's life was saved?

Me? Can't think of one time.

Today is different. Today you can make a difference. Today you can buy tickets to see the new movie hitting select theaters titled Not Today. The proceeds from this film, by Friends Media, a ministry of Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California go towards changing the actual lives of Dalit people in India.

Here is a quote from the movie website:
Working in partnership with the Dalit Freedom Network, Friends Church has made a $20 million commitment to build 200 schools for Dalit children. With education, young Dalits gain an understanding that we are all created equally and can live purpose-filled lives. According to Dr. Joseph D'souza, the International President of the Dalit Freedom Network:
"For three thousand years, one dominant religion branded more than one fourth of our nation's population as sub-human—nearly three hundred million people known by many as Dalits. Historically, any interaction between this alienated group and the mainstream has been met with harsh penalties, even violence. Separatism has been the accepted norm. It puts our nation in league with South Africa's old apartheid and some of the worst systems of slavery in the world."
Can one movie change everything in India? No. But what if that one movie could open the eyes of millions and challenge them to join in this meaningful fight? "There is a longing in the human heart for freedom," says Pastor Cork. "It is a universal longing."
NOT TODAY is a powerful reminder and call to action. If not today, then when?

Some amazing people have lent their voices to this movie and this cause. Listen to this video from Kari Jobe, one of the industry's premier worship leaders (currently on tour with Chris Tomlin).

If you're ready to hit the theaters tonight or this weekend here is some information. Unfortunately the film is very few starting locations (US only - CA, CO, FL, GA, MD, OH, OR, TN, TX, VA,WA). Check out the movie website for opportunities to bring it to your church, community or city.

If I haven't convinced you yet, or you live far from anywhere playing the movie (like me) you can still make a difference. Watch this video from the cast of Not Today to see what you can do today! A two minute video to change lives.

Because if Not Today, then when?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review - Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Invisble from Ginny Yttrup is a wonderful and rich story of the lives of three women and the God that loves them wonderfully. Each woman in the story has her own reason for wanting to feel "invisible" but most of it stems from shame. The story weaves together the healing that only God can give through His mercy and love and through the people He places in our path.

Back Cover Blurb:
Ellyn DeMoss -- chef, caf├ę owner, and lover of butter -- is hiding behind her extra weight. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him. 
Sabina Jackson -- tall, slender, and exotic -- left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. What’s she hiding from? Is it God? 
Twila Boaz has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival. But will she succeed? 
As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image. 
It is important to know that the book is written in first person, present tense. Which I must admit I really enjoyed. It draws you in so intimately to the core of each character. The chapters are unique to the voice of the characters and labelled well. Yttrup did an excellent job of making it easy for the reader to flow into the next mindset. Well-done!

I found the pace a little slow at first as the stage was set for each character and the beginning of their arcs. Yet, once I found myself in each of their skins it read smoother for me. The depth of the characters and their struggles drew me in deeper as the pages turned. Their growing friendship and developing faith journeys were enlightening to me and attended to some of my dry soul spots as well.

A fantastic read. A refreshing and inspiring message. A hopeful gift!

Be sure to check out Invisible.

Thanks to Handlebar Publishing for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


per·spec·tive  [per-spek-tiv]  noun

  • the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.
Perspective has everything to do with where you are and what you believe to be true at that moment. Someone can look at the same thing you are but have a different experience from it based on their perspective and how it differs from yours.

I have really been trying to work on this in my life. Being aware of other's perspectives and also attempting to maintain God's perspective on my life instead of my own. At times it comes easy and at others it is contrary to everything I feel inside.

Recently I had my very own object lesson of what God must see in me sometimes. Here is an example of an slightly off-base perspective in a movie:

My oldest daughter and I were watching a movie titled The Other End of the Line (trailer) and towards the end of this cute romantic comedy was a scene that caused both my daughter and I to do a double take. Let me set the stage for you:

  • East Indian girl falls in love with American boy
  • the girl gets caught in a lie about who she really was
  • the guy leaves her
  • she loses the respect of her family
  • her family is shamed in their Indian culture
The scene I am referring to is when the young woman decides to go on with her life, without the guy she fell in love with. There's a montage of her cleaning out her desk at work, taking a new job and with a sad face picking up the pieces and moving onward.  As this scene is unfolding the song in the background is Breathe.
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence
Living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word
Spoken to me

And I ... I'm desperate for you
And I ... I'm lost without you
Here's my issue - the scene visually depicts a woman devastated by her circumstances, trying to find solid ground to keep moving forward; yet the song is about love and devotion and need. Or so I thought.

Then the light switch came on for me. The folks responsible for placing this song in the movie likely had the wrong perspective and sometimes so do I. See in that particular scene you hear the actress giving a voice-over as she talks to a new group of recruits at her job. (They are East Indian people at a call center trying to act and sound like Americans on the phone.) She warns them not to get confused about who they truly are versus who they pretend to be at their job.

Isn't that exactly what that song represents?  It isn't just about the depth of our love for Jesus, but it is about letting nothing else become more important that our "being" with God. If He is the air we breathe - the sustenance of our lives - then he knows us intimately and we are nothing without Him. (Psalm 139).

Within God's perspective we find our truest selves. We see our gifts and talents, our passions and desires and our relationship qualities through His perspective. Then, if we believe that and lean into that we can't become lost, confused, or fall into the trap of pretending to be someone we aren't. We can't run out of air.

I won't go out on a limb and claim that the folks who chose the soundtrack knew that and were aiming for that perspective. However it reminded me that nothing in my life falls outside the realm of my Lord and Savior. He truly is the air I breathe - even if I forget about Him for awhile or get sidetracked or lose sight of who He made me to be. He is still there. And often times in my own life I tend to fall into the same pit that movie character was in (everything gone wrong) before I remember that He is with me.

Then, I take a deep breathe of Him and I gain the right perspective again. On everything.

Maybe this would be a better soundtrack for those scenes in your life when you find yourself at the bottom of a barrel, so to speak.

You said you'd never leave or forsake me
When you said, this life is gonna shake me
And you said this world is gonna bring trouble on my soul
This I know

When everything falls apart your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart you're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong, you keep holding on
You keep holding on

When I see the darkness all around me
When I see that tragedy has found me
I still believe your faithful arms will never let me go
And still I know

When everything falls apart your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart you're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong, you keep holding on
You keep holding on

Sorrow will last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun, its rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome, you have overcome

When everything falls apart your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart you're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong, you keep holding on
You keep holding on
                                        Fee - Everything Falls Apart

Today my prayer is this: Lord may you be the air I breathe everyday, every hour and every moment - no matter what. And help me to remember that when everything falls apart You are still there.

Now that is the right perspective.