What to Expect in the New Year

Happy New Year!

One of the highlights of Christmas this year also sheds a little light on what I think we can expect from God in the coming year.

It was my son’s gift to his sister.

David loves to give gifts. I’m sure it’s his “language of love.” For Mother’s Day, he bought me a wonderful digital camera. This Christmas, he bought Christine an ipod.

I think what he loves most of all is the look of surprised joy when the recipient opens the present: “You bought this for ME?!”

That’s probably why he wrapped Christine’s ipod in a very special way. Knowing she would immediately guess if he just wrapped the package it came in, he put it in a bigger box. Wrapped it. Then he put that into a very large box and wrapped it (all by himself, I might add).

Yes, she was surprised–and joyful.

I can’t help but think that God likes to Continue reading “What to Expect in the New Year”

A Gift Almost Missed (A Lesson in Seeing)

This message has to be both seen and heard, rather than read, to be grasped.

It’s only 4 minutes long. Click, sit back and watch, and I hope it will give you new eyes to see the gifts of today. (I’m not scowling, really–just squinting in the sun. Next time I’ll be more aware of the sun! Still getting this video thing down….)

(Little side note: This was shot 2 days ago, and when I tried to get it on this blog, something happened to the blog. In the process of trying to fix that problem, I contacted a friend. The results of that contact blessed us both, reigniting and deepening our friendship. So the “problem” of my blog being messed up was really a “disguised gift,” resulting in blessing for both of us. Remember: God is good, and at work even in our problems.)

Handling Fame, Fortune … and Cancer

The Purpose-Driven LifeRick Warren is the author of the wildly popular The Purpose-Driven Life and other books.

His books have brought his fame and fortune, what most people think they want.

But recently, he’s also had to deal with cancer.

Here’s how Rick Warren is dealing with all of his abundant gifts … including, the “gift” he never wanted.  (Excerpted from an interview Rick did with Paul Bradshaw.)

“People ask me, What is the purpose of life?”

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is

Continue reading “Handling Fame, Fortune … and Cancer”

Causes for Celebration

Today my family is rejoicing in good news:

1. My daughter had a parotid gland tumor removed last week, a very tricky surgery because the main facial nerve is right there. The surgery was successful–no nerve damage–and the tumor benign.

Many spiritual gifts came from that, including the witness to my children that people literally from all over the world, people they didn’t know but who knew Jesus and because of that, cared about her and me, prayed for her. Continue reading “Causes for Celebration”

“Eyes of Acceptance” (Audio Excerpt)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Aside from the food, I love the idea of counting blessings explicitly–with other
people, no less, over a feast! What could be better than that?

To celebrate and spread the blessing, I thought I’d record one of my favorite stories
from Abundant Gifts.

Click here to listen to the “Audio Note” I created for you.

I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, and if you want to make things easier for yourself on “black Friday,” why not order copies of Abundant Gifts? Just a few clicks and you’re done.

I will even personalize, sign it, and wrap it! AND you’ll get a free bonus book along with it.икони

[Abundant Gifts excerpt] The Eyes of Acceptance

I thought you’d enjoy a story from Abundant Gifts that, if you had the book, you’d be reading this week. This is an everyday gift and also speaks of gifts to others.

Then [Jesus] said to them, Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.Luke 9:48, NIV

Ernest Boyer Jr., in Finding God at Home (Harper & Row, 1994), tells how as a young boy he would tug on his great-grandfathers jacket to get his attention when the man was talking to someone. His great-grandfather would finish his sentence, stoop down to Ernest’s level, look at him, and wait patiently. “As he waited, he looked at me with eyes that told me I need not hurry, that there was time, eyes that said that I need not fear what he would think of what I might say, anything would be fine, eyes that seemed to see the person I most truly was and accept that person. His was caring of the deepest sort.”

Such a simple thing–to listen to a child. Yet this deceptively simple act of a great-grandfather influenced Continue reading “[Abundant Gifts excerpt] The Eyes of Acceptance”

Easter in Autumn

Easter lilyThis past Easter, I bought an Easter lily.  I love Easter lilies. Love the sweet aroma , the strong stem and glossy,  symmetrical leaves.

Every year at Easter our church gives the opportunity to buy a lily plant in honor of someone who has “gone before” as witness to the resurrection. I bought mine in memory of my dad, who two years before he died “became one of those born-agains” he used to scorn (including, of course, me).

I had prayed for him for some 30 years before he came to the Lord.

So,  my Easter lily was special.  Once a year, that sweet aroma that spills out of the trumpet-shaped flower would remind me of  hope.  The hope of Easter–life triumphing over death, fully and finally.

The thing about these plants, though, is I never quite know what to do with it afterward.  This year,  I set the pot in my garden under the pine trees. I watered it occasionally, whenever I watered the other plants in that area.

The other day, I looked a bit more carefully at it when I watered.

The plant that, last time I noticed, was a sickly looking stick with no leaves, was now vibrant. Not only that–but two blooms were ready to burst open!

Three days ago, one did open.  Today the second one opened. The fragrance fills the house. For of course, I brought it inside.

There’s even another small plant started–a baby lily, ready for next year.

Easter in autumn. Fresh hope as we head into winter.

“Winter,” in the form of certain stresses, challenges, and even threats, looms. But …  here are my lilies, spilling their improbable fragrance boldly.

Whatever comes, God is reminding me to hold onto hope.  Easter is ever here … not just in spring.  Easter comes in autumn, too. Hope can bloom anytime, anywhere.

Christmas in August–How to Get a Free Book

Abundant Gifts - 2nd editionWhen I worked as an editor at Campus Life magazine (many moons ago), August was the month Christmas was on our minds. That was the month we worked on the November/December issue.

I don’t know why, all these years later, I’m thinking of this. Maybe it’s because I have two teenagers of my own.

Anyway, I got to thinking how it might be fun to have a little “Christmas in August” sale.

Here’s how it works: When you buy a copy of Abundant Gifts, I give you a book! (As in give–gratis.)

The book will come from my “grab bag.”

You can specify whether you’d like it to be fiction or nonfiction. (Do it in the “special instructions” part of the order form, or if you send a check, in the note and email you send me.)

You can also get more specific, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to do more than send you a fiction or nonfiction book.

It’s kind of like the gifts God himself gives us. We know they are coming (because he’s so generous), we can even ask for what we want, but he reserves the right to decide what we get.

So click on this link and get yourself some added inspiration from Abundant Gifts, or give it and/or the free book to a friend. If you want to sample 5 stories from Abundant Gifts, click here.

And if you don’t like the grab bag book–oh well, I bet someone else will! Pass it on. “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Note: I don’t know how long my supplies of either Abundant Gifts or the grab-bag books will last, so if you’re at all inclined to accept this fun offer, now’s the time. Two books for less than $20 (including the shipping), and one of them signed by the author … I don’t know, seems pretty good to me!

An Easter Message: “Sick to Death”

I want to share a message with you that puts some perspective on the meaning of Easter … at least for me.

So click on the little player button, and sit back to listen to “Sick to Death” from Abundant Gifts … it’s only 4 minutes, 5 seconds long.

(And I would love to hear your response, and any reflection you’d like to share about what God has been showing you … just click the Comment button to share your thoughts.)