Friday, April 24, 2015

Small Talk Giveaway WINNER!

It was a pleasure running the giveaway this week and receiving entrants from coast to coast!  The computer picked a random winner yesterday, and I have contacted her.  Tracy K. of New Jersey will be receiving a free, signed copy of Small Talk soon!

I know I will be chewing on the book snippets that I posted this week for some time.  Thanks for joining me in learning more about how motherhood and our faith intertwine - about how motherhood is indeed a ministry in the truest sense!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Small Talk: GIVEAWAY and Spotlight #3

There are only 3 hours left to register for a chance to win your copy of Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters Most by Amy Julia Becker!  This week, I have shared my review and some favorite snippets from the book.  It is divided into 29 chapters, each of which focuses on a theological topic as it relates to parenting.

The final topic I chose for today is LAUGHTER from her chapter with the same name.  Amy Julia shares a trick that she learned while working for a Christian youth ministry out of college:

"My boss back then told me that when things were tense at work or when she had to do something that might be tedious, like lead a staff meeting, she would pray for laughter.

I never thought I would apply that advice to my family.  But then the tension that came from exhaustion filled our house and tedious logistics overtook my days.  I was close to giving up on prayer altogether.  Instead, I started to pray for laughter.  For a long time, in fact, this was my only consistent prayer for our family... 

Whenever laughter broke through, it reminded me that God was with us.  

I began to appreciate how easily my kids laugh... 

Jesus tells us that our faith ought to resemble that of little children.  I wonder if our laughter ought to resemble theirs too.  And I wonder if laughter - holy laughter, laughter that brings us together and emerges out of love - is the soil for faith."


It goes to show that laughter really is the best medicine - even in family life.

Register to win your copy of Small Talk by scrolling down to find the entry form or by clicking here.  The contest will end at 12 pm EST today.  All entrants will receive an invitation to join my email listserv - just click on the link that will come in your email if you want to accept!  Good luck!



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Small Talk: GIVEAWAY and Spotlight #2

This week, I am giving away a free, signed copy of Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters Most by Amy Julia Becker.  The book is divided into 29 chapters, each of which focuses on a theological topic as it relates to parenting.

Yesterday through tomorrow, I'm sharing snippets of Amy Julia's book with you.  These are snippets that I found particularly poignant and meaningful.  They also help to demonstrate her style, which is a subtle mix of theological reflection and real life vignettes.

The topic I chose for today is KINDNESS from her chapter with the same name.  Amy Julia writes:

"It wasn't until I wanted to teach my children how to be kind that I realized kindness can't really be taught.  Only then did I notice that in the Bible kindness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit.  It's not something we can will or create; it's something that emerges from an organic relationship with God in which God is dwelling within us and transforming our faults and failings and making us into ones who more fully act and think like his children.

Perhaps I can give my kids a foundation for kindness by teaching them to follow some basic rules - share; don't grab; use your words.  Perhaps I can build on that foundation by explaining how God has been kind to me and to them, in loving us when we are unlovable, again and again.  Perhaps then we will all begin to respond to the gentle nudges of the Spirit.  Perhaps then we will become kind, not in random ways, but in a sustained way."

As a parent, I have sought to foster kindness in my children.  But I have never prayed that God would augment that fruit of the Spirit in my children's hearts.  Have you?  After reading this, I plan to!

Register to win your copy of Small Talk by scrolling down to find the entry form or by clicking here.  The contest will end at 12 pm EST tomorrow.  All entrants will receive an invitation to join my email listserv - just click on the link that will come in your email if you want to accept!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next snippet on LAUGHTER as a kind of family medicine...Don't miss it!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Small Talk: GIVEAWAY and Spotlight #1

This week, I am giving away a free, signed copy of Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters Most by Amy Julia Becker.  The book is divided into 29 chapters, each of which focuses on a theological topic as it relates to parenting.

Today through Thursday, I will be sharing snippets of Amy Julia's book with you.  These are snippets that I found particularly poignant and meaningful.  They also help to demonstrate her style, which is a subtle mix of theological reflection and real life vignettes.

The topic I chose for today is BIRTH from her chapter with the same name.  Amy Julia writes this while pregnant with her third child:

"Just as physical birth is messy and complicated, being born spiritually is not a neat and tidy transformation.  It is an ongoing story of neediness and growth and trust.

As I begin to prepare our household for this third child - find the bassinet and infant car seat, dusting off Penny's newborn clothes, searching bins in the basement for rattles and swaddling blankets and teething rings - I begin to remember the vulnerability of new life. New babies have to learn even the simplest things - how to eat and sleep and smile.  Now that I've gone through infancy with the older two, I understand that birth is only the beginning of a relationship that asks a lot of the parent and expects nothing but dependency from the child.  Maybe dependency is all God asks of us."

Have you allowed the Father to care for you today?

Register to win your copy of Small Talk by scrolling down to find the entry form or by clicking here.  The contest will end at 12 pm EST on Thursday.  All entrants will receive an invitation to join my email listserv - just click on the link that will come in your email if you want to accept!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next snippet on KINDNESS...Don't miss it!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Small Talk: A Review and GIVEAWAY!

Amy Julia and Me

I have been eager to launch this week's giveaway.  I want to introduce you to a seminary friend of mine, a friend who has gone on to write and touch thousands.  Amy Julia Becker is a regular blogger for Christianity Today on Thin Places, and an author who has now published five books.  But most importantly, she's a mom who wants faith to make a difference in her parenting like you and me.

Her newest book is entitled Small Talk: Learning from My Children about What Matters Most.  The title certainly intrigued me.  But AJ's story does too.  She is a mom to two girls and one boy - and her first daughter was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome.  AJ has gone on to become an influential Christian voice on disability in our generation.

For those of you who are familiar with her writing, you know that she does not shy away from tough topics.  I appreciate how she tackles some pretty meaty theological issues in her book, but under the guise of ordinary mommy life.  From fights in her minivan to venting frustration by eating nachos and drinking wine (haha), AJ presents a very real glimpse into her family, and her insights on a variety of topics are a gift.

I love how children can give us snapshots of the holy through their unfiltered candor and innocence.  Sometimes things my boys have said have brought me to my knees, even as I hear their little voices muddle through a prayer.  I am reminded of how Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children (Matt. 19:14).  After reading Small Talk, you will believe it.

Favorite chapters of mine include Rest, Disability, God, Spirit, and Laughter.  While I cannot share all of my tagged passages, I've decided that in honor of Small Talk, I will share just that - small snippets of AJ talking to us from her book over the next few days.  I will then choose one giveaway winner who will receive a free, signed copy of AJ's book!

Register below by scrolling down to find the entry form or by clicking here.  The contest will end at 12 pm EST on Thursday.  All entrants will receive an invitation to join my email listserv - just click on the link that will come in your email if you want to accept!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for an insight on birth that has everything to do with your faith walk today...

Zondervan, 2014