Dinner for Dinos – Children’s Book

Dinner-for-Dinos

This delightful new board book, Dinner for Dinos: Gulf, Guzzle, Chomp, Chew, will help children want to eat healthy foods without a battle.

It will appeal to young children on several levels (target audience is ages 4-8). The colorful illustrations draw the eye, and the delightful rhymes appeal to the ear. Even the youngest hands can handle and turn the pages.

The message of the book is laid out in descriptive action words. It promotes healthy eating without being preachy. A spirit of cooperation and thankfulness to God for the special meal makes this book a delightful addition to any children’s library.

I’m adding it to my collection of children’s books to read with my granddaughter. This is one we will enjoy reading together.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book.


White People Are Exhausting – Review of “I’m Still Here”

I'm Still Here_Austin Channing Brown

It’s Draining

“White people are exhausting.”

Maybe we hear statements like this, and react with, “Another white-bashing.

But maybe it’s because we just haven’t listened, really listened, before.

If we dare, we listen again. Or maybe really hear for the first time.

And then do something more than listen.

Listen to Austin

One of the voices we need to hear is Austin Channing Brown’s voice. Austin isn’t a man. Or white. Austin is a black Christian woman who speaks from her heart in her new book, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. “White people are exhausting” is the opening line in the first chapter.

She speaks powerfully.

First, listen:

“In too many churches and organizations, listening to the hurt and pain of people of color is the end of the road, rather than the beginning.. . .

Too often, dialogue functions as a stall tactic, allowing white people to believe they’ve done something heroic when the real work is yet to come.”

Sometimes it hurts to hear her speak. She tells stories that are gut-wrenching about racial inequality. She speaks truths that we don’t want to swallow.

“In every previous classroom, I had been responsible for decoding teachers’ references to white, middle-class experiences. ‘It’s like when you’re sailing’ . . . or ‘You know how when you’re skiing, you have to’ . . . My white teachers had an unspoken commitment to the belief that we are all the same, a default setting that masked for them how often white culture bled into the curriculum.”

But our discomfort shouldn’t stop us from listening. It is holy work.

“Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort. It’s not a comfortable conversation for any of us. It is risky and messy. It is haunting work to recall the sins of our past. But is this not the work we have been called to anyway? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and inspire transformation? It’s haunting. But it’s also holy.”

But just listening is not enough.

Do Differently

Austin relays a story about her field trip as a student visiting a history museum in the south. They saw the “happy slaves” who sang in the fields. Back on the bus afterwards, conversations grew heated between the black students and white students.

The next stop was at a lynching exhibit. Again, emotion was heavy when the students climbed back on the bus. Tensions were climbing high as white students defended their family histories and black students expressed how it felt seeing the photos of lynchings.

Finally, a white girl stood to speak. Instead of talking about not being responsible for the past, she said this:

“I don’t know what to do with what I’ve learned,” she said. “I can’t fix your pain, and I can’t take it away, but I can see it. And I can work for the rest of my life to make sure your children don’t have to experience the pain of racism.”

And then she said nine words that I’ve never forgotten: “Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.” Those words changed the air on that bus.

Doing nothing isn’t an option.

Austin talks about white people who use her as a confessional. They want her to tell them “it’s okay” and make them feel better about what they’ve said or done, a “self-indulgent desire for relief.”

But her comeback is a challenge instead: “So what are you going to do differently?

And what are we going to do differently?

“Reconciliation chooses sides, and the side is always justice.”

We have to keep working. For justice. For inclusion. For peace.

“But reconciliation is not about white feelings. It’s about diverting power and attention to the oppressed, toward the powerless. It’s not enough to dabble at diversity and inclusion while leaving the existing authority structure in place. Reconciliation demands more.”

I don’t know the answers.

But the problem is becoming clearer and clearer: Maybe we are exhausting. Let’s begin there.

* * *

sharing with Lyli, Maree, Deb,
DawnDebbie, Lori, Rachel

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book


Are Your Words Bullets or Seeds?

Bullets or Seeds

The Grocery Store Mom

I was on the soup aisle when I first heard her.

She was yelling, yelling, yelling.

I turned the corner to see what was going on. It was a mom with two elementary-age kids beside the frozen foods.

Her tongue was shooting bullets of hurtful words into their young souls.

Both kids just stood there, frozen themselves. Taking it in. Not talking back. No expressions on their faces.

I felt like a witness. To a shooting without guns.

I was disturbed. Helpless. Wondering if I should do something.

If this is how the mother acts in public, how does she act in private, with nobody watching?

Bullets or Seeds?

We’ve all lashed out with hurtful words. They explode out of us. Uncontrollable. Uncontainable. We don’t care where they land or how deep they penetrate. In the moment, anyway.

My pastor shared a word metaphor a few weeks ago in his sermon. He said our words are either bullets or seeds. Gary Chapman spoke of it first in his book, Love as a Way of Life.

We use words as bullets when we:

  • Speak harshly
  • Criticize deeply
  • Spread lies

We leave hurt bodies in our wake. We become living cemeteries. We sow graveyards wherever we go.

But we plants seeds with words when we:

  • Speak love
  • Encourage
  • Give grace

We nurture relationships. We grow people. We will eventually see good crops around us. And we will be encouraged ourselves.

Our words can grow people. Or our words can shoot them down.

God is glorified when we scatter his message of love, not hate, into the atmosphere around us. But he is disrespected when we disrespect others.

The Post Office Dad

I was later witness to another parent, another set of kids.

This time it was a father. I was in line at the post office. He was ahead of me with his three children, a set of triplets. Two girls and a boy, around 3 years old.

The kids would play between his legs, talk with each other, and generally look around. The dad would reach down and talk to them, gently, playfully. Their love for each other was obvious.

His words nurtured his kids. But his words to them nurtured me, too. I felt watered. The father’s kindness was contagious.

How we talk to other people matters. Not just to the people we’re talking to. It matters to others around us as well.

Be a planter, not a shooter.

We all are listening.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

* * *

Where have you seen bullets and seeds? Please share your thoughts on the power of words.

sharing with Susan, Kelly,
RonjaKelly, Char, Meghan,
GaylAnita, Terri


When You Are Confused, Is God?

Even when you feel confused, remember God is not. When You Just Don't Get It

Things happen we don’t understand. We get confused. We get anxious.

What happens to our faith in these moments?

Sometimes we run from God. We don’t see Him coming to our rescue. So we get impatient and go outside the boundaries for help.

Or maybe we freeze up. If God isn’t giving us a clear answer, we become paralyzed into inaction. We want total clarity before we make any move at all.

But there is a third approach.

Read it all here – “When You Just Don’t Get It

* * *

I’m writing today at Do Not Depart. Will you join me there?

“When You Just Don’t Get It”

sharing with DebDawn, SusanDawn,
Rachel, Lori, Crystal, Debbie


Start in Private

Start-in-Private-Holy-Helps-Richard-Rogers

Invisible?

If nobody sees it, does it matter? Is it real?

We live in an era of publicly-groomed lives. We carefully manage the image we reveal to the world. We photoshop our portraits; we filter our Instagram pics; we tidy up our Facebook posts.

But what are we really like behind the face we put out into the world? Who are we in private?

We often undervalue the importance of our private practices.

  • If we won’t get public applause, do we want to do it?
  • If there is no outward reward, do we exercise self-discipline?
  • If we lack the desire to do it alone, do we forget it altogether?

What we often forget is this:

The outside stuff—the stuff that people see—is a direct result of our inner stuff.

What we think about and what we do and what we value when we’re alone will be reflected to the outside world when we’re together.

“And just as our bodies need daily refreshing, so do our souls.”
– Richard Rogers

Private Disciplines

Think about it spiritual terms. That’s what Rogers does in Holy Helps for a Godly Life. This week’s readings, chapters 4-6, begin focusing on the private spiritual disciplines as opposed to the public disciplines addressed in chapters 1-3.

“Therefore, without the private helps, the public are less profitable. For example, coming to church (the only way many know of serving God) cannot do that good to the best Christians which is to be looked for, if it is not accompanied with the private helps.”

To devote time to praying in private or meditating on truth, we first have to wake up to its value. Without a sense of its worth, we won’t do it.

Once we realize the importance of private practices, the more likely we’ll be to do them.

Make It Easier

Rogers suggests we can improve our private practices by making them easier.

  • Set a time for your meditation.
  • Read scripture or other spiritual books to prompt your thoughts.
  • Pray about real things happening right in front of you.

Outward improvement begins from the inside. When we take care of the inner self, our outward self will show it.

“Holy meditation on our estate and on God’s bounty toward us frames us after God’s image. And this works great things in our hearts.”

When we invest ourselves in God in our private world, we’re more apt to notice his grace in our public world. We’re then better equipped to help others and to spread peace.

If we want to better love others in public ways, let’s begin in private.

* * *

Do you have a favorite spiritual discipline you do in private? How does it prepare you for public service? Please share in the comments.

Tim Challies is walking us through this Puritan book, Holy Helps for a Godly Life, a few chapters each week. Read about it on his blog and on his Facebook page.


Who to Love? For How Long? Everybody, Always

Say Who?

Just not her.

Anybody but him.

Sometimes we just want to say no. No, God, don’t ask me to love that person. Bring me someone else that’s not as messy. Not as rude. Not as…well, unlovable.

But that’s the person we need to love the most, yes?

Often my attempts fail miserably when I try to love THAT person. But even our weakest efforts count for something.

And even if our shaky love never reaches that person enough to be felt or to change them, maybe we are changed in the effort.

“Find a way to love difficult people more, and you’ll be living the big life Jesus talked about. Go find someone you’ve been avoiding and give away extravagant love to them. You’ll learn more about God, your neighbor, your enemies, and your faith.
– Bob Goff

Whether you have a messy person in your life right now or not, Bob Goff is a person who will inspire you to get out there and love people. Not because of who Bob is (well, maybe a little because of who Bob is; he’s stunning). And not because of who you are or they are. But be emboldened to love more because of who God is.

This is a beautifully motivating book by Bob, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. It’s full of his amazing personal stories, his encounters with interesting people, and his experiences with God. If you’re ever down or feel the world is too dark, read this book. You’ll be encouraged again.

And the next time you ask yourself—Who am I to love?—here’s a phenomenal answer:

“Every time I wonder who I should love and for how long I should love them, God continues to whisper to me: Everybody, always.

Quotes from Everybody, Always

I highlighted a gazillion lines from Everybody, Always. Here are a just a few from the many.

“What I had done is make it about me, yet again, and our lives will never be about Jesus if we keep making everything about us.”

“We don’t need to call everything we do ‘ministry.’ Just call it Tuesday. That’s what people who are becoming love do.”

“We can either keep track of all the good we’ve done or all the good God’s done. Only one will really matter to us.”

“What if we found out God’s big plan for our lives is that we wouldn’t spend so much of our time trying to figure out a big plan for our lives? Perhaps He just wants us to love Him and love each other.”

“Friendships can last a lifetime, but we make them three minutes at a time.”

You don’t need to take all the steps, just the next one. God may not give us all the green lights we want, but I’m confident He gives us all the green lights He wants us to have at the time. Go with what you’ve got.”

“We’re not held back by what we don’t have, but what we don’t use.”

“I’ll say I am too busy to help someone in need, when it isn’t time I lack; it’s compassion.”

People don’t grow where they’re planted; they grow where they’re loved.”

“Don’t worry about who’s in the Oval Office with the launch codes. Your oval office is a circle thirty feet around you. Go love the people in that circle. Fill it with difficult people, the ones you’ve been avoiding, the ones you disagree with, the ones who are hard to get along with. Go find a couple of witch doctors.”

* * *

Do you have a difficult person in your life? Are they hard to love? Please share in the comments how you’re overcoming reluctance.

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book