Share Four Somethings—October 2021
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Near the end of each month I share something I love, something I read, something I treasure, and something ahead with others at Heather’s.

Plus here’s my One Second video from last month . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

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Something Loved

  • MY PUNKINS 

I loved spending time this month with my three favorite punkins in the pumpkin patch.

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Something Read 

  • KINDLE SAMPLES

I have progress to report! I’ve been working on reducing the number of book samples I’ve collected on my Kindle.

[What is a Kindle sample? When you want to see if you’ll like a book before you buy it, tap the “Send a free sample” button on the book’s page on Amazon. Amazon will send a chapter or two to your Kindle or to your phone.]

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I started the year with 326 book samples.

I’m now down to only 4 samples!

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After reading the samples, I either deleted them, added them to my library list, or bought the full book.

Here’s how I did it: one small habit.

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Something Treasured

  • NONFICTION NOVEMBER

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One of my favorite reading challenges all year is almost here…#NonficNov.

See more about Nonfiction November here

We’ll chat about our favorite nonfiction books through daily Instagram challenges and Monday blog posts.

Here are 5 reasons to read nonfiction

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Something Ahead

  • ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT A GROUP PHOTO

I’m hoping all three of my grandkids will be here together this weekend. It hasn’t happened since last May. If everyone stays healthy, I’d love to get a photo of all three together!


previous Share Four Somethings

Featured Post

I had mentioned in this blog post about Philip Yancey’s two themes running through his life (suffering and grace).

Jerralea took it a step further and identified not only her two themes (faith and family) but also which vehicles she uses to display these themes.

It made me think about how I use books as one of the vehicles for better living out my two themes (love and family). Books help me learn more about God, about his creation, about relationships, about myself, etc. They’ve been a powerful vehicle my entire life.

Read Jerralea’s post here about her themes and vehicles. Then add your own links below.

DO I SPEND MY TIME SEEKING TREASURE?

What is a theme in your life? What helps you live it out? Share in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


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1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

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Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LAUREN SPARKS
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

One Word 2021 Linkup for October

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How have you experienced your ONE WORD in October?

What have you learned about life this month through the lens of your ONE WORD?

Add your comments and links below.

New Word for 2022 Yet?

It’s not too soon to be thinking about your One Word for 2022.

Are you getting ideas of what your word will be? Or if you want to choose a word at all?

Use this month to see if your 2021 word is leading you into a new word for 2022. Or if you’ll go an entirely different direction with your word.

The linkup will remain open from October 21-31.

The next One Word linkup will open on November 21.

If you’d like to receive a monthly email for suggestions about your word, sign up here.

You can also join our One Word 2021 Facebook group here for more interaction. 

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Link Up About Your One Word!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


White Supremacy at Church?

“When this country gonna love us?” he asked. “I don’t know, bro,” I said.
– Danté Stewart

We don’t like talking about this subject: white supremacy at church.

As a white person, we don’t usually see white supremacy.

Because we’re white.

If we really want to know if it’s there, we need to ask a Black person instead.

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If you don’t know a Black person to ask (or you’re not comfortable doing so), read Danté Stewart’s new book, Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle.

Stewart was a rising Black preacher in a predominantly white space. Until he no longer wanted to be there.

“As I looked around the church, it wasn’t just that I didn’t see people who looked like me. It was that I didn’t see the sadness, the anger, the rage that was crying out in my body. I didn’t see us, I didn’t feel us, I didn’t hear us. We were invisible.”

How can we do better than this? What can we do differently? How can we bring the invisible people out of the shadows?

The first step is to come clean. Get out of denial.

Stewart writes,

“The message became clearer: White supremacy was still our greatest sin and our deepest delusion.”

Another author, Robert P. Jones, shares 7 things white Christians can do to recognize white supremacy at church.

If you want somewhere to start, choose one of these 7 things. (Read Jones’ whole article here. He’s also written a book, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity; I have not read it yet.)

1. Examine your church building and grounds for ways it communicates whiteness (white Jesus? white Advent characters? only white groups meeting there during the week?)

2. Look at your church website and social media. Does it convey solidarity with Black and Brown people in your community, or just whites?

3. Look at the children’s curriculum. Are the pictures of only white people who lived in Bible times even though they were from the Middle East and Africa?

4. Read your church’s history. Ask questions about why and how it formed.

5. Examine the words of the songs sung during worship. Do they associate white with good and black with bad?

6. Listen to the sermons. Are they silent about issues of racial justice?

7. Look at the church budget. The money follows the heart.

Jones concludes his article with this:

“One sure sign of the continued presence of white supremacy is the outright resistance you will inevitably encounter from some and the protests of discomfort from others. But this is also evidence of the importance of the work.”

I don’t have the answers to solve this problem. But I recognize the importance of the work.

Let’s keep learning. Let’s keep changing.

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Share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley + Convergent Books
for the review copy of Shoutin’ in the Fire

sharing at these linkups


Stay in the Light to Bloom

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The Beautiful Ones

They used to be beautiful. I had purple ones, pink ones, lavender ones.

I felt proud. I could grow African violets. I knew how to make them bloom.

Until I moved.

My beautiful African violets, once full of colorful flowers, are now barren, nothing but green stems and leaves.

The flowers never came again.

This is where I am now.

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It’s All About the Light

Now I know it wasn’t me at all that made the flowers bloom. I can take no credit.

It was all about the light. I once had it. Now I don’t.

As I finish memorizing 1 John 1 this week, I’m reminded how much I’m like the African violets.

I can’t take credit for making flowers bloom in my own life either. It’s all about the light instead.

If I want to produce fruit in my life—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—then I need help beyond my own abilities.

I need less shade, more Light.

Reliable Light

Staying in the light doesn’t have to be difficult.

If I’ll stay honest with God, admitting to him when something is blocking the light, he will forgive me, clear away the shadows, cleaning me from everything I’ve done wrong (1 John 1:9).

9 God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.
10 If we say, “We have never sinned,” we turn God into a liar and his Word is not in us.
– 1 John 1

The true Light is faithful and reliable.

I’m going to move my African Violets to a different window this week. In their old spot, the leaves reproduce well, but they produce no flowers. But in a new spot, they should be able to do both.

I want more blooms, too. I want to stay positioned to soak in the light.

Thanks to God, I can.


Our candle giveaway winner for the 1 John 1 challenge is…Marilyn Saxon!!!

Are you a plant person? Do you have good lighting in your home? How do you stay in the light yourself? Share in the comments.


Let God Bring Out the Good in You
—Grace & Truth Linkup

The Bad News

We have 40 boxes of hot dinners in the back of Jenna’s car. We picked them up from the cooks at Manna House. We have 40 people on eight floors we want to give them to on this Monday afternoon.

But our cart is missing here in the lobby of the apartments. We need the cart to load the boxes on, so we can make the room-to-room meal deliveries.

How are we supposed to make this happen without a cart?

I already begin to sigh.

Then Marty, one of the residents, comes around the corner. With a cart. He says he saw us coming and knew we’d need one, so we can borrow his.

We thank him profusely for his graciousness, borrow his cart, and make our deliveries.

On Thursday morning, I get a phone call. It’s from another resident where Marty lives.

She says, “I have some bad news. Marty died.”

Bring Out the Good

It’s too shocking. I doubt her word. “Are you sure? I just saw him Monday and he was fine! Marty has died???”

Yes. She said they found him this morning on the floor, dead from a heart attack.

We go back the following Monday to see our friends, and everyone is talking about Marty. They all are sad.

  • One neighbor says Marty is the one who took her to her doctor appointments.
  • Another says Marty fixed their neighbor’s TV troubles a day ago.
  • Another says Marty was going to take him fishing on Saturday.

Death stripped away all these things.

No one can replace Marty.

As I reflect on UNCERTAINTY (my One Word for the year), I’ve particularly focused this month on the uncertainty of death. Rarely can we predict how or when we’ll die.

I certainly couldn’t have predicted Marty’s death.

The only thing I can predict is that while we are still here in the flesh, still moving and breathing, God is working to bring out the good in us.

I am certain of this: God wants us to live with love toward others. He will help us with this mission every opportunity we’ll give him.

And we have daily opportunities.

I’m grateful for the opportunities that Marty took to help other people. I felt loved by him and so did others.

God brought out the good in Marty while he was here.

May we let God bring out the good in us, too.

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Featured Post

For our featured post this week, Karen tells us how the Lord’s Prayer can help us resemble Jesus. If we don’t look like Jesus while we’re here, we’re throwing away opportunities to show who God is.

Read all six of Karen’s points here at her blog, then add your own links in the comments.

HOW THE LORD’S PRAYER HELPS US RESEMBLE JESUS


Have you seen God bring out the good in someone this week? Share in the comments.

I link at these blog parties


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1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

blank

Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LAUREN SPARKS
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

If He Keeps Writing
—Thoughts from "Where the Light Fell"

Hearing, Not Reading This Time

It was a Tuesday night, November 11, 2014. I was visiting Jenna in Auburn for a few days. While she was in class, I drove to Opelika, Alabama, to a small country church that was hosting one of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey.

Would Yancey be as impactful in person as he was in his books?

The night opened with moving worship music by Anthony Evans (brother of Priscilla Evans Shirer and son of megachurch pastor Tony Evans). He encouraged us to not stay in the huddle. Make an impact on the field.

And then Yancey took the microphone.

I was not disappointed. Yancey was as humble and endearing in person as in the written word.

He was a dispenser of grace that night.

Now, I hear from him again, but this time through another book, his memoir.

Where the Light Fell

If you had to choose two themes of your life that you think about, write about, live through, what would those two be?

My two themes might be love and family (both held together by the grace of God). Around these two themes, I’ve made many of my life choices—the occupation I worked, the person I married, the places I’ve lived, the way I raised kids, the churches I attended, the grandparent I try to be, etc.

I’ve made many, many missteps along the way with these two themes. And I’m certain I will continue to.

Philip Yancey writes in Where the Light Fell: A Memoir that the two themes that surface in his books are these: suffering and grace.

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I need his two themes in my two themes.

Because I’ve had suffering and needed grace (that’s all of us, right?), I’ve often turned to Philip Yancey through the years when I’ve needed help with both, in the pages of his books:

  • What’s So Amazing About Grace?
  • The Jesus I Never Knew
  • Disappointment with God
  • Where Is God When It Hurts?
  • Vanishing Grace
  • The Question That Never Goes Away

It’s delightful now to hear Yancey’s backstory.

He takes us back to his father dying from polio when Philip was only three years old.

It changes the trajectory of his life. From then on, Philip and his brother Marshall will have scandalous ups and downs as they’re raised by their fundamentalist and mentally ill mother.

Yancey doesn’t hold back from the ugly parts of his life. He takes responsibility for things like this:

“As a true son of the South, I am born and bred a racist.”

and

“Secretly, I liked watching the way bluish smoke curled up from his nostrils. So that’s what sin looks like, I thought.”

But he shows us the redeeming parts too. We see the changes.

In true Yancey form, the writing is both glorious and haunting. Reading his story has the power to change our own story.

His conservative upbringing mirrored mine in some ways (no “mixed bathing” at church camp, for instance) yet he somehow arrives at the conclusion that, “Nothing, in the end, was wasted.”

I haven’t attained all the wisdom of Yancey, but I appreciate how he is lighting the way for my path. I want to come to the same conclusion that he has at the end of this “verbal selfie”:

“Above all else, grace is a gift, one I cannot stop writing about until my story ends.”

Yes, please keep writing, Philip Yancey.

I’ll keep reading.

Excerpts from Where the Light Fell

Here are more insights into Philip Yancey from Where the Light Fell.

“I spend my summers at a Bible camp and the rest of the year living on the grounds of a hard-line church. I breathe religion. Yet as I prepare to enter high school, I feel more anxious than holy.”

“In my time at the Bible college, I’ll end up hearing several hundred chapel talks. Only two speakers stand out to me: Mr. H. and Anthony Rossi, the only two to admit failure and weakness.”

“Perhaps, the thought crosses my mind, I am resisting not God but people who speak for God. I’ve already learned to distrust my childhood churches’ views on race and politics. What else should I reject? A much harder question: What should I keep?”

“I begin to view church, like family, as a dysfunctional cluster of needy people. Life is difficult, and we seek ways to cope.”

“I came to love God out of gratitude, not fear.”


Do you have a favorite Philip Yancey book? Share in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley + Convergent
Books for the review copy of this book

I’m sharing at these blog parties