Roger Federer did it again last Sunday.
He showed why he’s one of the greatest tennis players of all time with an amazing performance at Wimbledon. Although he didn’t win the Gentlemen’s Singles this year, he proved once again he is a fantastic competitor through his magnificent match play and classy sportsmanship.
I believe a powerful secret to Roger’s success and longevity as a player was not just reflected on the court, but a few feet off the court as well. [Read more…]
My friend, Mike, did not know what he was starting the day he came bounding across the Quad at the University of Alabama and put a colorful little gift book in my hand. [Read more…]
With tears in her eyes, my sweet grandma asked me in a halting voice, “You’re not going to Africa are you?” [Read more…]
She asked about how to get started in speaking. [Read more…]
(Special thanks to my washing machine for prompting this book review. . .)
As I reached in to grab the wet sheets out of my washer this morning, I quickly realized that more than sheets had been bundled in the load. Not only were tiny bits of paper stuck to the linens, they also dotted the interior of the machine like spit wads.
It reminded me of my days as a middle school teacher- only these were slung into place by centrifugal force.
At first I thought I was finding the remains of a disintegrated receipt or paper towel, but when I pulled out a giant, mushy blob I realized what happened. My new book had been swept into the washer with the sheets.
The shredded, water-soaked casualty? The Wall Around Your Heart by Mary DeMuth
Mary is one of my favorite writers these days. We’ve had “friends of friends” connections for years since we are both represented by Christian Speakers Services and travel in speaker/writer circles.
(Believe me, Mary is light years beyond me in both categories. She is the kind of writer/speaker I aspire to be one day.)
We got to meet in person at The Declare Conference in Dallas back in August. Her words have been so moving to my heart for years that it made me teary eyed to stick out my hand to shake hers. I felt like I was in the presence of greatness.
She was kind enough to pose for a picture with me…
Time is at a premium these days, I am very, very, very selective of where I spend my reading time. I’m picky about my prose. With that said, Mary’s book grabbed me by the heart from the first chapter and I did not want to put it down.
(Although I obviously did put it down- on the bed- in the sheets.)
As I read Mary’s words, I wondered how she knew about some of my recent hurts and what I was struggling with these days. Her words spoke to places in my heart I didn’t even realize were walled up.
More importantly, Mary’s writing was giving me a new way to look at the Lord’s Prayer. Her insights gave me hope for a way of escape through shifting my perspective to a heavenly view of my tough circumstances. The Wall Around Your Heart was helping me focus on what God was doing in my heart (instead of wallowing in what was being done to me by others).
Along with my Bible, The Wall Around Your Heart was the only book I took along on my day of listening in a monastery last month. For me, that says a lot about the impact it was having. (I’ll write about that day in a future post.)
I hadn’t even finished the book when I found it’s remains in the washer this morning, so when saw it’s smushy, crumpled lump of remains, I was sad- but just for a moment.
You see, when Mary introduced the release of The Wall Around Your Heart at The Declare Conference, she very generously gave copies to all the conference attendees. (She’s not just a gifted writer, but a generous one.) I ended up with two copies (Hooray!)
If I didn’t, I would be headed lickedy split to a book store or logging onto Amazon to pick up another copy.
I won’t do that for many books, but this one was doing deep work in my heart- tearing down ugly walls. Because I’m an avid underliner, I was sad to lose all my colorful marks and dog-ears in my first copy of the book. Now, I plan to start over at the beginning and highlight at will.
I’ll also be more careful so that I don’t send this copy of the book through the wash. 🙂
You might want to pick up a copy of The Wall Around Your Heart and read it, too. Maybe it will help you see and pull down some walls that have been built up around your heart as well.
Oh, and just in case you wanted to know, here’s what came out of my lint filter once my sheets passed through the dryer…
Last Saturday, I joined the women of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston for a time of sweet fellowship, good food, and encouragement from Scripture at their “Black and White with a Splash of Color!” luncheon. Penny Ward and her team did a fabulous job with the event!
Our theme Scripture was Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
I loved the way each table hostess interpreted the verse visually through her table-scape! It’s a gentle way of reinforcing the Scripture without words. Beginning with basic black and white, every hostess added at least one additional color to her table. Here are two of my favorites:
The Green table with an open Bible turned to the Psalm 90…
Here’s a playful pink table…
But this NEXT picture is the one that stole my heart. If you know me well, you know I have a “thing” for turquoise. (I even have a Pinterest board devoted to turquoise!)
I stopped to take this picture because the sparkly turquoise accents looked so great to me against the black and white on the table. I was focused on the table-scape at the moment I snapped the picture.
But when I got home and looked at my photos, this one took my breath away. Look at it, then I’ll tell you why…
I remembered how they greeted each other by throwing up their arms and saying, “I have not seen you in so long!” and “I’ve missed you!! How are you?” They hugged and hugged, rocking side to side like long lost sisters.
This picture helps me remember why I do what I do.
As much as I love lovely decorated tables- especially ones with sparkly turquoise accents- it’s not about the pretty table-scapes.
As much as I love to travel to new places and paint while I’m teaching from the Bible. It’s not about that.
Seeing women have a few minutes to relax, reengage with Scripture, and reenergize relationships for the race of life is what it’s all about. An opportunity to see and hug a girlfriend you have not seen in forever (as these two women did). A few moments for a girl to stop, take a deep breath, and look at life from a heavenly perspective when the world has her in a choke hold.
That’s what I love about women’s ministry events!
I hear a lot about photobombs these days- where someone gets in the background of your photo (intentionally or by accident) and ruins the picture.
I had to smile when I saw this picture because it was not a photobomb, but a perfect illustration of why I love working in women’s ministry so much.