Tuesday, March 31, 2009

M. Scott Peck in his book, The Road Less Traveled said, "The symptoms and the illness are not the same thing. The illness exists long before the symptoms. Rather than being the illness, the symptoms are the beginning of its cures. The fact that they are unwanted makes them all the more a phenomenon of grace--a gift of God, a message from the unconscious, if you will, to initiate self-examination and repair."

That is why Dr. Paul Brand says with utter sincerity, "Thank God for pain!"

Philip Yancey in his marvelous book, Where Is God When It Hurts? writes, "I do not say that all pain is good. Sometimes it flares up and makes life miserable. For someone with crippling arthritis or terminal cancer, pain dominates so much that any relief, especially a painless world, would seem like heaven itself. But for the majority of us, the pain network performs daily protective service. It is effectively designed for surviving life on this sometimes hostile planet."

How about you? Have you, a friend or a loved one struggled through pain but realized that it was that pain that caused you to get the help you needed to avoid a greater pain?


Monday, March 30, 2009

For many bloggers, mostly ladies--Blue Monday means featuring anything and everything (and I do mean anything and everything) BLUE!

As for me (Sean Hannity would say, "Little ol me." And Rush Limbaugh would say, "Lovable little fuzzball") this Monday is just plain old blue.

The stock market is down big time this morning. I'm busy "kissing" my retirement income good-bye. My broker once said, "General Motors may drop in value for awhile but they will never go bankrupt." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. All this laughing is in lieu of crying!

I just got back from my quarterly diabetic check up and having a blood test. Not too bad, but never fun!

The pharmacist said, "You'll have to come back tomorrow Mr. Ditmore. We don't have enough pills to fill your prescription." I hate return trips to the pharmacy.

Dummy that I am, I promised myself yesterday that today I would spray weeds if it wasn't windy. It's not windy.

We live in a country with an abundance of food. Almost everywhere you look there is a fast food resturant. I love fast food! My doctor doesn't and the narrow minded guy that he is--he doesn't want me to like it either.

Oh man, I just looked up a saw this beautiful blue book on my shelf Jesus In America. I should take a picture of it and post it for all my lady blogging friends.

Nah, I'm not into that kind of blue today!


Sunday, March 29, 2009


A lot of good things get holes in them. I have discovered holes in my pockets, my socks, my shoes, and just this morning I found a hole in the bottom of the basket in my pool skimmer. These are all valuable things—but none as valuable as the gospel.

Richard Stearns says we have a hole in our gospel. In his powerful book, The Hole In Our Gospel he asks, “What does God expect of us?” and then he gives the answer that changed his life and might just change the world.

Having traveled more than a million miles to dozens of countries around the globe as president of world Vision, Stearns shares compelling stories of the revolutionary power of the gospel—the gospel without a hole—that is truly good news for a world broken by poverty, disease, and injustice. And he urges readers to join him in making this vision a reality. As CEO for a large company he lived in a two-hundred-year-old stone farmhouse with ten bedrooms on five acres, drove a royal blue Jaguar XK-8 and had children who loved their school and their friends. He had worked more than twenty years to get to the top of the corporate ladder. He gave it all up. He committed career suicide. He did it for God.

This fresh look at the gospel will take you to a deeper understanding of your own faith and inspire you to do your part to demonstrate God’s love for a hurting world. This book broke my heart. I realized that as a minister for forty-seven years that I preached a gospel with a big hole in it. I preached as forcefully and lovingly as I knew how. And yet I never drove home the heart of the gospel. You could have listened to me preach for many years and you could have come to the conclusion that going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins was about all God expected from you as a Christian.

In its simplest form, here is the answer to the question, what does God expect: *We are to love God. *We are to love our neighbors. *We are to go and make disciples of others who will do the same. Read this book and let the impact of Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25 change your life.

I agree with Luci Swindoll who said, “Brace yourself…this is one powerhouse book!”


Saturday, March 28, 2009

My post today is a communion meditation by Sherry Rankin--Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, Texas. It is longer than my usual post but I hope you read it all. Her thoughts are worth your time.

They tell us that the sense of smell is the sense most connected to memory, and I believe that. My grandmother has been gone for 25 years, but the smell of Ivory soap transports me back to her tiny, neat bathroom. Just a whiff, and I’m 7 years old again, taking a bath in the deep, porcelain tub, drying off with the towels that were stiff and scratchy from being dried on the line.

The smell of coffee and bacon instantly transports me onto the hide-a-bed in grandma’s living room. I can hear her bustling in the kitchen, making a breakfast for my grandfather before he would go to work, long before daylight, at the gas station down the road.

Many smells are associated for me with specific memories:

The chalky smell of rain after a long dry spell takes me back to the back porch of the house in Wyoming where we lived till I was eight years old.

The odor of Johnson’s baby shampoo, and I am rocking my daughter late at night, holding her head against my chin.

Pine trees, and it’s Christmas time. Wood smoke, and I’m camping. The smell of the ocean at night, or of sawdust in a workshop; freshly washed sheets; hay in a barn; my husband’s favorite cologne; someone smoking a rosewood pipe; laundry starch; lavender and rosewater; the lemon polish used on the dark wood of the church pews where my father preached. Even the distant odor of a skunk. All of these smells come packaged with a specific and wonderful memory.

But then there are the bad smells, and the bad memories.

The reek of mildew, and I’m back at work cleaning dormitory bathrooms in the July heat of Arkansas.

The smell of pimento cheese spread immediately reminds me of an unfortunate morning sickness incident over 20 years ago.

And the smell of a certain brand of disinfectant takes me back to the hospital room where my father died.

Smells are so powerful because they contain within them a story; a memory. A whole event, complete with the emotions, good or bad, that went with it.

So what does it mean for us to be “the aroma of Christ”? Who is smelling us, and what memories will that smell encompass? When someone remembers you, what will their association be? As we’ve all heard and known: Actions, like odors, speak louder than words. If we say one thing but do another, it is our actions, not our words, that will leave a stink in other people’s nostrils.

St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; only if necessary use words.”

We preach without speaking. We leave an aroma everywhere we go. Let it be the aroma of Christ, poured out upon the feet of others to the eternal glory of God.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Help me, O God,

To listen to what it is that makes my heart glad
and to follow where it leads.
May joy, not guilt,
Your voice, not the voices of others,
Your will, not my willfulness,
be the guides that lead me to my vocation.
Help me to unearth the passions of my heart
that lay buried in my youth.
And help me to go over that ground again and again
until I can hold in my hands,
hold and treasure,
Your calling on my life...

(A prayer by Ken Gire from his book, Windows of the Soul)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A lot of people I know love to read. These people can spend hours in book stores and libraries.

A lot of people I know don't like to read. These people are bored "to death" in book stores and libraries.

I like to read books, review books and giveaway books to those who love to read.

The generous people at Hachette Book Group make it possible for me to giveaway books--five at a time. This giveaway is what my blog is really about today. I can give away five books but I wish I could give away fifty. I wish I could at least give one copy to everybody that says they would like one. But I can't!

I have signed up for book giveaways and didn't win. I shouldn't but I always feel a little sad. I think to myself, "Man, why didn't they choose me or "pull my name out of the hat"?" But then I come to my senses and realize that everybody is not going to get a book and then I get over it and get on with my life. Yes, I wish I could give everybody a book.

One last thing about book giveaways. Why can't people follow instructions? My instructions clearly state that when leaving a comment I also need an email address. Still, many say, "Sign me up." "Wow. I really want to read that book." or "Pick me." All good comments! BUT NO EMAIL ADDRESS! As a result--usually no book. I have on occasion, because I like you and hate to disappoint--made a comment on your blog and begged you to send your email. Please, don't make me do this! Please!

I love to read books, review books and giveaway books. I hope I get to send one to your address real soon.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma we had an ice box--not a refrigerator, an ice box.

We bought a block of ice, put it in the top of the ice box and it was suppose to keep the things in the box cool. When the ice melted the water ran into a pan under the box. If you forgot to "watch" it, the water ran over on the floor. What a mess.

None of that today. We just push a glass against a gadget on the front of the refrigerator and out comes a glass full of ice. Or that's the way it's suppose to work and does most of the time.

Well, ours stopped working as it should. For some reason it got "mad" and ran water all over the place. The man came, put a new water valve on and called it "fixed." Evidently it was in a "pouting" stage and he said it would be twenty-four hours before it made ice again. He was right. It finally started making ice.

And then--it got "mad" again and water ran all in the refrigerator, out onto the kitchen floor and into the food pantry. He came back. He said, "This is your lucky day. Today you get a new ice maker, free of charge." I asked, "Are you fairly sure this will fix the problem?" He said, "I am completely sure!" But I already knew that since the refrigerator was "pouting" that it would be twenty-four hours before we would see any ice.

Well, it's been almost forty-eight hours and there is no ice, no water running into the ice maker to make ice---and no repair man in sight!

It's almost noon. I'm sitting here waiting. You say," What's the big deal? There are suffering people in the world who don't even know what ice is and they don't even have drinking water."
I know. I know. That's why I feel so ashamed. And if we don't get this thing fixed by June or July, and it looks like we may not, I would settle for the old ice box and a block of ice.

Did you ever have an ice box that you bought ice for? Do you still have it? May I borrow it?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The stock market was up yesterday, big time.

Maybe the economy is turning around. Let's go over to Coco's for breakfast.

Yep. Lots of people there. It must be a sign of good things to come.

Somebody forgot to tell management. Too few waitresses. Too many customers.

It was fun for those of us not working. I felt sorry for the waitresses.

I wore my "No Spin" cap but it didn't help. Coco's is not a "No Spin Zone."

We heard it all: What to do about the President, the economy, the war, the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks, the Suns and the weather. I wanted to ask the guy in the next booth what to do about the ice maker in our refrigerator but I was afraid my "No Spin" cap might affect his answer.

When you wake up feeling like you can afford to go out for breakfast or not caring whether you can afford it or not--where do you go? Honestly, I would like to know. And what do you eat when you get there. They (whoever that is) say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
So, where do you go for breakfast when you eat out. Tell me. I really want to know.


Monday, March 23, 2009

I can hear you saying, "John Adams I know but who is BJ Hoff?"

First, regarding the John Adams you know. John Adams was an American politician and the second President of the United States, after being the first Vice President for two terms. He is regarded as one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States.

Now to BJ Hoff. BJ Hoff is a lovely lady and a wonderful writer. Because she is a writer of books and I love books, I read her blog, Grace Notes. I don't read it every day, but fairly often. Last June she had a post that caught my attention, called For Those Who Like American History --and Those Who Don't. She was writing about John Adams.

The huge book, John Adams has been resting on my bookshelf for a long time. I have many books to read and just can't seem to get around to reading John.

BJ found the book riveting and loved the HBO series based on the book that had been released on DVD. She praised the acting of Laura Linny as Abigail Adams, Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson. She was't too excited about Paul Giamatti as John Adams but learned to like him as the film progressed. The bottom line is--BJ recommends this book and HBO series to those who like American history and those who don't.

I have now watched the DVD and really liked it a lot! I highly recommend it!

In just a few days I will pull that big book off the shelf and dig in. I promise!

Anything that's good enough for BJ Hoff is good enough for me--and you.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

It is usually either the suffering of our own or the suffering of someone we love that causes us to question God.

Why, God?...Why did you let it happen? Where were you when it happened? Where are you now?

How long will it be before you say or do something about this mess?

Talking to Job, God said, "Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you" (Job 38:2-3).

"Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? Can you direct the movements of the stars? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth? Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? (Job 38:28-34).

How did you do with that quiz? That's what I thought!

Suffering makes us ask ignorant questions. I know. I have done it and I will do it again.

But in my more sober, saner moments I recognize we have A GREAT GOD.



Friday, March 20, 2009

"We are raised from the time we are little girls with the unspoken admonition to be pleasing. As girls, when we are pretty, charming, thoughtful, agreeable, well-dressed, well-mannered, and soft-spoken, we are admired and praised. I'm not saying that those attributes aren't attractive. But I am saying that when we act in a way that goes against those attributes, when we are not pretty (and life can require hard work and hard times that leave no room for primping), when we speak our minds yet what we have to say isn't particularly docile or kind (however necessary), or when we have to take care of ourselves first (in order that we may have something to give), we are going against the grain."

" Being pleasing is sometimes necessary, as part of a reciprocal relationship or to maintain good employment. But having moments of being pleasing is very different from warping into a pleaser personality. A pleaser daughter is one who, at any age, is still trying to please her parents. A pleaser friend is one who can't say no. A pleaser employee is similar to a pleaser friend. A pleaser wife is one who somehow loses herself in the journey from courtship through commitment. A pleaser mom is one who fears the loss of love from her children. The common thread of all pleasers is fear. "

"Being a pleaser is only good and useful in one aspect, and that is the desire to please God above all else."

(Thoughts from Kristin Armstrong's Work In Progress--An Unfinished Woman's Guide To Grace)


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today we are struggling with crisis, corruption, and public distrust.

The root cause of this mess is the lack of integrity from those who are suppose to be our leaders.

Albert Einstein said, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."

"My life is an indivisible whole, and all my activities run into one another...My life is my message." Mahatma Gandhi

"My life is my message." That's it! That's it! He's right. His life, your life, my life--should be a message of truth--a life of integrity!

How in the name of heaven do we keep electing to office these dishonest crooks who have no integrity at all, who operate without term limits and give themselves pay raises when the rest of us are on the way to the "poor house?"


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This is the most interesting narrative of the last fourteen hours of Christ's earthly mission that I have read. As a Pastor for forty-seven years I read a lot of books about Christ, His earthly mission and the last hours of His life. This book is different.

In this fast-paced, compelling narrative, popular speaker and radio talk-show host Dawson McAllister examines the profound love and determined obedience Christ displayed in the wrenching last hours of His life on Earth. Join Jesus in the upper room with the disciples as He reveals His betrayer, in court before Annas and Pilate, under the stinging lashes as He's beaten and cursed, and on the long, slow walk to the Place of the Skull.

Through Dawson's storytelling skill, you will experience the Passion of the Christ through the eyes and hearts of His friends and enemies. Insights into key personalities and historical events will illuminate your understanding, but more than that: A Walk With Christ To The Cross is a life-changing read. If you embrace its truths, you will never be the same.

Why do I say this book is different? Because McAllister is a great storyteller. He tells this "Old, old, story" in a new and refreshing way. He gives a detailed account of Christ's journey to the cross. But you do not become bored with details that you may have taken for granted because you have heard them so many times. You will begin to live again in the power of this story.

So I invite you to come along with Christ to the cross, whether it is your first time or one of many.

The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing addresses, please.
  • I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment
I'll close the comments at 6 PM March 31 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s). If you're interested, just say so in a comment with that all-important email address in code. Example of email in code: you [at] your email [dot] com.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Many women I know need to hear what Kristin Armstrong has to say about confidence.

I am embarrassed to say that for many years I confused confidence with arrogance.

The first thing I learned about confidence was that I did not possess it.

And how, exactly, do we learn how to be good enough? ...step one in learning to be good enough takes place the moment you let go of trying to be perfect. Being good enough means letting go of expectations (of ourselves and those placed upon us by others), and focusing on the areas in which we truly do have something to offer. When we try to be and do the things that are outside our true selves, we turn into strivers. Strivers are people who endlessly struggle for perfection and end up with far less than good enough.

Confidence is not about who you are; it's about whose you are.

(Win a copy of Kristin's book. Scroll back down to my review of her book and sign up)


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Cultivating a sincere "no" is a major part of growing up into our spiritual freedom."

Kristin Armstrong said that her children's birthdays fall in October and November and then comes Thanksgiving and suddenly it's Christmas. There are demands for time and attention and it produces a lot of anxiety, trying to keep everybody happy. One year she decided to say "no" to a lot of requests to "go here and there" and do "this and that." She said it was a big lesson for her and a big blessing for her family.

She went on to say, "Realizing that my "no" did not need to be accompanied by a lot of explanations, apologies or shuffling was also a great burst of freedom; it could simply stand on its own. The only person to whom we owe an explanation is to God."

(You will want to read Kristin"s excellent book, Work In Progress--An Unfinished Woman's Guide To Grace. Scroll back down to my review and book giveaway and sign up for a chance to win one of five I will be giving a way)


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grace is a beautiful thing. Charles Swindoll says, "Believing in grace is one thing. Living it is another." The best way to learn how to live a grace filled life is by reading the Bible. Another way is to read Kristin Armstrong's book, Work In Progress --An Unfinished Woman's Guide To Grace. I hope everyone reading Spiritual Sundays will do two things for me: (1) Listen to this beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Please listen to all of it or you will miss the best part. You can listen to it here (2) Scroll down to my book giveaway and tell me that you would like to read Kristin's book. I only have five copies to give away but I would like to give one to YOU.

God bless you. Have a joy filled day and life!


Friday, March 13, 2009

You may be asking yourself, "What does Clif know about beauty?"

Not much. But I do know something. I took my picture off my blog didn't I?

Talking about beauty, Kristin Armstrong said, "To say that you have never once cared about this is to lie, lie, lie. We all want to be beautiful. ...God created each one of us specifically and beautifully.
We will never learn about beauty by looking at beauty magazines and comparing ourselves to airbrushed objects of so-called perfection. We are real women, in real relationships, doing real work, and our beauty is actively unveiled here, not captured in frozen poses."

She goes on to say, "Remember the old cliche' "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? ...I spent the majority of my years trying to please the wrong beholders! We must seriously consider whose heart we are trying to capture with our beauty and understand that God's heart is the only one worth pursuing in this way."

(Scroll back to my review and book giveaway for Kristin Armstrong"s book, Work In Progress--An Unfinished Woman's Guide To Grace. Leave a comment and a contact number and you may receive this splendid book as a gift.)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

“She brightens a room, can literally alter the energy before she opens her mouth. Her presence alone is uplifting, her warmth is genuine radiance, and her eye contact feels like a gift.” Wow! Where is this woman? I want to meet her. I agree with Kristin Armstrong: “Anything with her would be just fine.”

After reading her book, Work In Progress—An Unfinished Woman’s Guide to Grace, I thought to myself: Kristin Armstrong is that woman!

Kristin wouldn’t agree. As she states in the title of her splendid book, she sees herself as a woman in progress—a woman growing in grace. In this book she offers a candid guide to help women find peace, faith, and strength on their path to becoming women of grace.

Now, at a time when society gives women so many wrong messages about what it means to be a woman, Kristin offers her positive, inspiring perspective on what it means to be a woman of grace. Filled with Scripture and personal anecdotes, Work In Progress describes the twelve traits of a graceful woman and shows readers how they can be truly transformed.

Kristin writes that it was not easy for her to let go of her ex-husband, famed cyclist, Lance Armstrong. But she did let go, she forgave—and she has moved on. My question is: “How in the world could he let her go?” She readily admits that she is a “work in progress—an unfinished woman. Like so many of us, I guess Lance grew impatient with the growth process. But his decision to leave caused him to miss the glory of her grace.

Ladies I started out reading and reviewing this book for you. I really did. Almost all of my blogging friends are women. I thought this might be a book you would like and profit from. I ended up learning about twelve traits I need in my own life. As a result of reading this book I am growing in grace. I recommend this book especially to women but also to men—even rusty, recently retired, old rascals like myself.

The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing addresses, please.
  • I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment
  • I'll close the comments at 6 PM March 25 and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s). If you're interested, just say so in a comment with that all-important email address in code. Example of email in code: you [at] your email [dot] com.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I love comments on my blog. I love to get email from friends. I love for friends to forward things to me. Some of the best and some of the funniest things I have ever read have been forwarded. I like this!

What I don't like is to have something forwarded to me with a message telling me what to do with it! "Forward this to ten people that you love more than life itself and then back to me." "Forward this on in the next ten minutes or you will break the chain." "Forward this on to 12 people and you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams."


If you care about me and want me to have the message--send it!

Trust me to know what to do with it!


Monday, March 09, 2009

Once there was a man who owned a hot dog stand that he ran by the side of the road. For years he treated his customers right, sold good quality hot dogs to lots of people who stopped by to purchase from him.

He even made enough money to send his son to college. He wanted his son to be an educated man and successful in the world. So his son went away to college and several years later he returned with his diploma in hand. The man was very pleased to have an educated son who could help him in his business.

The next day his son heard him placing his order for hot dogs and commented that he was surprised that he would order so many hot dogs, “Hadn’t he heard that there is a recession going on?” The man thought about this and concluded that his son had a college education and must know what he was talking about so he cut back his order for hot dogs.

People continued to stop at the hot dog stand, but by rush hour the man had run out of hot dogs. He had to turn customers away. After a few times of stopping by and finding the man out of hot dogs his regular customers stopped coming by. As this continued for a while and less and less people stopped to buy hot dogs, the man’s income dropped to the point that he could not pay his bills and he went out of business.

From all this the man concluded that his son had to have been right, there is a recession going on!

It is my strong opinion that we are helping to create the economic mess we are in with the sorry attitude we have.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

In her book, Work in progress An Unfinished Woman"s Guide To Grace, Kristin Armstrong writes:"When we think about the grace we have in Christ, and how many times He has forgiven us, it is easier to extend that grace to someone else." She goes on to ask, "Once you have made the whopping, life-altering choice to forgive, then what?"

She said, "It was not easy for me to let go of my ex-husband, whom I now lovingly refer to as my wasband because "ex" sounds so mean and crossed-out.This cracks my kids up. When we were in the midst of our yuck in 2003, my life-long friend Peggy told me something I will never forget. She said, "You know, sweetheart, things seem rough right now, but this will pass. Let me tell you something: one day you will be sitting in church, side by side at Luke's First Communion, smiles on your faces, happy to be together. Mark my words." I wanted to mark her face at the moment, but guess what? On May 10, 2008, Luke made his First Communion. Lance and I were sitting side by side, smiling, Grace and Bella were on our laps. Our families were sitting together. Peggy, Luke's godmother, winked at me. I cried. Later that morning, ten beloved people were crowded around my kitchen table that seats four, eating lunch together."

(Lance Armstrong is known by cycling people around the world because he has won seven Tours de France. His exwife, Kristin is not as well known but she is loved and respected by many. Although her book was written mainly for women, I thorougly enjoyed it and learned a lot. I will be hosting a book giveaway for her book next week on my blog. Check back and sign up.)


"They are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me...While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me" (John 17:11-12). (Emphasis mine)

The word protect in Greek means "to watch, guard, keep an eye on." The one who prayed this verse said, "Two thousand years ago I asked the Father to keep an eye on you!"

Wow! Two thousand years ago, Jesus prayed for me in the garden. Two thousand years ago, He asked the Father to keep an eye on me.

(These thoughts were taken from Jakie Kendall's book, Free Yourself to Love--The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. See my review and book giveaway by scrolling down to Monday's post)


Friday, March 06, 2009

Jackie Kendall walked to the platform with a roll of toilet paper in her hand and told the audience that she would be waiting in the lobby for any woman who was struggling to forgive. She then explained that a common word used for "forgiveness" is aphiemi, which means "to send away." So the "flushing brigade" was going to symbolically send away the offenders' names. Some seventy-five women joined her and she gleefully passed out pieces of toilet paper. Women began to write names on them. When everyone was ready, the group split up between two bathrooms, and the flushing began! That night, while they may have overwhelmed the conference center's plumbing, they also had a great experience of cathartic release--complete with plenty of laughter--right into the Texas sewer system.

(You will enjoy reading and be helped by Jackie Kendall's book about forgiveness. Scroll back down to Monday's post and read my review and then make a comment and leave a way for me to reach you if you are interested in this book giveaway. Best wishes. Clif)


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jackie Kendall said, "A woman I know went to a professional counselor about her battle with depression. ...The counselor helped her see that she wants a life that rates a perfect score of ten, but life outside the Garden of Eden too often rates a five. This woman's absurd expectations were fueling her constant trouble with depression. In various ways, we all are like this woman. We want to be able to attend family gatherings or go to work without ever being offended. Hey, we just want to be able to sit at our kitchen tables and not risk getting offended! But when a person expects perfection, she is going to have a day that will be more of a five than a ten."

(Jackie Kendall's excellent book, Free Yourself to Love--The Liberating Power of Forgiveness is a book that will help all of us who want to live a vital life. Scroll back down to Monday's post to read my review of her book and to sign up for the chance to win a free copy)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jackie Kendall, author of the excellent book, Free Yourself to Love--The Liberating Power of Forgiveness, wrote these interesting words about the sorority of bitterness: "The Lord allowed me to quit this sorority when I was confronted with the unresolved anger that I lived with on a daily basis. So often when my anger was aroused I would deny it and quickly bury it by moving into some project--like cleaning the kitchen floor at midnight because--guess what!--my anger produced insomnia."

She goes on to say, "I have now pledged and been accepted into a new club that has male and female members. A Club for Lovers is made up of good forgivers who aggressively deal with their anger so that they can freely forgive and be forgiven. Our club motto is "Great Forgiver = Great Lover."

(As you leave this post, drop down to my review of Jackie's book and then leave me a comment and a way to contact you so you can become eligible for a free book. Best wishes. Clif)

BOOK GIVEAWAY --FREE YOURSELF TO LOVE--The Liberating Power of Forgiveness

Monday, March 02, 2009

As a Pastor for many years I have read, studied, prayed about and had a lot of experience with people who live miserable lives because they cannot forgive.

Jackie Kendall's excellent book, Free Yourself to Love--The Liberating Power of Forgiveness, is the best book, next to the Bible that I have ever read on the subject of forgiveness. As a survivor of severe childhood abuse, Jackie Kendall is an expert on forgiveness. A counselor deemed her family "one of the top-ten most dysfunctional in America."

In this passionate and empathetic book, Jackie examines the six most common excuses people use not to forgive and shares her own struggle to learn this vital life skill. She has been involved with ministry for twenty-five years, working as a teacher, counselor, conference speaker and author. She works with several athletic teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Pro Athletes Outreach.

In the movie Seems Like Old Times, Charles Grodin makes a classic statement to Goldie Hawn: "If you can't learn to give up the past, you'll have to give up the present." This book will help you to realize that if you live in a perpetual state of victimization you will never receive all that comes with each new day. The theme song for people who can't forgive is whining. Quoting Jan Silvious regarding bad events in our lives, Jackie Kendall says, "This is one event in a lifetime of events."

This book will help you realize that we all offend at some time. And that forgiveness is never optional for the Christian. Jackie points to Psalm 39:5 as a good perspective on life: "You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath." Measuring the width of her hand she found it to be three and three-quarter inches. She then said,"Don't let anyone use up your three inches." Good advice.

This marvelous book will free you to love. There is liberating power in forgiveness!
The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for five (5) copies!

  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing addresses, please.
  • I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment
  • I'll close the comments at 6 PM EST March 8th and pick the five winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s). If you're interested, just say so in a comment with that all-important email address in code. Example of email in code: you [at] your email [dot] com.
To check out other participants in the book giveaway carnival,
click Book Room Reviews March 2-8.


Sunday, March 01, 2009


From the Holy Scriptures I learned that God wants us to embrace joy, come what may. This is the central theme of the letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi. From Dr. Earl Henslin and his book, This Is Your Brain On Joy, I learned about a revolutionary program for balancing mood, restoring brain health, and nurturing spiritual growth—all good things.

Dr. Henslin’s treatment plans include: supplements and medications, mood-balancing foods, music and cinematherapy, exercise programs, scriptures, prayers, and much more.

In this splendid book, science and faith join hands to help solve the mysteries that lead us to experiencing the joy we so long for and deserve.

Considering this to be a serious study, I was surprised when in the first chapter Dr. Henslin starts off by describing his family of Minnesota dairy farmers. He compared them to the hilariously stoic Lutheran characters in the famed Prairie Home Companion skits. By the time I reached the end of chapter one I was laughing out loud and saying to myself, “This must be what it is like when your brain is on joy.”

By the time I reached the last chapter I was amazed at how marvelous the human brain is. I have always thought I had a fair knowledge of the brain and knew a little bit about how it works. I found out I don’t know much! I found this book to be extremely educational and helpful.

The dust jacket for this book has a beautiful collection of flowers in many different colors. I smile when I think about it. I think you will too--especially after you have read the book.