Thursday, May 26, 2011

The following is a post by Michelle Stimpson. I am allowing her to use my blog to advertise her new book, Did I Marry The Wrong Guy? I haven't read the book yet but it looks good and it is on a much needed subject.   - Clif

Finally, a book for every wife who has ever asked herself the question, “Did I marry the wrong guy?”

Many of us know the Titus 2:4 mandate for older wives to mentor younger wives, but is that really happening.  For real? I mean, yeah, yeah, you hear people talk about working together and making sure you keep that “date night” thing going, but there are other issues to contend with in a marriage. Issues like feeling trapped, mourning the death of “single” you, and feeling like maybe you should have married what’s-his-face instead of the man sitting next to you who just misplaced the remote control. Again. 

Sure, many Christian wives face problems bigger than lost remote controls. But I believe the smaller, negative “ponderings” wives entertain about their husbands are what catch, snag, and slowly unravel the fabric of a marriage. Larger issues, infidelity and financial chaos, to name a few, are often predicated by these smaller thoughts that create undercurrents of resentment.

To that effect, I was blessed to write Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? And Other Silent Ponderings of a Fairly Normal Christian Wife. Some of the chapter titles include: We Started Off Wrong, I Miss the Thrill of Being Single, and Watching My Parents Messed Me Up. I have had the life-changing experience of marrying all wrong, then watching God completely demolish my marriage before re-building it from the ground up. (Trust me, there was nothing to salvage.) One of the most important lessons I learned during the renovation was to pray about things I never thought God even cared about. I mean, everyone knows you should pray for your husband if he falls into an addiction, but who teaches us to pray about his wall-shaking snoring? Seriously, crankiness due to lack of sleep attributed to somebody’s snoring has probably killed more marriages than in-law issues and bad cooking combined!

In this book, I encourage every wife to pray over even the smallest irritants. I’m not talking about a generic, “God, help us have a nice day,” prayer. I mean, get in that prayer closet and confess, “Lord, I am tired of him leaving his shoes at the door every day! Show me what to do!” God might change your husband, or give you joy while transporting his shoes to the closet every day, or He might teach you how to ignore the shoes—His choice, depending on His lesson objective for you.

It’s been said that every marriage is a foreign land. I trust that Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? will help readers navigate unfamiliar marital roads. And with God’s help, they’ll be able to answer the title question with a resounding “No.”

Keep the faith.

 In His Love, 
Michelle Stimpson


Friday, May 20, 2011

Holy Bible
New Living Translation

OVERVIEW: Mosaics are bits and pieces of stone and glass that on their own may be interesting, but only fleetingly so. From the simplest forms to the most complex, it is the combined effect of tiles arranged in their diversity that brings about something much greater than the sum of the parts. Mosaic is not merely the title for this Bible. It also describes its contents and our story as Christians, too. The purpose of this Bible is to provide a way to encounter Christ on every continent and in every century of Christian history. Why? Because when this happens, God's profound and often unexpected work on behalf of his children becomes clear in new and exciting ways. It is important to see that the body of Christ is much bigger than the small piece we each experience in our everyday lives. When the rich and varied ways in which God's people have encountered Christ become clear, a deepening sense of his presence and power will surely be the result. It's not about the individual pieces, as important as they are. It is about the whole picture that emerges when all these pieces come together to form the beautiful mosaic that is God's church.

REVIEW: I have many Bibles. I did not need another one. But this Bible is unique. It is not a study Bible with notes and helps. It is not a devotional Bible with 365 daily readings sprinkled along the way. This Bible offers the complete text of the Bible without interruption, except for a robust cross-reference system and brief book introductions. At the front, you will find an extensive block of weekly meditations that draw on the collective wisdom of the global church across two thousand years of history, which will engage your heart and mind and guide you back into God's life-changing Word. The first and most important element is the weekly listing of five Scripture readings. And then there is a collection of historical and global contributions. This includes art work, prayers, hymns, poetry and quotes from Christian thinkers throughout church history who have wrestled with ideas related to each week's theme. And there is white space for taking notes. This is a Bible that can be used liturgically if that is a part of your tradition. Thematically is another way to use this Bible. It can be used organically. That means you may want to follow your regular plan for Bible reading and this Bible can be used along with it. And a number of ways might be imagined for using this Bible as you say, "I'll do it my way."

Note: I am an independent book reviewer and was not asked to review this Bible. I received my copy from Tyndale House Publishers by submitting my name to the company. I was pleased to be a winner of this splendid Bible. As I said, I have many Bibles and did not need another one. I am happy to have this one and will use it often.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How the power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get us Through Hard Times
By Stephen G. Post 

OVERVIEW: In this moving book, Stephen G. Post helps us discover how we can make "helping" a lifetime activity. The Hidden Gifts of Helping explores the very personal story of Post and his family's difficult move and their experience with the healing power of helping others, as well as his passion about how this simple activity--expressed in an infinite number of small or large ways--can help you survive and thrive despite the expected and unexpected challenges life presents.  Post's story is intertwined with supporting scientific research and spiritual understanding. This book can become your companion and guide to the power of giving, forgiving, and compassion in hard times. The Hidden Gifts of Helping will leave you with the unshakeable feeling that the world can be a good place, if we act to make it so.

AUTHOR: Stephen G. Post is professor of preventive medicine and director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He is a leader in the study of altruism, compassion, and love and president of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. Post is the author (with Jill Neimark) of the widely praised Why Good Things Happen to Good People.

MY REVIEW: I strongly agree with George E. Vaillant M.D.; professor of psychiatry, Harvard medical School; senior fellow, Center for Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania; and author of Aging Well who said: "Stephen Post...has written a deeply loving and comforting book about the pain and the healing of being uprooted. In the face of the deeply troubling post-2008 world, Post has written a courageous and honest book about his own experience of being a 'castaway' and reaching shore safely by trying to rescue others, not himself. ...It is wise and profoundly healing." I immediately identified with what Post and his family went through when he was suddenly dismissed from his job. My family went through the same kind of heart rending experience. But we too came out safely and soundly by helping and serving others. This is an inspiring book that shows how helping others not only does good for them but as a by-product we also contribute to our own physical and mental well-being. Stephen Post's faith shines through and shows that the way to happiness is in living for and loving others.

(Thanks to B & B Media Group, Inc. for the complimentary copy of this book.)


Saturday, May 14, 2011

This is our predicament.
Over and over again, we lose sight of
what is important and what isn't.

Ah yes, what is important. I have struggled with this all my life. It's about time I get it right.

When I get to the end of my life and take my last breath, what do I want my life to have been about?



Friday, May 13, 2011

Interval training is the way to "Bring It."

My Spin Class at the gym is fantastic.

The loud, intense music, the upbeat, never ending voice of the extravert leader is grating on the nerves of an introvert like me---but I love it. It keeps me grinding away on that cycle and that is what I need.

Maybe the unending voice of the athletic extravert leader reminds me of being back in the ministry and hearing the voices from the pews goading me on. The same voices that cause me to wake up screaming at night even though I am now retired.

Interval training is the guaranteed way to get maximum results from your exercise.

Interval training speeds up your metabolism even when you aren't exercising. It is the best conditioning possible for the heart. It will help you break through a plateau in your weight-loss program. Interval training is challenging and fun.

I'm really enjoying this exhausting class right now but if you don't see a post or hear from me for a few days maybe you better check back to see if I'm still around.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Mother! My mother passed away when I was just a child. I loved her dearly and have missed her over these many years. But today, as I think of Sunday and Mother's Day, I want to post not about my mother but about my wife, the mother of my children.  She is everything a wife and mother should be. 

Motherhood is a mysterious, powerful, wonderful thing. God is so good! I like the following words from Jon Walker (Grace Creates Devotional, May 6, 2011) "Wow! the God who spoke the world into existence also spoke me into my mother's womb!"

I am happy to join with my children in honoring their mother.


For such as you, I do believe,
Spirits their softest carpets weave,
And spread them out with gracious hand
Wherever you walk, wherever you stand.

For such as you, of scent and dew
Spirits their rarest nectar brew,
And where you sit and where you sup
Pour beauty's elixir in your cup.

For all day long, like other folk,
You bear the burden, wear the yoke,
And yet when I look into your eyes at eve
You are lovelier than ever, I do believe.

                                                                                         Herman Hagedorn