First, a little announcement: By request, we have postponed the continuation of the Girltalk Book Club two weeks to allow everyone a chance to order and receive their books. Answers to question number one are now due on August 3. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
OK, here are some more “confusing sign” pics to send you into the weekend. Have a great one!
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
As a young girl just out of high school, I was eager to experiment with the craft of writing. So I hunted down the writers and teachers in my church and asked for their advice. My quest for guidance led me to the office of John Loftness, one of the pastors of Covenant Life Church (and a former English teacher). He told me that if I wanted to write, I needed to read. Read good books. Read a lot of good books.
Then he gave me some pointers on how to profit most from the books I read. For starters, he insisted that I should always read the preface and the introduction. Many people tend to skip over these, he explained, but they are essential to comprehending the author’s message and perspective.
We’re going to take Mr. Loftness’ sage advice. Instead of beginning with chapter one, your first assignment is to read the Preface and the Introduction of Twelve Extraordinary Women. And I’m not resorting to hyperbole when I say that they are worth the price of the book. Rarely have I read opening content that so fascinated and inspired me to keep reading. Oh, and the introduction is chock full of Scripture references, some of which you may want to look up on your own.
So, you have your assignment. Here’s your question:
How does your life feel ordinary and how can it be truly extraordinary?
We are not so much looking for the most cleverly worded answer here. Rather, we want real-life, personal illustrations of your thoughts, feelings and circumstances, and how this book’s message invades your every-day world.
Please have your answer (300 words or less) in by midnight (that’s close of business day for a mom) Thursday, July 20. We’ll post one response, and add our own reflections to the conversation. Until next Friday then, happy reading!
UPDATE: By request, we have postponed the deadline for the first Girltalk Book Club assignment to Thursday, August 3 in order to give everyone time to order and receive their books.
Well, the girltalkers and all of our big men and little men, oh, and baby Caly are getting ready to go on vacation. We’re leaving Sunday, which means I’ve got a lot to do between now and then. I’ve got my shopping lists (for Sam’s Club and Target and Safeway and more), I’ve paid all my bills, I’m doing laundry, and I’ve got packing lists for each of my sons. I’m even hoping to clean out my closets so they’re nice and organized when I get back (I know, I’m weird!), but I doubt I will have time.
But would you like to come on vacation with us? (No, not literally—although we’d love to have you.) We hope you’ll join us by checking in here at the blog where we’ll suspend writing, and instead let Janelle’s camera do the talking. Each day she will post a “picture of the day” which will give you a little inside peek into our time. And of course, we’ll continue the book club on Fridays.
Speaking of vacations, check out these posts we wrote last year on vacation. If your summer travel plans are still ahead of you, we hope they will encourage you to glorify God during your trip.
Tomorrow we’ll still be here with the Girltalk book club and Friday Funnies.
See you then!
(Hey, Nicole here. No, we didn’t play hookie today. Our webhosting service was down most of the day, until just a couple of minutes ago. I’m putting up this post for Mom because, of course, she went to bed a long time ago. In fact, she should be waking up before long! I, on the other hand, drank too much Cherry Coke at dinner and can’t go to sleep. So I’m awake to put this post up for you night owls and our international friends. Lord willing, we’ll see you again tomorrow!) Also this past Sunday, our senior pastor, Joshua Harris preached a powerful message entitled, “What it Costs to Follow Christ,” derived from Luke 14:25-35. At one point during his sermon, he addressed a question he commonly receives: “Is my relationship with this non-Christian guy OK?” We’ve been asked this question as well, so we have transcribed his wise answer for you here:
“Because of the topics that I’ve taught on in the past and the books that I’ve written, there have been so many occasions when I have encountered young men and women who are in a relationship with a person that is not a believer in Jesus Christ. And this seems to be in particular young women who will come, and they’ll talk about their desire to live for Jesus and to give their life to Him. But there’s this guy in the picture. And there is a relationship that has been formed, and there are affections, and there is a growing love for this person. But this person is going in the opposite direction from their Savior. And they’re often confused, and they’re often distraught and they often don’t know what to do. And when you quote the passage about not being ‘unequally yoked’—this kind of picture from agriculture and cows and stuff, just really isn’t doing anything for them. ‘Yoke. Cows. What? He’s so cute—what does that have to do with a cow, you know?’ And they’ll often have a desire to try to care for this guy. They don’t want to hurt his feelings. They think they can reach him with the gospel, and they’ll just stay in this relationship.” “And what I say each and every time is: ‘You’re facing a choice. If you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, then you must choose Jesus and you must turn your back on that guy. In fact, if you have a desire for him to see the reality of Jesus Christ, the most loving thing that you can do is show him that you are more committed to Jesus than you are to him. If you want to show that guy that God is real, then obey the God who is real and choose Him over this relationship –with a person that doesn’t know Him, doesn’t follow Him, doesn’t obey Him. Those are hard words, but those are the words of Jesus.’”
Whether you are a new believer or a seasoned Christian, I would encourage you to listen to Josh’s whole sermon. You will experience fresh encouragement and provocation as you follow Christ.
Hey, everyone, two quick items today…
#1: Happy Birthday, Kristin! That’s right, today is Kristin’s big day. I won’t give you her exact age, but let’s just say that this is her last year with a 2 at the front of her number of years. Looking forward to dinner tonight, Kess. Love ya!
#2: If you’re looking for something super easy AND super yummy to make for dinner tonight, then look no further—I’ve got it. Honey-Baked Chicken, Mike’s favorite, is gracing the Bradshaw table tonight (even though I won’t be there to enjoy it). Serve it with a big bowl of white rice and you’re set.
Preheat oven to 350*. Arrange six skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or your favorite chicken pieces) in a shallow baking dish. Combine 1/3 cup butter, melted, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Pour over the chicken. Bake 20 to 30 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the center). Baste several times while cooking.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!
My husband gave me these pictures of “Confusing Signs.” They certainly live up to their description.
Happy reading this weekend!
for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
We hope you’ve been inspired by our “reading talk.” Writing on this topic has stimulated us too. So we want to put legs on our enthusiasm. And we want to do it together with all of you.
I’m excited to announce the inauguration of the Girltalk Book Club.
Its purpose is to promote the pleasurable discipline of reading and more specifically reading about biblical womanhood.
Here’s how it’s going to work:
* We’ll pick a book and post it on our sidebar.
* Each week, we will read one chapter and we hope you’ll read with us.
* Along with the chapter assignment, we’ll ask a question, and invite you to submit your answer.
* Among the answers, we will choose one to post.
* That person will receive an author-signed copy of the Girltalk Book Club selection.
* We will also comment on the chapters as we go along.
Does it sound like fun? Good! Then let me present our first selection:
Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur.
Have you ever wanted to get to know the women of the Bible more personally? Well here’s your chance. In a story-like fashion, John MacArthur introduces us to twelve of the most notable women in Scripture. But this work is far from fiction. It’s a biblically accurate portrait gallery of the life and times of women who were called by God. Not only do you meet these extraordinary women in the pages of this book, you encounter their faithful God. By doing so, you will become freshly encouraged by His steadfast love for you.
And for all our confident-in-your-manhood male readers, you can join in too. Here’s what pastor Rick Holland has to say about this book:
“Is ‘Twelve Extraordinary Women’ just for women? No, certainly not. Just as ‘Twelve Ordinary Men’ was written for every believer, so ‘Twelve Extraordinary Women’ should be read and studied by all. Both men and women will be encouraged by the message of this book, as they see God’s redemptive power exhibited in each of these fascinating women of the Bible.” —Rick Holland, Pastor of Student Ministries, Grace Community Church
So are you ready to go? We’ll give you a week to purchase this book (which you can do by clicking the picture on the sidebar) and then we’ll get started.
Thanks for coming on another girltalk adventure with us!
From an early age my mom sought to instill in me a love for reading. This was no easy task, for unlike Nicole, this love did not come naturally. I was even put in the “Slow Readers Group” in 1st grade, which did nothing to enhance my enthusiasm. During the summer months, when school was out, my passions were directed towards playing outside rather than reading.
But Mom was tenaciously committed to the priority of books for her children. She had a providential conversation with a family friend who said his parents made him and his siblings read for an hour a day when they were growing up. Now, he said, they all have an appetite for reading. This clinched it for Mom. Her kids were going to read an hour a day, whether they liked it or not!
Recently, on the Together for the Gospel blog, Ligon Duncan quoted Thomas Chalmers: “Perhaps the great gift any father can bestow upon his children, apart from the covenant blessings of parish life and a comprehension of the doctrines of grace, is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives a knowledge of the world, and it offers experience of a wide kind. Indeed, it is nothing less than a moral illumination.”
Reading still doesn’t come easy for me. However, I still spend time each day enjoying “experiences of a wide kind.” I’m so grateful for my mom’s perseverance with me. She gave me a gift of worth I’ll never be able to adequately measure.
Today, I’m teaching my oldest son Andrew to read. If he was in school, he wouldn’t be in the slow reading group! Unlike his mother, he enjoys books and reading comes easy for him. I expect the ability and love to read might come more slowly for Liam. But regardless of their desires or abilities, I want to give all my boys the great gift of a passion for reading.
One day, during our engagement, Steve and I took a walk around a local pond, bordered by shops and park benches. We came across some dear friends of my parents, Robin and Clara. They were sitting close together on a bench, reading a book. Reading aloud to each other—they told us—was something they had enjoyed for over twenty years of marriage.
Inspired by their example, we resolved that reading together would be a part of our marriage. So, we brought a book to read to each other on our honeymoon—Moby Dick (I know it seems like an oddly unromantic choice, but we were staying at Nantucket so it made sense at the time). One of my favorite mental snapshots from our trip is sitting on a chilly beach and relishing language together. On our long drive home I read to Steve from some of my favorite books by P.G. Woodhouse about a man named Wooster and his butler Jeeves.
Reading aloud to each other hasn’t been quite as consistent as we would have liked. Life fills up fast. But recently we started up again. We just finished Ivanhoe (swords for him, romance for me). Some day we hope we’ll fill a shelf—maybe even a couple of shelves with the books we’ve read, me and him.
I’m not suggesting every couple should read together. (Janelle recently told me that when she and Mike tried it out, he fell asleep!) However, it’s great to have some activity or hobby you enjoy doing as a couple. If you don’t already have one, why not give reading together a try?
P.S. It’s raining buckets here in Virginia again. The house is quiet and dark. Perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of red bush tea!