Here we are. It’s the week of Thanksgiving. For women, this holiday can be both fun and overwhelming—something you both anticipate and dread. You’re excited at the prospect of a wonderful family memory, a delicious meal complete with pumpkin pie, a relaxing nap after turkey dinner, and going ‘round the table sharing grateful hearts. But all the cooking that leads up to that idyllic turkey-carving-moment can be daunting. And then there’s cleanup—speaking of which, when will they create that china-safe dishwasher? In her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions Noel Piper helps us to step back and view this holiday, and all family traditions, from a wider perspective: their role in teaching our children about God. Whether or not we have children, I think Noel’s thoughts should provoke us all. She writes:
“You can’t bequeath God to your children. You can leave them the fur coat from your mother, the forested acres from your father, the carved cane from your Uncle Claude, and the clock from your grandmother, but they can’t inherit God from you. God can only be inherited from God…We only become God’s children through our faith, not through our parent’s faith…Now although we can’t bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name. ‘Everyday’ and ‘especially’ traditions in a family are an important part of that teaching, of picturing who God is and what he’s done in our home and in the world. Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us.”
Traditions are one way we can show that God is most important to us. Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder of the faithfulness and provision of God. It’s also a way to promote family unity and closeness, to have fun and enjoy one another’s company for the glory of God. It’s a chance to pause and consider Christ, who is our joy.
I love it when we get Friday Funnies that are true stories from readers of this blog. Here’s one from Pam Bloom that will not only make you laugh, but remind you of grace as well.
Signing off for the weekend…
Nicole on behalf of the girltalkers
“The Heavens Declare…”
Heavenly Comic Strip
By Pam Bloom
Adapted from October 2005 journal entry
Picture our house one fall evening: our five kids (ages 9, 7, 2 and twins 9 months) and three friends playing with great enthusiasm and volume while I (mom) refereed games, made dinner, and kept an eye on the newly mobile babies. It had been a long day of home school, following a night of helping friends mop a flooded basement, and little sleep. Craving peace and quiet at dinner I confessed my sin of impatience with the kids. Later, my husband Jon ran an errand while I got the kids ready for bed. Soon sibling conflicts escalated upstairs and so did my blood pressure /sinful anger. Again I harshly corrected the kids. I was exhausted, lacking joy, quick to be angry, choosing self-pity and guilty of blame shifting.
Then it happened. As I sat on the living room floor changing a dirty diaper (some of which just dropped on the white carpet) I looked up from the smelly mess to the kids arguing on the landing of the stairs. I started to speak when suddenly above his my son’s head appeared a huge glowing white oval, which read,
I was bewildered until I realized it was a blimp! I laughed out loud! At just the right time, perfectly framed in the window in the stairway landing, a blimp was floating through the night sky. The words advertised something to the city, but I think it was for me. God got my attention by sending a blimp! The heavens were speaking and I got the message.
When God could have rightly said, “I’ve had it up to here with you!” and been done with me, he sent Jesus, the sinless sacrifice, to take the punishment I deserved. I was freshly reminded of God’s mercy toward me. And making a connection to my sin and circumstances I was better able to love and extend grace to my kids.
God has a great sense of humor! And he was so kind to bring laughter and joy back to this Mommy and our home.
The girls and I sat down and came up with a list of gifts we would put on our list if we didn’t already have them…
by Out of Eden
ESTHER AND RUTH
by Iain Duguid
TWELVE EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You
by John MacArthur
FOUNDING MOTHERS: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts
ELIZABETH PRENTISS: More Love To Thee
by Sharon James
GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF MOTHER, HOME & HEAVEN
by Gene Fedele
SLEEP ON IT: Prepare Delicious Meals the Night Before That You Can Pop in the Oven The Next Day!
by Carol Gordon
WITH HEART AND SOUL: Favorite Recipes from Our Friends and Family
by Roxie Kelly and Friends
DOING THINGS RIGHT IN MATTERS OF THE HEART
by John Ensor
Since my husband, Steve, is a youth pastor, we checked in with him for some ideas for that hard-to-buy-for teenager in your life. Hope this makes your Christmas shopping just a little bit easier this year…
ERIC LIDDELL: PURE GOLD
by David McCasland
HUMILITY: TRUE GREATNESS
by C.J. Mahaney
THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED
by Mark Frost
DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE
by John Piper
DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE GROUP STUDY KIT (includes study guide and DVD)
by John Piper
YOU AND ONLY YOU
by Pat and Joel Sczebel
THE PERFECT MILE: THREE ATHLETES, ONE GOAL, AND LESS THAN FOUR MINUTES TO ACHIEVE IT
by Neal Bascomb
GIRL TALK: MOTHER-DAUGHTER CONVERSATIONS ON BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD
by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre
SHOPPING FOR TIME: HOW TO DO IT ALL AND NOT BE OVERWHELMED
by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw
by David Crowder Band
THROUGH GATES OF SPLENDOR
by Elisabeth Elliot
PROVERBS: AN INTRODUCTION AND COMMENTARY
by Derek Kidner
More Christmas ideas for ya! As most of you know, my husband Mike is the Children’s Ministry pastor here at Covenant Life Church. He is constantly keeping his eye out for great resources for kids. So I took some of his top picks and compiled them here to help you along as you shop for those kiddos in your life.
THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE: Every Story Whispers His Name
by Sally Lloyd Jones, Illustrated by Jago
READ-N-GROW PICTURE BIBLE: A 1,872-Picture Adventure from Creation to Revelation
by Libby Weed, Illustrated by Jim Padgett
HEAVEN FOR KIDS
by Randy Alcorn
DELIBERATE KIDS CD
by Phil Joel
THE PRIEST WITH DIRTY CLOTHES: A Timeless Story Of God’s Love And Forgiveness
by R.C. Sproul
THE PRIEST WITH DIRTY CLOTHES CD
by R.C. Sproul
THE KING WITHOUT A SHADOW
by R.C. Sproul
THE KING WITHOUT A SHADOW CD
by R.C. Sproul
SEEDS FAMILY WORSHIP CD’s
WAIT UNTIL THEN
by Randy Alcorn
by R.C. Sproul
GET INTO THE STORY Family Devotional Program
(you can order the book or cd)
by Marty Machowski
Here’s the list you’ve all been waiting for, in plenty of time to shop for Christmas—it’s my dad’s annual book recommendations for the husband, father, brother, or special guy friend in your life. But if you’re like me, you’ll be adding one or two of these to your own Christmas list. Enjoy! THIS MIGHTY SCOURGE: Perspectives on the Civil War by James M. McPherson THE WIT OF MARTIN LUTHER by Eric W. Gritsch THE WICKED WIT OF WINSTON CHURCHILL by Dominique Enright ENCYCLOPEDIA IDIOTICA: History’s Worst Decisions and the People Who Made Them by Stephen Weir PIERCED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach
PISTOL:The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel MASTERS OF THE AIR: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller TRIUMPH: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics by Jeremy Schaap CREATORS: From Chaucer and Durer to Picasso and Disney by Paul M. Johnson MAYFLOWER: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick BROTHERS: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years by David Talbot MORE LETTERS FROM A NUT by Ted L. Nancy TWELVE ORDINARY MEN: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He Wants to Do with You by John MacArthur TALES FROM Q SCHOOL: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major by John Feinstein WHEN PRIDE STILL MATTERED: A Life Of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss EXTRAORDINARY ORIGINS OF EVERYDAY THINGS by Charles Panati THE AMATEURS: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal by David Halberstam CHOSEN FOR LIFE: The Case for Divine Election by Samuel C. Storms
SIX FRIGATES: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian W. Toll FOR CAUSE AND COMRADES:Why Men Fought in the Civil War by James M. McPherson THE CROSS FROM A DISTANCE: Atonement in Mark’s Gospel by Peter G. Bolt THEY MARCHED INTO SUNLIGHT: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 by David Maraniss LOST IN THE MIDDLE: Midlife and the Grace of God by Paul David Tripp
As I prayed for my family this morning, these words from The Valley of Vision (A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions) captured the desire of my heart for this new day:
O Sovereign Lord,
Let those that are united to me in tender ties
be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory.
Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion,
instruction, discipline, example,
that my house may be a nursery for heaven.
Will you join me today in praying this prayer?
Thanks to Karen for this cute story about her son…
My son was allowed to choose any book for his 4th grade book report. We
are very blessed to live near a beautiful brand new library. I took
him and told him it was very exciting that he had such a large
selection to choose a book from. I was telling him all the wonderful
books I read when I was his age. He decided he wanted to do a
presidential biography. So I start telling him my list of favorite
presidents. He starts looking through the choices. I’m pushing the
Ronald Reagan and the Teddy Roosevelt. He went with the Biography
of….. Millard Filmore. Famous for…yea, I got nothing.
Surprisingly, they had several copies on the shelf. He read it and
wrote the report. At the end of the report he is supposed to say
whether he would recommend the book. He wrote ” I recommend The
Biography of Millard Filmore to people who like biographies but I have
to warn you, it isn’t as exciting as it sounds.”
See you Monday,
Janelle for my mom and sisters
Back in October, we took a little break from the book club when so many of you clamored for foodtalk! Then we had a lovely conversation with John Ensor last week. As we returned to the book, we felt the two primary remaining chapters—on submission and a woman’s work—were topics too important to cover in a simple book club post. They deserve a series of their own some day.
So, we decided to close the cover on this book club today. But we want to leave you with this parting thought: read this book! And if you’ve already read it along with us, re-read this book! Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart is one of those biblical womanhood essentials…along with Let Me Be A Woman and (pardon a little family bias) my mom’s Feminine Appeal and several others. We want each and every girltalk reader to benefit from John Ensor’s wise and winsome book.
But we don’t want to end without recognizing that there may be some of you for whom this topic of relationships—or even just the title of this book ushers in feelings of guilt and despair. Because maybe you’ve traded your dollar bill for five shiny pennies (see p. 159). Maybe you’ve done things wrong in matters of the heart; or, maybe someone else has done things wrong in the matter of your heart.
That’s why we must never forget the gospel. John Ensor makes sure we don’t, when, on the last page of the book He reminds us that God’s “steadfast love is great” (Psalm 57:10). God loves us, not because we have always done things right in relationships or otherwise, but because of His one and only Son, who was our sacrificial substitute when He died on the cross for our sins. We will find peace, help to forgive, and grace to honor God in relationships only when we look at the cross and remember the steadfast love of our Savior.
May the love of the One who has always done everything right be your joy today.
The arrival of cold weather always inspires me to want to make soup. We have a few soup recipes that we have collected through the years and they have quickly turned into family favorites. Mom and I are gonna make some huge batches for freezing this weekend. It’s great for those crazy days when cooking is difficult. Pull a yummy jar of homemade soup from the freezer, add your favorite bread or salad, and you have a great meal in minutes. We are sharing 3 of our favorites with you today. More to come in the future. Hope you enjoy!
Tomato Basil Soup
4 cups canned whole tomatoes- crushed
12 fresh basil leaves- washed
1 cup heavy cream
¼ pound sweet unsalted butter
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Simmer tomatoes in saucepan for 30 minutes. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.
Lemon Chicken Soup with fresh Spinach and Farfalle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
8 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
2 cups dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
½ 10-ounce package ready-to-use spinach leaves (about 6 cups)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir 1 minute. Add carrots and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add 8 cups broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix chicken, lemon juice and lemon peel into soup. Add spinach. Simmer until spinach wilts but is still bright green, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Thin soup with additional chicken broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
2/3 cup boiling water
1 can cream of celery soup
Milk (fill soup can two-thirds full)
1 small jar cheese whiz
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced onion
salt and pepper
Place frozen broccoli in boiling water. Add can of cream of celery soup, milk, and cheese whiz. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon minced onion and salt and pepper to taste.