Guest Post for Jean Fleming: Two Aromas

I used to think being a sweet fragrance for Christ meant directing that fragrance to others—living so that people will like me, even if that meant conforming my personality to theirs.

But in my thinking, the direction of the aroma was all wrong. Being a sweet aroma does not mean being a people-pleaser. We are a fragrance of Christ to God …

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I’m delighted and honored to be a guest writer for Jean Fleming: Live the Mystery. Click through to read the entire article, Two Aromas (and get a peek into my Bible-reading journal, including some drawings and doodles like the ones I wrote about in Behold the Beauty, chapter 4).

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On Holiday Traditions (Guest Post for Deidra Riggs)

Have you ever seen a gingerbread Leaning Tower of Pisa?

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When Deidra Riggs invited me to share about holiday traditions, I decided to expand on the gingerbread creations I mentioned briefly in Behold the Beauty chapter 16, “A List of Personal and Family Rituals.”

Would you like a lighthearted read this Thanksgiving week? I invite you to click through to join me here: The Gift of Engineering for the Holidays (with thanks to Deidra)!

Holiday-Traditions

Bible Out Loud

Storytime

Ever since our firstborn’s first day home from the hospital, we’ve been reading out loud to our sons every night. The book we chose to inaugurate this ritual? Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott.

Not your typical bedtime read-aloud book, but for a one-day-old, we figured it was okay. Our main goal was to establish the daily routine early.

Besides, we ourselves wanted to read Ivanhoe. Also, the newborn began to learn and recognize the sound of his parents telling him a story.

After Ivanhoe, we switched to board books and picture books—Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La!

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We read them slowly, savoring the words and illustrations. We read them so many times that, even now, I can recite them by memory and tell you when to turn the page: “In the great green room / There was a telephone / And a red balloon / And a picture of— [turn page] the cow jumping over the moon.”

Before my second son started walking, he used to crawl to me, dragging a book in one hand. I remember sitting on the floor (as I often do) with my back against the bookshelves, watching him bring me another Sandra Boynton. Here he comes.

As he crawled into my cross-legged lap, I resolved to stay put and read the book to him no matter how many times he asked.

So when I turned the last page and he said, “Again?” I read it again.

And again.

Through every iteration, I made sure to still read it slowly and enjoy the story. No rushing.

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We read that book seven times in a row before he crawled out of my lap. I stayed, waiting to see if he would ask for the eighth.

Of course, we adjusted as our sons grew older. Five or ten minutes of bedtime reading turned into half an hour or more. On weekly library trips, we took home Frog and Toad (Arnold Lobel), Poppleton (Cynthia Rylant), and colorful, well-mannered dinosaurs (Jane Yolen).

Deep and thoughtful discussions became part of bedtime reading as we read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Count of Monte Cristo (all unabridged). Currently, my husband is reading Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper to our nine-year-old, and I’m reading Shelby Foote’s The Civil War (Volume I) to the older two boys.

The initial intent stuck: we established a habit of reading every night, fifteen years and counting. The fun ritual that started with a one-day-old who slept through most of Ivanhoe has become part of our routine, part of our relationship.

Hear the Bible Out Loud

When was the last time someone read aloud to you? When did you recently sit down for nothing but the joy of hearing good words artfully woven together?

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How to Listen to Bible Gateway’s Audio Bibles

1. Go to BibleGateway.com, hover over the “Bible” tab in the upper left, and click on “Audio Bibles.”

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2. Choose your preferred audio version. (For a special treat, try one of the versions “by Dramatized”!)

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3. Choose the book of the Bible . . .

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4. . . . and the chapter.

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5. Press play, and hear the story!

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Consider it a treat. Someone is reading aloud to you. Like the child who asked for the same book seven times in a row, savor the story and hear it as many times as you want by pressing “play” again and again.

Related:

Did you know about International Day of the Bible on November 23, 2015? Check it out.

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A portion of the above is excerpted from Behold the Beauty: An Invitation to Bible Reading. For more details, including quotes and the book trailer, visit the book’s web page.

A portion of the above first appeared in one of my articles for Charity Singleton Craig’s How to Bring Words to Life Column, 5 Reasons to Go to Storytime (even if you don’t have children).

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Photo credits:

Elliot Margolies, via Flickr Creative Commons

Alexander N, via Flickr Creative Commons

For quote image: denise carrasco, via Flickr Creative Commons

Guest Post on Bible Reading at Soul Stops

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I’m delighted and honored to be a guest writer at SoulStops.com. Many thanks to Dolly Lee!

Why do I compare Bible reading to the Saturn V rocket, and what do I call the moon? I invite you to read my article at Soul Stops.

Why the Copyright Page Is One of the Best in My Book

[November 16, 2015 UPDATE: Paperback now available.]

Today is launch day for my book, Behold the Beauty: An Invitation to Bible Reading!

Saturn V Launch!

To celebrate launch day, I would like to feature the book’s . . .

[drum roll]

. . . copyright page.

Check out Amazon’s “Look inside” preview, and here’s what you’ll see on the copyright page:

“For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Fistbump Media Special Sales at sales@fistbumpmedia.com.”

When the print version becomes available [UPDATE: paperback now available!], perhaps you or your pastor, small group leader, or other ministry leader would like to have multiple copies. It’s a little book (< 100 pages) and therefore might be ideal for church newcomer packets or gift bags, church libraries, small group studies, Sunday school classes, or other ministry handouts.

Send an e-mail to sales@fistbumpmedia.com for more info on discounted bulk orders!

Would you share this information with your pastor, church leader, small group, MOPS, campus ministry, other ministry leaders, and your local library? Most importantly, would you please pray that Behold the Beauty readers would grow in knowing God better and hungering for His Word?

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Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson, via Flickr Creative Commons

Behold the Beauty Facebook page

Launch Day for Behold the Beauty: Oct. 13, 2015

My book, Behold the Beauty: An Invitation to Bible Reading, releases on October 13. That’s this Tuesday!

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I will be sharing more information soon. For now, I invite you to take a look at the book’s Facebook page.

Sign-ups for my monthly newsletter will also be available soon. This will include book updates, free subscriber-only resources, and thoughts on the writing life.

Some details:

– Published by BibleDude Press

– Endorsed by Cynthia Hyle Bezek, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and John Blase

– Discounts for bulk orders available

Thank you for the support and encouragement you have shown! More coming soon.