When author Rachel Marie Stone said she was on her way to Mali, Africa to live with her husband and her two sons, I was thrilled for her and her family and was looking forward to hearing how God would use them in that place. I didn’t hear much through social media about their experiences, so when I heard she was writing a book that in part shared about her time there, I was eager to read it.
I had already read Rachel Stone’s reflective book Eat With Joy which talked about Rachel’s journey from an unhealthy view of food to a celebratory view of food. I appreciate Rachel’s writing which is a mix of sharing her life experiences and sharing the facts and the thoughts that lead to her shift of mindset.
Birthing Hope was written with the same reflective voice with beautiful words that draw you into the scene. You are there with her in Africa, in the birthing room, when she helps a woman give birth only to find out later that the woman is HIV positive. Rachel had not worn gloves. You travel with her through the fear of that realization and through her contemplations of how much fear has gripped her life in general. She shares the thoughts that have brought her through fear and given her hope.
If you liked Katie Davis Majors’ books, you would love Birthing Hope, especially if, like me, you were disappointed in her latest book, Daring to Hope. This is not a reflection on Katie Davis Majors herself. I admire her courage and her obedience to the Lord. However, I was hoping the book would have much more detail about her continued ministry. Instead, Daring to Hope was an emotional roller coaster with some Scripture along the way. In contrast, Birthing Hope is deep. Rachel uses her head as well as her heart and invites the reader to do the same. I appreciated the variety of books Rachel quoted from to develop her reflections.
My favorite quote from the book is related to how Rachel changed how she looked at the people she was interacting with in her new overseas home.
“Watch and learn. Suspend judgment and the impulse to intervene; meet people as people, as subjects of their own sovereign lives, not as objects and bit players in the drama of mine.”
Convicting. Meet people as people. This is what Jesus did. This is what God wants whether we are in Mali or in the United States.
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Since my husband is a pastor, my children have been to a lot of weddings and a lot of funerals.
My 8-year-old has already been to eight funerals in her short life.
Some of those people who we gathered to remember have been family members and some have been part of our church family. They haven’t all been close to my children, but some of the people were.
Just last weekend my husband’s grandmother passed away and my children knew her well. Last year a dear older man from church passed away. This man was like a grandparent to my children and my 8-year-old especially enjoyed sitting with him every Sunday at church. She didn’t sit with him so much as she snuggled with him before the service started and before she was dismissed to go to children’s church.
For our family, it has been valuable to include my children when we attend a funeral.
Why did we decide to bring our children along to funerals?
I shared in the Family Life Column at Pandora’s Box Gazette the advantages of taking your children to funerals so you can decide whether or not it is right for your family. Hope it’s helpful!
Instead of going out for Valentine’s Day, my husband and I like to create a fun meal at home. Last year we created a Hamilton themed dinner.
This year we decided to create a Tom Hanks themed dinner. For the past two years or so we have been watching Tom Hank’s movies in chronological order. It’s been a fun ride! I peaked in the 90s when we got to watch Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and A League of Their Own. My husband has already gotten me to watch more adventure movies than I care to watch in a lifetime because of the DaVinci Code series books and others. We only have about 8 more movies of his to go before we have watched them all! Continue reading
Ordinary skills can be used for the kingdom. It’s not just the big name teachers and preachers who impact the world for the LORD. When ordinary people use the skills God has given them in faithfulness and prayerfulness, people’s lives are impacted.
Gertrude Chambers impacted the world through her ordinary, day-job skill. Before she married the preacher/teacher Oswald Chambers, Gertrude (whom Oswald nicknamed Biddy) was a stenographer who used shorthand to take rapid notes while someone was speaking. She excelled in this skill. The average person speaks 100-125 words per minute. Biddy could write in shorthand at 250 words per minute.
After Oswald and Biddy were married, Biddy used her shorthand skills to take notes when Oswald was preaching and teaching. Later, she used her notes to publish what Oswald Chambers had spoken. Continue reading
This year we are counting down to Christmas with Christmas children’s books! The idea is that every day leading up to Christmas we unwrap one book and read it together.
We have a basket in our living room with the countdown-to-Christmas books. I wrapped the books simply. This year I wrapped them mostly in packing paper from Amazon boxes. Last time I used newspaper. Continue reading
When my youngest child, Molly, was 5 years old, an elderly friend took our family to the Dollar Store. For Christmas, she wanted to treat each of our children to five things from the store; five things of their choice.
The day we met at the store, it was crowded with people getting ready for Christmas. Everyone was trying to get in and out quickly, but we leisurely browsed up and down each aisle so the kids could see all the choices. In the first aisle, Molly saw some pretty wrapping paper and bows and picked them up. When she did, I said, “Are you sure? Maybe you will like the next aisle better.”
The second aisle was filled with toys! By the time we were two steps into the aisle, Molly had picked three more things. She was excited about the five things she had picked out.
A minute later one of her sisters found something fun on the shelf and said, “Look Molly! Look at this! You should pick this instead!” She reluctantly chose that toy instead of one of the items already in her arms.
This pattern continued up and down every aisle. Either I asked Molly if she was sure, or one of her sisters persuaded her to pick something else. Once we had finished browsing up and down every aisle, we checked out, and went home happy with our purchases –or so I thought.
Read the rest of the story at Pandora’s Box Gazette.
Rachel Schmoyer writes a regular Family Life Column for Pandora’s Box Gazette the fourth Monday of the month. Thanks for reading!
Packed away in my tote of fall decorations is a little brown blank book that came from the dollar store. Warmth spreads through my heart when I flip open the cover and see handprints, doodles, and scrawled words inside.
Each year for the past 11 years our family has taken some time on Thanksgiving Day to write or draw what we are thankful for. Each family member gets one page. Even the babies and toddlers participate by having their hand traced. Then either my husband or I jot down a few things the little one is really into at the moment.