Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review: Saints, by Addison Bevere

"
So, who else is devouring books these days?

I started the year (remember January, when we thought we could make plans?) with a goal of reading 2 books a month, but I've quickly doubled that to 4!

Navigating lockdown has occupied a lot of my practical brain, so I'll admit that fiction is truly capturing my imagination right now. But that said, I'm so excited to share this brand new nonfiction with you today!

"Saints" is a word that brings up lots of images - holy people, living stained glass lives, very separate from us "normal" people. We imagine Victorian paintings, glowing halos, and gruesome martyr deaths.

Not really something most of us aspire to live out...

Addison Bevere thinks that, not only should we want to be Saints, but it's really the most authentic path of faith we could be following.

Did you know the word "Christians" is only used three times in the New Testament? But over 60 times, these new followers are called "Saints," which simply referred to those whose relationship with God is maintained through faith in Jesus.

By that definition, we're all saints.

But how do we reclaim a word with so much weight and history?

Saints is a brave new message to abandon our own ideas of goodness and faith, 
and ask the deeper questions of grace and glory.

I underlined half of this book and turned down so many pages I almost cracked the spine! Addison is calling us to rediscover who we truly are in Christ, and to create a new language for the living out of our faith. Saints captures a great balance between deep, meaty ideas and a relatable writing style. Before hearing the interview linked below, I'd never heard Addison speak, and yet, reading Saints felt like being in an inspiring conversation over frothy cappuccinos (anyone else missing cafes these days?)

There are so many great ideas in this book! I love Addison's thoughts on salvation as a "change of identity," holiness as otherness, and how we "undersell" grace. I actually couldn't stop thinking about this idea of a limited, "sloppy" grace, "devoid of imagination" that shortchanges both people and God.

 But this is probably my favourite sentence in the whole book:

"The greatest injustice facing our world today is 
our refusal to become the expression of Christ on the earth. 
Period." 

Whoa... What a challenge to all of us, both as individuals and as communities of faith. 
What would the world look like if we changed our idea of how we express Christ? 
How would our priorities shift if we chose to fully express God's grace to a broken world? 
How many lives would be transformed if we simply reimagined who we are in Christ?

This is the challenge of Saints. 



Addison recently did a great interview with
 Johnny Rocket and Hollie Taylor of the Why Me Project. 
You can find the whole interview HERE.





Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Favourite Things - April Roundup!

Welcome to the latest edition of 

Favourite Things!


Did anyone else feel like April had 92 days?
This month was loooooong!

Fortunately, there were some awesome things to inspire us in this difficult season.


Here are my 
Favourite Things - April Roundup!



#1. Free Musicals - Few things make me happier than musicals!! Every Friday, Andrew Lloyd Webber is posting one of his famous shows for free. They only stay up for 48 hours, so pop some corn and enjoy...


#2. Free Sondheim - Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday celebration is a glorious collection of songs, stories and performances. The performers are home with no fancy lighting, no props, sometimes just sitting on their bathroom floors, and yet the songs are still deeply moving. Must see for any music theatre fan!


#3. Free Shakespeare - Ontario's world renowned Stratford Festival is offering free Shakespeare plays! Filmed in their wonderful theatres with their incredible cast of talent. The company has recently cancelled their entire 2020 season, so please support them any way you can.


#4. Whipped Coffee - Need to stay awake for all these awesome performances? I recently jumped on the bandwagon and tried this new coffee trend. Too much sugar for my everyday beverage, but wow, what a kick!


#5. Takeout Night - Even with tightening our bootstraps, we're still enjoying takeout once a week! We're sticking to indie restaurants only, so it's a fun treat that's also serving our community. Our St. Catharines Downtown Association has a great list of local businesses and their current delivery options. I'm sure your community has a similar list. Shop local and support your neighbours!




On a personal note:
We are one of many music groups affected by the closure of churches 
and banning of community gatherings. 
As you can imagine, this is having a serious impact on our creativity and livelihood.
We'd love for you to please partner with our ministry this season:




These are my Favourite Things for April!

Have you tried any of these?
What new things have you fallen in love with this month?

Please share in the comments below...



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book Review: More Than We Remember, by Christina Suzann Nelson



I don't know about you, but since the lockdown started,
I've been reading like a maniac. 

In March, I read 5 books. 
FIVE BOOKS!!!

I know for some of you, that's an average month, but for me, that was huge! I haven't been reading this much since university. This month, I'm on track to finish 4 books, including a sweet vintage copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Our current environment can't help but shape our reading experiences, and that's why I'm really happy to share this novel with you today.

More Than We Remember is a portrait of crisis in a small town. On a quiet summer's evening, a car veers into the wrong lane, killing a single mother and leaving an entire town shaken and divided.

We follow the stories of three women - Emilia, Addison, and Brianne. Neither are friends before this moment, but the accident weaves their stories together in unexpected and powerful ways. Unravelling their secrets takes us on a journey through family dynamics, illness, suicide, and lies. The story is compelling with a great twist and a satisfying conclusion.

Ultimately, this is a story about the choices we make in crisis.
How do we treat those who are on our side and those who are not? 
How do we care for others when we're in deep pain? 
How do we love someone who seems to have changed?
How do we choose compassion when anger and blame are so much easier? 
How can we help others find the truth they so desperately need, 
even if that truth is painful for us?

As I was reading this, I couldn't help but let my thoughts drift outside my home and into my own neighbourhood. We are in unprecedented times. Our entire world is in pain. No one is unaffected.

The women of More Than We Remember discover the power of loving others through the most difficult of circumstances. And, in doing so, we are gifted with a story of mercy, grace, and inspiration.

This is one of those wonderful times when fiction can serve up a good dose of truth:

Love one another.... 
with good meals, a open mind, your gentle presence, 
and above all, a generous heart.


Stay safe, everyone! 



Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Between Gratitude and Grief

I shouldn't be writing today. 

I should be packing CDs, getting an oil change, confirming concert details, 
and making a checklist that includes "don't forget socks!"
(a detail learned from experience...)

I should be getting ready to pack the car for our two-month, five-province 
10th Anniversary East Coast Tour. A time of music, celebrating and joy!

But that was before the world fell apart.

Instead, I'm home. 

My fridge is full, my family is healthy, and I have a comformable roof over my head. 
I have a lot to be thankful for. 

But I also have an empty tour calendar, an unclear vision of the future, 
and unexpected waves of anxiety over the safety of our world.

My emotions are a mess these days.

Can anyone else relate?

These days, I'm swimming between Gratitude and Grief.


Many psychiatrists have spoken about this season as being one of grief and trauma. 
No two mourning experiences are ever the same. Our symptoms come from the same list, but we're each having our own unique struggle.

For some, it's the loss of human connection and the everyday movement of society. For others, it's a loss of work, productivity, and purpose. And for far too many, it's the nuts and bolts grief of losing loved ones to a deadly virus, coupled with the pain of mourning in isolation.

Our talented friend, Drew Brown, recently wrote about the pandemic bringing up "new waves of grief" as we all find cancelled events and holidays popping up on the calendar. 

This resonated deeply with me. Our East Coast Tour has become a treasured part of our year. We love - and I mean, LOVE!!! - this annual tour. It grounds and spiritually renews us.

Yes, there's the financial loss, and that's difficult and significant. But there's more than that.
We're missing brunch with my family, my cousin's graduation, and galavanting about town with my childhood BFF. I can't quantify that loss, and I know I'm not alone in this. Many of you are missing weddings, reunions, and all kinds of special occasions. This is the stuff of life! Real, in the flesh, hug your loved ones kind of life. It's great to connect online, but certain moments are built for human contact. We need to acknowledge these losses, and take the time to mourn them. 

But in saying that, I'm so thankful for technology! I'm thankful for churches who are struggling with a learning curve to connect us in worship and prayer. I'm grateful for open-minded senior parents who are trying Skype and Facetime for the first time (I'm looking at you, H&H!) I'm grateful for musicians, writers, and theatres who are finding new ways to uplift us with their inspiring art.

And once I get thinking about it, I start to feel a rush of gratitude: for neighbours, who offer to pick up necessities on their grocery run. For our Canadian leadership, and the countless ways they're working to provide us with clear information and financial support. For the beauty of spring and its promise of new life...

But then, right there, I get hit by the wave again:
We're in lockdown. 
This is not normal. 
A deadly illness is attacking our world. 
People are dying....

And just like that, once again, 
I find myself swimming between Gratitude and Grief.

This mess of feelings that doesn't make sense, doesn't feel good. 
These emotions that clash against one another in an endless cycle.
It's exhausting.

But maybe... what if... just for now... 
What if living in this clash, in this mess of feelings, is our new normal? 

After all, isn't the mess where most great things happen?

We all love the boldness of the grand finish. We all appreciate the clarity of an obvious loss. 
But isn't it in that in-between space where most of life actually happens? 

Struggle and overcoming happens in the mess. 
It's where we grow, expand our perspective, and discover new views of the world. 
It's in the mess where we learn compassion, empathy, and generosity.

Maybe this mess of Gratitude and Grief is exactly where we need to be right now?

Maybe it's only in this space where we can gain the fullest and most loving perception of our reality?

It's good and right to mourn with those who mourn. 
It's also good and right to give thanks in all things.

So, today, I invite you to take a deep breath. 

Recognize the things you've lost. 
And then, give thanks for the blessings around you.

Please join me, in the space between Gratitude and Grief. 


*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   


Like many artists, our livelihood has been decimated by COVID-19.
Please consider partnering with us in this difficult season:







Friday, April 10, 2020

Our Good Friday Choice...

"Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace; and they called together the whole cohort.  And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.  And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.  After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.  
Then they led him out to crucify him." 
(Mk 15:16-20)



They called together “the whole cohort.” 
A group of people have come together to beat and mock a single man.

And the irony? These are the people he came to save. “For God so loved the world” – the whole world. When Jesus preached, he didn’t sort the crowd into those worth saving and those not. His message of love and grace was for everyone. It was a gift, freely offered.

These men are literally touching the messenger of love, and all they can feel is violence and vitriol. 
They’re missing the whole point.

Most of us, if we were in Jesus’s position, would glare up at these men with anger glinting in our eyes, but not Jesus. Not long after this, in his dying moments, he’ll look at these same, hate-filled men and forgive them.

Right up 'til his final breath, Jesus is offering love. 
Not just to those deemed worthy, but to everyone.

In this difficult season of pain, are we allowing anger or fear rule our hearts, to make our decisions for us? Because it’s tempting and understandable to do that. But what if we make a different choice? What if we follow the example of Jesus? What if, in this dark season, we choose to be light, God’s light?

Where are the moments when we could choose patience over frustration? 
Where could we offer more gratitude to those caring for us? 
And where are the people whom we might consider to be less than worthy of resources or protection? 
How can we be generous with them in this season of scarcity?

In his greatest moment of suffering, Jesus responded with love. 

Now, it’s our turn.





I shared this reflection as part of today's Good Friday Ecumenical Prayer Service, 
here our hometown of St. Catharines.
You can find the full service HERE.


Monday, April 06, 2020

East Coast Tour - Cancelled!

I hope this finds you keeping safe and well! 

Gerald and I been following the Coronavirus situation across the country. 
Originally, we cut the first four weeks of our upcoming East Coast Tour, 
in the hopes that things would start to return to normal by late May. 
Unfortunately, all governments are giving longer and increasingly more intensive directives 
for social distancing and self isolating. 


We have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel
our entire East Coast Tour. 




Even if things start to clear up by late May, we recognize that churches will have lots of rebuilding to do in their communities, and advertising a concert won't and shouldn't be at the top of that list.

Right now, our plan is to put all touring on hold, 
until things start to change across the country.

Our prayer is that we can hit the road again in the fall. 
We won't make any plans until we feel it will be 
safe and practical for everyone. 

We ask you to please lift a prayer for our ministry. 

With this decision, we have no income for the foreseeable future. 
We're pursuing all options available to us. 
Please pray for discernment, resources, and peace.


We'd love for you to please consider supporting 
our ministry in this difficult time. 

We've created 5 ways you can partner with us HERE


We will continue to create music and find ways to spread the Gospel through song! 
We're looking into new ways to share our ministry in a virtual setting, 
as well as creating new resources for churches. 

Now more than ever, we all need the power of God's music and love.
Stay home. Stay safe.
We love you and are praying for you...

Blessings,
Allison + Gerald
Infinitely More


Friday, April 03, 2020

5 Ways You Can Support Our Ministry!

Like many artists, 
our livelihood has been decimated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We've had to cancel all our live events, including our 2-month East Coast Tour.

This means we have no income for the foreseeable future.

We would love for you to please consider offering some support to our ministry. 

Below, you'll find 5 ways you can help support us 
during this challenging season.

We're lifting you all in prayer! 
We can't wait to get back on the road, 
and bring a message of hope and joy to your community.

Thank you! We love you and are praying for you...

Blessings,
Allison + Gerald
Infinitely More

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     


5 Ways You Can Support Our Ministry:

We would love for you to please consider supporting our ministry 
in some small way:


#1. Donations.
We've just added a Donate button to our website. 
Please consider a donation to support our ministry. 
All donations will receive an e-gift!


#2. Purchase Music. 
Downloading songs or purchasing CDs directly from our site 
is a great way to add to your playlist, while also supporting our ministry. 
CDs can also be shipped as gifts!
You can purchase our music here:


#3. Book a Fall or Christmas Concert.
We'd love to bring our music to your community this year!
Please email Allison for more info...


#4. Take an Online Lesson!
Why not take this quiet time to write some songs and learn a few new skills? 
We're offering lessons via Skype!

Gerald is teaching Songwriting. 
Get feedback on your latest creations,
prepare your songs for recording,
or if you're a beginner, 
learn the basics of crafting your first song!

Allison is teaching Singing for Beginners,
and Performance Coaching for All Levels.
Learn healthy vocal technique,
or new skills to help best communicate the message of your songs. 
Perfect for singers, musicians, or worship leaders.

Please email Allison for more info...


#5. Pray for us.
We believe in the power of prayer! 
Please pray for our practical needs, 
but also for our spiritual and emotional needs during this time. 
We're also keeping you in prayer!


Thank you for helping us during this difficult season!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Favourite Things - March Roundup!

Welcome to the latest edition of 

Favourite Things!



Wow! What a difference a month makes...

When I started this series in February, I thought my Favourite Things for March
might include a few new books and perhaps an early "tasting" of Easter chocolate.

Who knew we would find ourselves in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?

None of us are unaffected.
We're all suffering in some way.

And yet, in the midst of it all, 
there is still beauty and grace and wonder.

More than ever, we need to take a moment of gratitude
and recognize a few of our Favourite Things.


Here are my 
Favourite Things - March Roundup!


#1. Live Streaming Worship - Raise your hand if you're thankful for technology these days! For those of us who love connecting with our church community, live streaming worship has been a godsend (pun completely intended!) A big SHOUT OUT to all the church tech staff and volunteers! We're so thankful for your ministry. This Wednesday and Good Friday, we'll be live streaming worship services from our hometown of St. Catharines. You can find the details on our Facebook page and the live link will be HERE. Please join us!


#2. Hygge - The Danish concept of coziness and intimacy has recently gained legions of fans around the world, and I'm now officially on board! Hygge (pronounced "hoo-ga") inspires us to slow down, enjoy the quiet things, and find comfort in everyday living. I feel like these days of self-isolating and social distancing are just crying out for this kind of philosophy. There are lot of articles, social media groups and other resources online. I've found this little book particularly helpful.


#3. Signs of Spring - My gardening heart is finding so much bliss right now! Every day, I'm out searching for new shoots in the dirt. My crocuses had a glorious display and as I'm writing this, my daffodils have just started their bright parade of colour. I know many of you are still buried in snow! But please know that the world continues to turn in the right direction. Spring is our Season of Hope! I pray you're seeking joy and new life in the world around you...


#4. Poetry - I love reading fiction and non-fiction alike (you can find my 2019 reading list HERE), but I recently decided to expand my repertoire with poetry. I thought I'd be alone in this venture, but simply asking for a few recommendations on Facebook inspired a long list of passionate suggestions! Reading poetry during this time is encouraging me to slow down and be mindful of the beauty around me. I've particular fallen in love with the writings of Mary Oliver. I'd love to hear your suggestions!



On a personal note:
We are one of many music groups affected by the closure of churches 
and banning of community gatherings. 
As you can imagine, this is having a serious impact on our creativity and livelihood.
We would love for you to please consider offering some support to our ministry this season:




These are my Favourite Things for March!

Have you tried any of these?
What new things have you fallen in love with this month?

Please share in the comments below...



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How You Can Help Our Ministry...


Last week, we announced an important and difficult update about our upcoming 
East Coast Tour.

You can read the whole update HERE.


Losing our April and May events
means we have no income for this season.

We would love for you to please consider offering some support to our ministry. 



Below, you'll find 5 ways you can help support us during this challenging season.

We're lifting you all in prayer! 
We can't wait to get back on the road, 
and bring a message of hope and joy to your community.

Thank you! We love you and are praying for you...

Blessings,
Allison + Gerald
Infinitely More

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     


How You Can Help Our Ministry

We would love for you to please consider supporting our ministry 
in some small way:


#1. Donations.
We've just added a Donate button to our website. 
Please consider a donation to support our ministry. 
All donations will receive an e-gift!


#2. Purchase Music. 
Downloading songs or purchasing CDs directly from our site 
is a great way to add to your playlist, while also supporting our ministry. 
CDs are also great Easter gifts! 
You can purchase our music here:


#3. Book a Summer or Fall Concert.
We'd love to bring our music to your community this year!
Please email Allison for more info...


#4. Take an Online Lesson!
Why not take this quiet time to write some songs and learn a few new skills? 
We're offering lessons via Skype!

Gerald is teaching Songwriting. 
Get feedback on your latest creations, prepare your songs for recording, or if you're a beginner, 
learn the basics of crafting your first song!

Allison is teaching Performance Coaching
and Singing for Beginners.
Learn healthy vocal technique,
or new skills to help best communicate the message of your songs. 
Perfect for singers, musicians, or worship leaders.
Please email Allison for more info...


#5. Pray for us.
We believe in the power of prayer! 
Please pray for our practical needs, 
but also for our spiritual and emotional needs during this time. 
We're also keeping you in prayer!


Thank you for helping us during this difficult season!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions...



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

East Coast Tour - IMPORTANT UPDATE

Like all of you, we’ve spent the last few weeks glued to the news about the Coronavirus. In our efforts to “flatten the curve”, we’re staying indoors, not socializing, and endlessly washing our hands.

With increasing restrictions of live events, we’ve had to face some very difficult decisions around our ministry. We’ve lost most of our Easter performances, which is very upsetting. But the hardest challenges have been around our upcoming 10th Anniversary East Coast Tour.

With a heavy heart, we’re cutting our tour from 7 weeks down to 3.

Unfortunately, to give us the tightest tour route possible,
this means cancelling all events in Newfoundland, Quebec, and PEI.

We can’t tell you how much it hurts us just to write this.

Our new plan is to offer a 3 week tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, starting after the May 24th weekend. Our prayer is that social distancing will do its job, and by that time, we’ll all be ready to gather together for a night of singing and praise.

We’re currently booking concerts, worship services, and music team workshops for churches of all sizes and denominations across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
We’d love to bring our message of hope and joy to your community!


To book your concert, please contact us HERE.

As a freelance duo, these tours provide approximately four months of income for our family and ministry. Cancelling any event is always a last resort for us! We’re booking events now because, if we wait until May when things start to clear, we won’t have enough time to put everything together. We would love for churches to please keep working with us in this regard, booking events, and planning for a more social spring season.

And we promise you: we won’t risk your church finances or your community’s health!
We’re closely monitoring the situation across the country. If we need to make adjustments closer to the tour dates, we’ll work with your church leadership to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone!

We know the communities of the East Coast are resilient, with a deep tradition of caring for one another. This is the spirit that runs in our veins, and we’re thankful for this heritage.

Planning anything in these uncertain days feels like a leap of faith,
but isn’t that the stuff that God is really good at?


As our inspiration verse tells us,
“God’s power, working in us, can do Infinitely More than we can ask or imagine.”

Please join us in this leap of faith and hope this spring.

Blessings and peace,
Allison and Gerald
Infinitely More

To make a Donation and support our ministry, 
please visit HERE.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Film Review: I Still Believe

I love storytelling. 
Gerald and I mostly express our passion for story through our music
but in our early careers, we loved creating plays and films.

So today, I'm excited to offer a review of a new film: 
I Still Believe.



In the world of Christian music, Jeremy Camp is a superstar. Millions of albums sold, gold records, sold out tours, shelves of awards - the stuff of music career dreams. We see him and hear him, and we think we know him. But do we ever really know someone else's story?

I Still Believe introduces us to a young Jeremy, leaving his loving family for his first week of college. He's passionate about music, and, like most people in college, he discovers first love.

Melissa is smart and quick, and full of a beautiful faith. On their first date, she takes him to a planetarium to witness the beauty of the stars. As they gaze at the wonders of the galaxy, she says,


"This is the definition of wonder... 
The God of a trillion stars knows my name, 
and He has a destiny just for me."

Jeremy and Melissa are played by KJ Apa and Britt Robertson. They're natural and charismatic, with lots of chemistry. The filmmakers did a lovely job of capturing first love - flirting to test the waters, wanting to know exactly how the other person feels, weighing every word the other person says, and losing hours to just spending time together.

The supporting cast is also fantastic. It's great to see a bit of "Canadian Content" with superstar Shania Twain as Jeremy's mother. The always wonderful Gary Sinise is understated perfection as Jeremy's Dad.

And, of course, the soundtrack is fantastic! Music plays a key role, and the performances are beautifully woven into the storyline.

Because I love good storytelling, I'm not giving you any spoilers, 
but I will say this: 
wear your waterproof mascara!! 

I love stories that show people of faith who aren't weird. You now what I mean? So often, Christians are portrayed as 2-dimensional. We're either demonic villains or Bible-thumpers.

The families in this film are just normal people who are also Christian. I truly appreciated seeing people of faith going through the stuff of life without perfection or pat answers.

The film's website describes this as a story "of love and loss that proves there is always hope in the midst of tragedy and that faith tested is the only faith worth sharing.”

Trust me: they don't shy away from the tragedy or the testing. 
Waterproof mascara. 
I'm not kidding...

Before watching I Still Believe, I thought the target audience was teens and young adults, but I'd definitely broaden that demographic now. Without revealing too much, this story resonated with my own story, and I found myself deeply moved by so many scenes. If you've also experienced "love and loss," and wondered where God is in it all, you'll definitely be moved by this film, too.


If you're interested, here's the trailer, as well as a special video from Jeremy.



Have you seen I Still Believe?

What did you think?
Leave your thoughts (but no spoilers!) in the comments...





Friday, March 06, 2020

Book Review: Praying Women, by Sheila Walsh


Yay! Time for a new book review!


A few years ago, I reviewed Sheila Walsh's inspiring It's Okay Not To Be Okay. I loved it, so I was super excited when offered the chance to review Praying Women.

First let me say this: 
If you're a notetaker, 
you'll want to read this book with your pencil!

Even though I occasionally read an e-book, I'll always have mad love for proper paper books. My copy of Praying Women is completely marked up. Pages are turned down, passages underlined, and notes in the margins. It's not a journal, but my copy kind of became one.

The images in this post are just a few of many provided to me as a review resource, but seriously - it was tempting to skip the review and just post quotes from the book. So many wonderful thoughts!


Praying Women in organized into ten chapters, each exploring a different challenge to prayer, such as:

  • Pray When You Don't Know What To Say
  • Pray Hardest When It's Hardest To Pray
  • Pray When God Seems Silent
  • Pray When You Need a Breakthrough

And perhaps my favourite chapter in the book:

  • Pray with the Power of the Word of God - an inspiring dive into the Psalms, and literally praying Scripture directly back to God. This chapter alone is worth the price of admission!


Sheila is honest about her own story and struggle, but never makes it "all about her." Her stories share her heart and her sensitivity to the pain of others, all of which create a great feeling of trust between writer and reader.

Each chapter is also supported by Scripture, meaningful quotes, and Sheila's own wonderful thinking. Her writing is focused and thoughtful, with lots of practical ideas for enhancing and strengthening your prayer life.

At end of each chapter, you'll find a 3-point summary, as well as a prayer for that particular chapter's focus. I can see these prayers being particularly special to people, and heavily bookmarked for future use.

If you're a fan of free bonus content (and who isn't??), Sheila offers lots of resources on her site, including a Bible study and videos.
You can find it all here:

https://sheilawalsh.com/pray/


So much of Praying Women resonated with me personally,
and I can already feel it making a difference in my prayer life.
I hope this book is a blessing for you, too!

Have you read Praying Women?

If so, please leave your thoughts in the Comments...



BONUS REVIEW!
I love reviewing books, but every once in a while, I get to review a movie!
Stay tuned to the blog for my review of Jeremy Camp's story:
I Still Believe
Coming next week...



Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Turn Around - A Lesson from Niagara Falls...

My totally expert opinion:

The best time to visit Niagara Falls is in the winter!



The subzero temperatures and constant mist create the most beautiful ice formations! Imagine if Elsa's dream castle had a raging Wonder-of-the-World waterfall, and you have a hint of what the Falls look like in the depths of winter.

And not just the Falls: when it's super cold, the surrounding hillsides, trees, and buildings are all covered in shimmery splendour.

There's also that perk of the tourists!

The summer is a crowded time in Niagara Falls. Millions of people cram around the edge of the water to get that perfect honeymoon selfie.

In the winter, you get a sparse, more reserved crowd. And if polled, you'll probably find more locals like me.

Last week, I took advantage of a quiet Sunday to enjoy a stroll by the Falls. It was breathtaking! The sun was bright on the water, and the cascading mist formed billows of brightness.

As usual, I was struck by the diversity of the crowd. All ages; all races; all abilities. All gathered to look at one majestic sight.

All eyes were glued on the Falls in their winter glory. All cameras pointed in one direction. All attention stage right...

I took my fair share of photographs, too, 
but then, 
something told me to turn around...


I pointed my camera in the opposite direction, 
away from the attention-grabbing noise and wonder of the Falls, and that's when I saw this...




The rainbow.


Not in the churning of the Rainbow Falls, but clinging against a wall.

Nestled on a bit of ice, out of sight for most people.

I wanted to scream, "Turn around! Look at what's right here! Isn't it fantastic! So unexpected..."

I didn't, of course. Not just because it would have surpassed my own weirdness comfort level, but because, somehow, I felt it had to be discovered to be admired.

There are things like that, 
aren't there?

Sometimes, we get into a truly amazing, spectacular place, full of noise and busyness and wonder. There's so much to see and take in, and we find ourselves transfixed by the big, loud stuff right in front of us.





But what happens if we slow down, 
turn around, 
and just for just a moment, 
look in the other direction?

What quiet, beautiful wonders will we find hiding in the corners?

What miracles are happening, not centre stage, but just at the edge of the wings?

And how might we be blessed by seeing the things that other people miss?

I snapped a photo of my secret rainbow. 

I wonder how many other people turned around and noticed it? 
I wonder how many other people would call it their favourite photo of the day?

Today, I encourage you to take a moment to turn around.
Discover the beauty in all corners of your home, your community, our world.
Let's share that beauty with one another...