Friday, December 10, 2010

My Favorite Books: Entry One

Category: Caregiver Devotion:

Not Alone -  by Nell E. Noonan:

  [My personal note: During this joyous season when we celebrate the birth of God’s only Son, Christmas adds additional stress for those who provide daily, on-going, grinding, and sometimes draining care for loved ones.  If you need an extra gift, Not Alone is an easy to digest devotion book that will enlighten and encourage anyone involved in care giving: spouses, children, parents, hospital chaplains, pastors, nursing home administrators, and even yourself. ] 

Not Alone / Encouragement for Caregivers by Nell E. Noonan (Upper Room Books 2009)
          Mrs. Noonan is a devoted caregiver to her husband and writes from a heart faithful to him and to her Lord Jesus. Each of the 150 short devotions includes a personal experience, a prayer, and a Scripture to encourage those who provide constant, daily care for loved ones.
          This is a “take-along” book that can slip into a busy woman’s purse or a guy's back pack. Mrs. Noonan is not one for wallowing in sackcloth and ashes so her words uplift and encourage.. I’ve read through this collection more than once and I continue to re-read random entries many times a week in my devotion—or desperation—times.
          Not Alone is a profound personal touchstone in my days and I often give copies of this treasure as gifts. Solace, comfort, and wisdom abound in all three sections: Brokenness and Blessings, Tears and Laughter, and Exhaustion and Resurrection. Mrs. Noonan approaches disappointments, heartaches, family, writing, and care giving in an honest and fresh way that lifts the spirit and demonstrates hope.
          I can attest with Nell that,“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.

How Not Alone got on "My List"

For months, one family medical crisis after another had chased me in endless circles. Crying in my milk on one of my routine, too-much-to-do and not-enough-time days, it hit me that I had forgotten many of our friends, neighbors, church and family members who were experiencing difficult and serious times and that they, also, needed encouragement. Making phone calls seemed inappropriate, I was in no state to make personal visits, and my depleted greeting card box mocked me. I sighed. So, in dirty sweat suit and with no make-up, I made a mad dash to our local Christian bookstore and quickly grabbed a handful of cards. Then, for a reason I can not explain to this day, I picked up a copy of Not Alone. That was well over a year ago and while my precious copy is now earmarked, filled with high-lights, turned down pages, penciled notes, and dirty finger-prints, I seem to navigate confusing and difficult days with a profound peace. Seeing God’s love and provision through the eyes of another traveler has healed my spirit and lightened my own load.
Thank you, Nell, for sharing your heart.

The Closer Walk Christian Bookstore, Fredericksburg, TX ( ) often keeps this book on the shelves but will special order it for you. Not Alone  is also available from Amazon and The Upper Room.

May your reading—and gift-giving—be blessed,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coming Attraction: My EIGHT All-Time Favorite Books

Those of you who know me are laughing. Out loud! Doubled over.
What? Liz picks JUST EIGHT all-time favorite books?

Yes! And just in time for your Christmas shopping!

     Well, perhaps “all time favorite” is a bit too broad. Will you believe favorites from the past eight years? Okay.
     Both my husband and I and most of our children, grands, and greats are, to grossly understate, lifetime avid readers. Our modest, middle-class American home immodestly displays far too many books.  I’m shocked that I can select only EIGHT to call FAVORITE.
[Just for the record, Microsoft Word’s synonym list for FAVORITE includes beloved, preferred, much loved.]
     My earliest memory is the sound of my mother’s voice as she read The Bobsey Twins books to me. She read as we rocked on nippy fall afternoons, snuggled under a blanket on cold winter afternoons, moved back and forth in the porch swing on spring afternoons, and watched the leaves under the Sycamore tree on summer afternoons.  Mother majored in elocution and, before marriage, taught children the art of speaking clearly with emotion, feeling, expression, and passion to match the words. Through the years, every word she read aloud carried us on a new adventure. After some 68 years, one of the original Bobsey books from my childhood still resides on my hall bookshelf.
    As a born and trained lover of books and words, it was natural that as I penned secret journals and my words began to slowly surface in publications, I also read to my own children, foster children, grandchildren and great grandsons through a million miles of rocking, snuggling, traveling, waiting in doctor’s offices, and swinging on the back porch.
     My final list for the end of 2010 is simply sorted by category and is narrowed from all those I’ve enjoyed, studied, re-read,  hated, and forgotten over the past six to eight years or so.
     I’ll begin posting my favorites tomorrow, one or two at a time, with a short review of each book, how I came to have it, and why it is beloved to me.
     Perhaps you’ll discover one of your favorites on my list or will be intrigued to get a copy for yourself, a friend, or a family Christmas gift.
     By the way, if you are local, I highly recommend The Closer Walk Christian Bookstore, Fredericksburg, Texas. If your favorite (or mine) isn’t on her shelves, Sheila will order it (or them!!) for you. Not only is Sheila a founder and active member of our Hill Country Women of Words writing group, supporting local merchants is a grand thing to do! ( )

 Blessings & Happy Reading--
from One Book Worm to Another

P.S. The “crud” that laid me low for a week is gone and God has graced me with enough energy to catch up to Christmas, make all our appointments, and even change our bed linens! Your prayers, notes, calls,and  e-mails kept me going when I preferred to hide UNDER the bed.

Now let all of us be like the shepherds and go in haste to find the Savior, Christ the Lord and then, in awe and wonder, return to our work, glorifying and praising God for all we have seen and heard.
(from Luke 2 in God’s own Book)