Wednesday, 28 November 2012

THE HIGH CALLING


My inbox is most often inundated with mails of all kinds, and most of them are trashed without ever opening unless it is a personal mail. One recently escaped the “trash” button, and I’m glad I have had the chance to go over its content.

I discover to my pure delight that The High Calling, an online weekly newsletter, is a place where you can discover a broad range of articles, interviews, devotionals, and inspirational stories - all specifically created to help you find God in your work, family, and the broader culture. The writers and bloggers tell engaging stories crafted to encourage you in the high calling of your daily work. It is a community founded on the belief that God cares about our daily work.

The High Calling is also a safe place to ask difficult questions about work, leadership, culture, family, and faith. It is a place where differing opinions about matters of faith and doubt are shared.


Just sample this brief incisive write-up in The High Calling:

Right Idea, Wrong Time?
by Howard E. Butt, Jr.

Joseph and Noah McVicker invented a substance to clean wallpaper. It was soft, pliable, durable. Trouble was, no one wanted it.  And the McVickers set their invention aside.

Ten years later, the brothers heard an elementary school teacher describe how her students, with their little hands, struggled in their art projects.  Art clay was hard and unyielding. So Noah and Joseph dusted off their invention—and today we call that wallpaper cleaner Play-Doh.

This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. Our world is full of ingenuity and innovations that at first solved nothing.  Maybe you have a right idea that hasn’t found the right time. Stay open. Be patient...and keep thinking...in the high calling of our daily work.

Image by Dennis Brekke. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

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Thursday, 22 November 2012

STILL LOLO


I still vividly remember the news story from December 3, 2011: Lauren Scruggs had just landed with a girlfriend after viewing Christmas lights from above in a small prop plane piloted by a family friend. The young communications graduate, who had started a fashion website called Lolo and had worked in the wardrobe department of the TV show "Gossip Girl," is thought to have turned to say a final goodbye to the pilot when the horrible accident occurred. The 23-year-old fashion blogger and model, “Lo”, as her family and friends affectionately call her, was hit by a still-spinning airplane propeller. She was rushed to a hospital where she underwent a series of emergency operations. She lost her left hand and left eye. Far from dwelling on the horror of this face-changing accident, she writes about its life-changing spiritual implications. "I have kind of gained a new perspective of life," she told a recent interviewer, "and I feel like I need to use my message of hope and healing to help others, and inspire others, just like people have inspired me."

As a model and fashion blogger, Lauren Scruggs built a life and career that prioritized beauty and physical appearances. She had interviewed tons of gorgeous celebrities and traveled to Paris, Montreal, and New York to report on Fashion Week. But far from wallowing in self-pity, “Lolo” now sees God’s beautiful plan in her life. The accident has transformed the way Lauren sees herself and her God-given mission in life. She realizes that there are more important things in her life than the way she looks.

The Scruggs Family
Still Lolo: A Spinning Propeller, a Horrific Accident, and a Family's Journey of Hope is a story that spins out of human control but not beyond the control of God. In this memoir, “Lolo” and the Scruggs family with Marcus Brotherton, embark on a journey of fear, anger, despair, hope and beauty as they shift gear to and fro.

The book, all of thirty-two chapters, is a well-written 272-page book, with contributions from Lauren’s mother Cheryl, father Jeff and sister Brittany. It begins with fear An Unmistakable Premonition and ends with praise Giving Thanks. Lauren's courage and insight shines through out in her memoir. Each family member shared their own take of the night's events and how hope triumphed. The book and the story of the Scruggs family, most importantly that of Lauren Scruggs, is a clear demonstration that even when we despair and find ourselves helpless God is not helpless even among the ruins of life.

This is a must-read book for all - to find hope and succor in troubled times and to continue to be reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness even during the good times.

If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1-5, I would give it 5+

BOOK DETAILS:
Lauren doing "push up"
Publisher/Distributor: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: November 15, 2012
Category: Biography/Autobiography
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7669-1
Pages: 272
Binding: Hardcover
Price: $24.99


Read the First Chapter here

Lauren Scruggs
About the Author: Lauren Scruggs is a fashion journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief of LOLO Magazine, an online lifestyle experience magazine that integrates coverage of the food, fashion, beauty, health, and travel industries. She has served as a contributing editor at MyItThings.com, SMUStyle, and PR Couture. A 2009 Dallas Baptist University graduate, Lauren has worked in the Michael Kors showroom and reported from New York, Paris, and Montreal Fashion Weeks. She was an intern in the fashion department of the television series Gossip Girl. See her magazine

Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs are authors, speakers, and counselors. Their writings include the widely used book I Do Again and are the founders of Hope Matters Marriage Ministries in Dallas. See their website Brittany (Scruggs) Morgan is Lauren’s fraternal twin. She works in accounting for a commercial insurance company and is married to her best friend, Shaun.

Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer known for his literary collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel. He has authored or coauthored more than 25 books, including the New York Times best-seller We Who Are Alive and Remain, with 20 of the last surviving Band of Brothers. See his website

Disclaimer: This book was obtained through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

ADVERSITY


A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her. "As soon as I solve one problem," she said, "another one comes up. I'm tired of struggling."

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second, eggs, and in the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After a while, he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl.

Turning to her he asked, "Darling, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.

She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor. She asked, "What does it mean, Father?"

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water. But each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water.

He asked his daughter, "When adversity knocks on your door, which are you?"