Monday, November 15, 2010

Winner - Battlefield and Blessings

Thanks to everyone who commented to enter the drawing for a copy of Jocelyn Green's book, "Battlefield and Blessings - Stories of Faith and Courage from The War in Iraq and Afghanistan." My sixteen year old completed our very "official" drawing this morning and the winner is Jodi.

For more information on this book and the entire series, visit

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Battlefields and Blessings

In honor of Veteran's Day, my friend, Jocelyn Green ( has graciously given me a copy of her book, "Battlefields and Blessings - Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan" to offer as a free giveway this week. Below, you will find my review of the book along with a link to Jocelyn's web site where you can find more information about the book. Please leave a comment, including your email address, at the end of this article to be included in the drawing for the book. I will announce the winner next week and send the winner's book along it's way. A special thanks this week to all America's veterans!

In the recent 2010 congressional elections, polls indicated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not anywhere near the top of many voters’ minds as they went to the polls. But every day, our troops and their families continue to sacrifice and serve in both of these wars. "Battlefields and Blessings – Stories of Faith and Courage from The War in Iraq and Afghanistan" is the much needed call to remember not only the sacrifices our troops and their families have made and continue to make in these regions, but how the hand of God is ever present in times of trouble.

Written as a daily devotional, the book shares the stories of members of the armed forces, parents of service members, spouses, children, missionaries who have served in these countries and also politicians and civilians who serve our military. A source of encouragement amidst stories that could otherwise be overwhelming and disheartening, each day includes an inspirational story from the conflicts, along with an applicable Bible verse and a one or two sentence prayer. The varied perspectives from not just those who have served in the conflict, but many others affected by these wars, gives the reader a multifaceted look at not only the challenges, but also the positive outcomes in times of battle.

One of my favorite entries was the story of Stephanie Olsen, wife of military police officer Joe Olsen. Stephanie talks about how she answers when people ask her how it feels to be the wife of a serviceman. Her one word answer is “personal.” Thanks to the efforts of Jane Hampton Cook, Jocelyn Green and John Croushorn, we have in-depth and encouraging insight into the very personal world of those affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the blessings given by the One who watches over all of them.

Visit for more information about the entire series.


One of my favorite things about fall is the abundance of fresh delicious apples. In Virginia, picking apples in the country orchard and bringing them home to eat fresh or use in yummy recipes has become one of the activities that just says fall for our family. There are few things better than a fresh picked juicy apple right off the tree.

Several years ago we bought an apple slicer which is put to good use every autumn. With one quick push, the apple is cored and cut into convenient slices, ready to eat. One afternoon, as I was trying to prepare a snack for Libby and her friend, I pulled the apple slicer from the drawer. After centering it on the apple and pushing down once, I realized this apple was going to be a little difficult. Being more determined, I centered the slicer once again on the apple and gave it another push, but still did not have my conveniently sliced snack when I was done. Being determined, I squared my shoulders for another attempt, only to hear the handle of the slicer snap – to the hilarious entertainment of my daughter and her friend. I had pushed too far this time.

True confession – I am a pusher. Some people would dress it up in fancy clothes and call it determination, which is usually viewed as a positive quality. But the reality for me is some of what I do is not determination – it’s pushing. And what happens to those around me when I push? Just like the apple slicer, sometimes things get broken. Sometimes people get broken. But there is another role model I can choose to imitate.

God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

God chooses to deal with me, not by pushing, but by working deeply and gently within me. I love thinking of God and realizing how He is ever the gentleman – never demanding His way into my life, but constantly ready to show me the way home to peace and forgiveness when I look to Him. He doesn’t push for me to follow Him, be with Him or even listen to Him. He simply waits for me to turn to Him.

How can God’s model of gently working in me apply to the way I deal with those I encounter each day? What happens when I come against situations that seem just too tough to slice? I know I can not be the Holy Spirit to anyone else, but what might happen if instead of pushing the issue just one more time, the next time I disagree with someone or something, I backed off and allowed some gentleness to do its work? Maybe, the person, or obstacle, I have come up against would soften. Maybe, I would find an alternative answer to my dilemma. Or maybe, just maybe, I would have time to realize I was wrong about where I thought things needed to go in the first place.

How about you? Is there someone or something you are pushing in your life today? Is it causing grief or anxiety for you and/or them? What might happen if you followed God’s model of gentleness? Maybe we would all end up with the results we truly need without the brokenness in the process.