Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Harmful Cycle

We’ve gotten about 20” of rain in the last couple of days – I’m floating over here on the NC coast.  And my kids are out of school today because of it. So I’m going to quickly lay out two ways our perfectionist attitudes start frustrating cycles in motion.

01/27/08 -- Gary Lorton (cq) of Mesa watches the rain fall at Tonto National Forest Recreation Site outside Mesa on Sunday. Rain is expected to fall through Tuesday of this week. -- Photo by Geoffrey McAllister/The Arizona RepublicThe Stress Cycle:
First, perfectionists set unreachable goals based on unrealistic expectations. Second, naturally, they fail to meet those often well-out-of-reach goals. Third, they become stressed, anxious and self-critical over their failure.  Finally, rather than realizing the true problem – unrealistic expectations – they demand a more perfect performance next time, or else avoid the pursuit entirely.

And that’s why procrastination isn’t always tied to laziness as people assume. Often it’s tied to perfectionism.  If you can’t do it “right” – or don’t have time to, or don’t have the time to do all of it right now – then you just don’t do it. Which, of course, leads to more stress and self-condemnation.

Another issue may be feeling that it is already ruined so why bother.  We perfectionists have lots of quirks based on our notions of what is a “perfect state.”  Like, what do we do with clothes that have been worn once, and are not soiled but are not “perfectly clean” anymore either.  We can’t hang them back in the closet with the perfectly clean clothes (that will contaminate the clean ones!). Or if the carpet has stains that won’t come out, why bother taking care of it now and vacuuming it often because it’s already ruined. So we abandon it’s care, lament it and hate it. Some of us have done this with our bodies/figures. All of this is stress-producing!

The Relationship Cycle:
Sometimes without even realizing it, perfectionists can apply their unrealistically high standards to others, becoming critical, demanding and difficult to please. Those who live or work with perfectionists regularly feel they can never do right, never quite measure up. The perfectionist’s frequent lack of grace, or unwillingness to cut any slack to themselves or others, damages their relationships.

Children often take on their parent’s perfectionist thinking – causing the stressful, self-defeating cycle to perpetuate through generations. Meanwhile, co-workers, spouses or friends may simply “check-out” of the relationship as much as possible after growing tired of trying, or of being fussed at.

Because perfectionists often lash out at others - in their stress, frustration and unrealistic desire for everything to be just so - they frequently wind up feeling guilty or bad about their relationships. But they get in the  habit of controlling and criticizing, of nagging and nitpicking, and can’t seem to stop themselves.  Their desire for perfection wins out over their desire for love and peace and fun. When they look back on it, they usually regret that priority. 

Furthermore, perfectionists avoid letting people see their mistakes, not realizing that self-disclosure allows others to perceive them as more human and thus more likeable. Because of this, perfectionists often have difficulty being close to people. Keeping people at arm’s length, they only let people in when they are confident they can control the situation and the other person’s perceptions of them.  This results in unsatisfying relationships – which only confirms in the perfectionist’s mind their lack of value or their need to strive harder. It’s a giant self-defeating cycle - a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

feet in puddle I’m off through the flood waters for a meeting at the church. Be back later to post about what we can do about this.  (And I’d like to talk more specifically about housekeeping and perfectionism as so many readers have commented about that.)

Meanwhile, think and pray through this post – realize what your perfectionism is really costing you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2 Peter for Perfectionists

Yesterday we looked at the fears and inaccurate beliefs that go through the mind of a perfectionist.  Things like equating one small mistake with complete failure. Things like if one little part is less than just so, the whole thing is ruined.  Things like every house on the block is tidy and clean but mine.  Things like I have to be so much better than I am before I can do that.

We’re going to talk more here about how this plays out and how to stop it from playing out.  But today I want to bring us back to the Word of God. And remind us once again that God does not treat us as completely ruined and useless when we make a small mistake or when we commit a massive sin. His mercy is new every morning - sunrises exist for the perfectionist!  Forgiveness is abundantly available. 

I also want to remind us of what is essential in life (godly love and character) and what is not (a 20” waist or following all the advice in Real Simple magazine).  The Word holds the power to renew our minds and point us to what is truly essential. So read the following passage slowly. In fact, read each sentence through slowly twice before moving on to the next sentence.  Let it sink in. 

2 Peter 1:3-12 (New International Version)

Making One's Calling and Election Sure
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.


Now in your own words summarize the key points of this as they stood out to you. What is God whispering in your ear today through 2 Peter?  Write it down. Here in the comments or in a journal. (Do not worry about writing it perfectly. Do not spend two hours crafting it.  Do not pull out 3 commentaries so you have the “right answer.”) And then make it your prayer for today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Causes of Perfectionism

First off, I’m not a counselor or a psychologist.  I’m a woman who sometimes wrestles deep-seated perfectionistic tendencies. A woman who seeks God’s perspective on things. A woman that researches a lot. And that prays. So that’s where I am coming from on this series on perfectionism.

Pop over here and read the devotion that started the series if you missed it.

Yesterday you shared some of your struggles with perfectionism in the comments – and could I ever relate! Thunderstorms knocked out my internet for most the day so I had to head to Starbucks to read your posts.  The other coffee addicts would pass by me on the way in and see me giggling and smiling in agreement as I read.  They’d get their order and pass me two minutes later on the way out – and I’d be clutching my heart, salty water pooling in my eyes, shaking my head in agreement and prayer. I went through 2 lattes, 200-some comments, and 2 napkins as tissues.

Yesterday we also defined this thing we wrestle as:  a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors driving you to set, and to expect to reach, excessively high or unrealistic goals. Zero in on the phrase “self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.” It’s key to note both parts of that hyphenated word.  First, they come from self/our flesh/Satan and not from God.  And second, they defeat us rather than help or perfect us.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." ~ Gal 5:17 (ESV)

I could tell from your comments, as you read the devotion and spelled out your perfectionism’s particular brand of crazy, that you were seeing the truth of that.

So today we’re looking at some of the causes of this self-defeating thinking and behavior. The clinical experts in my research say a number of negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can drive our perfectionistic tendencies. Such as: fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of disapproval, all or none thinking, and belief that others are effortlessly great.

Fear of failure. Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve with a lack of personal worth or value.
We sometimes equate failure – on something like a math test or an attempt to keep our closets organized  - on par with sin.  Like something that deserves condemnation, punishment or isolation. Messy closets do not equal murder, a crooked sewn quilt is not slander, cellulite and typos are not stealing.  God offers grace to murders, slanders and thieves!  Why can we not offer ourselves or our family a little grace on the math tests and closets?
Fear of making mistakes. Perfectionists often equate mistakes with failure – and therefore, with a lack of personal worth. In orienting their lives around avoiding mistakes, perfectionists miss opportunities to learn and grow.
Seriously - how many times have we missed out on something fun or enriching because we weren't certain we could pull it off well, or look good doing it? And how many things have we started and not finished because we felt we weren’t good enough at it?
Fear of disapproval. Perfectionists often believe if they let others see their flaws, they will no longer be accepted.
In reality, authentic transparency usually brings people closer. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to avoid criticism, disapproval, and rejection. I think its also a way of protecting our pride - rather than letting it die with Christ on the cross.  By the way, Christ was criticized, disapproved of, and rejected – and He was truly perfect!  So it will happen to us too.
All-or-none thinking. Perfectionists frequently believe they are failures if their accomplishments are not perfect from start to finish. Every part must be flawless.   
We deny the existence of a learning curve, and discount the process of “failing forward.” 
Belief that others are easily successful. Perfectionists tend to perceive others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few or no errors, little emotional stress, and maximum self-confidence.
This is a powerful one.  Maybe the most powerful of them all – that’s why it was so freeing to read everyone’s confessions yesterday. And that’s why even though we know what our perfectionism does to us and those close to us, we keep trying to be “perfect like them.” We compare our reality to assumptions we make based on their appearance. And sometimes “they” don’t exist anywhere but in our minds, myths or magazines!
Several of you commented that you learned your perfectionistic ways from your mother. And some of you said you can see it rubbing off on your children. (I have as well.) So we’ll keep talking about this.  Look over that list again and think about which one of these issues cause you the most trouble. And pray about that today. Feel free to share it with me and I’ll pray too.

Stay tuned for more on this topic.
Have you heard I’m doing a Kindle giveaway? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been wanting one.  I have an early generation Kindle and I’ve been waiting for a substantial improvement in the product to upgrade.  I think it is here now.  Check out Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt’s recent review of the Kindle 3.  Then follow the instructions on my previous post to enter to win one!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The “Perfect” Giveaway

Do you feel not quite good enough much of the time? 

Avoid starting projects for worry you’ll fail?  Miss deadlines because you’re still working to get it just right?  Fear others seeing less than your best?  Do you think "average" is an ugly word?

If so, it's likely you are plagued by perfectionism. I know; I've been there. And I shared an important biblical truth about this in my devotion today at the Proverbs 31 site.  I elaborate further on it in chapter 7 of my new book It’s No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know.

problems writing, perfectionism I suspect a majority of us struggle with perfectionistic thinking from time to time, at least in certain areas of our lives.  So I’ll be talking about perfectionism all week on this blog. I hope you’ll stay with me for it because while we tend to praise successful perfectionists, the reality is perfectionistic tendencies hinder most of  us.

Today I just want us to get on the same page in defining perfectionism. After all, it’s good to want to do a job well. It’s natural to desire to be successful. Perfectionism just takes those fine thoughts a little too far.  Perfectionism refers to a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors driving you to set, and to expect to reach, excessively high or unrealistic goals.

And as I pointed out in the devotion, it usually causes us to hyper-focus on our appearance and performance rather than our motives and character. God is more interested in our heart and character. Plus, it often adds emotional instability to our lives.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about several common causes of perfectionism. And later this week we’ll look at how perfectionism affects our relationships, and how to overcome it’s strong grip.

kindle 3 But today I have an exciting announcement for you. As a lover of words, books and all things bookish, I want to gift one of my readers with a brand new Kindle e-reader with Wi-Fi!

If you aren’t one of the nearly 1 in 10 people already reading on an e-reader – here is your chance. If you have an older version – here is your chance to upgrade. And if you’re already using a Kindle 3 – here is your chance to get someone the coolest Christmas gift.


1)  Leave a comment on this post naming a specific way your perfectionism raises it’s ugly head and you’ll have a chance to win.

2)  Spread the word about this perfectionism series and giveaway – Tweet, Face Book, tell your book club, small group or scrapbooking club, etc. – then leave another comment telling me what you did. You’ll receive a second chance to win.

3)  Buy a copy of my new book It’s No Secret and leave another comment here telling me where you bought it, and you’ll get a third chance to win. (No need to forward me your receipt – I trust you!)

4)  If you’ve read the book, post a favorite line or describe a meaningful-to-you section of it and you’ll have a fourth chance to win. 

5)  Post a helpful review of the book at one or more of the online sites listed on my “books” page. Then leave a comment telling me where you reviewed it and you’ll get a fifth chance to win.

* You have one week to enter – I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, October 5th.

I realize I’ve asked you to spend money purchasing a book for those last three chances to win.  So I’ll be throwing in a $10 Amazon gift card for the winner.  You can use it to buy an e-book for your new Kindle, or to buy anything else at Amazon. That’s a perfect giveaway in my eyes -  hope you win!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Food for Thought

My spiritual food for thought today:

"For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."
~ Galatians 5:17 (ESV)

Thankful for this Bread of Life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simple Pleasures Carnival Winner

I’d planned to choose the carnival winner last night and announce her this morning because I knew I had a busy day ahead. But then my daughter came to me last night after church with a page of math problems that all looked something like this:

3a - 8(2a +5b) - (a-7b) = ___________

In chapter 4 of my new book It's No Secret I confess that fractions, equations and I just don't mix. Apparently, my daughter takes after me – we spent 2 hours completing that worksheet.  And a couple of them we never did figure out! So I crawled into bed with coefficients swirling through my head and then hit the ground running this morning with an early morning meeting with my insurance agent – he’s a lot better with numbers than me.  Thank God.

What a simple pleasure it was to cruise around all of your blogs this week and read what you wrote.  There were inspiring posts, thought-provoking posts, posts that planted scripture in my mind, posts that gave me fun ideas, posts that made me nod in agreement, and posts that made me think what a blessing it is to have cyber friends. My thanks to each of you for sharing!

And I hope it had the same overall effect on you as it did me – I enjoyed this week more intensely and more  intentionally. I savored my pumpkin spice latte.  I decorated for fall. I took a bubble bath. I met my hubby for a middle-of-the-work-day lunch.  I enjoyed being outdoors. And even my morning quiet time took on an intensified pleasure.

It was hard to choose a winner. Often I do this with a random drawing.  Occasionally I do it based on “writing merit.” This time I did it just with prayer and the intuition of my heart. So the winner is Heidi.  Congrats Heidi, email me your address so I can get the book out to you. If you didn’t win, I hope you’ll order the book anyway – you can read it outdoors by the pond while the dog swims, you can read it on Saturday mornings under your quilt on the porch, you can read it in a bubble bath, or discuss it with friends over a once-a –month girlfriend’s breakfast with tea (just don’t forget the spoons in the cups).

 Thankful for all 23 of you who participated!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures Carnival

Welcome to the fall kick-off of the devotional carnival. Once a month - around mid-month - in the spring and fall I host a carnival where we write a devotion on a given topic and link up here to read each other's. It's all kinds of encouraging!

One of my readers suggested this month's topic and I'm so excited about it: Simple Pleasures. God began teaching me about simple pleasures last year, and intensified it earlier this year while I studied the book of Ecclesasties. I truly believe it is a spiritual thing to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and give thanks for them. In fact, I'm so stoked about this month's topic that - for this month only - even if you don't write a devotion but just a post on this topic - come link up.  I want to hear what you have to say! What are your simple pleasures and how do you make room for them in your life, or is that a struggle to remember to do?

"So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God."
~ Ecc 3:12-13, NLT

A few of my favorite simple pleasures include: time to browse in a book shop, time to linger in a coffee shop, time to relax in a bubble bath, a weekend afternoon nap, scented candles, cooking with my husband, starting or ending the day out on the patio, a walk on the beach, sleeping with the window open, the smell of soup cooking all day in the crock-pot, a super soft blanket, fresh basil ... well, enough of my rambling, let's hear what you wrote.

I'll be in the coffee shop today sipping another of my simple pleasures, a pumpkin spice latte, while I read about yours. And on Wednesday I'll select one winner from among the participating writers to receive a copy of my new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. So you have until Wednesday evening to post and link. Since curling up with a good book is another of my simple pleasures, I sure hope you win.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall Devotional Carnival Begins 9/20

Confession: For years I didn’t care much for devotional books. Never bought them.  Almost never read them. The writings inside just looked too short to accomplish much.
Fast forward and now I‘m a devotional reader, and writer.  And the editor for Proverbs 31 Ministries' online devotional Encouragement for Today. Plus, I served as General Editor, along with my friend Lysa TerKeurst, of the devotional book God's Purpose for Every Woman.  (Yes, God has a sense of humor.)
I finally grasped their value - in just a couple minute's time, a devotion can pull my heart towards God and refocus my priorities.
And that makes me a better woman.
Reading devotionals can be a powerful exercise in renewing our minds in Christ. Writing them can too. Writing does wonders for my walk with God. It helps me recognize what God's doing or has done in my life. It helps me search and apply God's truths from scripture. And writing devotions helps me turn my thoughts heavenward.
So I got to thinking ... what if you wrote devotions too? And I and others could read them? Last spring I held a devotional carnival here on my blog (see here). It was so much fun, with about 40 participating, that I continued every month until the summer. And I’m starting up again now that the summer break is over.
Next Monday, 9/20 , I'll host another devotional blog link up party.  And you’re invited.
Vicky wrote me recently to ask if I would be bringing the devo carnival back.  She was happy when I said “yes” and thrilled when I said, “why don’t you pick the first month’s topic.”  She chose SIMPLE PLEASURES.  Great topic – I can’t wait to read what you write about it.
So if you're interested in participating, here's the simple how-to: Offer a key Bible verse that ties with what you are writing about. Keep it under 700 words total.  And post your devotion on your blog on Monday, September 20th. Then come here to link it with my post for that day. There'll be instructions on my blog that morning for how to do this with a simple Mr. Linky box. People will then be able to get to your devotional post from my blog.
Doesn't that sound like all kinds of spiritual fun?!
But wait, on Wednesday, 9/22, I'll select a winner from the participating writers to win a copy of my new book It’s No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. I know you want to go start plotting your devotional post right now. But before you do, go tell a friend about Monday's carnival and get her to participate as well. The more who do, the more we'll learn about enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
Thankful for those who pierce my heart with just a few devotional words.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Saturday’s Signing

The book signing on Saturday went well – thank you if you prayed for that, and thank you if you came! It was great meeting and talking with people.  And it was fun to sign things like “Happy Birthday Heather” book signing 002when people bought copies of the book as gifts for friends. I hadn’t thought about it before Saturday but this book has a strong sisterhood message throughout and would make a great gift for a friend.

I don’t have any pictures of me at the book signing because, well, I was doing the book signing – and I didn’t think to ask anyone to take photos. But I did take two shots when I arrived of the set-up.

Wish you were here!  book signing 003

By the way, my friend Suzie came, walked up to me while I was signing, pretended not to know me, and said, “Excuse me, where is the bathroom?”  Julie was right behind her, and asked me where the Beth Moore books are. Good friends can simultaneously support you and keep you humble.  And I gotta  thank God for that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It’s here in time

Look what arrived in the mail …

early Sept 2010 015 My custom coffee necklace by Lisa Leonard!

It’s darling.  On Saturday, I have a book launch dinner party and a book signing at a local Christian bookstore. I know I’m going to wear it to one of the events. The charm on the right says “no secret” like my book title and the other has the coffee cup like my book cover.

Can I just confess that I’m slightly nervous about the book signing?  I know to most, doing an official book signing sounds fun, affirming and even glamorous.  And it might would be if 400 excited fans showed up and stood in line for hours. And wanted to take my picture.  But I know that isn’t going to happen. Because this is my first book.  And because I am not Nicolas Sparks. Or a Jonas brother.

So I’m just hoping that more than a handful show up because I don’t want to sit alone at that table for an hour while shoppers stop to ask me where the bathroom is, or for help finding a  Beth Moore book.  :)

I sure a few of my Yahweh Sisters will come and stand in line at my table over and over again if that happens – right, girls? Even though I’m slightly nervous, I am very excited to meet everyone that comes in.

Off to plan an outfit around my new necklace – and to thank Jesus for the chance to shape hearts with Him through letters and words.

Thankful for God’s Word this morning.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Real Story

- Winner is announced at the end of this post. -

By now you know the secret about my ring.  If you do not, pause and go read the introduction to my new book HERE and then come back. Look what Stephanie wrote in her comment yesterday:

“A few years ago, while attending She Speaks, I heard you, talked to you afterward and was struck by the beauty of your ring! I can still remember it.”

But I haven’t always has this ring. Let me explain.

gold pear I have a real diamond, given to me when my sweet husband proposed. It’s a lovely pear-shaped-stone set in yellow gold, and I happily wore it for ten years. Then I met a woman who is a professional image consultant  who told me with my coloring I really should be wearing silver-toned jewelry. She wasn’t the first to tell me this, but I ignored everyone else.

Shari Braendel, however, is hard to ignore. She once walked up behind me while I stood with a group of my friends in a store and grabbed both my bra straps through my shirt. She hiked them up an inch or so and said, “This is where they are suppose to be. You’re wearing the wrong size bra – do you want me to make you an appointment with my professional bra fitter?”

I told you she was hard to ignore.

So my fashion sense gravitated toward silver-toned jewelry and my gold wedding set didn’t quite “go.” I daydreamed of having something really big and really sparkly, set in silver, for my left hand.

You won’t hate me for craving a big diamond when there are starving children in the world, will you?

I come by my desire for big diamonds honestly. I’m certain it runs in my genes. My grandmother wore a two-carat (real) diamond that always caught my fancy. Also, about a decade or so into their marriage, my dad upgraded my mother’s engagement ring to a gorgeous two-carat (real) diamond. So you see, the women in my family have a thing for show-stopping bling, and I figure there’s no point in fighting genetics.

The problem is my husband and I don’t make the kind of coin my parents and grandparents made. They were both entrepreneurs. We are teachers. Big salary difference. Another problem is my conscience. I don’t think it would let me drop $10K+ on a ring, even if I had the thousands to drop. Turns out, I do care about starving children. (I support them through Compassion International.)

Plus, I learned some diamonds in jewelry stores are mined by oppressed workers in African countries and sold to finance military uprisings and wars. They’re called “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds.” Gulp.

I didn’t want to go into debt. I didn’t want kids to starve, and I certainly didn’t want anyone dying in a war financed by my thing for bling. I just wanted something silver on my finger that made me smile when the light caught it just right. You understand, don’t you? So what’s a sister to do?

Enter God into my little dilemma over my desire for a not-so-little diamond. Some fifty thousand years ago, a meteorite crashed into the Arizona desert. Fragments were scattered across the landscape. Hidden inside a secret awaited discovery.

moissanite In 1893, Nobel-prize winning scientist Henri Moissan discovered a shimmering new mineral in the meteor fragments. After a century of study, the mineral was isolated and recreated in a lab. When cut like a gemstone, it produces the same or better color, clarity and brilliance as a diamond – at a significantly lower price.

I know what you’re thinking: Sounds like the plot of a bad science-fiction film. Do aliens come to earth to steal the space-mineral because without it their species will die-out on planet Nepton?  I promise I’m not making this up!

By 1998, the gorgeous gems hit the marketplace as “moissanite.” Five years later, Rick bought me a 1.5-carat moissanite solitaire set in white gold for our 10th wedding anniversary. Actually, it was my wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and birthday present all rolled into one. I didn’t care I only got one present that year because each time the light caught my ring just right, I’d smile. I’m still smiling!

And now Jenifer Metzger is  going to be smiling too. Because after much computation, since something like 58 of you earned extra entries for spreading the word, she is the winner of the charming giveaway as commenter number46. She’ll get a signed copy of my new book It’s No Secret and a bit of Lisa Leonard-style bling.

To the rest of you that did not win, I commiserate with you today. (And I whisper that more giveaways are on the horizon so subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter, or friend me on Facebook so you don’t miss it!) Here are your random numbers: 46 Timestamp: 2010-09-09 13:17:34 UTC

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Charming Give-Away

In my devotion published today, Tuesday, I talked about Jesus’ parable of the pearl merchant and this man’s readiness to give his all for something of supreme value. And how we have the same opportunity as followers of Jesus Christ who is the Pearl of Great Price. I talk more about this in the second chapter of my just released book It’s No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know.

You can read the entire introduction and first chapter of the book HERE. It's No Secret front cover

I wish we could sit down over cups of coffee today and chat some about this Pearl. And that I could pull out an exquisite pearl pendant and fasten it around your neck as a reminder that you already possess the Pearl of Great Price. But I can’t really do that – I don’t have that many frequent flier miles!  But I do have something special to offer today …

If you look at the cover of my new book, you’ll see one of my favorite things: coffee. (I’m so thrilled that the pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks!) So when I saw one of  jewelry maker Lisa Leonard’s new designs– I thought it was the perfect necklace.

It's No Secret necklace giveawayLook - it has a little coffee cup charm and a beautiful fresh water pearl. Plus, two charms that Lisa can customize with words or names. I was smitten.

I contacted her immediately and asked if she could make me one with “Rachel” and “It’s No Secret" on the charms. I cannot wait for it to arrive and I’m hoping it’s here in time for my book launch event this weekend. Wouldn’t that be a great touch?

Then I had a notion – I wanted you to have this necklace too. So I asked Lisa to partner with me to give one of these necklaces away to you – with whatever you want engraved on it. And she agreed to make one for my lucky prize winner. Can you picture this around your neck with your name? Or around your daughter's or friend's neck with her name? 

I’m thrilled to offer one winning reader a signed copy of my new book and a personalized coffee-cup-and-pearl charm necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs – this is a $75 value!

It's No Secret coffee cp necklace

To be eligible for the prize drawing, you’ll need to do 3 simple things:

1) Click on my book cover above and read the table of contents for It’s No Secret, and tell me which chapters interest you the most.

2) Click on the necklace picture to the right, look over Lisa’s website and tell me which of  her other creations catch your fancy the most.

3) Tweet, blog or facebook about this giveaway, or mention it on any social media sites you have accounts on, for extra entries!

Post a comment with your responses to 1 and 2, and anything you did for number 3 by midnight on Wednesday.  Then start dreaming about what you’ll have engraved on the charm. Picture yourself in your new necklace, sipping something in a coffee shop, reading my new book.  Ahhh, isn’t that lovely?

Thankful for Lisa Leonard’s graciousness and talent.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Action Bible

Hey, hope you’re having a good holiday weekend if you are here in the States, and having a good Monday if you are elsewhere.  I’m about to head to the pool with my husband, elementary-age son and middle school daughter for some late afternoon fun.

But I thought I’d pop in here first and share something exciting with those of  who also have young sons – ones that love the comic book style.  In the last year my son has become fascinated with the graphic style.  He’s always been a drawer himself – plus the success of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid have made this all the current rage at his school. 

Enter a not-so-little project called The Action Bible.

It has 215 Bible stories, in chronological order, hand drawn. Like this:

Caleb has been reading it at night before bed.  I asked him to give me his “review” of it. 

He said it was a fascinating way to read the Bible and that the drawings were very realistic and detailed.  He likes that there is so much to look at.  (I, of course, liked his use of the word “fascinating.”) He added, “Unlike other books I’ve read in this style, it’s easy to tell what order to read the bubbles in on the page.”

“What have you read so far?” I asked.  “Well, I started at the beginning and it starts with stories from Genesis.” I asked if he planned to continue reading it and he said, “Yes, I’ll finish it!”  I asked one last question: “Is there anything you don’t like about the book; are there any minuses to it?”  He replied, “Only one potential one. There was one page I saw where the picture on it was a tiny bit scary.”

But then he added, “But it wasn’t too bad.” After all, he’s reading the ACTION BIBLE.

So there you have my son’s recommendation of this Bible story book designed for boys in the 9-12 age range. I’ve not once told Caleb to read it – he goes to it himself when he climbs in bed at night. So if you have or know of a boy that age, this is one to check out.

Thankful to David C. Cook for The Action Bible.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Come away with me

I’ll announce the winner of the book giveaway at the end of this post.

As I write this, the stormy fringe of Hurricane Earl’s overcoat has brushed past our coast. He will have kicked up high surf for the coming days. And record high temperatures are following in his wake.  I just might have to sneak out to the beach for some fun in the giant waves.

I thought maybe I could take you with me to the beach today. Want to come?  If so, here’s what you’ll see. We’ll pack a cooler with some snacks and drive over the bridge, heading for the middle of the island to park by Jonny Mercer’s pier.

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With flip flops on so we don’t burn our feet, we’ll pass the dunes …

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and then kick off the shoes to join the few others already on the beach. It’s not crowded!

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We’ll plop down our stuff and go for a walk, working up a slight sweat before heading into the water. The water is still very warm – I was swimming in it on Monday and it felt great. Hope you like jumping waves.

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Occasionally patches of the beach are covered with shells and shell fragments. I hit one spot on my walk on Monday and stopped to search for shark’s teeth.

But mostly our beach is soft and sandy, which is just the way I like it.

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We’ll spend hours soaking up the sun, playing in the surf, and walking and talking. If you fall asleep on your towel, I’ll probably pull out a book and read for awhile in my chair.

Once you’re ready to go, we’ll hose off at the public beach bathrooms & shower.  It has a sign on the back side that always cracks me up.

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Tired but refreshed, we’ll head back to the parking lot, passing by the tacky-yet-charming surf shop.

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And Buddy’s Crab House & Oyster Bar, see the pirate permanently hanging off the side?

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And turn and wave good bye to the beach and pier until another day …

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I trust you enjoyed our jaunt to the shore. And I sure hope you remembered to apply sun-block, or you’ll be hurting tonight!  Thanks for hanging with me.

The winner of my book It’s No Secret is comment #19. Congrats, Dawn!

Here are your random numbers:

19 Timestamp: 2010-09-03 03:46:15 UTC