Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mary Jones and Her Bible

Christian Focus prints some extraordinary little books -- some of which may be lost in antiquity never to be printed again, if not kept in print by one of my favorite publishers. One such book is Mary Jones and Her Bible by Mary Ropes. This sweet book is the true story of a young Welsh girl, Mary Jones, who wanted to buy her very own Bible, and worked and saved for six years to buy one. She walked 50 miles, barefoot and alone to find a man who might have a Bible she could buy. At that time (early 1800's) Bibles were no longer being printed in Welsh, and Bibles were terribly scarce. Mary's love for the Word and devotion to Christ are inspirational to read about!

The man responsible for selling Mary her precious Bible began the first Bible society in England, which grew and grew. It is a bit hard for a westerner to appreciate what a blessing these societies were -- working to print the Scriptures in the languages where there was great need for them. We live in places where Bibles are sold in nearly every bookstore in every color, size, translation, with notes for every age and situation in life. If we are informed, we might consider places where the Bible has not yet been translated into the language, and pray that the Word would go forward in those parts. But what about people who live in places where Bibles are scarce? Reading this book opened my heart to consider those people in a fresh light. Bibles Unbound is a ministry of Voice of the Martyrs that enables Christians to send Bibles as gifts to places in the world where they are hard to come by. I highly endorse their program! Why not read this terrific little book, and then sign up to send some Bibles through Bibles Unbound? Sounds like a fitting activity for late summer when our minds tend to start thinking of "back to school", and we can start to get self-focused and materialistic.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thinking toward 30

Well, it's coming in 2 days. Of course, I've been thinking on it for much longer than that. I found this interesting quote by C.S. Lewis:

"Thirty was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult".

Well, that doesn't really sum it up for me so much, but interesting nonetheless. I think I've been feeling like a walking and talking adult for a while now, but there is still something strange about being thirty. Today a very rude man demanded "how old are you?" when I asked him if he'd ever shopped in our store before (a general question I ask often during checkout). I was stunned, and taken aback. Perhaps he meant how long had I worked there? "Excuse me?" I asked, trying to sound cheery. He repeated the question, this time emphasizing the word OLD. "Thirty" I said after a pause. "I was shopping here before you were BORN" he grunted. I guess he must have been pretty young when that happened -- perhaps a teenager? (He wasn't a sweet old man).

Why does it bother us to grow older? I feel no different. I don't really look whole lot different. What makes me esteem youth over age? I once heard John Piper point out the ignorance of that kind of worldly thinking -- Scripture blesses and esteems the gray head, doesn't it? Why then, do I so often build in my mind a little worldly idol of staying pretty and young?

Help me think toward 30, here. These past 3 decades have carried along not only change, age and experience, but also MORE of Christ -- His reality, His beauty, His gospel. God has shaped my heart to love him more, to know him more. Won't the coming years bring the same, by His grace? Why would I hesitate for a second to embrace with open arms all that God will bring in my future -- the mercy of knowing Him more and more.

Jim Elliot looked deep into his soul and asked "Can you bear it -- long life?" He died at 27. Can I bear it -- aging well, or dying young -- to the glory of God? Oh God, in the fire of your glory, make me be fuel to the flame!

Last Chance

Just a quick heads-up and reminder that we're still doing Jesus Storybook Bibles for 50% off through Saturday ($8.50 each). I've still got plenty left if you want to take advantage of this great offer!

Last night a friend from church was telling me how much he loves this children's Bible. He said when he first got it, he read a chapter each day with his devotions and was amazed how much it increased his love for Christ! This guy is in seminary and a military chaplain, and he gives JSB to new believers. I thought his testimonial was outstanding! How often do you hear such high praise for a children's book?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Literary Happenings

You know how tons of wonderful events tend to fall all with in the same 48 hour time slot, while the rest of your life plods on uneventfully? Perhaps this doesn't happen to you, but it certainly did for me last weekend. All within 24 hours, I attended the following:

  • Farmer's Market featuring the sweet sounds of our friend Matt Shirley (performing at the market with his folk group)
  • Book club brunch -- Great Expectations
  • Jane Austen Festival with my friend Annie
  • 25 cent ice cream day at the Pie and Ice Cream Kitchen
  • Cook-out and sing-along at Blue Gables (named for the Cuthbert-like feel to the place as well as the "Shirley" that dwells therein.

Here are some pictures of the events:

Annie and I with Austen-type characters.

Getting a book signed by the keynote speaker who also wrote this book! Her talk was excellent, titled "Jane Austen for Smarties"

Showing the price of our yummy cones!

Hooray for Bastille day! Freedom and Fireworks for all!

Singing with my friend and talented musician, Rachel Amunrud

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Sale is Back!

Last Year I promoted a sale on my favorite storybook Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones here on my blog, and your response was outstanding. Well, I have great news! The sale is back! Yes, my friends, July 19th-26th (one might think it's in honor of my birthday) we are offering 50% off this great Bible (making the price $8.49). I know I gave away all the copies I bought last year, so I'm glad to stock up again this year!

I don't want to just rewrite my review of the book, but if this book is new to you, please read my post from last year. I don't know of any other storybook Bible that does such an excellent job of pointing to Christ through all the stories. It truly is Christ-centered.

“This is heady theology, often missed in adult preaching and teaching, but full realized in an age appropriate and attractive form that will delight children and often (at least for me) leave the grown up reader in tears... " (from Timothy Keller's review)

I can't think of a better way to spend $8.50. This would make a terrific baby gift for new parents, Christmas gifts for all your nieces and nephews, or even a great read for yourself (Tim Keller says every Christian from pew-warmer to Seminary Student should read it).

You can call me at work if you'd like to place an order -- we have tons on hand for the big sale -- (5o2 897 forty-fiveo6), or leave me a comment on this blog, or send me an e-mail. For the friends I know personally, (or sisters through the blogosphere) I'm happy to send them Media mail nice and cheaply. Our store usually does UPS in order guarantee fast delivery, but I'll handle your shipping whichever way you like.

The sale only lasts for that one week, so get me your order ASAP. I can't start shipping until the 21st, but I can put them aside for you before then. Hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Book Plates

Do you use bookplates? I am an ardent fan. I have a lovely little collection of vintage-y bookplates, but recently I've been bookplate shopping for more, or a company that I can set up as a vendor for our bookstore. I was blown away by all the adorable paper companies out there. So far I haven't been successful in finding what quite fits our academic store, but I am personally a huge fan of the following.

Soooooo. . . tell me what you think! And if you know any booklovers who are turning the big 3-0 in a couple of weeks, this is just the sort of gift that would keep her feeling youthful! (I like "Home Sweet Home," and "Hello Deer" from Paper Princess best, hint hint.) :)

Here's Paper Princess -- all their stuff is cute!

Felix Doolittle has more serious ones, check out the book prints

Bookplate Ink has the plates I have and a fun interactive tool that shows how the fonts look on the plates.

This Etsy store has the most original ones of all

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Delightful Visit

I've written before about my job here at the bookstore on SBTS campus, and how I'm frequently surprised when authors come to visit and buy books from us while they visit the school. In this way, I've been able to meet quite a few of my favorite grown-up authors (or their husbands).

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Bill and Carine MacKenzie -- visiting Kentucky from Inverness, Scotland. Bill is the founder of Christian Focus Publishing, and his wife Carine writes children's books -- a LOT of them! She has sold over 3 million children's books worldwide! Her books are great. They are so solid, and so clever. The MacKenzie's sat down with me and showed me the upcoming children's titles for CF4K (children's branch of Christian Focus), and highlighted some of the thought put into these books. "That book is about the gospel" Bill told me when I had Carine sign a copy of My 1st Book of Memory Verses. "It's not in the title, so not to be off-putting, but when children memorize these verses, it takes them through the gospel so they've memorized it." Carine told me about the interactive aspects of an upcoming book she has for preschoolers about the life of Jesus, Little Hands Life of Jesus. "How do you think of all these things?" I asked. Carine humbly nodded toward her husband, which was precious. I can tell they are such intentional people. They don't just produce children's books to make cute children's books and sell cute children's books. They are considering every aspect of what they publish. They want significant doctrines to be instilled into the little ones that read them. They want to equip parents to teach important doctrines to their children.

I appreciate Christian Focus' no-nonsense attitude. Perhaps it stands out a bit to me, being an American, but even CF's catalog descriptions of materials reveal a measure of dry wit and clear outlook on what a larger part of the publishing world is about. Take, for instance, this catalog blurb before their list of VBS curriculum: "Do you have a Holiday Bible Club (VBS) coming up but don't want to go down the whole Hollywood ballyhoo that so many expensive programmes involve? Here are some alternatives." Hmm. I can think of some VBS programs that fit the "Hollywood ballyhoo" bill.

What a providential encounter! I'm so glad to work where I do on days like these. If Christian Focus is new to you, please check out some of their outstanding titles!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Pastor Daddy

I have on my desk a darling new book published by a terrific church here in Louisville: Sojourn Community Church.
I'm excited because I've been asked to review the book on my blog, as well as consider carrying it in the children's department at our bookstore!

The children's ministry at Sojourn is outstanding. Their children's pastors have given me some of the resources they put together for their families, including book recommendations & family worship guides. The ministry's aim and focus is on the home as the primary source for instilling Christian values, beliefs and practices. It is in this vein that they have published this great little book, Pastor Daddy by Lindsey Blair and Bobby Gilles (members of Sojourn).

Pastor Daddy shows children how both their churches and their homes engage and instruct them in Christian worship: praising, praying, reading Scripture, etc., by showing them side by side on pages facing one another. For instance:

"A church the pastor reads to us -- the Bible in his hands/ We learn about God's love for us and all of his commands"

then opposite

"My daddy reads the Bible, too. I listen to obey. I'm learning how to walk with God and follow in his ways."

The book is written in an appealing rhythmic rhyme, which makes this profound theological concept seem simple and child-appropriate (which it is!). The text is accompanied by a simlilarly simple illustrations -- mostly of children at church and at home. The pictures are simple and childish without trying to be overly cute. I appreciate the simplicity. Many Christian artists seem to think that complex, ornate artwork is the only fitting way to represent big Christian truths, but Tessa Janes (Pastor Daddy illustrator) shows that this is not so. The book reads easily, which is the biggest test (in my opinion) for read aloud.

What a great book for preschoolers! You can pre-order this book from Sojourn, or here. Hey, maybe before too long, you can stop by and see me at the campus bookstore and get a copy there!