Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Read It: Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis

Grin with Grace.  Do you know what that is?  I knew it was the title of Kathy Carlton Willis’s new bible study book but that’s about it.  I didn’t know it would come to me at a time when I really, I mean, REALLY needed to read it.

What grinning with grace meant to me was something really personal. I had been dealing with a co-worker that I just don’t see eye to eye with.  One day she came to me and asked if I was mad at her.  My initial thought was “yes, I’d love to rip your face off and hand it to you”.  I had been reading Kathy’s book and this woman’s face kept flashing before my eyes.  I stopped and prayed before I spoke.  I even said to her “I’d better pray before I speak so that God can come out.  Otherwise, the world will come out of my mouth and we know the world is a vicious place.”

I asked for grace and wisdom because I remembered one passage from Grin with Grace very vividly:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

~Kathy Carlton Willis, Grin with Grace, page 21.

My co-worker and I were able to talk about our issues.  I was able to own up to my part with grace and we both left that day in a much better place.  I don’t know about her but I know I grinned with grace all through that conversation, and I know if I had not read Grin with Grace I probably would still be ready to rip faces off.

More about Grin with Grace

Each chapter features five sections: 

·                     Grin with Grace contains real-life stories and observations. You’ll laugh at the humorous confessions and wacky insights, and relate to Kathy’s transparent honesty. Be inspired to see grace in your everyday life.
·                     Grow with Grace features a grace word study. Kathy examines Bible verses and personalizes the meaning to your situation. Workbook prompts allows you to write down your thoughts as you read along.
·                     Go with Grace offers life application. Pick one action step and make it work for you, or pick all of them—but do something to live out your grace-walk.
·                     Give with Grace advances life application further, equipping you to become an instrument of God’s grace to others. You’ll be inspired to take what you’ve learned and give it away to others. This is when faith becomes ministry—when your focus expands to see the needs of others.
·                     Your Grin with Grace Challenge describes a grace-challenging scenario to give you an opportunity to exercise your newfound grace. It allows for speculation and judgment calls, to prepare you for the what-ifs that happen in life.

Release Date: May 1, 2015
Retail: $14.99
Publisher: AMG
ISBN-10: 0899574785
ISBN-13: 978-0899574783

Praise for the Book:
Grin with Grace is perfect for women on the run, since there is no set daily reading schedule. The blend of humor, transparency, biblical concepts, word studies and opportunities to plug what I learned into my life gave me a fresh approach to doing my devotions or reading a Bible study.
Dr. Thelma Wells (Mama T)
President of A Woman of God Ministries
CEO, That A Girl & Friends Speakers Agency Speaker, Author

Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Not many funny girls also have Bible degrees! Kathy’s a pastor’s wife, which gives her plenty of opportunities to grin with grace. She shines the light on issues that hold women back and inspires their own lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Kathy’s tagline describes her best: Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Kathy lives with her pastor/husband, Russ, in Rockdale, Texas.
Where can you find Kathy:



Monday, August 3, 2015

Live It: But for the grace of God go I.

Last week I went in for my yearly mammogram.  I have reached the age where that is a thing now.  I won’t bore you with all the “ouch that crap hurts” because if you have had it done, you know and if you haven’t, you will know.  The pain is fleeting though so go get yours checked out when you are supposed to.

A couple of days after the exam, I was called and told they had found something.  My boob wasn’t symmetrical.  That’s evidently a thing too.  I said there were a lot of things about me that weren’t symmetrical and no one had ever complained before.  I got no laugh out of that line and was scheduled for more films and possibly an ultrasound. 


Panic immediately set in.  All the negative thoughts were there.  I envisioned the worst. 
I reached out to a group of ladies that have, for about the past 10 years, been my sounding board.  You might find it funny that I have only actually met one of these ladies face to face.  Yep, the majority are 100% online friends but I know more about them and they know more about me than people we see every day. 

Immediately, I asked the gals to pray for me.  They did.  Thanks Ladies!  They also told me this was very common and nothing to worry about.  This was great to hear but I really didn’t believe it.  My boobs and I have had a love-hate relationship most of my life. First by just marginally showing up enough so my mortified self had to go with my mother to Sears to buy one of those horrid training bras with the pink and blue tennis rackets on the front.  Why tennis rackets?  Why pink and blue?  Why?  Then they solidified their slacker status by not showing up at all in high school when they could have come in handy but waited until I was 19 to make their appearance.  Then they once again let me down when I had Bean and they decided “no milk for you” was their motto.  So I was a bit leary that they were on the “let’s be okay” bandwagon. 

I went this morning and showed my boobies to one more stranger.  She took two boob-smashing photos and left me in another waiting room.  I stayed there for 30 minutes while watching two clueless 20-somethings on House Hunters complain that they couldn’t find their dream McMansion for $120,000.  Ugh.  Young, dumb idiots, and I bet her boobs will never let her down.

Once I found out which house those dummies picked, I was shuttled off to another room by another stranger for an ultrasound.  I was worried for real then.  She lubed me up and proceeded to take 130 pictures.  (Boob:  Dude, it was like 12.)

Then a lovely soft spoken doctor (with one of the nicest ties I’ve seen) and an eager intern came in for a look.  I was told it was just a pocket of cysts.  Praise God!  The boobs hadn’t let me down!  


While I was getting dressed, I said my thanks to God for a clean bill of health and went to get my car.  I used valet because that’s the treat you give yourself when you have to have your boobs smooshed.  As I waited for my car, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks and put all of this nonsensical worrying in perspective.

A child about the same age as Bean in a wheelchair.  The child was totally bald.  I could not tell if the child was a boy or a girl because cancer had ravaged their little precious body of any distinctive gender features.   The child was wrapped up in a blanket and had the maddest look on their face.  They have every right to be mad really.  They just want to be a kid – to run and play and enjoy summer.  The mother was pushing the wheelchair and waiting for their car too.  She had a smile on her face.  I wondered why she didn’t have the same mad look on her face because I probably would have.  I wouldn’t begrudge her that look if she did have it. 

Her baby is fighting the fight of their lives and all she can do is stand there watching.  I pray that I never know what that feels like.  Their car came and she picked the child up like it was a baby, still bundled up and mad, and placed them in the back seat.  Off they went to face another day. 

Here I am – a grown woman just given a clean bill of health.  I get to leave there and go to work and go home and play with my healthy child.  I don’t have to fight a disease that might get the best of me.  Today I don’t have to help my child through the side effects of chemo or radiation.  Yes, my life might not be what I want it to be.  But I have had one.  I’m not seven and facing death at every turn.  I might not have what I want or not been to the places I want to go but I have had the chance. 

I closed my eyes and prayed.  I prayed for that child.  I prayed for that mother.  I prayed for healing for the child and peace for the mother.  I can’t give them my clean bill of health but I can give them my prayers.

Not sure exactly where I’m going with this piece but I just had to share this.  I was so worried about myself and I’m ok.  But then to be faced with this glimpse into a life I wouldn’t wish on anyone just made me feel like I needed to give praise and thanks and beg for something for someone else.  It is true.  No matter how bad you have it, someone always has it worse. 

But for the grace of God go I.