Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bloom Book Selection for Spring 2010

The wait is over! Please watch our video announcement for some details about our spring book selection. 

Bloom Book Announcement- Spring 2010 from angie smith on Vimeo.

Okay, so here are the details written out. :)

We are pleased to announce that we will be reading Strong Women, Soft Hearts: A Woman's Guide to Cultivating a Wise Heart and a Passionate Life this spring.

Every Sunday night Angie and I will post a video of us discussing the book, as well as some questions in Ning for everyone to discuss. This book has A LOT of great material and we will only be able to scratch the surface. We are hoping that many of you will go deep into this and that a lot of great conversations will be had. The book includes an excellent study guide for those of you that are type A like me. :)

We are also working on details to do a live (maybe video) chat at some point during this study.

March 31: Book announcement
April 9: All book requests and offers to provide books must be submitted
April 25: Chapters 1-3
May 2: Chapters 4-6
May 9: Chapters 7-9
May 16: Chapters 10-12

The book is only $10 on Amazon. It has been out for a while, so you may be able to find it cheaper at used book stores or borrow it for free at the library.

Ensuring Everyone Can Read
Part of the ministry of Bloom is that we want everyone to be able to participate. If you cannot swing the $10 to purchase a book and can't find the book at your local library, please fill out the form below to submit your contact information. Thanks to the generosity of the book's publisher, Thomas Nelson, as well as advertising/affiliate dollars from this site, we will be able to provide books to the first 125 people who request them. (If you purchase the book through the Amazon link in this post, a portion of the cost goes toward postage and books for people now and in the future!)
UPDATE: 12:20 pm on April 6: The 125 books are all spoken for! 
UPDATE: April 10: We have closed requests for books, but are leaving the offer to provide books open, as the need is greater than the supply

After that 125 books, we will be depending on other Bloomies! :) If you are willing to provide a book or two or more, please fill out the Book Provider form with how many books you can provide. After the first 125 people, we will begin matching people - person who needs book with person who can give books.

This is an incredible part of this community. Last time, more than 300 books were requested and thanks to many of you, everyone was able to read Same Kind of Different as Me.

We hope you are as excited about this book as we are. Check back during the next month - we have some other surprises up our sleeve.

Request for Strong Women Soft Hearts

We have closed requests for Strong Women, Soft Hearts.

Thank you for your interest. If you are unable to purchase a book, please check your local library or used book store.

Can You Help?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coming Soon

Angie and I finalizing details about our next book, which will hopefully kick-off at the end of April.

Stay tuned!

Jess and Ang

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where We Are

I want to start by telling you that Jessica and I have been in prayer for all of you as we close this amazing book and see what the Lord is asking of us from here. Our brains has been full of inspiration, searching in every bit of the ordinary and trying to see where we can, well, *bloom.*

One of the things I have been meditating on is the idea that no act of love is too small, and no service is inadequate. We can't all hop on planes to go change the world but we can certainly go through our days praying to see the world through lenses that identify needs all around us. We can pray for discernment in figuring out what our roles are supposed to be, and we can pray for conviction to follow through and be obedient. These are the things I pray for you all as well as myself.

Several years ago I wrote the following...

On a beautiful fall day just shy of my twin daughters’ third birthday, we decided to go to the park and feed the ducks. A few minutes into our adventure, a homeless man wandered through the grass around us and eventually began to dig through the garbage nearby. Several mothers turned their children’s heads in disgust and whispered comforting (and, I’m sure, inaccurate) words about the man, while gathering up their picnics and brusquely clicking their car remotes.

I made a bold move in that moment, and decided to tell Abby and Ellie the hard truth in a version suited for two blue-eyed girls who thought that Strawberry Shortcake’s botched birthday cake was a tragedy of epic proportion. I delicately explained that the man didn’t have a home, and that we should pray to Jesus about him. As he discarded old bread pieces and empty soda cans, I explained that he was going through the garbage for food because he was very hungry in his tummy. They were mesmerized, and their first brush with the other side of life ended with us sitting, 30 toes in the lake, praying for the man we called “Mr. No House.” Ellie, my mother hen, made the suggestion that we bring him a sandwich the next day, which I wholeheartedly supported.

Unfortunately, we never did get to see Mr. No House again, but the imprint of who he was and what he stood for was enough to evoke nightly prayers and many conversations about what he might like to eat if ever we were to run into him or any of his friends again. We decided that Mr. No House would like chocolate candy bars and ham sandwiches (hold the mayo, please), and that he preferred strawberry jelly over grape. Fried chicken was out, and he should, under no conditions, smoke a cigarette. We also prayed that he would find a new pair of pants and someone to talk to during the day. There was a great lesson in this story for me as well, one that has revolutionized my parenting style: we miss opportunities with our children when we shy away from difficult teaching moments.

This was actually part of a book proposal that I hope to work on at some point because the Lord really stirred me to realize the impact of the "everyday." I had felt useless, thinking I wasn't showing my kids things unless we were doing it in an extreme way, like a mission trip or something like that. I will tell you that to this day, when we drive by that park, they ask if he's there and whether we can go see him. They remember him. They recognize now that people they see on the road who also need homes are more than strangers and people we shy away from. The Gospel tells us to concern ourselves with those in need, and I pray they will use this lens for years and years to come.

Jess was telling me the other day about how on a day when it was snowing in Nashville, she stopped to buy one of the newspapers a homeless woman was selling - and she gave her $20 instead of the $1 cost of the newspaper. She said, "I saw her standing there as I turned into the intersection and felt compelled to turn around to give to that woman. It was cold. I was going pick up Elias, so I couldn't do anything more than give the $20 that was in my wallet. I never have cash, so it seemed logical and perfect to just give it to her. I prayed for that woman the whole way home and continue to pray for her every time I see the spot she was standing in that day. I hope that the money I gave her simply reminded her that people care."

While we might be tempted to say, "Well I could do that. That's not so out there, you know?" I might disagree. The percentage of people who actually do extend a hand in one way or another are few and far between. As Scripture tells us, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Matthew 9:37).

So this week, we are going to put up our little MckLinky and we want to hear from you. So many of you read and sometimes post, or the two of us get to connect through email or twitter or something, but we would ALL love to hear your stories. Since we've just finished this book, let's focus on homelessness and what we can do to represent the body of Christ in a way that honors the Lord. Feel free to leave a link to something you have done in the past, or something you want to do. You are welcome to share what the Lord has begun to stir in you after reading this book, or even the ways your thinking was challenged as far as the homeless are concerned. Don't limit yourselves too much, just go ahead and write something sharing your thoughts. Please link using the actual post link (vs. your blog link), and consider posting the Bloom button on your blog too so your readers will be able to easily read other posts! Lastly please make sure to spend some time hopping through others' links and being inspired.

We look forward to reading what has been on your heart regarding the things we have been discussing the last several weeks.

So, that's all for now. Link us to your site and tell us some of your story.

May we continue to grow in dialogue, in spirit, and in faith as we move ahead together.

We love you ladies,


Ang and Jess

Book Suggestions

Angie and I are close to deciding on the next book. However, if you can think of any great Christian books or authors that we should consider for the spring - and in the future - please leave a comment in this post. There are so many good books out there and we definitely haven't made a final decision yet.

What would encourage and inspire YOU? 

Thank you in advance for your help!

We will also be posting our wrap-up to Same Kind of Different As Me later today, so be sure to check back tonight.

Jessica and Angie