TASTING GRACE PRE-ORDER!

Today is a BIG day – a very BIG day – for several reasons! First, it is the inaugural day of GRAN JAN CAMP! That will be a post for later when my heart has calmed enough that I can even write. “Grandmother Camp” is something I learned about from Esther Burroughs years ago before I even became a grandmother. (She calls hers Nana Camp.)  Zeke is my only camper this year. The prerequisite to camp is finishing first grade. He just did! Next year I will have 3 campers – Zeke, Madie, and Jackson! And so it goes…until Emery & Abe are added. Gran Jan’s JOY runs deep. I can’t wait to post…Tasting-Grace-Pre-buy-800x671

Next, today is the day (Summer Solstice) that pre-sale begins for the book of which I am co-author with Leah Adams. TASTING GRACE is a woman’s mentoring-in-the-kitchen ministry. It first began in the hearts of Jan Hamil and I. It has absolutely brought us so much JOY – the simplicity of Tasting Grace is so refreshing. Sharing the Word of God, teaching a cooking skill, sharing a recipe, and sweet fellowship together. Mentoring that is practical and precious in a day of drive-through, hurry up, social media hype!

And have I shared with you that BETH MOORE wrote the foreword for the book? What grace for Leah and me to have that blessing! Only God!

Tasting Grace is a book that offers women  a complete how-to guide to hosting their own event. The book includes four weeks of Bible study with a focus on biblical mentoring. There are five days of Bible study in each week of the study that will take about 10-15 minutes each day to complete. Also in the book are recipes, devotionals, and tips from Leah and me on how to host a Tasting Grace kitchen event in the reader’s home or church.

Tasting Grace will not be in bookstores until August 1st, but our wonderful publisher, Warner Press, is opening up for pre-launch orders. Beginning TODAY, and running through July 18th, you can pre-buy Tasting Grace.

If you pre-order the book, you will get some extras: a digital version of the book in addition to your print copy. TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!!  You will also get access to a private Facebook page for the book. Also, in addition to the wonderful recipes contained in the book, pre-buy friends will receive a few extra special recipes that are mine and Leah’s favorites!

Please consider pre-ordering a book today! 🙂

Love & prayers and much thanks,

GranJan-BlogSignature

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A Time For Everything

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, and the first verse of Chapter 3 may be the most well known passage, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.”  Everything – all of life translates to seasons. From the beauty found in the four seasons of a year to the way the seasons of our lives change.  Everything.  To everything there is a season. 

Autumn may be my favorite season on the calendar, but I look forward to Winter and the joy the Christmas season brings, then there is the anticipation of a new year in just four weeks. I really love gardening in the Spring and Summer too. Each season brings its own beauty and joy. I want to savor some family memories here on Gran Jan’s Joy, so I’m going to post some pictures from our lives for the past several months…seasons and times for which I am so thankful.

Summer Family Breakfast with Four Generations at the Table!

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Zeke and Madie in the cornfield across the road from our farm.

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Sweet Emery in a dress I made for her…

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A trip to the Farmers Market with the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables…

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Gran Jan’s JOY – all five of them!

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Riding backroads…Georgia Red Clay

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My oldest son and his family enjoying time at our pond…

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My youngest son and his son fishing…

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Grandyounguns…there is nothing sweeter!  I love that they are all so close in age.

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Moonflowers from my summer garden…it was dark by the time the bloom unfurled.

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Sweet peach ice cream on a hot summer evening…

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Summer storms and rain puddles for grandsons to jump!

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Homemade Fig Preserves…

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Front Porch Swings on Summer Saturday Mornings…

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My dad and my youngest grandson Abe…I love this picture so much.

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Zeke’s First Day of Kindergarten…that season came too soon!

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Sitting by the pond and the firepit my husband built for me on a cool summer evening…

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Sweetest (and best) little soccer player…Jackson Morton!

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A ride with my parents and this…the house my Dad lived in when he was 15…a true memory lane trip.

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A painting party with some sweet friends…girlfriend therapy…

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Baby quilts I made for new grandchildren born to two special friends, Pat Boutwell & Joan Falldine…

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Emery’s Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday Party…Delightful! (I made her shirt, made me so happy!)

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My youngest son ordained as a deacon at our church…no words to describe my joy.

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1 & 2 Thessalonians Bible Study, “For not all have faith, but the LORD is faithful.”

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A trip to the beach in October with my sweetie…it was so special!

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While at the beach we attended Sunrise City Church – a highlight of the Fall Season for us.

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Meeting Eric Metaxas at Covenant Care’s fundraiser and getting my book signed…

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A text with grandgirl Miss Madie sporting a GranJan creation…day made!

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White violas in a strawberry jar…one of my Fall traditions…

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Coming home to find love notes from my husband all over the house…what a blessed woman I am!

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Fall cotton fields…I love living in the country…

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Christmas dresses for my grandgirls, made at a weekend sew-in with my BFF Lanie!

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Babysitting our youngest grandchild, little Abe, two weekends in a row this past month!

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These pictures cover lots of time from this past Summer and Fall and each one is a sweet memory for me. I’m so thankful for my family and the JOY they bring to me. I’m also thankful for this season of my life…grandmothering these young ones. I can truly say I’ve loved and learned in every season of my life and I pray that continues to hold true for me as long as God leaves me here. He is so faithful.

GRANJAN

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The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst

I’m in a new job – I started June 1, so tomorrow will be four months. It’s a great job but a hard one. I’ve been working with my current employer for 25 years, but this is a new position – working as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. Even the title is, well, long. It has been so hard yet at the same time so rewarding. I’m learning so many new things and although it is challenging, I’m discovering that being stretched means I’m still flexible…and that is rewarding in and of itself.

I received a gift card a couple of weeks ago from Tammy Slayton for the Lifeway Bookstore. (Tammy was the Event Coordinator for the recent Priscilla Shirer Live conference recently held at Second Baptist Church, and she is a delight!) I went to our local Lifeway store and purchased a new book with my gift card. The title appealed to me because of the busyness of my new job and all that accompanies long hours… The book is by Lysa TerKeurst entitled The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.  Click on the title here THE BEST YES to read more about the book and order one for yourself.

This list below was featured on K-Love radio one morning last week with the author herself reading them. She is a marvelous speaker and I hope to hear her in person one day.  This book, along with what the Lord is speaking to me in my time with Him is more of the “Sacred Echo” in my heart and life.  I pray it encourages you too…I love her use of the word “seasons.”  And as I said, I’m in a very busy season of life right now.  Good, strong, blessed, healthy, and thankful – but busy.

TEN WAYS TO GRACIOUSLY SAY NO WHEN YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO SAY YES:

Personal:
1. While my heart wants to say yes, yes, yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.

2. I am honored by your request but I’m in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.

3. After living at an unhealthy breakneck pace for too long, I’m learning to realistically assess my capacity. Though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I must say no this time.

4. I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.

5. I’ve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship that allows me to be honest with my realities.

Professional:
6. Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give your project the attention it deserves right now.

7. While I would love to connect about your new project, I’ve discovered this is one of those activities I must give up while trying to ____________________ (write my book, start my business, stick to my project, etc.) Saying yes would just enable my unhealthy habit of procrastination. Thank you for understanding and helping me push through to the finish line.

8. There is nothing more that I love than helping others in my field get started. Unfortunately, I get so many requests for this that I’m no longer able to meet in person. So, I’ve created this attached document with my best advice. (Create a standard PDF for instances like this so you only have to type out your advice one time.)

9. While I don’t have time for a lunch appointment, I’d love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30 AM.

10. Thank you so much for caring enough about me to want my involvement. Unfortunately, I’m not able to participate this time. But I’m certainly cheering for your continued success.

Blessings to you on this last day of September. We are entering the sweetness of my favorite “season” on the calendar…Autumn. I hope earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures will find me reading more of this book and embracing the truths Mrs. TerKeurst so wonderfully shares.

GRANJAN

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40 Days – Lent 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time.  Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year.  For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.

We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season.  I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!

I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent.  The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.”  It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

Another one is a book entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark.  It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.

This year I am reading a book entitled Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.

Please let me share that I don’t see Lent as anything “ritualistic” or a way to garner favor with Jesus.  God’s saving grace is free and I can’t do anything to cause God to love me any more than He already does.  I won’t “give up” anything – He gave His all for me. And another thing – my faith is a daily faith – experienced minute by minute.  These 40 days are special to this time of year and the significance of Easter in the life of a believer – but EVERY DAY is a gift of grace to me!  I especially love this song by Keith & Kristyn Getty – “The Power of The Cross.” Here is the first portion…
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath 
we stand forgiven at the cross.
I pray you will seek daily solitude these next 40 days – in prayer – in worship, thanking Jesus for His supreme sacrifice on the cross for you.
Gran Jan
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The Women of Christmas – Buy Books & Get Books Free

Christmas is less than four months away and the wonderful deal I’m sharing with you here is one of the sweetest blessings available for you and a friend TODAY!  It’s a great “Buy One Get One Free” (or buy 100 and get 100) beautiful Christmas book by none other than Liz Curtis Higgs!  I love to read seasonal devotionals during the year, especially at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas…and Liz Higgs is one of my favorite authors and speakers.  She is delightfully witty, and her teachings are always rich and full of her knowledge and love for God’s Word. The Women of Christmas

The book is called The Women of Christmas and explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.  Each verse is unwrapped with tender care and introduces you afresh to The Women of Christmas. You will follow in their footsteps, so that you too may prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way this season. I don’t know about you, but I desire that EVERY Christmas season! This beautiful book also includes a study guide and suggestions for immersing yourself in the sacred season of Christmas.

So go ahead and buy one for a friend (or four) and get one (or four) for yourself FREE from the fine folks of WaterBrook Multnomah! Start your Christmas shopping early with this special offer for The Women of Christmas. There is no limit on the number of books you can buy, and the publisher will match one for one while supplies last. This offer is valid until September 16, 2013 for U.S. addresses only.  The book goes on sale September 17, 2013; and free books will ship at this time.

Go RIGHT HERE for all the details on ordering and receiving your free books!

I’ve already placed my order!

Merry Christmas and  Merry Shopping,

Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #500 to #508

500. Home. A wonderful place to be on this cold wintry night. I love that this 500th gift – a tribute to my home – is right in the middle of my counting to 1,000. Our home is also a centerpiece of grace for our family, our ministry, HOME. A place to just be – a respite from busy lives. So very thankful for HOME. A gift of His grace, it belongs to Him.
501. A time of sweet fellowship in our HOME for the pastors and their wives from our church. We enjoyed time around the table for a meal, and then time just sitting together, laughing and sharing stories. A gift to be together – to serve together.
502. The Jesus Storybook Bible where “every story wispers His Name.”  We love this Bible for children and enjoy reading it to our grandchildren. I LOVE reading it for me!
503.  This book, “The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes”  was a favorite book to read at bedtime with our boys when they were small. My grandchildren have it and I gave a copy to our pastor’s wife and student ministry associate’s wife too.
504. An awesome time of prayer and planning with Cindy, Teresa, and Jennifer last week. I am so blessed to serve with these precious ladies in women’s ministry. Our hearts are knit together in His love and we had one of the best meetings in years. We are planning some missions projects and also some special events for the women in our church. 
505. Wednesday night Bible study is so special. I look forward to spending time with some very special ladies each week.  We are almost through with Duty or Delight by Tammie Head. I would have loved to have had this material 30 years ago when I was a young pastor’s wife caught up in “spiritual performance.”  Thankful to say today that my delight is in Him and serving Him is not a duty.
506. A very special time Saturday morning with my whole family here for breakfast. I really enjoy simple times the best and we surely enjoy each other’s company.  My three grandchildren are beginning to play together and it is delightful.
507. It was a joy to attend my church’s “Anna’s Banquet,” this past Saturday. The banquet is for widows. Our pastors and deacons serve the widows a meal and then we just enjoyed each other’s company. I loved sitting with Sarah, Sara, Aileen and Frances.  PRECIOUS!

508. I began my list with thankfulness for my earthly HOME, but I am very aware (and very sure) that my real HOME is Heaven. But until I take up residence there, I want to treat every day as special – precious – gifts of His grace, because as James 4:14 says…

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away.

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1,000 GIFTS, #347 to #369

My spirit is overflowing with grace gifts, and it’s not just because my counting is overdue…it is because of the tender mercies of Christ in my life. Many of my blessings this week surround a wonderful time away last week at the beach. I am in a very good place right now, both physically and spiritually at rest. God has taught me so much this past year and I love HIM so, MORE every day. Thank you sweet readers for sharing life’s JOY with me.

347. Blueberry pancakes are sweet, but not as sweet as this grandgirl eating them…

348. Continuing to read The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer. Every woman needs to read/embrace this book, no matter her age or season of life.

349. A movie date to see “Courageous” with my sweet husband. WE LOVED IT. Praying that God will use this movie for His glory (He already is). If you have not seen it yet – go go go.

350. Have I mentioned that my parents live “across the pasture?” Well they do, and I am blessed to have them so close – they are wonderful, loving, giving people. They dog-sat my younger sister’s two dogs week before last, and along with their dachsund, Dixie – they had a kennel. Here they are on an outing over to my house.  The dogs and the parentals needed a break.

351. My husband and I vacationed at the beach (Florida Gulf Coast) last week, and that in itself is a grace gift. There is something about being near the ocean that is restful to my spirit. Psalm 95:5 I’ve heard others speak of this peace, and it is certainly true for me. This year the weather was amazing, so cool and refreshing. We are thankful for the time to rest and spend time together – unbound by clocks and schedules. My favorite time is as the sun begins to set. Whether I’m home or at the ocean, I love dusk.

352. The sunrises are beautiful too. The ocean was as smooth as glass.
353. October 6, 1974 was a beautiful autumn Sunday night (a long time ago…). That “date” markes a “date” for me…the evening of my seventh date with my then new boyfriend. (Seven is the number of completion in the Bible – how fitting.)  We met at church, he was the young music minister. It was the summer before we each began our senior years of high school. That night was our first kiss and since we happened to be at the beach last week on the “37th anniversary of the first kiss,” I wrote it in the sand. The tide may have washed my sentiments away, but the sweet memory is forever etched in my mind. God surely blessed me when he brought my future husband into my life that night 37 years ago…
354. I love this man…thankful for God’s grace in bringing him to me (see #353).

355. I met a beautiful woman, Sybil, while shopping at the Destin Commons Mall day before yesterday. She assisted me in an Estee Lauder purchase at the Belks store. We shared more than mascara and lipstick…we shared Jesus Christ. When she was checking me out, she said “thank you Georgia Jan.”  Now Sybil had no idea that I use “Georgia Jan” as my blog name…she just knew I was from Georgia. Well that led into conversation about blogs, Bible study, and our favorite teachers…Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. We discovered that she and I both attended the very first Deeper Still conference in Nashville four years ago and enjoyed sharing memories of that time.  I love random meetings like this. God bless you Sybil.

356. My youngest son and his wife and son joined us at the beach later in the week. Sweet family times. Pop was in heaven when Jackson fell asleep in his arms during a morning walk on the beach. We loved having lots of time with this little fella. He is SO smart!

357. We ate lunch twice at Dewey Destin Seafood. You could look through the planks in the pier and see the water below! We were able to get a choice seat…right at the very end of the pier. The weather was GLORIOUS, so was my Grouper sandwich.

358. Pumpkin spice coffee…on the balcony…with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The wind blowing, the waxing gibbous moon (almost full), sweet conversation, hearts in love, souls at peace, minds at rest. G-R-A-C-E.

359. New crocs for the grandchildren. Boys=camo, girl=pink. Simple as that and I’m not waiting until Christmas to give them to them.

360. My husband loves seafood. (He even teased some friends and told them he would have shrimp milkshakes if he could.) We took a seafood break and ate Chinese at P.F. Changs one day, and I called him “P.F.” the rest of the week. P.F. stood for “Platter/Feast” because every meal he ordered had either the word platter or feast in the title…

361. I found a twenty-dollar-bill on the floor at the CVS drugstore last week.  When I turned it in, I thought the manager was going to call a press conference. He said, “people don’t turn in money.”  I told him that the money didn’t belong to me, but that I belong to Jesus, and His Spirit in me enabled me to do the right thing. I will say however, that it was quite a rush to look down and see that $20 lying there  🙂

362. On our way home from the beach we had a tire going flat so we stopped at a Wal-Mart to get it fixed. We thanked the Good LORD that it happened exactly when it did and not on a remote road. We also thanked Him for His perfect timing and provisions. The GPS said there was no Wal-Mart or auto store nearby…oh, really? Yes there is/was.

363. While the tire was being repaired I meandered through the store and bought sewing machine needles and a new rotary cutter for some quilt fabric I have.  So thankful for my quilting JOY!

364. While walking back to the auto department, I saw an elderly gentleman in one of those little scooters going up and down the aisles. He seemed a little “out of sorts,” so I asked him if I could help him. He told me that he lived alone and was looking for a pot to cook in, to warm up food. I found a perfect one on clearance and he was so pleased. That little random act of JOY was a blessing to my heart. I thanked the Lord for our low tire and my divine appointment.  We also shared Jesus in that clearance aisle.

365. A great report, a super great report from my annual physical. Aside from my salvation, God’s grace gift of excellent health is so very precious to me. I thank Him daily.

366. Although I do not embrace “fortune cookies,” I loved this one…because he was sitting right to my left, the one with whom I shared a kiss 37 years ago…remember? 
367. The welcome sight of HOME…fall color and a field of white cotton across the street.
368. Collard greens and turnip greens growing growing growing…I love this garden.

369. Rainy days and Mondays do NOT get me down. This has been a glorious week and to have the blessing of a day off (Columbus Day Holiday) to reflect, count grace gifts, and reflect some more…
Thank you JESUS.
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