• A House of Prayer_Tom Steagald_9780835813211  

    Why do so many praying Christians feel as if their prayers echo in the dark and never go beyond the ceiling? Maybe because they’re missing a sense of deep connection — not only with God but also with other praying believers.

    Find out how to strengthen your prayers and grow closer to God and others.



  • Healing from Divorce_Mary Lou Redding  

    “I poured so much energy into trying to save our marriage that I had nothing left to give to God or others.”

    Can you relate to the above statement? Maybe you’ve been through a divorce or are going through one now.

    Start the journey of healing with these 28 days of prayer.


  • Freestyle_Michael W. Waters  


    “Provocative and prophetic, Michael Waters provides a fresh perspective on many issues that impact our communities, families, and the future of our country.

    Through his political critique, you hear the voice of a street prophet.

    Through his analysis of hip-hop, you hear the voice of a cultural connoisseur.

    Through his reflections as a father, you hear the voice of a loving parent.

    FREESTYLE is inspiring, convicting, educating – and in the end, uplifting.”"

    –Romal Tune, author of God’s Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens


  • Upper Room Books  

    Hope Beyond Your Tears

    “The risen Christ meets us in our tears.” With these gentle words, Hudson invites you to enter the story of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus in the garden. Follow this beloved pastor’s guidance to open your heart to the living Christ and find hope to move beyond your tears.

    An excellent study for Lent, grief support groups, Sunday school classes, and individuals.


  • Becoming Who God Wants You to Be_Paul Jones_Spiritual Direction  

    Becoming Who God Wants You to Be

    Ever been curious about spiritual direction or wished you had your own personal spiritual coach?

    W. Paul Jones helps you explore self-guided spiritual direction with the ultimate spiritual director – the Holy Spirit. His 60 meditations will help you discover the ways God is leading you.


  • A Bead and a Prayer_A Beginner's Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads  

    A Bead and a Prayer

    A Bead and a Prayer engages our God-given senses of touch and sight to coax prayer from the head deep into the heart. This is a must-read for anyone on an intentional journey to God.”

    – Linda Douty, Spiritual director, retreat leader, author



Blog read our blog
April 24, 2014

Make a Joyful Noise

Not long ago, my eighty-seven-year-old friend Mary and I shared a piano bench at her assisted-living center. I opened a hymnal and began playing some of her favorite hymns. It didn’t matter that the piano had not been tuned in years or that I could reach down and pick up the unattached pedals in my hand. We laughed out loud and went right on singing.

Even though Mary is nearly blind, she sang with great confidence, taking the melody line while I sang harmony. We spent an  hour having an old-fashioned hymn sing, just the two of us.

I first got to know Mary at the retirement community where she and my parents had been neighbors. Back then she always wore an oversized visor and counted her steps to compensate for her diminishing vision caused by macular degeneration. She had never learned how to read music, but she could bang out gospel tunes on the piano for the ecumenical Sunday school class held at the center. But a series of health complications weakened Mary, and she moved to another facility to receive additional care. Now she spends most of her time sitting in a recliner, surrounded by family photos that she can no longer see.

On the afternoon of our sing-along, Mary hummed when lyrics suddenly escaped her and grinned all the while. For those of us who, like Mary, grew up in Sunday school and church, singing familiar hymns reconnects us to our faith and revives positive memories. By the time we got to the chorus of “Shall We Gather at the River,” Mary was tapping her fingers and moving her feet while I did my best to keep up on the rickety piano.

On the drive home I thought about Mary and God’s purpose for her in these late years. In some ways it seems there is little she can offer. She is frail. She can’t see. She can’t remember things like she once did. But somehow I knew that our hymn singing was more than recalling days gone by. We were glorifying the One who ordained her long life. We were praising God in the here and now.

And so Mary sings despite the walker she needs to get around, despite her blindness. Despite dependence on caregivers for basic needs, Mary still sings her faith. That’s when something wonderful happens. There is joy! The sweetest sound of all.

This article is an excerpt from pages 54-56 of Don’t Write My Obituary Just Yet: Inspiring Faith Stories for Older Adults by Missy Buchanan. Copyright © 2011 by Missy Buchanan. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
Missy Buchanan is an older adult advocate and the author of several books, including Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out BodyMy Story, My SongTalking with God in Old Age; and Joy Boosters: 120 Ways to Encourage Older Adults. For more information about Missy, click here.


like us