Archives for February 2010

Let’s Talk Books!

If you’ve been visiting my blog for the past year or two, you know that every now and then I like to talk books. I couldn’t resist revisiting the topic today because last week I finished reading a book that blew me away. You know what I mean. One of those books that captures you heart and soul and keeps your spirit saying, “Wow!” as you read.

I’d been wanting to read Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore for quite awhile because I’d heard so many good things about it, and let me just say that it surpassed any expectations I might have had. This true story of unlikely friendship grants us glimpses into pieces of history and subcultures that most of us will never gain first-hand knowledge of ourselves (the mid-1900s South, the homeless, the wealthy, the art world…). As the story unfolds, it quietly burns heart wrenching truths and lessons into our hearts and minds. If you haven’t read it yet, put it at the top of your “must-read” list and let it rock your world.

Beth Moore is someone else who can rock your world with her down-home, straight to the heart of the matter approach to Bible study and other topics related to our spiritual lives. I’m reading her latest release, So Long, Insecurity, as part of an online book club on her LPM blog right now. Since I’ve never participated in a book club before (shocking, right?!), I thought it might be fun but also knew I could stand a little help in the getting rid of insecurity department. Anyone else? Don’t worry, if you’re too insecure to say so, I completely understand :)

On the writing front, I’m currently reading (and ever so slowly because I’m trying to read too many books at once!) Rebecca McClanahan’s Word Painting. She’s already helping me look at description in new ways. Her book offers writing exercises with each chapter so hopefully these will help me apply what I’m learning.

The last book I’ll mention is a book that’s blown me away time and again. In fact, I read it all the time. I guess you could say it’s captured my heart and soul and keeps my spirit saying, “Wow!” as I read. Let me encourage you to put the Bible at the top of your “must-read” list and let it rock your world, too…

“For the word of God is living and active…” Hebrews 4:12

**What are you reading right now? What book has blown you away? Are you currently reading a specific book in the Bible? (I’m in Acts.) Let’s talk books!

Winter Weary

8413263684_ab18055b80_zPretty much everyone I know is over winter at this point. We’re winter weary, longing to cast off our coats and hats and gloves and dash unhindered out the door. Weeks and weeks of below normal temps and wetter than usual conditions have us aching for a taste of spring. No, make that spring’s full-fledged arrival. We’re done with tastes of nicer weather. We’re ready for it to come and stay.

If nothing else, this year’s lingering winter has built the anticipation for a new season to fever pitch — spring fever pitch, I guess you could say. Anne Bradstreet, 17th century American poet, said, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

The wisdom of Anne’s words, though spoken well over 300 years ago, still speak truth today. And not just her thoughts about the seasons, but her words about adversity as well. Just as spring tastes sweeter because we’ve weathered the winter, we appreciate our times of ease and blessing more deeply after enduring some hardships and trials.

Though some of us are yearning for the season of spring, others are aching for their lingering season of grief or difficulty to finally be over. They, too, are winter weary.

To those, I say, “Take heart.” Just as surely as spring follows winter, joy is ahead for you. Anticipate it. Keep waiting for it. One day soon you’ll be welcoming it with open arms…

“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

Flickr photo by Jukie Bot, Creative Commons License

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A Ready Helper

Ever have those moments when you need to call someone and say, “If you have a few minutes, could you do me a favor — and I mean right now?” I had one the other day. I don’t know who you turn to in times like those, but I call on family (or only the closest of friends).

I needed someone to critique a piece before I submit it, and with the deadline almost upon me, I didn’t feel comfortable asking a writer friend to “hop to”, so to speak, in my time frame. So I called my daughter Kristin. (No, she’s not a writer, but she is an avid reader and able to spot some areas that might need to be reworked.) Anyway, she agreed, and I shot the piece off to her in an email.

I only expected a quick read-through and a few remarks, but she took the time to give it her thorough attention, marking the phrases she especially liked and pointing out things that might need to be changed. What a blessing to get so much more than I imagined from my sweet daughter and ready helper. And might I add that she’s a ready helper any time she’s free and it’s within her power to do so. (Are you picking up on the fact that I’m proud of her? I mean, just look at her. Is she a sweetheart or what?!) :)

We all need people like that, people we can call on spur of the moment, asking them to drop whatever they’re doing and come to our aid. I admit that sounds like a definition for a mother :), but devoted friends and other family members — and eventually our own kids — fit that description as well. Treasures, one and all, aren’t they?

But the One we can call on before we even call on them is the Lord. If we direct our first cry for help or wisdom or guidance to Him, He will hear and give us His thorough attention. He may show us we need to call one of our ready helpers here on earth, or He might meet our need in a completely different way. On the other hand, He might give us His peace that passes understanding as He whispers to our hearts to trust Him and wait on Him.

Do you have a need today? Turn first to the Ready Helper who is always available. And remember, everything we need is within His power. Indeed, He’s a treasure like no other.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

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*My photo

Untried Equipment

I thought I was prepared. Before leaving for Kelli’s this past weekend for a day of wedding planning, I had thrown the little key chain/tape measure given to all of us moms at church one Mother’s Day into my purse. Kelli and I planned to visit the reception site and look it over more carefully with an eye towards decorating, and I wanted to be ready to measure to our hearts’ content.

We spoke at length with the caterer on site, asking questions and going over details before we got down to the business of measuring. Feeling pretty pleased with myself for remembering to bring the needed equipment, I pulled out my little tape measure so we could go to work. As soon as Kelli saw what was in my hand, however, she giggled. And then the comments started flying.

“That’s what you brought? That’s your tape measure? Where did you get that? I could have brought a real one…” Feeling pretty silly with the caterer looking on, I tried to answer with a modicum of self respect, but with the first pull of the tape measure, any pretense of having it all together dissolved into laughter. My handy, dandy piece of equipment was just a couple of inches over a yardstick in length.

We measured one spot and then gave up. Even though I thought I was prepared when I left home, I wasn’t. Since I had never tried the tape measure before (or had forgotten if I did), it didn’t end up benefiting us much that day. If I’d been more familiar with it, I would’ve known what tasks it could handle and couldn’t handle. We found out that having a tool without being able to use it is not much help at all.

Sometimes not being able to use equipment has much more serious consequences than what Kelli and I experienced the other day. Thankfully, God has given us a piece of equipment that won’t fail us, that will help us handle all the situations that life throws at us. He’s given us His Word.

God’s Word tell us that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) But if we don’t use it, if it just sits on a table or night stand or shelf unopened, it won’t end up benefiting us much at all. If we’re not familiar with its riches, we may give up at times when we could have been victorious.

Let’s not let the Word of God be a piece of untried equipment in our lives. Let’s not be caught unprepared…

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

*How can we become this kind of workman? Where are you reading or studying in the Word right now? Anyone memorizing?

*My photo

Love Is in the Air — And So Is a Winner!

Is everyone having a good Valentine’s Day? Sure hope so. Valentine’s Day here on the blog means it’s time to announce the winner of the “Cuddle Up” Valentine’s Day Giveaway. Since the prize is a Starbucks gift card, someone is about to get a lot warmer :) That lucky someone is you, Stephanie! (Momma’s Soapbox ) Congratulations! I’ll get the gift card to you asap. Hope you enjoy!

On Valentine’s Day we usually think of romantic love or love of friends and family, but today let’s spend a moment thinking of a love that surpasses all of these, a love that never fails — the love of God. I hope you are reminded of how deeply He loves you as you read a few quotes about His love that have captured my attention. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Greatest Lover of All!

“I can fathom a God who knows me, who made me…who hears me. But a God who is in love with me? A God who is crazy about me?… That’s the message of the Bible.” Max Lucado, bestselling author and minister

“God’s version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens, and fierce devotion.” John and Stasi Eldredge, bestselling co-authors

“If you are seeking after God, you may be sure of this: God is seeking you much more. He is the Lover, and you are His beloved. He has promised Himself to you.” John of the Cross, Catholic reformer, 1542-1591

“We are of such value to God that He came to live among us…and to guide us home. He will go to any length to seek us… We can only respond by loving God for His love.” Catherine of Sienna, Catholic tertiary, theologian, and philosopher, 1347-1380

“‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'” John 3:16

Flickr photo by Zack Akukumba

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