Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Word Wrap-Up 2013: Hear

'The Sound of Silence: After Hours' photo (c) 2008, fotologic - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For the last 3 years, I have participated in the One Word campaign/idea/thing. In 2011, I picked the word Hope. In 2012, I picked Faithful. And in 2013, I picked Hear. And I noticed that I'm really bad at following through consistently on my word. In 2011, I didn't blog about the word I picked, but I did a couple updates and a wrap up. In  2012, I blogged about the word I picked and had an update or two, but no wrap up. In 2013, I blogged about the word I picked and one good update. Then I fell off the blogging wagon and forgot my word.

Forgetting my word has been a bit of a theme across the last few years. Somewhere around mid-year I forget that I have a word to be focusing on and then in November or so, I pick it up again. It would seem that I would make no progress on the word during those months. However, the One Word campaign is more than just about me and my effort. It is about God and what he is doing. So when I pick a word it isn't what I would like to accomplish. It is what God plans to accomplish in me.

In 2011, I didn't see much progress on Hope, but today I see how much less I worry about stuff and how much more hope I have in God and His plan for my family and I.

In 2012, I didn't see much progress on Faithful, but today I see how much I trust God to speak into an individual's journey and how it isn't my job. I see how much better I am about getting things done around the house and financially.

In 2013, I originally started out with a heavy focus on writing. Then I threw in a smidge of God because it sounded good. (Well maybe more than just that, but not much more.) Then in my update, I heard God speaking to me about writing and life stuff. As the year progressed, my writing basically went away. I stopped blogging and I certainly didn't write anything else. I did journal about once a month, which isn't very awesome because my goal was 3 times a week. There was 1 month this year that I didn't blog a single word and 4 more months that I only blogged a few times. So my writing goals went out the window.

But what about the God part of my word?

In those 5 months, I felt lost. There were vast stretches of silence not just on the blog, but in life. I was nauseous and sick for about 24 weeks or so. I was tired and worn out. So I didn't put forth a lot of effort into writing, reading, journaling, cleaning, or anything really. That bothered me A LOT. I felt guilty about all the stuff I wasn't doing. I expressed some of those thoughts at Bible Study and one guy said, "Busy stands for Being Under Satan's Yoke." I listened to those words, but I also heard God's message that it was okay. I was slowing down and that was the right thing to do.

I tried to embrace the slowing down, but it was still a struggle. I wasn't ready for the nothing and the silence. It still felt like I was missing something or I should be doing something else. Then the Advent season of waiting brought me peace and acceptance. I can't say that there was one turning point. I can say there were lots of tears and some big changes. After those days, then came an uneasy peace which settled into simply peace.

My word for the year was Hear, but I didn't expect hearing to come with so much silence. There were things at my job that I relinquished. There were writing plans that I abandoned. There were social media 'obligations' that went undone. There were traditions that changed. There were job changes for my husband and people to whom we said goodbye. God silenced many things in my life this year, so I could hear the stuff that really mattered. My mother in law was healed of cancer. A little girl will be arriving at our house in March. My son needs attention from Mom and Dad and play time with those people. My extended family needs to hear more from me.

So I didn't hear what I expected and it didn't come to me in a way that I expected, but I do think I heard what God was saying. I also heard what he was not saying. In the hearing, I also learned to embrace a little bit of silence. I hope to find that at the close of 2014 I have grown in hearing and silence as well.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 12-28

From Saturday that somehow didn't get published:

Photos for the week: A swamp, Elephants, Street colors, a beautiful sky, sea cliffs, and a sea lion

Singles in the church. We, as the church, need to do so much better by this group of people.

"Traditions don't last forever"

Even if you don't speak Spanish, you can understand this one.

Some great ideas about why Christmas is still important.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Silence and Light for Christmas

So you may have noticed last week I was a bit cynical. Sorry for that, but I had to be honest. In the days since then I have been trying to work out how I can not be so cynical. I have been trying to listen extra hard to what might be trying to tell me. After a couple church services and Bible Study last night, I think I'm getting somewhere. So I thought I would share that with you. I don't really want to leave this space on a sour note.

I'm sitting here Christmas morning before my husband and son wake up listening to Christmas hymns and enjoying the light from the Christmas tree.

That's really my living room right now.

I find myself thinking about light and silence and me. As a culture we may have misconstrued Christmas and I have been a part of it. I still am because I'm sitting here trying not to worry about our 'okay enough' gifts that we have to give. I'm worrying that they are horrible gifts that no one will really want and I really hold no hope that they will genuinely enjoy said gifts. I genuinely try to think of something that the person will enjoy and that fits their personality. I try and yet I worry about it every year. I'm tired of worrying about it, so I'm going to stop thinking about it because Christmas starts first in my heart and in myself.

When I think back to the first Christmas, I'm impressed with the silence. The silence of the night broken by the cries of mother and babe. The silence of the shepherds in the field broken by the chorus of angels. And while they weren't actually there at the moment of birth, the silence of the Magi, of Anna, and of Simeon all broken by worship of the King. There was silence that night until God broke the silence with the birth of his Son. So I need to find silence. Not the noise of crowds and shopping, but silence. Not the noise of one too many Christmas parties, but silence. Not the noise from my head doubting, but silence. Not the noise of trying to make too many people happy, but silence. 

I need to find silence this Christmas season and let God break through that silence. 

And when he does break through that silence, He brings with Him light. He is light and He plants that light inside us to show to others. When we shine His light through us, then the reality of Christmas is brought into that space as well. 

There are many wonderful things about Christmas. There are even family traditions that I enjoy. However, Christmas means more than these traditions and more than the song lyrics. Christmas is about the Incarnation of Christ. God coming to live with us in the form of a baby that grew up to be a man who experienced what we have here and sacrificed himself to make sure we can experience what He has there. 

So I'm going to take a few minutes and enjoy some silence.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 12-20

This week the photo is of butterflies.

This list is amazing! It's nice to know when other people get your book obesession

What Xmas really means and it might not be what you think.

Love these thoughts. Very real because sometimes hard things happen and we don't always react well.

It seems that Christians these days love a controversy, but are we missing the point?

Teaching is hard. This is a little glimpse into why.

Friday, December 20, 2013

What does Christmas mean again?

'Carol Singing' photo (c) 2006, Herry Lawford - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Watching a video on Christmas traditions in other countries made me realize how shallow our obsession with gifts is as well as how time consuming it is. We don't have time to celebrate by listening to a special performance of a chamber choir. We don't have time to enjoy a bonfire and carols with our neighbors. We don't have time to create special ornaments or decorations. We don't have time to make choosing and decorating a tree a special thing. We don't make any special treats for others around us. We don't deliver them to our neighbors and spend time talking with them.

All we do is go to the some over crowded store and search for the 'perfect' gift that will some how outshine the other dozen or more gifts that are given to that particular person. We spend money that we often don't have to make sure that what we buy is just so. Christmas has become about what we buy. We get Christmas from a store.

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store."

That might sound a bit cynical and short sighted, but for me personally, I'm ready for Christmas to mean more.

I would love to hear from you all about your Christmas traditions. How do you make Christmas mean more?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 12-14

So most of you may not know, but I'm in love with moose and reindeer. So this picture is just awesome!

And the introvert in me thinks this place would be a great place to see these animals and just get away from it all for awhile.

#11 is one of my all time fears! Introverts will get this list.

I have read about 10 of these. Are you more well read than me?

Wow! I don't even know how to start wrapping my mind around this cultural difference.

And how did I get to be 33 years old relatively well read and educated and not know this! It will blow your mind!

Sometimes we get so caught up in Christmas we forget about Advent. This is a good reminder.

I want to grow up to be like this someday.

Monday, December 9, 2013

No more asking, just listening.

'Sinking Tug' photo (c) 2010, Jon Skilling - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

"Slowly sinking under the weight of way too many commitments." A forward has never captured me the way this one did. In my head, I'm screaming, "YES, that is exactly what has been happening with me, with us, for way too long."

So even though I'm only on page 15 now, I find myself invigorated and ready to read this book and many others. I'm ready to color and play pretend with my son. I'm ready to watch movies or go to games with my husband. I'm ready to start living as a family again or maybe for the first time.

How did we get this far from healthy? And why did it take such pain to pull us back together?

I suppose those are the two questions that keep running through my head. I can't say I'm unhappy with this place we find ourselves in because I'm not. I am less stressed than I have been in a long time. I'm enjoying time with family and friends again instead of feeling like I should be somewhere else doing something else. I'm relaxed.

I'm still sad for the people we had to leave behind to get this change. And since I suck at goodbyes, I find myself getting stuck in that sad place more often than I would like to. I'm pretty sure I'm also thinking too hard about this whole thing and trying to find something about myself to 'fix' to make sure it doesn't happen again. And maybe there isn't anything about me to 'fix'. Maybe God just wants me to stop and to be for a little while. Maybe I just need to focus on my family and God.

Maybe I just need to be thankful for God's plan and shut all those questions out. After all, I can't hear what God is saying if I keep asking him questions constantly. So it's time for me to just listen. Or maybe hear is a better word for it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 12-7

Sometimes rants are worth it.

This is a rather amazing story. She is so brave.

Of course the photos! Fog, a crazy lake reflection, stormy seas, and some cute baby owls.

Remembering family stories are important. Shawn puts it more eloquently than me though.

Are you settling for anything? The Magi didn't and we shouldn't either

Are you willing to deal with someone else's mess? The Church is supposed to.

Kim is just so willing to give and help people out. This is a beautiful idea that I am thinking of how I could start doing something like it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 11-23

Just one photo today!

But lots to read:

Some funny stuff from Carl
Some adventure stories from Campfire Cowboy Ministries
Some tongue in cheek commentary from Carl
Some parenting peace from Shawn
Some parenting advice from Hands Free Mama
Some kids teaching us from Judy
Some societal commentary from Shawn
Some athletic commentary from Jason
A new way to look at things from Katie
A rite of passage from childhood gets a new meaning from David

Enjoy the reading today. Have a wonderful Satruday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Love not Guilt

'Parisian Love Lock' photo (c) 2010, Allen Skyy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

2014 has not been an easy year for my family and I. God has brought is through it with provision and strength that still stuns me. With these difficulties and blessings, I have found time to just sit. This sitting and being has brought me struggles and enlightenments. For a while, I felt guilty. I felt guilty for not doing more. I felt guilty for not writing more. I felt guilty for not pushing harder. I tried to make myself busy and then someone told me busy stood for Being Under Satan's Yoke. Then I started slowing down and settling into the sitting and being and stopping.

I finally heard that is was okay to stop for a little while. I finally accepted that maybe God wanted me to slow down and stop some things and cut back on others. On days when I was too nauseous to read my Bible because thinking too hard made me nauseous, I was okay with that. When laundry and dishes piled up because I was too tired, it was okay. I took things slower and I liked it. I finally managed to stop feeling guilty about the way I was living my life and enjoy actually living it. 

So I have come to the conclusion that love and guilt cant be in he same place. I don't want to read my Bible out of guilt. I don't want to pray out of guilt. I don't want to give out of guilt. I want to do it because I love to do it. I want to hang out with people because I love hanging out with them. I want to live for love and not for guilt.

Along those lines, I.haven't given any money to Typhoon Hyian.  There are 5 other projects to give to and it goes behind those. I start feeling guilty because those people are in need and I have. However, there are others in need and I have for them too. I don't have for all of them though. So I feel guilty that I can't give to all of them. Then I stop and remember that love and guilt can't exist in the same place.  So I work my way back to love. I realized that somewhere along the lines I equated my contributing to a project or need with my money. I threw off the idea of using my voice to tell others or to pray for the project. God is bigger than my money. And he's big enough to use me for more than my money. So I serve him in love and let him lead me to the donations I need to make and when to make them. Besides my money, I need to use my voice and my prayer to contribute to those causes as well.

So love and not guilt because love can't exist in the same place as guilt. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 11-16

Swans and penguins! I must be in a bird mood. And of course, the are amazing photos.

This is an article that every mother should read and probably every woman and maybe every person. This should go viral because the words are that good.

Speaking of things that should go viral, this book is amazing and everyone should read it.

Thank you Jaime for making me laugh and making me fee like not so much of a hugging freak.

Another wonderful article that makes me feel like less of a freak and more like I really could be a writer.

Friday, November 15, 2013

On My Book Shelves

Over at Modern Mrs. Darcy, she is having a link up where we are sharing our book shelves. I have a few different 'book shelves', so to speak. One of the things that made me fall in love with our house was the built in book shelf. We even made it a part of our contract to leave those shelves with the house. It didn't take me long to fill that one up though.

It didn't take me long to fill those shelves up. So then I started stacking books on the floor once I had read them. So when I want a new book, I can just look at the shelves to decide what to read next. 

Then my books started overflowing the shelves again. So I had to come up with another new idea. So I have a little bin and I have put the next books I want to read in that bin. That bin stays beside the couch underneath a table (which collects various other things.), so I have them in arms reach when I finish a book. Having said that, I haven't rotated these books recently. So they are probably not what I am really going to read when I'm done with what I am reading now. So I should probably redo those.

I didn't get pictures of my son's book shelf which is also overflowing. And often he grabs a book or 15 and the others land on the floor. Then he carries that book or 15 around to his room or the living room or wherever. He 'reads' some of them and asks me to read some of them. I have to admit I am not reading as much as I would like to, so I feel like many of these books are sitting around and not getting read.   :(  Somehow I feel like when Lilyann gets here, I won't find any more time. So I guess I better just be happy with what I have.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hope Mob

Hope Mob

Maybe you have heard of this site and maybe you haven't. The idea started awhile back with the founder Shaun King. I really don't know the details, so I won't make them up. But I will tell you this guys helps people!

HopeMob features a story or a few stories of people in need. Then regular people like you and me donate to these stories and with a little here and a little there, the need gets met. Sometimes it is a health need, sometimes it is help with bills, sometimes it is supplies for a service project, or a host of other things. The bottom line is that people in need are getting what they need and that help comes from Hope Mob. 100% of funds raised goes to those in need.

Now they need your help. Shaun King and Hope Mob have a deep and passionate desire to help people. He dreams big and he makes it happen. Now he needs your help! It sounds great to say that 100% goes to those in need, however that means there are other costs that come up. So if you and I and your friends and my friends raise money this month, then Hope Mob can keep working and giving all the money donated to a family to that family without having to worry about how to keep it going for 2014. We can help keep this awesome charity going for the next 12 months! Every little bit counts.

So go donate now! And then keep checking back with them to see how else you can help out. We can make a difference!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 11-9

Today there is a short list, but I think you will enjoy it.

A pretty incredible photo.

This article made me so happy to read. This was music to my Spanish teacher heart.

I hadn't ever thought about this before, but this article made me think about self help books and marriage.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I am doing in November

A few random things that have been floating around my head and my life this month.

What I am oohing and aahing over
Anchinalu at fashionABLE

I like scarves and I LOVE companies that provide work that can change lives and communities. So fashionABLE is a perfect place for me to go shopping. You can read about their company here and then you should go shopping for a scarf or some of their new leather products. Awesome!

What has been in heavy rotation on my CD player

Trent Wesley Music.

I heard his music at our revival and got a CD. And I've basically been listening to that CD non-stop for last couple weeks. His music is soothing and uplifting and comforting and just a good reminder that God is in charge and I will be okay.

He's going to have a CD (or whatever it is called now) on iTunes soon. So keep on the lookout for that. I'll make sure and talk about it plenty too. AND you could always keep up with him by liking his Facebook page.

What I am reading

WOT cover JPG

I just finished Wings of Thunder by Erin Keyser Horn. It is the second in the Thunderbird Legacy. Remember how much I raved about the first one? Well this one is just as good. And I'll get into more details about it next week when it is available for you to buy. And in case you haven't read the first one, go to Amazon and buy it! The ebook is on sale right now for only $1.99! That is a seriously good price.

I'm also in middle of reading another pretty good Young Adult book called Amber House by Kelly Moore. I haven't finished it, but so far the characters are realistic and the storyline is moving along nicely. It isn't drawn out unnecessarily. The characters are developing at a reasonable pace as well. However, I was disappointed to learn that it is part of a trilogy. Book 2 is set to come out in January. I really don't like waiting. :(

I was reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. However it was due back to the library and I didn't get it back in time, so I need to pay my fine before I check it out again. It's probably a good thing because I really wanted to read Wings of Thunder and Amber House anyway. So I'll get back to that one soon. I am enjoying it, but it isn't a 'I can't put this down' type book for me. It's more of a 'This is pleasant and enjoyable. I like being in this place with these people.'

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 11-2

Of course, I have some photos! A Halloween-esque photo, a mountain photo, and a forest photo

This website got me excited.

The truth is hard to hear, but important to remember. This was a good reminder.

This one was super encouraging. This one was too in a whole different way. And this one I want to print out.

This video was so cool to hear. It is a great reminder that anything can be used to teach us something.

Zombies and your future.

A good reminder that stories are important

Speak life. Those words have been important to me for a while. Now I hear it all over again.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Unexpected Meetings

Stop me if you have heard this one...

An addict walks into a tattoo parlor and.....

'Tattoo Parlor Door' photo (c) 2013, Mike Licht - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

opens his Bible and his heart.

Maybe you weren't expecting that. Most people don't expect it when I tell them I go to a Bible study in a tattoo parlor with recovering addicts, divorcees, 'good Christian' people, enablers, homeless, young adults, not so young adults, kids, and more. This Bible Study has become a place where I can open my heart and be ministered to. These people are becoming close friends even if I only meet with them once a week. I am seeing God in a whole new way. I'm learning things slowly instead of trying to rush to figure out the conclusion. And mostly, I know I'm being loved.

So if you are ever in the Hickory area on a Monday night, hit me up. We'll go to a tattoo parlor together and meet Jesus. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pregnancy is beautiful

It seems as if my post on Friday came off as a little, or maybe even a lot, negative. I forgot that most of you don't see me on a regular basis to see. I forgot that you don't see the smile on my face when someone asks me about my pregnancy. I forgot that you aren't privy to the conversations we have in our house about this little girl. And I do feel a little bit guilty because I can't keep up with all that I normally do. So I feel the necessity of explaining myself.


Maybe you heard my guilt instead of my joy.

We have also had some health issues, financial issues, and other stressors of life. Nothing out of the realm of a normal middle class life, but stressful and frustrating in their frequency.

Maybe you heard my frustration instead of my expectation.

I want to be honest in my writing. However if I'm only honest about the negative stuff, then it isn't really honesty. So let me tell you some of the blessing little Miss Lilyann has brought with her already.

We have been blessed beyond measure with people offering us gently used or in many cases completely unused items. A few people are even making things for her. I am tearing up even now thinking of the people that are loving on her already.

Ben told people for at least 2 weeks before the ultrasound confirmed it that he was having a sister. He also loves correcting people when they don't use her full name, Lilyann Grace. He talks to her and tells her good morning and good night. He has picked out some toys for her as well. He is already in love with his little sister.

She is the first girl in many, many years on both sides of the family and I have seen many family members faces light up when talking about her.

Drew and I can already tell certain things about her and we can't help, but giggle. For instance, she tried to hide her face during the most recent ultrasound by putting her hands in front of her face. She loves pasta and chocolate. Drew is all the time putting his hand on my tummy and talking to her. It is pretty safe to say that we are already smitten.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 10-19

Of course, I love photos. This one reminds me of my hometown and the hardworking people there. And this one is foreign, but beautiful.

Being an avid reader, I loved finding my category.

And related to that, here are a few more categories.

A little more book reading. This book looks good.

I love this idea and I'm going to try to be at the local one!

Yes, yes, yes! Over and over and over I say yes.

This is way honest. I wonder if it is real, but it was an entertaining read.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pregnancy is taking its toll.

In an effort to conquer the blank page, I'm going to just write some stuff down and we'll see how it goes.

I don't remember pregnancy being this hard the first time around. I remember being sick for 5 months and a smidge of heartburn at the end. This time I think I have every symptom known to man.

Morning Sickness 
Shortness of Breath 
Loss of Equilibrium 
Breast Changes 
Frequent Urination 
Mood Swings ✓ 

Some things are getting better. The morning sickness is much better. The nausea is a little better. The frequent urination is better as well.

Some things are worse, like loss of equilibrium, forgetfulness, mood swings, and sleepiness. I haven't lost my balance as in falling. I do however find myself off balance and need to hold something or sit down more than I remember having to do last time. I am all the time forgetting words and sometimes even forgetting appointments that I had. I am going to bed earlier and getting up later, but I am still sleepy throughout the day.

As to mood swings, let me tell you this story. I woke up about 4:30 am to hear the dog drinking like all of her water. She lapped up some and kept going and kept going and kept going. I got annoyed and called out to her. She took a last drink and stopped. Then I got annoyed because she would have to go potty when I got up in a couple hours. I would have to let her out and I would probably be nauseous. I expressed all my frustration to my husband, huffed, and rolled over to try to go back to sleep. My husband is so wonderful that he got up right then and let the dog out. He waited for her to come back in and got back in bed. Who knows how long it took him to go back to sleep. He doesn't fall back asleep easily. In that moment, I almost teared up I was so thankful to him for doing that and completely in love with him for thinking of me when I was being absolutely ridiculous.

So if you are the praying type, you might say a prayer for him because I'm tried of living with me at this point! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 10-12

Now I understand why no one else pronounces pecan the way I do! Check out your linguistic oddities too!

Owls, ducks, and elephants. These photos were just too gorgeous to not share.

I didn't really know there was a big to do about this, but there was and I love this response to it.

I so needed to hear this and I need to read this again and again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Staring at a blank page

'Blank Moleskine Pages' photo (c) 2005, Sembazuru - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

On the way to work, I had several thoughts that could have made up an interesting and mildly humorous post. Now I don't remember any of them. I have gotten out of the habit of writing mentally as well as physically and it is showing in the amount of times I come here and think of writing something. Nothing comes out.

I sit and stare at a blank page and think, "Why can't I remember those awesome words I had an hour ago?"

Well they probably weren't awesome, but they were words that I put together in my head and they made sense. More sense than a blank page.

However, today I am left with a blank page and a hope that by simply writing something on a blank page those writing synapses in my brain will start working better.

So maybe next week I'll have something good to write.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 9-21

I am reading a lot fewer blogs, so my Good Stuff Saturday list today is a short. However, that makes it easier for you to read them all.  : )

She took the words right out of my mouth. This is the same thing I have been thinking.

By now you should know that this lady is one of my favorite independent authors, if not my absolute favorite. So of course I enjoyed an interview with her.

And I'm enjoying the $0.99 ebook deal as well. Check it out!

Once again, sorry for the short post. This has been a rough week for various reasons and has left me a bit distracted from my reading. Maybe next week will be better.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 9 - 14

This is one of my absolute favorite blog posts that maybe I have ever read.

This has been the direction of my walk lately and it isn't easy, but it is important.

Sometimes it can feel like the world is against you, then you read something like this.

I know God is using this morning sickness to teach me something and I think this is a part of it.

These words really helped remind me that doing a little bit can help a lot.

Pretty pictures make me smile. I hope this one and this one make you smile.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I like my break... sort of.

So as you can see, I kept up with my break. And I like it.

I like not having to think about what I'm going to type next. I like not having to shove some time in between this and that. I like going to bed a little earlier because I don't have to stay up writing.


There are still times I think, I would love to write some more about this thought.
There are articles I read that I want to share.
There are group blogging 'assignments' to which I want to contribute.
There are blog articles I read and I think 'I want to write something like that.'


I'm going to write some more on here. I toyed with the idea of giving up blogging entirely, but I don't want to do that. I want to write, but I don't want to feel like 'I have to write.' So when I have a thought or a contribution, I will write about it. However, I will not be writing regularly. I will go back to my Good Stuff Saturday posts, but those probably won't be regular either. If that really bugs you, then add it to your Feedly reader or subscribe by email. Then you won't miss any of my sporadic posts. (Who else just said the Clueless quote there?)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So I took a break

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a couple weeks. I didn't really intend to take a break, but nausea and morning sickness have taken their toll.

It has not been as bad as with Ben, but I haven't been real comfortable either. So I haven't really had much to tell you all about and my brain has been on auto pilot for a few days. In the next weeks or so, I don't really know what I will say or how much I'll say.

For now, I have one thought. William and Kate are amazing. They are living under an extreme amount of scrutiny and they manage to do so with grace and love and a sense of duty balanced with a sense of realism. I am amazed by them.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life - Book Review

Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life
I was a bit hesitant to review this one. It sounded like an interesting story, but what if it was all these crazy ghost stories. What would I say about it? Thankfully this book is not at all like that. As a teacher, I know that custodian is arguably one of the toughest jobs in the building. Mr. Joe gives voice to all the custodians who do an amazing job and don't get the recognition they deserve. For that reason alone, I think everyone should read it. But thankfully, that's not it. Mr. Joe also lets us into his personal life. We see all the painful memories as well as the the happy ones.

My only caveat is that at the end he gets into some spiritual ideas that I personally disagree with. However, they are a part of his story and it is not my place to agree or disagree with it. I only say this to warn a reader who might be sensitive to various spiritual ideas.

My Amazon Review:

By definition a custodian has responsibility for or looks after something. Mr. Joe is a custodian in every sense of the word. He had a responsibility to the the school system he worked for and the meat plant before that. He looked after his family even when it was hard. He had responsibility for these stories and we are lucky that he has shared them with us. His narration is gentle and comfortable even when the stories are painful, embarrassing, and just hard.

There are ghosts in his stories and some of them are still living. There are ghosts that played tricks and ghosts that looked after him. There are ghosts of failed relationships and ghosts of painful memories. Mr. Joe has not had an easy life, but even in the telling he lets us know that it is all okay. 

An amazing story told in a beautiful way.

Book Details:

Do you believe in ghosts? Joseph Barnett didn t until he became a school custodian in a midlife career change. Joe had no idea that his first assignment, working nights in a school, he d be forced to confront his darkest fears. "Ghosts are part of my story," says Joe. "I believe in them; I have no choice. After you ve seen one ghost, you can go back and rationalize it. But after you ve looked a couple in the eye like I have, you believe. Otherwise, you doubt yourself. I ve done that, too and wondered if I was losing my mind but I know what I saw and heard. Here s something else I know: there are many ways to be haunted, and not all of my ghosts were dead. That s the other part of my story. It took almost becoming a ghost myself for me to see my life differently. I believe in ghosts, and I believe in myself. But back when this all started, I was just a guy trying to make a living."

380 pages
2013 Aug 1
Book length
Publication date

PublisherBettie Youngs Books (August 1, 2013)
Price: $14.52

Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where I reviewed it. I was not asked by Amazon, NetGalley, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How much does He love you?

While I was listening to the sermon, a verse came to my attention. John 17:26.

26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Did you catch that?

Jesus said that God loves us as much as he loved Jesus.


It isn't about how good we are or how many things we are doing or what we are saying or whatever else you are thinking is going to get God to love you.

He already loves you AS MUCH AS he loved Jesus!

And if you aren't as excited as me about that, go to your bathroom. Look in the mirror. And say this outloud,

"God loves me as much as he loved Jesus."

Now doesn't that feel amazing!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 7-6

Run With The Big Girls - What It's All About  

I just want to remind you whether you’re in the gym or at work or sitting at home with your family, there is always something you can do to help.  Wherever you are.  

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - Faith and Patriotism  

Well, it’s almost July 4th. If you’re an American, that means it’s time for burgers, hot dogs, apple pies, and fireworks.  The majority of us will take a day off to celebrate our country’s independence from British rule over 200 years ago.  If you’re a Christian, there are lots of spiritual overtones to this holiday as well.  

Living in Harmony - He Sees You {Chasing History}  

Then a little more Spiritual meaning was added as we reach high school youth group.  Yet some how we never dug in to see the details God wanted us to.  One such story for me is about Abraham and Sarah or more specifically the handmaiden, Hagar.

Living In Harmony - My Sanctuary {Behind the Scenes} 

If I had a panorama view of you would see that where I am is not some peaceful beautiful sanctuary.  I am not sitting in some awe-inspiring bible study class being lead by a great theologian.  You might would be amazed at the pile of dirty laundry off to the right.  The cluttered desk that so badly needs dusting is to the left.  Granted my Master bedroom does not look like the most sacred meeting place.  However, to me it is. 

Overcome The Lie - Outward Appearances  

I think it’s completely safe to say that in 2013, women are
constantly bombarded with an idea of how we’re supposed to look.
We can’t watch a show on tv without a makeup ad telling us
how “flawless” our skin can be. We can’t get online to check out email with out
seeing yet another picture of a celebrity looking stunning.
And if I can be honest here.
Sometimes it’s even hard to get on social media these days,
because of the “perfect pictures” coming from friends.

Buzz Feed Rewind - Could You Pass the Literacy Test Given to Black Voters in the 1960's

Below are scans of an actual “literacy test” given to black voters by the state of Louisiana in the 1960s. As Slate points out, “There was little room for befuddlement. The test was to be taken in 10 minutes flat, and a single wrong answer meant a failing grade.” Careful readers will note the irony of the typos in this test.

This Time Around - A Life in a Tweet   

Yet there I was, reading 1 Chronicles when one of my favourite things popped out at me in chapter seven: a little factoid (they’re so cute and factual!). This particular factoid came in verse 24:
Ephraim’s daughter was Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower Beth-Horon, Upper Beth-Horon, and Uzzen-Sheerah.
~1 Chronicles 7:24 (CEV)

Navigating the Supermarket Aisles with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss 

Michael Pollan and Michael Moss visit a typical supermarket and talk about cooking and the food industry.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Big News from here!

The Golden Crystal: A Book Review

 Photo Credit: Amazon

The only caveat I will add to the review is that there were a couple places where I was confused or there were typos. I'm not sure which it was. However, I assume the copy I received wasn't the final copy and those things will be fixed.

My Amazon Review:

This book is a Sci fi Action Adventure Ancient History Thriller.June 28, 2013
As you can tell, it is hard to classify! A book that doesn't fit easily into a genre is a book that breaks some rules. And I like it that way!

Mr. Thacker has written a superb novel that I thoroughly enjoyed! The ancient history intrigued me. The sci fi marveled me. The action adventure startled me. And he even threw in a smidge of theology in a very simple and satisfying way. I loved the experience of reading this book. I loved the what ifs this book made me consider. And I fell in love with the brave and noble characters that save the day.

I generally do not read action adventure thriller books because the are a bit too brutal for my tastes. This book did have some brutality in it and at times I was uncomfortable. However the rest of the book was too compelling to stop reading.

If you are squeamish about death, read this book with caution. (I think you should still read it though.) If you typically don't like sci fi books, let this one change your mind. If you don't like historical fiction, read this one anyway because it most certainly isn't boring! And if you are uncomfortable with the mention or discussion of a deity in novels, you can skip the page(s). (But I wouldn't recommend that because I think the pages are too good to skip.)

I think there is something that everyone will enjoy in this novel, so I think you should read it!

Editorial Reviews


In 1791, two men began planning the layout for the nation's capital city. One is shunned and resigns in disgrace, and the other is all but forgotten. Years later, an original copy of the plans long thought to have been destroyed is found, with hastily marked notations by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

During the second World War, American military scientists discover some fascinating properties of the hydrogen atom and its link to an ancient mystical number. The exact findings are never published, but a national laboratory is built in 1943 to further their research in covert silence. America is told it is a defense project, code-named The Manhattan Project.

An ego-maniacal entrepreneur and his company, Vilocorp, will stop at nothing to build the perfect human specimen. His firm's research has been getting closer every day, but they seem to have uncovered a horrific, ancient secret that has been locked away for thousands of years.

Now, it's up to two men to understand the mystery surrounding the events and ancient symbolism before Vilocorp unleashes a hellish fury upon the earth; one that hasn t been seen for ages... --From the back cover...

Book Details

422 pages
2013 Jul 1
Book length
Publication date

PublisherTurtleshell Press; 2 edition (July 1, 2013)

Price: $14.18

Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from Story Cartel in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where I reviewed it. I was not asked by Amazon, Story Cartel, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.