Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My First Vlog

These are just a few random thoughts about why I have this blog, which is related to the book that I reviewed last week.

Related to the vlog and from the book First Steps Out:

"So we're going to have to learn how to speak into the midst of the chaos and attract real relationship. Right now, we have a hard time with that."

I want real relationship in the midst of the chaos.

"Anything short of humility perpetuates a cycle of constant self-defensive response to the sources of shame within culture and conscience, and brings a permanent residence to the devices of shame that are only designed to be temporary in visitation."

I want to come to you in humility. I want to learn from you as I hope you learn from me. I want to destroy the shame that holds us captive and keeps us from God.

"Love is real when both parties take a risk and have faith that God's grace - the stuff that brings salvation and change - is being empowered through that step of faith toward each other."

I hope to create love in the space where shame resided.  I want us to take a step toward each other. I know my opinions are different than others, but I don't want that to keep us apart. I want us to take a step toward each other and toward God.

"We  make our lives too hard if we try to do more than just love the people who come into our world - wanted or not."

In the end, it is about loving those who are here because God place you here.

*****I used "  " around feminist and fundamentalist because there are so many people under that banner. I doubt that everyone under that banner is covered by my generalization that is meant to be overly dramatic.*****

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dieting makes my life better

Exercise the Cortex Photo Credit: jurveston

So I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and I really didn't like the number on the scale, so I thought it was about time that I got serious about losing weight. A friend of mine has been talking about a website she uses, so I thought I would ask her about it. My Fitness Pal is pretty straight forward. You record your weight now, your desired weight, and your timeline for losing. It will tell you how many calories you can eat to lose that amount. You record what you eat and it keeps track of the calories. You work out and record what you've done. It will tell you how many calories you burned. If something is not there, you can add it. So now it has become like a competition. Can I fill my goal of water for the day? Can I fill my work out goal for the week? Can I fill my calorie goal for the day?

So far it is working because I have only gone over my calorie goal two days this month. And I have lost 10 pounds. That's all exciting, but that's not the best thing about it so far. The best thing about this calorie tracking diet thing I'm doing is that my house is cleaner. When I do the dishes or the laundry or clean off the countertops or rearrange Ben's playroom, I can count that as calories burned. And let me tell you Ben's playroom needed rearranged for MONTHS! I have also have a happier son because I get in the floor and play with him. I lift him up and we play 'Hurray'. It's also Bicep Curls with a 40 pound weight. We play 'Turbulence', where I put him on my feet and fly. Only now he only likes to do the turbulence part of the plane ride. That is called Leg Extensions with a 40 pound weight. More calories burned without me separating myself from my family and my responsibilities.

So I'm losing weight, keeping my house clean, and bonding with my son.

Dieting makes my life better!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 1-26

penpadpaper - Guest Post: What is a Memoir?  - A guest post by ME! Until I figure it out, I’m operating under the assumptions that an autobiography is a recitation of facts. A memoir however is a story of a life. An autobiography is by famous people. A memoir is by ordinary people. So I will be writing a memoir. However, I still worry if I’m doing it right.

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Snowy Owl, Long Island
National Geographic Photo of the Day - Kangaroos, Australia 

Thoughts on Peace 

penpaperpad - Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poem  - In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m going to be participating in International Peace Poems. This is a worldwide effort to have a discussion about peace through poetry. Just two lines of poetry can make an impact. There’s lesson plans so that teachers can incorporate this activity into the classroom.  Click on the interactive map on the site to see what people in different parts of the world have contributed. Of course, you as an individual can also send a submission.

Campfire Cowboy Ministries - Peace, Plain and Simple - It freakin’ tears me up to see good people, especially ones that I know personally, with no real peace in their life.  I have been around and come across some people and things lately that I can’t get outta my head.  It’s buggin’ the snot outta me.  There are a lot of people alive today who live every single day with no peace in their life.  I’m not talking about peace between husband and wife, father and son, boss and employee, etc.  I’m talkin’ about inner peace.  

I So Hear You!!

Prodigal Magazine - Guilty of Quitting Too Soon  - We argue like we don’t understand the fact that we, the Church, will never entirely agree on the proper response to the issues that concern our culture. Here is truth: we are still commanded to live in peace and unity. We are called to love, regardless of views, regardless of theology, regardless of embarrassing mistakes we’ve made. What is antichrist more than any given erroneous theological view of an issue is the disunity that manifests when we discuss these things.

The Well-Thought Out Life - I Love America (surprised?)  - But you know, even if I still have this weird identity thing going on where I don't feel ownership or belonging here, I really do love this place, and I thought a lot about it in the Fall as Isaac and I explored small-town Texas and I watched all the hubbub around the elections. 

Prodigal Magazine - Step Into the Light - I was tucked into a booth with two of my best friends when I finally let it out. I could barely speak and was crying as I revealed to them something that had made me feel so ugly, so disgusting and so insecure for so many years.
Their eyes were understanding and sympathetic as they saw how deeply this had been hurting me, how dark this secret shame had been…  and then they laughed. Not a mean laugh, but an incredulous laugh, amazed that I’d believed such a ridiculous lie for so long.

Katie Axelson: Living a Story Worth Telling - Privacy  - Ouch.

I’m an introverted writer. The loudest way I process is with a pen on a piece of paper. A lot of those thoughts could be turned into good blog posts.
If I could blog some version of everything I write, my life would be easy.
But I can’t.

Words Matter

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - Slinging Scripture in a Post Christian World  - As I was reading through the introductory notes in one of my study Bibles, it made mention of the fact that in Philippians, Paul makes no quotations of the Old Testament.  One can speculate the reasons why, but the writers of this particular study suggested that since these were Roman citizens with little to no Jewish background or heritage, Old Testament references would have been irrelevant.  The notes also mentioned the fact that there was not enough Jewish presence in the city to start a synagogue, which was often a precursor to starting a church.

The Church of No People - Quit Ruining the Internet  - But it should be clear to anyone who reads the comment section of the average news site that most people are completely incapable of rational, civilized discussion.  Comments are often the rhetorical equivalent of chimps hurling feces at each other.  Many of these comments come from people who claim to be Christians.

No SuperHeroes - Unintended Road Blocks  - I have to admit, many of the comments from Christians have been shocking. While I know it is not the intention of the people, we can inadvertently put roadblocks in the path of those potentially coming to Christ. 
This is not limited to America.

Compassion Tells a Good Story

Compassion - The Prince and the Villainous Creatures  - Once upon a time, in a small West African village, there was a young prince named Poubila. Providence and birth had given the boy riches no other boy his age could ever dream of.
He had a dozen servants who were busy night and day, anticipating his every desire and responding as devotedly as servants ever could. His birth in itself had been a royal event that gathered kings, queens and merchants from neighboring kingdoms. As his parents’ only begotten son, he enjoyed great love and care from the whole kingdom.
However, as months and years passed, the boy showed very little physical development. Despite all the medical care and nutritious food he was given, the child remained frail and visibly malnourished.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Compassion - Leadership Profile: Jonathan Almonte  - In late 2011, a taxi driver who was taking Jonathan home told him, “I know who caused the difficulties in this country; it’s the Christians’ fault.”
The driver wondered why Christians can’t get together to speak up and try to find fair solutions to the real problems of the nation.
Jonathan was stunned, but believes that talking to that taxi driver  was like God speaking to him. The driver wondered why a Christian couldn’t be the president.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

A couple more thoughts

unchained faith - Anger is Not HateFighting back with our words is not “stooping to their level.”  It is a wise way to express the anger we feel at injustice.  It is not wrong to protest.  It is not wrong to say we are angry and we don’t want to take it anymore.  It is not wrong to openly speak against Pastor Mark and his ilk, even using words that may shock or offend.  We need people who are willing to do these things.  What would be wrong would be to resort to physical violence, illegal means, or psychological warfare in order to force these men (yes, men) to change or step down.

The Church of No People - Why I'm a Fundamentalist and You Should Be One Too  - Why do I like fundamentalism so much?  That is, real fundamentalism.
I guess another word I would use to describe real fundamentalism is minimalism.  
When it comes to most theological debates, I just don’t care.  They don’t seem to matter much to me in the grandness of God himself.  Jesus didn’t seem to care too much either.  He wasn’t wasting his time in pointless arguments.  If that guy can sum up the entire six-hundred and some odd Jewish laws into “love God and love your neighbor,” it makes most of our arguments seem pretty pointless.  Jesus concentrated on the fundamentals of faith.
This Ship's (B)log - The Art of Breaking Hearts - It was real.
It did happen.
You experienced it alongside the narrator, and you took it into your heart as your own.
This is the magic of reading.

And My Favorite Thought! (I want to start doing this.)

A Deeper Story - Praxis of Prayer  - I’m prone to forget promised prayers if I don’t somehow incarnate the intention. If I want to be true, I must make my prayers tangible. Moving mysterious prayers into time and space with objects I can see, touch, even smell help me remember to pray. My good intentions gain some gravity, my prayers some levity.
I imagine this is part of the rational behind prayer beads and rosaries – the prayers can be felt in our hands as the strand wraps round our fingers, beads and knuckles pressed together in supplication. It’s not about counting prayers, but remembering to pray them

Friday, January 25, 2013

Being a pacifist

There has been much talk about gun control and violence and solutions and what not. I have heard people talking about pacifism. I'm not sure what I believe, but I did have this thought about pacifism. If you are a pacifist, does that mean you are against war or that you are trying to create peace in your life?

I have heard the anti gun stance. I have heard the anti violence stance. I have heard the gun for sport stance. I have heard the gun for protection stance. All of those stances have points that sound good and others that sound impractical. So maybe this discussion is limited when we focus only on guns. Maybe we should be having a discussion about peace. Maybe we should be focusing on creating peace in our lives. We should be making sure that our comments on blog posts are in dialogue with someone, not yelling at them in a way that causes fights. We should make sure that our tweets and Facebook statuses are leaving room for other people instead of clumping everyone into a "you're bad category." We should be working with our co-workers instead of against them. We should be loving our family members instead of complaining they aren't up to our standards.

To me that is being a pacifist.

Do your ace any thoughts about pacifism?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Steps Out: Book Review

I downloaded First Steps Out: How Christians Can Respond to a Loved One's Struggle With Homosexuality from Story Cartel free for a review. I did not have to give it a positive review, but I did! Read on to see why.

I wrote this Saturday night after I finished reading the book:

This is the book I have been waiting for on this subject! I have long held out on the discussion of the church and homosexuality because I didn't hear anything like my opinion being said. I have heard hurtful comments from both sides. I have heard many clamboring to be right. I haven't heard someone from the middle trying to help both sides heal, that is until now. 

Christy shares her personal battle. Her parents share their battle. They also share their healing. She is not shouting to be heard. She is clear about the purpose for the book. She is not confrontational. She is simply sharing the message, "It is OKAY to fight this." I have so much hope for the church after reading this. 

Every single person who is in the Church and/or a church needs to read this!

However, there is so much more that I want to say!

I hesitated to read this book because I really thought that I would just end up angry because the book was too one sided. That totally didn't happen! She covers both sides of the issue and how both sides feel. She doesn't make either side feel bad for what they are feeling or experiencing. She doesn't make one side more right or less right. She doesn't focus on why this is happening. It is happening and pointing out blame won't help nor will proving one side right. The only thing that will help is love. And Christy McFerren does a very good job at telling us how to love when a loved one is struggling with homosexuality. She does a great job of telling the Church how to love on people struggling with homosexuality. She freely admits that not everyone struggles with it. However if they do struggle with it, then they need someone to love them.

As I was reading, I wrote notes like this...

"I don't want to assume every person who is homosexual is the same. I don't want to assume they are all in the same place or that they have all put down the struggle or put down their faith. I want to see them as individuals who are in different places in their walk of faith. I want to love them as they are because God loves me as I am. I want to listen to their struggles and have faith in their walk with God and who he is making them to be."


"Because people in this issue are still broken. Denying that does a disservice to them. It is okay to say that people are broken over this issue. Not everyone, but some are. I won't claim to have all the answers. I just want to listen and love them."

I also highlighted a bunch of things. I actually just counted them and I have 102 highlights from the book. I will share one or two of them here and be done for today. Check in next Wednesday for some more thoughts this book inspired.

Quotes from the book:

"God will completely work in anyone who stands there long enough demanding it by faith."

"Two things: Fear and religion are your enemies. DO NOT speak from them. Shut them up, strangle them to death, quite their foolish mouths! Cut. Out. Their. Tongues. Be violent against their fire!"

"Pride perpetuates shame because it traps us into a form of subjectivity - a belief that our actions are a part of us, innately valuable and sometimes unchangeable, whether sinful or not."

"I think the point is simply made that a desire for sinful things doesn't negate our salvation or salvation would be unattainable for all people."

"It is with every word we speak that we are continually professing either faith or unbelief."

"We have to learn to see others as being in a process.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Walk is Not Your Walk

In Sunday School yesterday and Bible Study last night, the same idea came up twice. It is an idea that has come up in several books I have read recently. The idea in question: GRACE

Grace is a small word with big implications. As I have begun to get a handle on it, God has impressed one thing upon me several times. Living in grace and salvation is a process. Our walk with God is a process.

Road Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn_be_back_on_Jan_20th

AND if OUR walk is that way, so is THEIR walk!

I can't expect myself to be perfect right away. I need to work on getting better in a few areas which God is showing me. AH! What a relief that is. I can stop beating myself up about the days I forget to read the Bible. I can stop beating myself up about the days I forget to pray. I can stop beating myself up about the days I don't work out. I can stop beating myself about the days that I don't eat right. I can stop beating myself up!

And possibly more importantly, I don't need to beat someone else up. When someone says, God told them to do it this way. I can trust that. I can believe based on their relationship with God that I have seen previously is enough. I know they have a relationship with God and I can trust God to work on them about that issue I have seen in their life. I can trust God to work on the heart of my friend/co-worker/family member/etc.

I don't have to fix it myself!

And more than I can trust God with that person in my life. I can trust God with that whole group of people that need him. I can trust God to extend his grace and love to them. I can trust God to raise up a person or people to speak in love and grace to those people. Then God can fix them.

I can study the Word, fellowship with others, pray, and continue on my walk with God. I don't have to be there right now.

Other people can study the Word, fellowship with others, pray, and continue on their walk with God. They don't have to be there right now.

Don't judge their walk by my training!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 1-19

Photos and An Opportunity to Do Good

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Cow and Shepard in India 

Compassion - Through the Eyes of a Child: Philippines 

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Sleeping Lion, South Africa 

The Exodus Road - Rescue Is Coming T-Shirt 

Good Life Advice

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - The Ministry of Presence - It was second nature for him to feel like everyone needed consolation from him, and it was a big deal to have someone there whose presence required no emotional energy.  He needed someone just to be there with no needs, no agenda, and no ulterior motives.

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - A New View - So we got to see a bird’s eye view of another section of the city.
All because we had to sit somewhere new.
Go a little further than normal.
Sit in a different place.
See something different today.

Micheal D. Perkins: Drip Jesus - On Wasting Time - I often wonder if this is the enemy’s most effective weapon.
I mean, if he can get us distracted from things that really matter, then essentially he’s accomplished what he wanted to.
A believer who does not share the Gospel, who does not demonstrate God’s love, and who does not extend God’s grace is more effective than a person who does not believe in the hands of the enemy.

These Touched My Heart and Challenged Me

Life As Experienced - I Don't Always Read the Bible Because I Enjoy It  - I don’t always sit down, because I expect some kind of insight from God.  I read my Bible because I want to be healthy.  Sure, that’s not the most spiritual answer, but I’d venture to guess that I’m not the only one.  I don’t think God minds it either.

Life As Experienced - Legalism Is Easy  -

Legalism is easy because we get to speak where we feel like God forgot something, but easy doesn’t always mean right.

Ordinary Servant - When You've Lost Your Dream  - I was miserable.
Instead of getting better, I got bitter. I was angry and I was envious of others who were living their lives the way I wished I could.
I honestly did not believe I would ever dream again.

Fun Stuff to Read

Andrew Scott - Lines From The Princess Bride That Double As Comments In a Creative Writing Workshop  - “Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try to stay awake.”

“Hold it, hold it. What is this? Are you trying to trick me?”

The Washington Post: Entertainment - Frank Zamboni: As Google Doodle Celebrates Cool Inventor, Here Are 8 Things You Do Not Know About the Zamboni Machine  - Frank Zamboni, who earlier worked as a mechanic in his brother’s auto repair shop, spent much of that decade working on his game-changing creation. And in 1949, Zamboni invented the world’s first self-propelled ice-resurfacing machine — cutting to mere minutes a job that before required an hour-and-a-half and at least several shovelers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gender Equality

I generally avoid writing controversial stuff on here because I'm not interested in an argument. I understand that I am an opinionated woman and as such my strong opinions have a tendency to make people disagree with me. However, for today I am putting that aside.

Rest area Photo Credit: daveynin

Let me start with the stuff that will make the most people mad.

I disagree with feminism. (Sort of)

I am glad that there are women who are fighting for the rights of women all over the world to be able to pursue a safe and happy life. I am glad that there are women out there who call us on our cultural and societal tendencies to put women down. In fact, I had a pretty good rant to my husband on Wednesday night about some of those very tendencies that appeared in our life.

I am not that woman and some days I fear those women.

I fear that in their passion for people to know about the rights of women and the cultural tendencies to not uphold those, they have or will push men out of the picture. I fear a world where my son grows up as less than because he is a man. I fear world where my husband is looked down upon because of the parts he possesses. I fear that in a search for equality and justice they might stop looking for God's worldview and gender view. I fear a world where the strengths inherent in a man will not be valued.

I have seen the hurt caused by women careless with the power they hold. I have seen men hurt deeply by women they love because their contribution as man and husband were not valued. I worry that we have created a culture where to be an advocate for women means you must be a detractor of men. I realize that not every advocate for women is like this. I also realize that not all men value women as equals. I realize we have a long way to go toward gender equality and discussions about it are good.

I just really want there to be space for men to be good men as God made them to be in the feminist theology.

So if you are a feminist reading this, can you please leave a space in your hearts, your minds, and your theology for men? Thanks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A lousy blog post

Sorry Photo Credit: p-a-t-r-i-c-k

I had written a post in my head about how I compare myself to other bloggers and my numbers aren't as big. I was going to talk about being jealous that they get better numbers when I think their stuff isn't as good. I was going to talk about my realization that I think that because I'm not interested in blogs that are about only one thing. I like variety because I get to hear all of that person's voice and not just part of it. I was going to talk about how I thought about the variety and how I really want this space to be about me and not just one part of me. I was going to talk about how I need to remember that I am blogging for me and not for other people. Then Kevin Haggerty wrote a post with some similar ideas and it feels like copying to write it again. So I'm not going to write about that.

I also have a series in mind because I'm reading a book that I actually agree with when it comes to homosexuality and the Church. I'm kinda scared about putting my real thoughts out there because I don't fit into either camp and my thoughts will probably make both camps mad. However I think there is some really important stuff to talk about. So I will be finishing the book soon and starting the series next week.

I also have a pretty exciting story idea complete with a new land and different beings. I have wanted to write something like this for awhile, but felt no plot line coming to me. Thanks to my 3 year old telling me his stories I now have an idea. Something in the vein of Gregory Maguire. So I really want to start writing that.

I feel like I'm short changing you guys because I'm not sure that you have gotten a proper post in a while. Sorry. I'm working on one. I just can't seem to find the words when I sit down here to write. Maybe Friday will be better.

Monday, January 14, 2013

This miraculous weekend

Sorry this isn't too much of a post today, but this is what has been going on with us. I'll be back on Wednesday.

Drew Ward
Been here at the hospital since Thursday with my mom, who's been diagnosed with cancer in the bladder and kidneys. Getting to come home for a few days, then onto Winston to have another procedure. It's been truly a miracle to have a hopeful prognosis!! Glory be to God! He's still in the miracle business and has worked miracles with her body and with broken family relationships through this. Pray that the miracles keep coming!

Andrea Ward
Praise God, who turns a grim diagnosis into life anew. "Thought the sorrow may last for the night. His joy comes with the morning"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 1-12

Prodigal Magazine - The Gay Community and That One Time Jesus Called Me the 'N-word'  - There is amazing redemption in this one. It will change the way you look at the world.

Carry A Light With You ... John 2  - Her insights on the wedding feast of Cana are amazing and just prove how worthy Jesus is.

The Well-Thought Out Life - Musings on Support Raising  - I just love her musings. She looks at all sides of an issue and doesn't offer solutions or force solutions. She's just thinking. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Prodigal Magazine - Everyday Radical - What Does it Look Like to Have Enough Faith  and Jaime, the Very Worst Missionary - Jesus or Zoloft? -  They both have some amazing reflections about depression and Christianity. There is a lot of love and grace here too.

Katie Axleson - Wonder Jacket  - A humorous look at a midly upsetting event. It made me giggle.

The Life of a Christ Follower in Albania - uh-oh spaghetti-o - A wonderful praise report from Albania. I hope this encourages you as it did me.

The Jackson's Journey - What the Latest Alabama Win Taught Me... - Some haunting thoughts and realizations here

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Tonight I am tired and raw.
Today has been full and revealing.
So I will lean on the arm of Jesus as we sit under a big old tree and watch the sunset.
I will listen to his stories of love and grace.
For today this is my hammock and my hospital.
He is always enough.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Dinner Duel

I forgot to add a couple links to my Good Stuff Saturday post. I had a chance to write a guest post last week for Amy at unchained faith. The title: 2013: A Year for a New Feeling. I'm sharing a little bit of my plan this year to recapture my ability to recognize my feelings.

I also contributed to a district technology blog about iPads in Classrooms. The title: 4 Apps That Saved My Lessons. Pretty straight forward read about teaching and technology.

Self promotion over. (Actually I was trying to promote the other blogs for which I wrote, but whatever.)

Dishwasher Photo Credit: The Eggplant

Sunday is always a hectic day around our house. Church in the morning, lunch with my father in law, a few hours for a nap or to prepare lessons, then youth that evening, and finally a Bible study. With all of that going on dinner is not home cooked and is always quick. Last night Bible study was cancelled and we had leftovers for dinner. I was pretty ecstatic because it sounded like an easy night.

Until I met my foe!

Dinner was supposed to be easy just warming up pizza for dinner.  All I needed was plates and the microwave. Healthy? No. Easy enough to leave time for relaxing? Yes. Ben first requested his pizza cold because he didn't want to use the microwave. He ate about 1.5 bites and said he was done. He wanted to eat his cereal, but we said no. Dinner before dessert. All the sugar in those cereals make them more dessert than breakfast. He whined, but when he tried Daddy's warmed up pizza he wanted some. The timing worked out pretty perfectly because I was going to get my slice. So 2 plates with 2 pieces and 2:30 on the clock and dinner was done. I pulled out the plates from the dishwasher.

And I felt it!

The gritty bits of food or soap still stuck to the plates. All over the plates. So I had to wash them again. Normally no big deal. However, today it was a big deal. The scrub brush thing I normally use is missing a changeable head. The other one was gross and I threw it out. I haven't remembered to get a replacement at the store yet. So no scrub brush. I had a sponge or a washcloth. I opted for the sponge thinking that the rough side would offer me some assistance in the fight.

I set to scrubbing.

It didn't offer me any assistance what so ever. It laid down on the job and I was forced to scrub on the 'already clean' plates with quite a bit of arm muscle and my own finger nails. After several minutes and more than a few thoughts of tossing them in the garbage, I got the plates clean. I rinsed them and dried them. Finally, I could then proceed with the rest of dinner.

The moral of the story:

I give up  using washable dishes. I give up trying to figure out which setting on the dishwasher will wash the dishes and the pans. I give up trying to be green on this issue. I'm using paper plates and living with less frustration. Maybe someday I will be ready to try it again, but for today. The dishwashwer won the battle.

What about you? Do you wash dishes or use paper plates? Why?

(By the way, this is post #500 for me. Yay for me!)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 1-5

This week is a short one, but I think you will love what is here. So enjoy!


National Geographic - Snowstorm, Finland 

National Geographic - Rhino Family, Kenya

National Geographic - Tadpoles, Canada

Pictures of Poverty - Impressed yet? Philippines 

Posts I think you should read

Little Stones Little Stars - The Clock is Not What Matters  - Earlier today, I could feel myself being guarded. “Don’t get too happy. You know something bad’s going to happen.” It’s the whispered shoe that I’m waiting for, the “what if”, the “watch out”, the thing around the corner that keeps me from enjoying whatever moment I’m in. What a lie from the enemy. Like my not-quite-happiness is really going to protect me from the monsters in the closet. I did something different this time. When I heard the whisper, I invited Jesus into the space.

Campfire Cowboys Ministries - Camper Contentedness  - They headed there with everything they owned in a half ton short bed pickup, a 4 door dually pickup and a 20 foot gooseneck stock trailer (which had 4 horses in it).  When they arrived, it was snowing.  The temps have been in the teens at night and in the forty’s by day.  Their new home is a 30 year old bumper pull camper…with no electricity, heat, or running water.  You might think this a tale of woe brought on by the economy, or an illness, or even a tragic accident in their family, etc.  You’d be wrong.  Allow me to explain.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Eyes of Lightning: A Review

This is the most excited have been to do a book review in a long time because this is the most excited I have been about a book in a long time. Not to disparage any of the other books I have reviewed. I just fell in love with this book. 

Eyes of Lightning is my best fiction read of 2012!

I am a book snob with some classes in literary theory under her belt, so there are many books that I do not recommend or finish reading. This is not one of those books! I will admit there was one time that I thought, "That seemed forced." I think that was in the first third of the book because after that I was too hooked on the story and the characters.

There were multiple times I sighed and mentally tried to talk some sense into the main character. In my opinion if you talk to the characters, then the author has done her job. I was so enmeshed into the world she created that I forgot the distance between the fictional Galena and the real North Carolina. I saw myself walking beside Ivy and feeling like that awkward teenage girl again. Fabulous!

There were several twists that I didn't see coming. The development of Ivy's friendships was not something that I expected or saw coming. It was however realistic and a natural trajectory. I never saw the end coming together that way either, but I see there was no other way to end it. And speaking of endings this is Book 1, so I worried how it would end. It ended at a very natural place and still left me wanting more. I don't know how I will wait until Fall 2013 for the next book!

If you liked Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or the Twilight series, you need to get this book and read it!
If you hated those series, you need to read this book to restore your faith in the genre!

Buy it now! Read it now!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A little more of my writing on the web

I was honored to be the first guest poster ever at unchained faith. Isn't that an awesome honor?!

You can read it here.

This is an excerpt:

My emotions often show up on my face before they show up in my head. I have people ask me, “Are you okay?” A questioning looks crosses my face and I say, “Yeah.” Sometimes I throw in, “I’m just tired.” That’s to make them think I’m less crazy not because I really am that tired. After they have asked the question, I pause to think about why they asked that. Sometimes it comes to me right away and I realize what I am feeling. Sometimes it just doesn’t come to me and I have no clue what ‘that look’ on my face meant.

I also had the opportunity to contribute to the blog my school district writes about using iPads in the classroom.

You can read it here.

And this is an excerpt:

In the last year or so, there have been many times when my carefully laid lesson plans blew up leaving imaginary shards of paper all over the classroom. 
I'm sure that has never happened for most of you. However in case it does, I'm going to offer you a few suggestions from my experience of how to save your lesson.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word 2013: Hear

listening_solo Photo Credit: neinarson

This is now year 3 of my participation in the One Word movement. Last year was faithful and two years ago was hope. Each year has grown me slightly. (Or maybe greatly and I just haven't realized it yet.) This year I have not had any idea of what word would come to me. I wrote down several words on which to ponder. I had a few goals for the year written down and knew I wanted my word to fit with those.

My goals were as follows:

1. Finish my Nano novel by March.
2. Journal 3 times a week.
3. Read 24 books this year. (I'm not too set on that number. It sounded okay.)

However if my word was just about those goals, then my growth would just be in my writing and not in my life as a whole. So what word could help me grow as a writer and as a person? God came through for me as he always does. My first thought during church on Sunday was Listen. However one could listen without hearing anything. The word Hear is better because it indicates that something is being said and it is my responsibility to grab hold of it.

So this year I will hear better.

Hear my characters speaking to me, so I can create better character development.
Hear the lessons coming from the books I am reading.
Hear my heart speaking about my past, my present, and my future.
Hear God before he has to shout at me.

After a smidge of looking, I came across the perfect verse. Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

So this year I hope to walk in the way God is leading me because I hear his voice speaking to me about my writing, my heart, and my life.

What are you focusing on this year?