Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Review: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

I've never read any of John Maxwell's books and generally I'm not all that interested in leadership books, but this book was good on many levels, not just for business or leadership, but the principles are good for interacting in the everyday. I think that everyone desire to connect and communicate effectively.

I'm surprised I'd never read any of his books, and even though I did not think I was so interested in leadership books, his stories and writing style was engaging and kept me interested in reading. Mr. Maxwell seems to have done quite a bit of research and offers much of his own experience and insight, which I found both valuable and entertaining. Since I've never read any of his other books I have nothing to compare it to.

(I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.)

First Love

I inherited an old, hand-me-down flute when I was in third grade. It belonged to my Aunt Ginny, and I'm pretty sure it was owned by someone prior to that. Basically, this is another way of saying: This flute is OLD! In fact, so old it's made of an inferior metal, a bit more shiny than other flutes, with a slightly different sound, in my opinion. I remember in some ways feeling special that my flute was different, but after a bit wanted the same, beautiful silver flutes my friends had instead.

When I first brought this flute home from southern California, I was in awe. It idd not matter that it was used; I was truly in love. The stained velvet interior of the case, the long cleaning tool that looked like a giant sewing needle. I remember when I first opened it I was disappointed; I did not realize it came in three parts I had to put together. I loved the smell of this old instrument, the look and the feel, even the little parts of the metal that had been worn off from so much use.

I wasn't altogether fond of my young instructor, but I loved to practice! I practiced all the time, going though instructional books at a pretty good pace, learning my scales. Reading music came easily to me, so easily that I really don't know how to explain how to read music or finger notes; it has become so ingrained in my mind that my brain doesn't even think; my fingers just respond.
Music made so much sense to me.

In elementary school I was one of the unpopular kids. It did not bother me; I enjoyed the solitude and my books. Sometimes I'd have one very special friend that enjoyed reading and making up imaginative stories with me. In fourth grade or perhaps it was fifth? Not sure, but we had a band. A few times a week our music teacher would come and have band in the cafeteria. We shared him with all the other elementary schools in the district. Since I had lessons the summer prior to school starting, it was decided I skip beginning band with my classmates and go with the older grades band rehearsal. This set me even further apart from my peers; instead of being a good, positive thing, I was teased more. It did not matter; I was in love with my music. (though there was a time when I really though clarinets were cuter and wanted to switch but I couldn't even get a clarinet to make any noise at all! I'm not a reed instrument type.)

So I skipped beginning band of twinkle twinkle little star and Mary Had a Little lamb, and went straight to the theme song of Raiders of the Last Ark, Ice Castles, Superman and Star Wars..... where ever section actually played a different, unique part. (kinda)

We sounded horrible.

Still, I loved flute, practiced flute. At the end of the year they had an "honor band" of all the top, gifted musicians to come together with other top students from other schools and have a concert. It was here I was introduced to Lust.

My Lust? A piccolo. I absolutely had to own and play this tiny, miniature, shrill thing. So I did. My parents bought me a little piccolo. It was so much better than my flute; teeny tiny, only 2 pieces, in a cute tiny case with brand new blue velvet interior. Did I mention it was the right kind of silver? it was so beautiful. Unfortunately for my parents and neighbors, I loved to practice it way more than my flute. Piccolos are loud and shrill, and though I was good at fingers and reading music and notes, I wasn't always perfectly on pitch.

In jr. high I attended a small private Christian school that did not have band. The closest I could get was private lessons after school and I did that, only there was no motivation anymore. I now was in a youth group with a lot of other people that became my friends. At school I was involved in a choral club, we'd rehearse after school too. I still did lessons but my heart wasn't in it. Without the competition of others in a band, and no recital, there was little incentive.

In high school I was happy I still stuck with my flute lessons because it once again, it allowed me to skip the beginning band that all freshman are enrolled in. I was fortunate; the Symphonic Band had 3 flute openings due to Seniors graduating and I auditioned and did well. Not only that, but because I owned my own piccolo, I became the piccolo player! Symphonic band was awesome, and we did well at CMEA festivals, played at Disneyland, even went to the World's Fair in Vancouver, Canada to play. However.... it wasn't always great. My beloved band teacher, known as "Mr. G" was the nicest guy but he lost his temper a few times. I was almost creamed by his flying baton on occasion, and I was yelled at. I have no idea why I so desired to play piccolo in band because it I don't like attention and a piccolo screams for attention! I had little confidence in my ability and was scared crazy at every performance, competition and even practice.

But my love for flute remained. I even did well, involved in a few duets and trios where we earned the highest honor at solo-ensemble festivals: CP, or Command Performance. Even though I was a shrill piccolo player, on my flute my strength was low notes. I could really play a low note well! So on one piece, Dance of the Reed Flutes, I was the third part. I still remember and can play the 3rd part; it's like the bass line, so very different than the first and second parts. I loved it.

The other day my kids wanted to see it. I took it down, dusted it off and realized that I could no longer play. I still could read music but couldn't play well. And then I realized: my old flute was so worn out, it wasn't me; it was my instrument. I could still get a sound out of it, but all the pads were no longer working. It was so frustrating. My piccolo needed a bit of help too but I could still play it.

David, my husband, encouraged me to get it repaired. My first thought was why? My second realization was it probably would cost more to repair it than to buy a whole new one. Really. The flute is ancient, made of a different metal, is it worth the money? And for what reason? So I could play flute? For what purpose?

Still, I want to play. I want to realize that I can, This brought me so much joy and comfort long ago, so much beauty in my life.

I just miss music in my life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peace and Happiness

"God can't give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing."
— C.S. Lewis

Friday, June 25, 2010

You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be

You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be is a wonderful, affirming warmly written book by Max Lucado. I enjoyed this book, but do think with it is perfectly suited as a gift book. It is just a bit over 100 pages and really does help others see their strengths and abilities as God-given to be embraced and used by Him. Of course, this message is not only pertinent to a graduate, it is for everyone but I do think that these types of questions of discovering one's purpose and "sweet spot" is even more a topic among high school and college graduates. Because of its size, Mr. Lucado doesn't go in depth in many areas but this is a fun, enjoyable book that I finished with a smile.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Community Is...

Community is supposed to be this amazing thing. Messy yet rewarding; but the reality is I don't see how it actually works.

First, in life I find that there are groups of people that are completely separate. My schoolyard friends that I know through my children, old friends I've known forever that have a special place in my heart, my church friends, neighborhood friends, hobby friends. They hardly ever cross their boundary lines. Church friends stay at church, maybe out to lunch afterward once in a while, school friends I see at school but hardly outside it, etc. The only time they all occasionally converge in on my facebook page, but even then it is nicely compartmentalized.

If I were to gauge community through Facebook, it looks like I have a really good thing going on, but the reality is quite different. There is no interaction midweek. I see these friends in their neatly ordered parameters, never outside it.

I read so many books about how God designed community; how He himself is community (the trinity) One book, by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp says this in their book How People Change

"Being involved with people is time consuming, messy and complicated. From our point of view, it is inefficient, but from God's point of view it is the best way to encourage growth in grace. Our value system collides with God's, but his means for bringing about change in us is best. That means we will have to make time for these kinds of friendships to emerge and grow. We will have to be realistic too. Close relationships makes it more likely that you will sin against someone or that someone will sin against you. There will be times of confession and forgiveness. There will be times when you need to serve someone, even though you feel you lack the resources. There will also be times when you will be served! That may not sound like a challenge, but if you are proud, it is the last thing you want!

These are the very reasons why community is such a big part of God's plan to transform us into the image of Christ. Living in community pushes us to die to ourselves. There will be times when loving others and allowing others to serve and love us will feel like death, but this is the pathway to real life in Christ. The more we understand our own hearts, the more we see that it takes a work of God's grace to transform self-absorbed individuals into a community of love. Being in redemptive relationships shows us our need for change and helps bring it about!"

Theoretically, it all sounds so enticing and yet challenging, but rewarding: Community. People that love and accept you. People that enjoy you.

I really struggle in community. I spent one year being involved in everything my church did and still emerged feeling empty. Of course, you can say that it's my fault; I should be looking to GIVE not GET. I understand that. Yet, there's a part of me that feels that I did give. When asked to do things, I always say yes. I have gone out of my way to further community. I invite people into my little world and enter into theirs when the invitation is given.

My thought? I don't want to be self piteous and "me" oriented but realistically I do wonder if true community is really possible? Am I willing to live in community that pushes me, that I'm willing to serve, that is messy? One that transcends the basic "hello, how are you?" that is the typical Sunday morning interaction?

I am shy and reserved, and yet I try to interact, and then grow discouraged when it doesn't work out, but I realize I'm part of the problem.

This past year I've done none of the women's ministry events with my church. I thought I'd really miss it because I don't like to be left out, but surprisingly I really don't care. I know that even if I went, it'd not satisfy the deep craving I have for true community. I truly am quite "different" than most other women.

I don't think anything will satisfy the craving I have for community. Perhaps I love the idea of community but the actual living it out, in all its stickiness and imperfection bothers me. Perhaps this tension of wanting to fit in yet not succeeding is part of the stickiness.

I really do think that there are certain people that do well in community; that fit in and are a joy to be around. Then there are the others that one invites only when it can't be avoided, in the name of "community" and "Christ." Perhaps there is no such thing as perfect love and community.

Which makes me sad.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I So Enjoy This Band!

I saw them in concert. Oh my! Love this band!


It Is No Secret

I'm involved in a Bible study for the past 6 or 7 years. It started as a Kay Arthur Inductive style study, and it was the first step for me to actually start interacting in my church, getting to know some people, and becoming a part of community. Though we met at a church, not all of us attended the same church. It was a good group of people, and Kay Arthur's Precept study is excellent.

I generally stayed silent in the group, but after several years, I now feel a bit more comfortable. Since then, we now meet in a friend's home and our group has seen some people leave and others added. We come from all different churches and backgrounds, neighborhoods, faiths, and communities. Though this can make things rather messy, it all works as we strive to set aside our opinions and look intently at what the Bible actually has to say about things.

After listening to how many of us really don't love the video that accompanied the study, my friend started writing/compiling/editing her own. The first was a study on James. It was quite simply one of the best studies I've ever done. James is such a straightforward book, quite topical and so relevant to today. Though there was homework, it could easily be done in 20 minutes per night. It was a great fit for all levels and interests. We followed up James with a brief study of Hosea, and the the following year did an 8 week study based on John Piper's The Pleasures of God, then Colossians and Esther. All were quite wonderful.

There is just one thing: I love looking up the cross references. I enjoy summarizing what happened in a chapter. But I have a tendency to be tempted to skip the "Application" questions. You know, the ones where it challenges you to really think about how it applies to you.

It is no secret; and my Bible study leader laughs at me because it is absolutely pointless in reading or studying the Bible if one is not going to have it change and influence one's life!

Here's a few of the application questions from the study in Colossians:

"How have these verses (Luke 1:69-75, Romans 8:29, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 2:11-12, 2 Peter 1:5-10, Ephesians 5:1-2) inspired you to a deeper commitment to "continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel?"

"In what way do you have a sweeter appreciation for your reconciliation to the Father through Christ? "

Now, those are the easy questions: Try these ones:

"What does it mean to you that your competence is in Christ alone? How are you connected to and in Christ? Do you feel and know it? If not, why not?"

"The spiritual disciplines (such as prayer, reading the Bible, and meditation) are crucial means to know and grow in Christ and produce more maturity and fruit. How can these practices become a way to manipulate God's will? What can you do to make sure your practice of the faith is sincere and God-honoring rather than manipulating? "

Now, the strange thing: I'm naturally introspective but I have the hardest time writing down the answers to these questions, let alone sharing them in a group! Really: I don't like application questions! In Bible studies, church or in blogs!

So, that being said, I'll leave you with an application question!

Ha. Just kidding.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Change is one of those strange things. Some people love change; others are fearful. For me, it depends on the situation. If I'm not altogether happy about something, then change seems more appealing. If I'm content and happy, then change is scary! What if I don't like it as much as how things are currently? What if it makes me uncomfortable? What if......?

There are some things that I can't control and change; there are others that I need to change, and there are things that need changing but I'm not quite aware or ready to change them.

I do think it is interesting that oftentimes others can see what needs to be changed well before I do! Why are some things so obvious to everyone but the person that counts?

I have heard it said that change is a choice. I have to say, that scares me a bit. I'm not sure I have the willpower and a bit upset that the people that can successfully change are those that are driven.

I've just been thinking about change lately and really have no answers yet.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Family Life

I peruse quite a few blogs and definitely have my favorites. Some are by authors of books I read, some are well known pastors, or not well known. Worship leaders, missionaries, and even friends. Most blogs encourage dialogue and discussion; some blogs don't even have a comment section and are more of a monologue. I don't read those blogs.

Some blog provide original content, others focus on highlighting other's blogs. I am thankful for both. One such blog provides original content and links to blogs and videos is Zach Nielson's blog Take Your Vitamin Z, which I stumbled upon through another blog and now permanently read. His blog is even more exciting to me because he'll post a few times during the day, and I love that!

Today is Saturday, and a lot of bloggers don't post things on Saturday, but this guy oftentimes does. Here is a video he posted of Mark Driscoll titled Why Your Church Doesn't Feel Like Family.

I have been thinking lately why I love my church when oftentimes it disappoints and frustrates me. My qestions for me are:

Why is church so important?

What makes it so important?

I think these are key questions because, though I think there is a "right" Biblical answer, how an individual answers these questions makes a huge difference on how they view the importance of church. I tend to view the most important part of church is the message. (It happens to be my favorite part) Yet, if that is the biggest reason for me to attend church, then why go to church? I can listen to incredibly gifted speakers on a podcast.

For most of my friends, worship is the biggest reason they attend. While it is true that "worship" isn't just the singing part; it's the whole church service (and hopefully afterwards too) many of my friends go to church to sing in praise and worship to God. But can't one do that at home?

Perhaps church is important because of the community of other Christians, coming together to share life. I really do love the idea of this aspect of church. I agree with it, crave it. I want more community than just on Sunday mornings, and yet, find it really difficult. I often wonder if where I live is impossible to effectively slow down and create time to be with others in true community that God designed.

If community is the most important thing about church, does one really need a church to provide it?

I think we do. I know for me, I'd choose to surround myself with people that are similar to me. Even in church, I'm naturally drawn to those that I like, believe things more like I believe, and feel comfortable around. But church doesn't cater to that. Church is filled with people way different than I am, and the really cool and amazing thing is that...... we're actually not all that different. We're more the same than different. But I usually just see the surface: our theological differences, our parenting differences, our worship style differences, social and economic differences.

My thought? Church has a wonderful way of gathering people that are not "just like me." it is a sticky, messy community of imperfect people that love God, and by loving God, loving and serving each other and the world. Madly imperfect, of course. I do confess that I don't like it. I'd much rather it be similar to what I'm comfortable with.

It is a church's great strength: Unity. I do wonder how it can coexist with all the differences but it remains. As Mark Driscoll says in his video: It is family.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Collect The World

It is funny how music stamps a memory, how I have associations with people, places, events, based on songs. Toad the Wet Sprocket always brings me back to when I first met and began dating David. I believe they were a Santa Barbara band, a place that David spent a good deal of time at, and we went and saw them at Stanford. It was the first time I'd been in a concert where I was close to the stage among hundreds of people, all crowding in. The excitement was amazing, as was the concert. I really enjoyed their album and remember the lyrics of many of their songs, songs that make me think and I actually like that.

Anyways, here's one I've been humming for a while. There's one line in it that keeps echoing in my mind. What do you think is the meaning of this song?


(I saw something
out on the water
I asked my dad for a nickel
He gave it to me
It was kind of misty
I couldn't be sure what it was
And of course, he wouldn't tell me)
in time i will collect the world
the eggs and wings of butterflies i love the wings
of butterflies

a man drove up in an ugly car
and he flashed his lights at everything he saw
and his eyes were red
and his stereo was so loud you couldn't hear the engine's roar
and he yelled at everybody in the road
and did not notice all the moths he'd massacred
spread across the open road

all of a sudden there it was
I still couldn't tell
ya know when you get so close
to something that BIG
you can't see anything at all...)

in time i will
collect the world
the eggs and wings of you who fall on
butterflies calvary
had you wings of i give my children

a moth had settled upon his arm and he looked at it with a lazy eye
and he lifted up a gigantic hand
and he spread his fingers towards the sky
and he nudged the moth to make it fly away
but moths are fragile things
and he just wiped its body
down across his shoulder blade

he's a wonder, he's a little black-wing boy
oh my daughters
he'll fill you with joy

in time i will
collect the world
the hearts and limbs of
butterflies you who soar o'er
had you wings of
butterflies oh father, i offer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


My Amazon order arrived today!

I'm happy. Received the U2 360 Tour Blu-Ray. Kinda ironic it arrived today seeing that I was SUPPOSED TO BE seeing the U2 360 Tour in real life tonight!

So bittersweet.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I think I'm being punished. Last May I signed up for Amazon Prime. For 79 dollars a year, you are eligible for free 2 day shipping. I am an impatient person so I signed up. All was well until they began to ship books to me with a new, different carrier. The first time the package did not arrive when it was slated to. I checked the status and it said it had been left on the door step. It wasn't true. Bewildered, I called customer service because it was so strange; I'd been home all day, never saw a vehicle dropping off parcels, nothing and yet, had it been stolen? After looking for a phone number to call on their website, I finally found one and called them up.

It so happens that even though the carrier SAID they'd left it on my doorstop, it was "delayed." Honestly, I don't think this carrier knew where I live. That's my theory. The next 3 days I had more packages due with this carrier and none arrived even remotely on time. Add to that, this carrier routinely just places it on my step without knocking or making me aware it is there, and they have even delivered as late as 7:30 at night! Just when I gave up checking, it finally arrives. Sometimes I'd find it in the morning; it had been out all night.

I though the reason I paid 79 dollars was for Free 2 day shipping? Yet..... in a course of a week only one of my packages made it to me on time and that was the one sent via UPS. When I called customer service to complain and cancel my Prime Membership I was told that since I'd used it for half a year they could not reimburse me or give me my money back for the remainder of the year.

I was not happy! Why pay for this service if it did not deliver on its promises (pun intended)

Add to that, I figured out that I spend way more money with the convenience of having my books arrive in two days, plus, I wanted to get my money's worth. (I'm sure I did)

When my Prime subscription ended I decided not to renew. It made more sense; surely I could wait the 5 to 8 business days for a book's arrival.

I think I'm being punished! I placed an order on June 4th and June 5th. One was a gift for a friend's graduation from Stanford. When I placed the order the estimated arrival seemed like June 10th. Late but not too bad. I could handle that. However, I waited for it to ship and it did not. Finally I got an email saying it was shipping, apologizing for the delay and the new estimated delivery time was June 19th! Add to that it is going USPS and there's not actual tracking information. I have no idea when it will arrive.

I'm mad at you Amazon! Oh, how I love your prices, and I loved Amazon Prime if it actually worked. I am a patient, understanding person but too many packages were late or even missing! The only explanation given was you have no control over when the package shows up; it's in the hands of the carrier. I can handle that excuse once or twice but I had so many problems, not knowing if my package was lost, stolen, or ever going to show up!

So now I'm dealing with Super Saver Shipping. Only this isn't living up to what is stated either. 2 shipments, and both were delayed!

Amazon, I really like you. I like your user interface, I like your readers reviews and how you make it all so easy and fun to shop. But I'm so tempted to find another place to buy my books. Someone that keeps their promises and actually CARES.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Only Just Begun......

Today as the first day of what I consider Summer. Of course, Summer doesn't officially begin until later this month but to me, it has begun: School is out!

Yesterday was the last day of school for my 3 kids. I can't believe how fast it has flown by! Katie started as a baby, just a little short, four year old, and now she's going to be a First Grader come this fall! Reid will be in Second, and my oldest.... how can this be? How can I have a Fifth Grader?

Oh my! It is going by too fast. Way too fast!

My little munchkins had a truly special year; all with wonderful teachers that appreciated them and got to really get to know and enjoy them. When I pause to really evaluate my kids on a deeper level I see how uniquely special they are. On the surface, it is easy to pinpoint that Conor loves science, thinking things through, and is a tremendous reader. Reid is a natural athlete, and Katie is so sweet and loves unity and making folks happy. She instantly makes friends with others. Yet I think the teachers got to learn more than these things about them this year. I'm quite excited about next year, though I know it wont' be easy for the three of them.... new challenges, new friends and teachers. It will be exciting.

The last week of school was more "party" than anything else. I realized a bit late that I needed to get gifts for the teachers; they had surely deserved it! I dashed to Starbucks for gift cards. The guy behind the cash register explained they were out of the little envelopes but offered to put them in a coffee cup. Actually I think it was even better having something the kids could hold. One teacher actually though Reid was giving her coffee!

So now it begins.... Summer! Luckily I have lots of plans: an amusement park, various local parks, some weeks in the mountains, a trip to the desert, a few of David's remaining triathlons, David's 2 month sabbatical.... this is going to be fun!

Or is it?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beautiful Concert - Gungor

When I found out that Gungor was coming to Redwood City, I knew I had to attend. I had heard such wonderful accounts of how unique and special this concert was. I already knew I enjoyed their latest CD, Beautiful Things. It just so happened that the concert was on David and my 16 year anniversary. I invited others, and one family also decided to come, even though they had never heard any Gungor music; they were going solely on the fact that I thought they were good and our pastor and a few other bloggers raved about them.

We arrived about an hour before the concert. (had to ensure a good seat!) Our friends were already there. I hate to say this but at dinner I had a margarita. Oh, I can't handle alcohol! I was actually dizzy and felt like I was in a cloud. I do not like this feeling, especially while in a church! Luckily by the time the concert started I was doing pretty good. My friend Alyssa pointed out worship leader Kim Walker. I was surprised that she knew her and that I did too; I have seen some of her videos and heard her sing. In fact, my friend Ellyn's brother is a pastor at the church she leads worship at! He even once upon a time was my youth leader in jr. high.

The opening band was John Mark McMillan. I had never heard any of his music, which put me at a huge disadvantage. Everyone els was singing, dancing, waving their arms. I enjoyed it, but it was loud. Still, I think I'd like his music.

After a short intermission, Gungor hit the stage. There were 6 musicians on stage, I guess when others saw them in Nashville there was 12. It did not seem to affect the concert. Their opening song proved that they were a different, highly creative type of band. My friends did not know what to think of the first song, but after the second song and thereafter, fell in love with Gungor.

I have to mention right now that, even though it was my anniversary, I did not stay with my husband. He in the middle of the room, standing/sitting by a chair. I absolutely HAD to be right up front, camera in hand. I was in awe. Everyone was. The people present all knew the music and were really into it. As I looked around, I saw people of all ages, sizes, colors visibly enjoying the music. Dancing. That is so unlike me but I loved watching the freedom people felt. After a few songs, the applause ceased between songs; the mood was transformed from a concert to an actual worship experience. In the silence, I heard a guy near me softly say "wow." I think that is what everyone was feeling. Wow. In awe of the music. Of God. Of community..... sharing this moment together even though we were all different. Such a collective experience.

I did not want the music to end. I doubt anyone did.

Though I was worried at first what my friends thought of the band, afterwards their faces showed how enthusiastic they now were to Gungor. We went to their booth and bought CDs and tee shirt, talking the whole time about how wonderful the concert was, how transforming and unexpected and creative. We discussed how we would've so enjoyed sharing this experience with more of our friends; our church. There is no way we'd be able to effectively communicate how truly special this concert was. David was amazed there wasn't more people there; how could people have missed this? And the tickets were only 8 dollars!

Gungor: You are amazing, and I'm so thankful you came to my area! My friends and I were truly blessed by your concert. What a beautiful gift it was.

Please, if you ever have a chance to see them, don't hesitate! And if you haven't already heard their wonderful CD Beautiful Things, please look it up on iTunes.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I love to read, not a surprise to those that know me. I bring a book with me everywhere, even on lunches with good friends. I call it my security blanket. There is never a dull, bored moment with a good book.

Lately I realized that there is a lack of good fiction in my life. As a child, I read a lot of good fiction books. There really is something magical about books, about a masterful storyteller. Sometimes it is in fiction that great truths shine all the more brightly; murky things come to light and are revealed. It is in some fictional stories that the struggles and common humanity are shown simply and can't be rationalized away. Good fiction can make me laugh, cry, and just sit in awe and gratitude of the gift I'm reading.

With that being said, I don't read enough fiction and am pretty much out of the fiction loop. I was hoping that perhaps I could get a few suggestions. As you can see from my photo, I do have a few fictional books that I am looking forward to reading this summer. They include:

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K.Chesterton

Manalive by G.K.Chesteron

The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton

There is still room on my list.... any recommendations? Any books you'd like to read along with me?

Thursday, June 3, 2010


"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners - no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Most Profound

When I was in High School I took a week off school to be a Christian Camp Counselor for a Christian elementary school. Actually, I believe I did this twice and enjoyed it so much. I was in charge of a little room of girls in the evening an a group during the day where I'd keep track of them, do devotions with them, help them memorize the "theme" verses of the week. (we memorized Psalm One, I still have it memorized) I had such a great time with the kids and the older camp counselors.

Of course, singing is a big part of camp and while there I leaned a slightly different rendition of Jesus Loves Me. It had most of the same words, twixt with Amazing Grace, and all to a fairly lilting, mellow tune. It wasn't so sing-song as the tune of Jesus Loves Me I grew up with. It was slower, made me really meditate on the words.

Such a simple song, and yet, it and the Amazing Grace verse brought me to tears.

A year later I wrote an essay to be a pane of kids to give input to the magazine Campus Life. I wrote about how meaningful this basic song was to me.

I was chosen to serve on the panel for a year.

I still find that this simple, preschool song can be so meaningful. It still at times can bring me to tears, because it is rather amazing the things it points out:

Jesus Loves Me.

I Belong.

I'm weak, but He is not.

Faith is trusting in what He says.... and that is: Jesus Loves Me.

I know that it's not all about ME and it is all about the Glory of God, but it still is rather amazing that He, such an infinite, loving, self-sufficient, capable of anything and everything God, chooses to love and displays infinite patience with His creation.

A creation that really deserves nothing... that was created in His image to give Him glory and yet fail so often.

Jesus Loves Me.