Friday, October 29, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

I've read at least 4 blog posts lately about Halloween. Mostly in favor of joining in and being with neighbors, be that by handing out hot chocolate, or having a neighborhood party, or just trick or treating with the neighborhood.

As I commented on a blog, I began thinking of my own experience growing up with this holiday. It seems when I was younger it was a whole lot scarier; with a risk of razor blades in apples and tampered candy. The church I attended did a good job of scaring us about this "evil" holiday and provided us a safe alternative: A Harvest Festival. Personally, I loved it. I enjoyed being with my friends and playing games, winning prizes and eating all the ice cream I wanted.

But I attended without my family. They were out trick-or-treating. Without me.

Halloween was always my Granny's favorite holiday. She'd even crochet special surprises for the kids.... little "men" made out of a pack of life savers and yarn, a crocheted necklace with a silver dollar hidden inside. Her house was decorated and I wonder if there were rumors of it being a scary house! Nevertheless, kids climbed up the stairs, knocked on the door, and was greeted by my Grandma, usually dressed as a witch. She was a very convincing witch, long silver-gray hair, glasses, old and with a tube going to her nose to provide her oxygen. All this was normal for me; she'd been on oxygen since I was born, but looking back I wonder if people were normally scared of her.

But not on Halloween. On Halloween, it was acceptable to be a little scary.

I always questioned why and how Halloween could be her favorite holiday but I wonder now that I'm older if she was lonely. Being on oxygen pretty much confined her to the house, and on October 31st hundreds of people came to her house, and it made her happy. Such a small interaction and yet it was something she looked forward to all year.


My family enjoys trick or treating. There's been a lot of talk about how it is "missional" to engage with neighbors and community in this night instead of hiding away at a Church's halloween function. I really do hope that interacting with my neighbors will lead to a deeper community and a way to share my faith with them, but I'm also content in knowing that my kids dressed up in costume put a smile on my neighbors' faces.

We never fully know how much a smile or a knock on the door means to another person. Yeah, it's just asking for candy..... but maybe for them it is something more, like it was for my Granny.

Lately I've been looking at my life and see the importance of connection and community. I want it, I crave it. Perhaps we are all yearning that connection and a community. As a Christian I know it is found in Christ, but sometimes It takes His people for me to really feel it and experience it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In His Image Devotional Bible

In His Image Devotional Bible, published by Tyndale, is a hardcover, sturdy devotional Bible in the New Living Translation. This translation is not a word for word translation, but a thought-for- thought one that is incredibly readable and the translation most of the people in my church uses because it is easy to understand. This is the full Bible, along with certain "extras" that add to its devotional qualities. For instance, every book has its own introduction, and many of the pages has a little prayer reading that is on a attribute of God, like in Matthew 25, the quality is "God is Just" and there's a reflection that says, "Because God is just, I can trust HIm to treat me fairly in the end." Then it lists a Bible verse about God being Just. (Romans 2:6-8) and then encourages application. "What are you saying to me, Lord." and finally, another little praise-prayer exhorting God and thanking and praising Him for being just, or the other attributes of God.

As I stated above, this is a sturdy book with a nice cover and it is a good sized Bible that is pretty easy to read. The pages are a good consistency and the type font and size is suitable for reading easily. Though this isn't a study Bible, it is one that is reflective and I think it would enhance a person's quiet time with God. Overall, I think this is a good choice for a Bible and suitable for a wide age spread; I'd even give this Bible to my pre-teen to use at church.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America

The American Patriot's Almanac by William J. Bennett is a wonderful slice of history presented in a very unique way, almost in a "devotional" style. An excerpt of reading and learning every day. As my friend was looking it over, she mused that this would be a great book to read with children, to give them a greater appreciation of history and to spark discussions and I agree!

The book is well written, with a plethora of facts and interesting, colorful personalities. There are plenty of quotes and great sayings. Since it is organized in little daily doses of reading and the dates correspond to a date in history (like a famous event or birthday) it seems at time to be a little disjointed, at times I wanted to know more information, but that is not what this book is for. It is inspiring and enjoyable to learn more about history, and most of what I read was new to me, or at least with a few newly discovered facts. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to share it with my kids. This book is packed with information and is a delight to read.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Good Again?

Is the gospel good news? Is it truly considered "good" in our culture, our community? Is it actually "good news" to me personally in my life?

These are the questions I've been wrestling with today, stemming from a 7 week series my pastor's been preaching on at church, but today it hit me extra hard as I sat with a friend, realizing that it was a great opportunity to tell her the "good news" of Christ but held back because it felt so hypocritical.

Can I tell another person about the "Good news" when I myself have doubts? When the answers still don't quite satisfy me, so how can I expect them to satisfy another person? If the "good news" is so "good," then why do I struggle in belief?

I read books about how being "saved" is a life transforming experience, and there are times I wonder: Am I transformed? Is it as amazing and deep felt? I look around at others in my church on a Sunday morning and they are standing up, arms outstretched, some even dancing a bit, as they sing with abandon to our Lord. I'm not sure I feel it as deeply and intensely as they do and I wonder why?

I wonder why I have so many questions and doubts while others are just so blissfully happy.... sometimes I wonder if I'm "saved" but I look back at my life and all the times I accepted Christ "just in case" it did not stick when I was little. If that is truly what it takes to be "saved" then I most undoubtedly am, but....... what if its more?

I'm looking and waiting for a life transformed, but what does that look like? Is it a slow process? Why is it so much faster for everyone else? And finally; I know I believe. I know deep down what is true, though I fight it and question in, deep down I know. But how to share my faith with another honestly, knowing that I still have questions?

I posed this question to my pastor who simply said, after I pressed, that I'm not supposed to know all the answers; if I did, it wouldn't be faith. (He's quite helpful, isn't he?) I guess the reality is I want answers. I want more assurance than I have, and yet..... I should be perfectly assured!

There's a part of me that still thinks that "sharing my faith" is a canned presentation filled with the illustrations I learned in evangelism class.... and if I was around a stranger, I'd probably revert back to that style, out of default, but here with a friend.... that doesn't work... and I wonder: can God use my honesty and vulnerability, even with the doubts that seem to be counterproductive, and make it something he can use? Is that real faith? Is real faith as imperfect and flawed as mine is?

Would someone actually want the faith I have?

There's a part of me thinking that when I finally get it figured out and start to live it the way I need to be living it, then the gospel will be good news and suitable to share.... but what if this is exactly the sort of evangelism and honesty God wants? Can he use even this? (I don't know)

I once believed the gospel is always Good News. To a degree, what we do can't diminish the fact that is it good. We can't add to it. But can we subtract from it? Can how we live change how the gospel is viewed? I believe it is always the Good news, but is it always viewed as the good news? Is that something that we are entrusted with? And if we are, can my doubts and questions exist there? WIll I ever get rid of my doubts and questions?

I Lift Up My Soul - Book Thoughts

I Lift Up My Soul: Devotions to Start Your Day With God by Charles Stanley is a nice devotional book with excerpts taken from his other books. If you've read most of his other writings, then much of this will be review for you; if you are new to Charles Stanley, then you will absolutely be overjoyed by this book.

It is organized like a regular devotional, with an excerpt that you are supposed to read every day. They aren't too long, not more than a page, with a recommended Scripture reading and a key verse. The last line is a sort of prayer, to guide into further contemplation and application.

As I noted above, I'm new to Charles Stanley's writings and I enjoyed the selected excerpts in this book. They are wonderful, with thought-provoking quotes. I'm really enjoying this devotional and can't wait to spread it out through next year in reading it.

This is from today, October 26th, titled "A Changed Life."

"At salvation, we received a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, who works through our ordinary experiences to accomplish the supernatural goal of conforming us to the image of Christ. In our bill paying, we can depend on His provision. in the irritating traffic snarls, we can meditate on Scripture. (Try it, it works!) In the yard work, we can enjoy His creation. In the kitchen, we can give thanks for His many gifts to us.

As new creatures with a new spirit, we have a new purpose - to honor God in all we do: working, eating, drinking, driving, playing and thinking.

If your Christian experience borders on boring, remember the monumantal change that occured when you were saved and teh diving dimension that is now yours to enjoy by faith and obedience."

I Lift Up My Soul, Charles Stanley, October 26th

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, October 25, 2010

Puts Life into Men

"The best preaching is, “We preach Christ crucified.”

The best living is, “We are crucified with Christ.”

The best man is a crucified man.

The more we live beholding our Lord’s unutterable griefs, and understanding how he has fully put away our sin, the more holiness shall we produce.

The more we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard, where we can view heaven, and earth, and hell, all moved by his wondrous passion—the more noble will our lives become.

Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior.

Get close to Christ, and carry the remembrance of him about you from day to day, and you will do right royal deeds.

Come, let us slay sin, for Christ was slain.

Come, let us bury all our pride, for Christ was buried.

Come, let us rise to newness of life, for Christ has risen.

Let us be united with our crucified Lord in his one great object—let us live and die with him, and then every action of our lives will be very beautiful."

Charles Spurgeon

(Via Miscellanies)

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I don't quite understand myself; I complain so often about not being invited to things, not having close friends, not fitting in, etc. yet I am not sure nothing I could do or participate would make me feel as if I belonged.

This weekend I was invited to 2 parties. I RSVP'ed to one evite immediately, and I'm glad I did. Out of 20 or so folks, only 4 families could make it to this birthday party. As much as I enjoy the hosts, I really did not know the other families present. I brought a book in case it got boring but I know it's not socially acceptable to read at a party. Instead I tried very hard to engage in conversation, to smile and talk and all that. And I did it, but about an hour into it I was tired and ready to go home. I managed to wait it out another hour. I'm grateful I have small kids and can blame it on them!

As I went home and reflected on the party, I realized that as much as I desire to be invited and look forward to going, parties are not easy for me. They drain me. I'd often rather be alone, but still happy I showed up. It was a good, fun party, if I'd learn how to relax a bit.

Today after church I had another party to attend. Just a causal BBQ. It was good. The food was amazing and I knew more people this time than I did at the party the night before. I was more at ease and yet..... it is still hard for me! I still wonder where I should be sitting, I still agonize over conversations. I still don't really know what to do or respond.

Yet, I'm beginning to realize that people are nice and kind.... and when someone engages me in a conversation I'm knowledgeable and passionate about, I actually have a lot of fun! I enjoy it. Near the end, I was having a very enjoyable time.

I wonder if it takes me about 3 or 4 hours to become familiar in places? Or maybe it was just the excellent company and being around folks that make me feel at ease? Not sure, but I really did enjoy this party, but had I left an hour prior, I'd probably be writing a very different blog post!

Oh, to be an introvert in a church! To want to be accepted and liked but scared of it at the same time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leading Edge

"The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology... a worldview that will mount the historically rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way into the post-modern world with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe we face the question: If not now, then when? " And if we are grasped by this vision, we may also hear the question: if not us, then who? And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?"

N. T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pearl Oyster

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate "the pearl oyster"—A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but "cover" it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us.

—Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Warning Labels

In conversation with a few friends, they relayed a chat they had with a mutual friend. When someone's name came up, the person exclaimed that she had to be careful of that person, and went on to detail the caution she should take when interacting with the person. In subsequent conversation with me, my friend mentioned that she knew that this particular person could be that way, but so far she's had no problems and she kindly thanked the person for pointing out the pitfalls to be aware of, but she was happy to engage in the friendship.

I was recently told that the reason I was perceived as "insufferable" is because I first feel that I am. Actually, I don't believe I've ever used the word "insufferable" to describe myself. (or anyone else, for that matter) Am I really viewed as "insufferable?" Difficult, strange, annoying, all those things, yes. But insufferable?


In the past I've tried to refrain from using words like "strange" or "odd" and replacing them with words that mean exactly the same thing but sound a bit more positive and upbeat: Words like unique and special. But It was a change of words, not attitude. I'm not sure how to change my attitude and perception, so I resumed using the "derogatory" words.

All this to say, I began wondering what "warning labels" I come with? What would someone say about me? Reality is I'm a bit quirky. (a nicer word for strange) But does that "quirkiness" have an endearing quality or annoying?

What about you? Do you think you come with a "warning label?" Do you prefer to be "warned" about a person, or discover who and how they are yourself?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Good Pastor Appreciation Quote

“None are more exposed to slanders and insults than godly teachers. This comes not only from the difficulty of their duties, which are so great that sometimes they sink under them, or stagger or halt or take a false step, so that wicked men find many occasions of finding fault with them; but added to that, even when they do all their duties correctly and commit not even the smallest error, they never avoid a thousand criticisms. It is indeed a trick of Satan to estrange men from their ministers so as gradually to bring their teaching into contempt. In this way not only is wrong done to innocent people whose reputation is undeservedly injured, but the authority of God’s holy teaching is diminished. . . .

[T]he more sincerely any pastor strives to further Christ’s kingdom, the more he is loaded with spite, the more fierce do the attacks upon him become. And not only so, but as soon as any charge is made against ministers of the Word, it is believed as surely and firmly as if it had been already proved. This happens not only because a higher standard of integrity is required from them, but because Satan makes most people, in fact nearly everyone, over credulous so that without investigation, they eagerly condemn their pastors whose good name they ought to be defending.”

John Calvin, Second Corinthians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon (Grand Rapids, 1964), page 263, commenting on 1 Timothy 5:19.

HT: Ray Ortlund

Sunday, October 17, 2010

AIDS Walk 2010

For the past three years, my church has partnered with Beautiful Day to form a team of churches and Christians that walk in the AIDS walk and raise money. It was met with such surprise the first year by the gay community to see a group of people that stereotypically has stood against them, to come out and be one of the largest teams and raised the most money!

As noted, this was my third year, and it seemed to be less crowded than the usual over 5,000 attendees. Perhaps it was the rain; not sure, but it still was fun. I estimate perhaps 45 from my church was present, and well over 250 Beautiful Day folks, many dressed in a blue Beautiful Day shirt, of a gray shirt with the words "Walk for AIDS" and Beautiful Day logo on back. It seemed to have a festive feel to it.

I attempted to take photos, which had me running ahead, falling back, etc. I walked for a bit with several people, and I've figured out that, though I think I want to walk and talk with people, perhaps I'd be just as happy walking alone. Perhaps having a camera around my neck suits me, as I enjoy being behind the camera and observing things.

I was happy that this year's turnout from my church was larger than the previous year. I know there were people that were out of town that weekend or just had other plans. It happens. Plus, that rain! Truly it downpoured quite a bit, but I think that kept it even more entertaining for my 3 kids. They enjoyed the umbrellas and being in their raincoats. Being wet did not seem to bother them at all. It was an adventure.

I'm very thankful I attend a church that does stuff like this. I hope it really is making an impact. I was reading on Saturday a blog post about a Christians role and stance on the homosexual issue. I really enjoyed the last paragraph of this guy's blog:

"Every Christian should make certain that every person, absolutely every person, gay or straight, knows that he or she is thoroughly loved by God. Every person, absolutely every person, gay or straight, should know that he or she is created in the image of the Most High, and that he or she has hope, ultimate and undying hope, in God’s abundant grace."


Friday, October 15, 2010

To Crash a Party

I was invited to a BBQ. Sounds great, right? Only I'm pretty sure I was invited by accident. The BBQ is for a certain group of folks, and though I once participated in it, I don't anymore.

But.... I was invited.

So I did the honorable thing and confessed that I don't actually belong but still wanted to go to the BBQ. I mentioned I'd even be willing to consider joining this team if I could still attend the BBQ.

No answer.

Today I was sent an evite for the BBQ. So.... did the person ever read my FB message? Or not? Does the second invite mean I am actually invited of an oversight once again?

Should I crash the party or stay home?

I'm sure any normal person would stay home. I have no business being there. BUT.... I really do like a good BBQ.

Decisions, decisions!

A Good Reminder

"Let God be God."

Martin Luther

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not Born to Run

I don't like to run. I've never enjoyed running and I seriously know I can't even run a mile and wonder when (and if) I ever could! Seriously, running hurts.

Tonight I attempted to go swimming but the lanes were filled and I'm not good enough to try to share a lane, so I went upstairs to the dreadmill. (my pet name for the treadmill) Started off at a fast walk and was listening to a fave U2 song that was a bit rock-ier and I thought I'd try to run. So, I ran about a half a mile at a snail pace of 13.57 seconds and realized my heart rate was at 170!

Why so high?

Even when I reduced it back to walking it was close to 150. I don't get it. I guess I'm really, really out of shape! I have my work cut out for me.

One thing I realized is that I hurt when I run. My foot, my calves, my lower leg bones, it all HURTS and I wonder if it is partly because I'm not relaxed. I don't know how to relax. Even while driving I'll all of the sudden notice that I'm gripping the steering wheel tightly, for no reason.

I still never got to swim, the lanes were still full even at 10:10 at night!

Church Mice

Okay, since like no one but 3 people read this blog, I'm going to share a secret. It's not a well kept secret; my pastor already knows that certain things done during Pastor Appreciation month is out of my efforts. BUT I've done these things with others and not sure anyone has figured out who the "others' are! When I was in jr. high and high school my nickname was Church Mouse, I was always at church, and I delighted on little pranks and gifts.

Anyways, the latest thing we did was "decorate" the senior pastor's office. It was lots of fun. The crepe paper wasn't my idea, but the post its were. He tweeted a photo but in my opinion, it did not show the full breadth of its beauty. So here are a few more photos. Isn't it great?

UPDATE. I gave myself away with a comment I made. Ugh! Oh well, but they still haven't a clue who the other church mice are that are inundating them with gifts and "decorating" their offices!

The Treasure of God's Word- book thoughts

This is a beautiful book that screams "gift" to me, especially since it contains excerpts from the King James Version Bible as well as some history about this translation. It never gets too in depth yet I can see how it would be popular as a gift item. It is a beautiful book, rather thin at only 176 pages, but if one has a King James Version of the Bible, I see very little reason for owning this one too, as it doesn't add much history to it about the translation. It is nicely arranged and the passages it excerpts are all good Scripture to memorize and reflect on, but ultimately I'm not sure I'd buy this book for myself.

As a beautifully bound gift book, it is very nice, but not something that I'd feel needed to be on my bookshelf, as a regular Bible works just as well.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, October 11, 2010

Transforming Church in Rural America

A friend of mine wrote such a good review, I have little desire to post mine here! Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell is an engaging, thought provoking book. Although he focuses on rural churches, the takeaway and principles he speaks of are pertinent to all churches.

Change is never easy, and I think many Christians really have a hard time with change, but it is necessary. I completely agreed with O'Dell's assessment on page 72 on what what want:

1. Progress, but not the unknown that comes with it
2. Security and stability, but not the stagnation
3. Love, but not at the risk of rejection
4. Adventure, but not the unpredictable journey of charting a new course

There was much about this book I enjoyed. It was challenging and offered good perspectives in a conversational tone that was pleasant to read. It covered quite a bit, and much of it wasn't brand new to me; many books speak and exhort us to the same things this book does, but perhaps not geared towards a rural church.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Community Revisited

I've mentioned my love/hate fascination with community. I've tried to understand it, I've tried to be a part of it, and I've read a few dozen books on it. I can quote a lot of people on it, I know that it is a necessary component of the Christian faith, and yet, I'm still at a loss for it. I've blamed it on where I've lived, those around me, my own ineptness at being inviting and engaging to others, and wonder if it really is possible to be in a community where everyone contributes and fits in.

Supposedly, it can happen. Supposedly all one has to do to build community is:

1. Affirm one another's strengths, abilities and gifts

2. Affirm one another's equal importance to Christ.

3. Affirm one another through visible affection.

4. Sharing one another's space, good, and time.

5. Sharing one another's needs and problems

6. Sharing one another's beliefs, thinking and spirituality.

7. Serving one another through accountability

8. Serving one another through forgiveness and reconciliation

9. Serving one another's interest rather than our own.

And there you have it, instant community. Now why is it I struggle so much? Why is it I feel this is all just a fairy tale?

(HT. Tim Keller Gospel in Life )

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Willing Shepherds

I don't know about you, but whenever I search "pastor appreciation" I'm often disappointed with the results. I guess the "proper" thing to do is have a large committee and throw a church wide party, or special service to honor the pastor. I'm not good at organizing proper, big, formal things, so instead my version of pastor appreciation is fun, creative and consistent gifts throughout the whole month of October, and often times little things throughout the year too.

I've found some good Bible verses and good quotes regarding the appreciation of pastors, but as I was reading Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission by Darrin Patrick, I came across this quote on page 78:

"Shepherds are willing to bear the pain and endure the brunt of the sheep for the sheep. True elders do not command the consciences of their brethren but appeal to their brethren to faithfully follow God's Word. Out of love, true elders suffer and bear the brunt of difficult people and problems so that the lambs are not bruised. The elders bear the misunderstandings and sins of other people so that the assembly may live in peace. They lose sleep so that others may rest. They make great personal sacrifices of time and energy for the welfare of others. They see themselves as men under authority. They depend on God for wisdom and help, not on their own power and cleverness. They face the false teachers' fierce attacks. They guard the community's liberty and freedom in Christ so that the saints are encouraged to develop their gifts, to mature, and to serve one another."

- Alexander Strauch.

Personally, I thought it was a great pastor appreciation quote; it made me appreciate all that the leaders of my church so faithfully accomplish, time and time again. Things I'll never even have a clue about, but know they are in prayer and desiring the best for the Sheep.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Uncommon Community

When I think "community" I often think my neighborhood or my church community, and when I expect "community" to be close, I think church and then am frustrated when I don't feel much cohesive connection do those I "do church" with. I wonder often what it would look like to live "life together"..... I've oftentimes dismissed it because of the fast pace of where we live, where it is difficult to see family, let alone friends.

Still, I think church when I think "community."

Yet there are other communities and I wonder at times if they are even more close-knit than a church community. I think it is easier to be in community with folks that share a common interest with each other. Often times the unifying common bond is a sport. My husband does triathlons and it is a huge and close community of people that he's just breaking into and enjoying. They are very welcoming, have a common bond and tend to have other similar interests outside just the pursuit of their sport.

My kids were on a swim team a few years ago and I just got a Yahoo and Facebeook notification that one of the head timers had died this past week. First an email saying he was gravely ill and to please pray for him. Then a few hours later, a notice that he'd passed and to pray for his family. Several folks addressed an email to him, thanking him (a bit late!) for who he was and what he accomplished and how much they appreciated and even loved him. An email was sent with funeral arrangements and just now I received a sign up for providing meals for the family as well as financial assistance.

And I just think: Wow. This is a loving community that cares for each other in a way I hadn't expected. They felt they were family.

Sometimes I wonder why it is that I don't feel the same bond at church. Is it me? Is if where I live? Do I not care enough? Am I too busy and preoccupied? What does it mean to "do life together?" Am I afraid of it? Am I indifferent to it? Do I like it in theory but not practice?

Just some thoughts running through my head, late at night.


Wednesdays are my busy days. Staring the day off early at prayer, meet with friends for a snack, go to the gym, go to lunch with a friend (conveniently situated after the gym work out!) then go and tend to children. I used to have an evening Bible study on top of all that but not these days.

Strangely, I enjoy my busy days, which puzzles me because I'm such an introvert and I like solitude and silence. Perhaps I enjoy these days because all the interactions I have are in small groups of 5 or less, many one on one times with friends that I know well and can enjoy and have fun with.

Not sure, but I do know that I enjoy my Wednesdays, perhaps more than any other day. I almost wish I could spread all the things I cram into this day throughout the whole week but perhaps this is what makes my Wednesdays so much fun; the fast pace of it and the variety of people I get to see.

All I know is that I really enjoy my Wednesdays and the people I share it with!

Holy Bible for Children - book thoughts

This is a bright bold Bible that my kids instantly wanted to look at. There are many pictures in this Bible, which made it lots of fun for even my youngest child who can't read yet, to look through. The translation it uses is not y favorite, as I prefer the ESV but my kids seemed to understand it well and enjoyed it.

I'm really happy to have this BIble and look forward to my kids reading it and taking it to Church with them. It is exciting as a parent to see them so enjoy looking through and reading the Bible and I'm grateful for this one!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, October 4, 2010

FTR 10/4

I am so out of shape!

I'm so happy to have my training partner back! She definitely keeps me motivated and I enjoy talking with her. She's patient and non-judgmental and a wonderful person and friend.

Today we met and did a brisk walk on the treadmill for 25 minutes, then my training buddy showed me how to do weights. Just simple repetitions, but at the end she showed me one that almost made me pass out! Then it was off to the pool. Surprisingly, it felt good. I personally felt the water was a bit warmer than usual. Not sure if it is because of my workout before I hit the pool or because it actually was warmer.

.54, 1:03, 1:06, 1:07, 1:06. 1:00, 1:04, 1:07, 1:07, 1:08, 1:06, 1:06, 1:06, 1:09, 1:10 1:11.

Going back tomorrow!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Three Kinds of Men

“There are three kinds of people in the world.

The first class is of those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure, regarding Man and Nature as so much raw material to be cut up into whatever shape may serve them.

In the second class are those who acknowledge some other claim upon them—the will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society—and honestly try to pursue their own interests no further than this claim will allow. They try to surrender to the higher claim as much as it demands, like men paying a tax, but hope, like other taxpayers, that what is left over will be enough for them to live on. Their life is divided, like a soldier’s or a schoolboy’s life, into time “on parade” and “off parade,” “in school” and “out of school.”

But the third class is of those who can say like St Paul that for them “to live is Christ.” These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self altogether. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are His.

And because there are three classes, any merely twofold division of the world into good and bad is disastrous. It overlooks the fact that the members of the second class (to which most of us belong) are always and necessarily unhappy. The tax which moral conscience levies on our desires does not in fact leave us enough to live on. As long as we are in this class we must either feel guilt because we have not paid the tax or penury because we have. The Christian doctrine that there is no “salvation” by works done to the moral law is a fact of daily experience. Back or on we must go. But there is no going on simply by our own efforts. If the new Self, the new Will, does not come at His own good pleasure to be born in us, we cannot produce Him synthetically.

The price of Christ is something, in a way, much easier than moral effort—it is to want Him. It is true that the wanting itself would be beyond our power but for one fact. The world is so built that, to help us desert our own satisfactions, they desert us. War and trouble and finally old age take from us one by one all those things that the natural Self hoped for at its setting out. Begging is our only wisdom, and want in the end makes it easier for us to be beggars. Even on those terms the Mercy will receive us."

Three Kinds of Men, CS Lewis