Friday, July 31, 2009
Frank Peretti is one of the best known Christian authors, best known for This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, novels about spiritual warfare. He actually has 21 titles in print which include young adult and children's books along with his titles for adults.
Monster will take you deep into the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest where an unknown murderous creature is turning one couple's quest for adventure into a living nightmare. I made the mistake of reading this novel with my cell phone set to vibrate. When it went off, I actually shrieked. That's how well Peretti can pull you into his story. Check it out!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
It reminded me of something that happened in my life about five years ago. My husband was ready for a job change. After spending months looking at local and regional job listings, we finally gave in and started looking nation-wide. Well, maybe my husband gave in. I was mentally picking and choosing places where I could agree to moving.
The perfect job arrived. In Iowa.
Okay, I apologize if you live in Iowa or love Iowa. I know I'm going to insult someone by sharing this story. I actually visited Iowa during my college years and enjoyed it. But it wasn't my idea of the perfect place to live. It was a long ways from my family and it had NO ocean and NO mountains. It was very low on my list of places I wanted to live. I cried out to God, "Please, not Iowa. How about Colorado? California? Washington? Michigan?"
My husband pledged to trust in God's direction and began applying for the job. I moaned, whined and fussed at my husband and at God. Why would God want us to move to Iowa? What was there for us in Iowa? I don't WANT to go to Iowa! To God, I probably sounded like a sulky teenager. "Please God, someplace other than Iowa!"
Unfortunately, the job in Iowa was a perfect match for my husband's skills. I prayed for other job listings and spent hours in front of the computer searching. Nothing, zilch, Nada.
Then came the night that one of my kids dumped a book on my lap and clambered up. It was the story of Jonah and the Whale. I opened it and began reading.
"And God sent Jonah to Nineveh. But Jonah didn't trust God. He didn't want to go to Nineveh."
My heart broke. Was God sending me to Iowa? Did God have a great future planned for us there and I was saying, "No way?" I did a 180 degree turn (Well, maybe about 175). Not my will, God, but Yours. I would go. And what's more, I would rejoice in this opportunity. God was in control. I surrendered. I confessed my bad attitude to my husband (like he wasn't already aware of it) and over the next few days, God gave me an attitude adjustment. I began to get excited about the possibilities of our soon-to-be new hometown.
But a new surprise was on the horizon. Within the week, two more job openings popped up, both in our local region. One was a perfect match to my husband's skills and the job was less than 45 minutes away. Pieces fell into place quickly and my husband was offered the job.
I was a bit confused. "Um, God? I don't mean to complain... but what about Iowa? I thought you wanted us to go to Iowa?"
I felt a gentle nudging in my heart. "I wanted you to be willing to go to Iowa. I wanted you to trust me."
I still struggle with trust. I'd rather chart my own course. But, I am learning. Learning to surrender.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
These week has been a wee bit different. Yesterday's temperature in my home town reached a whopping 108 degrees.
Sunday afternoon, we discovered that our air conditioner had gasped and given up. Not good news with over 100 degree weather projected for the next several days. I tried to laugh it off. "We'll be fine. We grew up with out AC and we survived." But I frantically dialed the repairman.
The receptionist didn't sound very hopeful for a quick visit. We tried every do-it-yourself trick we could think of -- which wasn't much. Turned circuits off and on, looked for reset buttons, etc. We thought about getting a screwdriver out and taking the thing apart, but thought better of it. No need to turn a simple repair into one of those, "you need a new heat pump" kind of moments.
We waited around all day Monday watching the temperature in the house climb. I was nervous about leaving the house and going someplace cool, for fear that the repairman wouldn't bother to call my cell phone first. Finally my husband got home and I swept the kids out to late afternoon dentist appointments. Who ever thought that we would be so happy to go to the dentist!
Tuesday was worse. By then I was starting to doubt that we would EVER see the repair guy. The poor secretary couldn't give me a schedule. "He's getting around to everyone as quickly as he can." The worst part was the waiting. We could have handled the temperature, otherwise. But being at the mercy of someone else's schedule... that's tough.
It was also tough being the mom in this situation. I tried to model patience and a good attitude. "Let's not complain. God's in control. Let's try to make this fun!" I would say brightly. My kids, looking like half-melted ice cream cones, didn't agree. "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it, (Psalm 118:24)" I silently repeated to myself.
When the temperature in the house reached 90 yesterday, my resolve cracked.
"That's it. I can't take it anymore. We're getting out of here." I grabbed my purse and keys. "Library, bowling alley, mall -- I don't care. Let's go!"
That's the exact moment when the phone rang. "I'm on my way!"
It reminded me of those times when I prayed for something over a long period of time and wondered if God was even listening. Sometimes it's not until I am at a breaking point that I feel Him move in my life. Why is that? Is God a procrastinator like me? Does He just like to toy with us?
I don't believe that's the case. I know He has plans and thoughts that I cannot hope to understand. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Is 55:8-9) Just like I sometimes understand things better than my children, God understands the "big picture" better than I do.
Secondly, I believe He waits in order to develop my character and encourage me to fully trust in Him. If He just plunked everything my our lap every time I asked, I wouldn't learn or grow in my faith. I may even begin to think I deserve that type of treatment.
I'm still struggling with this idea, so I don't have all of the answers. But I've noticed at many points during my life, that God has waited until I am at a breaking point -- ready to surrender to His will -- before He has intervened. Maybe He waits until I am ready for Him to intervene in the way that He thinks is best, instead of on my terms. I often tell God what He needs to do.
Just like yesterday (when I was ready to surrender to the heat and the repairman showed up), when I surrender my will to God, that's often when I see amazing things start to happen.
Now a gentle cool breeze is wafting through my house. I pray that God's spirit is gently caressing your life in the same way.
Tomorrow I will share another tale of surrender. It seems to be a recurring theme in my life. What about you?
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
If you are a writer, or interested in the writing process, I am sure that you will enjoy her blog. I enjoyed almost every strip, but this one spoke to where I am at the present. If it's too small to read, click on the image and it should show it larger.
Monday, July 13, 2009
P.S. If you happened to be following the story of Freedom the butterfly (see the posts: Power of a Name and It is for Freedom...), well, she's finally free. She's winging her way around her Maker's heaven as we speak. The words from one of my favorite old songs seemed appropriate to her short life. "Some bright morning when this life is over, I'll fly away. To that home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away, Oh glory, I'll fly away. When I die, Hallelujah by and by -- I'll fly away." Maybe heaven is a little more beautiful today -- decorated by one more beautiful pair of wings.
Friday, July 10, 2009
After reading the book City of Angels by Tracie Peterson and James Scott Bell (see my Friday Book Pick from June 19), I decided to try another of Peterson's books. I went into my local library and was astounded by the long shelf of books all bearing her name. She has authored over 70 books, most of them in the historical fiction genre and many of them are three-book series. I felt like a kid at the candy store!
Today I am recommending The Yukon Quest series. I read book 2, Ashes and Ice. (I was unable to get my hands on book one, so I'll have to play catch-up later). I was intrigued by this series because of its setting: the Yukon gold rush. Women struggling to survive in this rugged environment and difficult time in history sounded like a great setting for an adventurous story and Peterson didn't let me down. Her characters grappled with loss and grief, revenge and forgiveness, and challenging marital relationships.
Here is the back-cover copy to give you a better idea of the storyline:
Heartbroken by loss, Karen Pierce is bound by a promise to watch over two young adults in her care. Together they journey north to the goldfields with the determined Adrik Ivankov as their guide. Will Karen find her way back to her once solid-faith...and into Adrik's arms?
Ashes and Ice makes a great summer read. If you enjoy historical romance and haven't read Tracie Peterson before (or even if you have), I encourage you to pick up this book. Reading a little Yukon romance may bring a nice cool breeze to your hot summer day!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
If I ran the world, everything would change. The food and toy stores would be free with door to door delivery. Oh, what a party it would be...if I ran the world.
If I ran the world each kid would have a bike, a swimming hole not far from home, a bedroom of their very own. No one would have to play alone... if I ran the world.
If I ran the world all homework would be banned, our school week would be just one day, and all the rest we’d have for play. I’d triple every teacher’s pay... if I ran the world.
If I ran the world there’d be no underwear, I’d never comb my hair, peace would break out everywhere!
If I ran the world each meal would have ice cream, the faucets would run juice and stuff, the tofu farms would have it rough, and everyone would have enough... if I ran the world.
If I ran the world I’d never change my socks, my bedtime would be late at night, there’s always be a hallway light. Whatever’s wrong I’d make it right... if I ran the world.
Whatever’s wrong we’d make it right... if we ran the world.
(©1992 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP) & Joe Hill Music (ASCAP))
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
But with the gift of the internet and google, historical research has never been simpler. You can find all kinds of interesting anecdotes. You can literally eat up hours poking around in strange websites that can teach you all kinds of obscure (and potentiall incorrect) information.