Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
There are way too many for me to give it to just I'd split it up between several of these: Salvation Army, Azleway, Living Alternatives, our church and several others.

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in the neck?
Depends. If there is a TON of snow like we had last year, I welcome them. After all, we east Texans don't get 5-6" of snow at a time but once every 20 years or so. Seriously. So that was a big deal & we all enjoyed it. But this year, our snow was like 2" deep. It was pretty & the kids had fun with it...on the weekend & after school! I didn't want to miss work/school (and have to make it up later!) for that.

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
I would love to play piano. I've always said that one day I'll take lessons & I'll be the 50 year old at the elementary kid piano recital! :)

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
:::hiding::: I'm a bit of a celebrity gossip junkie. I love my People magazine! :)

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)
I don't toss me an ice cold Dr. Pepper & I'll be good. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Random Thoughts with Liz

It's time for another installment of Random Thoughts with Liz, your favorite blog posts where I spew out whatever random stuff is passing through my head. Let's get started. (But be forewarned. I might be just a TAD grouchy tonight. Read at your own risk.)

*I've been hitting the YMCA 4 days/week since the beginning of the year. Actually, I started going 3-4x/week back in November, but admittedly....Thanksgiving & Christmas happened, so I kind of feel like I started over on Jan 1st. A couple of things about that:

1. While the number on the scale goes up & down by about 2-3 lbs on a nearly daily basis (frustrating that it won't go down & stay there), I have seen progress in the exercise department. I can put the treadmill on an incline now & leave it there! I can lift more! I can go longer on cardio & do more reps on weights! So...I know the number on the scale will happen. Someday. Tomorrow would be nice.

2. There is this perky little couple who work out almost every day that I'm there. First off, the time of the morning I go is really reserved for 2 groups of people -- the chubby moms (i.e. ME) who are trying to lose baby weight (even if their babies are turning 10 next month...sniff, sniff) and the elderly. There might be a 3rd group, too....the ones who know how to come in, shut up & do their workout & go home. But this perky couple.... Oh. My. Heavens. I just want to tell them to shut up & go home.

Mr. & Mrs. Perkypants look like they are both trainers for some fancy gym & they're slumming by working out at the Y with us normal folks. They 'challenge' each other the whole time they're there. "Hey, how about you go jump onto & off of that weight bench 400x while I go pound out 3.7 miles on the treadmill in the next 3 minutes? And then we'll do tricep dips for 45 minutes and squats all the way home! Ready, set, go...." Grrrrrrrrr

When that woman is jumping onto & off of the weight bench (feet & knees together, mind you) at 90 mph, all I can think is that if I did that same little move, I'd leave the gym with compound fractures in both ankles. And black eyes from all that jumping.

So please...go home perky folks. At least til 9am. Then you're free to come hang out at my gym. I just can't handle your presence at 7:45 every morning!

*The grand & glorious state of Texas has a bunch of budget (cut) proposals on the table. Larry's been told to expect a 10-15% paycut ....and the loss of a stipend that is part of the income we count on ....and a reduction in travel benefits (also something we count on). Oh, and did I mention that education is due to take some cuts as well? Like...the elimination of a lot of non-teaching positions? I have a "non-teaching" position. Sigh.

We're living within our means right now. Who thought it was a grand idea to go & cut our means?

Hello, Dave Ramsey? Money tree farmers? Paid online surveys? Ugh.

Being a grown up stinks sometimes.

On a positive note.......

*The kids got their report cards this past week. Everyone's getting good grades (all As & Bs).

*No one is sick.

*I have plenty of food in my pantry & fridge to feed my family.

*We have a roof over our heads.

*I have a ton of really amazing friends.

*I watched a bunch of Anita Renfroe videos tonight. I love to laugh. Thus, the funny cartoon I'm sharing below.

Have a great rest-of-the-week folks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Falling in love....

There is a song I've been hearing on the radio a lot lately called "More Like Falling in Love". I really haven't payed much attention to the words but the chorus is catchy & I've found myself singing it a lot. A few days ago I looked up the lyrics online & was struck by them.

The basic idea of the song is that you'll never get anywhere following religion. I've always been kind of a stinker when people ask if I'm religious. I tell them no. That shocks people because anyone who knows me knows that I am a Christian & my faith is very important to me. But then I follow up that statement by telling them that I have a relationship, not a religion. And really, that's true. There's a giant difference between the two. I don't find my faith in following a bunch of rules & guidelines, but in living a very intimate & personal relationship with God. Because of His sacrifice for me, I am FREE from having to follow a bunch of rules to 'earn' my righteousness. Praise the Lord!

I've been reminded several times lately that no one wants to hear about your religion. No one wants it crammed down their throat. No one wants to be approached on the street by a person who screams & rants at them -- and street preachers are no different. No one wants to feel like you are forcing something on them. It's like being on a used car lot & having a salesman follow you around & drive you crazy about buying a car. You try to be all nice & friendly until you either (a) have to get rude to make him/her leave you alone or (b) you wait til they're not looking & run away!

With Valentine's Day coming up, I've been asking conversation-starter type questions on Facebook recently, engaging my friends in telling me "their story". I love hearing about people's lives and so I've asked things like "How did your spouse propose?" or "How did you meet your spouse? Did you know right away that he/she was "the one"? How long did you date before you got married?" I'm a total sap & loving hearing about the romance in the lives of those around me.

It finally occurred to me tonight while reading those stories that faith in God is just like that....and this song I've been hearing really started making sense to me. We, as Christians, want the world to know God. We want them to see what we see in Jesus. We want to see them place their faith in Him. We want to convert the world, but we don't know how to go about it without driving people crazy...or worse, driving them further from Him! There is a documentary out called "Lord Save Us from Your Followers". I own the DVD but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. The whole thing is about a man who travelled around asking people for their opinions about Christians. While there were some nice comments, the majority of the people said things about how we are hypocrites or we're irritating because we constantly come down on them for doing something that is not up to our standards. Remember the old saying about how you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar? If you have someone steadily berating you & beating you over the head about how bad & wrong you are, are you going to want to go to church with them & meet their Jesus? No way!

For most of us who are sold out Jesus freaks, we found our way to a relationship with Him because we fell in love with who He is & what He did for us....not because someone beat us over the head with that info. Many of us grew up in homes where Christianity was the practiced faith so we never really knew anything but the grace of God & the mercy extended to us by Jesus. That's fabulous & wonderful, but if we are to reach others for Christ, we're going about it all wrong. Have you extended grace to anyone this week? Have you shown them love & mercy? Have you offered to help them out of an impossible situation rather than shunning them or pointing out all the wrong steps they took to lead to that place? Are you putting out vinegar or honey? Are they going to fall in love with Him because of the way you, someone who represents Him, treated them?

More Like Falling in Love lyrics:
Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling, Ohhhh
Its like I'm falling in love

Give me words, I'll misuse them
Obligations, I'll missplace them
Cuz all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling
Its like I'm falling in love

Love, Love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling, Ohhhh
Its like I'm falling
(repeat chorus)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Question Friday

A follower of my blog hosts this meme weekly. I decided to join in today!

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?
I met Larry when we worked together at Mazzio's. I didn't know it was LOVE right away, but I knew it was SOMETHING. We were talking about marriage by the 2nd or 3rd date. There was definitely some magic/chemistry/whatever you want to call it right away.

2. What is your favorite room in your house?
My bedroom. My big soft, comfy sweetie! :)

3. Can you wiggle your ears?
Yes. But only if I REALLY concentrate on it.

4. What is your evening ritual?
Read my emails, read blogs, check facebook, brush teeth, shower/bubble bath, take off make up, crawl into bed & read a book til I get drowsy.

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
Used to be about 5 or 6. Lately it's more like 7-8.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Random Thoughts with Liz

My head and heart have been swirling with blog posts recently. I keep making mental notes to blog about one thing or another, but I haven't sat down to do it. Some of those posts have been "deep" while others were just quick thoughts about something that was going on at the time. And so tonight, I present to you Random Thoughts with Liz, a quick blast through my brain of things that have been going on around here (and in my head) lately. I think I will make this a regular 'feature' here. Like my icon for it? {I love!} Are you ready? Buckle up, baby. It may be a bumpy ride!

*My heart has been heavy with thoughts of these two sweet little faces.

Andrew & Kourtney Christmas 2006

It's hard to believe that those little faces now look like this.

Kourtney & Andrew, Fall 2010

We have very little contact with them. I understand the reasons why their aunt & uncle choose not to be in touch. I really do. If I were in their shoes, I'm sure I'd feel the same way. But I miss them. My mind battles between the idea of wishing they lived closer and knowing that it's best for them to be as far away as they are.

They're not constantly on my mind. But I have those days now & then.

I still have all these pictures that Kourtney drew for me on the door to my bedroom. She put them there before she moved & I've never taken them down. In fact, I've never moved them around at all. The magnets have been in those places so long that the paper is faded underneath them. I just can't bring myself to take the pictures down. They don't make me sad. They're happy pictures & they make me smile and remember her. But the box of sweet things I have in my closet...the Mother's Day card Andrew made me, pictures, newspaper clippings where Andrew or Kourtney did something, the Christmas letter we sent out to friends & family that year introducing our 2 new children...those things make me cry. There's a reason that box has a thick layer of dust on top of it. I don't take it down to reminisce very often. It's just too hard.

On March 16, it will be 4 years since they left. I have no regrets and I have hundreds of regrets. I know we made the right decision when they moved, but it breaks this mama's heart all over again every time I really sit & think about it much. So I try not to.

Sigh. They're safe. They're healthy. They're comfortable where they are. They are thriving with their family.

But they're not here.

*This morning, Larry filled the pulpit at a church where he's been filling in about 2-3 Sundays per month since June. I love watching him preach & hearing his heart. And better, hearing HIS heart through him. It has been nearly 2 years since he held the position of 'pastor' officially, but it's never far from who he is. This morning as we drove to the church, he complained of a bad headache. He took some medicine before we left home and then stopped & bought more part way there. It is raining for the first time in months and I know the change in barometric pressure is probably what caused the headache. His head was pounding when we arrived at the church & I questioned whether or not he'd be able to preach when I knew he'd love to lie down under a cozy blanket & take a nap & try to sleep off the headache. But when we got there, the power of Christ stood up with him at the pulpit & he delivered one of the best messages I've heard him preach in a while. When we left, he said his head was still killing him, but for the 30 or so minutes he was bringing the Word, it was awesome to watch. No one would've known he felt bad. God is so very good!

*Larry's sermon this morning was about the women in the lineage of Jesus. There are all sorts of characters in Jesus's family. After church, we went to visit Larry's family who live in the town where the church is. I couldn't help but replay the message in my mind as I stood on Larry's dad's carport today. You see, Larry's family is full of characters, too. And God bless Larry's dad, he's one of those characters. But I love him.

When we left his dad's house, we went to his grandmother's home and the conversation turned to the genealogy of Larry's family. His grandmother pulled out old family records, books that document all sorts of history --good & bad. (slave purchase records, marriage licenses...) It was very interesting to look at & read through. I looked around the room where we sat & saw so many images & memories of other people in their family who have passed away. Some were people I knew and loved dearly, like Larry's sweet Aunt Sandy. Others were people I never met. As I sat & watched my children soak in the history & words of their great grandmother, I couldn't help but consider my own legacy. What will my great grandchildren learn about me 100 years from now? I know that's something I've talked about on this blog many times. Nichole Nordeman's song "Legacy" is one I have shared here often and plays through my head every time I think on this subject. Not only do I want to leave a legacy of faith for my children, I also want to know that I made them laugh, helped them through their hurts & struggles and cheered for them in times of celebration.

Father, help me to live every minute of every day in a way that leaves my family without a shadow of a doubt that they're loved. Create in their hearts memories and smiles and hope.

*On Saturday January 8, Savannah attended her first (ever) school dance. There were many dances she could've attended in 6th-8th grades, but she wasn't interested. When she announced in November that she wanted to go to the winter formal this year, my jaw dropped. She went with friends who just hung out, talked & drank lemonade. My sweet little simple tastes, no frills, no hair/make up on a regular basis daughter morphed into a princess that night. Larry & I loved watching her get dolled up for the dance.

(This last pic really cracks me up because it's SO exactly her personality. She was dressed & ready to go, but had some time to kill so she pulled out her Ereader. tee hee)

*On the day after the big formal dance, it got cold in Texas. Really cold! They predicted snow & ice. No one believed the forecasts because the ground wasn't cold enough for snow to stick even if it did fall. It just didn't make sense. There were jokes made at church that morning about surviving the great blizzard of 2011 (because not a single flake had fallen).

You may remember our record-breaking 5" snow that we got last February. It was truly an experience for the kids! Around here, we only get that much snow maybe once every 20 years. And honestly, when we do get any snow that sticks, it's usually gone within 24 hours. And we don't see snow again for 5-6 years usually.

WELL, last Sunday it snowed! When we came out of church that morning, it was sleeting. We all kind of said "Huh???" as we picked up our kids & headed home. Before I could make it home, the sleet turned to snow. The kids were whooping & hollering in the backseat all the way home. We got about 2-3" before it was all over. It was no 5" like last year but it was enough to thrill the kids. I was just praying that we didn't have to take a day off of school for it. I know the kids would enjoy it, but it would just mean making it up later & none of us would enjoy that! Luckily, the roads stayed clear & we were all able to go to work & school every day! They were able to make snowmen, have snowball fights & have to change out of cold, wet clothes 30x before it was know, just the right amount for them to be happy!

And here's the kicker. While a lot of it melted over the course of the first 24 hours, we had a little snow on the ground & rooftops & in trees for FIVE days! Folks, that's HUGE for East Texas. We just don't see that often.

*A few days ago, a song kept playing in my head. I could only remember part of the chorus so I had to come home & google it to figure out what the rest of the song was & where I'd heard it. I realized that clearly, I watch too much Disney channel. The song that was playing in my mind was "This is My Paradise". No matter what all the rest of the words say, all I could think was how fitting the title & chorus is. I am living my paradise.

This, my family, my life, my kids, my friends, my job. This is my paradise. My bliss. I have friends whose marriages & families are being ripped apart at the seams. And I know that my sweet family is not somehow 'above' falling apart. It is only held together by the grace of God. I am not so naive as to think that we've got it all together & we're perfect. But for this moment, I can't imagine having it any better. This is my paradise.

Enjoy this catchy treat. (Well...Disney's treat, really, but you get the idea.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lots of fun blogs out there....

As you can tell by looking at my blogroll over on the right hand side of this page, I have lots of 'favorite' blogs. I usually scroll through that list every night & see if there are any new posts by my 'favorite' blog authors. Some post daily. Some post once a week. Some hardly ever. But I love reading blogs!

Over at Storing Up Treasures, Courtney (the blog's author) is creating a list of awesome blogs. So if you want to check it out, click the blog title & then her "blogs of note" link at the top of the page. There's a huge & growing list! Check it out!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Delurking day!

Did you know that today is National Delurking Day in blog-land?

If you read this post, it's time to come out of the lurking closet & say hello! Post a quick comment & let me know who you are, where you're from & how you found me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Faithless, frail and weak

I admit it. I'm a self talker. I talk to myself all the time. I'm usually in my car when it happens. I practice conversations I'm planning to have. I give how-to talks on various subjects (to my windshield). I pray that the people who see me talking (to myself) in traffic all think that I have one of those cool built-in cell phones that all the new cars have. You know, the hands-free things that you can just say "Call John Doe" and it dials the number & puts you on speaker phone. I always hope that, but then realize that I'm driving an 8 year old mini van, so I'm probably not fooling anyone. Oh well, maybe they think I'm singing along to the radio. That really IS the case many times and maybe it's equally dorky to be seen doing that, but at least we all know that we've all done it at one time or another, right?

So anyway, the other day during one of those 'conversations' (can you really call it a conversation when there's only 1 person involved?), I was practicing the way I give my testimony. In my attempt to explain God to my windshield (and the imaginary audience in my head), I was trying to come up with a word to explain why God is so, well... amazing. The only word I could come up with was 'faithful'. It really all boils down to that, doesn't it? What other word describes his greatness & awesomeness?

Think about it.

He made the world & humans. The very first humans He created lasted a very short time before they screwed up big time. He could've said "Ya know what? These 2 didn't work out very well. Let me grab this big cosmic eraser & start over." But He didn't.

And then those very same screwed up humans went & procreated. They had to. Gotta populate the whole world & all. And two of their first couple of kids were constantly in a battle. One of them even killed the other one. Come on. All of us parents have seen sibling rivalry. But killing each other? Wow. At that point, He could've grabbed for the eraser still. I mean, there were only a couple generations of people on the Earth at that point. He still had time to wipe them all out & start over. But He didn't.

Fast forward a few years to the Israelites. They were in captivity for years. They were slaves to some pretty bad dudes. After a hundred tries to convince the Pharoah to let them go, God pulls out all the stops & throws some really nasty stuff at the country & the Pharoah finally relents & says "Make Him stop this! I'll let them go if God will stop with all the plagues." Moses picks up his staff & hollers for the Israelites to high tail it out of there. They run out of town before the Pharoah changes his mind & sends an army after them. God splits a sea down the middle & lets the Israelites through on dry land before closing up the gap & drowning the army chasing after them. They wander through the desert heading to the promised land for 40 years. God provides them with food, leadership, protection. And when the going gets rough, rather than trusting God to take care of everything (hello? He just split an ocean down the middle...He can take care of things!), they build idols to worship & pray to. After all that God has done for them, they basically spit in his face & stomp their feet & focus their affections on a chunk of gold or rock. About this time, as a parent, I would've reached down & smacked my kid for acting like this. But does God? No!

I could tell you story after story. Throughout the Bible there are stories like this. Over & over & over & over, God's people mess up. Over and over, God is faithful to them regardless. And life today is just like that.

I was reminded today while reading a caringbridge website for a local coach who was seriously injured in a car wreck in November how faithful God is. The coach's daughter commented about something that made me smile & sigh a happy sort of contented sigh. This is what she said:
I vaguely remember learning about involutary systems in the body--the things our brain takes care of without our help. Our heart beats, we breathe, our lungs inflate, our wounds heal, we fight infection. Who among us get credit for this work? Each day we arise to a world in which our God has laid a bounty of health before us. He does it so consistently that we rarely notice.

Our immortal, invisible God works silently and invisibly to sustain us every day. Praise to an extraordinary God who works in wondrously ordinary ways. We have seen His work and we rejoice!
As I read her words, I was reminded how faithful He is to all of us. Day after day after day, we wake up. We breathe. We stand & walk to the kitchen & fix a meal. Our hearts beat. Our brain functions & we speak. In our health & physical well being alone, He is AMAZING, but it goes so far beyond that. In Job 38, God asks Job to remind Him "Were you there when I created the foundations of the earth? Who was it that told the waves how far they could come & told the moon where to stand in the sky?" (paraphrase mine) None of us can take credit for such huge things, but few of us think to stand before Him daily & praise Him for being so very faithful to us...for giving us breath, for allowing our hearts to beat again today, for giving us legs that walk & arms that reach, for letting us live to see another day at all!

God made us. He created each one of us in such a SPECIAL way. We are unique down to our fingerprints & the number of hairs on our head & the specific DNA that only our body contains. Have we thanked Him for even THAT lately?

Have we thanked Him for anything lately? Have we praised Him for life, for family, for freedoms that we take for granted? For homes to live in? Food to eat? The basic necessities of life? The luxuries we all live in & partake of? For the phones we talk on and computers were stare at til our eyes hurt? For soft beds to sleep in and clean water to drink? Probably not....because we forget about the very basic things we all take for granted.

And yet still He sent His only son to live & walk among us, to suffer and die a brutal, grotesque, horrid death IN OUR PLACE. He ALLOWED His child to lay down on a cross & ALLOWED men...the very ones He drill giant spikes into his wrists & feet. For us. So that we could have a relationship with Him. He LET His son take on the literal weight of the world.

And yet we mock Him. We live a half-hearted relationship with Him. We read our Bibles when it's convenient....or push it under a stack of magazines when a friend comes over. We spend more time listening to music & watching movies & TV shows and surfing the internet and reading novels and talking to friends than we spend praying and pressing our hearts up to His. We go to church and yawn through the sermon because it's dragging on too long. We whine about memorizing Scriptures, the very words we need to know best. We treat our relationship with Him so poorly while it is supposed to be something more like a marriage. How many of our spouses would stick around if we treated them with such contempt?

And yet, day after day, He is faithful to us. He is faithful to a faithless people who treat Him like dirt much of the time. We screw up, He forgives us. We call to Him & He is there. We beg for help & He gives it. We beg for freedom from our chains and He releases us.

Because He loves us with a love so great none of us could ever even begin to tip toe close to the edge of understanding it. A love that should make us fall our our faces with every breath and praise Him.

He is so faithful to us even when we are faithless and arrogant.

Our worship pastor at church has written a song that shakes me to the core every time we sing it. The lyrics to "Forever Faithful" are below. Read it and then find a way to praise Him & be grateful to Him. For everything. Every day. He is faithful!

Let the song of faithfulness rise up from these
You have blessed
Let every strain of praise be Yours
Forever faithful and sure

Let the tale of providence ring out loud
a song of Him You sent
Every praise is Yours alone
Forever faithful and strong

Weʼve no worth, no payment we could make
Nothing deserving of Thy grace
We are faithless, frail and weak
But time after time we have seen
Youʼre forever faithful

Let the sound of thanks arise, lives set free by Your sacrifice
Every song we sing for You
Forever faithful and true

Weʼve no worth, no payment we could make
Nothing deserving of Thy grace
We are faithless, frail and weak
But time after time we have seen
Youʼre forever faithful

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Can you help?

I know some people think it's crazy to have "online friends". But I've never been one to shy away from the "crazy" label. ha ha! I have LOTS of online friends. I met them through Facebook or by reading their blogs (and them reading mine). I met them through email groups when I joined looking for help or support for various things in my life. I've gone on to meet some of those people IRL (in real life). Those moments spent together are some of my sweetest memories. As you can see by looking at my sidebar, I read a lot of blogs. Many of those blogs are local friends or blogs written by families I'm praying for. But quite a few are distant, far away friends whose faces I've never seen in real life. I've only seen their flickering images on the computer screen. But I feel like we've known each other for a long time!

One of those blogs belongs to my sweet friend Amber. We met when I started reading her blog a couple of years ago. Seeing the title of her blog "Striving for 31" intrigued me because, as a Christian woman, I am always striving to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman. I think Amber had commented on another friend's blog (I can't remember whose!) and when I saw her blog title I was hooked. I began reading & discovering that, at the time, we had something in common. Amber's husband is a pastor. At the time I found her blog, mine was too. Outside of that detail, we only share one other common bond - Jesus - but that's enough! While our families don't look just alike and we live halfway across the continent from each other, she is one of those people that I know I would spend a lot of time with if we lived local to each other. We just "get" each other. And one of these days I'm convinced I will get to see Amber with my own eyes, face to face!

You can read more about Amber's story over on her blog, but through a series of fertility troubles, Amber can no longer carry a baby. However, her heart is not "done" being a mama. Amber and her husband have spent hours in prayer asking God to show them which route to take to add to their family and they've chosen to adopt from Belize. They have 2 little ones waiting for them and they need some help with the money end of things. They are doing all sorts of fun fundraisers, but for those of us who aren't local to them & can't participate in those events, here is a way you can help!

Go to Amber's blog by click HERE and see if you can be one of their 10. I did. I sent in my $10 and I'm asking you to do the same if you are able.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be by Max Lucado

As my regular blog readers know, I participate in Book Sneeze (see right hand side bar for the Book Sneeze button where you can learn more). I received this book months ago. I really have enjoyed reading it, but to be honest, it's been hard for me to finish it due to the nature of the type of book it is. I love pretty much anything by Max Lucado, so I felt like this would be a highly enjoyable book. I didn't realize, when selecting this book to review, that the book is a gift book sort meant for high school (or maybe college) graduates. Considering that it's been nearly 20 years since I graduated, this book was clearly not written with me as the primary audience.

The book's theme centers around the uniqueness of every individual and the potential God has in store for each of us. There are many chapters in this small book and each one is an encouraging short devotional-type of read. I found that there were, what seemed to be, excerpts from some of Mr. Lucado's other books. Or perhaps the material was similar in nature & it just "felt" like a repeat of some of his other books. There aren't any references to his other titles, though, so a first time Lucado reader might not see this.

The book was hard for me to finish reading because I am not in a season of my life where it applies to me. If I had a child or a friend who was graduating, however, I would recommend the book. The mini-chapters are easy, quick reads.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome, 2011!

In searching for a 2011 image on Google, I came upon this one (above). There were lots of other ones I could pick from, but this one just seemed right. Really look at it. The numbers are on gift bags. And you know what? Every new year we get to celebrate happy & healthy is a gift!

How many people do you know who lost a loved one unexpectedly in 2010?
How many people do you know who were diagnosed with cancer in 2010?
How many people do you know who divorced in 2010?
How many people do you know who miscarried or had a still born child or lost an child in 2010?
How many people do you know who were in serious car wrecks, plane crashes or other unexpected accidents in 2010?

The point is, we aren't promised tomorrow. We're not even promised our next breath. Life is fragile. In the grand scheme of things, our lives on this earth are so brief. Rather than make a list of resolutions that you'll (likely) never keep, let's all resolve to live this year for THIS MOMENT. Make sure you're right with your family & friends and most importantly with God. You just don't know. Will you be happy & healthy when January 1, 2012 rolls around?