Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Review: The Noticer

I review for BookSneeze

So I realize I'm a bit behind the times in reviewing The Noticer(especially since I received my copy from Thomas Nelson last year).

Still, better late than never, right?

The Noticer, by Andy Andrews, is about an elderly gentleman who appears on the scene at the opportune moment and disperses just-in-time wisdom to individuals in crisis.

Ok... can I just be honest here? This book was a nice read. Nice. That's how I would describe it.

It wasn't rivetting. It didn't reveal untold wisdom. It certainly didn't present many original ideas.

For most of the book, I felt as if I were reading a conglomeration of several recent catch-phrases and pop-sermon series that have appeared on the Christian scene in the past 10 years.

At one point, I even said out loud, "I swear I just read that in The 5 Love Languages."

All in all, it was nice. A nice read.

As for a recommendations? I would say...Take it to the beach. Chillax with it in the hammock. Leave it on the back of the toilet. But don't expect it to change your life.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Second Time Around

There was a time in my life when the biggest thing I dreamed of - the thing I believed for and prayed for and invested all my time in - was a house. A big white house with Charleston green shutters, a red front door, green gables, and a wrap-around front porch. I had dreams about this house. I knew that I knew that I knew that this house was destined for me and I for it. I figured the reason the "Lord" had put this desire in my heart was because of my gracious hostessing skills (ha!)and because He had some fabulous home ministry planned for us. I believed this statement so much that I was absolutely convinced the Lord was going to give me my house. Not "provide a mode of payment" or "supply an excellent mortgage rate." No, I believed the Lord was going to flat-out give it to me. I was certain that I would come home one day to find a deed in my mailbox. Seriously, y'all.

My husband wasn't quite this dramatic, but he too desired a house like this one. Even as a teenager, when I asked him what he wanted for his life, he responded, "I want a wife and a family and a home (with a swimming pool) where our children can grow."

But in the past year (more accurately in the past six months), the Lord has done some work in our hearts.

It has been a long time since I stopped believing for that house. It wasn't a big, dramatic event. I didn't decide one day that God wasn't going to do it and so I should just give up on praying for it. No, what has happened has been more gradual, more grueling, more (I believe) eternal.

The "American Dream" that we have always wanted has been replaced by a different kind of dream. Bigger houses and nicer cars and well-paying jobs suddenly seem insignificant.

I don't know what that means for us. I don't know where this new world-view will take us. What I do know is this... I don't want what I want anymore. As I look back over the past 6 years (since Hubby and I have been married), the Lord has systematically given us everything we have asked for (in one form or another), and what we have discovered is this: the things we want - the things we have spent time and energy and prayers and faith and money and our life trying to achieve - they are vapors. Paper. Bricks and mortar. They don't last, and they often disappoint.

So now? Our goal is to get away from them. Proverbs says "The borrower is a slave to the lender," and boy don't we know it. Because of the debt that we have accrued, our time and money do not belong to us and therefore cannot be committed to God or His Kingdom. So, for now, we give Him what is His (the tithe of our money and time) and we bust our booties to buy our freedom. Because this time, freedom will look different. It won't look like houses and cars and nicer clothes.

It will look like surrender.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On blogging....

Blogs are such a strange thing. I mean, really.

Writing, in general, is difficult. It's taking what's inside - be it gut-wrenching pain or gut-splitting humor - yanking it out of its "safe place," and allowing it to flow through our fingers onto a page.

Several emotions present themselves through that process.

Sometimes the emotion is one of inadequacy. Sometimes there are not words to describe the whirlwind that's happening on the inside. Sometimes there are words, but we are not allowed to use them in Christian circles. Sometimes when the words finally do come, they are incomplete, empty, a black-and-white cartoon of the masterpiece in our souls. They are, inadequate.

Sometimes the emotion is fear. Sometimes the words are too adequate, too accurate, too real. The deepest parts of the soul are exposed for the world to see and judge. To accept or reject. To adore or ignore. In the moment we decide to publish - be it on a little blog page or in a master novel - longings and hurts and happiness and fulfilment are placed in the hands of a total stranger, and we learn if we are truly alone.

Sometimes the emotion is akin to freedom. Sometimes writing releases that thing that has been hiding from the world, and hiding us from the world. Sometimes it heals us to know that the secret is no longer ours to bear. The shame and fear of someone discovering us no longer binds or hinders. The light is cast in the shadows, and there is no more crouching or skulking, clothed in our trench coat of isolation.

Then sometimes... sometimes the emotion is faith. Only it feels less like emotion and more like action. Even obedience. Sometimes we write when we have no way to predict the outcome. Sometimes we expose our soul for no other reason than we feel like it's what we are supposed to do.

That's where I'm at right now.

It's not pretty, y'all.

A Link I REALLY Hope You'll Click....

I'm pretty sure I have linked to this before.

But in case I haven't, you seriously HAVE to read it.

Because of where I'm at right now, the Lord has had me reading this article by Jonathon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) every single morning.

It hurts my heart, and it convicts me. Ugh.

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood