Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr. S

Haven’t done a shout-out to Dr. S. since last summer – which was last time I was hospitalized, so HURRAH! that I made it to (and well past!) one year!!

Anyway, saw Dr. S. Wednesday and just wanted to give him some props. Especially since I was in and out of the office in 30 minutes – the bulk of which I actually spent in conference with Dr. S. (I know – you just fell off your chair, didn’t you? Yes, there is a doctor who spends more than 30 seconds with you and actually treats you like a person and doesn’t have cheap signs posted all over the office about all the fees you will be charged if you look at the nurse funny or wear a weird hat on Friday and other such nonsense!) This is one of the many reasons why he's my fave.  Including that I always get quiet time to sit and read with no distractions when I go to his office.  (Wednesday was an anomaly; I usually plan about 2 hours for a visit - plenty of time to catch up on my latest book.) 

Hooray, hurrah, huroo!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Modern Day Joseph

(Tricia here: I am a little behind on my to-be-read list, so this is another that so far all I have for you is the official word.  But I am looking forward to reading this one, so - more to come!!)

Watch Linda Weddle’s introduction to How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph on the Awana website.

Awana has launched a national campaign to help parents and churches work together to grow spiritually strong kids.

The Modern-Day Joseph campaign is modeled after Joseph of the Old Testament, who maintained his faith in spite of challenging circumstances. It features insights for growing kids spiritually, plotting out critical milestones from the toddler years through adolescence to raising a modern-day Joseph while allowing for the uniqueness of each child.

Introducing the latest resource in the Modern Day Joseph series – How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph: A Practical Guide for Growing Great Kids by Linda Massey Weddle:

As parents, we strive to help our kids grow into their full potential. We help them with their homework, enroll them in activities, and invest for their college education. But while we may plan for their success, we can overlook a vital part of their personal development: nurturing and encouraging a solid foundation of faith.

We can easily assume our children are growing spiritually in church youth groups and programs, but the Bible calls us to guide them in their relationship with Jesus.

The life of Joseph offers parents a biblical standard for building children of character. Drawing from his story, this book will help you do just that. Inside, you’ll find a unique guide for creating a personalized plan for your child’s spiritual growth, from preschool through high school. This practical guide will help your child:
· Respect the awesomeness of God
· Acquire wisdom from the Bible
· Understand God’s grace
· Gain a sense of destiny and purpose
· Develop a life-perspective based on God’s perfect plan

The result: Children and teenagers who know, love, and serve the Lord.

So invest in their spiritual development. And create a legacy of faith that will last a lifetime.

Author Bio: Awana Senior Designer of U.S. Programs, Linda Massey Weddle is a gifted teacher, speaker, and prolific writer. A children’s author and regular contributor to publications, she has published twelve books and more than 2,500 articles, stories, devotionals, and radio scripts. Linda also develops Bible-based curriculum for young people and has been involved in children’s and youth ministry for the past forty years. She has two grown children and six grandchildren and resides in suburban Chicago.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let it out, PSA Edition

A series of public service announcements.  Because I care about you.  It’s how I roll.

• If you don’t show up for work until 10am and leave at 2:30pm, your work day will go much faster. Just don’t forget to check your inbox before you dash out, as there might be something important in there. (me: oops!)

• Quaker Oats Weight Management Instant Oatmeal is yucky. It has Splenda in it, so if you like Splenda, this may be nectar of the gods to you. But if you don’t like the little yellow magic sweetner, stay away from this nasty mush. (If you enjoy this divine dish: A) my apologies if I offended you and B) would you like 19 free packets?)

• Speaking of nutrition, if you have a latte for breakfast, cake for lunch and then cake again for dinner, sneak in some veggies somewhere, as there is always the chance your youngest will come up to you at 9pm and say “Mom, for my health report I need you to write down what you had for breakfast lunch and dinner today”. (At that point, do you set the bad example by lying, or by honestly admitting what you ate?  At least I had that glass of milk with cake slice #1!!)

• Dance leotards are very constricting. I don’t think I have worn one since I was 5. I have had this one on for an hour (with at least 3 more to go) and I am overheating. I, who am never hot, am suddenly having much better empathy for the hot flash ladies. (update: after 4.5 hours, I did figure out what I can now wear when I am freezing and just can’t get warm – my new leotard! This will nicely help justify the cost!)

• Don’t let your husband venture far from your sight if you are at church on a Wednesday he is not on tech duty. If you do, he will not be off duty much longer. (update: ha ha ha! Totally different ending than I expected. He found out he is coaching a basketball team of 3rd through 6th grade girls! If you know Jim, this is hilarious. First meeting: tonight. At church. At 6:30. He found out at 6:25.  Did I mention tee hee hee?)

• Burger King sells bags of ice. Not sure why or what the drive-thru demand for bagged ice is. But now, if you are desperate for ice, don’t want to get out of the car (and would love a jr whopper with cheese), your life is now bliss my friend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And Rain Will Make The Flowers Grow

Lately, God has been speaking to me about suffering, pride, His sovereignty, and living a life that glorifies Him, draws others closer to Him, and makes Him famous.  But it all seems to come back to learning about suffering and looking at in an atypical manner - how it is not about me, but about God.

I don't know if God is preparing me for something, encouraging me in my suffering (which is relatively minimal), or equipping me to minister to others who are suffering.  Maybe it is all of those.  I don't know.  He has yet to show me, or I have yet to listen well enough to hear what He is quietly saying.

Here are some verses I love on suffering, comfort, and hope; they have been my foundation in times of trouble.  I am sure you know them all, but humor me.
Psalms 34:18,19 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
Isaiah 26:3,4 - You [God] will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock eternal.
Psalms 139:7-12 (this is a longer one, so I will not print it here, but it is a reminder that wherever we are, God is there and will shine in the darkness of our lives)
Isaiah 40:28, 29 - Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (all emphasis mine - I just love how it is saying "He-lo-o!  God is GOD!  Get that in your head!)
Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Revelations 21:4 - He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Psalms 31:24 - Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalms 31:7 - I will be glad and rejoice in your love for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
II Corinthians 4:8,9 - We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Psalms 27:14 - Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalms 3:3-5 (again, you can look this one up on your own, as I am getting a little long-winded here - but keeping stick with me just a bit longer)
These verses, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg.

I believe good comes from suffering.  I believe Love never fails.  I believe God is in control and loves us deeply.  I believe suffering can draw us closer to Him.  I believe we are blessed when God gives us a glimpse of the joy that can rise from suffering.  I believe even if we never see the good, God fulfills His promises and He is glorified and someone (or someones) is blessed.  I believe that even if we never get that opportunity, that insight, we are still blessed and God is still glorified.

But how do you encourage someone who is suffering without sounding callous?  How do you say "Hey, there is joy in this, brother/sister!  It is a good thing"?  Do those who are suffering really want to hear: "You know, this is really great news."  I have never experienced a truly great sorrow, but I have been told the last thing people who have want to hear is comments like "it was God's will", etc.  But at the same time, it IS God's will that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess.  He gave His own Son to make that happen, so we know He is willing to sacrifice for us.  Shouldn't we try to be able to sacrifice for Him in return?

Just thinking out loud here.  (thinking through my fingers?)  I will end with this:  There is hope in suffering.  Take heart, the Lord is God.  I know my Redeemer lives.

Would love to hear your thoughts...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


(Tricia here:  Y'all, this one was really good.  The official word is below.  In the interest of length (or brevity), I will give you my two cents in a separate post.)

“There has to be more than this…”

Who among us hasn’t at least thought this in our most honest moments, even if we haven’t asked the question out loud? Though we know we should count our blessings and be thankful, we still wonder, “Is this all there is? Surely there must be more to life than what I’m experiencing.”

Regardless of the current economic situation, our current job stresses or family struggles, we would still be searching for something more. This longing for something more was placed within us by God Himself so that we would search for Him. While we try to substitute all sorts of things with the hope of satisfying our deepest longings, relatively few find true and lasting satisfaction.

Don Cousins, author of Unexplainable: Pursuing a Life Only God Can Make Possible (David C Cook, September 2009), says that this longing is something every one of us feels. Cousins gives the example of an interview that quarterback Tom Brady did with 60 Minutes a few years ago in which he talked about his successes in the NFL. Brady stated that he was making more money than he ever thought he would make playing football, but even with all of the money, all of the attention, all of the adoration, he knew that there was something missing. Brady asked the question, “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think that there is something greater out there for me?’s got to be more than this.”

In Unexplainable, Cousins shares with readers that God created us to find life in Him, and apart from His involvement, we will never find the life He intended. “As Jesus said, ‘I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly (John 10:10)’.” Cousins explains, “God wants the only explanation for us to be Him. Most people don’t know it, but they too want God to be the only explanation for them as well. When we experience God’s influence in and through us, we enter the realm of the UNEXPLAINABLE.”

Unexplainable is broken into four parts in which Cousins takes three longings found in every human heart and shows how only God can bring satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Apostle Paul refers to it as “the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension.” It is a peace that is unexplainable because it surpasses human comprehension. It is a supernatural peace. When this peace (contentment) floods the human heart, it enables the recipient to be content regardless of their circumstances in life. This is the contentment for which we all long. Regardless of how “good” life is, such contentment is unattainable apart from God because it is the “peace of God.”

God has given us a desire to succeed in life, and no one wants to be a failure. The world has its definition of success, and most are living according to this definition. While meeting the world’s definition of success brings a measure of satisfaction, it falls short of truly satisfying the longing of the heart for success. Our God-given desire for success can only be satisfied by Him, based on His definition of success, not the world’s. Perhaps the greatest implication of this difference is seen in the fact that worldly success comes to an end when one’s life comes to an end. Godly success lasts for all eternity, and as eternal creatures, it is this success for which we long.

Everyone wants to matter. Everyone wants to count. Everyone longs to be valued and considered worthy. However, significant in the eyes of the world is performance based. While this sort of significance brings some satisfaction, it once again, falls short. What each of us truly longs for is significance that is based upon who we are. We each want to be loved, valued and considered worthy simply for who we are. This understanding of significance is not attainable apart from God. While the world expresses love that is conditional, only God’s love is truly and completely unconditional. The fact that we are made in God’s image provides us with all the significance we will ever need

The final section of the book outlines some key ingredients if we are to move from the EXPLAINABLE to the UNEXPLAINABLE by embracing God’s truth. Cousins offers practical, biblical instruction regarding the steps each of us will need to take in order to experience the Unexplainable.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Real Men Wear Pink

I love me some pink-wearin' football players!!
I think they should keep it up even after October.  Just look at how much better the photos look with the little splashes of color.
(PS - Want to do your part to fight breast cancer?  I am still taking pledges (and walkers) for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.)
(PPS - GO COLTS!!!!!)

View this gallery at The Indianapolis Star: Colts vs. Titans: Action

Thursday, October 8, 2009

As Seen on TV


Check this out: 
You may know there is a series on ABC called Castle.  Personally, I like the show.  (Which, by the way, doesn't bode very well for the show.  Generally, if I like it, it gets cancelled.  Thus I am extra impressed this show made it to season 2.)  ANYWAY, the premise is there is an author, Richard Castle, who writes mystery novels.  They all center around his character, Derrick Storm.  Well, Castle is bored with Derek and having a very dry period creatively, so he kills off his very popular character.  Through a murder investigation (the murderer was recreating murders from Castle's novels), he begins working with NYPD - originally as part of the murder investigation and then in order to "research" his new novel (with a new character based on the no nonsense female cop he is shadowing).  It is the mystery of all the CSI such-and-such, but with a little less gore, a little more wit.

So today I found this on Amazon (it's also on Shelfari):

Yes, that is right.  A real book you can purchase "written" by "Richard Castle".  Again I ask:  Seriously?  Talk about your marketing tie-ins.  It just cracks me up.  And annoys me because it assumes we are naive enough to believe Richard Castle really exists and really writes books that people who are not fictional characters can read.  (Or maybe we are supposed to wink back to show we are in on the joke, too?)  That being said, you know now I am going to have to read it...out of curiosity if nothing else...

Monday, October 5, 2009

No Idea

Spiritual Rebirth…the Sequel

In Greg Garrett’s edgy new memoir, the critically acclaimed author of
Crossing Myself tells the next chapter of his amazing story

The official word:
“Once you’ve decided that you’re going to live—no mean feat for some of us—how do you figure out what you’re supposed to do with that life?” --Greg Garrett

One thing is guaranteed: life on this earth is unpredictable—and sometimes frighteningly so. How can we as Christians live faithfully when we’re not quite sure where the path ahead is taking us? How do we find joy and purpose in the midst of the uncertain, the unfinished, the uneasy? In the stirring follow-up to his critically acclaimed spiritual autobiography Crossing Myself, author Greg Garrett explores the universal journey of life by tackling these questions with thoughtfulness, transparent honesty, and humor.

After touching thousands with his intimate memoir about faith and depression, Crossing Myself, award-winning writer and teacher Greg Garrett turns his attention to the ongoing problem of living faithfully in No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows (David C Cook, September 2009). Taking Thomas Merton’s famous prayer that begins, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going” as his inspiration, Garrett looks back at his own journey and tells engaging stories out of that life that will speak to everyone who has ever felt lost along the way.

While returning to faith and community, Garrett finds a motivation for living in service to the Church and to others. By examining how to learn and live with what we’re supposed to be doing, he proves himself a provocative, appealing, and truly helpful companion on the often meandering, sometimes confusing path of following Jesus. His reflections on family, relationships, faith, and vocation will encourage readers to reflect on their own experiences and discover how God might be working in their own lives.

In this spiritual memoir that’s automatically distinct, Garrett appeals to young Christians and seekers in the edgy, transparent style of Anne Lamott, Don Miller, and Cathleen Falsani. A candid and stimulating look at discipleship, discernment, and joy, No Idea is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to walk the right path but has no idea what step to take next.

No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows by Greg Garrett
David C Cook/September 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1434767967/208 pages/softcover$12.99

Tricia's Take:
Okay, I haven't finished this one yet.  Started it, but I haven't read his other book, so I think I am a little behind.  Will give you my official word when I finish.  (Have two sick kids and am homebound, so hope to catch up on some reading in the next few days - when I am not just being Mom (which is a pretty rockin' job))

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stretch Marks

When a daughter becomes a mother, can she learn to accept her own?

In her latest novel, Stretch Marks, author Kimberly Stuart takes an unflinching look at sex, pregnancy, and divorce
The official word:
With her trademark irreverent humor and a surprising and satisfying take on romance, popular author Kimberly Stuart beckons readers to a wild ride of weird cravings, swollen feet, and a growing belly in her new book, Stretch Marks (David C Cook, September 2009). In this comic yet poignant novel about mothers and daughters, Stuart bravely tackles the issues of divorce, sex outside of marriage, and single parenthood as granola-eating, sensible shoe–wearing Mia is forced to face her estranged relationship with her mother.

Mia Rathbun is an earth-conscious, yoga-practicing twenty-something living in Chicago. She’s overworked and underpaid as a social worker, she belongs to PETA, and she recycles the tops of pizza boxes. Her boyfriend, Lars, is a free-spirited freelance writer (read: mooch) who disdains the conventions of marriage but is happy to build a life with Mia. That is until Mia becomes pregnant.

Left on her own, Mia just begins to accustom herself to the looming prospect of single parenthood when her mother, Babs, shows up to “help.” Babs is a cruise ship hostess who cannot abide her daughter’s affection for wheatgrass, tofu, and deep breathing. The two have an estranged relationship but are forced to connect as Mia’s belly grows and Babs is faced with the promise of a grandchild.

Mia also has a whole neighborhood of quirky characters who want to help, including her BFF Frankie, a magenta-haired librarian; Silas, the courtly gentleman of indeterminate age who lives downstairs; and Adam, proprietor of the corner grocery store where Mia shops. But it’s Adam—endearing, kind, possessed of a perfect smile and impeccable Persian manners—who ultimately charms Babs and rescues Mia from more than one mother-induced meltdown. Could it be that Mia and Babs might actually be able to get along?

In an authentic but tender novel about family, grace, and the importance of a good grocer, Stretch Marks doesn’t shy away from hard issues and unlikely hope. “Not for the weak of status-quo-heart, Stretch Marks is a relevant story of a daughter who becomes a mother and, in the process, learns to accept her own,” says Stuart. “I wrote this book because I think the characters will resonate with the not-so-average Christian reader and the more-likely-average non-Christian reader who grapples with the craziness of being a girl and then a mother in an unexpected way.”

Tricia's Take:
I liked this book.  It was different and not so formulaic as some of the books in this genre can be.  I heartily applaud the author's choice to go in a different direction.  The book did a good job of avoiding some of the stilted dialogue and manufactured situations that can happen in a "chick-lit" book with a character traveling on a path toward a relationship with Christ.  (Or maybe some people talk that way and I just don't happen to know any such people).  Although it did avoid some of the trappings, there were a few events that seemed very forced and weren't necessary for the plot, so I am not sure why the author went there.  But it was still an entertaining - and refreshing - book.  I would read something by this author again.

Fulfilling Frugality

Fulfilling Frugality

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