Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

To end the week <3

Just a couple of closing thoughts to our week and wow…yesterday…that spacing on the written portion.

So Sorry…

for some unknown reason my copy and paste feature didn’t allow me to format the text to my normal spacing.

I try to give you all plenty of white space between all my words because it makes me feel like I am not cramming it into your brain…

sigh…

like I would if I was actually talking to you…

because…

ask my family…

blah…blah…blah…I talk A LOT….

So two (hopefully) quick additions to this week’s thoughts.

#1. Here are the books that are currently, as of this moment, sitting on the coffee table and in my bag I carry around and on my nightstand…which means I am in the process of reading all of them in snatches of time I can grab for such a luxury/necessity.

Reading these to prepare for teaching Sunday mornings on our current study based on attempting to understand the Middle East and Islam:

The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent by Erwin W. Lutzer

No God but One Allah or Jesus?  by Nabeel Qureshi

Philistine  by Ramon Bennett

Recently gifted for my birthday:

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (I purchased three of her books a number of years ago, I found myself skimming through the first one, Bread & Wine at the halfway point. I did finish it, but did a quick scan of the other two, Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines  and decided I had other things I would rather read so donated. There was nothing wrong with any of them, just not a time investment I felt like making)  I am finding this book to be worth my time right now and a depth I did not find in the previous books mentioned above.

For light reading and inspiration in creative arts…

Simple Decorating by Melissa Michaels (remember when I did her book launch series for Make Room for What you Love? Check out posts in that category of the archives if you have absolutely nothing better to do with your time this weekend…(insert smile)

and

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond which is just full of fun pictures and great food – cooking and tips – and it is a treat to just live vicariously through this cattle ranch cookbook <3

 

And now…

#2 A follow up for yesterday’s post about living like you are loved…like you have been set free.

Because when we begin to realize…

truly realize…

the depth of what that means.

When we ponder what our “belonging” cost God..

and when we meditate on the sacrifice He made on our behalf.

It should bring us to our knees.

I fear in our efforts to make Jesus “approachable” we have forgotten that it was a gospel of repentance that He preached.

Repentance means we have come to an understanding that we sin.

I fear we have confused political incorrectness with sin and have begun to accept tolerance as our standard of morality.

Increasingly, we are confusing attempting to please a god of society’s own making instead of bowing gratefully before the God who CREATED us and SAVED us from our own sorry selves.

I do not think there is any way that we can rejoice in His salvation by demanding that everyone, including God, affirm us in who we have decided we are.

We must acknowledge that we were born with a sin nature, and that before we knew God…He loved us.

And He made a way for us to be restored to Him.

And now that we have accepted His death in our place, we live in obedience and worship of Him.

And if we think, for one minute, that we have all of that figured out and can put Him in a nice, neat box and tie a bow on it…

that would be a very good time to once again go face down before Him and remember that He is God…and we are not <3

We will spend each day in the process of sanctification until that final Day.

So ….here is a very good place to start living like you are loved, like you have been set free…

 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.

Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

Live in peace with each other.

 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

Rejoice always,

 pray continually,

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 Do not quench the Spirit.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good,  reject every kind of evil.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Brothers and sisters, pray for us.

 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss.

I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  

1 Thessalonians 5: 12-28

And of course, there are many more, in my most favorite book…

 

 

The Extras…my short list for recommended reading <3

I was trying to fashion this into a well-written post…but yesterday…this happened…

mom brought Sweet Caroline and the band of brothers down for the afternoon and we went to the zoo…

or were the zoo…

or both.

While she took the wild bunch on the train, Lola and Caroline sprinted across the width of the zoo to wave at them as they went under one of the observation decks.

And as I passed under those same trees and around the curve leading to the train station so I could wave them into the dock, I realized that it was just an eye-blink ago that I was the mom keeping little arms and legs contained as we creaked and squeaked along that track.

And I may have cried.

Just a little.

Because time marches on but the soul holds fast to the eternal.

Which kind of brings us to my list of books to recommend.

We are currently blessed (or perhaps overwhelmed) with copious amounts of Christian-based reading material these days.

Thanks to new publishing methods ranging anywhere from blogs, to self-publishing, to a constant stream of new books and studies from established publishing houses; there is much to choose from in all areas for women, men, relationships and church life.

Constantly.

My thought regarding these is…just like a good diet of food…choose wisely what you spend your time reading.

Select books from authors that you know are solid in their teaching or are endorsed by others that you know are solid.

Sometimes as I am reading one of these new books I realize that it is going nowhere and I have begun to do a quick flip through of some of the chapters. If I see it will continue to just be more of a diversion than a profit to my investment of time, I will feel quite free to pass along to a donation center.

If I find it is completely false in what it is proclaiming…I happily recycle it in our large plastic bin in the garage.

Garbage in…garbage out, a mind is a terrible thing to waste…you are what you read…etc…

Which brings me to the books I go back to time and again.

Classics on my shelves.

These are books that speak eternal truths from authors who loved Jesus against the backdrop of THEIR culture and time.

Because the Bible is relevant and God is the same yesterday, today and forever…yet is always doing a new thing…cause well…He’s God…

my favorite authors are the ones who didn’t write to their times..but wrote to the glory of God and so their words transcend time and culture and can be applied right here and right now.

For books on prayer I recommend:

Valley of Vision the prayers of the Puritans – if you have never read the tabs at the top of the blog (under the Journey Onward banner there are tabs that include “About You”, “My Mission Statement” etc); the one that says “Journey Onward” explains this blog’s connection to this book I love so much.

Anything written by E. M. Bounds and Andrew Murray, but particularly Murray’s With Christ in the School of Prayer and The Ministry of Intercession.

I will also include two modern books on prayer that I have read through several times each and still go back to for quotes:

Touching the Heart of God by Ernest J. Gruen

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

As for Christian living/developing and growth type books; I have worn out the pages of these favorites:

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

and additionally, an expanded study of this book and the disciplines found in…

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.

I would conclude with one last dearly loved and heavily marked up favorite:

Knowing God by J. I. Packer.

Those are all good places to start.

I don’t read a lot of fiction.

In fact I learned a number of years ago that is one of those “good things” that is not a “best thing” for this girl’s active imagination.

I have a tendency to move so deeply into a well-written story that I can begin living there instead of here…and I realized that it had become a form of idolatry.

However, God is all about freedom not legalism and so occasionally I let loose the grip of fear that I simply CANNOT read fiction.

Such was the case when a friend gifted me The Undoing of Saint Slivanus. This is Beth Moore’s first effort at fiction and I loved it.

A gentle visit into well-developed characters and the regional landscape of life in New Orleans…or as I would say…

New AH-lens, Lew-weeeez-eeee-ahnna.

It was refreshing and uplifting and had me on the edge of my seat.

A great, fun and inspiring read.

So that’s my short list.

Happy reading and I will see you tomorrow, you book-worm, you <3

 

 

 

 

Happy Fourth <3

For us…

the Fourth of July is just way more than the birthday of this country.

Because ….

this guy…

was also born on the Fourth.

So we have taken advantage of the holiday to visit family…

in the Pacific NW <3

To celebrate…

this sweet lady’s birthday…

and…

play and…

play some more.

To stop and smell the roses…

or whatever these lovelies are called.

To

rest…

and

connect  and…

refresh our spirits and bodies and hearts <3

So Russ and I are enjoying a break and wish each of you a Happy Fourth and a great rest of the week.

I hope you will join me back here on the Journey next Monday for a little series that’s cooking in my head…

something we will call…

VBSWOTGABYOS.

Curious?

Stay tuned <3

 

 

Just a random thought about entitlement …

We talk a lot about this monster called “entitlement” that is slowly eating away at the fabric of our nation…

how it creates a sense of being owed something in people and how it interferes with work ethic and perpetuates a bad attitude.

And we can see it all over the place…all the time…

but lately I have noticed it showing up in a most uncomfortable location.

Namely my mirror.

Here are a few examples of how I have been convicted of this in my own heart.

First off, I take a ridiculous amount of pictures.

And I save most of them.

On top of my own, I save a lot of the ones our family sends us.

As a result, I currently have 33,423 saved on both…yes both…our PC and my laptop. I also have about that many in a file that was saved from our OLD computer…I know.

Then I have 3,033 on my phone not counting the 442 hanging on for dear life in my Recently Deleted file.

Every now and again, I think I should probably look into some kind of storage place for them but gosh darn it…I don’t want to pay for it.

I was mulling it over the other day in the car, plotting and planning how I could somehow find someplace to store all this treasure trove of pictures and fuming about how I didn’t want to pay a monthly fee to someplace that stores digital records and it hit me.

Good grief.

Back in the old days I bought a camera, and film, and batteries. I paid to have the pictures developed and I bought albums and boxes and all manner of scrapbooking materials to preserve them. (I didn’t actually scrapbook….but I do have all the supplies if and when I ever decide to do that)

So now I use my phone, download them to my computer and grouse at the thought of having to give some money to someplace to keep them in a file in case this computer ever crashes.

And that, my friends, is E.N.T.I.T.L.E.M.E.N.T.

By golly the internet OWES me.

Or here is another one.

Every morning I write this post and then I share it to FaceBook so that it stands a better chance of finding people who might need a word of encouragement.

Normally it works great, I share it and it randomly picks a picture from the post and adds the title. Looks amazing. Click share and post and done.

Except the past two weeks, for some unknown reason it is hit or miss on the picture being included.

I love pictures. (proof would be in the paragraphs above about the sheer volume of them taking up space on my hard drive and memory)

And I am all mad at this vehicle that provides me, FOR FREE, a way to share what I write, because it didn’t perform the way I wanted it to.

E.N.T.I.T.L.E.M.E.N.T.

There are all sorts of things in this age of INSTANT that fuel this potential in me to think that I should be catered to and served…

<3 ordering online; because the stores are closed but I want to shop

<3 drive thru fast food, banking, dry cleaning, coffee shops; because I don’t want to have to park my car and walk in to do my business

<3 texting; because I want to tell you something RIGHT NOW, and I expect you to answer ASAP

<3 weather forecasts, latest ballgame scores, medical information, store fliers, directions…everything is at my fingertips right now…

unless I hit an area with poor internet coverage and then I am fit to be tied.

E.N.T.I.T.L.E.M.E.N.T.

I am thankful for the nudges I have been receiving lately that remind me that the world doesn’t owe me a thing.

Nor does God.

In fact, quite the opposite…He has given me what I don’t deserve and didn’t earn…

GRACE

FORGIVENESS

MERCY

A NEW LIFE

His holiness for my sorry selfishness.

He calls me His child…

and I respond by looking for ways to serve…

instead of ways to be served <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just the facts, ma’am <3

Have you ever heard the joke about the difference between asking a man and a woman where they bought the meat you are being served?

A man will answer he got it from such and so meat market.

A woman will ask you why?….

And if there is something wrong with it?

And how she cooked it too long and the last time she made it she used a different seasoning and add in other reasons why it didn’t turn out as planned..etc etc etc…

Sorry if you find that an offensive stereotype, but personally it hits me right where I live every day.

Jumping to every possible dire conclusion I can about the motive behind the  simplest of questions and comments is my first response.

The wheels in my head start spinning and I am backpedaling before I even get the words to sputter out.

By nature, questions throw me off.

I am sure if I spent several years in counseling and delved into my psyche there is some kind of explanation for this quirk but I don’t have the time, money or interest in digging to the bottom of that Pandora’s Box so here is what I am learning to do to defeat this onslaught of defensiveness when someone asks me a question about something I have done, am doing or plan to do in the future.

You may want to jot this down if any of this is resonating with you so grab a pencil.

I will wait….

Ok.

Ready?

Here it is…

Just. Answer. The. Question.

I know.

So simple.

When someone asks me where I got, say, the shoes I am wearing…

instead of explaining that I had foot surgery and now I have to be careful to select shoes that I can use the inserts the podiatrist made for me, because you know…fallen arches…and I don’t really have to wear them all the time but he was right, I am finding that I actually want to wear them and I went ahead and bought them before they were marked down because it’s really important that I get good shoes so I buy fewer pairs, making sure that the ones I get are good quality support for my feet…

I listen…

and I think…

what piece of information did they just ask me to give them?

And then I say…

Von Maur…or Macy’s…or wherever I actually purchased the shoes they just asked me about.

So simple.

Or at least I do that more often than I used to.

I still find my brain rushing to all the possible reasons for the motive of the question, but on my better days…

I am working to…

you know…

just

answer

the

question.

A work in progress…that’s me…

How about you?

( That was not a trick question, I promise <3 )

So there you go…happy Monday! Hope you have a great start to your week <3