Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good Books for February

In January I began a daily dive into C.S. Lewis' works entitled A Year With C.S. Lewis.  I love C.S. Lewis.

The last week of January I read Silence.  Have you heard of this story?  It's now a movie, which I haven't seen yet, but I want to. 

I cannot wrap my mind around missionaries or people of a minority religion that live in a hostile country, how do they stand even in the midst of what sounds and looks like silence from the very One they are suffering to cling to?  Why are some able to stand and others are not?

I am still thinking about and wrestling with this story.

The last week of January, my kids listened to an Andrew Clements book, No Talking.  We have absolutely loved discovering Andrew Clements.  We have (in the past) read Frindle and The School Story.  I cannot wait to read more of what he has written, he is an excellent author.  

This month I have (more than) a few books on the stack.  I have picked up and put down Ann Voskamp's book The Broken Way several times.  I hope to try and finish it this week.  I have also started (but not yet finished)  The Prayer of Protection by Joseph Prince and You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith (a new to me author that I really, really like).  We have had SO SO many doctor appointments this month that I grabbed a book each time I went out the door to pass the time waiting in the various waiting rooms.  Each time it seems, I grabbed a different book.  

So this is my list to get to (besides the ones mentioned above) both for my personal reading and for read alouds:

A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 

Clementine (the last two in the series) by Sarah Pennypacker

Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson

So embarrassed to admit this but we still need to finish Mary Poppins and Heidi.  We truly have had a LOT of medical issues/appointments this month, but my goodness...

Oh before I forget, I've also really, really enjoyed Dr. Christopher Perrin's talks on the Eight Essential Principles of Classical Pedagogy.  It has carried me through many a long afternoon.

What's on your stack to read this month?

Monday, January 30, 2017


Sometimes I want to say something, to reflect on what is in the news and how our world is changing - sometimes seemingly by the hour, but then I ask myself 'what do you really have to say about _______?'


I don't have any words of wisdom to offer,  I am so confused about what we are supposed to do and what we are not called to do.

I understand the desire to keep our country safe, I tend to always be the type of person that thinks of safety first, however I also understand the deep desire to offer compassion and refuge to those fleeing war torn nations.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be them.

I don't know what the right answer is,

I cannot imagine how hard it would be to be the one(s) making those decisions right now.

I cannot imagine how hard it would be the one(s) awaiting the decisions others are making right now, knowing that it will likely forever change the trajectory of life.  

So this morning as I take a break from our phonics drills and endless math pages and find myself worrying over this - I sink to my knees next to my comfy swivel chair and I pray.

I pray for our president, for our administration.  I pray for the exhausted, hungry, and afraid.  I pray for our world.

Please God direct our steps and help us to only keep our eyes on You.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Have you heard about

Matthew Barnett, the pastor from CA running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents?

If you haven't - start here and then check here for his updates.  Before you get lost in the twitter feed though, make sure you read the tweet from yesterday (Jan 28) that starts off  'Probably the hardest day of my life.  Still walking as fast...'

God is always the author of the impossible.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Today I have been reading and listening to a few different things.  One of those was an article I happened upon yesterday by Misty Winckler and am still chewing on, the other is a sermon by Francis Chan that I kept seeing in the side bar on You Tube, and finally watched.

I wrote this note down from Misty's article - self-control not situational control.

And then had an 'Oh.Yeah.' moment.

I think I sacrifice self control in pursuit of situational control.  When in reality I need to forgo situational control (seeking it) and instead, go all in, fully pursue surrendering to God working in and through me self-control.

Then when I was listening to Francis Chan I wrote this quote down from his sermon.  'Our job is not to calm the sea, but to make sure our boat is in tact, heading in the right direction, & that our crew is strong & courageous.  Steady.  Focused.  Encouraged.'

He was speaking to a group a pastors and was speaking in regards to the church.  But as I was listening I was thinking in terms of my family, my kids specifically.  I am not called to calm the seas of their lives, I am just called to make sure our boat is strong.  I am called to make sure we stay the course.  That we stay focused.  And that I speak encouragement.

Friday, January 20, 2017

my one word

I have a love/hate relationship with choosing a word to govern my focus for the year.  Inevitably, it seems, when I choose a word the lessons and trials begin.

For example, the year I *reluctantly* chose patience as my word, our paychecks were late, promises from people were sloooooow to be fulfilled, doctor offices were slooooooow to call us back, pharmacy issues snowballed which resulted in us waiting and waiting and waiting to get insurance approval or medicines in stock or a prescription filled, our car stopped working and we needed to buy a new one and our car dealership was slooooooow to come through with various things so we were without a car for roughly two weeks.

Then there was the year I chose frugal as my word and within six weeks financial struggles cascaded and it seemed like we ended that year waaaaay worse than we began it from a financial perspective.

Last year was the word tidy and I won't even begin to tell you how messy my kitchen table is right this very minute.  *sigh*

So this year, I took even longer than normal thinking and observing, looking for areas in my life that were weak, could use some work.  Over and over and over God showed me prayer.  People would randomly bring it up, you know you need to pray more.  People would text or call or email and ask me to pray for them.  The desire to talk to God, to commune with Him has increased over the past few weeks, and so I decided that I would choose the word prayer to govern my focus for 2017.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

so far 2017

has been just as hard as 2016 was.  Health issues are staring down their noses at us, doctor appointments are stacking up.  Sigh.  It could be worse, yes I am aware of that.  Unfortunately I am also just as aware that it could be so much better.

So what do you do when the new year isn't so new and your resolutions just seem like a joke at this point?

You cry out to God.

I am quickly realizing (I seem to get amnesia and need this reminder over and over and over) He is my only hope.  Not necessarily that things will get better or easier.  But that He is with me no matter how hard the day is.   I am also realizing what I for years referred to as faith, was just a poor substitute.  It was situational based faith.  If the situation was favorable, my faith was strong.  However as soon as the situation turned south, my faith crumbled and I felt insecure and a little unsure of God.  Why wasn't the situation getting better, I was asking in faith?  Well the truth is He has promised Himself, not an easy day to day life.  Life is unpredictable.  I cannot look at my circumstances and build my faith, I need to look at Him and build my faith so that I can accurately see my circumstances.  

A few years ago I read the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller.  HIGHLY recommend this book.  Anyway if you google Prayer Cards Paul Miller you will get a lot of amazing ideas.  This was one of my favorite posts.  The first two caught my attention.  My spiritual formation and areas of surrender.

Anytime that I see any of my children struggle, suffer, or stumble...great waves of anxiety crash against the walls of my heart and mind.  I find myself having to surrender over and over and over  Only to catch myself worrying and fretting a few minutes later.  I know God is mighty and sovereign.  But that truth doesn't consistently rule my heart or my thoughts.  I also have so many things to do every day that I find the momentary urgent crowding out the enduring truth.  Since I am a very visual person, I decided this afternoon I needed to make myself some prayer cards.

How do you keep His Word or His promises in front on you?  How do you remind yourself to continually look at Him instead of the turbulent circumstances you may find yourself?