Saturday, January 30, 2010

Question Answered

I again never really meant for my blog to become all about books, but I know it has an overwhelming theme of reading. I understand. I love when people tell me what to read and what not to read. I again am not an expert on books. Reading a lot does not make one an expert I am sure, but I do read a lot-always have. And having a long reading list complete and an even longer one still to read does not make me anything-except a reader. That said I keep getting questions on the blog similar to this one.

"I know you've read a lot of books, but what ones are the core. Like, what 10 books would you take with you and read for the rest of your life if you had to and why?" -Lisa K.

Okay, I'll answer that one.

1. I would take the Bible in the NASB and The Message (parallel edition so it only uses up one book! ha!). I love to study from the NASB and I love the way you can sense God's heart in the Message. I alternate between them all the time.

2. I would take the C.S. Lewis classics collection because you can definitely read C.S. Lewis over and over again and learn something every time.

3. I would take the Chronicles of Narnia too. Every time I've read it my longing for Heaven someday is renewed and my desire to live for the Lord today is further established. Pretty incredible for a "children's" series.

4. I would take Robert Benson's Between the Dreaming and the Coming True because it's been my favorite book of all time for more than 6 years and I feel like it's spot is secure.

5. Something of Brennen Mannings-Probably Abba's Child or maybe Ragamuffin Gospel. It would be hard to choose.

6. I would take my personal quote book that has all my favorite quotes from books that I've read for the last 12 years. It's my most treasured possession.

7. I would take The School of Dying Graces which is a true story of a man and his wife as she's dying of cancer. Entries from her journal are raw and incredible. The dying have much to teach the living and this book does it best.

8. I would take Kristin Billerbeck's Spa Girls series. I normally don't read "chick-lit" but she is so, so funny.

9. I would take Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers because seriously there has never been a better fiction book written. Ever. And it's long-bonus!

10. And it's a toss up between My Utmost for His Highest and Streams in the Desert, but I think I'll have to go with Streams. My very favorite devotional.

That would keep me entertained for a little while, but I don't know about my whole life! Yikes :) Good question. What 10 books would YOU read??

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I should have seen it comin

Oh I should have seen this bad day coming from a mile away. Yesterday was the best day I've had in months. Bible study in the morning was the best it's ever been. I loved learning about the Adamic Covenant and how God established a covenant relationship with us. He sets up covenants on His terms and He keeps them. I can't explain it very well, but trust me, it was fantastic. Work was good. Bible study last night was awesome. Such great conversation and beautiful reminders that God wants us to be free even more than we want freedom. I could go on about that forever, but trust me, it was awesome. Then the best conversation I've had in weeks and the start of some excellent accountability at dinner. I went to bed last night exhausted but totally in awe of all that the Lord had done.

I'm soooooo glad last night when someone mentioned that we should be prepared for trials for being in the Breaking Free study that I just nodded and agreed like that was the best thing I've ever heard. GOOD GRIEF! I should have taken that as a warning and said some extra prayers. I bet Satan was thinking to himself, "That's fine. You enjoy your little Bible study, your little time with God. I've got PLANS for you!"

Today dawned. Sigh. It's been a battle since before my feet hit the floor this morning. Stress at my house, unfocused time with the Lord, frustration at work that by me being frustrated really changed nothing, and a bunch of other things that don't need to be mentioned. I feel like I'm filling out Satan's scorecard. And I hate that. I hate that I let him steal everything that yesterday brought to my soul and to my life. And by steal I really mean willingly handed to him. STUPID!

I can't change today, but I can make sure it has changed me. I should have seen it coming absolutely, but I also should have seen HIM coming. I should have known He would have been there had I handed him even one of the mounting frustrations of this day. I should have trusted that not a moment of this day took him by surprise. I should have rested in the fact that He still loves me and thankfully sees me as I long to be in Him. I should have taken a moment to re-establish His lordship in this life. I should have. But I didn't. And maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but taking the time to be miserable about it and seeing it as something I don't want to happen again MIGHT just be progress in itself. I'm going with that anyway so if you disagree PLEASE don't tell me! :)

The struggle of faith I suppose. Yesterday I think God could have been sitting next to me and would not have felt any closer. And today, well, today I wouldn't want anyone to think that's what God looks like. Life is so frustrating.

I'm so glad God sees us for what we can be in Him. That He focuses on the finished product and not the process itself. I need the bigger picture and new mercies tomorrow for sure!! Maybe taking life one day at a time is too much. Minute by minute might work better :)


I'm seriously conservative to the point of being totally boring most of the time. That's not an apology or an explanation, just an observation. I feel certain I would have fit better into society several decades ago. I have some wonderful friends who hold very similar values to my own and are themselves very conservative. Most of them live forever far away from me, but still I'm thankful for them about 800 times a minute. And the rest of the world around me I want to choke most of the time.

I will preface this by saying that I have not in any way arrived. No really, I haven't. I cannot think of another season in my spiritual life that the Lord and I have so much to work on it's making my head spin. I fluctuate several times a day between being very thankful for grace and feeling like the biggest project the Lord has ever undertaken.

But I've really had enough of people in my life professing to be Christians and living their lives for Christ and being involved in all kinds of things they have no business being a part of. And then somehow convincing themselves that this is not only God's best for them, but HIS WILL. I'm fairly certain that the standards the Lord set for his people have not changed. If you like things changing to fit the way you think, then be Morman. Otherwise I'm sure the Lord would like you to do things His way.

About 6 months ago I felt very much like God was telling me 2 things. 1. Do not be mediocre. and 2. Do not compromise. It did not feel like a suggestion. It did not feel like a threat. It just felt like what I needed to do at any cost. It wasn't the easy option and it still isn't. By far life with the Lord isn't boring, but sometimes it makes Thursday nights feel boring :) And still I feel like it's totally worth it. I want to live for the Lord now more than anything this world has to offer at any given moment. But it's hard sometimes.

It's not my responsibility to know the mind of Christ. I don't know how he picks what to do or when to do it or who to bless with what at what time. I don't know. It doesn't always (ever) seem fair to me but it wasn't exactly fair that Christ hung on a cross for sins I committed either now does it?

But I will tell you one thing. I'm totally done with participating in other people's compromises. If you ask my opinion about the sin you're living in, I'm going to tell you with all the love of Jesus I can find. People do not need other people to make them feel better about their sin. I need more people in my life to tell me the truth about a lot of things, and I'm going to tell the people in my life (who ask) the truth too. As a matter of fact I already have in recent weeks both given and received hard truth. I found it much easier to give (ha!).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Indwelling our life. Col 3:4
Sometimes our spiritual lives require a jump start. A new beginning. A fresh revelation. A renewing of our minds, bodies and souls sometimes simultaneously. A line in the sand if you will that everything from this point will not, cannot be the same. Once the information gets filtered through our minds and into our souls we have a responsibility to respond to it. And it's too late to go on with our lives the same way we always have doing what we've always done. Even in deciding not to decide we've made a decision.
I so love to read. I always have. And I especially love really, really good books that take you on an adventure and by the end you're just certain you'll never be the same. I love books that make the next one seem dull by comparison. And I especially love when you discover a book by accident and find by the end that the timing is absolute perfection.
I read a ton of books once, a few books twice and my all time favorite books three times. I can count on one hand the books I've read more than that. That said I've just finished The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas-for the 4th time! And I can say with absolute certainty it won't be the last time.
The danger in growing up with Christ is that we develop a kind of holy familiarity. Maybe you sat on the couch and prayed the prayer. Maybe you responded to an alter call. Maybe you asked Christ into your life and in exchange received some holy get out of hell free card. And maybe over time it seemed like enough. Grow up. Be a good human being. Don't go to hell. Check, check, check. And with that seemingly out of the way, we go on with our lives. People ask if we believe in God. "Of course." People ask if we are a Christian. "For sure." People ask if we're going to Heaven. "Absolutely." Sure we don't murder anyone, we try to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord, we read the Bible and prayer powerful prayers and our lives stay exactly the same. We have no victory. We're frustrated that we aren't doing all that we can for the Lord. We can't find our purpose in life and we're on a curvy road to who knows where most of the time. Maybe that's just me.
I grew up in church. I've professed to be a Christian for more than 20 years. I've been on mission trips. I went to a Christian college for 4 years of my life. And I only say those things to say, this really shouldn't be new information to me! How have I missed this seemingly simple concept that kept me up at night all last week? "Salvation is so much more than a change of destination from Hell to Heaven. It's not just Heaven one day, but Christ here and now." Jesus taking up residence within Redeemed Humanity. Yes, we do get out of hell free, but we miss everything if we stop there. I've always thought of living for Him, but totally not! It's all about Him living through me. Revolutionary.
"True repentance is stepping out of independence back into dependence." "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us."
I really, really admire people that live well. You know them. Some of you are exactly those people! People who just live really well. People you just want to hold onto because God comes out of absolutely everything they do. People that make you want desperately to have what they have even if you don't know what it is.
I've never felt that I particularly live well. I border on frantic about 90% of the time. Peace is a foreign concept to most of the situations I come into contact with and if things happen to straighten themselves out in a somewhat miraculous way I'm tempted to feel more lucky than that I trusted my way through that! God might still get the glory for putting the puzzle together, but it's not because I willingly handed over the pieces!
I've always felt like I just needed to do more. I needed to pray more and with more faith. I needed to read the Bible more and know more of the Bible. What an incredible weight to carry! With no hope of perfection in sight, it makes perfect sense to me now that we live in a state of perpetual disappointment. We're trying to do the impossible! "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us." "It's not a question of improving or being reformed, but of substitution." Christ IN us-the hope of glory. Again, why is this news to me? I have no idea.
The only thing that stands in our way is the flesh and I absolutely love the way he deals with that issue. We cannot reason with the flesh. We cannot bargain with the flesh. "Flesh has NO salvageable content." "The moment of truth comes when you stop exchanging courtesies with the flesh." "Dying to self is a wonderful position to be in because dead people cannot die."
And here's the kicker-"you cannot crucify yourself. that's God's business." Give it to Him. "Confirm the sentence of death for your flesh." Inform your flesh that you are, "Under new management" and then live like He is occupying every cell of your being.
Lest we need to look for a better example, Jesus "acted at all times on the assumption that the Father was handling the situation. That someone else was handling the consequences." He is our perfect example of letting The Father live through Him to touch all of humanity-even to the point of death! I don't even let Christ lead me out of the bed most mornings to spend time with Him. It's no wonder we feel so often that we aren't living up to our highest purpose.
That said, when we get this straight in our minds and in our hearts, Spirituality is, "Simply our availability to God for His divine activity." "If it pleases you always and only to do what pleases God -you can do as you please." And sanctification then becomes, "The highest measure of Christ's regenerate work being accomplished in our lives. Something (we) are being put to our correct use!"
If Jesus has truly taken up occupancy in our lives. If we have not just received a get out of hell free card, but we've truly received Christ Himself into our humanity then, "What should Christ expect from us? Nothing less than the behavior of Christ himself." And the great news is, it's not up to us to make that happen. We bow out and He bows in. "We vacate the flesh." And in doing so, He occupies our very being to go about the work He has planned. We're a vessel, but He's the captain. To the point that we look nothing like ourselves and everything like Jesus. That by bumping into us, people have bumped into the Jesus living through us. That by the example of Christ given the opportunity to live through our lives people see Him at work in the world. It's not even a little bit about us.
I honestly don't have it yet (hence the being up at all hours of the night!), but I want to. That alone has brought relief to be struggling soul. I want Him to have the freedom in this body to be all that He wants to be to the Earth around me. If I got nothing else out of the book, it's given me for now my new life motto. "My determined purpose is to know Him." And I would add to that, to let Him in.
There isn't another life. There isn't another decision. It's not a matter of if He's working, it's a matter of when I let Him in enough that He is able to accomplish the purposes He has for this life, for this moment, for such a time as this. It may be big things and it may be small things. I don't know and He doesn't have to tell me. I honestly feel like our purpose in life is directly in proportion to our yielding to Him. The more we get out, the more He comes in and that changes everything. our life. Col 3:4

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where is God? by John Townsend

Thomas Nelson Book Review

John Townsend is co-author of the popular boundaries series and reinvents himself in this realm of christian living with the title Where is God? Such a good question! This book is specifically geared for those facing hard times. I so appreciated the gentle approach that Townsend took-not degrading to those who are seeking, but comforting that God is also seeking them. There is great wisdom in the simple things and sometimes all any of us really needs to know is that He's there. God certainly doesn't need humans to be fulfilled, but He chooses to be a part of us, to relate to us in our humanity and to make himself known. What you'll discover by the end of the book is-He was there all along. An excellent read and a perfect gift for a friend who is struggling.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bonus Book!

Okay, okay. I just mentioned to one of my friends that Robert Benson's book was the February book of the month and she cracked up laughing and said, "Brenda, everyone who knows you at all has read that book or had it quoted to them by you!" She might be right. So feel free to read it again and it is still our book of the month, but additionally we're going to be reading Beth Moore's latest book So Long Insecurity set to release Feb. 2nd. (YOU GUYS ARE KILLING ME WITH ALL THIS READING!) At this rate we are going to be well rounded, spiritually mature, super readers by December! I was going to save her book for March but okay, fine-we'll read this in February too :) And why not-I'll review this one too! You all are the best! Happy reading :)

Book Club February

YES! This is me breaking my own rules about not having Robert Benson as a book of the month feature. Ha ha! We have so many new readers that have never read this book and hear me talk about it all the time so the time has come. Again. Between the Dreaming and the Coming True is the February book of the month. I wore out 3 copies all by myself. Everyone I've ever known to read it loved it, but I highly doubt anyone is brave enough to tell me they didn't :) So by all means read it or read it again. I've totally lost count of how many times I've read this book and I absolutely plan to read it again in February right along with you. It's just the best! We'll discuss it at the end of Feb. complete with my list of quotes from the book most of which are all over my house:) ENJOY!

And the fiction pick of the month is Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate. I LOVE Lisa Wingate. She's hilarious and a very easy read. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Francine Rivers

So I don't usually read books about happy endings - I'm a little dark like that. I like when everyone is dead by chapter 3. I can't help it. I just do. But along the way I've made a few exceptions and Francine Rivers is one of them. If you haven't read Redeeming Love then by all means stop reading this blog, get your hands on a copy and take the day off to soak up all the love of God contained in a wonderfully long book. And then read the Atonement Child. And then read her Lineage of Grace Series. And hopefully when you're done her latest book will be available! March 16th Her Mother's Hope releases and if her history of being an author is any indication it will be worth the wait! You can see the book trailer here:

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Well it's just been one of those days. Last week was one of those weeks. I want to tell a whole bunch of people including yours truly to GROW UP. I want to tell a few people who have volunteered uninvited opinions about my life to SHUT UP. And more than once in the last 24 hours I have just had to stop and beg the Lord to SHOW UP!!! (P.S. If you get this blog in any form - it isn't you. I'm not that crazy!!)

I'm so tired. I've heard stories of suffering and heartache at rapid fire pace for exactly 23 hours and 20 minutes straight now. I'm so happy to be here for people. But really. I'm exhausted. Mentally I've got nothing left and 24 hours to go. In the middle of work today 2 of my friends are suffering the unexpected loss of their marriages due to affairs. They want answers and they want me to have them. I mean what good is it to have a friend in mental health when she can't do a thing to help? It's so frustrating. They actually just want me to be there which I'm glad to do, but I want to do more. I want to fix it. "All" I can do is keep handing them to the Lord. He has the answers and He is the Answer but my heart is broken for them.

And I've got a few unanswered questions myself tonight. It's one of those moments where I'd really like Jesus to come down here and drink free refills coffee with me at Starbucks and help me sort through a few things. I have complete faith that He has given me all the information I need for now, but I just want a few little pieces of encouragement that He's not finished yet. Life just feels a little bit like a commercial break lately. Sometimes I just want the Lord to physically be here to give me a big hug and say, "We haven't even gotten to the good part yet!" He knows what He's doing-good thing!

Well, I'm drowning in paperwork. Thanks for listening to me ramble. Just feel better putting words to frustration sometimes :) It's just 27 minutes til midnight and I'm claiming lots of new mercies tomorrow.....and maybe even a nap!

Friday, January 15, 2010

So much

Ahhhh! I have so much blogging to do! I'm hoping to get some posts to publishing this weekend. Just a reminder, we're halfway through January and our bookclub books for this month are The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I am planning to review them both January 31st. I will get the February book list to you soon!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Make that fiji. See very tired!

400th Post!

Well this is my 400th Post. How ridiculous is that? I don't have an exciting enough life to fill up every night of any given week, but somehow I've found enough to ramble on here about for 400 posts! And you all stayed with me. I need a moment :)

Since I'm working on some super spiritual (?) posts for next week and I'm so tired and my brain is completely fried - you're stuck with this random stream of consciousness. Lucky you.

Dilemma-I really really love my new wide assortment of Sperry shoes most of all my new patent leather black shoes, but I really need to wear heels because it's better for my ankle. But my feet feel happy in Sperrys! What to do?

I could not move my neck on Friday very far and was afraid if I turned suddenly it was seriously going to break right off. So, I scheduled a VERY deep tissue massage at lunch which helped a bunch. My massage therapist said, "Man! You really don't manage stress well at all!" Ouch in more ways than one. My lungs must be bruised because my back is killing me but hey, my neck moves. Can't have it all :)

I ate 12 mangoes last week. Honestly I did. I don't know why, but I really really loved mangoes last week.

I didn't sleep well at all last week which makes the weekend super fun!

I'm a little depressed that my massage therapist is right-I don't manage stress well at all lately.

I've already earned a free drink with my starbucks gold card that I've had less than a week. Okay. 2 drinks. SHHH!

I don't know where I'd be without Truvia.

I tried a new version of Arm and Hammer toothpaste today that's green and it made my tummy hurt and my lips turn bright red. WHY? Back to the plain old white kind for Brenda.

I feel a little nauseated remembering that. I'm going to throw it away now.

I'm thinking about running a 5K which would require me to......start running again. It seems like light years ago that I finished a marathon. Sigh. The good old days.

I think cell phones should charge by solar. It's 2010. Someone sciency get on that.

I really, really, really want to go to Figi. I'm thinking it won't be that long before I go there. By not that long I mean like in the next 10 years. Or 20. I can't wait!

I need a vacation. Or just a few minutes. Or an hour.

HAPPY 400 POSTS! You deserve a big high 5!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


My Favorite Coffee

People are always asking me what coffee to drink. One more time drinking large amounts of it does not make me an expert, but here's my favorites just for you :)

Starbucks: Sumatra, Christmas Blend, Shade Grown Mexico, and Pike's Place

Door County Coffee: Highlander Grog and Country Morning

Innkeepers: Java Estate

Coffee Times Coffee: Cinnamon Nut Graham

For the record, the reason people get so addicted to Starbucks coffee is because they roast their beans just to the point of burning them a little bit. You get used to that kick and everything else either isn't strong enough or tastes funny by comparison. Smart marketing technique starbucks :)

To coffee!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book of the week

I love to read (surprise!), but I especially love when a book comes from nowhere and consumes your life for the moment. I love when it speaks right to where you are on the journey and encourages you to keep going. Someone mentioned to me the other day that I should read The Indwelling Life of Christ by Ian Thomas. I'm sure I've seen the book. I just never paid any attention to it. But I love a good book recommendation so I read it. And then I read it again. I'm currently on take 3 and it may not be the last time. I cannot tell you how this book is right where I am right this moment. I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! I'm going to post next week in great detail about what this book and some other teachings by him have meant to my life, but until then, I think you should read it and let it transform your thinking about "Christ in us the Hope of Glory." It's my book of the week. Enjoy! (9781590525241 )

My dearest friend

I started blogging for me. I love to have an outlet to write and share my life with family and friends, but it really started just for me. In my heart I'm really good at journaling. In my real life I hardly ever do it. Typing 90 words a minute makes journaling easier by keyboard! But I secretly would love to be 80 years old and have an office surrounded by years of recorded excerpts of God's faithfulness. Maybe someday.

Occasionally I get a comment on my blog that makes me know it's worth it. Sometimes I think all any of us really needs to know is that someone, somewhere is willing to walk our pace to get to our destination. We don't need advice. We don't even need a shoulder to cry on that often. What we need is to know that people will be there if we need them. A safety net. Someone you can call at 3 am even if what's incredibly burdensome at the moment may not even matter by 9 am! Someone you can honestly say to, "I know God is in control but right now it doesn't seem like it!" and know that they will drop everything to take your concerns to the Father on your behalf.

I'm so blessed to have a person just like that in my life. It boggles my mind that we've been friends for 14 years. I'm sad a little every day that we live exactly 988.80 miles apart (some days it feel like more!). We're nowhere near the same age. Our lives do not mirror one another. There's really no reason we should be friends. But God knows better than we do. We have walked every spiritual step of the last decade and a half together. I cannot tell you the literally hundreds of times God has put one of us on the other's heart only to find that something significant is going on in our spiritual journey. It reassures me every time that God loves us and cares for us in this life. I haven't lived anywhere near her for 12 years, but our relationship in the Lord could not be stronger.

And we always pick up right where we left off whether it's been a minute, a day, a month or several months. Aren't those relationships the best? I got this e-mail from her today and just had to share it. Not because of me, but because God can take our little offerings and turn them into something that can bless someone else. All the glory to Him for sure.

Kathy Fillman-you are the best thing that ever happened to my spiritual life. I could talk about the Lord with you continually until He returns and it wouldn't be long enough. Thanks for always encouraging me to live for Him. Let's live MUCH closer in Heaven!


Just had to drop you a quick note and let you know how much God is putting you on my mind lately .....physically, spiritually, and mentally. Your blog of 12-30-09 on "the kind of solace of surrender" -- WOW!! ---for us to be 30 years apart in age and still experiencing the same thing---you just put it in words what all my feelings have been -- God does not see us as we are He sees us as we will be with Him in eternity. "To look within ourselves now and be discouraged is to miss it all. God, you look at us in your tomorrow and rejoice over us as one finding great spoil."

I am in the fifth week of Beth Moore's new study on Breaking Free -- 10 years ago she set me free and she is doing it again -- in session 4 she ends the tape with a very emotional response to God -- she said "Won't it be wonderful when we meet God face to face in eternity and He says to us -- "WE MADE IT! WE MADE IT!! You and I WE MADE IT! I want to stand firm and not let Satan's lies deter me from the truth God has for me. I am going to walk this out with Him and you Brenda -- you Brenda --have enlightened me so many times with your blog. I am so glad God has journeyed our paths together.

I am also praying for your mind as you journey through each of these days -- God has many plans for you -- you are a faithful servant of Him ....

All my love to you Brenda -- stand tall --you are a precious, chosen Daughter of the King!!!

Hugs, Kathy

Hugs right back to you sweet friend.

Who in your life needs to know that you are blessed to be walking beside them on this journey of faith? Tell them!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How To Reach Your Full Potentail for God by Charles Stanley

(Thomas Nelson Book Review)
I would love to think at the end of my life I will stand before the Lord and He will say, "You did everything I planned for you to do - to perfection." I don't know if from a human point of view we can ever get this life 100% right, but I sure would like to get it a little more right a little more often.

I love to hear Charles Stanley speak and I find his books simplistically life changing. He has answers we probably somewhere in our heart already know, but we need to hear it again. I found so many comments in the book convicting. "You are not here by accident. You are not on the earth merely to live a certain number of years, months, and days and then die. You are here to accomplish a job that God assigned to you from eternity past." I loved the reminder that our purpuse is four fold: God has a plan for us, we have the gift and talents we need to fulfill that purpose, nobody else can do it, and we must establish firm committments in order to find our purpose. "If you truly want to reach your full potentail, you must have a clean heart, a clear mind, and a balanced schedule."

I read the seven areas of ongoing renewal and promptly put them on my bathroom mirror.

1. Continually reaffirm your committment to the Lord (I am committed to being obedient to the Lord no matter what)
2. Continually reaffirm your priorities
3. Reestablish your disciplines daily (say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things)
4. Reaffirm your desire to do your best
5. Rekindle your enthusiasm
6. Continually refresh yourself in the Lord (daily quiet time, prayer, meditation)
7. Revisit the vision God has for your life (choose to want what He wants)

In God the best is always yet to come and our potential for Him is still to be reached.

Book List

Okay, I failed miserably at keeping up my book list from last year. And now I wish I had done better because I want to one year have a list of the books I've read for the year. This year? Maybe. Here's a start:

Reading Now:
Burn by Ted Dekker
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (book club)
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (book club)
How to Reach Your Full Potential for God by Charles Stanley (for Thomas Nelson)

Still to read: (In no particular order)
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
The Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler
Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
Maggie the Dog who changed my life by Dawn Kairns
The Guernsey Literary by Mary Ann Shaffer
Darkness Visible by William Styron
Night, Dawn, and Day by Elie Wiesel (some of the best books I've ever read)
Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent
Losing My Mind an intimate look at life with Alzheimer's by Thomas DiBaggio

There ya go :) It's a start. I'll try to update more than....well....never :)

happy reading!

Saturday, January 2, 2010



You crown the year with Your good blessings, and You leave abundance in Your wake. Psalm 65:11

I rang in the new year with friends in a low key, hang out and watch fireworks evening by the lake. It was wonderful. And I spent New Year's Day doing absolutely nothing. I had planned to be a bit more productive, but it didn't happen. Exactly what I needed. I finally got out of my pajamas at 4 A.M. this morning when I got called into work. I think I slept 20 hours in 24 and I don't even feel a little bit lazy about it :)

I always kind of hate for New Year's to be over because then the holidays have officially come and gone. But, I always love it too because we can get back to real life which in it's own mundane way is comforting.

I love new beginnings. I love the opportunity to start again at any point. And I love most of all that Jesus welcomes us to leave what has been behind and press on to what He has in store for us in Him. We don't have to be what we've always been. We don't have to do what we've always done. We can be better. We can be different. We can be more faithful and more focused. We can step into all that the Lord has for us in this moment, this day, and this year.

I don't know what God has called you to in these 12 months, but I do know that we are closer to eternity with every breath we take. Knowing our days were numbered and planned before the foundation of the world, it makes no difference whether we are 20, 60, 80, or somewhere in the middle. We could be living our last moments on the earth even now. How are you living them in preparation for eternity? Personally, I don't want this day to be wasted. I don't want these moments to be thrown away and completely miss the opportunities God has placed in my path for such a time as this.

I certainly believe in a balanced life, but I feel like God is calling me this year to be much more focused on Him and what He is doing in this life. I guess if we're going to be "out of balance" it is better to lean a little more towards Him! I'm excited about the opportunities that are presenting themselves to grow in my relationship with Him.

-I'm super excited to start Beth Moore's Bible Study the updated version of Breaking Free with some of my very favorite people January 12th. I have done this study twice before. It's amazing, wonderful, painful, and breath taking. One of my favorite thoughts from it is that God did not intend for us to manage our strongholds, but to be free of them. I think freedom in Christ is difficult to grasp and even more difficult to maintain, but it is certainly God's best for us.

-I love the bible study I'm in on Tuesday mornings on Systematic Theology. My favorite parts of college were those classes that didn't just teach the bible, but debated topics that were not so black and white. It's one of those bible studies that you think about all day and then at like 3 p.m. you think, No way! That is so neat! Almost as if God has everything figured out. Maybe that's just an ongoing revelation to me :)

-I'm looking forward to some opportunities for accountability. I really, really don't like the whole concept of accountability, but my relationship with the Lord has grown and prospered over the years with accountability in ways I could never produce on my own. And being keenly aware of this, I'm jumping in with both feet believing that growing in my relationship with the Lord is more important than anything else.

-I'm not going to read the whole Bible through this year or read the Bible in 90 days both of which I have done and loved. But I am planning to stay in the Word, and listen to the audio version of The Message this year.

-One of my favorite things of last year was reading books for Thomas Nelson and blogging about them. What's not to love about free books? I have read some life changing material and some not so life changing material both of which I really enjoyed. I'm looking forward to reading much more for them this year and along with my own blog book club having some great conversations about books.

And with that we embark on a new year filled with adventure. Praying that you wouldn't miss a single blessing God has in store for you and that by this time next year with have fallen more deeply in love with the Lord than you are today.