Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Book Club

So, here's the deal. I'm busy. So are you. But I don't want to just cancel the book club for the summer because I love to read and I know most of you do too. SO, Here is the list of the classics for the summer. 2 for June, 2 for July and 2 for August. Read them in any order you'd like to. I will review ALL of them the last week of August. To make up for the lack of reading, I will be going back to my Tuesday new review posts to give you options for summer reading. Good? Glad we're on the same page (pun totally intended!!). Happy reading!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catching up

I know!!! If I cross my heart and promise to do better will you all still be my virtual friends?? 2 weeks! I haven't gone that long without blogging-well, ever! I do most of my blogging at Starbucks and I can't even remember the last time I had a Starbucks for here with a great book and my laptop. Must make more time!!

A few matters of business - We are reading Laura Bush's new book Spoken from the Heart for our May book club. I will review it by the end of the month. Starting in June, we will begin a look at the classics for the book club the next few months. These are short but packed full of useful information for our spiritual lives today. We will do 2 per month and I will announce the whole list on Monday. Most of these are readily available in mass market paperback. Several of you have asked about building a good foundational Christian library and this is definitely the place to start. It's fascinating that the things classic authors struggled with in their faith many decades ago, we still struggle with today. Maybe in a different context, maybe with different media outlets, but we're all still human and we all will spend a lifetime overcoming our tendencies to be unlike Christ.

Coming soon to a blog near you (THIS ONE!) are posts on:
Accountability and how I'm surviving it
Systematic Theology saved me from a meltdown
Waiting to worry
The decision to join my church
Scoopable Truvia and my lifelong quest to eliminate sugar from the world
And a name drop

Stay tuned!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thank you!

Thank you for all the very sweet comments to the blog and the e-mails! So love doing life with all of you. Thanks again :)

Genie in a Bottle/To be single

Ever have one of those weeks? Me too. This past one. When it hit midnight tonight I just about did a cartwheel. I'm so glad those days are behind me. It's nothing to write home about and it feels like everything I've been building up to in 100 different ways fell to pieces. One of those weeks where you open one eye in the morning to see if the sun came up before you commit to trying one more time. I cannot stand to end the day feeling like a failure in any area and this week I feel like I failed on all counts. Humanity!!

Too many of you live in the details of my life and I wouldn't want you to think you are the source of my stress. You are not. I promise. It's not really anybody. Just circumstances lined up to feel like I accomplished nothing, did not meet my goals, fell behind on so many things and handled everything poorly. Love when that happens especially all together. I knew I was stressed to the max when I ran 8 minute miles Thursday night!! My friend who I run with said, "Um, can we please slow down!" I become a super human runner when I'm stressed :)

And I've just been asked the wrong questions at the wrong time all week long. Nobody meant to hurt my feelings. It's not their fault that this week just seemed especially lonely. One person said something about love and then said, "like you. you need help in that department!" I'm sure they were kidding. It made me kind of sad. Someone else asked if I ever planned to get married and another friend from work said she would invite me to a Bible study but it was just for couples. So frustrating.

This is going to sound defensive, but I honestly don't mean it that way. It has never been my heart's desire to be married and have children. I didn't play with dolls or play house. I think staying home all day and doing anything sounds so boring I want to scream. I remember people asking me as a kid if I planned to get married and I ALWAYS said, "I don't know. Maybe." I have friends who were absolutely created to be wives and mothers. They are fantastic at it and every one of them says this is what they've always wanted. I don't know why. I just didn't. I didn't cut out pictures in magazines and dream of the perfect wedding day. In college when ALL of my friends talked non stop about taffeta bows and the perfect shade of pale pink I seriously was like BORING. It's just who I am.

That's not to say I wouldn't get married if the right person came along. This week in particular I just went on a tangent with the whole thing. I really get tired of doing life alone sometimes. I get so tired of eating alone all the time and coming home to an empty house. I get tired of thinking nobody even cares if I wake up this morning or come home tonight. Sometimes I do want someone to ask how my day is or care what's wrong. I want one person in the world to be on my side no matter what. Not committed because they have to be, but because they want to be.

I can hear several of you right now ready to hit reply and tell me marriage isn't all single people think it is. I work in mental health. I have friends in very unhappy marriages. I come from a divorced home. I know. And all that is probably part of the reason I'm not married to be honest.

It's such a hard place to be. My family thinks I'd fit in better if I was married and they're probably right. Honestly, I'd probably be disappointed too if my 30 year old daughter didn't have a husband and a child by now. Married people think there's something wrong with you and single people want you to be their spokesperson. I think the most frustrating part is people do not see you as a whole person. I'm not less of a human being because I don't have a "better half."

The comment that just about killed me this week though was spiritual. Someone who meant NOTHING by it I am sure said, "You are such a good writer and speaker. It's too bad you don't have a husband to be your spiritual covering so you could really do something for the Lord." KILLED ME. It should not have. But it seriously did. I can't remember the last time I've cried that long.

They didn't know that more than anything in this world-more than the perfect husband, more than beautiful children, more than all the money I need, more than the perfect house and the perfect life-more than anything-I want God to be able to use me. They don't know how many nights I've cried myself to sleep in the past 5 years begging God to be real to me and to show up in the circumstances of my life. They don't know how hard I fought to come back to a relationship with God that He is now my everything. They don't know that at the end of a lot of days He is ALL I have to depend on and that He has proven Himself over and over to be more than enough. They don't know that God has always, since the day He met me, been my plan A. They don't know that more than anything I want to be on His path fulfilling His mission and being a part of His plan for this life. They didn't know.

Here's what I do know. God is not a genie in a bottle. He doesn't grant us all of our wishes. He doesn't promise us anything in this life except that He will be with us. If it is His desire for me to be single until the day I die, then I want nothing different for this life. If He wants me to be married, He's going to have to bring the right person at the right time and make it crystal clear. And I believe He's perfectly capable of doing exactly that-if it's in His will for me. It might mean that I never go to a couple's bible study. It might mean that I never ever have spiritual leadership in my home to sit next to at church and pray with me at night. It might mean that over the course of a lifetime I may have to eat A LOT of meals alone and do a lot of this life on my own.

A moment of my life never passes when the Lord is unaware of the voids, the weaknesses and the strengths of this little life. I have just enough faith to believe He takes what we give Him and makes it into something beautiful. I'm not drop dead gorgeous, I'm not always the picture of stability, it's weeks like this that I think, "I wouldn't marry me either." But God never sees me like that. He always sees me as whole, complete in Him. I lack nothing when I am completely His.

When I kneel before the Creator of the Universe and bring my requests to Him, I have the undivided attention of the only one I'm living for anyway. He certainly doesn't have to answer to me. It's my responsibility to be obedient to His calling; to trust that He who called this life forward from before the foundation of the Earth will be faithful to see it through to completion.

It's weeks like this when I feel like I've failed as a Christian, when I have not radiated the love of Christ to anyone at any time, when I feel like I'm holding on to the edge of his robe with bleeding fingers and a broken heart screaming, "Please. There has to be something in here you can redeem and use for you," that I KNOW He's there. He's never left me for a second. And an honest, heartfelt plea to be used by Him even in the midst of a huge mess, is a prayer He always answers. A life continually laid on the alter, sacrificially offered to the Refiners fire, who's greatest desire is even just to know Him a little is a life He can use. Married, Single, Divorced - in Him - Redeemed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My so sweet Ella girl

Dear Ella,

It's your birthday!
There are brand new squeaky balls, puppy ice cream, dingo bones and a brand new collar all ready to help you celebrate your day.
You are my sweetest company, my most loyal friend, the best listener and the only reason I have to sit outside at 2 a.m. and look at the stars. You care that I come home at night and are sad when I leave. You have taught me so much about the faithfulness of God by your perfect example.
I could never, ever, possibly thank you enough or return to you even half of the love you've given me. I'll gladly throw your ball a million more times and to the best of my ability make every day you have on Earth your happiest one yet.
Happy birthday sweet girl!

May Bookclub

I heart Laura Bush. Always have. So, for our bookclub selection for May we will be reading her newest book Spoken from the Heart. Class, intelligence, and grace - I think you'll find this book an adventure from the very first page. We'll discuss the end of the month. ENJOY!! And happy reading!

Prayer: there's an app for that

THANK YOU! All of your prayers I tucked away in my new cute polka dotted jacket and took with me to Illinois. We had a fabulous weekend of fun and fellowship in the Lord. It was such a privilege to be asked to speak and totally my honor to be there. To all the new blog followers - WELCOME! Look for some new posts right after this one. As promised the bookclub is still up and running. I will announce May (I KNOW we're already in May!!) soon. I've also promised to post my notes from the conference so I will try to do that soon as well. Thanks for everything!!

As you may have guessed from the title I have traded in the Blackberry for an Iphone. I had an Iphone at the beginning when they had LOTS of trouble, but so far this one seems to be fine. I do miss the blinking red light telling me I have a message. Other than that-yes I'd love to play words with friends with you. Screen name - brenkell

And on the same lines of prayer, would you pray for my friend Jennifer's mom? She's in the midst of major uncertainty medically and could use some comfort. Please pray for quick answers and easy treatment to whatever is wrong. Thank you!

And at the risk of whining (which I may still at a later date-ha!) I'll just say that today should have started with a little more coffee and a LOT more prayer!!! Lesson observed. Wow, it's been a doozie. Praying for new mercies tomorrow.

So, welcome to the blog family those of you who are new. Please comment and join in the fun.