Monday, May 30, 2011

Bach - A little heavy A book review

I've read a couple books in the Christian Encounter series. Ehh. I don't love them. They are almost textbook like in the amount of information they contain. And if that's what you're looking for, great, but I expected them to be almost entirely faith based. They are not. That said, this one was okay. I really had no idea that Back was so spiritually grounded. I know some of the history surrounding the time he was alive, but not to the extent that this book presents his story. His family life is interesting and it's no surprise after reading this that he followed in the rich musical heritage of his ancestors.

So, I didn't love it. I read for enjoyment and although this was very easy to read, it was not enjoyable per se to me. I did like a few quotes from the book.

"The God of Bach's age was a creator and sustainer, but also a motivator and inspirer."

"The priesthood of all believers not only removed barriers between individuals and God, but encouraged people to evangelize, participate in worship and understand all the details and implications of the liturgy."

"Bach began virtually every composition, even his secular music, with a blank paper on which he wrote, Jesu, juva (Jesus help me)."

"Bach was writing for an audience of one: God."

May that be true of us as well.

*For Thomas Nelson

600 Posts!

Happy 600 Posts to Peace Love Jesus and Coffee!!!!!

What? You're surprised we've made it this far? You and me BOTH!

I started this blog as a place to process what God was up to in my life and I never intended for anyone else to read it. It was actually a private blog for a long time. But, then, in conversations I would talk about what I was thinking and people would say, "You should write that down," and I already had. So a few of my "people" got my blog by e-mail. Soon they were passing it on to their friends and they were asking to be on the list. Eventually it just seemed a little silly to keep it private.

So, to my 26 "official" followers - you are the best. And to all the people who read my blog via twitter, facebook, e-mail, whatever (and I know you're out there because my stats say you are!) thank you, too. It's fun to share my life and my faith journey with you.

Here's my thoughts after 600 posts -

1. It was the best decision ever ever ever to moderate comments. There's a whole lotta power in reading something hurtful, unfair, or ridiculous and just hitting DELETE! I learned that the hard way after getting crucified on a post around Christmas time.

2. The posts you think everyone will love, everyone hates. The posts you think are total ramblings and a waste of virtual space will get the most hits and the most comments. Go figure.

3. You have to blog often to maintain a group of people who read it.

4. Other people love books as much as I do (Gasp! Is that POSSIBLE?)

5. Virtual community is real community to me.

And here's the official stats!

In the last 600 posts -

8,565 - times this blog has been read

15 times today

40 times yesterday

737 times this month

Most read post of all time? this one.

A breakdown of people who read by country :

United States
South Korea
South Africa
United Kingdom

Some of you know my new website is ready to go and part of it would be moving the blog there. I'll let you know if I decide to move it, but for now I feel at home right where it is. Thanks for being along for the ride.


Jesus, My Father, the CIA and me - A book review

Do you ever look back on the events of your life and find the common thread is that God has been drawing you to Himself all along? Me too. I always feel like God looked across the sea of humanity, saw me, and said, "Oh! I need a challenge. I'll take her." Spirituality and Christ in me the hope of glory have always been what resonates from the core of my being. I like to be around spiritual people. I'm one of those people that when you remove God from my life you really do lose everything. For these reasons and more I loved this book. It's such a beautiful memoir of a child growing up not only with an alcoholic father, but one who worked for the CIA off and on. Ian Cron is transparent about his own struggle with alcohol, feeling like God has abandoned him when he needed him most, and ultimately finding his way back to a Father who has loved him all along. Inspiring, hope filled, and a beautiful read. I enjoyed every page.

*For Thomas Nelson

Sunday, May 29, 2011

No Place LIke Holmes - A Book Review

Okay, so I don't usually read or review children's fiction titles, but I'm glad this once I made an exception. Historically, the Christian market has been sorely lacking in quality books for teens and under. Most available titles lack solid Biblical content and many contain cheesy scenarios that make many adolescents understandably roll their eyes and ask for Harry Potter. Is the same question I have for some adult religious authors, "Does faith material have to equal substandard writing?"

I was pleasantly surprised by Jason Lethcoe as he tells the story of Sherlock Holmes neighbor, also a detective, and a visit from his nephew for the summer. Themes of faith, suspense, family relationships and fear are presented in an age appropriate way. I found the story line much more interesting than I had expected. Secretly I was even a little bit happy when I checked on Amazon and saw there was a second story coming out soon. What? An adult who likes this writing enough to read another one? Indeed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Money Secrets of the Amish

You won't catch me reading Amish fiction to save my life no matter what the trends are, but I do think the Amish way of living is interesting. Even though I agree with their no television ideas and do not own one myself, you won't see me giving up my hair straightener in the name of no electricity or anything else. That said, I found this book fascinating. In a failing economy (is that an understatement?), the banks who do business with the Amish are thriving. They don't believe in making late payments or borrowing money they can't pay back. They buy food in bulk, cook their own food, grow their own food and gasp, freely share with each other. They barter for much of what they need and shop frequently in 2nd hand stores and each other's homes. This book is filled with humor as the author is not afraid to make fun of her own tendency not to save. It's a journey detailing how she incorporated Amish traditions into her own family and how we can too. It was full of information I didn't know - like I knew movie theater popcorn was bad for you, but did you know it has a 900% markup? 900%!!!

The biggest thing I took from this book though was that experiences are worth more than a dollar anyday. They value taking a walk in the woods with friends, playing Trival Pursuit around a table, sharing a meal and good conversation and spending time together. And that's a lesson we could all do more of without costing penny. Great book!

For Thomas Nelson

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Waiting Place

People always ask me what books I'm excited about because they know I've got the new ones at my fingertips often before they hit the shelves. I can honestly say this book is one of my new favorites. Eileen Button captures the art of waiting for things to happen, waiting on the Lord, and just waiting in general in a series of beautiful essays. I could so relate when she said this about her daughter, "I want her to think I am adventurous, creative, inspired and important. Instead, I feel, cautious, vulnerable, a little lazy and just plain stuck."

This book is for those who aren't good at waiting and who kick and scream at the Heavens sometimes and want to say, "Just do SOMETHING and hurry up!" It is for those who wake up one day and find themselves repeatedly sighing and thinking, This is so not the life I dreamed of living." Amen.

I appreciated the acknowledgement that waiting is hard while focusing on the value of learning to wait well. "The most priceless gifts can be discovered while waiting for something else."

It's a bad day book and it's a good day book. It's a curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket remembering that your loved by the Father kind of book. It's an overwhelming reminder that God not only knows we're waiting, He's waiting with us. In the waiting place.

For Thomas Nelson

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Ella!!!!

Yep, this is my Ella in the dryer a few weeks ago. She hopped up in there like she does it all the time??? Funny girl. This is her classic look. I call it, "Yeah? So what?"

I can't believe it's been SEVEN years since I picked her up at the breeders weighing just under a pound. There were 6 new cocker spaniel puppies in the kennel. When I walked up five of them jumped up and down seemingly saying, "Pick me! Pick me!" Ella sat in the back with a look on her face like, "Take me or leave me. I will not perform for you." I looked at the guy and said, "THAT ONE!" He looked at me like I was crazy :)

What a great decision that turned out to be! She's my second pup, but good luck telling her she's not the alpha dog. She's the smallest and she's the boss. She's my shadow and my favorite snuggle buddy. She has slept on my pillow since the night I brought her home. It's her great joy in life for me to throw her ball with the chuck-it and then let me convince her to give it back. So fun.

She's the only one of my 3 dogs who has never tried to run away, she doesn't need a leash, she refuses to leave my side, she loves to go to Petsmart, and is awesome travel buddy as long as she gets to sit in someone's lap. She makes me laugh every single day.

And I'm so thankful she picked me to be hers.

Happy Birthday sweet baby girl! I adore you!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When God is Silent

When the nights are endless and the minutes tick by....

When the storms rage literally and figuratively around the Earth and in the cores of our beings....

When the tears won't stop and hope is hard to find....

When you need an answer more than your next breath......

When you scream to the Heavens at the top of your lungs, "Answer me!".....

And get nothing....

Except silence....

When you're begging for comfort, reassurance, guidance...

And you're left alone...

When God is Silent.....

He. Can. Still. Be. Trusted.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Trusting A Father

I believe any good spiritual journey can be traced by seasons - seasons to grow, seasons of discipline, seasons of peace, grace, mercy, joy, sorrow, and on and on. Sometimes they merge. Sometimes they are over quickly. Sometimes they last far longer than we anticipated. Sometimes we wait until we're sure He won't come through. And sometimes He doesn't in the way we hoped. And then sometimes He does.

The life of faith is encompassed by trust in a loving Father. We place the frailness of our humanity in the strength of His faithfulness. We see only one stroke of the paintbrush but somewhere deep within our souls we trust there's a masterpiece in the making. We look in the mirror at our humanity and see the reflection of Holy perfection in due time. Often feeling trapped in this earthly body, we feel the pull of Heaven calling us Home.

I can hear God's gentle whisper, "Trust Me," almost on repeat if I really listen. Admittedly, I don't always want to. I'm holding on tightly to the things that belong to Him. I find myself with a handful of questions when He has the answers. I pray often, "I trust You with everything," but do I ever really - with anything?

What would it look like to be all His? What would it mean to trust Him with every little thing every single time? I can't say that I know, but I want to. I want this life to be a transparent reflection of His trustworthiness. I want what comes into these hands to be filtered through the lens of His grace and immediately, willingly transferred back to Him.

Jesus, I trust you with me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 2 Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is Andy Andrews The Final Summit. Wanna win? Comment here, on FB or by e-mail Good luck!

Friday, May 6, 2011


As I approach my 600th post (WHAT IN THE WORLD?) I'm celebrating by giving YOU a bunch of really cool stuff!!! You wanna win? Of COURSE you do! All you have to do is show up. If you RT on Twitter, like on FB or, gasp, comment on the actual blog! you can win! Of course you can always go all old school and send me an e-mail I'll announce the winners as part of my 600th post! Good luck!

Giveaway #1! - Unsinkable by Abby Sunderland

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Women of Faith Rejoice - A Review

I honestly love just about everything Thomas Nelson produces. I love their fiction authors, I value their devotionals and appreciate their reference material. I've been to several Women of Faith conferences and was happy to review this CD of worship music from them Rejoice. I was not at all impressed. Almost every song sounds exactly the same. The voices are mediocre at best. Maybe one or two songs I halfway wanted to listen to again, but the majority of them I wanted to be over. The quality is not good. Knowing Women of Faith is a for profit organization that is hugely popular, it just seems like they would have the resources and talent available to produce a better quality product. As always, just my opinion.

*For Thomas Nelson

Washington The General - A book review

I make myself read five books a year that I'm sure I won't like. It's character building or something. So when this one popped up in my list of books to read I thought, "Why not?" Here's the funny thing about picking books I won't like - sometimes I do. I wasn't very far into this book when I found it actually wonderful. The writing is fabulous and so easy to read. The content is interesting even to a person who does not prefer ever to read anything historical. And here's my favorite part. The author is discussing a war with the French (told you - not a history person) and he made this comment, "They have bad hearts. Their intentions were evil." When is the last time we went to war and considered the hearts of our enemies? When did we see the people we are against as people and not the enemy? This book made me appreciate Washington as a leader in several ways, but more than anything it renewed my respect for him as a person. Whether this is your kind of book or not, I highly recommend it.

*For Thomas Nelson

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yoga Be still and Know

This is my new yoga mat. Yep. That's an iPod connection and a speaker at the top. Is technology cool or what???

In the course of the last 10 private yoga sessions I have wavered at least 20 times - love it! hate it! Can't do it! Can do it! It's pretty amazing the range of emotions that accompany this practice. Again, I had no idea.

Apparently "fluid motion" does not come easily for people who have been runners a long time, especially runners who are terrible at stretching (guilty!). Running fits better into my personality. 4 miles - go! Work toward a half marathon. Finish it! Run a whole marathon - Check! Start a practice that even 30 years from now you will not have mastered? Hold that pose and don't move? Slow down, be quiet, focus but don't think? Ummmmmm. What?

If my instructor needs a recommendation for sainthood she has my full cooperation. She is infinitely patient and probably more aware than I am of how much I need yoga at this time in my life. We finished a set of poses today and she said, "You did it!" I thought she meant finished the poses and did not fall over/look ridiculous. She said, "You held every pose as long as you were supposed to, did all transitions beautifully and breathed well the whole time! Great job!" Let's say she doesn't hand out compliments. Let's also say that I was so involved in what I was doing I didn't even notice I was doing better.

My life has needed a forced calm point. I knew with yoga I'd become more flexible physically, gain lean muscle and find better balance. I had no idea, just a few weeks in, it would impact almost every area of my life. I would discover great strength emerges from our greatest weakness. I would learn staying balanced is a day by day decision to stay in the moment. I've discovered that if I take time to acknowledge, God is in everything and if I listen carefully I can hear Him whisper, "Be still and know."

It may very well be a lifelong quest to let that knowing sink into every corner of this soul. I can't help but think yoga and faith have joined forces and this? This is just the beginning.