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Showing posts from 2015

A Shocking Christmas Confession

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It’s December, that means if you are in church, you are hearing some version of the story of Christs birth. One thing most messages have in common is the lament that the holiday is isn’t about the birth of Jesus any more. It’s about shopping and not shepherds keeping watch, it’s about busyness and not a baby, it’s about “Jingle Bell Rock” and not “Silent Night.”  
Warning** Shocking Content Ahead
I love almost everything about Christmas that has nothing to do with Jesus.
Yep, you read that right.
The day after Thanksgiving (not before, because that’s just wrong in my world) my husband is up in the roof getting the twelve boxes of lights that go up on the roof. At least one tree gets set up, and the everyday décor goes into the boxes the all the decorations come out of.
I sing “Let it Snow” and “Santa’s Got a Hot Rod” at least once a day and there are never enough white lights for me.

I love everything about Christmas that has nothing to do with Jesus.
But wait, I’m not done.
I love every…

Not Another Hectic Holiday Post

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This week my inbox has been flooded with two types of emails-sale ads from retailers and
surviving the season posts from blogs that I follow. I'm a little burned out on both types. 

First, why do some retailers think you want three emails a day that basically say the same thing? (Loft, I'm looking at you.) I heard you the first time. 

Second, after about the third or fourth post, I'm finding that we all are saying the same thing on our blogs. 

We're crazy busy with shopping, kids activities and bakingWe feel guilty that we aren't enjoying the season moreTake a minute and remember why we are doing all this-JesusThere, I just saved you from reading ten more posts. Now go bake more cookies! 

I kid. In reality, I take a little comfort from the fact that we are all sort of crazy together. I have a couple of friends that start to show some unraveling this time of year and it always makes me feel better because they handle all this kind of crazy much better than I do on a reg…

Thinking and Learning

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I listened to a podcast recently where the two hosts were debating the pros and cons of re-reading books. While both had started out being staunch non re-readers, one had recently revised their opinion on it while the other remained unconvinced. I am firmly ensconced in the re-reading camp, sometimes returning to a book shortly after reading it for the first time, sometimes months or years later. Some I re-read with regularity, and the one I read daily is the Bible.
This summer, I had read and journaled my way through the book Acts, for an overview of what our women’s ministry would study over the next year. Then I started the gospel of Luke, reading it while I began to dig deeper into Acts to prepare for what I would teach. Since Luke wrote both books, I wanted to get familiar with his voice, and set the stage for the story that would unfold after the crucifixion. It’s not like I don’t know the setting, but I like the cohesiveness of context, the narrative flowing from one scene to t…

Picture This

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If you’ve taken a photo on a cell phone today, you may need an intervention. Several times in the last week I’ve seen articles filled with hand wringing over cell phone use, and more specifically, using them for taking pictures. While the titles of the articles grabbed my attention, after reading them I found myself in almost total disagreement. 
The argument goes like this; if you are stopping to take a photo using your phone, you are removing yourself from real life into sort of a pseudo experience rather than a fully present, personally interactive involvement. Apparently only the instant something happens is of significance, after that, well you're present somewhere else. 
There is a presumption that if you are using your phone to capture a moment, you are removing yourself from that moment in time. Apparently, people who write that stuff are people who seem to forget that the camera was invented long before the cell phone. In 1021 AD an Arab physicist created the pinhole camera…

31 Days

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A while back I did a writing challenge called 31 Days. Bloggers are encouraged to choose a topic and write a post on it every day in the month of October. You can start reading mine here, it was 31 Days of Enjoyment, and it was both fun and a challenge. I thought about doing the challenge again last year, and even drafted 31 titles on two different topics but when the time came to write, I let it go. I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it either.

This summer I started thinking about it again, revisited my drafted topics and prayed. Tomorrow is launch day and I’m not launching anything. I don’t feel the least bit bad about it either.
I’ve been thinking about my love/hate relationship with a word lately. It is a word I must love because I use it all the time, but I definitely hate it because of the way I feel when I use it in a sentence proceeded by the word “I”. What word?
Should.
Should: verbal auxiliary\shəd,ˈshu̇d\used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or exp…

Feeling Fallish

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I know, fallish isn’t a word. When it is underlined in red on my computer screen, a right click gives me the option of correcting it to Fallfish or Tallish. Why you could be tallish and not have it be fallish doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m too tired on this fall-like day to look it up. Although Fallfish is pretty curiosity peaking, isn’t it?
Fall is the season of orange and yellow, harvest and bare trees, the beginning of shorter days and longer nights. Outdoor work gives way to indoor tasks, gardening gets exchanged for crocheting. Despite the vibrant colors and the promise of holidays, I’m always sad in the fall.
The change from fall to winter, from winter to spring and even spring to summer seems gradual to me. There is an easing from one to the next, cool to cooler, cooler to warmer, warmer to hot. But here in Southern California, where our hottest times of the year are often in the fall, it’s the shift in light that seems like a curtain yanked closed on a season. It’s still ho…

We Interrupt This Program For Breaking News

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Sigh. As I write, I’m waiting to have a medical test because a previous test was not good news. Not scary news, but not good news. This week, and it’s only Thursday, I have three friends waiting for test results. I’m doing a lot of praying for good news.
I am a recovering news addict, someone for whom 24 hour news channels were created. Well, I don’t know that I’m really recovering, I just don’t watch t.v. news anymore and instead read all my news on the internet. That’s because I can read from five different sites all the news that is relevant to me in the time the t.v news takes to tell me a story about a duck that was rescued from a sewer drain in a town I’ll never go to. This might be news to the people who live on that street, it is not news to me, for me or about me. Good news for the duck, not news for me.
Every one of us likes good news. No one likes the question of good news/bad news because who ever wants bad news? You know what? Bad news is coming. Sorry, it just is, becaus…

Reading and Writing

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You can tell it’s fall when the weather changes…to really hot in Southern California. While the middle section of the country is starting to get out their sweaters and their closed toes shoes, we are raiding the home improvement stores for one more fan or trying to find a parking spot at the beach. For SoCal natives, we love when school starts because we now have the beaches all to ourselves during one of the hottest times of the year. Mostly locals, most of the time.
Fall is when two of my favorite things happen-the return of football and the return of women’s Bible study. For me, baseball season ends the day training camp begins, and summer reading gives way to commentaries, language helps and comparison texts. And crocheting.
I read a disturbing article this week by a teacher who educates children in a high poverty area. In it she says “In higher-income communities, there are an estimated 13 books for every 1 child; in lower-income communities, the ratio hovers at1 book for every 3…

Forgetfulness

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As you get older, and by that I mean over 35ish, forgetfulness becomes both a scary thing and a thing you long for. Scary because you wonder if your growing forgetfulness of the whereabouts of keys, the thing you went to the store for and your child’s name is busyness or hormones or dementia. Forgetfulness is also longed for because you’ve lived long enough to do things and say things and experience things that bring either that hot flush of shame or that sharp stab of pain. Forgetting would be a mercy.
We usually don’t though, do we? Those things never really leave us, and we think they should but they stay, often for good reason. Not good feelings, but good reason, God reasons.
The Apostle Peter knew something about wanting to forget things, and knowing the importance of never forgetting. I think Peter must be everybody’s secret favorite disciples because he made the most mistakes, and the ones we all make-shooting our mouth off about what we will and won’t do, only to be proven …

In-dependence

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Sometimes you read something and you realize that even though what you read is an obvious truth, it now resonates with your soul as if you never heard it before. I sort of love and hate that, in one way it makes me feel the thrill of discovery and illumination, in another way I feel a little flush of shame as if I’ve missed something. In reality, all I’ve done is uncovered a mystery.
When you and I think of a mystery, we think of things like Agatha Christie novels, Sherlock and why anyone thinks reptiles make good pets. Maybe I only think that last one. We think of a mystery as something to figure out, something to discover, and something that cannot be explained.  It is something hidden, and hidden from us like a secret.  A mystery is a challenge to us to unravel.

The definition of mystery in the Bible is different. While we think of a mystery as knowledge kept from us, in the scripture it is truth waiting to be revealed. While we think it a thing to investigate that we might underst…

Moving On…On Tuesday

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Today marks the end of one of several projects I’ve been working on this summer. Earlier in the month I finished one book project and today is the release of Emily P. Freeman’s book Simply Tuesday, a book project of a different sort. A few months back I was invited to apply for a spot on the launch team for the book, and much to the surprise of this inconsistent blogger, I was chosen. What’s a launch team?
The cynical answer is that you are chosen to work for free marketing a book through word of mouth and social media. The book lover answer is that you are chosen to get an advance copy of a book by an author you already enjoy reading, and tell your closest 1,000 social media friends how much you like it. At least, they hope you like it. You receive emails from a team leader with tasks and inspiration for ways you can get the message out about the book, and you join a Facebook group to connect with others on your launch team. 
I discovered I’m even an introvert on social media, bec…

Wednesday thoughts on Tuesday

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I shared here that I had been reading Emily P. Freeman’s book Simply Tuesday and what I was discovering. I thought I’d share over here in the living room some other thoughts this book and similar books have inspired.
In about the first 45 pages of Simply Tuesday she quotes a number of authors I’ve never heard of and this makes me nervous. I don’t find any fault with the quotes, they help illuminate her point and settle into my biblical grid of soundness. After over 15 years in the ministry of pointing people to what is helpful and avoiding things that are harmful, I am naturally inquisitive of the new; ministry, author, church, movement, conference. I’m not looking for a problem, I’m just naturally and vocationally curious.
I am also that person who comes across a quote and says, “I wonder what the book is like?” Maybe you don’t follow those thoughts down the rabbit trail to the bookshelf, but I often do. I worry that references might point you were I wouldn’t want you to go. That …

When You Have a Second Home

I have friends who recently sold a cabin about three hours away from their home. It was in the mountains, and  decorated like a beautiful mountain cabin would be; lots of knobby wood furniture made from trees, the colors of fall in the mountains, and lake inspired. It reflected it's surroundings and looked nothing like my friends every day home. Which, by the way, is also beautiful, just different.

I've always wondered about having a second home, would it look just like my every day home? Or would I try the things there I wouldn't want to live with all the time?  I doubt I'll ever have a second home to furnish, but I do have a second internet home, and it's different than this one in a couple of different ways. First of all, I share it with my daughter and granddaughter, and secondly, it is dedicated to the reviews of books. And specifically, books we want to recommend. So far, I don't bother with books I don't want to encourage you to read. Why? Lets just …