2.28.2012

My Recent Reading Life

What's On Your Nightstand


Welcome to my reading life for this month! 

I am still working on last months pile but I did finish some excellent reads over the past month and I appreciate the opportunity to share my teeny list anyway, despite my slow reading I really enjoy my words and chew them well! Besides, reading about all of the reading everyone else is doing, surely puts a fire to my bottom to finish what I start. Which is also why  reviewing books saves the life of my books from landing in the pile of obscurity and also helps me to stay with it until the end! 

So this past month I did complete The Hunger Games Trilogy! Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into the world of Katniss Everdeen and the amazing world Suzanne Collins created for this intriguing character. I read Catching Fire and Mocking Jay without skipping a beat. Before I finished the first book it was easy to see that this would be an epic film. I am looking forward to the movie but so glad I read the books first! A rare victory for me (due to the slowness of my reading and the quickness of filmmakers!) 

Completing Patrick Conroy's "My Reading Life" changed my life in some way. I loved the way he shared the story of the great, influential stories he has read and more so the wonderful, colorful portrayals of people he has journeyed with along the road of his writer's life. I got it out from the library, but might need to own my own because it became my favorite bed partner for a few months. I'm a little lonely at bedtime without Mr. Conroy's rich descriptive, amusing writing. 

I am right in the middle of Jeannie Palette's Beckoned By The King" An Intimate View of Psalm 119 and hope to share an author interview and review very soon! 

I read for review From Blah to Awe by Jenna Lucado Bishop and found a few inspiring insights to hang onto from her Young Adult offering. I had to push myself through the beginning but found that I enjoyed her candor about her struggles to come to terms with her own "blah" attitudes towards God. 

A few of last months reads are in the stack waiting to be read. I blame that primarily on Suzanne Collins and Patrick Conroy! But that's just the way I slowly roll. 

I am reading Praying For Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton. It is a 60 day journey with various Christian women and scripture reading with the focus of mentoring through prayerfully seeking spiritual direction toward our unique mission in life. Course it will most likely take me 120 days to get through, but I will say I am enjoying the richness of it with my morning coffee and journal time. 

Awaiting the book Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews For Jesus by Ruth Rosen to read for review from the wonderful people at Booksneeze

I know you will get a giggle when I tell you this but I have the urge to read The Decline And Fall of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. For Review. OK, that last part was a joke! I have read parts of it in college but not right through. Most likely that will be on my nightstand for the rest of the year, but at least it moved from my bookshelf to that most coveted and dusty place by the bedside! 

Although I generally do not read a lot of fiction I feel the need to read more now that Mr. Conroy has helped me accept the fact that I will never be able to read it all , I certainly can read and develop my own reading life better. However humble that may be. I am open to your best suggestions! I miss my wonderful escape of the past couple of months! I have discovered anew the power of story and am grateful! Add to this, I have started to write (officially) my first book. I am terrified, excited and moving along in this new endeavor! 

Don't forget if you comment to offer me your best Fiction suggestion. 
Not too many pages, OK? 
For instance Stephen King's new one looks good but 
WOW- that's a lot of pages for this girl!

Happy Reading, friends-
See you next month!




2.24.2012

Pausing for Possibility

Photo Credit Link
Well I have finally begun the the journey of a lifetime. I have no idea what the future holds but life as I know it has changed. My lifelong dream has been to write and publish a book. "The Book" has varied and changed in my mind over the years and I was not certain for a long time what direction or form it would take, but at long last, it has begun. Although I am only at the beginning, I am being pulled along by the characters and story,  which are being nourished and developed within even as I pour forth like a rushing waterfall. I have been impregnated with this seed and there is no turning back.

What this may mean for my Blog is that I may be publishing and linking up less. I will have some reviews, and hope to continue with the Inspiring Women Series. I have so many wonderful people who have offered to take part but I must ask you all to be patient with me as I try to re-prioritize and establish my writing goals, continue to seek employment, balance life and all with this new specific and exciting direction. I know I may not be able to keep up as well as I'd like with all of your blogs. I want to thank you all for sharing your words of encouragement and support while I have exercised my writing muscles here on the Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith.

I am also excited about my recent connection with local Book Writing Coach Lisa Tener and look forward to taking part in this upcoming event for aspiring writers on March 7, 2012! If you would like to check out this opportunity you can click via the link below or on the sidebar and join us!

Click Here!



I hope and pray you will continue to uphold me in prayer as God leads you, and celebrate the birth of this baby with me in due season! Oh, for those of you who might be interested in the Genre of the baby,
it is yet to be determined. Won't it be fun to be surprised? I will say this: it might be fictional, dahlings.

In the meantime, I hope you will stay tuned for those upcoming interviews with authors, artists, homemakers, entrepreneurs and businesswomen as well as Book Reviews and an occasional ramble or rant from me, my Bloggy friends. For those who are waiting for me to send you those interview questions, just know that I appreciate your patience and am excited to share each one of you in due time! I have 10 wonderful guests lined up, each unique and inspiring. But the Baby must come first!
I wish you all blessing and Godspeed toward all of your own creative endeavors in the Blogosphere and beyond.

As always I can be reached via my Contact e-mail above. 



DISCLOSURE: COMPENSATED AFFILIATE LINK USED





2.23.2012

I'm Fascinated By His Love

Original Painting by C.M. Dudash

The one thing that attracts me to Jesus, is His love. 
Not that you are surprised, but His love is surprising to me. 
See, I am fully aware of the rarity and the perfection of this love.
 This love that would die, is not common to man.
 This love which the bible describes as an all consuming fire.
 This love that promises to never leave nor forsake me. 
That bled for me. 
Receives my confessions, turns the other cheek again, and again
 while I struggle to say the words, "I'm Sorry", 
without a hint of self-righteousness.
 This love that daily feeds me, 
nourishes my being into wholeness, 
completes me and continues to perfect me, 
an imperfect sinner growing more Holy in His dying. 
I cannot fathom this Love. 
This love which holds no malice when treated badly, unfairly.
 Judged, slandered, crucified. 
Weeping over those who refuse His open arms. 
This love does fascinate, resonate within, and completely confound me. 
This love that utterly defeats the sin which I cling to, 
with filthy rotting, fleshly, hands.
Corruptible. Cleansed by His Incorruptibility. 
Perfection replaces imperfection.
Grace that imparts graciousness, to the undeserving and ungrateful.
Mercy that births godly sorrow and repentance.
Love that promises to chase every fear away,
that never pushes, shoves or behaves rudely.
But promises forever, wrapped in peace and 
power clothed in gentleness.
Love that sacrificed to provide a righteousness,
seat, and banner-
security for me
meant death upon that tree
for Him whose love was willing.
A saving love spelled out with costly blood.
Yes, I'm fascinated by His Love,
and I could go on forever 
about the wonders of it.
That is exactly what I intend to do, 
by His grace, for His glory
In His name Forever.



Thank you Bonnie for hosting, and here are the prompts for those who want to join!


*This Thursday’s 2/23/12 Writing Prompt:* Share one thing that attracts you to Jesus.
*Next Thursday’s 3/1/12 Writing Prompt:* 
Trust. (“trust” has become our #1 most selected One Word for the year.)
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real.



2.22.2012

A Dog-Eyed View of God?

Me and my adoring shadow. 
There is great wisdom to be found in the company of dogs. Do not be deceived by their easy going ways. Or for that matter by their charming persuasion. God often reveals himself in the mundane. Or the Great Dane. 
To those who have eyes to see, these canine counterparts hold much wisdom. Quite honestly, some of  the greatest wisdom, therapy and comfort I have received has been in the wordless exchanges with my very own "Man's Best Friend". 

I remember when our daughter began her full assault on us in acquisition of thus said dog. I remember my fears, having grown up in the company of cats; to this day still in the company of them. I only had one dog, growing up; a stray I hid in the garage at the apartment duplex we lived. My mother was quite surprised when the landlord inquired about our new dog, which she knew nothing about. I fed that pup potato sticks and hot dogs when I exhausted my meager allowance for dog food unbeknownst to my unsuspecting mom. That sweet dog who I named "Friend" went off to the pound promptly and I swore off dogs forever in an attempt to quench the heartache I felt. Her memory remains with my guilt ridden mother and I to this day. I'm not sure what happened to her.

I didn't trust dogs, either. I understand cats. They are independent. Predictable in their unpredictability. I get cats. They are aloof, and affectionate on their own terms. I can handle that. But dogs always seemed...needy.  Not just "needy", but dependently needy. Unappealing to me. I am selfish, thank you. Cleaning cat litter is as sacrificial as I wanted to get. 

But, the Queen of Everything spoke and my husband sided with her in memory of his own dog. Two against one. Unfair. I knew this would impact me more than either of these two idealistic beings. I knew who would be on diaper duty. That would be me. I shuddered at the thought. 

We looked, and sought and eventually found the dog who would become our very own fur family member.
The decision making process fell more heavily on me as time went on as I visualized what this new family member's presence would entail. 

Having inherited the "Eeyore" gene from my mom (this is a bit of a family joke and yes, she knows!), I began imagining in my mind potential catastrophes based on  various choice outcomes. I considered a small dog and was told they were yappy and snappy. I envisioned walking the yappy small dog in our then rural, backwoods area and imagined Coyotes or Fisher Cats springing out at us in the dusk and early hours. I pictured the two neighboring giant Rottweilers chewing the little dog at the end of my leash down to collar as I screamed uncontrollably. I dreamed of the wee lad dashing in front of a car, crushed under a tire, on one of the hilly, sharp cornered roads that surrounded our community. The large breed frightened me too. I visualized my daughter crushed by the behemoth sized dog, while she slept. I pictured us walking peacefully and again approached by loose dogs, caught between hundred pound bodies of angry, thrashing beasts.

Then we saw our medium sized "beast to be". There was nothing so wonderfully appealing about him, except his eyes looked woefully in need of a home. The rescue told us he would be a good family dog. So this is how he came to us. This would be the beginning of our terms, in my mind. We provide a safe place for you, you be a safe dog for our girl. Simple enough. I brush my hands off and smile. Check off dog from list of things acquired for Queen of Everything. 

I did not suspect there would be wisdom to glean from this mangy mutt. But therein lies the beauty and providence of God. He uses everything to reveal Himself and draw us closer to His Truth, for those who have eyes to see. Perhaps we need to take a look from our dog Banjo's perspective. 

The Tail Wagging Truth

Those brown, unwavering eyes blink lovingly at me day after day. I seem unable to do anything wrong in the sight of this sweet mutt. You see I am the giver of good things in his eyes. He receives and expects only good things from me. Biscuits, water, food, walks, and all sorts of mouth watering scraps. Good things are all he sees when he sees me. It's obvious when I look in his eyes. 

There is something I long to grasp in this tail wagging truth. Something for me to learn from his eager anticipation of good from me. There is a spiritual biscuit to be gained here. 

My God is the Giver of Good Things. So often I anticipate bad from His hand. So frequently I am waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me instead of anticipating the net that catches my fall. Instead of anticipating good when he takes something away I suspect he is going to give me something less than. Something bad. I ask for good, and anticipate bad. Talk about double-mindedness. Why do I expect snakes instead of fish? Why? 

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11


"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Luke 11:11

When I call, that dog gets up and comes. Why? I am the giver of good things. 
There is no doubt. No hesitation. 
He comes expecting good things because he trusts and believes in me.

Obviously, I am not God. I fail. Yet Banjo's love, trust and positive expectation of me does not waver. He continues to look at me with brown eyes blinking full of love. That look says that I am the tastiest, meatiest, best bone he has ever laid his doggy eyes on. His love is possessive and jealous. He still growls when my husband kisses me goodbye. He does not like anyone else near his favorite bone after all. 

God's love never fails. Ever. He is jealous of anything that might deter me from His best for me. Unlike Banjo, God does not need anything from me. He loves me unconditionally, un-waveringly and with completely pure intentions. 

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I'm still learning  to trust the God who is trustworthy, faithful and true. Even Banjo would have to conclude, compared to God, I'm less than a Milkbone dog biscuit crumb compared to the choicest, most satisfyingly meaty bone and so much more worthy of devotion. I suppose that is the tail wagging truth. At least perhaps the dog-eyed view. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

This post is dedicated to my friend Stacy @ A Life Lived Well who recently lost her precious fur friend Scooby and also to Susie @ Recovering Church Lady who has a her own new fur addition to the family- Layla.
May God bless both of you, right where you are, today and in the days to come with his presence, peace and love.


More Dog lessons here: Lessons From A Dog's Ruff Life

2.20.2012

Hang On, It's Monday!



It's this Wild and Crazy Guy's Birthday today.
 I just love this picture from
July 4th Fireworks Celebration a few years back.




This week I am just trying
to SEE things 
in a different light!

A friend shared this poem with me years ago,
so I thought I would share it and wish you a wonderful week
wherever you are, whatever comes your way!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Unknown
For my Deep thoughts of the week Go Here!



Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

2.19.2012

R.I.P. Now - Why We Rest In Peace Now or Never


Photo Credit: Mary Lynch

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest... Hebrews 4:1-3

Here's the truth. 
We don't just rest in peace when we die, friends. 
We have the opportunity to be more alive than ever before in Heaven. 
We find rest when we rest in Christ, alone.
When we enter into the provisional rest God provides which comes
 by faith not works, nor life or death;
we experience rest for our souls through our knowledge of God.


LORD, you establish peace for us; 
   all that we have accomplished you have done for us. 
Isaiah 26:12

 The fact is that we either are resting in peace now, in full complete trust in a God who provides rest or we are battling out our fleshly life in a state of unrest. 



 The Lord and King is the Holy One of Israel. He says, 
   "You will find peace and rest 
      when you turn away from your sins and depend on me. 
   You will receive the strength you need 
      when you stay calm and trust in me. 
      But you do not want to do what I tell you to.
Isaiah 30:15 (NIRV)



Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29


Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, 
for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23




We start resting in peace this side of eternity because peace comes through relationship
 with the Prince of Peace alone. 
There is no other peace. 
He is our peace. 
Any other peace we can have is temporary. 
Counterfeit.
 It seems to me the more we know Him the more we are able to desire that 
which is only possible in eternity anyway.


Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

Perfect Peace is found in eternal rest but eternal rest is found in Christ; 
that being said, if we are in Christ we are at rest now. 


We are resting in Peace.

We are not striving for a hope in this world that extends beyond. 
We are resting not striving. 
We are pressing on because we desire to be all we can be in Him.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (AKJV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:14-17

Rest In Peace.
Alive In Christ.
Rest, Life.
Now or Never.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
I have begun my rest already as He transforms 
my inner being to the image of the
Resurrected One.


 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21


I struggle with the idea of taking comfort in words that are meaninglessly strung together.
You have to wrestle with the claims of the One who 
claimed Eternity 
His own before you can wrestle with eternal concepts.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."
Revelation 1:18

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you,
 the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
John 17:3

Alive in Christ is Resting In Peace.
We are at peace in His presence.
He gives us rest from the pressures of this life now.

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, 
and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. 
For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:19

Sometimes the greatest gift He can give if we do not grasp this is to bring
 this into the physical realm by taking us to Himself.
This too, is only His grace and mercy in action. 



For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
  For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the
 Lord of both the dead and the living.
Romans 14:7-9


Just my random thoughts as I consider the concept of Resting In Peace.
What are your thoughts? 


May you R.I.P.
Now and Forever.
In life today and passing through death to life eternal.
By His grace.
Through Faith.
Alone.


 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10


Those who walk uprightly 

   enter into peace; 

   they find rest as they lie in death.
Isaiah 57:2




Thoughts, comments, questions? 
My mind pondered after the onslaught of RIP messages tearing through
 all forms of social media recently.

2.18.2012

The First Date (Her Version)



Our first date. It wasn't really a date. It was mutually agreed beforehand that it was not a date. Clearly. At least that is how I remember it. It was just a night out to see a movie. 
In a faraway land, that I knew not.
In Rhode Island.
Smallest state in the United States.
Just sayin'.

Here's what I remember: 


He drove. I have no recollection of what I wore, or what he drove. Or what I was thinking, initially. Except, this is not a date. We started our "un-date" with a movie which was just released called Scarface, I don't remember much except that it was gross, bloody, violent and scary. It definitely made me think twice about moving to Florida, at least in the eighties. Of course, that movie went on to it's own history and fame. What I do remember is He drove and we got lost. In Westerly, Rhode Island. A place neither of us was very familiar with at all, at the time, being small time Rhode-Islanders and all. You think it's easy living in the smallest state in the United States? There are pockets of RI that I swear are not even on the map. However, I feel pretty safe relatively speaking when I consider states such as Texas, Maine and California. But still when you are lost, you're lost and everything seems foreign and you just want a familiar highway, or at least a sign. A landmark. In Rhode Island we live by landmarks. If you can't give a proper geographical landmark in Little Rhody, you are not a true Rhode Islander. Course if you are not native to RI, the landmarks are meaningless, but that is a story for another day...Remember this is before the days of GPS, Google and Yahoo Maps!
Guess who asked for directions? Oh, wait let's back up...guess who drove endlessly until I finally pulled rank and asked him to pull into the only place we could find a human being to ask for directions at the late hour. It was a creepy motel type place, which was not unlike a certain Norman Bates motel. It had a long driveway leading up a hill and it sat low to the ground with one light in the main office. Frightening. Boy was he in trouble when he finally got back home to Johnston! He broke curfew. And that friends, was the first of many car-rides together. It was also one of many rides together to many places. He mostly still refuses to ask for directions...until I finally pull rank. Or we run out of gas. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. It's all I remember. 



Next installment will be His Version. 
When I asked what he remembered, it was a bit different flavor than my own version. 
Hmm...sounds like a she said, he said mystery.
We shall see... 
we shall see.




For now perhaps you will enjoy our Cemetery Visit story from the Summer.


2.17.2012

Thorns Among Roses




It breaks my heart I confess,
as I remember her twirling
in her dress
happy, silly,
swirling mess 
of curls,
laughter-
perfectly beautiful,
yes.

It crushes the breath from my lungs
as I recall the songs we sung,
of Wise Men and mangers and a Virgin's "womp",
innocence, honesty and grace
with words misplaced,
but a family
sitting close 
sharing 
laughter,
singing Hymns 
on the couch 
and 
the presence of a Savior, 
smiling over it all.

As I consider 
these recent days
with challenges and struggles-
and growing haze
blurry eyes, and lies-
 certain "friends"
wise in their own eyes,
and careless words-
like thorns among roses,
they hurt.

I recall my own younger days
when it was so hard to see through the haze,
the tangle of lies, and cruelty of kids -
whose parents were equally cruel...
I see it again.
like thorns among roses,
they were.

So I pray
and I hope
and I confess.
I doubt,
I fear,
and too often digress.
I try, and I fail
and I trust 
in what I can't see.
Love is not blind at all,
but full of clarity.
And faith.

I strive to remember the hope inside me-
I try to encourage 
despite what I see
I ask, and I chide and I often remind
her,
she is loved.
She is loved.
She is loved.

I turn away from the judging eyes,
breathing in the breath of faith 
that keeps me alive,
asking for wisdom and courage 
to face... the days ahead
with love and grace.

I think back to her,
 twirling in her pretty dress, and her hair all tousled,
a beautiful mess;
and I only wish she could see she's blessed.
Believe she's blessed.
She's blessed.


©Dawn Paoletta




2.15.2012

Book Review: From Blah To Awe by Jenna Lucado Bishop



I confess I chose this book because it was aimed at Tweens and Teens and I was hoping my daughter would show some interest.  Although she said she did not want to read it at this time I realized I still needed to; I set about the task hesitantly. I thought really, what is Max Lucado's daughter going to be able to share with me, coming from what I assumed was a pretty cushy Christian start in life. I mean really, if you get to choose a Dad and you are an aspiring Christian writer then I think Max Lucado would be a pretty convenient Dad to have. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Jenna's down to earth style, complete with rebellion, confession and her authenticity in sharing her own struggles with coming to terms with dreaded complacent Christianity and faith "blahs". I also liked the glimpses she shared  of her very real, faithful parents planting seeds of faith by living out their own lives of faith.
Sharing some of her own personal stories and the real life stories of other Christians who have experienced the Savior in a unique life-changing way, whether by tragedy or revelation, Jenna gets to the heart of the problem of our boredom with God. Ultimately it is us. She does not come off preachy, and one of the stories had actually me in tears. She is honest about her own complacency and writes in a way that has that "over coffee" feel to it. As if you are talking with your best girlfriend who you know you can be honest with without holding back. 

I think you will like this book and find it useful and encouraging if you fall into one of the following categories:
A. You are a Christian  girl or woman 
B. You are looking for inspiration for your faith
C. You are bored or uninterested in all things Christian
D. All of the above

Seriously, although this is an easy read it is not without thought provoking challenge and It does not feel like condemnation being heaped on your lack of zeal for spiritual things. Jenna definitely provides a few sparks to spur the flames of faith. She comes along side the reader and encourages them to dig deeper, and question themselves on why they are bored with God and gives suggestions on how to get un-bored . 

I would recommend this for tween/teen girls, small group book discussions and moms of tweens/teens.
I think it is never a bad thing to shake up our faith. Bored or not. 
Who knows, maybe my girl will eventually come around.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


I review for BookSneeze®

The ABC's of Love (Part 4) Two Worlds Collide


What does real love look like?

If you have read the previous posts (see links below) you know that my view of marriage was shaky at best. 
God is still redeeming and transforming my mind and me so this is not something that I take lightly. My husband has a Catholic background and a stronger positive impression of marriage than I, thanks to the sweet example of his parents who have been married for 54 years. Our backgrounds are as different as night and day. But God did marry the night and day after all in Genesis, now that I think of it. A creative match maker He is, I would dare say! 

It was July. 1983. I am working at a little Salad/Yogurt place in Downtown, Providence called Natural Sweetness. I am in the role of Supervisor at 18 years old. He begins work after school, 16. I am his boss. 
See me smiling. See God beginning His amusing work and knitting destiny, unknowingly to us. I am getting back on track after a young life of, for lack of a better word, rebellion. Which at this point, really is not finished. His mom works across the street at Blue Cross and has landed him an after school job by inquiring of the boss. 
He comes in and I hand him one of my infamous "To Do" lists. I am obsessed with keeping the upstairs well stocked. He lugs bottles, jugs, jars and boxes up and down the stairs. It is my job to train him. Train him I do. I hand him the mop. I close out the register. He quietly works. At the end of our shift he takes a bus home. I take a bus to the other side of the city. 
I am not sure at what point we become friends. I observe him. Young, hard-working. I feel old. Well beyond my years. I feel somewhat protective of him and yet, I myself am in need of protection. I am crass to his class, and we do become friends, eventually. What it means at the time is not what either of us expect.
The beginning of our friendship will be the start of a commitment of a lifetime. But at this point in time he is in school and I am travelling a road to nowhere. But God, my friends, is in it. Right from the start. Isn't He always?
If anyone would have said to me right then, this is your future husband, I would have thought they were crazy. I was not figuring him anymore than God because at this point God was as distant to me as the possibility of marrying him. Or anyone. But, God. 

Next Time I will write about our first very amusing "date"...

P.S. The picture above was taken during our anniversary last year aboard 




2.14.2012

When In Doubt




She's sitting on the edge of life looking back,
she stares off in the distance
remembering
something...
what was it 
she was never supposed to forget?

What was the one thing?
The most important thing...

She ponders
stroking her chin
searching archives 
wrapped in bone and flesh.

She winces.
Thinking
is harder these days.

Memories grow dim
yet still
lurk,

sometimes skipping to the forefront
of her mind.

She sighs
sweetly smiling,

knowing,

remembering

what she promised to never forget.


Promised 
to never stop believing.

His promise
of Love.

He promised.
She remembered.

Forever.
She knows.

His love 
never fails.



Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. 
            His love endures forever. 
Give thanks to the God of gods. 
            His love endures forever. 
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: 
            His love endures forever.
 to him who alone does great wonders, 
            His love endures forever. 
who by his understanding made the heavens, 
            His love endures forever. 
who spread out the earth upon the waters, 
            His love endures forever. 
who made the great lights— 
            His love endures forever. 
the sun to govern the day, 
            His love endures forever. 
 the moon and stars to govern the night; 
            His love endures forever.








2.13.2012

Broken Monday




Here I am, the start of a new week and I want to share with you some witty, wonderful, whimsical post. 
But I can't. I promised when I started this blog, I would be authentic. Honest. Not superficial. I promised you. I vowed before God. Honestly, I had a post started with a funny picture and I started the post and it felt wrong. False. Hypocritical. My Pastor just taught on that yesterday- how can I even write a thing in light of his words? Because honestly, friends, today I feel broken. Not in the way I need words to lift me because I don't. I know He is with me, it's not like that- in fact He has led me here. So now I await further instructions as I try to figure what it is I am supposed to learn. What it is I need to get that I'm not getting.

I mean I get that I am selfish and self-serving.
I get that I am stubborn as any mule.
I get that I am a hot-tempered, argumentative prig sometimes.
I mean really, I know my yuck...and His forgiveness.
My lack and His faithful abundance.

So I start this week, needier than most.
Maybe that is not a bad thing.

Having read Psalms into the night to calm my daughter's fears as she confessed to me things that I was not ready to hear, but for His grace. 

And here I am all broken. 

A week's worth of busy, hectic confusion past.
Love, laughter, blessing, pain and challenge.
The week was not without drama. 
Nor joy.

This week was witness to:  a Father-In-Law who suffered a minor heart attack; a daughter who took three nurses to administer 1 shot a midst many tears; a cat with constipation issues requiring exceedingly, costly surgery; a Kindle that cracked and a mom about to follow suit!

Yes, there have been many blessings too.
But today, I am feeling broken.
Spent.
Spilled out.

I started my day with the following verses:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9

AND


Yet this I call to mind 
   and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, 
   for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
   great is your faithfulness. 
 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion
   therefore I will wait for him.”
 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, 
   to the one who seeks him; 
 it is good to wait quietly 
   for the salvation of the LORD. 

Lamentations 3:21-26



So, I pray you find encouragement today for your week. 

I promise to be Honest always
Funny sometimes.
Superficial, NEVER.
I will keep it real, for better or worse.

See you next time,
Friends!

I remain 
In His Grace.








Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters
Acting Balanced

2.12.2012

Defining World News


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On one of the rare nights I join my family for the Charlie Brown Valentine Special in front of the Telly, I am treated to the following announcement which went something like this: 
We interrupt this program for the following "world news" report; ten second count down on screen to live broadcast in newsroom.
David Muir sits before me in a pensive state. 
I am anticipating bombing, terrorist, or other news that would impact the safety of our country as we know it. 
Magnify the impact with this statement,  
“we want to alert parents who might have children in the room". 
My stomach is in knots as I flash back to 911. 
I am thinking, tragedy with lives lost, possibly horrible images. 
At which point I hear instead that singer/actress Whitney Houston is dead. 
I feel I have been sucker punched. 
Please do not misunderstand me, 
I am not a cold-heart, without empathy and sadness to the passing of life. 
I understand that this person is a "star". 
But this is my point, I sit absorbing the news and feel infuriated. 
This is news. 
But is this really "world news"? 
My daughter looks over at me, in her 11 years , she does not know who Whitney Houston is, has not heard of her, but states, "Mom, someone has died". 
Yes, I reply but the fact is, this is not "world news"; this is entertainment news. 
Big news to some, but really, if you are going to interrupt broadcasting during prime time TV, I am expecting earth-shaking news. 
News that will impact the peace and safety of the nation. I am utterly, completely bewildered as I look at the social media. What have we come to? We do not even recognize how saturated we are with media and the cult of personality. 
This is not about the life of Whitney Houston, God rest her soul. 
This is about a culture that is out of control, blind and completely confused about priorities. 
We have Military sacrificing their very lives, yet we put on pedestals those who abuse themselves. We bow to the lost, addicted and glamorized.  
We allow media to define who is glorified, who is publicly praised, while true servants, talented, gifted and God-fearing people are villainized, slandered and ignored.
Again, I do not want to give you the wrong impression, I believe it is sad that this highly thought of celebrity is gone from this earthly life. 
I trust and pray that her personal hope and faith was in the Lord Jesus. 
My point has nothing to do with the who. 
But the fact that the who is secondary to the blindness that we are exposed to without question and accepting as normal. 
This was not World News that deserved immediate reporting, 
without  all of the details and facts known. 

I am sure I am going to take a beating for this, but does anyone else see anything disturbingly wrong with this incident or have I just truly fallen off the edge of obscurity to the point of complete inability to recognize significant news? 

Is there such a perspective loss; a deterioration of significance in our media infused times? My mind is going to the times I have received significant news-worthy, relevant information.

 Here is what comes to my mind: 
 These are "World News" events. 
These are things that impacted my perception of life, liberty and death. 
It saddens me to think we as a nation can no longer discern or 
define what world-breaking news is. 
I am so disgusted with journalism, news media and reporting that I realize I made the right choice not entering the field of  News Reporting. 
Thank you, for that David Muir, you just confirmed a life long inquiry on whether I chose the right path or not. 
Emphatically, I blog freely stating... yes. 



I just have to speak what is on my mind...