Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love You More

Adoption is something that I have always dreamed of doing some day. Since I was a little kid, I have thought about holding a baby that someone else was unable to care for. Part of this was inspired by my aunt who has adopted several kids, but it's also been sparked by seeing families who have brought home little ones. I was given the opportunity to read Love You More by Jennifer Grant. The book tells of her story of adopting her daughter Mia from Guatemala. Since I have a good background in Spanish, I had another connection to the book :) My heart broke for her as she waited and waited for the paperwork to go through all the red tape. Though I didn't agree with all of her religious views, but the book was an insightful look at the world of adoption, even if I'm a few years off from that possibility. The story of international adoption really made me consider this as a possibility for my future. I did find a few parts of the book that I would have changed. At times, I felt like the book was taking a few rabbit trails, and skipped around a bit. I'm a big fan of chronological order, but this book didn't always follow it. Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend who was considering adoption.

I received this book for free as a part of the Booksneeze program of Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review Wednesday!! (with a personal twist)

Have you ever picked up a book repeatedly and wanted to put it down several times? Sometimes you just want to slam it down for added theatrical effect..except it wasn't because the book was bad or distasteful, but because it pricked at your heart in almost every chapter? Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley was one of those books for me. Just the premise of the book (keeping your heart clean of four emotions that want to choke out everything that God wants to do in and through your life) was convicting. Just this past Sunday I was able to lead a little girl to the Lord (which was absolutely and incredibly amazing, and I'll have to write about it later), and even in that incredibly joyous time, this book came to mind and pricked my heart. When I talk to someone about Christ, I always talk to them about having short sin accounts with God. I don't tell them to ask Christ to forgive future sins again, because He already did that, but I do tell them that they need to apologize for their sin, thank God for His forgiveness, and ask Him to help them not to commit that act again. This book brought to my consciousness how little I actually do that. This book takes a look at four negative emotions that pull our hearts away from our walk with God. The four emotions, anger, guilt, greed, and jealousy, and things that I didn't really think I had a problem with. Probably because I was comparing myself to other people. You can always find someone angrier, guiltier, greedier, and more jealous than you are if you look hard enough.

When I started reading this book, I thought "please let this book be good! It's so funny!" And it was, but the humor didn't mask or downplay the importance of the contents. I highly recommend this book!

I received a free copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. i was not required to write a positive review.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

200th post...without a catchy title

It's almost 1 am. My fan is making this really annoying clicking sound as it oscillates back and forth. Lightning is occasionally peeking through the sky light, and i have yet to unplug the Christmas lights that encircle our ceiling. What am I still doing awake? The same thing I've been doing for about two weeks now. Wondering if time really does heal all wounds. Maybe its like physical wounds...sometimes you just always have that limp. Since January, my life has kind of been up in the air. Change keeps beating me around, while i feel like my life is acting like the old white mazda pickup we used to have when I was a kid. Stalled out at the intersection. Pain doesn't stop. Thoughts don't stop. Dreams don't stop. Good thing my God doesn't stop either :) I've never seen it more evident than in the past 7 months that my God is always here for me. Sometimes I envy those who start living the Christian life and convince themselves of the delusion that everything is peachy from there on out. I live in the land where God doesn't take away all of my problems, but He lets me crawl up in His lap on a hard day...and on a good day for that matter. Ok, so now its after 1 and I have a walk scheduled in the morning...followed by a very very busy day. Time to crawl up in His arms and go to sleep :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review Wednesday!

Maybe this is becoming a thing :) This week I read Don't Check Your Brains at the Door by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler. This book is geared toward youth, so I tried to put my brain back into those channels. The book is very attractively set up. Which is pretty important for teen readers...If it doesn't look interesting, they aren't going to read it. The chapters/sections were also brief...also good for some teen readers. I loved the way the chapters were done. The authors presented a common myth and then debunked it using God's word and simple logic. For example, a chapter was called "Everybody's doing it" The conformist myth. The only problem I found was I wasn't always sure they took it far enough. Sometimes I felt like they were just about to hit it head on and the page and a half "chapter" was over. That aside, there is one chapter that I felt was spot on (there were more than one...this was just the clincher for me). The section on doubt was presented that doubt is not a bad thing. Doubt leads to inquiry which leads to figuring out what you believe. The books says, "Doubt is not the opposite of faith. It is the forefather of faith. Doubt does not cancel faith; it should give way to faith." I may need to write a blog entry on this by itself later :)

I received this book for free as part of the Booksneeze program of Thomas Nelson publishing. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Tonight has certainly been a night of musing. The air is heavy, not too warm (ok so it really is toooo warm), but definitely heavy. Life has been kinda like that. Change has been a theme of my life lately, and I can't actually say I'm a fan. I'm trying...I'm trying to embrace change, but it's just something I have to get used to. As soon as I start getting used to it, everything changes again. I guess that's how life is though. Maybe its because change is so constant in my life, maybe its because I change a little more every day. I sometimes struggle with the fact that God doesn't change...ever. Thats a comforting thought in this crazy mixed up world :)

Birthday girl's birthday adventure...

Today is my roommate Amber's birthday. Tomorrow I'm sending her on an adventure. This post is one of her clues of where to go. As she opens this page, she will be sitting at a coffee shop sipping her iced green tea, probably about to spend time with her God because I'm doubting she could hold off checking what was coming next until after that is all done :) I know it's pretty warm out, but I already told her she can't go on her daily walk. Now is the time. She's going to walk to tivoli...there, she must find a card that I've left for her. and im realllllly hoping no one else walks off with it...that could be rough. Amber and i have been friends for almost a year. Kinda hard to believe thats all its been. Last August I walked up to her and said, hi, we need to be friends...and as crazy as that sounds, it worked. Now, we're roommates; we work together; we go to church together and we teach kids clubs together. Shes pretty cool...sometimes :-p Well amber have a good walk! find that note!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hot days and Iced Coffees

It's hot's hot in at a coffee shop that like many places in WI does not have a/c. What's the point? It's in the negatives the rest of the year anyway. I'm sitting here enjoying my iced coffee, partly because I still love coffee, partly because it's cold, and partly because its one of the cheapest things on the menu. My roommates are sitting across the table from me focused on the respective hulu shows theyre watching. Alyssa is leaving in about half an hour...she's headed to Argentina. Im not going to lie, I'm jealous. I'm insanely excited for her. She is about to have her entire life changed by meeting some of the most incredible people in the world and growing closer to our God than ever before :)

Vacation Bible school has been going on this week. At first I wasn't so sure I was going to want to drive an hour each way to get there each night, but I've made it for three and Im going tonight. I can't really begin to describe the blessing it has been to my life. I've been really growing this year, mainly through pain, but this week God is growing me through joy. I love seeing those little kids falling in love with Jesus for the first time or falling more in love with who He is. It has also been really nice not being the one in charge for a change...though I admit I've been itching to takeover a few times.

I did encounter a very comical but serious thing last week in my life. Now, Izzy is my car. She is very...special. I'm convinced that she's bitter about living outside because she regularly likes to visit garages and spend a night or two indoors. Last week, I decided it was finally time to get my brakes fixed. My first clue was stomping on them to stop and wondering if i would actually stop a few times. My amazing brother told me that whatever it cost, he wanted to pay for it. Neither of us imagined what he had gotten himself into. The call came. My rear drums were cracked and falling apart. My front brakes...the pads...well, they were nonexistent. 556.95 I literally got sick to my stomach. With rent, student loan payments, and life I couldn't afford it, but there was NO way I expected my brother to pay for it. He called and asked for the estimate. I hesitantly told him...He didn't even breathe deeply, just said, "ok, i'll have to send it to you in two parts." My jaw dropped. I literally almost cried in the middle of the restaurant i was waiting for my car in. Let me explain my car situation for those of you who don't know....last summer I had no money, no job, and no car. God provided 1500 dollars and suddenly appeared my car on craigslist for 1500 with new tires already. Then i got to school, in november, her water pump died. 251 dollars...a check came in the mail (from that amazing brother) for 175. Then in January, a poorly plowed parking lot resulted in a torn off exhaust system. The company paid for half...the other half was up to me. 400 dollars. My parents gave me 400 dollars for Christmas to pay for my car. March. Car inspection...only cost me 114. I was sure it was going to be worse. June. My car started overheating. Took it to the garage, a sensor replaced 159.75. The next sunday my church in WI gave me 200 dollars for my car repairs. July. Brakes. 556.95. Little brother taking care of it. I have amazing friends and family, but more important and AMAZING, INCREDIBLE God.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life without internet

So, maybe, if there is anyone out there still reading this, you're wondering why im posting three entries in one day. Well, we've been without internet at home for the past two weeks. That is going to change this Friday, but until then, I don't get a whole lot of online time unless I walk on block from my house to the little coffee shop. Have I mentioned how dangerous it is for me to have a coffee shop one block from my house...and another just two blocks from there? Obviously I have been reading a lot. More than i read while i was in school actually. This past weekend i did get to go see two of my best friends in the whole world get married. That was pretty much amazing and I cried.
Ive been dealing with life, and Im super happy to say that things are looking pretty awesome. I have great friends, great family and a GREATER God. currently watching a girl push her car down the read...ya, i feel bad for her. anyway, back to a little more real life and a little less virtual life :)

Second Half of book review wed :)

Imagine trying to kill yourself only to loose your legs and live in pain for the rest of your life. The average person would probably feel like the biggest failure to ever have to live. The story of Kristen Anderson is one that is not only inspiring but transparent. Kristen tried to commit suicide at the age of 17. She put herself on the train tracks one cold night wanting to end it all, the pain from the death that surrounded her and the guilt and shame of her rape. She figured that a train was the way to ensure death. God had other plans. In what can only be called a miracle in many different instances, Kristen lived through the harrowing ordeal. People responded to her differently. Some said harsh and cruel things, others gave her hope. She began to wonder and struggle with the fate of her soul. What would have happened if she had died that night? With the help of her therapist's husband, Kristen found the answer to that question. This book was well written, and clearly pointed to Christ through it all. As a result of her life experiences, Kristen has started a ministry that reaches out to people in all stages of life and offers them the same hope she searched for. This was a book I could not put down. Though I haven't experienced it to the same degree, depression is something I have struggled with from time to time. It is an ugly monster. This book shows that God can overcome it, if you give Him the battle.

I highly recommend this can click here to see its product page :)

I received this book for free as a part of the the Blogging for Books program of the publisher.

Book Review Wednesday

Ok, so I haven't actually started a book review Wednesday as a staple, but it just so happens that I have two of them today. This week, i was privileged to read two incredible books this week. The first is Rumors of God Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson. These men have been friends since growing up together in Austrailia and are now both working in churches in the states. I will put a slight disclaimer on this book. I don't agree with absolutely everything in this book in theology or practice, but I found a few times when I really wanted to put the book down....because it was right. Conviction is a funny thing. Reading this book brought me to the point of forgiving someone who greatly wronged me. I wanted the freedom it spoke of. I found it ironic coming out of the chapter on freedom realizing that God had something for me to change because as I went in I was skeptical of the freedom the book spoke I usually am when I read modern books on Christian "freedoms." The other part of the book that slapped me pretty hard was the part that talks about how we hide behind masks and social network profiles out of fear that people will see the read person. I am definitely a person with trust issues, and this book addressed that head on. Rumors pointed out things in our society and my life that I don't even think about as anything but normal. I highly recommend this book for anyone. I did disagree on some kingdom theology and how to practice the love of Christ, but overall this was a very good read.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Why God won't go away

When I first sat down to read this book, I thought, "What am i thinking?!?! This is like one of those books I was forced to read in college, and here I am reading choice." As I continued to read, I found the book well written and very relevant to our generation. The book discusses the weaknesses in the New Atheism movement. This movement doesn't just deny the existence of God but attacks religion as a universal institution. They claim religion is violent, defies reason and logic, and is simply a delusion that man has created. The author approaches this topic with respect. The author was an atheist who has since converted to Christianity. He knows how to attack this branch of atheism without attacking the belief as a whole. I'm not saying I believe that atheism is a correct belief by any means, but attacking someone's beliefs is a very poor way to encourage them to believe yours. I think the author was absolutely correct in his approach to this.

As far as reading level goes, this book is pretty high. I was very excited to read a word i didn't know used a few times in this book. I like books that challenge not just my thinking, but my vocabulary.

I received this book for free as a part of the Booksneeze program of Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review.