And now for something a little different…

Blog shift: book review.

What is is that makes a book fantastic to you? Is it the story? The writing? The drama?

What is your favorite book? Do you know why?

I’m starting a series here… I recently got a fantastic concussion and so I’ve been home quite a bit, just a little more than out-of-it, and in order to stay sane, I’ve decided to get back into reading like it’s going out of style.

So here we go:
My ABSOLUTE favorite book, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s mysterious, intense, dark and brooding, but all written through letters, journal entries, newspaper articles, and public notices.

If for nothing else, the writing style is inspirational. To weave a tale that has lead to countless remakes without ever using direct narrative is an amazing feat. The book provides some history, enough mystery, and just enough of the supernatural to make you wonder if you’ve stumbled upon a collection of notes about what possibly once was.

I’ve often found that more than a story, I love a book for its writing style. In this same vein, I loved The Hours. Read it if you want to depress yourself for days, but also read it if you want to be reminded of the miracle of pen and paper.

More to come….
Right now I’m working my way through a few good ones:
The Great Gatsby
Summer Sisters
The Namesake
The Vampire Lestat
The Normal Christian Life (one of my few re-readers in life)

Thoughts? Recommendations?

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The day is breaking….

At some point, I’ll look back on my life (probably after sitting with TLJC asking him why he decided to allow puppies to poop so much. I mean really, why?) and I’ll need to answer to who I was. That, of course leads me to the question, who am I?

Maybe it’s time to take a little stock of what’s going on and what I’m using as a measuring stick of myself.

Do I feel successful? Do I feel like I’m smart? Do I feel accomplished? Do I feel pretty, oh so pretty? NO.

Gut check…. Doesn’t matter. Now I know, this sounds like one of my “poor me” blogs, but I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.

My defining factors exist in parameters that are permanently and endlessly a) lame b) unfulfillable and c) never intended to be a part of who I believe myself to be. So maybe it’s best to look at things this way….

Things I am not:
1. My job
2. My bank account
3. My appearance
4. My weight or height
5. My relationship status

Things I am:
1. Loved
2. Loved by GOD
3. Loving
4. Trying

I’m pretty sure that of that last list, 2 and 4 are just about all you need.

Something to ponder here though, you are not what you do, but are you doing what you should? What you dream about? What you’re called to? Life isn’t measured by how well we did with anything, we’re pretty much a project that God realized would fail without giving us the helping hand of Jesus. How well you do is relevant only in the degree to which you trust in your own forgiven status and what you do with that. But today might be a good day to look at life and ask yourself if you’re really doing the things you have the freedom to do within that relationship with God. I want to learn to play piano, to dirt bike, to raise a good pup (and some other stuff…).

I think tomorrow’s post may just be my list of things to do before I die…. Because I’ve got 2 and 4 of the above covered, I might as well max out the time I have. I know I’m a kid of the King and I’ve been given some big dreams to go live out royally….

A+

Today we started puppy pre-school. I have to growl at the pup when she does things she’s not supposed to. I feel like a dork. I was walking down the street and growling at my dog while my neighbors stared at me….
I guess that’s what you do when you want to cultivate love. Right now she’s shivering in my lap because it’s flipping freezing outside when we had to go out for potty time.

It’s been a funny season… lots of gain. Lots and lots of loss. I get to the end of the days and I’m not sure that I’ve done anything correctly. I don’t even know that I’m doing anything actually. I’m not sure if I’ve helped Memphis Po or if I’ve just growled alot and now my throat hurts.

One of the funniest parts in all of this is that what I miss the most, is approval. I miss the approval of my boss, I wish my puppy could tell me that I’m helping her learn, I miss knowing that I’ve got anything in my life together. But I’ve fallen to pieces and I’m learning to depend on God to finally put me together. But that means no more “A” student. No more “put together young professional”. Just a big fat mess. A public mess. And what I’ve learned is that I’ve defined myself by the approval of others far more than by the approval of the One person who matters. He may never call me on the phone and tell me I’m doin’ just fine, but maybe when I get done with this adventure He’ll tell me “well done”. It may take a life-time…. but I think I’ll get to the approval I need.

P.S. Sorry for all the downer posts… I’m in a downer phase. I’ll snap out of it soon enough.

Poop

Know how people talk about puppy love? I’m getting it now….
So much snuggling.
So much Sh*t.

My dog is fantastic, but she’s a commitment. I love her, I care for her, I clean up her really messy poop. And maybe that’s it… love is patient (potty training), love is kind (snuggles), love does not envy (she sleeps in a crate)….. you get the idea.

I thought I was being selfish when I wanted a puppy. In fact, I was. But as it turns out, this puppy has taken the focus from my oh so narcissistic self and allowed me to learn to love someone else.
And when she grows up, she’ll chew the life out of you if you mess with me.

God is so good.

It’s gonna be a long one….

When was the last time you looked at how the small things were adding up in your life? I’ve been thinking quite a bit about who I want to be and where I want to go… What’s God’s call in all of that and how has He equipped me. But am I getting there?
Do I expect that one moment I’ll arrive, Or that the series of small decisions I make each day are what creates this person that I am?

I was reading a book recently about a guy who was in a busy market place and by accident, grabbed the wrong stroller. He quickly realized that his stroller was not the right one, returned the baby to her mama, but then couldn’t find his child. She’d recently learned how to climb out of her stroller and would appear before him doing silly dances and playing. Now suddenly, what hadn’t been Papa hadn’t been looking at in a forward sense, became a nightmare reality. He wasn’t thinking that if she’s able to climb out, she’s able to do it at the wrong time. This wasn’t a sudden accident, it was a process.

When Peter denied Christ for the third time and fell down on his face as if dead, it wasn’t a sudden accident. It was a process. In life, right now, for more than the obvious reasons, I’m on my face as if dead. In the last week, I’ve made some drastic changes to where I’m headed and not all of them have been what one might refer to as “on the right side of the law”. But it didn’t happen suddenly. It’s been building. And for far longer than the symptoms have been showing.

As a VERY wise friend once said to me, the moment when Peter fell as if dead, was his worst moment ever, but it was God’s most precious. His son was finally realizing how lost he was.

To make a laundry list of what I could have done differently would be (while entertaining) unhelpful. God didn’t spend time talking to Peter about his denials. He commissioned. He used him. Consequences exist, I can vouch for that, but what I’m saying here, is DO YOU RELY ON HIM FOR EVERYTHING? Because we will ALL have a Peter moment, and as good as that might be for God in bringing you closer to heaven, it feels a whole lot like Hell.

God is good. He is restoration. He is forgiveness. And because of this, I can pick up where I left off, brush my shoulders off, and learn. HE IS MY ROCK. I am just sand that falls through cracks. He allows me to progress in life, to reach dreams, to really life. And so I am. And I hope you are too….

Puppy

Got a new puppy… wonder if I’ll sleep tonight at all. So far she’s explored, peed, chewed, snuggled, and crapped all over my house. You’d think I’d be mad, but I LOVE HER.
Maybe that’s how God feels about us….

Slumber Partaaaaaaay

For months I’ve been promising my friend Makayla that we’d have a super fabulous slumber party. We’d stay up late, paint our nails, watch movies and drink fancy beverages from coconut cups…. And by fancy, I mean milk shakes and cocoa because despite what a fantastic friend she is, Makayla is 6, so booze is most certainly out of the question (and seriously into the realm of “what to do if you want never to be trusted with children again”).

Tonight, I finally made good on my promise. After what seemed like one of the toughest weeks of my life, I realized that I had a promise to keep and that Ms. Makayla was arriving at 6:00. 5:45 however, found me not on the verge of tears, but over the edge, off the cliff and into a sobbing oblivion. Not that I’m alone in this, but the last few weeks have been some of the most pressure filled, stressful weeks of my life. Job drama, health drama, trip over your shoe-lace embarrassment drama. You name it, I’ve got it going on. The thought of entertaining anyone, let alone an energetic little lady, seemed WAY out of my capacity.

Thankfully, I didn’t have the heart to let her down.

Instead of taking care of her, Makayla spent most of the night caring for me, telling me how I needed some snuggles, that I’m her best friend, and asking if we could pause the movie so that she could draw pictures, pray, and write prophetic words for her friends at church.

Prophetic words. From a 6 year old. If I hadn’t been so touched, I would probably have spent the better part of the night feeling like a total tool for underestimating God’s ability to change our worlds.

So here’s the take away from today’s big adventure: God is big. I’m little. And even littler people can be filled with Him to the point of completely de-railing my boo-hoo train and reminding me of what a wonderful blessing it is to be in His hands.

Now I’m just hoping that some day this blog will be around when Makayla is old enough to read it. If I’m lucky, she’ll be as touched by how He used her as I have been by being near her.