“Strong faith doesn’t mean you walk effortlessly through life…”

51YpgbuXJYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_From Caught Off Guard: Encounters with the Unexpected God by William P. Smith:

Faith is not a feeling of being spiritually strong or superior, either in our relationship with Christ or in our activities. Such feelings can have very little to do with faith. Rather, faith is the confidence that God will receive you even when you’re not put together very well. Strong faith doesn’t mean you walk effortlessly through life. It means you run quickly to Christ when you’re in need.

“I don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone…”

everydayprayersFrom Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith:

Jesus, because of your great love for me in the gospel, I lack nothing that I need. I don’t get all my wants, but I do have everything I need for life and godliness . . . and a whole lot more.

I praise you that it’s green pastures and quiet waters to which you lead me—all for the restoring of my tired, weary, broken, rebellious soul. For your glory and my good, you guide me along paths of righteousness, goodness, truth, and grace. And even as that journey involves traversing places marked by decay and death, you are with me, and that’s all I really need to know. I don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone, for you are with me.

You nourish me all the time, even when enemies are close by and threatening. Your generous anointing overflows for the blessing of others. To follow you is to be followed by the fragrance of your goodness and love. Even in the new heaven and new earth, you will be our shepherd, leading us to springs of living water (Rev. 7:17). Your greatness, Jesus, will reach to the ends of the earth, and we will always live securely, for you are our peace, now and forever. In your great and gracious name we pray. Amen.

random thoughts

~ No television series should go longer than 5 seasons. Inevitably, characters do things totally out of character, writers and producers indulge in silliness, and there are bizarre dream sequences and awkward musicals.

~ Since Paul gave me a FitBit for Christmas, I’ve begun thinking in steps and miles. Since I got it set up Christmas evening, I’ve walked more than a marathon in the course of my daily routine. I’m strangely motivated by this:

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~ I’ve been intentionally reading more this new year, and I’m truly enjoying it. I recently finished About A Boy. It was an easy, amusing, yet serious read. I had to smile when I got to these lines. If you’re a Dennis Prager fan, you’ll understand:

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~ I had to show my ID recently to purchase cold/sinus medicine. I guess they knew that you needed to be a certain age in order to handle the sharp implement necessary to open the little pill packs. (And, hey, how is it not racist to require an ID to purchase medicine? That’s the argument for no ID for voting, isn’t it? Who are all the haters who want minorities to go without Mucinex?)

~ If our government is going to continue to be involved in the minutiae of our lives, I have another suggestion for a law: Ban radio commercials that have sirens in them. It drives me crazy to have to check my mirrors and wonder if an ambulance or fire truck is in my path.

~ Random thoughts, random photos:

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~ Our recent southwest Georgia weather reminds me of Belgium — wet, cold, and gray. I would love to see some sunshine.

~ I love, love, love the Anhaica bucket bag I received for Christmas. It’s perfect for toting my current knitting project.

Happy Thursday, y’all!
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monday miscellany

~ I’ve had the dictionary.com app on my phone for ages, but for some reason I recently started receiving word-of-the-day emails from them. I think I should attempt to use the new word in a sentence at least once every day. Sometimes the word is a challenge to drop into conversation:

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~ 3 Facts for your fret

~ Trisha’s word for 2015.

~ Mike Rowe on following your passion. This is good stuff.

~ “You can sum up God’s agenda for your life in one word…

~ Our colder than usual weather has me wanting to knit this up STAT.

Happy Monday to you!

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what I’m reading in 2015

Yes, another list. I can’t help myself. Please pop in and comment on what you’re reading.

JANUARY

~ About a Boy – Nick Hornby
~ The Overlook – Michael Connelly
~ What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage – Paul David Tripp
~ Stop Walking on Eggshells – Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger
~ Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith – Scotty Smith

(Just so you know: Every time you click on one of the Amazon links and make a purchase, a few pennies are eventually passed along to me. They eventually add up and feed my book habit. Thanks ever so much!)

“…God is right smack-dab in the middle of your struggle.”

whatdidyouexpectFrom Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect?:

God determines the precise place where each of us will live…and the exact length of our lives… It is God who determines the precise details of location, situations, and relationship in which each of us lives. This means not only that God is in control of where you end up and who you finally live with, but also that, in order to do this, he has been in control of everything that brought you to where you are. This means that God has been in control of all the experiential, cultural, and familial influences that shaped how you desire, think, act, and respond. So, God is in control not only of the locations in which you live, but also of the influences that have shaped you as a person. He has not only written the story of you and your spouse and determined that your stories would intersect, but he has controlled all the things that have made you different from one another.

As you struggle, you must not view your marriage as bad luck, or poor planning, or as a mess that you made for yourself. No, God is right smack-dab in the middle of your struggle. He is not surprised by what you are facing today. He is up to something.

saturday

Ahhh, the first Saturday of a new year! It’s a dreary, trying-to-rain kind of day — perfect for staying at home and getting some chores done.

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We started off the morning with a delicious breakfast downtown and then drove around a little bit before making a Walmart run. The store was uncharacteristically quiet and calm, and our shopping was easy. I didn’t even have the urge to hurt someone!

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At home I got some ribs started in the slow cooker while Paul worked on cars with his son and a friend. Then I thoroughly cleaned our upstairs, organizing closets, and making a big pile of stuff to take to the consignment store. The washer and dryer worked the whole time. I found all kinds of old pictures, and if you’re a Facebook friend, you’ve probably seen them.

Oh, and while I was running errands, I saw a car full of sad football fans:

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Now I’m happily parked on the sofa, trying to decide if I want to read or knit.

It’s a good day, y’all.

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“Unraveling can be a blessing.”

UnknownFrom Clara Parkes’ The Yarn Whisperer:

Things, too, come unraveled. Hems, marriages, businesses, economies, and entire nations alike have met equally dramatic demises. There’s not much positive imagery associated with the word unravel. Look it up in the dictionary, and you’ll see definitions like “to come undone” or “to fail.”…

Coming unraveled may connote losing it, but sometimes it’s best to acknowledge with quite a level head that something you thought was right isn’t, that you need to undo as best you can and rebuild. In life, you can’t start from scratch as a baby and relive your days differently. But in knitting — most knitting anyway — you can. If you’re patient, you can pull your yarn out of whatever mess you may have gotten it into. You can hit “rewind,” literally rewinding the yarn back to its beginning…

…Therein lies the mystery of unraveling. Dig a little deeper in the dictionary, and you’ll notice that unravel also means to loosen, to disentangle, or to solve, as when Miss Marple unraveled the mystery of the body in the library. We may be physically undoing one thing, but we’re solving something bigger. We’re untangling a problem, loosening a situation that may have become too tight, too restrictive to our creativity. It’s not all bad; in fact quite the opposite. Unraveling can be a blessing.

As we’re doing all that hard work, we’re also wiping the slate clean, resetting the odometer. We’re another day older and wiser, with a ball of slightly kinked but perfectly good yarn to show for it. If we’re lucky, we have a greater sense of perspective on what got us into this mess in the first place and how we can avoid it next time.

 

favorite books of 2014

It was a slim reading year for me, but I still managed to find some good ones. It was a year of mostly non-fiction, so I’d like to read more fiction in 2015. Here are my favorites in 2014, in no particular order:

Non-fiction:

Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering – Timothy Keller
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem– Kevin DeYoung
Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered – Austin Kleon
A Loving Life in a World of Broken Relationships – Paul E. Miller
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God – Timothy Keller

Fiction:

11/22/63 – Stephen King
The Gun Seller – Hugh Laurie
Sycamore Row – John Grisham

What were your favorites in 2014? Please share!

Happy reading!

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