Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Books

Count down tonight sets in motion review of the year and thinking about the next.  Here is partial list of books that impacted me this past year:

 1. Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
 2. 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp
 3. Disappointment with God by Phillip Yancey
 4. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 5. Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
 6. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
 7. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
 8. Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot
 9. Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
10. Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod by Thomas Brooks
11. Anti-Estrogenic Diet by Ori Hofmekler
12. The New Arthritis Breakthrough by Henry Scammell
13. Self-Esteem: Gift from God by Ruth Ward
14. The Salt Plan by Chuck Bentley

I read some of these titles for the second time this year.  Working through about 3 books right now and making a list for the coming year.  I want to cover a lot more mother's day gift of a Kindle Fire is certainly helping!  Wishing you a year of great books ahead!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Deeds of Love

It started two weeks ago or more.  The gentle persuading giving way to persistent and insistent questioning.  What was he going to do?  The brother who had moved out being pressured to keep his promise to the little sister to have a "sleep over".  She decided that the time to do that would be Christmas Eve.  He had his own plans.  Yet she continued to press him, and he would discuss it in vague terms, hoping to put her off so he could arrange it for a different night.  What was he going to do?  Would he keep to his own plans, whatever they were---even if it was to surprise her and the rest of the family with something BIG?  Would he do the sleep over on a different day than she wanted?  Would he, God forbid, stand in the kitchen and tell her he was never spending another Christmas morning with her because she was so needy and wanting him?  And break her heart?

That brother, that son, did something wonderful.  He understands that love, according to the the Savior he loves, is laying down your own life, your own plans, your own desires, your own "want to" for another.  That Christ taught we are to love not in word only but in deed, but even more importantly in the heart.  Especially to our own, our family...that is what Christ asks of us and showed us. Not out of obligation, but out of wanting to... So he did something amazing, sacrificial, loving, a laying down of his life for her...he came Christmas Eve, he listened to the concert his siblings gave, he sang the Christmas songs and hymns, he spread out his bedding on the floor next to her bed and he slept, uncomfortable, but near to her and he gave her the best gift he could have ever given her...he gave her himself, his love, his life.  He made her "want to" his own.  And I said to him, "Isn't it wonderful to be wanted?"  He nodded yes and smiled.  He understood and He is blessed because of it.  And a little girl will always remember when he did that for her and when she is older she will realize more and more what a precious gift it be beloved.  And she will know better how Christ loves her because her older brother showed her in a real, tangible, incredible way.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In His Hands

The call came, jolting us awake from early morning sleep.  The kind of call you see in movies, but now was real life.  My brother in law said they were on the way to the hospital and that dad said they might not be able to revive mom.  A few minutes later another call confirmed that she had not made it.  She was gone.

We sat in shock.  Then quickly made arrangements for my husband to leave on the next plane to be with dad.  I would follow in the next day or so.  We both cried the whole way to the airport.  It was only 5 a.m.

So he went to Texas to help his father and brother make funeral arrangements.  I stayed home to settle things for the family and early morning Thanksgiving Day I flew to Texas.  Holiday travelers filled each plane.  God brought the sun out of its chamber as startling snow capped mountains gave way to deep gray valleys and canyons. And my heart was filled with the wonder of God's handiwork and His power over life and death and how we live and breathe and drink in His glory one moment and leave this earth the next. And when I came home after the funeral and burial and relatives and sleepless nights, Job was waiting for me....

"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."  Job 12:10

Our lives are changed because of death, but we have hope.  We have the resurrection.  We have Christ. There is only that.