I am a Lutheran, stay-at-home, music loving, pug snuggling, homeschooling mommy, Air Force Wife, and Bookworm who ponders the road less traveled (or the kitchen less cooked in!) in between scrubbing floors, cooking dinner, teaching math and kissing boo boos while trying to maintain a bit of intelligence and sweet Southern grace
I do solemnly declare that henceforth my 6 year old son will be known as Bob the Builder and my 5 year old daughter will be known as Tiny Dancer and my husband will be known as One who Passes Gas...no, I am kidding...One whose Imprint is in the Recliner...again I joke...we will just call him HandyMan for now until I think of something better. Those of you who know him, help me! Be nice!
My mama recently lost her job. She is a starving artist of sorts. She has moved from a house into a one room studio. She has had to let go of many things to make this move. As we talked yesterday, I was thinking on a time in my life that I had to go through that process. It was one of the most painful times of my whole life and I moved from a 2 story, 3 bedroom townhouse to a tiny little bedroom in the back of my aunt's house. I was losing everything all around me and facing a life that I had never envisioned to be mine. I was full of grief--the life I thought I was going to have had died. I couldn't find God in it. I gave up even looking for Him.
But what happened in that tiny little room was miraculous. My whole life changed in that little room. God took my mistakes and redeemed them in that little room. I remember that once I had situated myself in that room, friends and family commented on how funny the room was--to see me boiled down into that tiny space. It was like Canaan overload in an itty bitty space.
I was telling my mom not to wish that away. Life has a funny way of contracting and expanding like breathing. Sometimes life is big and sometimes it is tiny. The tiny times have a funny way of having a big impact. I realized then just how little I needed to survive. A twin bed with a cheap mattress, a radio with my favorite CDs stacked on top, my desk stacked with college textbooks, a few clothes in the closet, people who loved me and supported me. Maybe I am in need of revisiting that lesson again. I am sure a lot of us are.
The most important thing that happened when my life boiled down to that room was that I had to wrestle with God. All that was left was Him and me and we had to talk. I was mad some nights and sad some nights. I poured it out to Him. I even yelled at Him a few times. He is God and He can take it. And then, the fever broke, so to speak. Everything got still and quiet.
And then I met my husband. And he reached out his hand to me and said, "I am miserable too. Give me your hand. I'll help you get up and we will figure this all out together. I'll be your friend." And 10 years and 2 babies later, he is still pulling me up and saying that we can figure it out together.
My point? Don't wish away the lean times, the sad times, the hard times. There are diamonds buried in all that black coal and if you just wish away your circumstances you will never see them. If you have to be in a place, physically or emotionally, be there, just be. There is always an end, always another side.
Aaaah...boiling it all down. What a very good thing.
Everday Becky is hosting her first carnival and she is asking for good Christian fiction book recommendations. I love stuff like this because it gives me a little list of books to look for at the library and book store. I am an avid reader and sometimes the choices are just overwhelming. Of course, with a list, I always have the "Which one do I read next?" problem.
I have to second Jamie's recommendation of Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock. I couldn't put this down. I was really hesitant about Christian mystery. But this was very very good. (Truth be told, Jamie loaned me the book. When she moves I will no longer be able to use her as my personal library for all things Christian fiction.)
My newest obsession is any and everything by Phillip Gulley. Start with Home to Harmony. Read them all. Part Garrison Keillor, part Jan Karon, and uniquely Phillip Gulley. These are the stories of a Quaker minister and his return to pastor the church in his little hometown. You will laugh til your sides hurt and cry til you think your heart will just break. I can not say enough about his story telling. It is masterful. This book also leaves you better than you were before you read it. You will be left with a measure of great Grace.
If you haven't gotten on the Jan Karon/Mitford train, go get on the train. It will make you smile and culturally relevant. LOL!
I am working on The Hammer of God right now. This is heavy reading. The book follows three Swedish Lutheran pastors as they struggle with the place of the church in Swedish society. Heavy on Lutheran theology and a must read for anyone who attends a Lutheran church and those who are curious. Don't expect to read this in a weekend.
Participate in Becky's carnival here. Go. Because I want more book recommendations!
I love Jesus. I don't remember a day in my life where I didn't love Him, where I wasn't constantly motivated to do what was right by Him, to serve Him. I have spent the last few years misguided. though. I wanted my salvation and my Christian walk to fit neatly into some rules and regulations. In trying to find a specific mold for the perfect Christian, I fell into the mold of a Pharisee. I fell into the bonds of legalism. Love isn't neat and clean, it is sometimes very jagged around the edges.
For instance, I was afraid to look nice. Looking nice might mean I was immodest and because I was so unclear about the definition of modesty, I forfeited altogether. I have slowly broken away from this idea. It is untrue. If we want others to want what we have(Jesus), looking sad and frumpy is not the way to go about it.
I could list 50 or more similar things. I had become entrapped in works based salvation masquerading itself as uber holiness and righteousness. But it was all a farse. Grace got a hold of me. I am learning to view life through goggles of grace. It changes everything. EVERYTHING. I am re-examining everything. Everything from the way I dress, to the way I parent and act as a wife. It is scary letting go of things that have seemed so true for so long, but really might not be true after all.
Many things will remain the same but some things are changing or have already changed. I am being careful about the spiritual influences I allow in my life. I feel like I could be snatched away from this wash of grace that has come over me. I know I can't be snatched out of His hand, but I feel right now like I need to be very still for a while. I need to sit in this warm bath of grace, where I hear about His unconditional, life giving love and His divine, unfathomable mercy. A mercy and a love that is unique to my one true God. Not just a mercy and a love but THE mercy and THE love. I need to swim in it and drink it in. None of those lists of what I should and shouldn't do. None of the intricacies of doctrine. Just grace. Grace, grace, God's grace.
He loves me. He made me. He forgives me. He died for me. He wants my burden to be light. He wants me to have abundant life. He wants me to find my way out of the law and into the gospel.
Brooke White -"Jolene"- I just love her (although I can't get the comments from Stuff Christians Like out of my head-I have to giggle). She is so real and un-diva-ish. I am all about musicians who really love the music. Of course, I still have me some Sarah McLachlan and Shawn Colvin on my playlists. She looks great with that guitar. I also adore this song and my daughter used to belt this out when she was 3 and 4 years old. All that said, she was a little more pitchy than normal tonight. It could have simply been the going first thing, which I think makes a lot of the contestants nervous. She will be back to wow us next week. And why throw out smack about her little band and the violin player? Bad form.
David Cook- "Litle Sparrow"- Oh my. Oh my! He is somethin'! I think every week he gets more comfortable and his voice gets even better. That falsetto was spot on. He knows how to pick songs, he knows how to arrange them/pick the arrangement to suit him perfectly. There are a lot of comparisons about Chris Daughtry flying around cause of the rocker thing but I think they are a bit different. Whether David Cook wins or not, he is going to be a star. And that new haircut? Cutie patootie!
Ramiele Malubay- "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"- This was her best performance so far. But it was a little cruise ship-py. I do agree with that criticism. I don't know why I can't get on board with her but I am afraid she won't be around too much longer for me to worry about it.
Jason Castro- "Travelin' Thru"- He is so sweet and his voice is so young and velvety. He really has a lot of potential. I have liked everything he has done. I haven't felt that WOW! like I have with David Cook though. I thought this was a good choice for him and he is so natural with his guitar. My poor husband is bothered by his hair. My husband is an extremely conventional military guy and thinks all men should be properly shorn. He keeps saying, "I can't watch this guy. He looks like Jar Jar Binks." Well, for the record, I think he is precious. (And now I have passed the burden on to you of never forgetting that Jar Jar Binks remark)
Carly Smithson- "Here You Come Again"- I loved the arrangement for this. She is great at the songstress thing. Here voice is very rich and this was good. I don't think it was her best but it was definately good enough to keep her around! I can't think of another Dolly song that would have fit her better.
David Archuleta- "Smoky Mountain Memories"- Dear me I want to pinch his sweet little cheeks. He has a beautiful voice. His pitch is near perfect and he sounds like a professional. I wish he would break out a little bit and sing something less serious once in a while. I know this is his thang but something a little younger would do him good. That aside, he is a master singer already. Can you imagine what he will sound like in 5 years?
Kristy Lee Cook- "Coat of Many Colors"- She is just not in the same league as the rest of the group. That doesn't mean she isn't a good singer, just not as good. In my humble opinion, she should have gone home way back when before the Top 12 was chosen. I know, don't throw anything at me. Bottom line? She will not win. I feel similar about her as I did with Kelly Pickler. Except Kelly Pickler was so sweet and cute and bubbling with personality. If Kristy is going to have a career, clearly country is her genre. This was better than many of her previous performances.
Syesha Mercado- "I'll Always Love You"- One thought---OVERDONE SONG! Back when this was on the radio 100 times a day, I hoped I would never hear it again. Dolly Parton is a master songwriter. And this is one of her greatest accomplishments. But I couldn't even make a judgement on Syesha's performance cause I can't stand to hear that song anymore. And the judges had to throw the Whitney card! This whole performance was predictable. I know, greatest pop song ever. I agree, which is why I can't hear it again.
Michael Johns- "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right"- Good. Very Good. That is what his voice is made for-the Blues. I think this was a breakout performance for him. It had personality.
Overall, I think Krisy Lee or Ramiele will go but I am a little worried about Brooke. We have seen stranger things happen. Remember Chris Daughtry?
Who was the best? Well, every week I have thought David Cook but if I have to choose someone else I will have to say Michael Johns.
Biggest American Idol obstacle over come this week? My husband's infatuation with Dolly Parton :)