Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sober Mercies: A Book Review

My best way to learn something is through story. And when a story is shared with humor ... even better.

Since Christy has been home from England, she has been lending me great books. And we three girls have spent a few hours at Barnes and Noble. And we have been taking lots of walks to the library. All summer, there has been a delicious stack of books by my bed.

Last week, after a few busy and stressful days, I decided to take the morning off. I stayed in my pajamas (my favorite clothes), made tea and coffee, and began the book that had made it to the top of my stack.

Six hours and 15 pages of notes later, I finished my favorite book of the summer. Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with A Christian Drunk by Heather Kopp.

Heather tells her story of recovery, not just from alcohol, but from much untrue thinking. How I want God to do that in my life, too ... freedom from my brokenness and untrue thinking. 

Listen to this .... (and then read the book) 

"I had mistaken a belief based system for an experienced based faith. I had been on a prideful journey aimed at being right about God, instead of on a desperate soul journey aimed at being real with God. The difference can make you sick."

"If I was going to experience the kind of ongoing spiritual transformation I so desperately wanted, I would have to learn the difference between ascribing to a set of Christian beliefs that had no power to change me, and clinging daily to an experience of God's love and grace that could."

In this beautiful, honest and sometimes humorous memoir, Heather shares her journey to a new relationship with God and the opening of her heart to community.

I truly loved this book.

What is the best thing you read this summer?

Linking with sweet Jen.

image credit 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are you in "the cool group?"

I got caught up in a goofy radio show, while I was driving to Jenny's apartment. You know ... the overly exuberant hosts, talking about some silly topic and inviting their listeners to call in with their own stories.

Fortunately, Jenny only lives 10 minutes away, so I did not listen for long.

The topic - the main reason that women feel fear when they drop their kids off at preschool ... they are afraid of the women that are in the "cool group."

My immediate sarcastic response was "are you kidding me?" But the interesting thing is ... I have been thinking about this radio program all week.

Friendships are a tricky business, eh?

While I have never been "in the cool group", I have never felt intimidated by those that are. I want to get to know them, too, so I treat them like everyone else. 

I choose to barge into their lives, even if they are prettier, skinnier, smarter or any other _____er. 

          *I am friendly.
          *I smile.
          *I ask questions.
          *I invite them to my house for tea. 

Yes, I barge in. 

And guess what? They become dear friends. I have found that they are usually lonely. Other women are somewhat afraid of them.

How silly ... we all need each other.

And ... I discover that we are all cool.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another." John 13:34a

image credit 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Had a Weird Childhood

The one in the cute pink skirt is me.

And, yes, that is a real AK47.

And, yes, those are Christmas stockings behind us.

And, yes, we were cool.

And, yes, we are TCK's. (third culture kids)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Raising Our Kids in the Church (Thoughts from a Gray-haired Mom)

My husband and I both grew up in families that thought church was important. Dave's dad was a pastor and my dad was a missionary and a pastor. 

One Sunday evening, when Dave was young, no one showed up for church. The family was lined up on the front row, and Dave's dad preached his entire message. :)

This week, I have been reading lots of bits and pieces on the internet, where people are sharing their experiences and reflections on being raised in the church. 

I think we all have tendencies to be like a pendulum. Reactions to our experiences in the church (or life in general,) often result in the pendulum swinging completely the opposite direction. The next generation may swing it back the other way.

I, gray-haired mom, would love to recommend an intentional and thoughful move to the center

Let me give you two examples that I have been reading on blogs this week:

1. Reading Bible stories: I have read some strong statements about Sunday School classes that held up Bible characters as models to follow, etc.

The natural pedulum swing, would be to not read Bible stories to our children at all. This would be sad.

As parents, we want to be responsible and intentional to tell the stories to our kids in a way that does not shame them, hold up false ideals or minimize the actual Biblical accounts.

My adult daughters have introduced me to a wonderful, balanced, non-pedulum swinging option.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, tells the beautiful, funny, strange Bible stories, not as a moral, but as a way that leads us to Jesus. I love the byline ... "every story whispers his name." 

2. Memorizing Scripture: Another hot topic has been memorizing Scripture verses as kids, that were out of context, not understood and then receiving prizes for it.

The natural pendulum swing is to not have your kids memorize Scripture at all. May I again, suggest something in the middle.

When we were kids (ages ago), our family memorized Scripture together around our dinner table each night. It was fun, a shared experience and we talked about what the verses meant. We also memorized entire psalms and longer passages. (I can still quote the Christmas story from Luke 2 that I memorized when I was six.)

I often have a verse come to mind at the perfect time I need comfort, encouragement or exhortation, that I did not even know that I knew. (Thanks, dad and mom.)

I believe as parents, it is our responsibility and joy to disciple/mentor/teach our kids with wisdom and intentionality ... with a little fun thrown in, too. Since parents are sinners, too, we have many chances to learn together.

Please do not throw out the baby with the bath water 

What things have worked at your church and in your home? 

image credit: pendulum, book 

Linking with the Soli Sisters.
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