Category Archives: Bible

Lately I’m . . .

Moving. Official moving day was October 13, so we’ve been in the new place for just over two weeks. All of our boxes were gone after three days. I have this problem where I can’t relax until something like that is done. So I took two mornings off work and did it. Our garage is full of empty boxes, but at least I can’t see them from the couch.

Now we just need to find a good deal on a used washer and dryer. Any pointers?

We’re still paying for the old place at least until the week of Thanksgiving (and probably through December, depending on how much time we want to devote to fighting the property management company), and we have to go back to take some things to Goodwill and make the place spotless. Eventually I’ll get that done.

This is the old place before we left. Pictures of the new place coming soon!

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Getting lost on purpose. Kinda. We don’t know our new area at all. At least, we didn’t. We’ve done an awful lot of driving around just to see what we can see—usually without even turning on the GPS. Sometimes that’s the best way to get your bearings. But I keep having this problem where I think of a certain direction as the “front.” Does that make any sense? Whether it does or not, it’s confusing the heck out of me. Some day I’ll know where I am.

Adjusting. I’m still mourning the loss of our old location. It was so close to everything—Trader Joe’s, the gym, Target. Now we’re at least 10 minutes from anything. And I can’t figure out which Target to go to because you can draw a 10-minute circle around where we live and find a Target in any direction. But at least our apartment finally feels like home.

Visiting LaCrosse. Jonathan’s sister Jennafer is currently living in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and the whole family (minus two) went to visit her. Joanthan’s parents brought their boat and we spent the afternoon cruising the Mississippi. I’ve always loved driving through that area on road trips because the scenery is gorgeous. And fall is no different . . .

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 Loving fall. Really, this just means that I’m anticipating snow. I do like the pretty leaves for awhile, and the crisp air is refreshing, but I’m really just waiting for that first accumulation. We had a few flurries the other day…

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Going deeper. Our Life Group is doing the first book in the 2:7 series from the Navigators, which has me reading my Bible on a  daily basis and digging for things that stick out to me. It’s always been so easy for me to speed read and not learn anything, but having to write down what I’m learning and reading a different version (ESV­—usually I use NLT) has made a difference. Right now I’m in Hebrews. We’ve already read Luke and Daniel.

In addition to that, I’m also reviewing The Wayfinding Bible from Tyndale, and that has me reading even more. Last night I read about the flood.

 

I’m hoping to find more time for blogging now that we’re settled in. We might even get Internet at home, which is something we haven’t had since I used dial-up to finish my online classes almost four years ago. We shall see.

Ten Great Dates by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp

Ten Great DatesLast night I finished reading Ten Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp. I chose to review it because it looked more interesting than the other three or four nonfiction options Bethany House had available. Unfortunately, while it has some good stuff in it, I was disappointed.

Ten Great Dates—written by two couples who have a lot of experience with marriage mentoring, counseling, and conferences­­—sets out to “help you connect faith, love, and marriage in ways that result in spiritual connection—all in the fun, guilt-free, safe format of Great Dates” (pg. 9). It was a quick read that contains some good marriage advice, and I like that it focuses on incorporating your faith into your marriage. I also liked that it included some Bible study questions to get you reading what the Bible has to say. But there were quite a few things I didn’t like.

The concept is interesting—plans for 10 different Dates with your spouse—but it wasn’t laid out the way I expected. Based on the back cover copy, I was expecting more ideas for the actual date activities/locations, but the focus was on what you should discuss. The most specific instructions for a date activity was were to “go to a nice restaurant” and “find a quiet place to talk.”

The authors used a lot of personal stories to illustrate their points. While examples like that can be helpful, I thought there were too many stories, and they were so long it was easy to forget the point. I grew bored with them and found myself skipping those sections.

The tear-out sheets at the back of the book are designed to guide the conversation for each Date—each person is supposed to get a copy and prepare for the Date by answering the questions. I knew after reading just the first one that my husband (who is a committed Christian and usually a good sport) would never agree to do all ten Dates. By the time I finished the book, I didn’t want to do them either.

Ten Great Dates could be helpful for couples who aren’t married yet or who became believers after they got married and haven’t figured out how to incorporate their faith into their marriage. But if you’re already married and doing things like praying and reading the Bible with your spouse, there are better marriage resources out there (Love & Respect, Sacred Marriage, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, and The Five Love Languages to name a few).

(P.S. It would probably go unnoticed by most people, but the ridiculous amount of exclamation points drove me crazy. One page had four in just two short paragraphs—that’s more than I would allow for an entire book.)

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.

Ten Resolutions for 2013

I’ve been making New Year’s Resolutions for the last three years. And after last year’s didn’t go so well, I’ve decided I need to make this year’s public. And I need to put them where I’ll see them often. So I’m sharing them with you and posting them on the fridge.

Without further ado, here are my goals and resolutions for 2013:

1.That’s only two books a month—what a sad number. With working full time, freelance editing jobs, blogging, and having a life, it’s tough to fit reading in, but I still want to make sure I’m doing it. Two books I want to get to this year are Don Quixote and Les Miserables. And maybe Mere Christianity, since that was on my list of resolutions last year and I bought it but never read it. Oops. But right now, I’m going back to an old favorite: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Click here to see what I’ve read so far.

2.With all the dental work I’ve had in the last two months to make up for a childhood of poor dental hygiene, this is a big one for me.

3.Ideally, this will be running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday or Sunday, and two days of yoga.

4.Not gonna lie—this one scares me. But I really want to get there just because I think I can’t.

5.Jonathan and I read together most nights, but I want to make more of a concentrated effort to spend time in the Word on my own. I haven’t really gotten started yet, but I’m planning to use a reading plan from Canvas Church’s website. If you’re interested in joining me, you can find the reading plan here.

6.Last year, I wanted to journal every day. It didn’t happen. Not even close. So this year, I’m shooting a little lower and broadening the possibilities—it can be journaling, a blog post, or something else. And unless I’m having a bad week, stuff I write for work won’t count.

7.We eat out way too much. Especially when we don’t have leftovers for lunches and we eat out then, too.

8.I made this a goal for myself two years ago, and it was a great challenge. I love finding and trying new recipes. Especially when they turn out great. I think I’ll start with one (or both!) of these . . .
Sun-dried Tomato Spread
Man-Pleasing Chicken

9.I’ve written about this before, but I fell out of the habit. It made life much easier when I didn’t procrastinate in the small things.

10.Earlier would be even better, but as it’s been, I’ve been getting up at 7:45ish, only about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work. No bueno. Things have got to change. And if they do, I might even have time to get my run in or do my quiet time before I go to work. That sounds like a recipe for a much better day.

What are you goals/resolutions for 2013?

Unstuck by Arnie Cole & Michael Ross

Written by Arnie Cole, the CEO of the international Back to the Bible ministry and Michael Ross, a journalist and author, Unstuck combines research, survey results, real-life stories and a Bible reading plan to help Christians who feel stuck in their faith and stunted in their spiritual growth.

As someone who feels that way quite often (especially lately), I appreciated the straight-forward, simple advice: get into God’s Word daily. They emphasized that there’s no formula for a living, growing faith, but shared a finding that shook me:

“There are no statistical differences in the behaviors of those who read/listen to the Bible one to three times weekly and those who spend zero days doing so” (pg. 56).

Though I hate to admit it, a look at myself lately proves this true in my own life. I am ready for a change.

The book is broken into three parts: Why We Stall Out, The Powered by Four Solution, and Engage, Untangle . . . Grow! And each chapter ends with 3–4 days of Scripture readings paired with questions to help you take a serious look at where your faith is and where it’s going. Though I haven’t had a chance to follow the reading plan (they suggest you take 45 days to work through it), I think it’s probably the most helpful part of the book.

Each chapter also ends with a reminder to check out the companion website, unstuck.gotandem.com, for more ideas and resources. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the website, but it looks like the reading plan is available there as well, with a few more questions to help you interact with God’s Word. It also offers goTandem, a free personalized spiritual growth program that will provide encouragement and reminders based on a short assessment.

Even if you only read Unstuck for the reading plan, it’s a great way to form the habit of not just reading the Bible, but interacting with it.

And since I didn’t get a chance to work through the reading plan while I was reading the book, I plan to start the 45-day journey today. Keep me accountable!

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.