Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I think we'd all like to have a few more of these in our lives... those handy little lines with points that show the way so clearly. I was reading the story this morning of when Jonathan shot the arrows to indicate to David his standing in the sight of the king. Wouldn't we all like to know sometimes - where exactly does our King want us? And what exactly does the next step look like?

As I read through I Samuel chapters 20 through 23 this morning, I realized something: David had no idea what to do either. Once he left Saul's house, he was running around, telling lies and acting like a mad man, hiding everywhere and always in a decent amount of danger. Jonathan's arrows were quite straight, but God's were definitely not, during those days of David's life.

God did, however, use many people and circumstances to point David in certain directions, and He did still have control:

"And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. [...] And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God". (I Samuel 23:14, 16)

Anytime we're wondering if God is ever going to redeem and help us make sense of the scattered pieces and mistakes and conversations and relationships and commands to "go", "stay", or "do"... He is. He is protecting and strengthening us always, in ways that we cannot see. When His arrows seem absent, He is still guiding, and we must continue to "enquire" of Him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

book review | having a martha home the mary way

This book was not what I was expecting when I first received it, which was a little bit disappointing; HOWEVER, I quickly realized that it actually would have been annoying if it had been what I was expecting, so all of that to say, I really like this book. Instead of just talking about cleaning your house (which would, admittedly, be less work), it makes you do it. It's a 31-day challenge to a cleaner house... but also to a "satisfied soul" as the cover states. Let's not be deceived...  cleanliness is not actually next to godliness, and a cleaner house does not ensure joy and peace within. However, it is inspiring... when we're clean and disciplined on the outside, it carries over to the inside... and vice versa. This book is definitely for any stay-at-home mom looking to organize the chaos a little bit - both spiritual and physical.

I'll preface this review by saying that I'm actually just getting started... or rather, thinking about getting started. I've skimmed through the book some, but want to do the actual challenge when I will be around for 31 actual days, which is probably not until... next year? No, but honestly, I did want to wait until school was out and homemaking was my primary role again.

One thing that I love about this book is that it puts equal emphasis and appreciation on the "Mary" and "Martha" parts of all of us. The "Mary" sections of each day urge us to connect what we're learning in the home to what we're reading in the Word, and offer spiritual encouragement and insight. There is actually space to write, so it's kind of like a Bible study. The "Martha" sections focus on the practical - what you're going to do (ex. clean the second bedroom's closet), with a plan, and maybe even some accountability. :) It also sometimes includes ways to get your kids involved, etc.

I also like the design, the fonts, and just the general content of this book, and then of course, maybe more than anything, I like that I can tell it's been written by someone just like me... a mom and homemaker with the best of intentions, and the many and varied challenges, and the understanding and the humor about keeping a house clean.

As I go through the book, I'm establishing habits, recognizing my own flaws and tendencies when it comes to housekeeping, working to overcome those, and finding balance. The balance is perhaps my biggest takeaway. This is a down-to-earth book about getting focused, organized, and realistic about keeping house - both inside and out. :)

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

book review | land of silence

I took Land of Silence on a road trip, which was good... because I wouldn't have gotten anything done at home if I had been there. It was hard to put down. :) In some ways, it's just another Christian fiction book about a girl and a boy... but there are also some deeper themes running through it that I really appreciated.

It is not just a story. It is a story that takes you back to the day, begging you to ask yourself the question: who was the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment? This is author Tessa Afshar's fictional interpretation of her life, her dreams and ambitions, and her struggles. And honestly, she could be any of us.

The two themes that come to mind as I'm thinking back through the book are guilt and pride. Both are things that, for better or for worse, sometimes cause us to turn in certain directions at critical points in life and affect what we focus on and what we accomplish. Guilt over her brother's death pushed Elianna to set everything aside and throw herself into her father's fabric dyeing business, where she realized some incredible personal talents that she may never have discovered otherwise.

At the same time, that guilt and some pride and stubbornness keep her trapped in her trade when there were ultimately other, better things for her future.

And so it is with us... our experiences motivate us and act as little rudders in our lives; turning us this way and that way. But we cannot forget Who has ultimate control over the waves and the winds, and the rudders cannot do anything against His power. In the same way that Ethan pursues Elianna in this story; so He pursues us... even when we don't deserve Him.

The other theme I noted was redemption... and isn't that the story of our lives?

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.