Thursday, July 31, 2014

Listen and Obey

I have been mostly just blogging about books I have read. I want to share a story that gets at the heart of "Listening to and Obeying" God. 

I took a walk this morning with the three passages I have been poring over the last few days and hope to just keep meditating on throughout the coming weeks.

While on the walk, I got a call at 6:55 am from a distressed friend. She is someone I have been intensely involved with over the last eight months in some difficult things that have been happening in her life. When I hung up, my heart was heavy, but I decided to just "listen and obey," and God told me that He would do the fighting for her while I kept silent (Exodus 14:14). As much as I would love to intervene on her behalf, I have not been given that open door, and He made it clear I was not to pound it down. He also said, she would be "A OK." He also reiterated what He told me last week about this situation, "I bless the friend who just stands by." So, I am standing by and standing in the gap for her in prayer.  I rested in these things and was overwhelmed by a sense of peace. 

As I rounded the corner of the school yard, deep in listening prayer, God said, “Look up!” I looked up, and there was an Asian girl in the distance clutching her baby and watching her 20 month old.

God said, “She is Thai.”

I said, “But she is not from the people you have called me to reach out to. I will smile and talk to her cute daughter.”

God said, “Go to her.”

I struck up a conversation (do not remember what I said first), and I asked her where she was from. She said, "Bangkok, Thailand." (God was right!) Since I lived in Bangkok for 3 months it was a nice thing to converse about. I found out she moved here 1 ½ years ago from another US city (her whole family immigrated there from Thailand 10 years ago), and she does not like being in a small town. She has had a hard time making friends because people are always coming and going here. She is begging her husband to find another job in a bigger city. 

Then, God reminded me of Sandy’s International Mom and Baby Class. She lit up and was SO EXCITED!

Then, I told her that God told me to look up, that she was Thai, and that He wanted me to talk to her. She lit up again, and said, “Oh that is going to make me cry!”

I went home and introduced this lovely woman to Sandy over email. 

The simplicity of listening and obeying and loving my neighbor as myself. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

32. The Meal is Worth the Trip Whether You Like Your Relatives Or Not by Jeannette Buck

I met Jeannette through my genealogical research on my dad's mother's father's side of the family. One of her ancestors was married to my great-grandfather before he was married to my great-grandmother. Clear as mud?
This is a collection of short essays she wrote for the local newspaper in Gold, Pennsylvania. It gives a slice of life from this part of the country! Loved it! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

31. The House I Left Behind by Daniel Shayesten

Such a fascinating story from a person who was on the inside of the Iranian revolution. He hoped for democracy and a better life for all classes of people. He got a repressive regime. This is one man's journey from disillusionment and despair to hope and peace. 

(I titled it differently in the heading because the updated version is called The House I Left Behind)

Food and Fitness VLOG - 7/10/14

Monday, July 14, 2014

30. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

"The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness then the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all."  
There is nothing I did not love about this book. He was preaching to the choir, but as C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, "People need more to be reminded than to be instructed." I say a hearty AMEN! How cool that I read Mere Christianity and this book concurrently, and Manning would quote him in the last line of the original book! As I sat in my backyard last week, I took this picture and posted it to Facebook saying: 

These two books complemented each other so well! While C.S. Lewis was challenging for my brain because I do not think the way he does, 
Ragamuffin Gospel was like that large glass of iced tea I slowly sipped in this picture: cool, refreshing, quenching my thirsty soul, and going down "oh so easy"! I think (or should I say feel?) more like Manning than Lewis, but I loved them both!  

Friday, July 11, 2014

29. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

When I would tell people I had never read Mere Christianity before, I would often get looks that bordered on condemnation that said, "And YOU call yourself a Christian?"  

I tried explain to people that my brain does not function like C.S. Lewis. My past attempts at reading this book were futile, and I felt like my youngest son who proclaimed at four years old that he would eat chicken when his mouth gets bigger. I knew that someday I would read C.S. Lewis when my brain got bigger, and I finally have done it (although my son is 6 feet 9 inches with a fully grown mouth and still does not eat chicken . . . but I digress)!

Not that I am that much smarter, but since I have read through 254 classics (see the links at the top of this page) and tackled his easier book, The Screwtape Letters, I felt ready to tackle his masterpiece (or so everyone says).  

I finished listening to the last hour of the book as I rode my bike to campus/downtown and back today, and I found myself oohing and aahing at almost every word exclaiming things like, "Yes! That's it! Wish I could say it like that!" or just rode down the street with a bug-gathering grin. This book was good for my soul! I admit it: I wish I had read it sooner.

Lewis is hands-down one of the most brilliant writers of the 20-century, and this is his magnum opus. I am in awe.

Here is a link to many quotes: 

By the way, Geoffrey Howard - aka - Ralph Cosham is one of my favorite narrators. He has read so many books to me over the years (Animal Farm, Screwtape Letters, Watership Down, The Ransom Trilogy) that I felt right at home. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Day So Far

5:20 Get up and make sandwiches for the guys as they go to do farmwork
5:40 Say goodbye and make chai and listen to Mere Christianity
5:40 - 7:25 Bible Book Club posting 1 Samuel and Psalms
7:25 - 7:45 Straighten out my DropBox (some broken links and no icon that links to webpage - lost in computer reboot with Staples due to virus?)
7:45-8:15 Shower and dress (listen to Mere Christianity then Worship) and talk to George

Ate: 2 cups fat-free milk and 2 TB whipped cream

Off to upload BodyBugg

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

1, God Draws and Teaches

Jesus answered and said to them, "No one comes to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD." Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." (John 6:43-45, NASB95)

Danube Joy

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

28. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

 This woman searches and searches. She is definitely on a quest and is a very restless soul. I wonder how she is now. I read this book because it impacted a friend, but this author does not have my values. I felt sorry for her more than anything else and had to skip parts of chapters because it was TMI (too much information) for even a memoir. It was interesting to read to get an inside look at a lost soul. She is a very good writer though. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

27. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I was flat on my back because of a sprained ankle and my computer spent all week in the hospital with a virus. So I read a lot this week. After two books about the bin Laden family, I was due for something a bit more lighthearted. This did the trick!

I wish I could remember why I looked for this one at the library. My brain sometimes goes off on little tangents. I had seen this movie because many in my learning community (The Trapdoor Society) LOVE it, but I was bored to tears. Oh, now I remember why I wanted to read it: I am going to London next year, and I saw "Charing Cross" on my map as I was planning one of our walking routes. So, I looked up the history of the building and thought I would give the BOOK a try (since the book is usually better than the movie). 

The book is charming and touching and everything in between. I loved Helene Hanff's sense of humor. I need to watch the movie again, but sadly, my library did not pick up the DVD when it switched everything from video to DVD, and I do not want to have to pay to watch it. Maybe I will request the library get it since it is considered by some as a classic with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins! 

26. Growing Up bin Laden by Najwa and Omar bin Laden, Jean Sasson

The previous book I read by Carmen bin Laden made me interested in this book by Osama's first wife and one of his sons. It was a good and fascinating read into the man behind the terror. I feel so sorry for his children who had no choice in the matter. It was a page turner even though it was written in 2009, prior to his death. I wish we could have an update from family members with him from 2001 to his death, but I do not think his other wives will ever tell the whole story, and we do not know where all those children are now. 

25. Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen bin Laden

This is really an outsider's look at the inside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as she was raised in Switzerland and is half Swiss and half Persian. What an interesting insider's look too! She has some astute observations. I kept waiting for her husband to "lower the boom" on her outspoken ways compared to the other women in the country, but he seemed to let her continue to express herself. I found her book fascinating. 

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...