An Unlikely Convert

>> Monday, July 11, 2016

It's been a long time since I last read something I felt I had to write about.  I've read lots of good books and recommended many of them to others, but most don't inspire the compulsion to sit down and write a review.  This one did.

I just finished reading Rosaria Butterfield's coming-to-faith story.  It is the incredible, gut-wrenching, heart-warming account of how God took hold of a militant feminist, lesbian English professor and over time ~ through years of struggle and conflict ~ has shaped her into a marvelous example of His mercy and grace, lived out in many different ways during the various stages of her life.

Her story is an amazing one ~ written with raw openness ~ not just because of the complete turn-around in several key aspects of her life, but because of the way she and her family live out the Gospel like very few in our society do.  It is a beautiful, refreshing, inspiring example of God's redemption story.

I won't lie: this small book requires a lot of pondering time.  Butterfield makes some very eye-opening observations about the Christian faith, lifestyle, and God's Word ~ the kind made by much deeper thinkers than myself and by people who can write from a perspective of being on the outside looking in; she startled me a few times.  I'd be willing to bet that would be the case for many North American Christians, if not most.  She is obviously not just highly educated, but a constant pursuer of understanding, whether she's examining Scripture, taking the pulse of her community, or getting to know a new foster child.  She encourages and inspires all fellow Believers to do the same.

It was Rosaria's 4-part interview on Revive Our Hearts that sparked the purchase of her book and I highly encourage you to listen to that, too. In fact, starting there would probably be beneficial.  I believe she provides some excellent, much-needed wisdom to apply to our Church's current struggle to address homosexuality from a Gospel perspective. There too, I heard arguments and observations I'd never heard presented before.  Reading the book afterwards provided more depth to the interview, but also added some helpful follow-through.

I plan on re-reading this book and making notes next time to possibly share here on the blog, but in the meantime, I just can't recommend strongly enough that you read it for yourself.  It's SO worth the time and effort to get to know this very learned scholar and deeply devoted follower of Christ.

SmileyCentral.com

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Earning My Aches and Pains

>> Monday, June 27, 2016

So... I am still contemplating what The Man said about finding satisfaction in what I do.  (I'm sure he'd be stunned to hear this!)

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, after pushing the lawn mower for over an hour, doing two loads of laundry, completing prep-work on two upcoming suppers, and going for my customary 2-mile walk, I came to a startling realization: I prefer my end-of-the-day aches and pains to be from working at home.

I like my seasonal/casual job at the accounting firm and I enjoy the people I work with and for.  Part of me is always a little sad when tax season comes to its abrupt end.  But the more I thought about it that afternoon ~ all exhausted and sweaty ~ the clearer it became that I simply never get the feeling of satisfaction after a day at the office that I do after a day of working at home.  My back/hip feels about the same after both, and I may well have trouble climbing the stairs to the girls' room to hug them goodnight and say our prayers together, but my feelings about whether or not the day was a success ~ the sense of accomplishment ~ is VERY different.

I realized that afternoon that if I'm going to have aches and pains either way, I'd rather they come from a full day at home, serving my family, meeting their needs, accommodating some of their desires, and trying to make sure our home feels like a refuge and retreat at the end of their days at work and school.

Some people might think that's a waste of my time and abilities, but these days, I think more and more people are discovering that to do what you love is far more important than being able to have all the "stuff" everyone else does.  The girls and I have talked frequently about how they want to live their lives as adults and what they'd like to be when they grow up, and I've really been trying to stress the importance of living within their means (because The Man and I are still paying the consequences of NOT doing that very well in our earlier years of marriage), and focusing on working at something they truly enjoy, not just something that will make enough money to buy the lifestyle most people around them have. Of having the kinds of jobs/careers that will accommodate their desires to create and have memorable experiences while still allowing them to be the full-time, stay-at-home wives and mothers to which they currently aspire when the time comes.

Understanding what brings that feeling of sweet satisfaction at the end of the day is key.  It bugs me a little that it's taken me till my mid-40s to see that.  I hope my girls will grasp the value much sooner.

Bubbles

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Practicing Gratitude [06.23]

>> Thursday, June 23, 2016

Today is the last Thursday of the school year.  It is also both of the girls' last Thursdays in their current schools; they both need to relocate in the fall ~ AJ to Mack's current school, which is the only one in town that offers Grades 7 and 8, and Mack to, to...

HIGH SCHOOL.

Today is Mack's last Thursday of Middle School. (gulp)

Crazy.  Just over 9 years ago, when I started this blog, they were only 5 and 3.  Mack had just finished her year of nursery school and AJ was trying to convince me she didn't need afternoon naps anymore!  Sometimes I'm very thankful for the rapid passage of time, but in other times, NOT SO MUCH!

Nevertheless, I'm grateful the experiences they had in the last two years at their new schools were generally positive.  I'm thankful they've both come to the point where they're looking forward to beginning a new adventure in a new school in the fall.  I'm especially thankful that Mack's schedule for her first year of high school is exactly how she hoped it would be ~ all the electives she wanted, and two classes each semester with her best friend.

I'm grateful for the whirlwind trip we took down to The Big City a week and a half ago.  We packed an awful lot into five days, but it was a good time with our families.  There was an all-day soccer tournament here at home and then the 5.5 hour drive to the city on Saturday; a special church service and retirement lunch for my mom (who was the church secretary for just over 19 years and worked her last day just yesterday) and a 70th birthday party for my father-in-law with The Man's family as well as all the local aunts and uncles on Sunday; a long lazy brunch on the deck, and a trip to Chapters with mom-in-law and one sister-in-law in the afternoon for a round of new books and frappucinos kind of for AJ's 12th birthday on Monday; another sleep-in on Tuesday, followed by a trip to the mall for Mack's Grade 8 farewell sandals ($12!!), which included a heady, delicious trip to Bath & Body Works, and then a family walk down to an outdoor ice cream patio with my parents later in the afternoon; an early wake-up on Wednesday and a day at the university stadium to watch Mack compete in track & field Provincials, followed by the 5.5 hour drive home again.  WHEW.

I'm thankful for a beautiful yard.  Of course, it would be more beautiful if I was a gardener, but there have been several times over the last week that The Man and I have realized the satisfaction of just thoroughly enjoying our four acres for what they are.  Just sitting and savouring the weather, the various critters and their antics, the smells... just being.  We are still dealing with rather discouraging financial and business issues, but both of us had to concede the other day that it's tough to be upset about circumstances when you're outside on a beautiful summer day.

What are you most thankful for today?

Gardening 

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