Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Voice of Truth

I think I have figured out what has been going on in my head. I have been wondering if God is angry with me. I've been worried that I have ignored His attempts at correcting me. On the other hand, maybe I'm being deceived and these doubts are being used as an attempt to separate me from God. Despite my confusion, I know tonight that I cannot be separated from God. I will continue to ask for His love, beg for His mercy, and accept His redemption. I will pray for discernment.

I'm sitting in the surgery waiting room while I type this. Ron's surgery has gone well, but his lungs have taken quite a beating. Only one lung was working, and it wasn't working very well. The tumors were crushing his windpipe. The doctor is hopeful that this will give Ron some relief.

It's been a long, hard fight, and Ron, Ben, and I are battle fatigued. My baby boy is strong, but he sees what his daddy is going through, and he is scared. We do what we can to comfort him, but he still hurts. He gets a lot of comfort from music. He often goes to bed with his Mark Schultz songbook. (We actually got a picture of Ben asleep using the songbook as a blanket. We printed a big copy of the picture and had Mark sign it. We have one for us and one for Ben. Mark personalized both for us. Plus, we gave Mark a copy. He seemed to really enjoy it.) Ben also really enjoys singing Chris Tomlin music. I wasn't a big Chris Tomlin fan previously, but Ben has really influenced me and we sing Chris Tomlin tunes pretty frequently. Ben was super excited to see Jason Gray in concert. Ben really loves Sing Through Me and New Way to Live. He lost his tooth on the way to the concert and he got to show Jason the bloody spot where his tooth was. How cool for both of them. :-) Ben's favorite song from the new Downhere album seems to be Coming Back Home. Something about hearing my little boy sing "You won't fail me. You won't let me down..." makes me cry, yet is so very comforting.

I'm so thankful we've had the last 2.5 years with Ron. The doctors originally thought he'd only live for six months to a year. Still, it's been such a hard fight. In the last week, we've been to four different hospitals. I'm just so very tired. Sometimes it gets hard to think clearly. I'm still hurting and frightenend, but I will pray for discernment and fight anything and anyone who tries to separate me from my God.

Thanks to all of you who love us and pray for us. We are so grateful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mark Lee's Summer Reading Program

I joined in on Mark Lee's summer reading program a few months ago. I'm extremely happy with how this turned out. It was just the motivation I needed to pry myself away from the computer and the TV and get my nose into a book. My husband spent more than 30 days in three different hospitals over the summer, and I might have gone a bit nutso if I didn't have this diversion, so I am grateful to Mark for doing this. Well, I still went a bit nutso, but that's OK. ;-) Mark is giving out prizes, so I have been trying to figure out why I deserve a prize. Hmm. Most organized reading list? Person who read the most books while sitting on really uncomfortable chairs? Actually, Mark has already given me two prizes. The reading club was a real blessing to me. I'm so glad I participated. Plus, the new Third Day CD is awesome, so I have enough prizes. I think I owe Mark a prize instead. So Mark, if you read this, what do YOU want for YOUR prize?

Non-Fiction

My non-fiction books focused on fitness. Fitness is practically an obsession of mine now, as I've not been fit for a long time. After losing a chunk of weight and getting my life back, I'm even more driven to be healthy. I'm amazed at what eating better and exercising have done to make me happy. Exercising is my best stress buster, and this has been one heck of a stressful summer.

Body for Life for Women, Dr. Pamela Peeke
I first read this awhile ago, but I've re-read the whole book several times now. This is the book that changed me from a morbidly-obese coach potato to a woman whose lost over 50 lbs and on a typical week walks, runs, boxes, and lifts weights. It's not a big secret, to lose weight you need to eat less and move more. This book gave me the tools to do that. I have a much better understanding of how I think, what motivates me, and how to change my negative habits. This may seem melodramatic, but this book has given me a complete physical rebirth. I am so thankful.

Marathon: You Can Do It, Jeff Galloway
Jeff Galloway teaches people, even people like me, how to run a marathon. The book is easy to read. It doesn't use a lot of hard-to-understand jargon. The basic philosophy is to use walk breaks when you run long distances. I never would have even tried to run long distances, but Jeremy Thiessen (from the band downhere) introduced me to the Galloway method. Even though I'm 60 pounds overweight, I was able to run my first half-marathon a couple of weeks ago. In addition, I'm hoping to complete a marathon this fall. This is a good book for anyone attempting to run a marathon. It has a lot of good information.

Margins: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard A. Swenson
I read this first a couple of years ago. I'm re-reading it though because I need to hear these lessons again. This book teaches us to live with margins. It gives practical advice for living with less and being happier.

Runner's World Complete Book of Beginning Running, Amby Burfoot
I should have read this book back in February, when I started running. How helpful it would have been. This is a well-written, well-organized book that not only teaches you running basics, it really helps you stay motivated when you first start a running program. I think it's a great book for someone who is just starting to run, as well as for a person who is still a novice runner, like me. In addition, it has information for walkers who want to make the transition to running.


Fiction

All the fiction books I read ended up being in the "Christian fiction" genre. I didn't plan this, but it just happened. At first, I was going to do some heavy reading and re-read books like Hugo's Les Miserables. However, I was already taxing my brain with doing a lot of heavy-duty medical reading about cancer drug trials. I didn't want reading to be another chore. I just wanted to get lost in stories.

Almost Friends: A Harmony Novel, Phillip Gulley
Almost Friends is a light and quick read. It's not filled with a lot of action or glorious prose, but it's just a thoroughly enjoyable story. The main character, Sam, is a pastor who is somewhat disillusioned with his church. The book follows Sam's story as he is challenged to be the pastor he has been called to be. There are characters in here who remind me of some of the people in my hometown church. Consequently, I laughed out loud as the frustrated pastor tried to deal with some very annoying people. It's a good, fun story to read with a great reminder of love and tolerance.

A Change of Heart, Phillip Gulley
Another book with Sam and his congregation. Light reading, yet thought-provoking. Again, I laughed out loud while reading this book. This book did a good job of making me look at my own heart, my own convictions, and my motivations.

Levi's Will, W. Dale Cramer
Levi's Will follows Will Mullet as he leaves his Amish community as a boy, grows up, goes to war, and has children of his own. The story shows Will struggling to heal the relationship he has with his father, as well as to heal the relationship he has with his son. You can feel Will's pain as he struggles for forgiveness, and you can feel the peace he gains when he starts to truly understand God's love for him. I could not put this book down, and I was so very moved by the essence of God's love, which is so well described in this story.

Thr3e, Ted Dekker
Kevin, a 28-year old seminary student, is pursued by a psychotic man named Slater. Slater threatens to bomb different places if Kevin does not solve a series of riddles and "confess his sins." Kevin cannot understand how Slater knows so much about Kevin's past. Kevin's friend Samantha, and FBI agent Jennifer fight for Kevin's life. This really was a great page-turner. I enjoyed it and do recommend it. However, I have some issues with the way the story ended. There were some things that just didn't make sense. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just warn that you might be slightly disappointed with the ending of the book. Still, I am definitely going to read more of Ted Dekker's books.

Grace in Thine Eyes, Liz Curtis Higgs
This is another book I just couldn't put down. Davina is a 17-year old girl living in Scottland in the 1800's. Up until now, she has had her brothers protecting her from everything and everyone. When she goes away to visit her cousins, several awful things happen to her. This book is not for young kids. Several adult issues are dealt with in this book. The biggest reason that this book appealed to me is that I kept thinking that what was happening to Davina just wasn't fair. It wasn't right. Where was God for Davina? I guess it made me reflect on how I've really been feeling about my own situation lately. I could feel Davina's sadness in my heart, and I was inspired by her courage, her persistence, and her grace. I will read every book in this series.

Found, Karen Kingsbury
This book is another book in a series. I never seem to pick up the first book in the series of any author I read. That's no problem here though. Dayne Matthews, Hollywood superstar, finds his biological family, his one true love, and his faith. However, all three are threatened by mistakes that he has made and other circumstances that are out of his control. It is a good story of persistence and trust. I will read the other books in this series too.