Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leaders are Readers

As I waited for my sister to come over and work out with me this morning, I decided to read through some of the devotionals in my in-box.  Sometimes I don't get to those in a timely manner due to the fact that I am subscribed to four or five, and I usually do my actual time alone with God alone (meaning without the computer).

Today I had a really interesting article by Kenneth S Hemphill from one of the devotionals from  The basic gist of the article is that readers are leaders (hence my utterly creative blog title). I really liked this quote- "The effective read and grow. The apathetic think they already know." This explains the truth of many of the bland Christian walks I see (and am at times).  The article made me think of years gone by when I read any Christian literature that I could get my hands on.  I was hungry to understand the mysteries of Christ and discover more and more about the God I loved.  As time has worn on, I've found my passion covered by the habits of married life, college classes, and family time.  I haven't picked up a good book about the Lord in a long time.  That's sad.  I don't even know what books are even popular right now.  I feel energized to get out my library card and point my web browser to my local library's web page and request some books- both the classics of Christian literature and some of the new stuff.

My husband is mentored by a wise man in our church.  He actually gave Lee a list of books that he said changed his walk with the Lord.  Maybe I should start with those.

Here is the list:

The Imitation of Christ- Thomas a'Kempis
My Utmost for His Highest- Oswald Chambers
Renewed Day by Day- AW Tozer
The One Year Book of Christian Poetry- Philip Comfort and Daniel Partner

Mere Christianity- CS Lewis

The Sermon on the Mount- John RW Stott
Knowing God- JI Packer
Basic Christianity- John RW Stott
Holiness- JC Ryle

The Practice of Godliness- Jerry Bridges
The Mark of a Christian- Francis A Schaeffer
Real Christianity- William Wilberforce
The Magnificent Obsession- David Swartz
The Cost of Discipleship- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Introduction to the Devout Life- St Francis de Sales
The Set of the Sail- AW Tozer
Triumph Over Temptation- John Owen (This is a trilogy)
The Quotable Tozer- An Anthology- AW Tozer
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life- William Law
On Knowing Christ- Selected Sermons- Jonathon Edwards

The Knowledge of the Holy- AW Tozer
What's So Amazing About Grace?- Philip Yancey
Your God is Too Small- JB Phillips
The Problem of Pain- CS Lewis
Christian Reflections- CS Lewis

The Great Divorce- CS Lewis
The Screwtape Letters- CS Lewis
In His Steps- Charles M Sheldon
The Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis

Do you read Christian literature?  Have you read any of the above? Do you have any suggestions?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's here!!!!!

This morning Lee and I met his dad, sister, and her soon-to-be in-laws at one of our local diners for breakfast. Tastee Treat is a Broken Arrow favorite, and members of Lee's family can pretty much be found there on a daily basis. When we placed our order, the sweet waitress told us "Merry Christmas" and refused our payment. This is especially beautiful to us because we found out Monday that Lee's company had shut its doors and my husband (and Lauren's husband-to-be) are both without a job. Lee is especially in a pickle because he leaves March 15th for basic training in Texas. This makes it complicated for him finding a new job that he would only have for a few months.

We are confident in God's plan, but it is especially interesting to be in this situation at a time when we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. How can we fear?

Tonight we got to celebrate with Lee's dad's side of the family. It was fun to see them. There are some younger cousins on that side and I enjoyed watching them run around screaming about a ghost in the bathroom.

After we left his aunt's, Lee and I drove through the Rhema lights. My cell phone pictures are horribly inadequate.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

I have to admit that I am a Harry Potter fan.  The stand-in-line at midnight for the newest book and read-it-in-one-sitting-taking-breaks-only-to-pee kind of fan.  I hadn't seen the newest movie yet as I had been waiting to watch it with my siblings.  Tonight we finally got to get together for pizza at Savastano's and then watch the movie.

It was great.  I laughed, I cried, I wished it was parts one and two instead of just one.  It was true to the book, yet also good as a stand alone movie.


My sweet siblings waiting for our pizza.

My beautiful sisters.  "Glasses"!


Chicago-style pizza in Bixby.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am the Face of Miscarriage

Today I wish I had amazing photography skills.  I would make a documentary about the loss of babies through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.  I feel like there is so much inside of me I need to show, even if only to myself.

The images of the emotions I have:

- A woman in Babies R Us or the baby section of Target.  The woman would be crying, maybe clutching a stuffed animal to her chest.  The background would be a swirled blur around her.  I know the first time I went to Target after we lost our baby girl I lost it.  I had spent hours there picking out the items for her room and for the registry.  Walking by the items I had dreamed of buying for my baby and knowing that the baby section was off-limits to me was awful.  I have only bought one gift for a pregnant friend since (my friend Jennifer, who I was lucky to share my pregnancy with .  Her baby is due any day now).  In fact, I have skipped several showers in my efforts to avoid other people's babies.

- An image of the ceremony/ funeral.  We were blessed to bury our sweet baby in the country on Lee's family's land.  There is a big rock under a tree overlooking a pond.  I have images in my head of the ceremony- of the flowers on her grave, of the dirt mounded up, of my husband kneeling and telling our daughter goodbye.  I got fairly hysterical at the end and couldn't leave her. 

- An image of the beauty of the spot now.  Maybe an open Bible on the rock?  The sun rising in the morning and reflecting off the pond?  In the past I have wanted to go out there and decorate the spot.  But that would be holding on to an earthly wish, and my baby is in Heaven praising God right now.  Instead, I want to go out and place a wooden cross at the spot.  How beautiful would that be?  The sun and the cross and the pond?  Gorgeous.

- A woman at a baby shower, obviously not pregnant, surrounded by her pregnant friends.  Maybe she has a hand on her flat stomach and looks lost. Perhaps the pregnant woman are only talking to each other, leaving her out.  I am overjoyed for my pregnant friends, because I know the delight of motherhood.  And they have been nothing but kind to me.  But sometimes it is hard to look up and see all the swelling bellies and be reminded of my loss.  God is good and brings comfort, but there have been many hard moments of slipping off the bathroom to cry.

- An unfinished nursery.  Perhaps it looks like the workers simply walked away, with paint brushes and oepn cans of paint still out? Since I was only 13 weeks when we lost Nora, I hadn't begun to paint her room (also because we didn't actually know her gender).  But I do have two shelves in that room that are full of baby items.  Some were gifts from incredible friends and family who were so excited when we shared the news and wanted to celebrate with us.  Some were a few things I had picked up in my excitement.  There are pregnancy and parenting books.  I had  begun to stock up on diapers so that the financial strain wouldn't be too much when she came.  And I have a box of maternity clothes in my coat closet.

- A woman crying on her husband's shoulder.  My husband has been so amazing through this process.  He casts no blame or shame.  He prays for me.  He points me towards scripture and the LORD.  He doesn't discount my worth.  He reminds me that we've always wanted to adopt and that it will be okay if we don't have biological children.  He holds me when I have bad days and can't deal with my grief.

- The bills from the doctor's office.  Maybe in black and white?  These are a harsh thing.  Having to pay for the medicine to cause my body to miscarry was a terrible thing.  It's not a fair thing, or a right thing.  I clutched those pills in my hand for at least twenty minutes before working up the strength to take them.

These are just a few of the images in my mind.  I know other women who have many other images haunting them.  The statistics say that 1 in 4 women will miscarry.  I have two other close friends who also lost babies this summer.  We each had different experiences, and we are grieving differently, but we all have the same loss.  But we are blessed beyond measure to have the same God, the God who heals, the God who comforts, the God who loves, the God who is in control.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

... My siblings made with me- Redneck Truffles and Reeses Cookies!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the 7th day of Christmas...

My true love's grandma gave to me- a recipe for a nameless yummy candy.

1 bag of peanut butter chips
8 squares of almond bark
1ish cup of peanuts

I modified the recipe and did four squares of almond bark to 1/2 a bag of peanut butter chips and four pieces of almond bark to 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips. I would also add more peanuts.

Put all ingredients in a microwavable bowl. Heat for a minute, stir. Repeat until mixture is evenly melted. (About two or three cycles for me.) Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper. Leave out on kitchen counter for an hour and then serve.

My brother has been coming over to work out with my husband. Yesterday one of my sisters and I joined in. Today, while I was making my recipe, Matthew and two of his friends came over. They are using equipment designed by my dad and uncle.
It makes me laugh to look out and see a room full of sweaty, good boys.

Also, when Lee and I got to the church nursery today foe our monthly shift, we discovered a baby cage. I was shocked! All of the infant/ toddler training in me was trying to come out. Oh my. That's all I can say.

I'm trying to motivate myself to a quick workout before LIFEgroup tonight. My house is just still full of boys. And I'm tired.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On the 6th day of Christmas...

...My handsome husband made with me- Martha Stewart's "Ideal" sugar cookies!

Lee had been struck with a craving that he couldn't get over.  He tweeted about it twice, so of course I had to say yes.  We found this recipe online.  I later realized that I own the cookbook it came out of.

Lee started out using the cookie scooper while I rolled them into balls.

Then I smashed some of them down using a glass dipped in sugar.

We had expected these to flatten out- whoops.

So we just did it ourselves.

A happy, happy man.


On the 5th Day of Christmas...

I didn't cook or bake a thing!

My Lonestar dinner:

Lee's dinner:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 17, 2010

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

...Two of my siblings made with me- Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cupcakes!

Yes, I am wearing orange sweats and my husband's cammo shirts.  No judgement please.

Looks like cheese.  Tricked you!