Musings — April 2017

Returning from a family vacation (and a blogging break!), it’s great to be rested and to have stored up some delightful memories with my patient husband, our two youngest sons, and with dear friends who love us so much and so well that they even welcomed our big slobbery dog!

Did you know that the roller coaster was invented by the French in 1817? Two hundred years later, our guys enjoyed this “history lesson.”

 

Obviously, the cool people are sitting on each end.

On the Nightstand

Not because I deserve it, but because God is gracious, I have a friend who has stuck with me through a dozen or more years of reading Scripture together.  Even though we are geographically far apart, we read the same passage each day and hold one another accountable to the practice of showing up in the presence of the Word.  Our plan for the foreseeable future is to read through the book of Jeremiah, using Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses as our road map.

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
    I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
    I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

Jeremiah 1:5  (MSG)

Already, the first chapter is breathtaking with its reminder that we are known before we know, that we have been enlisted by God before we were even qualified for anything.  Then, since “giving is the style of the universe,” we have been given to our families, our friends, our neighbors — and to our enemies.

“Our life is for others. . .  We don’t think we can live generously because we have never tried.  But the sooner we start the better, for we are going to have to give up our lives finally, and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping grace of life.”

This was true of Jeremiah, and it is certainly true of believers in 2017.

On the Blog

In April I shared my first offering as a contributor to God-sized Dreams, an on-line community where you can say your dream out loud and find the glorious encouragement of others who are also familiar with the joys and pitfalls inherent to dreaming.   When fear threatens to extract all the air from my dreams, I’m thankful for the courage and strength that come from an upholding God.  You can read more here about letting your fear drive you to the One who casts out all fear.

Ruby Magazine included a couple of my book reviews in their April edition.  I always enjoy sharing children’s books, and, of course, the best part is test-driving the books with the adorable grandson.

The most viewed post in April was my review of Gary Thomas’s book, Cherish:  The One Word that Changes Everything for Your Marriage.  Gary encourages his readers to go beyond merely loving our spouses and to live our way into “a marriage that feels more precious, more connected, and more satisfying.”

Just for Joy

What is it about fiction and the imagined words and experiences of well-developed characters that can leave the heart aching with the beauty of truth?

In The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, Toby leaves his wife Lou and moves to Maine with Deary.  Twenty years pass, and with Deary in the process of dying, Toby falls, breaking both arms.  He returns to Lou and asks her to care for them both.

Spoiler alert:  She says yes.
All incredulity aside, this excerpt from Lou’s processing of the decision stopped me in my tracks:

“At this age, forgiveness could be child’s play if you know the ropes.”

Is this “knowing the ropes” another word for grace?
Am I better at forgiving now than I was twenty years ago?

What are you working on these days?
Are you seeing evidence of God’s knowing, choosing, and launching you into His agenda?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and am thankful for your eyes in this place at the end of another month.
Blessings and love to you.

//

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Musings – March 2017

We’ve known for quite a while, so . . . what a relief to finally be able to share with the world the wonderful news that our second grandchild will make his/her appearance in September!  For this blessed grandmother (“Bam”), this also means that I get extra time for painting and baking and reading stories with big brother while my daughter-in-law goes to her doctor appointments.

Capture
This picture was taken before the blueberry stains had found his chin or the molasses had streaked a brown smear over his eyebrows.

After that headline, all other news in this monthly recap will pale, but it’s been a busy and productive month in other ways as well . . .

On the Nightstand

While I’m sure that Krista Tippett and I would not agree, point for point, on a few matters theological, I devoured Becoming Wise for its respectful and listening tone, elegant sentences, and broad scope of voices.  Since I won’t be reviewing it on the blog, I’ll tempt you with a few quotes:

“As love crosses the chasms between us, it likewise brings them into relief.  Stand hospitably before those who offend and harm and drive us crazy.”

“Western Christianity lost some of the cleansing power of mystery when it became a bedfellow with empire and later, again in its headlock with science.”

“Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory.  It’s a renewable resource for moving through life as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

I’m also working my way (slowly) through Nancy Guthrie’s Seeing Jesus.  Each evening I receive a reminder from its pages that the Old Testament and the New Testament deliver one glorious message, and that this message needs to be at the foundation of all my writing and teaching.  And by the way, Nancy’s podcast, Help Me Teach the Bible, is currently one of my favorites.

On the Blog

It’s always a privilege and an adventure to be invited into another writing space, and this month one of my posts appeared at (in)courage, the online community that is the vision of DaySpring (the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc.).  The (in) means that we are in Christ, connected, and in community with each other, and that was certainly my experience as I interacted with readers on the topic of hospitality and friendship.  I’d love it if you joined the conversation over there.  If you are looking for a community that offers life-giving tools to equip you right in the midst of the chaos, you’ll want to subscribe.

Another community that is less well-known, but vibrant and growing is Ruby Magazine.  They shared one of my reviews in their March issue — A Glorious Dark by A.J. Swoboda, a book about believing which confronts the loss and defeat of Friday and the awkward silence of Saturday with Sunday morning resurrection truth.

Earlier this month, we wrapped up a ten-week long on-line book discussion group that featured C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces.  Not only did we survive the process, but we also enjoyed the weekly sharing of insights and great input from people who approached the book from all kinds of perspectives.  If you love Lewis’s fiction, you’ll be challenged and inspired by his last (and, in his opinion, his best!) book.

The most-read post at Living Our Days in the month of March may possibly have been my most-read post of all time (and someday I’m sure I’ll figure out enough about the backside of my blog to actually make that comparison with confidence . . .).  Start Where I Am.  Use What I Have.  is my commentary on change and the following life; on children leaving and grandchildren arriving; and on my cranky relationship with technology and mud season.

Just for Joy

It’s not every day that I get into my car and drive away from this country hill with no husband and no children, but that’s what happened on the next-to-the-last Friday of March, and the welcome I received on the other end made me wonder what all my angst was about.  The women of North Uxbridge Baptist Church in Massachusetts invited me to teach at their spring conference.  We met over the Word of God three times that day, and the smiles and nods of that group of godly learners, the sound of all those voices lifted in worship, and the warm fellowship over coffee, around the table at lunchtime, and between sessions mirrored the welcome that God extends to all of us in the Gospel.

It occurred to me on the four-hour drive home that, although I cannot see your nods and smiles, you, my faithful readers, extend that same welcome to me here each time you visit, and so, I thank you for your continual encouragement in this tiny gathering place.  

Grace and peace to you, and may your celebration of Christ’s resurrection be filled with joy.

//

As usual, I’m joining the What I’m Into party over at Leigh Kramer’s place.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

February Musings — 2017

What February lacks in length, it has more than offset with depth — of SNOW and MUD! No sooner do we shovel our way through two feet of fluffy beauty, than the sun comes out and melts it all, turning the world into chocolate pudding!  It’s almost as if God is telling us to slow down — to stay home and enjoy these days of crazy boys and middle-aged marriage.  And so we have — with joy!

On My Desk

Capture

It’s been great to get the women’s Sunday School class started up again at my wonderful church home.  We have been using Jen Wilkin’s study in I Peter, and it’s really keeping us on our toes with homework and a persistent (and important) reminder that we need to stay close to the text, reading repetitively and in context.  What that boils down to is at least one trip through all five chapters of I Peter each week, lots of marking up the text in our search for repetitive words and big picture concepts, and regular use of the dictionary (or Siri) for deeper understanding of the words Peter chose for his letter to all of us “elect exiles.”  I reviewed Jen’s book last spring and couldn’t wait to use it in real life with my friends who join me around the table each week.  The study is every bit as challenging and helpful as I thought it would be.

Vacation Bible School veterans will not be surprised to hear that I’m sorting through curricula and staffing for this summer’s ministry to kids, and so I’m wondering . . . what’s everyone else doing for summer ministry in 2017?

capture

Somehow I missed taking Economics in high school and college, so, in this third round of teaching a high school senior here at home, I’m switching gears, leaving our curriculum behind, and reading a book in tandem with my big, brown-eyed boy.  Emily Whitten has been sharing one classic book per month on World Radio, and her suggestion of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics has been just what I needed to bring the theory and the charts and graphs and specialized vocabulary into real world application for my future welder (and for this present day domestic diva!).  You can listen along here.

 

On the Blog

One of the lovely benefits of blogging has been all the new friendships I’ve made with other bloggers — and every once in a while, one of those friends writes a book, and I get to review it here at Living Our Days.  When my friend Mary Geisen wrote Brave Faith, she dipped her brush into the lives of inspiring biblical characters and shared their stories alongside her own journey of moving outside her comfort zone and into the soul-enriching pilgrimage toward living brave.

Another blogging friend, Holly Barrett, invited me to join her on her weekly podcast, and the program aired on February 3.  Click here to listen in to the fun conversation as we chatted about family, books, and living this following life in pursuit of wisdom.  You can subscribe to her podcast here.

The dialogue at SheLoves Magazine is always lively and uplifting, and I was thankful to share a reflection on my mid-winter canning jars and the truth that the container is secondary to the contents.  It’s good new that my emptiness is an invitation for God to pour His fullness into me—whatever my assignment for 2017.  You can read more here, and be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s testimony that God met him faithfully in the midst of his own deep need.

The most-read post at Living Our Days for the month of February was my review of Humble Roots, by Hannah Anderson.  Using metaphors as earthy as our clay-based bodies, Hannah cooperates with the Word of God to reveal that the quality of life we most desire will not come to us through power or reason or productivity or any number of quick fixes, but, rather, through roots that are sunk deeply into a theology of need and answering grace — and a humble acceptance of a life that is lived close to the ground.

And, unbelievably, for those of us who are reading C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, we have only two more weeks left in our discussion group!  The book was already my favorite of Lewis’s fiction, and now I’m blessed by the great insights that have come from other readers through this group experience.  As we begin Part II, Orual realizes, “I must unroll my book again.”  We’ll be joining her in the process of sorting out the threads of her tangled memory.

Just for Joy

We did it!
The women’s fellowship at my church planned and executed a Family Valentine’s Celebration including a lovely dinner and a fun and wacky program.  We started brainstorming waaaaay back in November, and it’s encouraging to see what a small group of women can accomplish together as we celebrate our ministry to women and work toward greater opportunities and initiative for ministry by women.

captureThanks for meeting with me once again here at month’s end.  I am blessed by your generosity of spirit as you read, share your comments, and invite others from your circles into our conversation.

The beautiful and poetic words about snow in the image above come from Luci Shaw’s “Light Gathering, January” taken from her collection of poems What the Light Was Like.

Be sure to join me over at Leigh Kramer’s place where many of us gather at month’s end to share What We’re Into.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

January Musings — 2017

Having never chosen a #OneWord365, I was surprised when Standing chose me!  What a delight to be reminded of God’s wide open door, and of the truth that an ongoing relationship with God is more than enough reason to rejoice!

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.    ~Romans 5:1,2 MSG

Here at Home

hat-guys-1

It has occurred to me that I’ve never shared much in these recap posts about what’s going on around the dining room table here on this country hill in Maine.  With two high school boys still homeschooling, we get up from the breakfast table five days a week and dive into all kinds of learning.  My senior and I are squinching up our faces with the effort of unraveling all the formulas needed for two-dimensional vectors, and my freshman and I have regular arguments about the relevance of all the grammar lessons I inflict  assign.  Having said that, I’m thankful for those hours around the table, and very aware that next year I’ll be down to only one student!

That youngest son and I share an obsession with recorded books, and right now, we’re listening our way through anything we can find by Gary Schmidt, a two-time Newbery Honor-winning author whose delightful protagonists seem to hover around the age of fourteen and who “think out loud” in ways that make Gary’s writing both entertaining and instructive — especially for those who are interested in the business of living amidst all the tangled angst of those early teen years.  I can recommend Trouble, O.K. for Now,  First Boy, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.  We’re hoping to listen to more soon!

On the Nightstand

capture

Choosing my first “before I go to sleep” book of 2017 was, of course, nearly a ceremonial affair in which I looked at everything that I have by Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, and a few others and then tried to decide.  Since I’m still finishing up Luci Shaw’s Breath for the Bones (thoughts on creativity and faith), I went with Be Still My Soul for a blast of Elisabeth Elliot’s no nonsense commentary on various Scriptures.

On the Blog

I’m finally past the white knuckle stage of leading a book discussion group focusing on Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.  We’ve “met” four times so far, and the comments have been as diverse as the participants:

“Well, I had to sit down and read the book cover to cover (couldn’t put it down!) first. Now as I am reading it again I see things I didn’t see the first time.”
“I am not a great fan of mythology but I did love the Narnia stories and their powerful analogies so I am hanging in here to try to understand how such a ghastly fearful character as Ungit can have about her the smell of holiness! I’ll admit to being repelled and very unsure where this analogy is heading”
“Even though I feel that I may be “out of my element” by joining in with an Online Book Discussion Group while being such a Newbie to this world of Blogging, my Stilling Heart is longing to hear the poetic sharing about such a great storyteller as C.S. Lewis.”

If you haven’t joined us yet, you can grab the reading schedule here, and our most installment in the discussion is here.

The most widely read post for January was my review of Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren.  The folks over at The Englewood Review of Books were kind enough to share my review on their site, and I heartily recommend their weekly publication which presents and analyzes books that “point toward a new world that is characterized by the justice and shalom of God.”

Just for Joy

Having made peace with the demise of the cassette tape, I am thrilled to have discovered podcasts in the past few months.  You may already have an overwhelming list of regular “shows” that you listen to, but just in case you’re interested in hearing about some new ones that challenge your thinking, here are my five favorites:

  1.  All the CT Podcasts:  I always look forward to Quick to Listen, Theology for Life, and The Calling for their interesting interviews and sharp thinking and reporting on issues that affect the church.
  2. Listening In is an interview podcast produced by World News Group.  They interviewed author Les Sillars about his book Intended for Evil at the exact time in which I was in the process of reading and reviewing it!  What great insight that provided!  They have also introduced me to a new (to me) musician:  Chad Lawson‘s piano work is a glorious melding of jazz/classical that is perfect — just perfect.
  3. Nancy Guthrie hosts Help Me Teach the Bible, and she and her guests have fascinating and helpful discussions about faithfully presenting Truth in a teaching ministry.  This month, I reviewed her bookWhat Grieving People Wish You Knew, and her story gives weight and depth to her astute grasp of theological truth.
  4. I think I’m all caught up on the programs of The Road Back to You.  Authors Suzanne Stabile and Ian Morgan Cron talk about life through the lens of the Enneagram by talking to people who represent various types on the Enneagram.  I started listening to the podcast as preparation for my review of their book, but  I keep listening because it’s so fascinating!
  5. Living a Redeemed Life by Holly S. Barrett is another of my favorites because Holly interviews writers, bloggers, and friends, chatting in a casual way about their lives and where they see redemption at work in their every day living.  She invited me to chat with her back in December, and after I got over my initial horror at the thought of branching into another post-cassette tape medium, it was a wonderful experience. The visit is scheduled to air on Friday, February 3.

Thank you, friends, for your warm encouragement during these cold January days.  The wind is howling outside my window right now, but the sun is pouring through the windows, and I’m thankful for the gift of a wood stove and a well-stocked wood pile, hot tea in my favorite mug, and the love of family and friends.

capture

//

As usual, I’m sharing this post with the What I’m In To community over at Leigh Kramer’s place.  Be sure to swing by for great recommendations of books, podcasts, and, well . . . see for yourself!

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

December Musings — 2016

Turning the last page of 2016, I’m reminded of all its gifts, chief among them this favorite guy, and our rowdy and much-loved family.

Thank you, friends, for the encouragement you have brought to this year, for your own inspiring books and blog posts, and for the hospitality of a warm welcome into your life — and your inbox!

On the Nightstand

capture

For Christmas of 2015, my oldest son and his wife gave me Amy Carmichael’s Edges of His Ways, arranged in daily devotional readings.  This book has been my companion throughout 2016, and I’ve been thankful for the daily reminder that no matter how much I study, regardless of how long I walk with God, and even in light of God’s incredible self-revelation in the person of Christ and in the wonders of His creation, “these are the mere edges of His ways,” (Job 26:14).  Always, always there is more to be known in this following life.

 

 On the Blog

 

The most-read piece at Living Our Days for the month of December was my review of A.W. Tozer’s From Heavena compilation of Tozer’s sermons and excerpts from his written material for the Christmas season.  Our family has been dipping into this wisdom as part of our Advent devotions, and almost every day, there’s another glorious “Ah Ha!” moment around the dining room table.  Here’s one example:

“We live between two mighty events — that of His incarnation, death, and resurrection, and that of His ultimate appearing and the glorification of those He died to save.  This is the interim time for the saints — but it is not a vacuum.  He has given us much to do, and He asks for our faithfulness.”

For the month of December, the SheLoves community has been writing and thinking about the word “Pause.”  My offering (click here to read it!) was centered on the notion of pausing in the in-between, honoring the sinewy watchfulness of those who waited for a Messiah in the days between the Testaments while staying present to the wonder of Word made flesh in our every day living.  Words spoken into that long ago in-between also resonate for today’s waiting:  “Nothing shall be impossible.  God is with us.”

Then, one morning I received an e-mail notification that my blog post was being featured over at Deeply Rooted.  This is a community of women called to purpose, on purpose, by God, and I was honored that they shared my thoughts on prayer, Sometimes Instead of Bread, I Ask God for Stones.

Just for Joy

I’m hoping that many of you will join me in the journey through C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces.  

capture

Lewis has been referred to as an “armchair theologian,” and we all know that he was a masterful storyteller, a combination which makes for a rich reading experience.  On January 5, I’ll be posting a reading schedule and an invitation to link your own thoughts and blog posts about the book in a book discussion that will take us into the early weeks of March.

The best part of an on-line group is that our meetings won’t have to be cancelled for inclement weather!

Having passed the Winter Solstice, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are now heading toward the light.  I pray that this is your heart’s condition, regardless of circumstances, and I’m looking forward to sharing more words of Truth and Light together in 2017.

//

Join me over at Leigh Kramer’s place to read a collection of musings from a wide and varied selection of writers!  Happy 2017!

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

November Musings — 2016

4988 — Warm zucchini bread smelling like a cinnamon candle

4989 — Church supper to celebrate our new pastor and our family connection

4990 — Clanging of wind chime in the chill autumn breeze

On the Monday before Thanksgiving Day, I recorded gift number 5,000 in my gratitude journal — confirmed evidence of God’s goodness to me every single day of the past year.  November always seems to mark a collision of holidays, but it’s especially true this year since I spent quite a few hours of the past month working on a new Advent banner (just like ours, of course!) for my oldest son’s family.  I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am that he wants to lead his family in remembering the Greatest Gift Who entered this world in an ordinary moment, in the fullness of time.  We’ll be doing the same thing at our house in December, just as we have for the past twenty plus years . . . such good memories and such promise for the future.

On the Nightstand

I can’t get enough Christmas poetry this time of year, and Luci Shaw’s Accompanied by Angels is a faithful friend.  Poems of the incarnation, these have been collected from Luci’s other books AND from her annual tradition of sending a Christmas poem to family and friends. (What a great idea!)

And even though I’ve finished reading Ann Voskamp’s new book, I keep going back to The Broken Way because of the breaking and the giving away, the timely exhortation to “live given.”

On the Blog

I have been overwhelmed this month by encouraging comments from friends who have read A Legacy of Striving, my reflections on our Sister, Eve.  As usual, I am grateful for the hospitality of the SheLoves community where I was able to share the truth that Eve’s story drives home:

Only God is equipped to be God,
and when I trust Him for the unknown quantities that furrow my brow,
when I say the words, “Your will be done,”
I join hands with Eve in remembering
And in waiting for the plan of God to be fulfilled,
For He will stop at nothing to restore and to reconcile.

Do we need any further evidence of this than the story of Christmas?

The most viewed post in November came out of our collective frustration and angst surrounding the election here in the United States.  As I was bracing myself for the difficult task of going behind the curtain, it occurred to me that my choice of words, attitudes, and responses on the day after the election was over would be even more important than the choices I made in the voting booth.  In the aftermath of the political hurricane, maybe this Prayer for November 9th is still relevant?  Certainly, the Scripture that inspired it will carry us a long way into grace:

“Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You,”  (Psalm 33:22).

Just for Joy

Is it just my imagination, or is there more music in the world the closer we get to Christmas?  Since September, our family has been practicing to sing in the Living Christmas Tree, so the carols and the beauty of the Word made flesh have been singing their way through these autumn days.  (Yep, that’s me on the right in the next-to-the-top row!)

And thanks to my friend, Susan Shipe, here’s a first for Living Our Days!  We held a drawing for the giveaway of her lovely book, 31 Days in the Gospel of John, to one reader on Thanksgiving Day.  My adorable grandson reached his tiny hand into a blaze orange hunting hat (we are pretty high tech here on this country hill!) and selected . . .  drum roll, please:

Ariel Tohme

Congratulations, Ariel!

I hope many of you will visit Ariel’s writing home, His Grace Goes Deeper, for a blessing in words.

Thank you, Susan, for stirring things up around here, but even more for compiling your reflections on the life of Jesus just in time for Advent, a reminder to 21st-century readers of the Gospels that Jesus is not a two-dimensional Savior, trapped on the page or in the past.  He is alive and active in our day, and a commitment to read about him for 31 days is only the beginning.  God has given us an eternity of days to savor the beauty of Jesus, to turn the Truth over in our minds, and to let it sink deep into our prone-to-wander hearts.

An Announcement for January

Most of us have a favorite C.S. Lewis book, whether it’s the incisive practical theology of Mere Christianity or the glorious story-telling found in The Chronicles of Narnia.  It turns out that C.S. Lewis’s favorite of all his books was Till We Have Faces.  One Lewis scholar calls it his “most subtle treatment of the relation between good and evil.”  It’s a novel, based on the mythical tale of Cupid and Psyche, and in it, Lewis explores themes such as the selfishness of human love, the limits of reason, the corrupting effects of self-will, and in Lewis’s own words, “the havoc a vocation or even a faith works on human life.”   I’m planning to lead a discussion group about the book starting in January, and am hoping that many of you will join me, so here’s a quick overview of the plan:

  1.  The pace will be leisurely at three chapters per week (about 30-ish pages), which will take us into the beginning of March.
  2. I will be posting weekly starting January 5 (Thursdays) with introductory material and a detailed reading schedule.  My hope is that the comments section here at Living Our Days will become a comfy living room where we can discuss our thoughts on the book.  If you blog, PLEASE plan to include a link to your post about the week’s reading so that we can all benefit from one another’s impressions with more detail than is possible in the comments.  If you don’t blog, no worries.  Just share your thoughts in connection with the weekly reading here, and be sure to visit and respond to others.

More details to follow!  Please weigh in below with your thoughts on the discussion group.  Have you read Till We Have Faces?

Thank you once again, friends, for another month of encouragement through our conversations about books and about Truth.  As we begin our celebration of the mercy, the forgiveness, the promise, and the welcome that flow from the birth of our Savior, may our hearts rejoice together in this spectacular evidence of God’s “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”* 

//

Photo credit for Living Christmas Tree:  Beth Birmingham at Village Soup

* Quote from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ amazing words in The Jesus Bible Storybook.

Be sure to hop on over to Leigh Kramer’s place to check out what she and others have been into and up to during the month of November!  I’m also sharing this post at Emily P. Freeman’s Let’s Share What We Learned Fall 2016.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

October Musings — 2016

Movement outside my window is a continual distraction this time of year.  Leaves floating down in vibrant shades of turmeric and cayenne pull my attention away from the pan on the stove, the recipe on the counter, the book I’m trying to read.

The autumn foliage is breathtaking on this country hill, and I’m reminded that all this beauty is a portal through which God enters my days and my thoughts.  Four times in Scripture we are exhorted to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,”  and the perfection of His creative genius shouts to me when I’m walking the dog in a shower of swirling color.

After all, God could have made leaves fall off the trees without bothering to make the whole process so glorious.

DSCN0769.JPG

On the Nightstand

My pondering of autumn beauty has been sweetened by a slow reading of Luci Shaw’s reflections on creativity and faith.

capture“When the world was created, it would have been enough to have it work, wouldn’t it?  To include beauty seems gratuitous, a gift of pure grace, which I believe it is.”     ~Luci Shaw

Luci quotes Frederick Buechner, who said of beauty, “It is to the spirit what food is to the flesh.  If fills an emptiness in you that nothing else under the sun can.”

Where are you seeing beauty these days?

On the Blog

I was honored (and momentarily panic-stricken) when Mary Hill invited me to be one of the women spotlighted in her October series “31 Christian Bloggers Who Inspire a Closer Walk with Jesus.”  She asked some thought-provoking questions, and she has aimed those same questions at thirty other women in the blogging community.  You can find our conversation here.

Be sure to visit SheLoves Magazine this Saturday!  They will be featuring my post on prayer, a topic that has floated to the surface frequently this month on the blog.

October’s most-read book review at Living Our Days highlighted Leslie Leyland Fields’ new book — her tenth!  Crossing the Waters moves seamlessly from memoir to Biblical narrative and back again as Leslie shares stories from the following life with all its storms, abundance, and necessary net-mending.  If you’re an early Christmas shopper, add it to your list!

Just for Joy

My church family has called a new pastor!  We have invited him and his wife into our mess with us; to teach and admonish and provoke us; to walk among us — because that’s what shepherds do.

In September’s Musings post, I shared that I had been convicted of my need to be more purposeful in my prayer life — particularly for my immediate family.  That thought took root and grew into an entire post that I shared in October, and the timing was perfect,

each-day-by-namesince the family is growing all the time!  Our second son has announced his engagement to a lovely young woman, and they will be married in the spring!  That certainly qualifies as the highlight of my month!

capture

 

What challenges are you facing in this season, and how is God revealing Himself as faithful in your life?

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below, and am thankful for your reading, your insights, and your regular encouragement here in this space.

Every blessing to you,

Michele

//

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.