Monday, December 17, 2012

Book of the Week: Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action

Simply inspirational! If you are struggling with doubts, self-esteem, or just struggling to know that there is a purpose for you, then I strongly suggest you read this book. In Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action, Nick Vujicic addresses ways to put your faith in action. Nick is a man who lives an inspirational life of faith. Born without arms and legs, Nick has struggled with issues of self-esteem and purpose, but he has risen above them with the Lord's help to live a life of faith in action.

In his second book, he discusses the hard issues that keep us from truly living our destiny and living lives that show our faith in action. He talks about how God has a purpose of each and every one of us. He shares not only his own stories, but stories of people throughout the world who have inspired him. These are people who face struggles every single day of their lives, but they live with their lives focused on Christ and they put their faith into action even when it means that they are possibly in danger and out of their comfort zones. One of the stories that has really stuck with me after reading this book is the story of Jacqueline Isaac who lives in Egypt and fights for the rights of women through Egypt and Asia. She works to end the genital mutilation that happens to infant and young girls in these countries. Nick gives practical suggestions on how we can rise above our circumstances to live a life of faith in action. He touches on the topics of bullying, depression and other mental illnesses and how these struggles in life are things that we are meant to learn from. He addresses the need to give back and how to live a life of balance.

This book is a definite must read for anyone who wants to live a life of faith in action.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where is He?

I'm reading a book on my iPhone when my sister asks me, "What happened in Connecticut?"

"I don't know."

I read for a few more minutes and then curiosity got the best of me and I go to the web browser on my phone and do a search for Connecticut. What I find out horrifies me!

Twenty-seven people are thought to be dead in a shooting at an elementary school.

As I am reading the tears well up in my eyes. I am crying for the families. I am crying for the children. I am crying for a community who is suffering. I am crying for the shooter.

It seems so senseless. It is so heartbreaking.

I am praying for the families. I am thinking about going to get the Princess from school early even though we live in a different part of the country. Partly from fear and partly from the need to be reassured. But I don't because it would just scare and upset her.

I keep wondering, "Where is He? Where is God? Can He be found even in this tragedy?"

In my heart, I know the answer. The answer is that He is there. In ways that we can't see or understand He is working. We can draw comfort from knowing that He is there, that He personally carried each one of His children into heaven.

He promises that even this can be used for good, that He can be glorified.

But even knowing this is I still cry. My heart still breaks. There is healing in tears and I believe that Jesus is weeping right along with me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thank you, Lord!

Thank the Lord! I'm able to write a post today although it will be short. My computer is not working so I haven't been able to post anything. Well, today I managed to get access to my grandmother's netbook and I am going to use it until I can get my computer back. I have had my grandmother's netbook in my possession for months because someone changed the administrator password on it and nobody bothered to write it down or text me with it and Grandma has trouble remembering passwords. Today I spent most of the day working on it and finally found a way to access the netbook without her password. So that is one thing that I am thankful for.

A second thing that I am thankful for is that my sister is home from the hospital today. She had to have back surgery yesterday. I am thankful that she is home and that she is doing well.

A third thing that I am thankful for is my niece and nephew. They have stayed with me for the last couple of days. We have had fun and I love spending time with them.

The Lord blesses and shows a way even when there does not appear to be a way.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book of the Week: Master of Love

Master of Love

Master of Love is a historical romance set in the Victorian era. Callista is a young woman who is setting the Ton on its ear because she is a gentlewoman who is working as a bookseller and librarian in order to support her household. Her deceased father was the third son of a baron who ended up inheriting the title but no land or money came with it. She is a strong and confident woman who struggles with taking care of her family and asking for help when needed. When he passed away, Callista was left to support the family. She obtains work as a librarian for Dominic Avery, Viscount Rexton.

Dominic is a man who is hiding who he truly is from the world. As a child, he wasn't taken seriously as a student because of his looks and this continued on into adulthood even though he has a passion for philosophy and a brilliant mind. He is considered an "Adonis." He has a reputation as a rake and is called the "Master of Love." He is tired of thought of as a Lothario and as shallow when behind the mask lies a man of strength and intelligence.

Drawn to each other from the beginning, they struggle to come together as a couple. Misunderstandings abound until Callista's virtue and life are put in jeopardy. When they finally manage to come together, Callista  refuses to consider a future with Dominic until Dominic's life is threaten by his protege. Callista reveals Dominic's secret to the world in order to spare his life and finally agrees to be his wife.

I was drawn into the story of these two lovers from the very beginning. Catherine LaRoche creates dynamic, complex characters who are easy to relate to because of the struggles that they go through in order to be true to their selves. The one problem that I personally had with the story was that after Callista and Dominic came together Callista started using sex to manipulate Dominic when she wanted to avoid a discussion.  Master of Love is an exciting love story and I greatly enjoyed reading it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Single Advent

I know that I am a day late with this. Advent started yesterday, but please forgive me. My computer is not working right now and I am writing this from my parents' computer.

Christmas is my absolutely favorite time of the year. For me, it has been a time of love, family, and remembrance of the One who gave His life for me. As single person, this time of year can be difficult though because I watch my friends and family with their kids and a part of me wishes that I had my own family and children to do these things with. This year I got to thinking though, "Why can't I as a single person celebrate Advent too?" So I took on the challenge of developing a calendar of activities that I as a single person can do in order to celebrate Advent.

Since I don't have my computer, I don't have the calendar to share right now, but I will be uploading it as soon as my computer is fixed. Instead, I am going to share the list of things that I came up with to do to celebrate Advent.

1. Make a special treat for a neighbor.
     One of the best things about this time of year is that it is a time of giving, and there are so many simple and inexpensive gifts that you can make. One of my favorite things to make for friends and neighbors is cookie mixes in a mason jar. You could also make up some cookie dough and freeze it. Paint an ornament.

2. Make a thank you gift for a community service worker (mailman, garbage collector, beautician, etc.).

    Create a plate of goodies (cookies, candies) and give to your mailman or take one to the local firehouse or police station.

3. Host a Christmas party!

    I know that there are so many activities going on this time of year, but what is more fun than having your friends and family over? There are so many great ideas for parties now too. You could have a birthday party for Jesus, a hot chocolate party, a cookie decorating party...the list can go on and on and on.

4. Grab some friends and go caroling!

    Grab some friends or  join the church choir, but go caroling. Take them around the community or visit a local nursing home.

5. Share a gift.

    There are so many children out there who do not families and wonder if they are going to get anything for Christmas. Visit a local store that has an Angel tree. Go shopping and buy clothes and toys for one of the children.

6. Light a candle.

     Ann Voskamp has become one of my favorite authors and speakers. On her blog A Holy Experience she has pictures of a wooden candelabra that her family uses to mark the days of Advent. For each day of Advent her family lights a candle and moves a wooden figure of Mary riding a donkey until Christmas day. You could set up your own by placing a row of candles along the mantel or a counter and lighting a new one everyday.

7. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies.

8. Find and read a new Christmas book.

   Visit the library or book store and find a new book to read.

9. Watch the movie The Nativity.

     Have a movie night. Curl up in your favorite pajamas and with your favorite snacks and put on your favorite Christmas movie. Mine is The Nativity.

10. Do a random act of kindness.

      Place candy canes at ATM's around town with a note. Buy a bunch of flowers and pass them out to people you see that appears to need a pick-me up. Pay for the person's purchases behind you at Quik Trip or McDonald's.

11. Drive around and view the Christmas lights.

      Grab your nieces and nephews or some friends and drive around to see the Christmas lights.

12. Volunteer! 

      Visit a school and read stories. Spend the day working at a local homeless shelter. Be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. There are so many different organizations that are looking for people to volunteer. Do a little research and find the best fit for you.

13. Make a new Christmas ornament or decoration.

      I love to make things or to find a new way to use something old, but even the non-crafter can make a simple ornament. Just take a clear glass ornament and place a photo in it. My niece, nephew, and I made ornaments by putting paint in a clear glass ornament and shaking it around. Visit a local pottery shop and paint a ceramic ornament.

14. Do a prayer walk around your neighborhood or community.

       Take a walk around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors.

15. Adopt a family.

      Many families cannot afford Christmas so find a family in need and adopt them for the holiday season. Buy them presents. Invite them over for Christmas dinner or buy them the food for the Christmas dinner.

16. Watch "The Nutcracker."

      Buy tickets to the local production of  The Nutcracker or if you can't afford that, look for a video recording of it.

17. Listen to Handel's "Messiah."

     Spend the day just worshiping and praising the Lord through song.

18. Write down 10 different ways God has provided for you.

      Even though Thanksgiving is over, we must not forget to have an attitude of gratitude. Make a list of 10 different ways that God has provided for you. Take photos of the things you have been gifted with.

19. Offer to babysit for a single mom or dad.

       Christmas can often be a harried time for the single parent. They are usually limited on time without the children so Christmas shopping can be difficult. Offer to babysit so that they can get their Christmas shopping done.

20. Decorate your tree.

       Just because you are single doesn't mean that you can't decorate for Christmas.

21. Go Christmas shopping.

      Spend the day shopping for presents for family and friends.

22. Read the story of the birth of Jesus.

      My favorite account of the story is in the book of Luke.

23. Create a playlist of your favorite Christmas songs.

      Download your favorite Christmas songs and create a CD or playlist for your iPod or mp3 player.

24. Send a Christmas card or a care package to a soldier.

       Our military works hard to protect our freedom show your thanks by sending out Christmas cards to some of the soldier or adopt a soldier and send him or her a care package with gifts and goodies.

25. Have a favorite things party with your girlfriends.

       In all of the stress of the holidays, it can be good to unwind with your girlfriends, married and single. Have a girls' night in. Ask each guest to bring their favorite things under $5 (enough for each guests so keep the numbers small) and their favorite snack and drink. Then just relax and enjoy being together.