Friday, March 26, 2010

Here Burns My Candle Book Review and Giveaway

When asked if I would like to join the blog tour for Liz Curtis Higgs' latest work, Here Burns My Candle, there was no question whether I would sign up because I had already started another book of hers -- Thorn in My Heart -- a few months ago.

What I find interesting about Higgs is that she takes biblical stories and sets them in long-ago Scotland. Here Burns My Candle is a take on the story of Ruth and is set in late 18th-century Edinburgh. Lady Marjory Kerr and her daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, mostly take center stage. Each have their own troubles and their own secrets inevitable to unfold.

Elisabeth's background is definitely not like her husband's family. She is common and her mother-in-law notices every bit of it, while at the same time obviously favoring her other son's wife. But Elisabeth is beautiful, both inside and out, and from the beginning she endears herself to readers.

I have enjoyed this book, even when some of the detail seems a bit tedious. But having said that, I will admit that I did get caught up in the details. Sentences like, "Fear lodged itself in her throat like a stale piece of cake" make me go back over them, relishing Higgs' attention to the tiniest moments.

If this book sounds like something you might like to read, then you're in luck! Not only was I given a copy to read myself, I was also given a copy to give away to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post with your email no later than 12 p.m. CST on April 1. The winner will be announced (and sent an email) on April 2. Good luck!

Click here to purchase the book and click here to read an excerpt.

**This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.**

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Twenty-Four Second Memory

While uploading new video from the RFC spring break service trip, I came across a little clip of Miles from over a year ago. It was New Year's Day 2009 and we were making breakfast for dinner. He had recently started 'helping' me make dinner and cookies. When I watch this, it amazes me how far he has come with his language skills. It also reminds me that my little boy is not quite so little anymore.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

The 'Like Usual' Story

A week ago last Sunday, we were sitting in the morning worship service like usual.

Miles began his whining about...oh, something or other.

Like usual.

One of us (Casey) got a little more irritated than the other about it.

Not like usual.

After listening to a bit of the whining, he grabbed Miles up and carried him out the door. Miles, certain that he was in for some trouble, turned on the waterworks.

You guessed it -- like usual.

Not gone very long, the two of them returned and sat down next to me. Still feeling sorry for Miles -- who had only received a stern lecture -- I gave him a consoling look with which he answered in an angry whisper: "I don't like you." Somehow, without having done a thing, I was the bad guy.

Like. Usual.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"What Do I Have to Say?"

If you've ever wanted to learn more about life and God's love, having a child is certainly one of the best ways to do so. I know that in this life I won't fully understand the way God works, but I do get glimpses of his relationship with me through my relationship with Miles.

I've had my desperate moments with God, most definitely. I've cried out to him, and I can remember at least two times when I was asking him for something (okay, a baby) that I regressed into childish questions like, "Is there something I need to do? Is there something I need to say? Just tell me and I'll do it!" You might have had these moments as well. They're very private, but I'm sharing mine because of a moment I had with my son recently.

Miles has learned, in the past few months, just how much he loves gum. He gets this from me, I know, because I have always been a big gum-chewer and Casey couldn't care less about gum. I got smart about it at some point in my life and realized that, if I was going to chew this much gum, it had better be of the sugar-free variety. And so, when I give Miles gum, it is sugar-free. Not going to start him off on the really good stuff like Super Bubble (yum). I'll let him think that Trident is the best there is for now.

Casey and I have tried to teach Miles to say 'please' and 'thank you' and he's doing a pretty good job. Of course he forgets sometimes and will say, "I want lunch!" and I'll tell him, "I don't know how to get it for you until you ask me nicely." He will immediately respond with, "Please can I have lunch?"

He does the same thing with gum, and most of the time I let him have the gum. Sometimes, though, he's had too much or it's almost mealtime or...he just plain doesn't need to have gum at that moment. So last week when Miles began by asking sweetly, "Please can I have gum?" he was surprised to hear me tell him no. There was whining and that pitiful stomping around, which I ignored. Then came his sad little question: "What do I have to say?"

Immediately I recognized myself in my little boy. Here he was, asking the way he'd been taught to ask for things, not understanding why the answer was coming back as no. But as his mother, I know what's best for my child, even down to little things like a piece of gum. And I know he doesn't understand my answer, although he will later on.

So why is it so hard for me, as a child of God, to accept his answer of 'no' or 'wait'? I feel like I'm doing the right things, being thankful, striving to be the Christian woman I should be...and yet there are times when he still won't give me good things that I ask him for. I know I'll understand later on, and that he indeed does know what's best for me, and I love that he gives me daily examples of his love in a blonde-headed three-year-old boy.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Blog Post Has No Title

You would think, with all the time I spend on Facebook during the week, that I might be biting my nails down to the nub, but no! I sit down at the computer, check my few emails and I'm pretty much done. Of course I want to know if so-and-so's baby has rolled over for the first time, or to wish what's-his-name a happy birthday along with his other 5,000 friends, but you know what? My Facebook fast has me focusing on other things right now, and I have to say that it is quite freeing.

At lunchtime, Casey came home and I rushed out to the Healthplex for the first of two 30-minute massage therapy sessions I will be having this week. My very thoughtful husband put the gift cards for these massages in my Christmas stocking, and I saved them for when I thought I'd really need them, which is now. The lady who gave the massage was very nice -- a little talkative, but I am too, so it worked out.

Since we were in the Healthplex, a local gym, there were lots of different exercise classes taking place. The one next door to us was a strength-building class. I've taken something similar before, and it can get intense, but the guy leading this class was seriously yelling at these people! I'm all for motivation, but I think after five minutes of that I would be out. But for some reason, it wasn't really annoying while I was supposed to be having a relaxing massage. It was hilarious, and I'm sure I had the goofiest look on my face, which was resting on that open pillow thing, as I grinned at all the crazy yelling.

So the pan-flute-new-age music is going, I'm having the massage, but I keep hearing things like, "Come ON!" and one of the guys taking the class yelling, "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!" and then the instructor saying something about pain and it being necessary. Yikes. Still, it was really funny, and I kept wondering if the woman giving the massages gets tired of the noise when her world is supposed to be presented as calming, soothing -- you know, the opposite of painful exercise.

My 30 minute (wonderful) massage over, I got up and first thing I did was look in a small mirror on the wall. Just as I suspected! Pillow lines all over my face, mascara smudged...oh well. Relaxation comes at a price, right?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Slow to the Fast

I haven't been the consistent blogger I wanted to be. Look, we're in the third month of the year and I've posted eight times in 2010! No consistency here, folks.

I could throw out so many excuses reasons as to why I've been so neglectful of my blog, but we'd be here a while and frankly, I don't think you'd even stick around to read all of those reasons. (Read: BORING!) I did do something new this week, though, and for those of you who are not only my blog readers but also my Facebook friends you are already clued in.

I decided that I'd go on a Facebook fast for at least a week. Given that I didn't grow up in a world filled with internet, cellphones, iPods and such it might be just a bit easier for me to give up Facebook than, say, an 18-year-old. Still, with as much time as I spend on Facebook throughout the week, it's not going to be a simple task.

Why did I go on a Facebook fast? I knew that it would be good for me. Not that it's been really a bad thing, but I can't say that it's been greatly beneficial. I love keeping in touch with old and new friends...I just needed this break. That's a big deal for me to say and do that, because I am on the internet every day, sometimes for too long. So I don't make this decision lightly. And I'm hoping that without it I can learn to cut down my computer time permanently.

On a completely new topic, I'm still working on my training to walk the half-marathon in a couple of weeks. Sometimes I don't get all my training done during the week, but I am happy to say that just over a week ago I walked more than 10 miles! And yeah...I thought I would fall over by the end. Even though I was walking in the park, it was definitely no 'walk in the park'! Too cheesy? Sorry.

I'm sure by the time I get back to Facebook, something crazy will have happened and I will have missed it. That always seems to be the way. I'm okay with it though. I can always update my status in my mind.
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