Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I Am Hutterite:
The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage

I had no idea what a Hutterite was. I have read various books regarding the Amish communities and I adore most of them! I thought maybe a Hutterite was just another form of Amish community. Well, it is like community living, but it is more centered on sharing and true community living. The women share the workload of cooking, washing laundry, gardening, caring for the babies and kids and the men share the workload of the farm as well. There is centralized leadership. They do have cars - well, the community owns cars and they are given permission to use them if it is an emergency or for business (e.g. delivering eggs to the store to sell). They seem like a religious sect, but the book didn’t go into much regarding the specific religion they practice. Now regarding this particular young woman’s experience with the community  - wow! What a fantastic book! She starts with her grandparents story of how they met and their experience with the community and moves down the generations from there. You fall in love with this little girl’s family, so much that you can imagine packing your few belongings and joining her in the esenschuel for lunch. Her father makes a bold move and decides (amazingly) to leave the community life when she is around 10 and she talks about how hard it is to be away from the colony, but also how hard it is to fit in with the “world”. They are very poor when they leave the colony (with almost nothing) but they are hard working and diligent. I loved this book and I would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys the Amish books. This is a true story about a woman with an amazing family and it was a joy to read!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

Book Requested, Review coming soon....

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

The Flowering Cross

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan

I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than a children's book, when I ordered a copy of this book. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised! This is a wonderful way to share the Easter story and it motivates children to share their faith with others. This book goes beyond the Easter story. The story makes a point to have talking points using real life examples and scripture references for other life lessons. The little girl obeys her Mom and there is a scripture reference at the bottom of the page to point out how God wants us to obey our parents. The story talks about the neighbor who is kind of cranky; the family in the story helps and loves on the older gentleman despite his willingness to accept their kindness at first. It shows how simple acts of kindness can be small ways to share God's love with another - and inevitably lead a person to the cross. One extra thing the book has are detailed instructions on how to make your own flowering cross. This is a wooden cross that has holes in it for the flower stems. This may be a tradition that you would want to start in your own family – especially after reading this touching story. What a wonderful book!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What Difference Do It Make?

I just finished this book and have to say that it was wonderful to hear about what has happened in Ron and Denver's lives since the first book - and also to hear about others that were inspired in so many different ways by the original story. It is wonderful that they have such a passion to help the homeless and are motivating others to move outside-the-box and beyond their fears to help others. For many reasons, we have such qualms about helping the homeless - one of the biggest reasons is that we associate stereotypes that give us the feeling that it is OK to not share with the needy. Both Ron and Denver have used this book to make people aware of these issues and to help encourage them to take the first steps in helping the ones that need help the most. Make an investment - help change someone's life. Move beyond just sending used clothes, toys and food at Christmas.

The part of the book that touched me the most was the personal story of Ron and his attitude towards his father. Ron makes a valid point that sometimes we are busy helping those that are essentially "strangers" and not helping the ones that God has placed in our own families. It is easier to give a little here and there and feel like we are doing such a great job of helping a "cause" while completely overlooking the loved ones we have that are hurting and need us - even if they are old and crochety and act as if they'd rather not have us around.

Excellent book! I highly recommend it!

Remember to be a blessing to people at every opportunity that the Lord grants.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book Reviewing

I love to read! I also have an opinion on most everything. Now, I have found a way to combine the two - book reviewing! Woohoo. The publisher sends me free books (Thomas Nelson Publishing) and I write reviews on them. I am SO thrilled! I am reading What Difference Do It Make  now. Look for the review soon. It's a good one!! So inspiring!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am being reminded over and over this week that marriage is not about loving your spouse - it is about loving our Lord and honoring the commitment we made to Him to love the other person as long as we both shall live. I am so saddened to see that marriages are ending or not even happening. It seems like that first marriage, you know, the one where you are blissfully in love and really do think it might be the one to defy statistics and last forever  - that it is pretty devastating when it does end in divorce. But, that marriages that follow, as soon as things start heading down that path of hurt, neglect, not meeting my needs -- it is a little easier each time to just call it quits. Couples also choose to just live together instead of getting married. All of this makes me so sad! It makes me sad for my own heart (previously divorced and all the pains of it are stirred up when I hear of other divorces), for the hearts of the people in these broken relationships, for the children that may be involved (who are adding another layer of brick to the walls around their tender hearts), for society as we all "pay" for broken homes and neglectful behavior, but most of all, for God. He is the Creator of the family and it seems as if family is almost a dirty word in our culture. As a community, it is ok to promote anything for a minority sector or a group of hurting individuals - but now that the traditional family unit is becoming a minority - who will speak up and rally for this cause? Is it worth the fight?

I believe it is. I heard someone say before that when you enter into a marriage with someone, it is like putting two pieces of duct tape together - sticky side facing each other. Yes, you can get them apart, just like you can end a marriage, but it is hard for both sides. The pieces of tape get ripped, stretched, and in the end, there is a residual of each piece of tape left on the other. A divorce is the same way. You can end a marriage, but your hearts both get torn and beaten up in the process and in the end, there is a piece of you that is lost and a piece of the other that remains. The other problem is that after the duct tape is removed from our heart, it leaves a tender place, which we quickly callous over for protection. So the next time we fall in love, we don't fall so deeply in love. We become sarcastic and cynical, never to be so vulernable with another again. With each divorce, a person becomes even more calloused - until their heart turns into a self-centered, what-can-you-do-for-me heart of stone. Only seeking to use others for what they can take, never to be hurt again. It is like the old song, "I Am An Island": a rock feels no pain - and an island never cries. How very sad.

But what if we reach these difficult points in live, in marriage and we dredge through the murky waters together? It is hard. It takes time. It takes patience and strength of character. In the end, we may end up falling back in love with the one who has been so patient, kind and long suffering with us. When God is about strengthening marriages and building families, why would we want to work against Him? When He is on our side, we can do all things (Phil 4:13). Does it seem like nonsense to our world. Yes. But does it show how awesome God is in the end when we are able to make it through such difficult, nonsensical times together?  For sure!

There are families and marriages hurting all around us - so let's all start rallying around the family and fight for the hurting.

Friday, February 26, 2010

When I grow up

There are many different jobs we all have to do. I remember being young (barely) and wondering about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember dreaming of being a marine biologist, a doctor and even a computer programmer. Ok that last one I don't "remember", but I found it in an "about the author" section of a short story I wrote for school. The funny thing is that I was a computer programmer (would that be past tense or is it once a programmer, always a programmer?) for a while. I ended up with a wonderful career in the Information Technology department as an Analyst. The funny thing was that just as I was getting a career established, I didn't want it anymore. All I wanted to be was a Mom. It turns out that this is the most wonderful job in the entire world! It is the hardest job I have had by far. My character, which is being watched constantly by my girls, is constantly being tested. I have to pray for guidance and wisdom that only God can provide every morning (and several times throughout the day). Most days I fail in some sense - but it is so rewarding when my 4 year old snuggles up next to me to read a book or I get an open-mouth, super wet kiss on the cheek from the baby. Who could ask for more? I know that I am molding and shaping the lives of my girls and I don't trust anyone else to take on this task. I want them to grow in their love and knowledge of God and I want them to grow to love each other. I want them to have a the relationship that I dream of having with my own sisters. I want them to work with me and serve other people and share the love of Jesus.

Above all, I am thankful that my wonderful husband is willing to sacrifice as well and allow me to stay home with the girls. Now, I just pray that I don't mess it up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Closed doors

It used to be that when one door "of life" would close and another would open - that the closed door remained closed. In our day of modern technology - not only is the world getting smaller, but those closed doors keep opening. For instance, if you were to break off a relationship with someone and move to a different part of town (or even farther away), you could probably go the rest of your life without the awkwardness of bumping into that person again. Now say that relationship was a marriage that ended in divorce. If there were not any children involved, and you now live in different parts of the city - you would suppose that your paths would not cross. Not only are the husband and wife injured in a divorce, but many friendships are broken due to "taking sides". So not only would you not have to run into the "ex", but not any of the "used to be" friends either. No need to rehash all those hurt feelings of the friends liking the other person more than yourself. No need to humble yourself and say that you miss that friendship.

In comes Facebook (or myspace or whichever sort of online community you are involved with).

Now we get to face all those people we thought were behind closed doors all over again. Some of these are wonderful surprises. Friends from High School that I haven't seen in ages. Some people from High School that I wasn't necessarily "friends" with at the time, but have grown closer now that we are adults and don't have quite so many hormones getting in the way. But there are a few, not too many, just a few, that have popped up as a friend request or friend suggestion that stir up all those feelings - those feelings of self-pity, hurt, sadness.... What to do? Do I just ignore them? or do I seek out those friends of yesterday and attempt to reconcile what once was? Do I seek forgiveness for the hurt that I have caused?

In my flesh, I choose to ignore them (or worse yet, unfriend them).

In the Spirit, I choose to overlook the past, reconcile and seek forgiveness. The good Lord may be using a seemingless waster of time tool like facebook to force humility upon us (at least myself) and to not allow us to just close those doors of yesterday. Face the past and seek to cover it all in love - to grow closer and more like Jesus.

So is Facebook a waste of time - most days. But can I use it as a tool to grow in my walk with the Lord? Most assuredly.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A blanket of snow in winter

The earth is cold, hard, dead and frozen.
A blanket of beautiful snow covers the earth. How glorious and wonderful! But merely external as the ground beneath is still cold, hard, dead and frozen, revealed by the melting snow.
Our souls, dark and depraved; seeking after pleasures that only lead to pain or even death.
Religion, a blanket of good works and deeds that look so beautiful and wonderful. But merely external as the soul beneath is still dark and depraved, revealed with time.