Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's On My Nightstand - November 2011

Haven’t done What’s On Your Nightstand in a while, but it’s that time again over at 5 Minutes for Books.....
Here’s what I’ve been reading in November:
The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer. (F) I liked this one okay. I usually like Brad Meltzer’s books. Fast-paced, action-packed conspiracy thriller kind of stuff. 
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer - John Grisham. (F) I liked this, too. I like John Grisham generally, and his new kid series is quite good. I read it because my grandmother gave it to my sons thinking they would like it, and I was interested, too, because I've found lots of books to like from things my son likes to read. Good intro to courtroom/detective fiction for kids, and the court procedure is explained really well for younger readers as part of the story without dragging the action down. Liked it!
Theodore Boone: The Abduction - John Grisham. (F) Second book in the series and I liked it as well as the first. 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. (F) I was hesitant to read this trilogy because the reviews I read said it’s pretty violent, but my oldest boy wanted to read it and I finally gave in to the book order and we’re reading it together. I finished this first book in the trilogy this afternoon, and, oh my. I like. Can’t wait until my boy gets done with Catching Fire since I’m totally hanging ready to keep going with the story. I mentioned not too long ago about my tastes in fiction, right? One of the cool things about having a kid old enough to read books I like, too, is the fun of discussing them together. We're really enjoying that. It's like having our own little book club right here at home. :-)
In process of reading:
God’s Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips. (NF) Very, very good so far. Non-fiction takes me a lot longer to read than fiction because I like to take the time to think about what I’m reading. 
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott. (F) This classic came free with my Nook, and I haven’t read it since I was a young girl, and I need something fun to read while waiting on Joshua to finish the next book in the Hunger Games trilogy, so this is it. 
Up Soon:
The World-Tilting Gospel - Dan Phillips. (NF)
Catching Fire and Mockingjay from the Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins. (F)
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. (F). I have this on my Nook waiting until I feel ready to tackle it. I’ve meant to read it for a while now - even started it years ago, but got bogged down and never finished it. Soon......
Check out the lists over at 5 Minutes for Books.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Teaching of Kindness is on Her Tongue

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
I ponder this often and share it often on Facebook because I so deperately need to be reminded of it. Shocking though this may be (ha), kindness is not usually my natural default response. Far more often than I really want to admit here, my default response is sarcasm and a prickly manner and an impatient tone of voice. I cannot tell you how many nights I review the day and realize, rather late, that I’ve said or done something that just plain wasn’t kind, or that I've been too quick to take offense when I ought not to have....and the horror is that I didn’t realize how unkind it was until much later. It’s usually not what I’ve said that’s wrong....it’s how I’ve said it that makes all the difference. Being mom means I have to say things the kids don’t want to hear sometimes, but how I say them can make all the difference in whether I’m kind or snippy. 
I am thankful for the gospel. It is in remembering that it is in Christ, in His extreme kindness to me in saving me, that I have sure hope. It is in learning to rest in the fact that I am counted right before God because of what Christ has done on my behalf that my eyes are being opened to the times when I’m living in my natural default of unkindness, and I pray for wisdom to learn to surrender my natural default to Him so that I may learn to live in and by and through His grace. And I am thankful for the heart-work of the gospel that leads me to realize my sin and to confess it to God, yes, but also for the grace to learn to confess it to those I hurt with my unkindnesses. And when God has shown me much longsuffering and mercy in cleansing me of my filth, oughtn't I then to learn to be longsuffering toward others and point them to Jesus?

And I just have to add this here, I am finding that one way to guard my heart against that natural bent toward snarky, sarcastic, unkind responses is to limit my time on Facebook and blogs, something I've not been doing well lately. A too steady diet of that can lead me in that direction, because often the discourse, even among Christians, in those venues can be too sarcastic, and I know from personal experience that it is extremely contagious. Not saying a little well-placed sarcasm never has a place, but I am saying that it's a pitfall for me when I'm not careful with it, and it can easily move from innocent to biting unnecessarily and unhelpfully, and it easily becomes a habit to have a sarcastic or overly critical or impatient mindset. Just a thought on that.
Please, Lord God, guard my tongue and teach my heart to be kind. Teach me to surrender my selfishness and to remember what mercy and grace You have shown me, a sinner, and help me to model kindness - especially and first in my own home, especially and first when I don’t feel like it.....most especially then. Help me to model kindness and mercy to those You have entrusted to me here in this home, and help me to recognize it when my tone of voice is not as loving and kind as You would have it be.  Because my desire is, ultimately, to point them to Jesus. In Jesus alone they will find forgiveness for their own sin and the rest and kindness that He alone can truly offer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Status Report, November 2011

With nods to my friend, Lisa, who successfully completed her 21 day blogging experiment, something I can’t even conceive of attempting at the moment, here’s my status report for November:
Sitting.....at my freshly organized and sort of paper-clutter-free desk. Spent the greater part of today making it so and then worked on my little girl’s desk area. My, but it was messy over there. She is nicely organized again, though, and it feels good. Now if I will just clean the floors, again, the house will be in decent shape. Floors, bathrooms, and laundry: the never-ending cycle of “to do” items.
Waiting....for the tea kettle to whistle, because then I will be able to be....
Drinking....tea from my blue tea pot. Lady Grey today. A whole pot of it. It is that kind of afternoon.
Thankful....that middle son’s football season is over, but....
Wondering...if it makes me a horrible mother that I was sort of hoping they’d lose on Saturday, and was not too sad when they did, because the loss of the playoff game meant no practice this week and the end of the season, which, frankly felt like it was two years long. I am, however, proud of how hard he worked and how much he improved, this being his first year playing little league football, and tackle at that. In fact, during the after game final talk from the coach, his coach singled him out to mention how proud he was of how far M had come this year.

Wishing....my Apple keyboard had an "end" key that would take me to the end of a row.  That's pretty much the only thing I miss from my old PC now that we're using the Mac. Anyone know if I'm just missing something?
Thinking....how interesting it is that when you read a whole passage of scripture like....say....Revelation in a sitting rather than a chapter here and a chapter there, that you gain a whole new perspective on the passage. And for the record, I didn’t read the Left Behind books, didn’t watch the movie, and don’t intend to. I get a little tired of hearing from people who get their understanding of Revelation from them, too. 
Pondering....Proverbs 11:22 “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without descretion.” How often do I read that and think, “Sure am glad that’s not me!” Thing is, I’m not always as discrete with my words as I should be. In fact, I’ve been pondering this in light of my use of social media, especially Facebook. For me, there is a huge temptation to spout thoughts there that sometimes don’t need to be out there. Just because I have a thought doesn’t mean I need to share it. And who really cares what we’re having for dinner, anyway? More seriously, sometimes in the midst of a discussion, due to the weird mix of anonymity and familiarity that is social media, I sometimes wish I’d taken a little time to mull over things I’ve written before posting them. So, upon closer examination, there’s more of the pig in me at times than I’d be happy to admit. 
Reading....The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer. Took a break from the Nook and went to the library and checked out some real, paper books. Not far enough into this book to know if I like it or not. Planning to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins because oldest boy wants to read the trilogy. Not too sure about it since I’ve heard it’s pretty violent. Which is why I want to read and not just hand it over to him.
Enjoying...the fact that my Christmas shopping is almost, not completely but almost, done. Trying to keep it simple this year.
Taking....this moment to say that I believe I may take a formal break from blogging for a week or two. It’s not like I’ve been blogging regularly, but I think I need to go ahead and just rest from it and take care of the busyness that is my life at the moment, make sure my priorities are in order. I volunteer at the kids’ elementary school at least one morning a week, and November is our month to teach Sunday school again, and the house doesn’t clean itself, and I realize that if I don’t get serious about writing my children’s story soon it won’t ever get written. All that to say, I don’t know if breaking will refresh my blogger’s writing block or even how long a break I need. I hope a short one. 
On that note, time to go sweep and mop the floor and enjoy my pot of Lady Grey. 
Happy Wednesday!