Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The March-y-ness of Time

 Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore
So do our moments hasten to their end.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60

Time is ever marching onward and there is nothing (short of experimental time travel) we can do to stop it. Which to some, I suppose, can sound entirely depressing. But when you're still 24 (or only a quarter-century old, such as my splendid wife) time moving quickly is still exciting and breathtaking. One moment you're dancing, the next you're receiving knee-surgery (that would be me); one moment you're office support, the next you're Office Manager (and that would be Emily); one day you're dreaming of traveling to Europe, and the next you're beginning to pack and do laundry for your trip which is only 8 days away (that would be both of us)!

And, of course, blogs have no respect for time. They will continue sitting there unentertainingly as your life moves forward and no one bother to update. But no longer! Today this blogging-strike ends! Today words shall flow like water cascading off of a cliff! Or at least like jello jiggling out of a Tupperware dish. Regardless, here is a brief update on just about everything. About Emily and I. In particular.

1) While dancing a jig in February, I somehow managed to tear my meniscus in my left knee. Many painful, limping weeks later, it was delightfully repaired by a surgeon who apparently I met, but I have no recollection. Ah, the delights of anesthesia.

2) My parents visited Emily and I and the Okoboji region last week (was it only last week?). They were here for 10 days--over two weekends--and we were thrilled. We showed them around town; they were able to hear me lead worship one week and preach the next; we spent a thoroughly therapeutic Thursday on the water (with many "thank yous" to the Steffens); we met up for dinner with my sister Jolee; and we conversed for endless hours, usually long, long after sunset. Emily and I both love to have guests as well as entertain, and it's always a special treat (if not a strange role-reversal) when it's our parents.

3) Some of the most exciting--though aforementioned--news is that Emily and I are heading to Europe! Since the primordial days of our friendship, we have always talked about wanting to go to Europe, and once we became lovers, it became clear to both of us that it was a dream that had to one day come true, or else we might each go crazy in our own little ways. Well, craziness will not overtake us. We came to the conclusion that while we don't have kids, before I start grad school, and while we don't yet have a house to take care of, we should grip this opportune time of our lives by the horns and ride it all the way to Zurich, Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, and Rome. It will be a trip that will be romantic, adventurous, carefree, educational, and dream-come-true-ing all at once. In a word: stupendous.

Okay. Alright. Enough from me for now. Just as time is unceasing and stubborn, so does this pesky need to sleep at least once a day. I suppose I will succumb to it yet again. G'nite!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts

Contrary to popular belief, Anthony and I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth. Just the face of the blogging sphere. And though I will try to make a real update come soon, this will have to do for now. A while back, Anthony signed up to receive a free book from Zondervan Publishing with the promise of blogging a review. The book came in the mail and sat there for a while unread (which happens when you have a husband who likes to order tons of books but then doesn't have time to read them.) So one day, with the urging of a friend who was already reading it (thanks Little One!), I decided to pick it up and read it myself. And therefore found myself with the job of reviewing it. So bear with me folks, I don't think I've done a book review since 5th grade. The book, which I'm sure you all are dying to know by now, is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

I will begin by saying it was very difficult for me to get into the book. Some books are able to pull you in right away, and other are so easy to skim through. But Ann uses such a unique voice in her writing that it was near impossible for me to use my well-honed skimming skills. Although this might sound like a negative to the book, I will say that it ended up being one of the most positive things I can say about it. What Ann was able to do was force me to sit and actually read the words she had written. I had to take time and actually think through what she was writing. Not skip ahead and assume that I knew what the author was trying to say. So kudos to Ann Voskamp for her unique writing style that eventually got me in the end. If you happen to pick up this book... give it a chance to get used to her voice and style. It will be well worth it in the end.

Overall, I would say One Thousand Gifts is a refreshing take on what it means to actually live out the Christian life. Ann challenges her readers to live fully and purposefully in everything you do. She shows practically how she moved from being a woman dissatisfied with the mundane to learning to see God working in and through her life. What I appreciated about this book is that it doesn't give the reader "5 easy steps to having more of God in your life." Nor does it sugar coat the growth process. Ann was very real and honest in her struggles with the transformation process, and she readily admits the years it took her to get where she is now. Through story and inner musings, Ann takes the reader on a journey exploring how to live out a life of continual thanks and in grace - a life of eucharisteo. And for her, it all started with a challenge to write a list of 1,000 things she loves. And from there, discovering that perhaps the Greek word eucharisteo really does hold the key to it all.

I won't go into much more detail. I encourage you to read it for yourself and be challenged to live differently. One final note that I will mention: many might see Ann's book as a women's book (especially by looking at the cover), but I would argue that story and lesson transcends gender. I believe men could get just as much out of this book as women. Yes, it's written by a woman and therefore includes details about her life as a wife and mom, but there is so much more depth that should be experience by men and women. I will end by saying that I definitely recommend the book. It was challenging, encouraging, and unlike any book I've read before.

If you're interested in buying it, here's a link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/One-Thousand-Gifts-Fully-Right/dp/0310321913/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307732338&sr=8-1

Until next time,