10 books I'm currently not finishing, part 2

29 August 2011

Part Two of my ground-breaking series, 10 Books I'm Currently Not Finishing...

The Missional Mom, by Helen Lee :: I love this book. Love. This. Book. Truth be told, though, I'm halfway through four months after starting it. I suppose it's taking me so long due to the fact that I have to sit with it, mull over it, and read it aloud to the husband. Lee is a fabulous writer, a growing mom, and a practitioner of missional living. The stories she tells, the women she introduces, and the truly inspired notion that our highest calling is not motherhood after all, but being with God, capture my heart in a way that tells me: this is possible. And this is life to the full. 
Culture Making, by Andy Crouch :: I saw Andy Crouch speak at the conference I attended last month. Not only is he super smart, but he's a musician, a writer, a ministry leader, and an artist. Two chapters in and this book is already challenging pre-formed ideas of who creates culture, where it came from, how we contribute and partake in it everyday. Are Christians supposed to only critique culture, or can we also be cultivators of it? According to Crouch and the stories I've already heard him tell, the answer to the latter is yes! But I'll keep reading and let you know for sure.

Crazy Love, by Francis Chan :: Two pages in. It looks pretty good. Everyone says it's good. I'm just late (and slow) to the party. The subtitle in particular speaks to me: "Overwhelmed by a relentless God." Actual review forthcoming sometime in the somewhat distant future. (this isn't a library book, but on loaner from good friend N, so I can keep this as long as I like without paying a nickel!)

Stay tuned for the stunning conclusion to this provocative series!

10 books I'm currently not finishing, part 1

12 August 2011

Confession: I'm not a good book-finisher. Oh, I love reading books, devouring the first few chapters and reading aloud to the man all the new quote-worthy things I discover...

And then I move on to the next.

It's all unintentional, really. Nonfiction books just don't really do it for me, even though I so want to learn and grow and talk about things of importance in an intelligible manner. And a novel's got to be good - like this girl is gonna die in a game show war type of good - in order for me to persevere to the end.

But I do try. And here's proof:

10 books I'm currently not finishing

Real Sex, by Lauren F. Winner :: Four chapters in, and I think it could be a valuable textbook if you are single, minister to singles, or just want to understand and appreciate God's intentions for chastity and sexuality. Winner is brilliant. She's funny, intelligent, and doubtful. As in, if she has doubts or concerns about something (like abstinence), she's sure as you-know-what gonna investigate, interview, and write until she knows where she stands and has faith in God's best for her (and us).

Jesus for President, by Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw :: Approximately 1.5 sections in, and this one is a doozy. It's kinda like a literary WWJD bracelet for post-modern Christian hippies. I'm drawn to the design of the book, which has no uniformity whatsoever apart from being grungy or typefacetastic (a word I just invented). I'm a little afraid to finish it, as the ideas Claiborne and Haw present - whether it be about man-made empires or freedom fighters (Jesus being much more like the latter than the former) - can be difficult to digest. But I think it's worth digesting. Did I mention it's so pretty?

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller :: Seven chapters in and I'm stuck (be warned: there are a lot of chapters). I started reading this when we were still in Ireland, loaned it out, read everyone else's take on the book (all of it glowingly positive), and thought I might be missing something. So I'm giving it another go. Truth be told, I think it was Anne Lamott's recommendation that scared me - on the cover, no less. Sheesh! I will tell you what I have loved so far: his description of the filmmakers made me fall in love with the whole lot of them. Apart from being a fly on the wall, Miller's narration is the next best thing.

to be continued... hopefully... next week...

Quick, before you miss it!

Life has distracted me, been out of it for awhile, need to reconnect to the keyboard and the brain for a few minutes. Well, five actually. With the GypsyMama. While the nearly-2-year-old plays angry birds.


She has shiny black dots on her arm, remants of a temporary tattoo. To be fair, remnants of several temporary tattoos. She demands fingernail polish, in shades of blue and green, and her daddy gives it to her. She returns the favor (on his toes). Her hair is wild, she won't let you touch it, and she always needs a hand free to keep it from her face.

When they see her, it's the eyes they notice first: wide and brown and lashes the length of I-70 across Kansas. Then her dimples, not in her cheeks, but under those big brown eyes. Then her laugh, her smile, then her speed.

Because she won't let you look at her long. She's too busy, too fast, too mature for such trivial things as the outstanding beauty of a 4-year-old girl on fire for life. But when she does let me see her, I see me. And I get a glimpse - for just a second - through the eyes of my own mother. And I hope when she saw my beauty, she saw hers, as well.

Can you see it? Your beauty through the eyes of others? 

Toaster to the fullest

04 August 2011

I don't read owner's manuals. I push buttons.

With each purchase or use of an electronic item, I blindly go forward, pushing buttons at random until I get the response or action I'm looking for. What do the buttons mean? I have no idea. I'm sure it's in the owner's manual. But let me just starting pushing and punching and selecting and eventually I'll get what I'm looking for.

In times of severe distress (or when I start erasing or burning things), I dig through drawers and cupboards, looking for that one coffee-stained manual. My trembling hands fumble deftly through the torn and crumpled pages, scanning for words like "menu" or "battery" or "smoke". If I'm lucky, I'll find the page that informs me how to undo what I just did, fix what I just broke, or dispose of what I just destroyed.

Occasionally I'll wonder if I'm missing something, if I'm not really enjoying these items or tools as much as I could. Perhaps the digital camera or toaster is not being used to its fullest potential. Maybe I'm not really using these items in the way they were meant to be used, therefore not allowing them the full impact they could have on my life. Perfect, unburnt toast. Photos with depth perception and clarity. Distinct alarms and sounds for every day of the week.

Maybe that would be nice.

But I'll never know. Because I don't read owner's manuals. I just push buttons.