Author Archives: Beth

Five Minute Friday: Steady

It’s Friday!  Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is: Steady

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There’s a lot in life that threatens to capsize our vessels.

A health crisis.  An unexpected death.

A wave of expenses that you’re unprepared for.

A relationship that crumbles and falls apart, leaving you dazed and hurt.

It’s tempting to just let life pull you under.

Without an Anchor, that’s exactly what happens.

I’ve seen it happen.

We have to drop the Anchor to stay steady and ride the waves to smoother sailing.

Taking time to regain perspective, to reaffirm belief.  To speak truth to ourselves, trusting the Anchor to hold us steady.

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Five Minute Friday: Worth

It’s Friday!  Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew.

Today’s prompt: worth

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What is a human life worth?

What is it’s value?

In the Sherlock TV series, Mary Watson steps in front of a bullet meant for Sherlock.  It’s a powerful image of redemption.

Even more so when Sherlock realizes it.

“In saving my life she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.”

It’s easy to say a life is priceless.  It’s even easy to believe it at some level.

But the sacrifice of another’s life emphasizes the value, the worth.

Going to funerals often makes me reflective about spending my one and only life well.

Investing in eternity is always a good choice.

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What I’m Reading, June 2017

Yep.  June means strawberries.

Strawberry pie for Pete’s birthday. Strawberries in the freezer.  Fresh strawberries for dessert.

I like moving into the summer schedule.  No stress to be out the door in time for school. More quiet time in the morning, which is critical for my mental health.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for this month’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

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At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Kyle and Tsh Oxenreider took their three kids, ages 4-10 on a 9 month, around the world trip.

That in itself piques curiosity.

It’s a transparent book about international travel: the heat, the crowds, the kids puking.

Tsh chronicles their globe trotting, but, more importantly, reflects on some of the deepest longings of the human heart: how to make a home, the need for belonging, even peace with God no matter where we lay our heads.

These are favorite topics for me: what are the elements of “home”? What is the drive behind wanderlust? What are the deeper longings of the heart that cause restlessness and rootlessness? How do we satisfy our longing for community regardless of where we rest our heads?

I think these are questions worth pondering.

I know a lot of global nomads. I know these are issues for them. They are issues for me.

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Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The novelized account of our country’s first female sheriff was fascinating.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  How they hold their own, some family secrets and facing danger head on made for a great story.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.

 

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Note: Heads up for language.

I didn’t really understand apartheid until I read this book.

Seeing how it played out in people’s lives is sobering.

Trevor Noah has a white father and a black mother.  In South Africa, it was illegal for his father and mother to procreate.  His very existance was against the law, hence the title, Born a Crime.

It’s mind-blowing to think about the world and the life that Trevor Noah was born into. It’s a cautionary tale, especially for those who have a vote in their government’s laws and leaders.

I liked Noah’s personal and relatable writing style as well as the occasional political commentary.

 

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Hashimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz

I found that this book isn’t as readable as her other book. Not sure why. I have to take it a little bit at a time.

For me, I’ve implemented one or two things at a time. Making wholesale changes was too overwhelming. But, it’s amazing the difference little tweaks can make.

I don’t have all the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. I think that’s because there are so many different root causes, and often multiple root causes. Pinpointing the root causes takes time as well as trial and error. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Even though I see some dramatic improvements in my health, there’s still a long way to go.

What are you reading this month?

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Five Minute Friday: Expect

It’s Friday.  Linking up again with Kate Motaung.

Today’s prompt is: expect.

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I can’t help but think of hope when I hear the word expect.

Hope, that critical element that we can’t live without.  It’s what keeps us going when we’re discouraged.

It’s what we need to get up in the morning.

It’s what keeps us serving, thinking of others instead of ourselves.

It’s what helps us deal with grief and despair.

The hope that this life is not all there is.

The hope an eternity of joy and blessing.

That idea is the spark that moves us forward.

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Last night when I took a peek at the prompt expect, my mind turned to pregnancy.

But, this morning, my heart was full thinking about the funeral of a dear friend later today.

I’ve thought a lot about how hope is one of life’s most critical elements.  Today, it’s hitting deeper that our eternal hope is the bedrock to virtually all we do.

For me, to wait in expectation means to hope.

I’m so thankful for that hope.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Future

It’s Friday.  Time for another link up with Kate Motaung.

Today’s prompt is: future.

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I live in the future.

That is where my daydream fantasies are always perfect.

Where things go my way and even my craziest ideas work out and are brilliantly successful.

All this as opposed to the here and now.

Where things are messy. And I screw up.

AND I CAN’T WRITE FOR FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED!!

There’s just lots of irritations in the present.

The perfect, fantasy, daydream future is so enticing.  No wonder I want to live there instead of here.

I have to fight it.

I have to be present in the here and now.  With the mess.  With the interruptions.  With people who don’t agree with all my brilliant ideas, who point out the flaws and see the drawbacks that I don’t see.

I need to be present.  Here.  Today.

And not only present, but grateful.  Grateful for what is.  Grateful for the mess.  Grateful for the people who see the drawbacks and my imperfections and walk along with me anyway.

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3 Things I’ve Learned, Spring 2017

This season our lives have taken some unexpected twists:  car accident, theft, a good friend losing ground to cancer.  I’m re-evaluating God’s sovereignty and maybe trusting it more than I used to.

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned.

Family Christian bookstores has closed all 240 locations nationwide.

These closings are of particular interest to me because we own a bookstore.

I’ve been following the story of Family Christian for a few years.  They became a non-profit several years ago.  Then they filed for bankruptcy.  Their creditors sued them after the original bankruptcy proposal.  So they re-organized and filed again.  Their second proposal was accepted.  That lasted two years.  Now they are shutting their doors for good.

Of course, Amazon and online purchasing is to blame.  Just like the big box bookstores that didn’t survive and many independent bookstores that have gone under.

I tend to think there are other factors in play as well. I think the quality of Christian products has influenced sales.  There are some notable exceptions, but there are a lot of poor quality products with a Christian stamp on them that ruins the reputation for all Christian sales.  Most notable are CDs and Movies, but I believe it to be true across the board.

I also think the climate Christianity in this country is reflected.  I don’t want to detract from good things going on, but there’s a lot of lukewarmness and apathy as well.

How to listen to podcasts on my phone

I’m a slow learner and not techy at all, but I was able to install the Stichter app to my phone and subscribe to my favorite podcasts.

I usually listen to the podcasts in the car to and from work or doing errands around town.

The Dave Ramsey Show is the one I listen to the most.  What Should I Read Next is one I don’t miss, although I’ve become a little wary of some of her top picks.

Speaking about not being techy:  I’m learning how to use MailChimp again.  I used it a decade ago to create a newsletter for a school.  But, it’s evolved since then and I have a terrible memory.   So, it’s an uphill learning curve.

I like the intellectual challenge of Five Minute Friday.  

Writing for five minutes based on a one word prompt has stretched my creativity in all the best ways.

I’ve learned the importance of limits: knowing when to start and when to stop.  Knowing when to stop is critical.  When you don’t know when to stop, it’s hard to get started.

My mind so quickly drifts to the theoretical and philosophical.  It’s my favorite type of thinking.  Practical execution, actually pulling it off?  Therein lies the rub.

What have you learned this Spring?

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Visit

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is: visit.

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Visit makes me think of temporary versus permanent.

As in, it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’ve read a couple of of blog posts this week about Third Culture Kids transitioning and dealing with life.  I can relate to the itchy feet of wanting to move on, but also to the desire to put down some roots.

What are the elements that make up home?

I want to read Tsh Oxenrider’s book At Home in the World, because I think she deals with some of those same issues.

They say home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is stretched across continents?

The very word home carries a lot of meanings– a haven for some, but not for others.

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I love exploring the global nomad issues, especially when the light bulb comes on.  That happened  when I realized that our family tree was grafted.

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Five Minute Friday: Truth

It’s time for Five Minute Friday.  Five minutes of unedited free writing based on a prompt.

This week’s word is truth.

Linking up again with Kate Motaung.

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Truth is the foundation that we build our days and future upon.

I’ve been concerned recently about the core beliefs that people have that wreck havoc with their lives.

I read a novel that was based on the premise that gender is a choice.  The implications of that belief?

Overwhelming.

We’re talking about 4 and 5 year old kids.  We’re talking about all the children that go to school together.  We’re talking about a whole generation of gender confused.  It’s mind boggling.

And that’s just one “truth” that is foundational to our future.

It’s time to re-examine the truths floating around and challenge them.

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What I’m Reading, May 2017

The lilacs have come and gone in our yard, and I didn’t get one picture of them.

My husband walked away from a serious car accident virtually uninjured.  We took a quick trip to PA for a wedding.  The school year is wrapping up with characteristic craziness.

Some great books read this month and one abandoned.

Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Discosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

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Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng

I liked this book, although I wasn’t sure where it was going and didn’t know I liked it till the end.

It’s about a teenage girl who comes up missing.  Rarely have I read a novel that explores the family dynamic in such depth.  It felt believable.  It rang true.  You could feel the pain.  People do things for a reason and even extreme behavior can be understandable.

I wouldn’t say that the characters in this novel were relatable.  But, there was enough mystery to propel the novel forward and a fascinating tangle of human relationships.

It was a real case study in family systems.

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry.  This one did.

Love, friendship, community and social awkwardness.  It’s the recipe for a great novel.

Ove is near the end of his life, but this novel takes us back to his family, his first love and his losses. It is a bittersweet exploration of what really matters in relationships and what gets in the way.

It demonstrates in brilliant colors that no man is an island.

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The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This novel is an unusual look at marriage.  It traces the story of two fictional characters, but steps back to analyze and philosophize at intervals between the story.

I found it fascinating because the dynamics between husbands and wives are more complex than we give them credit.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this to young people because it does normalize non-traditional values, I found the interactions to be instructive.

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Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

I loved this book written for middle grades and I read it twice.

It gets five stars for being wholesome and a thumbs up for real heroes.  When I read middle grade, I find myself identifying with the teachers and principals.  Ha.

I loved the two families portrayed here and the real struggle with how twelve year olds deal with the heavy issues of life.

I liked her style.  I liked her characters.  I loved seeing the main character win the battles in his world.

This is How it always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is an exceptionally well-written novel.  I abandoned it, however, because it contradicts my world view.  I know there is a growing trend to accept the abnormal as normal and even to embrace it.  But, this is a dangerous trend.  It starts with presuppositions that aren’t true and builds on premises that aren’t true.  I feel that well-meaning people are genuinely deceived.

Books that normalize non-traditional values are not for me.  This is why I abandoned it.

What are you reading this month?

Stay tuned for my Summer Reading Guide for All Ages  Coming soon!

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Five Minute Friday: Mom

Linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is “mom”.

On the eve of Mother’s Day, I struggle to think of something that hasn’t already been said repeatedly.

I wonder sometimes if motherhood has been over idealized somewhat.  Most of the work of mothering is routine, daily, unglamorous.

A lot of it is just work.

It’s a long term investment, because your two year old doesn’t thank you.  Your teenager doesn’t see the angst beneath the surface.

So, you have to be in it for the long haul, not the short term.

 

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