Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Shelves waiting to be filled.
First, an update on Addie Reese. Her recovery has been nothing short of miraculous! She is currently on a rehab floor at the hospital in Charlotte, and they are already talking about outpatient therapies for her when she comes home. Thank you for praying for this sweet little girl and her family!

Second, you may or may not have noticed that the past few blog posts have come "from the archives." I decided to take a few weeks off and pull older posts so I could focus on getting some things done around my home.

Boring things like laundry and cleaning out closets.
And fun things...like bookshelves! My dad outdid himself. I knew they would be awesome...I had no idea how awesome! (For those of you who don't know, my dad can build anything!)

Way back in 1815, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams that included this phrase . . .
"I cannot live without books."

All the books-finally out of boxes.
I understand that. Since we moved in March 2011, the vast majority of my books have been in boxes in my formal dining room. Over the past 18 months, I have opened every single box as I've searched for specific friends. And yes, I do think of my books as friends.

They have been my companions when human friends were few and far between, my escape from reality when life has pressed in hard, and my teachers on subjects that vary from theology to musicals.

My favorite spot!
I've missed my friends. And there's something very satisfying about having them out where I can see and touch them. Their presence has already made this once unused space into my favorite room in our home.

Now, they wait for a new friend. I don't know how long they'll have to wait, but I'm confident that someday, they'll be joined by a book that has my name on it!

It's your turn...what's your favorite book, series, author? I have four empty shelves that need to be filled!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Prayers for Addie Reese

I had something else planned for today, but it can wait.

Today, I would like to ask you to take the time you would normally spend reading this post to pray for Addie Reese and her family.

Addie Reese is the 7-year-old daughter of my friend Alexis. She fell from a tree on Saturday and cracked her skull. So far, all the scans have been promising, and she has spoken and even tried to sit up, but she has still not fully wakened. Whenever they back off of the sedation, she's in so much pain they have to give her something that knocks her back out.

My mother's heart is broken for my friend. I cannot imagine a harder path to walk than one that leaves you watching your own child suffer.

So please join me in praying for pain relief and full healing for Addie Reese. For comfort and a strong sense of God's presence for Alexis and Nick and the entire family. And for wisdom and discernment for the doctors and nurses caring for Addie Reese.

Abba - I do not understand. But I know that You do. I know that You have experienced the agony of watching a child suffer and I know that You alone have the power to comfort, to speak peace to their hearts, to ease Addie Reese's pain, to give clarity and insight to the physicians and nurses, and to bring something beautiful out of this. I do not understand, but I trust You.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Books: Finished The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller. This should be required reading for everyone—single, dating, married—doesn’t matter. Amazing Biblical insights. (Available through the Greenville County Library system…just sayin’).

Writing: I terrorized a mall full of children this week. I’m not sure what I think of myself right now! (Disclaimer: No real children were frightened in the creation of this plot line.)

Family: My dad has been here this week building my bookshelves! He’s awesome!

Home: The bookshelves! Finally, my books can be released from their cardboard box prisons and breathe the free air again!

Food: My husband recently obtained a charcoal grill. Our gas grill may never be used again. The chicken he fixed earlier this week was A.MAZ.ING!

TV: I know politics matter. I have very strong opinions on the subject of who our next president should be. But I cannot bear to watch the debates. I try, but after a few minutes I find myself wanting to throw things at the screen.

Wonders: Are you familiar with the wonder that is the Monkey Hook? These things will change your life. No screws, no half-inch size holes in your dry wall. No hammers or drills. Just a tiny bit of pressure, a little twist, and you’ve hung a picture. No wall is safe from me now!

Weirdness: Um, see Wonders! :-)

May your weekend be filled with wonders and weirdness!
Grace and peace,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Detailed Directions? Not exactly...

I like detailed directions.

Extremely detailed.

If you ever need directions to my house, I don’t just say turn left on this street and right on that one. Oh no. I include important information such as “Approximately 8/10 of a mile after you turn left you’ll come to a curve that makes you feel like you should put your turn signal on. The curve is 1/10 of a mile from your next right turn.”

People love my directions.

Okay. Actually, they laugh hysterically when the read them, but the reality is, if I give you directions, you are not going to get lost. At least, not if you follow them.

This need for detailed direction is probably why I struggle with Psalm 119:105.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

I learned the verse as a child and my mental picture involved an enormous spotlight shining its powerful beam a good 100 yards down the path.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. Oil lamps don’t give off that much light. We’re talking about just enough light to avoid stubbing your toe on a root or slamming into a boulder.

And this frustrates me.

After all, God is quite capable of giving detailed directions.

Have you seen the book of Leviticus? I mean honestly. Talk about details. (I like to think I get my detail issues from the Almighty—it’s nicer than admitting to being a bit OCD).

And talk about lighting a path. This is the God of the Shekinah glory cloud and the pillar of fire. God knows how to light up a path when He wants to.

And yet . . .

He seems to prefer to give me just enough information to take the next step.

No more. No less.

You can’t race along a path with that little bit of light. Each step must be measured. Each foot placement considered. You have to be on your guard at all times. And you have to have faith that the destination is worth the harrowing journey.

Of course, my faith is what’s at issue.

I have to trust that the One who lights my path, knows my path.

So I continue to step out, never knowing what’s next, but knowing He does.
from the archives

Friday, October 12, 2012

When A Heart Stops

When A Heart Stops
Book 2 in the Deadly Reunions Series

Back in May of 2011, I reviewed Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason. It was the first in the 3-book Women of Justice series and all three were excellent. Then, I eagerly read When the Smoke Clears—the first book in Lynette’s new Deadly Reunions series—as soon as it became available. (You can read my review here).
So you can imagine how excited I was when I realized that the second book in the series, When A Heart Stops, is about Serena Hopkins. You see, I met Serena back in Lynette’s first series and I love it when a secondary character winds up having a story of their own.
And Serena’s story will have your heart racing. From page one.
In her job as medical examiner, Serena Hopkins sees death on a daily basis. But when former classmates start turning up dead, it becomes clear that someone is sending a message. And that she may be next.
FBI Agent Dominic Allen has known Serena since she was a little girl playing with his sister (Alexia from When the Smoke Clears). But Serena is all grown up and Dominic would love to get to know her better. Before he can see if there's a chance for them to be more than friends, he’s going to have to find the serial killer who plans to make her the next victim.
Lynette ratcheted up the shiver factor for this one! The opening pages are intense and the serial killer is a long way past creepy.
When The Smoke Clears
Book 1 in the Deadly Reunions Series
As I’ve come to expect from Lynette, the story never ends quite the way I think it will. I had a pretty good idea who the bad guy was…but there was a twist!
Now, one word of warning. The Deadly Reunions series has a continuing suspense thread that has not been resolved. This doesn't bother me one bit! I love it when a series answers most of my questions and leaves me hanging...just a little!
But, If you haven’t read When the Smoke Clears, it will be tricky to follow the nuances of the plot in When A Heart Stops. If you have read When the Smoke Clears, you might want to take five minutes to refresh your memory about the key players and the drama that surrounds Alexia, Serena, and Jillian.
Then, turn on all the lights, lock all the doors, and dive into When A Heart Stops. You'll be glad you did. And you'll be just like me...anxiously waiting for Book 3!
Special Note:
For those of you who live in the Greenville, SC area—Lynette will be signing copies of When A Heart Stops at the Lifeway store on Haywood Rd. Saturday, October 20th from 1-3pm. You won’t want to miss it!
The super fine print: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to provide a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Hardwood Heart

I hate carpet for one reason.

You can't clean it. You can get most of the spots out. But they'll come back.

Because they weren't ever really gone.

And that's why I love the hardwood floors in my house.

Herds of small children can run around carrying cups of purple grape juice and I don't care.
Babies can leak. I don't care.
Adults can drop pizza, toppings down. I don't care.

Because when handfuls of potato chips are crushed by tiny tootsies, it's no big deal. A broom, maybe the mop. And, voila! Clean floors.

But—I have discovered one problem with my floors.

While the epic spills are easy to clean, the day-to-day droplets of life are a little trickier.

I can dust, sweep, and mop every square inch of my downstairs, and then the light streams through a window and I see it . . . a streak a foot long.

How did I miss it?

I've learned over the past few months that I have to clean my floors during the middle of a sunny day. I open all the blinds, and if you could see me you'd think I was setting up a putt at the Master's. I walk around my living room, squatting down, leaning from side to side, checking the angles.

I haven't lost my mind.

I'm looking for the spots.

I have to hunt them down. And once the light shines on them, I attack.

But no matter how thorough I try to be, I always find more spots.

As I was tackling one of these random spots with a damp paper towel, I thought about how easy it is for me to see the spots in other people's lives. Their judgmental nature. Their negativity. Their harsh spirit. Their sin.

But until the Light shines on their spots, they can't see them.

It dawned on me that in most cases, instead of nagging, I need to be praying. I need to leave the light shining up to The Light. When He's ready to shine His Light on a spot, He'll do it.

Very spiritual of me, huh?


I'm embarrassed to tell you that I had mulled this idea over for a couple of weeks before it occurred to me that maybe—just maybe—there might be spots in MY life that I can't see. That maybe instead of worrying about the obvious spots of others, I ought to be praying for the Light to shine on my own spots.

It's easy for me to see the big spots of my epic failures.

But the spots that build up over the course of the day—the bad attitudes, the pride, the selfishness, the unkind words—are harder to see and so much easier to ignore. I could spend a lifetime trying in my own strength to make myself shiny and spot-free.

But I've realized that my heart is just like my floor.

It can only be cleaned in the bright Light of the Son.

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (ESV)

(edited from the archives)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life with Lily

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a unique blog tour. Instead of reviewing the book myself, I could ask a friend to read and review Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

I knew exactly who I would ask—my dear friend, Emily. Emily is an avid reader and a fabulous writer and she graciously agreed to read Life with Lily and share her thoughts with us.
I’m thrilled to welcome Emily to Out of the Boat.

 Life with Lily is the perfect book for an 8-9 year old girl. It is very fun to read. The story is set on an Amish farm named Singing Tree Farm. Lily Lapp is a 6-year -old Amish girl who is very bright and mischievous.

     I enjoyed the book because every chapter was a fun new adventure. Lily's parents were a lot more strict than most English parents. Sitting in church or collecting eggs the Amish way were very difficult to do for Lily.

     The only thing I did not like about the book was when Lily would get in trouble.

     I would recommend this book as a family read aloud. This is a great book especially if you enjoy the Little House Series or American girl Kirsten and Felicity books.

Emily is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. She plays the piano and loves to read. She enjoys spending time with friends and singing in the choir at church. She plays basketball, makes crafts, and loves to bake. Emily loves science and math. She also loves anything the outdoors has to offer—hiking, swimming, catching bugs, riding bikes or just running.

Lynn here: Thank you Emily! Great job!!

Life with Lily is the first in the new Adventures of Lily Lapp series for children. This story of a spunky young Amish girl will introduce kids to the gentle life of the Amish people. The book is based on the true childhood of Mary Ann Kinsinger, who is co-authoring the series with beloved Amish novelist Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Life with Lily—Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Hosea 10:12~ Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. (ESV)

I hesitated to post this today for two reasons.

1. It’s such a First World Problem. Are you familiar with this concept? The Urban Dictionary defines it this way…Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at. You’ll see what I mean as I go on.

2. It’s too fresh. In general, while I may start writing about something as it is happening, I usually wait to post it until it’s had a cooling off period. Not this time. I’m living this today. But, it won’t leave me alone, so maybe someone else needs it. Today.


I’ve been waiting eighteen months to do this. To finally take our house—which currently looks like a lovely place that we just moved our stuff into—and turn it into our home.

A home with furniture that goes in the space and art that means something to us. A home where my books line the walls in bookshelves built by my dad. A home that reflects who we are as a family.

I’ve been waiting eighteen months to really make this ours.

It’s happening!

There are rugs, cool lamps, a great mirror, new furniture, and eleven patches of different paint colors in the dining room and bathroom. It’s fabulous.

And it’s driving me insane.

(First World Problem: losing my mind over what color to paint one of my four—that’s right, I said four—bathrooms).

By Sunday evening, my mood had tanked. The rugs don’t match anything—yet. And what kind of sick madman decided there should be fifteen different shades of pale blue gray? How am I supposed to pick one?

(First World Problem: Redecorating the formal dining room—yeah, a space with a table and eight chairs that we use about once a month—is giving me a migraine).

I know some people thrive in this environment. People like my decorator—who is awesome and is having a great time and isn’t the slightest bit rattled by the fact that the rug may have too much blue in it.

I am not one of those people. I don’t like change. I don’t like disorder.

I do not like being unsettled.

I don’t want the old. I do want the new.

But I don’t want to live through the messy transformation.

Of course, this isn’t just about redecorating the interior of my house.

It’s about redecorating the interior of me.

God “moved in” a long time ago. Salvation made me a new creation (justification). The old passed away and the new came!

But the renovation process (sanctification) is a messy one. Sometimes God strips away my wallpaper, pulling away ugliness so He can replace it with something beautiful.

Sometimes God builds in something new. Where there once was a blank place, He adds something of character and distinction.

He’s the ultimate Interior Decorator turning me into a showpiece for His glory.

Truth is, I say I want it, but I don’t like it. I know I’m not perfect. But changing is messy and time consuming. It’s embarrassing to have my imperfections put on display or to realize that some piece of me that I’ve been okay with has been an eyesore for a decade.

I don’t like to be unsettled, but that’s exactly what God is asking me to be. In my home and in my life, He’s breaking up the old and planting something new. There are parts of me that haven’t been touched in a while and He’s not going to leave them alone.

I’m His. And He wants my life to reflect who He is.

He wants the same for you.

It’s time to break up the fallow ground.

It’s time for something new.

Will you let Him redecorate your world? Will you let Him expose your weaknesses and replace your ugliness with something beautiful?

He’s ready.

Are you?

Isaiah 43:19a ~ Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (ESV)