Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Romans Project

Last week, I shared the Eat this Book program with you. After a full week, I have to say this is the easiest “read the Bible in a year” program I’ve ever tried. (And yes, I’ve tried to do this before. Pretty sure I’ve never made it past February).

Our pastor recommended that we make an effort to read at the same time and in the same place each day, as part of the way we establish the routine. I agree with him. I’ve had a spot and a time (chair in my bedroom, first thing in the morning) for the past couple of years. I move out to the deck when the weather cooperates and I start as many days this way as I possibly can.

But I have kids.

Three kids.

Kids who, on occasion, wake up way too early, or wake up sick, or wake up cranky. I also have been known to hit cancel instead of snooze on the alarm and for some reason, the kids never wake up early on those days and then I go into full blown tornado mode.

Tornado mode does not include me curling up in my chair with a cup of coffee and the Word. Tornado mode looks more like me praying “Jesus, help me not strangle anyone” as I race around the house, tossing lunches into boxes, pulling shirts over little torsos, and cramming shoes onto tiny feet.

Needless to say, tornado mornings often roll into frantic days where the chair and the Word, while longed for, just aren’t going to happen.

Which is where the YouVersion Eat this Book app has saved the day!

We are on Day 9 and I’ve already done some of my reading everywhere from the car to the bathroom. (TMI? Sorry. I have three kids, remember. Sometimes the bathroom is the only place I can get any peace. At least until they find me and stand outside the door, banging on it, begging for water, or sliding fingers under the door and asking if I’m in there…)

I’m convinced that technology, while full of pitfalls and time-suckers (Pinterest, anyone?), can also be one of our greatest assets as we seek to put on the full armor of God.

Which is why I’m ridiculously excited to be joining The Romans Project, hosted by Ann Voskamp and available for free through Scripture Typer and on her website, A Holy Experience.

Ann Voskamp challenged her readers to memorize the Sermon on the Mount last year and, frankly, I thought she was nuts. I’ve memorized a lot of Scripture, but the vast majority of it was as a child in Christian school and AWANA. My recent attempts have been feeble and unsuccessful. The odds of me memorizing three whole chapters were negative to nonexistent.

Of course, she makes very compelling arguments about why we need to be hiding the Word in our hearts. Arguments I could not refute. Arguments that had been tumbling around in my heart for a while, but I’d refused to give the time of day.

So this year, when she mentioned memorizing three chapters of Romans, I thought it might be worth considering.

To my intense surprise, I am having a blast!

You’ve got to check out Scripture Typer for yourself. You can join a group, such as The Romans Project, or set it up to help you memorize any verses you choose. Then, you type them over and over, to help you get them in your brain. You can set it up so you type the entire word, or just the first letter of the word if spelling’s not your thing. ~wink~

There’s also a Scripture Typer app which is not free, but is worth every one of the 599 pennies it will cost you, especially if you’re like me and are finding you spend way more time with your iPad than your laptop.
(By the way - if paper is still your thing, and goodness knows I do love a new journal - Ann Voskamp has some lovely free printables so you can make a little notebook of the memory verses and dive right in. Imagine, learning off-line. It can be done!).

With The Romans Project, we are learning two verses a week, which is quite manageable (and you could catch up in no time if you’d like to join in!).

I know you’re busy.

You are NOT too busy for this.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Currents:: January 26

Books: Loved Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer. You should read it!

Writing: The two main characters in my WIP are named Heidi and Blake and they are really hitting it off. I’m having a little trouble not jumping ahead to the kissing…

Scripture: I am loving our Eat this Book program. It’s great to literally be “on the same page” with so many of my friends!

Home: We took the baby gate down. I’m okay with it. Really. I am.

Movies: I still haven’t seen The Hobbit. This makes me sad.

TV: I have developed a ridiculous addiction to Castle. And a crush on Nathan Fillion. TNT keeps running Castle marathons. I keep recording them. And watching them. It’s getting a little, well, ridiculous.

Wonders: God sees me. I think El Roi may be my favorite of the names of God. Love so many things about that name, including that it was first used by a woman. Maybe God knew His girls would need to know—really know—that He sees us.

Weirdness: I think the Castle addiction is enough weirdness, don’t you?

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Eat this Book

Now that I'm well on the road to recovery from my ridiculous thumb injury, it's time to start talking about my One Word for 2013 - Margin.

One of the things I love about this word is that it has several different meanings. Which one do you think of first?

I tend to think of margin as the blank space around the page. The space where there's room to write a note or add a thought. When this meaning is applied to my life, it's the room I make on the edges of my responsibilities to allow me to say "Yes" to things when I feel God leading me in a new direction. It's also the space that gives me the freedom to be spontaneous, should the mood strike.

(I'll be talking about spontaneity in a few weeks and it's sure to be entertaining given that "spontaneous" is the last word anyone would ever use to describe me, so stay tuned).

But there is another meaning. "Margin" is also used to describe the boundary or the place where we set up some priorities.

So while you might expect me to talk about all the things I'm removing from my life in an effort to establish some healthy margins, instead, I'm going to spend the next two weeks talking about some things I'm adding. I'm not adding them because I'm a glutton for punishment or because I've been pressured into it. I'm adding them because I believe both of these things are critical to the establishment of margins in my life.

Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Ultimately, I don't want to be the one setting my margins. I want God to do it. But I won't have a clue as to how He wants those margins set if I'm not saturating my mind with His Word.

Which is why I'm so excited about the Eat this Book program our church just started. For the next year, Southsiders (and anyone else who wants to join us) will be reading through the Bible. We just started on Monday, so it is not to late to jump in!

You can find all the details on our church website. I've chosen to download the YouVersion app to my iPhone and iPad to help me keep up with it, but there are free printable schedules on the website that you can print off if you prefer paper to digital :-).

One of the things that is fun about this program is the Bible in Five videos (also on the website). If the Bible seems like an overwhelming and complicated book to you, these five minute videos will help you get the big picture of what's going on in each book. They are very interesting and even if you don't want to dive into the Eat this Book program, you still should check out these videos.

Our pastor, Charlie Boyd, pointed out a few weeks ago that "Every Christian should be a Bible geek." So join me? We'll have fun. We'll learn a lot. We'll be able to say we read the whole Bible in a year.
Most importantly, we'll be filling our heads and hearts with the greatest Story every told.

Who knows what God might do if His people became people of His Word?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vanished by Irene Hannon

One of the things Irene Hannon does so well is to give us a peek into the world of different types of law enforcement. In her new “Private Justice” series, she’s taken us into the world of private investigators.

As it turns out, they aren’t all 100 pounds overweight, kicked back behind a massive desk, and puffing on a smelly cigar.

In Vanished, we meet the three former law enforcement men who make up the private investigative agency, Phoenix, Inc. 

Cal, Dev, and Connor are great guys who now share the motto “Justice First.” Their goal is not to take the place of law enforcement, but to help those for whom traditional law enforcement has failed.

When lovely, Pulitzer-nominated journalist Moira Harrison shows up with a story of a dark road, a terrified woman, and a disappearing Good Samaritan, it’s not hard for former detective Cal Burke to understand why the police aren’t pursuing her case.

After all, there’s nothing to go on.

Or is there?

The stomach twisting opening of Vanished grabbed me and pulled me in. I was a little surprised by the quick revelation of the bad guy, but knowing who “done it” didn’t keep me from wondering how on earth Cal and Moira would prove it.

I enjoyed Vanished am looking forward to the next book in the Private Justice series. (Because Dev is a rascal, and I liked him a lot!)

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The super fine print: I received a free copy of Vanished from Revell in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Living on the Edge of a Knife

Today’s post was going to be all about margin.

It still is…sort of.

When I chose my One Word for 2013, Margin seemed like the obvious choice. (You can read about how Margin applies to my writing life over at The Write Conversation). I knew my life needed more margin. More space to be creative, more space to be spontaneous, more space to serve, more space to just be. 

I also knew I needed to do a better job of setting my margins. Of giving myself some boundaries, of turning off the lights, of walking away from projects and being okay with the knowledge that they'll be waiting on me tomorrow or next week.

What I didn't realize was that living without margin is the equivalent to living my life on the very edge of a knife. Sooner or later, something is going to slip, and when it does, it's not going to be pretty.

Last Thursday, I got a very painful lesson on the importance of margin.

I won’t go into detail, but my thumb is now sporting a very bulky bandage. I spent the weekend in a haze of pain medicine and the latest news is, “It will heal, but it’s going to take a while.”

Not what I wanted to hear.

All because I failed to maintain the margin between my thumb and the knife I was holding.

It’s a lesson I’ll be processing every time I try to pick up my son or open a zip lock bag. 

Margin is the difference between living life fully and hobbling your way through each day.

Believe me…I know.

We’ll talk about margin more in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, if you have a One Word for the year, or if you have suggestions for maintaining margins, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Grace and peace,

photo credit: My one word button was a gift from the oh-so-generous Melanie over at Only A Breath. You should check her out!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My One Word

Happy 2013 everybody!

I hope your Christmas was extra merry and your New Year is off to a great start!

I'll be talking about my One Word for 2013 over the next few weeks, but since today is the first Thursday of the month, I'm over at The Write Conversation and  I'm focused on how my One Word applies to my writing.

I'd love for you to stop by and join the conversation!

Photo credit: The very gracious Melanie over at Only A Breath designed my One Word button. She did it for me and a whole bunch of people she doesn't know - for FREE! If you think that's as cool as I do, maybe you could pop by her blog and check it out!