Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Change of Venue

I was going to title this post "Going Dark" or perhaps "Thanks for the Ride." But a change of venue is really what I'm after, although how that will play out is beyond me. Change of venue implies the show will go on, just not here, not now. And it's God's show anyways - something I'm becoming increasingly more aware of on a daily basis.

So for the time being, I'm hanging up the blogging shoes. It's not where I want to be or what I want to be doing right now. And if I do it, this is not how I want to be doing it. It took a week at the beach to come to this conclusion but just one day back to come to peace with that decision.

It really has been great. Thanks to all of you who've stopped by and read. To those who've taken time to comment both on the blog and in person, and especially those of you with whom I've enjoyed some great email exchanges, my deepest appreciation. You know where to find me.

So this is my last post here for now but so as to not make an abrupt departure, I'll leave things as they are for a few days. Blessings!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beach Reads and Then Some

We'll start with the "then some." A good friend loaned me Friends for the Journey a few months ago which I fully intended to savor on vacation, the way anything by Madeleine L'Engle should be enjoyed. But my willpower was lacking and I devoured it in two days the week before we left. In this "spa for the soul," Madeleine and her long time friend, poet and publisher Luci Shaw share journal entries, reflections and poetry in this celebration of friendship. It's one of those books that invites you to just soak in the grace and goodness of the gift of friendship.

I headed to the beach with only five books in tow, in addition to my Bible. Big mistake - what was I thinking! I finished the first book, Plain Truth, in two days. As usual, Jodi Picoult tells a compelling story, this time centered in an Amish community dealing with the murder of a newborn infant by its young unwed Amish mother. Defending the naive but strong-willed Katie Lapp was the last thing high-powered attorney Ellie Hathaway wanted to do when she escaped to Lancaster County for some rest and refreshment. Readers are quickly drawn into the budding relationship that ensues between the attorney and her client, as Ellie struggles to understand the Amish way of life as it relates to sin and crime, truth and confession. Intriguing characters and a subtle surprise ending made for a fast-paced easy read.

On my pastor's recommendation, I checked out The Organic God, by Margaret Feinberg, from the library but quickly realized it was one of those books I wanted to mosey through. So I purchased it from Amazon and toted it along. In each chapter, Feinberg explores a different attribute of God - amazingly wise, outrageously generous, abundantly kind, etc. Her insights are interspersed with stories of her life in Alaska and reflective scriptural insights. The end of the book contains some "Rainy Day Reflections" - questions and scriptures to ponder in depth. I'm pretty proud of myself for still lingering in Chapter 2!

In This Beautiful Mess, another pastoral recommendation, Pastor Rick McKinley reminds readers that the kingdom of heaven which Jesus came to establish is right here and now - already but not yet. Great book but not exactly beach reading! I mean, it's hard not to feel uncomfortable about the waste and over-the-top luxury one sees at a major tourist site when you're reading about people passing out sandwiches to the homeless of their city. This was an easy but thought-provoking read that left me with more questions than answers.

Monday night I realized I was about out of reading material (the other books were a writing book and another thought-provoking one I just wasn't ready to dive into yet) and so we hit Books-A-Million where I found Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hate to pay full price for a book but there wasn't much on the clearance rack that interested me. Then I picked up Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life for just $5.97 - what a deal! I think this one warrants a post of its own, but suffice to say this was one of the best books I've read in a while.

It sounds like I did little else on vacation besides read, but since I get up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., I was able to get a few hours in before we hit the beach . . . where of course, I read some more! Besides, that's all you really wanted to know about my vacation, right?!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


WE HAVE A WINNER! Congratulations Viv!

To the first person who leaves a comment with the correct guess as to the significance of the above title, I will send you a 2 CD set of Steven Curtis Chapman: Greatest Hits and Now and Then. I'll give you a hint: the answer is right in front of you and has only a little to do with Celebrating the International Year of the Potato (who knew?!)

Guess away! I'll post the answer on Friday and mail out the CD set after I get back from vacation.

The Value of Desire

There's a friendly little competition ensuing between a few kids in our town (Pittsburgh) and some guys up in Michigan. Some little thing called the Stanley Cup - go figure. Last night was supposed to be the curtain call - the obligatory last song and handshake before the Pens went home in defeat.

It was not to be. Sid and Co. wanted it too badly. Enough to hang on through triple overtime, a forty some minutes of grueling effort by the kids on skates, not to mention a bit of nail-biting suspense for anyone who stayed up to watch the whole show. They reached deep inside themselves to pull off a spectacular victory, the kind that sends chills up and down your spine, or - if you're a fan of the losing team - just leaves you with your mouth hanging open in disbelief!

No matter how the series plays out, the Pens have reminded us what can happen when you really want something and put your heart and soul into making it happen. They given us one of those rare gifts, the reminder of the power of Desire. Desire inspires, doesn't it?

So, what burning desire lies within you? Who fans the flame of desire in you?