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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
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City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in Joshua (17)



Y’all. I feel like I have left Jesus in the grave. Well, I couldn’t even ever do that. Nor would I want to. But on this blog, I have not covered RESURRECTION. 

To be completely honest Easter Sunday was anticlimactic for me. We arrived 30 seconds late for the service at our church, and a bouncer stood at the door blocking our entrance. Well, actually he was really a nice man preventing us from letting in light so that the ones who arrived on time could experience this amazing prelude to worship. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but  I know it involved light. And so for the light to be extra bright, they needed to prevent the light from coming in from the outside. 

Because light is brighter right next to darkness. 

On Easter Sunday we missed the crescendo of the service. For a long time, I have been waiting for the resurrection. Where would I see the resurrected Jesus?

And on this past Sunday, a week after Easter, I saw Him. Matt and I have had a sideline seat to see how Jesus can rock your world, leave you panting as he takes you to the edge of a cliff and then show up at what seems like the last minute. 

A couple we know stepped out in obedience. They had a big need - a need falling in the category of food, clothing or shelter. After a hard decision to obey, they waited. And they waited. Then they waited. And one provision slipped out of their hands. What would God do? They waited again. 

The way God provided - at the last minute, mind you - but they way God provided, well, it blew us all out of the water. 

This is the story of Easter. The disciples, the Mary’s, the followers: all thought hope had died with Jesus. He was simply weening them of hoping in anything but Him. When He appeared, He blew all their puny hopes away and showed them HOPE. 

The darkest day followed by the brightest day. It seems every day holds a little of both. May our eyes be sensitive to His light!

Happy Easter! Even if it is a bit late!


mulligan: 40 words in 40 days


Yesterday I bombed as a mom. It happens.

The 6th grade field trip to Adventure Science Museum approached us. I had signed up to go as a chaperone. I told Joshua that if he did not want me to go, I would not go. Matt even asked him in under-cover CIA-mode if he was okay with me going.

Having received the thumbs up, I proceeded with clearing my schedule for today. When I got home yesterday and mentioned the field trip, Joshua said I was not on the list to chaperone. A lengthy discussion ensued. I sniffed out that he possibly did not really want me to go, but he would not own it.

Ultimately I pulled a Dr. Spock migraine move. I got out my stopwatch app. I said if you don't tell me what you want at the end of 30 seconds, I am making the decision. And I am going.

At 29.75 seconds, he said, "No."

Now, I had prepared to hear this. I thought I was fully okay with it. I had begged him to tell me the truth. And when I heard it, I felt a bullet in my heart. I did the only thing a real mom could do. I went to my room and cried.

The truth hurts.

I had to tell him the truth about my reaction. I put him in a catch 22, a no-win situation. I apologized.

And later in the evening, Joshua asked me to go on the field trip. He had good reasons and explained them to me. I decided to go and honor his olive branch.

I am thankful for grace in parenting. I am thankful for a mulligan.


together: 40 words in 40 days

Baboons experience stress. 

And there are people who study this phenomenon. One of these, err, scientists wrote that type A baboons often have chronically elevated levels of stress hormones. This impacts their health negatively. Their reproductive systems don’t work all that well. They have elevated blood pressure. Wounds don’t heal quickly. All in all, they are not in great shape.

Believe it or not, baboons come in type A varieties, mediocres and slackers. The mediocre baboons experienced the least amount of harmful effects of stress. Relationships and social connections, among baboons mind you, actually counteract the stress response. The ones most likely to reach out to other baboons experienced less harmful effects of stress. 

Baboons, and I am quoting here, who need baboons are the luckiest baboons in the world. 

The bottomline: social connectedness is the most powerful antidote for stress-related disease. 

At our church, we just say “together is better.” And the baboons can tell you that.

The “data” in this post comes from Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals by Robert Sapolsky, as quoted in Emotional Sobriety by Tian Dayton, Ph.D.


genuine: 40 words in 40 days

Two times this week I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with new-ish friends and telling my story. I am reminded of the power of our testimony! The Word says that we will overcome our Enemy by the power of the blood and the word of our testimony. 

My story involves a rupturing of a false identity that I pieced together. I learned about Jesus and His Power of Forgiveness when I was ten years old. Then in college, some kind and devoted young women taught me what it meant to walk out life with Christ. 

I began to read the Word and hunger for it. Fruit showed up in my life. And I began to hide. In my pride, I patched together an external version of what I thought it looked like to be a Christian. I adorned myself with fig leaves. 

My God would not allow me to stay covered in ridiculous leaves when a robe of righteousness awaited. In an amazing show of grace, he outed me in my early twenties. I took off the mask and began to walk in brokenness. 

From time to time, I try to hide again. In performance or in self-righteousness, but God is gently forming me inside out. He is teaching what it means to take up the cross and follow Him. 

He is refining my faith to be genuine.

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 Peter 1:7


unexpected: 40 words in 40 days

We sat around a bouquet of tulips each plate adorned with hearts. Matthew returned home for the night to get his car tags renewed. Rarely are we together, all five of us, around the table.

Someone suggested we make a video like the ones we had been watching on YouTube. The song Harlem Shake has become a video viral craze. All kinds of folks claim 30 second stardom by uploading their version. The template 15 seconds of calm followed by 15 seconds of bedlam.

How would we film it? What would we wear? How would we dance? All these and more became the topic of our Valentine’s dinner. Our family is not prone to performance - at least not on camera. And so it began and grew in momentum - this crazy idea to do something we have never done before.

We sketched out a rough picture board. Everyone found costumes. Sam found a fake cigar. And we were up and running. Twenty minutes later our debut is posted on Facebook. I dug out my YouTube passwords. Voila! We are on the air.

What makes this so amusing is the level of surprise. Never in 22 years of marriage have I seen Matt McMurray dance on camera. Never. He has danced - just plain danced - maybe 20 times. Why did he acquiesce to this strange phenomena? I have no idea.

Control freaks everywhere shriek at the mention of “unexpected.” Yet we humans crave it. This blows my mind about God: you can never predict what He’s going to do. Unless He’s promised it in His Word, you cannot know what He will do. Now if He has promised it, it’s as good as done.

Delight flows from the unexpected. What will God do next that will blow my mind? What areas in your life need His touch of the unexpected?