"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open."

This is from the first chapter of James, in the Message translation of the Bible. And its the wisdom that we are following this year. I wrote earlier about being brave--depending on God--and more opportunities have since arisen for my "faith-life" to be built up...opportunities, that, if I accept them, will be used to form me into a more true woman of God. After hearing some bad news yesterday, I actually laughed out loud as I realized we are simply facing another gracious opportunity to rely on our Abba for His provision.

And His provision is so much more broad than my limited humanness first realized. He provides not just jobs and money, but richer gifts like faith and wisdom. Thank You, Abba, for knowing what I need and providing as I need it. I love You.



I read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas last night, all in one sitting. The tale is so striking, and my mouth was agape for half the book. It is best to go on this journey at the same pace with the 9-year-old narrator, learning about his situation as he does, and so I couldn’t share the story with my husband as I read. (And you shouldn't try to find out anything about it prior to reading it, either! I will tell you that it is about a boy in 1940's Europe, and he discovers a fence, and it is very sad.)

By the time I finished the last page, I was so wishing I had been reading this as part of a book club, so I could explore my thoughts and feelings out loud, right away. (I’m making Husband read it later this week for that purpose.)

I still have a lot of processing to do (I dreamed I was in the story ALL night long last night!), but I'd love to hear comments from those of you who have read this. What was your initial reaction? What do you think about the juxtaposition of innocence and evil in the story? To which character do you most relate? For those of you who were alive in the 1940's, were you aware of the events that occurred during those years? Have you applied "the moral of the story" in your life & how? I'd be delighted & thankful for your feedback!


favorite movies

...in no particular order...

- The Village
- The Visitor
- Sleepless in Seattle
- Wait Until Dark
- Sabrina, both versions
- The Illusionist
- Molly
- Kolya (great Czech film!)
- Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility (I usually avoid books-turned-movies, because they ruin my imagination...like I don't want to see the Narnia movies, because the books are so wonderful! But I've never made it all the way through either of these, so I love the movies. Yet isn't it a shame about the books!)


that learning to be brave thing...

Last night, I couldn't go to sleep, so I stayed up and looked at a million blogs, and then, all of a sudden, I leapt right in to the temptation to check my work email account, even though it was a Saturday night. A situation had come up on Friday afternoon, right before I left work, and it was handled as best I could, and I went home grateful for a weekend. But I let that situation gnaw at me til I thought I just had to go and check my email, whereupon I learned that the situation is worse than I expected. So now, I am all day fighting the temptation to think about this hard thing before it is time (i.e. Monday morning!).

Why do we get caught up in the lie that our work never ends? God gave us weekends, and Sundays especially, to REST. To rest in HIM. Jesus, help me let go of my work, and the fears wrapped up in it, and give my whole heart to You today. Each day has enough trouble of its own, right?

Oh, so on to the learning to be brave thing. I am grateful for my job--I am grateful to have a job at all right now, and grateful for the ways God uses it to stretch me. Which is good, because boy am I stretched. There have been so many opportunities for me to be brave & bold & develop my conflict resolution skills over the past year--none of which comes naturally to me. But all of which I need more of in my life.

And so, slowly, I am learning to be brave. And am blessed to be learning always in the gracious sunlight of Jesus' hope in my life. Thank you, Jesus, for nurturing me and creating me to bloom.