Tag Archive | fall

Red Like Crimson (Book Review)

red like crimsonI’ve always loved Janice Thompson’s writing so when I had a chance to snag a free kindle version of Red Like Crimson, I did so and read it at the first opportunity. This book read so easily it felt like a novella but it is a full length novel.

Eight years ago, Adrianne abandoned the man she loved and her education when she discovered she was pregnant. She knew that would ruin Chris’ opportunity to fulfill his dream to go to the mission field. She never told him why she left. Now years later they come face to face when he comes to Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding. Adrianne knows it’s time to tell him the truth. He has a daughter.

Chris never understood why she left. He finished school and now works as a missionary in Nicaragua and loves it. When he meets Adrianne again old flames kindle to life and he dreams of the possibilities. Confronted by the reality that he’s a father complicates things.

In previous books by Janice Thompson faith has been seamlessly woven in and the characters are whimsical at times and humor abounds. Red Like Crimson is a departure of sorts from that kind of writing style but is no less engaging for digging deeper into spiritual truths and weaving together grace and forgiveness in the wake of sin as well as the power God has to work things to good. I had a hard time putting this one down. It may have lacked the humor of her other books which I had anticipated,  but it definitely did not lack the charm. The disappointment was short-lived as I was swept into the story she wove so skillfully.

Advertisements

Falling off a Pedestal

DSC_0506I sat down with a good friend last week and confessed that I was struggling in my walk with God. It’s not that I don’t pray, I do. But making a daily time to spend with Him was something I was ambivalent about and even resisting.

She asked me a good question. How come with all the women I know and have served with, there wasn’t anyone to be holding me accountable?

Well, some are just too busy.

I also served for years in leadership and to some that seems to elevate me to the status of someone who isn’t going to really struggle with my spiritual walk. I’m good for listening to them and encouraging and praying for them–but it’s not reciprocal.

And I’m still feeling bruised and battered from some of the abuses I suffered while in leadership. These are hurts that few know about because I don’t gossip and spread other’s sins abroad, no matter how badly I was injured in the process.

My friend gets it because she’s seen leadership struggle in her own church. It can be a lonely place.

Someone came up to me a few weeks ago and told me she used to be afraid to approach me. She thought I was intimidating.

Wow. That made me so sad. I don’t want to ever appear intimidating.

I’m glad she knows better now.

So here’s the scoop. I’m not in the “in” group anywhere. I often feel like an outsider. I’m afraid I’m not good enough – at anything and everything.  I cry. I lose sleep due to my irrational fears.

I get lonely and due to circumstances I won’t go into here. I struggle to feel like I have any value in this crazy mixed up world because there are people in my life who have pretty much led me to believe I don’t. And I often sabotage myself in the very things I’m trying to achieve.

Ugly truths, huh?

I don’t like heights. It’s not the heights themselves, but the fear of falling from them. Please, PLEASE take me off any pedestal you have put me on.

I sin. I screw up. I let emotions sometimes derail me from being productive in the work God has called me to do. I get scared about the future, even the good things I see God doing.

I don’t feel ready for that. I feel inadequate and inept.

Just because I smile doesn’t mean I have my act together. I’m so far from perfect. I’m a member of the human race just like you are. Any good you see in me is totally there by the grace of God.

I’m grateful that my friend was willing to take the next step that many others weren’t. She asked me the tough questions and she made a date for us to meet again to discuss how it’s going. Accountability. I am beyond grateful.

The best gift I ever got while serving in ministry was from the first pastor I worked for who weekly did not hesitate to ask : “So how is your walk with God going? What is He teaching you?” At first I found those questions intimidating but soon learned they were an expression of love. We need more of this in the church.

In a recent radio interview I said this: “Whatever calling you pursue, don’t do it alone. I don’t think we can do anything for the glory of God on our own.”

I know I can’t. How about you? Who is holding you accountable in your walk with God?

I Love Fall!

Autumn has always been a season I have loved. Not really sure why. Every time I used to take vacation in September – it would rain the entire time, which made it hard to enjoy the nice crisp cool air and beautiful colors.

There are some negatives to this season.  Days are getting shorter.  Sometimes it can be damp and allergies can kick in until that first frost.  Leaves can be a pain to rake. What follows is the cold and bleakness of winter. (My husband tends to dwell on that instead of enjoying this particular season).  And doesn’t it seem that there are more viruses this time of year?

However, I love the coziness of snuggling up in a fleece sweatshirt and having my windows open again. Soft fuzzy socks!  No mosquitoes!  The colors! Seeing the berries on my bittersweet turning orange/red against the brown of the branches.  If I had a yard of my own I’d plant it full of sugar maples. I absolutely LOVE the reds but when mixed with the yellows and oranges – well – it is simply breathtaking when we are at or close to peak colors. There is such a beauty to fall when you have brown crunchy leaves and bright orange pumpkins and red apples. Inhaling the scent of mums.  Fresh baked apple pie!  If my oven were working I’d bake one today since I’m home with a sick kid.  I love the smell that gives the entire house.  The crunch of dried leaves between your feet seems so satisfying.  Fall is full of visual and olfactory and tactile sensations that I enjoy – maybe all the more because they are so brief.

Above all, my most favorite thing is this:  jumping in a pile of leaves.  I have great memories of my brothers and I making leaf homes, playing for hours in the cool crisp air and throwing leaves and jumping in them.  In the years as an adult, before I had kids, I didn’t have opportunities to jump in leaf piles and I missed it!  It’s not like you can go to a stranger’s yard and say, “Hey, can I rake a pile of leaves, jump in it, lay on top of it and watch the clouds go by and when I’m done, leave it there?”  Yeah, they’d becoming to take me away pretty quick to the funny farm (or psych ward).  So I look forward to the leaf piles with my children. We have a lot of trees so we can get a pile pretty quickly although for some odd reason the trees in our little valley are a little slow to turn and drop (some kind of developmental disorder maybe?).  I may get dirt and twigs in my hair, but it will be worth it to relax and inhale the fresh fall air and know that even when the seasons change, in this world, or in my life, there is beauty and peace as I rest in the God who planned it all.