Friday, January 25, 2013

14,049 days...

That's how long I've been alive on this earth today.  Seeing our lives as days numbered really drives home how short our time is here and encourages us not to waste our days and time on frivolity.

There's something about putting our time into days that takes my breath away.  On one hand, I think, "what have I done with 14,049 days??" and on the other I think, "Wow, God willing if I live to be 70 (neither of my parents did) that would be (from birth to death), 25, 568 days.  That means I would only have 11, 527 days left, God providing, I live to be 70 years old.  That means that half of my life is most likely over.

Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days, so we may gain a heart of wisdom".    After having reviewed the book, "20,000 days and counting" by Robert D. Smith recently, I decided I convert my years into days.  WOW!  Was that eye opening!

Putting my life into days made me more aware of how I've spent my time and, from this point forward, how I SHOULD be spending my time.  My heart has gained wisdom from this one small act and it longs to rectify my misuse and mismanagement of time.  Sadly, I can't do that.  I mourn for the days that I squandered away on a whole lotta nothin'!  Ouch!  I'm not talking days where restorative rest was needed and taken or days spent consoling wounded hearts and frustrations in my children.  No.  I'm talking the wasted time with computers, phones and t.v.  Wasted time that wasn't accomplishing anything - including restoring and refreshing my soul.  Wisdom has been gained here; now, I pray, I use it and make appropriate changes in my life.

What I can do, though, is look forward - to the days ahead and align my time more and more with how God would have me use it.

 Now more than ever, my one little word for 2013 is taking new meaning about how I should approach my next 329 days of 2013.

Seeing my life through days instead of years has been eye opening and makes me appreciate my life lived so far (minus those silly days) and it is making me think about the upcoming days God would bless me with; if He blesses me with them.

I encourage you, as the writer of Psalm 90 does, to calculate your life into days.  Know how many days you've been on earth and wonder how many days you may (or may not) have left.  Put your life into perspective and gain a heart of wisdom.

If you want to see how many days you've been around, go here and marvel at both the days that have floated away and how very short life can be.

Let me live my days well, not according to man's standards, but by God's standards.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book review: Live Second

Prior to reviewing the devotional book, "Live Second"; 365 to Make Jesus First", I had never heard of this "movement" which many have associated themselves.  I was intrigued by this extra subtitle, "an I Am Second daily reader".  Although leery at the thought of reviewing a devotional, I am so glad I was able to review this one!  to start with, I am impressed with its organization and layout.  It's structure is a weekly theme, broken out over the days of the week, throughout the whole year.  i enjoyed seeing the upcoming topics as well as the unity of its purpose.  However, I am most impressed with its delivery and message.

This devotional is for those daring to live second and let Jesus be first.  The topics covered are vast yet not too broad to have a scattered feel.  They are each week's theme and each day's devotion challenges us and encourages us to live putting our wants and desires second (or even third or fourth).    This is a huge departure from today's culture that encourages looking out for me only.

The "Live Second" devotional is written to anyone, regardless of where you are on your faith journey or even if you don't have a relationship with Jesus as well.  I admired this statement at the beginning of the book,

"This book is for anyone looking to discover meaning in life, your mission on this planet, or the cure to life’s difficulties. You do not need to believe in Jesus to start this journey, but I think you will be challenged by his message before you trek too far. I believe the power of his love, the vastness of his forgiveness, and the strength of his presence will inspire you to rethink your relationship with God.”

I received the Kindle version of this devotional for review and it included links to videos of those part of  "Live Second" at the start of each week.  That was a nice bonus!

I would highly recommend this devotional to anyone looking to be challenged in living your life differently than how you currently are and for those seeking to live out the idea of " More of Him, Less of Me".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting

The book, "20,000 Days and Counting" by Robert D. Smith is a short read and one that I would recommend, but with a word of caution.

The premise is the author realized, at the time of writing, that he'd been alive for 20,000 days. Always aware of our limited days on this earth, he has spent his life trying to make the most of the time given to him.  Through this short book, Smith encourages his readers with practical instructions for living purposefully, with whatever time we're given on this earth.

I enjoyed this read.  It took me less than an hour to read it and I liked that the author got me thinking about how I carry out my days.  Am I aware and fully present in each moment?  Do I have a plan for the time I have before me, however short or long that is?

At his 20,000th day mark, he took a personal retreat to a hotel and planned out, what he hoped, would be his next 20,000 days.  Based on a personal mission statement he created for himself, Smith chooses to live each of his days, making sure he completes areas of his mission statement.

Like I said, I did enjoy reading this book and was excited to learn more through a Biblical lens since this was a Christian publisher and Smith himself talks about his relationship with Christ in the beginning of the book.  However, I found myself disappointed mid-way through as more and more of the instructions (if not all, really) are SELF-based, that is, they are written from the viewpoint that I am in control of all aspects of my life (short of the day I will die).  There is no leaning in on God and his encouragements of making plans do not come with the caveat of holding them loosely in your hands.  As a planner personality myself, I have learned over the years to hold my plans loosely to allow God room to tweak or even roll out a new set of plans.  Yet, we aren't encouraged in that way.  In fact, as the book goes on and on, it becomes more psychological and somewhat New-Age in philosophy and I found myself yearning to have had more Biblical input and encouragement.  Yes, the Bible does say to "Teach us to number our days" - and we should!  We should be aware of our inevitable death so that we might fully live.  However, we should be looking at the One who would "Teach us" not only to ourselves.

Overall, I did like the perspective Robert Smith lives with and there are a few thoughts that I have taken away from this read that I will apply to my life, in different ways.

*** Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from in return for an honest, unbiased review. ***

Monday, January 14, 2013

My One Little Word for 2013

Even though the word was upon my lips and tugging at my heart for weeks, I resisted.  It seemed too glib; too overused.  Yet, it stayed, pressing into my brain as the days drew closer to January 1.   This is meant to be my theme for 2013.  Within this word contains untold lessons that God is wanting to teach me.  I am ready, Lord.


That is my one little word for 2013. I breathe lighter when I whisper it.  That is how I know it is right.  It resonates within and I know simplifying, as simple as it sounds, isn't so much for me.

The other word that came to me was Be.  However, for me, for  this year, Be, is encompassed in Simplify.

I'm being called to simplify my life. All of it. All.

My schedule.

My cabinets and drawers.

My school supplies.

My activities and commitments.

My relationships.

My past.

My future.

My present.

I am being called to Be present, in the moment of motherhood; in my responsibilities at home and with my family. I can only Be present when life has simplified.  When technology and emails, demands and commitments have all been examined and  put in their proper context;  When my drawers and closets and garage no longer scream at me every time I open them;  When I no longer have to clammer over the piles of unresolved junk in my physical, emotional and spiritual life.  When these areas are approached with simplicity, I can Be with Him.




Most Definitely!

What is your one little word for 2013?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: I Am A Follower: The Way,Truth, And Life of Following Jesus

Leonard Sweet's book, "I Am A Follower; The Way, Truth and Life of Following Jesus" was written for any Christian that is looking for effective leadership models.  In an era when churches tend to follow the world's business structure, Sweet reminds us that leaders, in any shape and form, are to be followers of Christ first and foremost.

In Sweet's own words, he describes the layout of his book in this way:

Following Jesus' lead, this book is organized into three parts to reflect Jesus' three-part story: the way, the truth and the life. 

Sweet goes on to say that when we try to emulate the world's view of leadership, it becomes about ME and not Him.

When we focus on the world's view of leadership, being a Christian becomes more about blazing our own trail than tracking another's footsteps, more about being happy than knowing truth, more about creating a guide to living than accepting the gift of life. 
So often, church leaders look to the world for examples of leadership when we've had the perfect model of leadership in Jesus all along.  Instead of looking for the next "10 steps to being a better leader", those who are called to a leader role should be looking at how Jesus served.  

I enjoyed stretching my definition of leadership and while I've always held the opinion that leaders need to exercise discipline of serving above anything else, I have to say I agree that, above anything else, a leader should be wholly relying on Jesus' example and pointing the way for others to follow as well, as Leonard Sweet argues.  

I encourage you to check out "I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth And Life of Following Jesus.  You'll think about leadership for Christian a little differently.

** Disclaimer:  I received this book, free of charge from Thomas Nelson, for an honest, unbiased review.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reading list for 2013

I used to categorize the books I wished to read each year.  However, in an effort to simplify, I'm just listing them as I go!  Yeah, I like to walk on the wild side every once in awhile! :-) Anyway, I love doing a list because it keeps me accountable to read, learn and grow.

Here we go!

24/6 : A prescription of a happier, healthier life

Confessions of a Prayer Slacker

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul

No Other Gods; Confronting Our Modern Day Idols

Think: The Life Of The Mind and The Love Of The God

Safe People: How To Find Relationships That Are Good For You and Avoid Those That Aren't 

Messy Church: A Multi-Generational Mission for God's Family

Barefoot Church: Serving The Least In A Consumer Culture

That's My Teenage Son: How Moms Can Influence Their Sons To Become Good Men

It Starts At Home: A Practical Guide to Nurturing A Lifelong Faith

Your God Is Too Safe

UnGlued: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Raw Emotions

Smart Women Know When To Say No

The Fitting Room: Putting On The Character of Christ

One Thousand Gifts: The Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

How Healed Do You Want To Be?

Pleasing People: How Not to Be An Approval Junkie

Sifted: God's Scandalous Response To Satan's Outrageous Demand

Kiss Me Like You Mean It: Solomon's Crazy In Love How-To Manual

Glorious Mess: encountering God's Relentless Grace For Imperfect People


If I read different books throughout the year, I'll add them to the list!