Currently on my Bookshelf

I love to read and have recently finished reading the following:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Why do Christians Shoot Their Wounded? by Dwight L. Carlson

I highly recommend each of those books if you are looking for something to read.

I am also currently reading

On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View on Psychotherapy by
Carl Rogers

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

On Writing by Stephen King

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliott

Love Beyond Reason by John Ortberg

and I'm continuing to plow my way through A Quest For
Godliness by J.I. Packer. It's an excellent book but needs to be read slowly to absorb the content!

These are all good reads that I highly recommend!

I also really like the website that has free downloads of older books available. I've recently down loaded "The Pilgrim's Progress", by John Bunyon; "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith and "Parables of the Christ Life" and "Parables of the Cross" by Lillias Trotter.

Let me know what you are reading!

Soccer Game

Kirsten is playing on the girls High School Soccer team. They had another game this past Saturday.

A friend took some great shots of Kirsten in action.

She and the team will be traveling up to Subic the end of this month for a three day international school sports competition (ISAC = international school athletic competition).
I really appreciate the sports program offered at the school. The athletic program strives to use athletics as a tool to enhance the athlete's academic and character development too.

Dolce Far Niente

"Dolce Far Niente" is the Italian phrase meaning "the sweetness of doing nothing."

Jesus calls each of us to come away. To spend time in rest, restoration, prayer, pleasant idleness. We do not have to have a purpose behind every action. He gives us an example in Mark 6:31 And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Matthew 14: 13 and 23
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a
boat to a desolate place by himself......23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself
to pray...

It's good to turn off the iphones, ipads, emails, facebook and just spend restful time enjoying family and friends.

We recently did just that. The kids had a four day weekend so we took advantage of that time to go to BlueWaters Beach Resort.

We did have a few tablets with us and Kirsten had to work on a paper for school using her computer, but overall, our "connection time" via internet was non-existent as WiFi was not available and time on the tablets was very limited.

We enjoyed time playing on the beach, reading books, conversing with each other and with friends, enjoying the sun, beach, sand, water, sea creatures, good food, and rest.

There is no need to feel guilty over resting. Especially in the US culture there is a tendency to grow up thinking we need to be constantly accomplishing something
and be scheduled with activities.

One thing I've been so grateful for living here in the Philippines is the slower pace of life. There isn't this drive to have every moment scheduled with activity like there seems to be in the US culture.

So, practice some dolce far neinte. Don't confuse 'doing nothing' with laziness. Take time to reflect, to enjoy the scent and taste of a good cup of freshly brewed coffee. Take a walk and enjoy the breeze. Pause to gaze at the flowers.

Just slow down and take in what's around you and be thankful.

Psalm 116 I love the Lord,.......

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.

7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.

Ruin Is The Gift

I really enjoy the movie "Eat, Pray, Love." There is a lot of wisdom expounded in that film. I have yet to read the book though it awaits my return to the USA on a bookshelf in my father-in-law's house.

Currently, among the several books I have going, I am reading one titled "A Praying Life - Connecting With God in a Distracting World" by Paul E. Miller.

As I read this morning this quote in his book jumped out at me:
If we think we can do life on our own,
we will not take prayer seriously.
Our failure to pray will always feel like something else -
a lack of discipline or too many obligations.
But when something is important to us, we make room for it.
Prayer is simply not important to many Christians because
Jesus is already an add-on. That is why, as we'll see
later, Suffering is so important to the process of learning how
to pray. It is God's gift to us to show us what life is really like.

I find that so true. I cannot parent well, be a good wife, or a growing Christian without prayer. Prayer is our life blood. Prayer is my life blood. God wants relationship with each of us and often He leads through trials and storms to bring us closer to Him.
Ruin is the gift. Suffering is important to the process of drawing closer to Christ.

I'll be blogging more about this role of suffering in the Christian life.
I highly recommend reading this book, too. We have started reading it as a family in our devotion time.

Romans 5:2-4 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Hebrews 2:9-11 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers...

2 Corinthians 1: 5-6 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Waiting...and reminiscing......

James has been asking when his adoption will be completed.
He'd like to see the area where he first lived here in Davao but we've been advised not to go there until the adoption is complete.
Pray we will here a favourable decision regarding James' adoption soon.

And pray for James. He really misses his brother, Jerard, as do I.
I am so thankful James has clear memories of his brother. James was sharing some of his memories of Jerard with me today.

Sometimes when I think of Jerard the lyrics to the song "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban go through my head. There is not a day that goes by I don't think of my little visitor from heaven, so thankful he came.

"To Where You Are"

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory's so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
'Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are