1
Like Wisemen: Solar Eclipse 2017
2
Book Review: Fervent
3
Sabbath Rest & the Zoo
4
Knowing vs. Being Known
5
Perfect Imperfection

Like Wisemen: Solar Eclipse 2017

Unlike all the people this past weekend begging for solar eclipse glasses online, Kevin has had us prepared for a couple months! Ever since he discovered that his parent’s hometown was in the line of 100% totality, he has planned on driving to Southern Illinois to view the solar eclipse.

I was more reticent. Would it really be worth the drive? Isn’t Jackson’s 90-some-percent going to be just as good as the 100%? But he remained passionately certain that we should go – so we did.

And the totality of the eclipse was beyond words amazing. We had done a fair amount of research before leaving to help build up hype for the trip. We watched news reports, old Walter Cronkite clips from the last great eclipse, NASA photos, listened podcasts, and sang Total Eclipse of the Heart countless times!

So we basically knew what to expect and to look for. The sun disappearing behind the moon was interesting to watch. But the last seconds before totality were breath taking. The trees around us looked like we were seeing them through a filter. There was  sunset all around us in the middle of the afternoon. Cicadas made a ruckus from the fields. The moon created a last “diamond ring” with a shining bright white light. And then … totality.

All four of us quickly pulled of our glasses; we knew we would have less than two minutes to enjoy this view. God’s creation on display in a way very few people have the privilege of viewing in their lifetime.

In Genesis 1, God’s creation of light and dark are understated. The sun and moon are glorious creations that we so rarely take time to appreciate and enjoy.

Then God created people in His wonderful image. He gave us creative, imaginative minds – much like His. He gave us intellect and access to other created items so that we could spend generations studying this world He made.

So when a star appeared in Bethlehem, the brilliant minds of their day knew something was different – they had to follow this star to find the Messiah! God used creation to lead this group to Jesus.

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Book Review: Fervent

My first introduction to Priscilla Shirer was her Bible study on Jonah (Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted). I loved it! I was an almost-college-graduate who joined this study with the married women in our church. Each week we gathered together to watch Priscilla’s teaching videos and discuss our homework.

Since then, I have followed Priscilla Shirer on social media but haven’t had the opportunity to participate in another study. So I was absolutely thrilled when I came across her book Fervent.

I eagerly began to read. The book was incredibly timely because my prayer life had been gradually fading and her entire emphasis was prayer. Then, it felt too timely. So I quit.

I walked away from the book. Every chapter was more convicting than the last and I just couldn’t deal.

I moved onto a long string of just-for-fun books. The stress level of adding a foster child to our house caused me to withdraw from my spiritual growth books. I’ve always favored literature and fiction, but I had been carefully selecting at least one spiritual book to read every month or two.

It was time to finish what I had started and put Priscilla’s fervent prayer life into practice. So early August, I picked it up again. And it was every bit as challenging, convicting, and encouraging as it had been the first time.

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Sabbath Rest & the Zoo

Last month, in the heat of July, we took an almost-seven-year-old to the zoo to celebrate her upcoming birthday. We also brought her friend. Kevin, myself, two seven-year olds, and 95 degree weather – what could go wrong?

We really had a very nice day. Every thirty minutes, I handed out Dixie cups and poured cold water into them and made everyone drink. Every hour or so, we reached an exhibit with an indoor/air conditioned element. So I forced the girls to sit for 5 minutes at a time and rest. (Pro tip – the animals of the night exhibit is a FANTASTIC place to have a long, cool rest!)

It was extremely difficult to convince the girls to sit on their bottoms and rest their legs. Which was super ironic because leading up to the mandatory “5-minute-rest-period” they were complaining about how tired their legs were! I used lots of apple slices, pretzels, and gummy snacks to convince them to take a few minutes to stop and sit still.

We had a great day at the zoo and I didn’t think much of our rest periods again.

Until Sunday. Our now-officially-seven-year-old was restless and complaining about how quiet and boring our house became on Sundays. She just wanted to run around and play. So I attempted to explain the concept of Sabbath rest.

God has ordained a day for us to rest and reflect on everything He has done and is doing in our lives. We do our best to resist our emails accounts and phone notifications so that we can spend a day resting from the busyness of the week.

At the zoo, I asked the girls to rest quite often when I knew we had a long walk to the next set of exhibits. I knew that they would need the extra energy in their legs and food in their bellies. Even though they complained about being forced to sit and do nothing, I knew it was important so I remained firm. We had to rest.

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Knowing vs. Being Known

Steven Curtis Chapman released his album Signs of Life in September of 1996. I was 8 years old and firmly believed that there was no greater Christian song writer or performer than SCC. My family and I went to the Signs of Life tour. While wearing my brand new, black suede SCC baseball cap, I sang along with every song he played.

Even now, I’ve decided to play that album on Spotify to help recreate the memory. The first song? Lord of the Dance. Does it get much better than

I am the heart, I need the heartbeat
I am the eyes, I need the sight
I realize that I am just a body
I need the life
I move my feet, I go through the motions
But who’ll give purpose to chance
I am the dancer
I need the Lord of the dance

I regress.

I was 8 and at the SCC concert with my family. Steven was addressing the crowd and sang a lyric with the word “you” and pointed to the crowd. My mom looked at me excitedly and said, “He pointed at you!”

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Perfect Imperfection

“Yes!” I triumphantly pulled an over sized book out of the free bin – full page pictures of animals and descriptions about them! I love finding free books at McKay’s. So often, they make terrific gifts! I had even found a perfectly good game of Candy Land. All the pieces were there, the box was just torn up a bit. Not a problem for me.

In my excitement, I had scattered my free findings across the sidewalk. A man came walking quickly around the corner and had to stop quickly to avoid tripping over my pile.

“I’m so sorry! Let me move them!” I quickly said.

“No. Leave them. You’re perfect.”

I stared at this complete stranger, a man my father’s age. He smiled at me.

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