Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blossom by blossom

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
Atalanta in Calydon (1865)

Photos courtesy of the budding spring in the Taylor backyard.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tackling the Tangle: Day Two of Day One

Seriously, please tell me that I'm not the only one who struggles with clutter? I have always known that I'm more of a visionary than, well, a completer. I get started on one thing and then dream up something new and fabulous I want to do.

So how do you tackle managing a home? I thought that once I wasn't working full time (massive time!) I'd have the most fabulously organized and put-together house. Oh, how wrong I was. I'm overwelmed with ideas!

As a result I've started a new approach to tackling my tangle of stuff. It's a room-by-room approach. Day One - the kitchen. Love my new art from Renee's Funky Country. That was the reward for cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Yes, I found items buried in the back of the pantry with expiration dates from 2008.

I was planning on move on to Day Two in the family room, but no. The kitchen still needs work so Day Two will be a continuation of Day One. I'll be tackling the tangle of plastic and bakeware. Both cupboards are seriously in a tangle.

I do not intend to be kind to that plasticware!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Healing Your Church Hurt (book review and giveaway!)

I love reading and am havng a great time reviewing books for various publishers.  Since my husband is a pastor and we've been involved in and committed to the church for the duration of our marriage (four different churches in 20 years) and I've got 17 additional years of church life under my belt before that, I figured I'd be able to relate at some level to this one. Plus we know a few people who have really been stung by a church or two.While I do bear some nice church scars. Too many have experienced harsh treatment at the hands of the faithful. Perhaps the beauty of reading this book is realizing my wounds were/are rather superficial.

Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do when you still love God but have been wounded by his people, by Stephen Mansfield (Tyndale House Publishers) is meant to be a guide for readers navigating through those hurts. The book is about "eccelsia exitus disease -- the Latin term for church drop out." Spiritual injury is often the cause. Stephen works throughout the book to guide the reader through a recovery. He calls himself a coach versus counselor and he has some tough love to dish out.

This is not a church bashing book; nor is it a memoir of all the ways the church has hurt him; nor a "go-it-alone" Christian manifesto. You will not find soothing words to cajol or cottle you, to indulge your wound. This is training camp to get over it, positively.

As George Barna states in the foreward,
"The paradox inherent in all of this is that inconsistencies and harshness of our society often drive us toward the most tangible and widely promoted expression of Christianity -- the local church, an assumed oasis of perfection and goodness, a place where sinners are transformed into reasonable facsimiles of Christ Himself. But that expectation is often shattered. After all, the local body of believers is still a collecton of sinners seeking a place where they can discover wisdom, truth, grace, healing, and love. No local church will ever be perfect as long as people are part of it."

If church wounding has been an issue, there is a positive word for you here. I appreciated that he concludes the book with smart questions (something he does throughout the book) to consider before entering into a church community. Having boundaries and motives and expectations properly aligned doesn't ensure a good relationship, but they go a long way to preventing a bad one.



Tyndale House has graciously provided me with a gift voucher for the book. So if this is a book you'd like to read, shoot me an email at; I'll randomly select a winner.  Here is a link to download a PDF of the first chapter of the book and more information from the publisher

This book was provided to me free by Tyndale House Publishers without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.

Monday, March 5, 2012



Buds of New Growth

It's March and the temperatures in Denver are slated to hit near 70-degrees tomorrow. Crazy for the snowiest month of the year. But it also reminds me that Spring and gardening are right around the corner. I am holding myself back from searching for buds of new growth that I know are already evident.

I'm hoping there are buds of new growth evident in my own life as well. Too soon to tell?

I wrote a blog post a month ago about several new commitments I was making 31 days into the new year. So now that 31+ days have passed I want to see if there are any buds to show for February.

1) Fitness - Okay I've lost about 5 lbs but it's mostly cutting out dessert and other basic (and I mean basic) improvements to my eating habits. I still have work to do on eating three meals a day. But I did buy a juicer to help increase the fruits and veggies in my diet. And it isn't evidence of new fitness habits. So, much more work is yet to do before I can claim buds.
2) Organization - Now here I can spot some serious buds in my personal garden. I am really making progress tackling one drawer at a time. I've made more trips to Goodwill and have a pile of household stuff for a cool consignment store I frequent. It's amazing how when you start checking things off the gets shorter. I am loving simplifying and creating more fertile ground in which to plant my life.
3) Devotion - I haven't jumped back into my study of David as planned but I am loving my lenten book on simplicity, Simplifying the Soul, and One Thousand Gifts. Both books are giving me so much to think and pray about.

That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. Colossians 1:10

(Photo Credit - This wonderful photo was taken by my sister-in-law Gwen)