So tonight is my short chance for catch-up. I think Angie calls it a blog blitz...so that's what I'm doing tonight!
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Tonight, Eli picked up a Kaleidoscope of mine from when I was little.
Eli - "Mom, this is a good way to look for God."
Me- "How so?"
Eli- "Because you have to look at the light - and when you do, you see all sorts of new colors in life."
That kid is seriously cool, sometimes.
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If you want to crack up, check out another Eli's videos !! Eli's a friend who we got to hang out with for a couple of days - a rare treat for us. He's a minister in California, and he and his wife are just people you know are pretty incredible from the moment you meet them. You can pick any video and crack up, but the two on the bottom, left-hand side of his home page are my favorite. My kids can't stop watching it. :-)
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My birthday was Tuesday, and for the first time, Eli bought me something that he completely picked out and paid for on his own. It was a huge jug of purple lavender bubble bath. He told me he hoped I could " at least get two bubble baths out of it." :-) It was the best gift ever. I seriously didn't know how precious that would be.
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I'm sold on two books that I have to share.
First, - as I've said before, I'm not a fiction reader, normally. But I'd heard a couple of times that I really needed to read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers.
It's a retelling of sorts of the book of Hosea, set in the 1850's . I have fallen in love with it. I'm not even sure I can come close to doing it justice in reviewing it... but the gut wrenching journey it takes you on as you live out each character is amazing... bringing me to "a-ha" moments about myself at every chapter. The many opposing emotions we grapple with in ourselves find a voice and a character - and the illogical, unreasonable pursuit of us that God initiates despite our best efforts to thwart Him take shape - and begin to make sense -both inspiring me accept love and to offer love to others with equal abandon.
The second book that I've been really challenged by is called "Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Las Vegas", by Jud Wilhite.
I'll be honest... as I stepped into the first chapter - I was frustrated with where I thought the author was going... & wanted to throw it away. But knowing my friend Stu doesn't waste time with the books he recommends, I decided to keep going - and it turned a lot upside down for me, - thankfully so.
At one point I was appalled, only to have my hypocrisy gently revealed to me. Truth wrestled open the door of some convictions I had left untouched and un-dealt with - unravelling the false sense of security I had built around them and making the uncertainity of grace not only more certain and but more justified.
Here's one of more than a few underlined passages in the book:
"Too often we mistake grace for weakness, forgiveness for giving in. We see strength only in pointing out sin and stomping on it until it's dead. But in Jesus we find someone who has no patience for those more concerned with enforcing the rules than helping others. Though He was perfect and, therefore, in a position to judge and punish all of us, Jesus showed us a different kind of strength, a strength found in grace, compassion and forgiveness.
Jesus had a way about Him that caused people to feel they could approach Him. Children ran to Him and sat in His lap. Women were drawn to Him and His message in a culture that oppressed women. His inclusiveness shook people. He related to those of another race and religion (Samaritans), those of questionable professions, and members of the religious elite. He challenged all to love their neighbors, care for the poor, and live toward God. He showed grace to those who needed it most. But, if I may be blunt, He was not a wuss...."
Both books do an incredible job of inspiring one to step up to the plate with the difficulties of offering grace.... and firmly reminding us of the reasons why.
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