Traveling Light

traveling light

Traveling Light

Max Lucado
MJF Books, 2001

From the dust jacket, “Inspiring, insightful, and sparkling with Max Lucado’s warm humor, Traveling Light guides us through Psalm 23 to show us how to let go of the spiritual weight we were never meant to carry. For example, you would think it absurd for your ten-year-old to lose sleep and fill her days with anxiety because she doesn’t have a pension plan. If such worrying seems unwarranted in a child, it’s just as needless in an adult. Worry has never brightened a day, solved a problem, or cured a disease. Yet we seem addicted to it. How can we overcome anxiety?

“Consider the verse: “He leads me beside the still waters.” He leads me. God isn’t behind us, yelling, “Go!” He’s ahead of us, showing the way telling us what we need to know when we need to know it, giving us what we need when we need it. He helps us the way a father gives plane tickets to his children. When it’s time to board the plane, he stands between the attendant and the children. As each child passes, he puts a ticket in his hand, and the child gives it to the attendant. Each one receives the ticket just when it’s needed. The lesson is this: Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You don’t have tomorrow’s strength yet. But you do have enough for today.”

This is my second Lucado book and it was a blessing to read it. It provided so much inspiration into Psalm 23. This book has a permanent place at the Library – its one of those books you’ll want to read again and again through the years. It’s even worth reading to kittens, young and old, during family devotional time. Also included at the end of the book are questions for further study and discussion. In this crazy world that we live in, we all need a little reminder that God is for us and not against us and that He is indeed leading us through the madness until we are home with Him once more.

Rating: 5 out of 5 paws

Reviewer:

loc jackJack

When God Whispers Your Name

god whispers your name

When God Whispers Your Name

Max Lucado
Word Publishing, 1999

From the back of the book, “What happens when you let Him open your heart to hope? Listen. do you hear it? Somewhere, between the pages of this book and the pages of your heart, God is speaking. And He is calling you by name. Maybe that’s hard to believe. Maybe you just can’t imagine that the One who made it all things of you that personally – that He keeps your name on His heart and lips.

“But it’s true. In the Bible and in the circumstances of your life, He whispers your name lovingly. Tenderly. Patiently but persistently. Let the stories in this classic book remind you of the God who knows your name.

“Some stories are from the Bible. Some are drawn from everyday life. Most are about people who are lost…or weary…or discouraged – just like you. if you let them, they’ll tell the story of your life. So listen closely as you turn these pages. Listen for the Father’s gentle whisper that can erase your doubts, your sorrow, your weariness, your despair. It really is your name that you hear, and the Voice that calls is more loving than you ever dared dream. Listen. And learn to hope again.”

This is a good book to read when you’re feeling especially doubtful about the future or hopeless about your presence circumstances. The author’s easy writing style lets you eyes flow gently across the page, gleaning the wisdom you need. The chapters are basically essays, or perhaps even short sermons on the wonderful nature of God and His love for you and for me. There is some discussion material for each chapter at the back of the book, so it would make for a great Bible study group reading/discussion. I really like the way Lucado writing is broad enough to be inclusive for both scholars and laypeople alike.

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – it’s a re-reader!

Reviewer:

loc jackJack

Praying at Burger King

praying at bkPraying at Burger King

Richard J. Mouw
William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007

This book is a collection of columns originally written for such Evangelical Christian magazines as the Reformed Journal, Perspectives and Christianity Today. The author covers such basic topics from family dinner time, Santa Claus and being entrenched in faith. The short essays are written in a “easygoing, conversational style” which makes it easy to comprehend and take with you into the day.

*Praying at Burger King – “My restaurant prayers are opportunities for me to pause and remind myself that there is indeed a God whose mercy reaches out to me even when I am sitting in a fast-food booth with noisy kids running past me.”  Pg 4

*Letting Chickens Strut Their Stuff – “God tells human beings to exercise “dominion” over the rest of creations (Genesis 1:28). But that does not give us a right to do anything we want with nonhuman life. Dominion is not the same as domination. The old-fashioned term is that we have been made “stewards” of the world that God made. We are caretakers. This means we must take care in the way we treat the animals.”  Pg 53

*Eating Alone – “I’m not always clear what people mean when they talk about “family values,” but here is something that they ought to mean: the family meal is an important training ground for citizenship.”  Pg 131

Rating:  4 paws

jackReviewer: Jack

Richard J. Mouw

Traveling Mercies

10890

Traveling Mercies, Some Thoughts on Faith

Anne Lamott
Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, 1999

This is Anne Lamott’s quirky and sometimes irreverent take on spirituality and God and her life. I’ve provided some quotes from each chapter to whet your appetite!

Overture: Lily Pads – My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear. . . . each step brought me closer to the verdant pad of faith on which I somehow stay afloat today. Pg 3

Chapter One – Mountain, Valley, Sky – (on a bad plane ride) We’re going down, I thought. I know that a basic tenet of the Christian faith is that death is really just a major change of address, but I had to close my eyes to squinch back tears of terror and loss. Pg 63

Chapter Two – Church, People, Steeple – Traveling mercies: love the journey, God is with you, come home safe and sound. Pg 106

Chapter Three – Tribe – But the way I see things, God loves you the same whether you’re being elegant or not. It feels much better when you are, but even when you can’t fake it, God still listens to your prayers. Pg 120

Chapter Four – Kids, some sick – As I’ve said before, I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness, your stepping into a sacred parent’s live of vision, can be life giving, because so often everyone else is in hiding—especially, in the beginning, the parents. So you come to keep them company when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, and your being there says that just for this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is OK, or it as least better. Pg 163-164

Chapter Five – Body and Soul – Then this little-kid voice, this Tweety-bird voice, said, “We need to pray.” I sighed again. Eventually I lowered my face into the palms of my hands. I know you have bigger fish to fry, I said to God, but I need a little help with this stupidity. Pg 172

Chapter Six – Fambly – I tell you, families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness. At some point you pardon the people in your family for being stuck together in all their weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to pardon anyone. Pg 219-220

Chapter Seven – Shore and Ground – I myself am a bit more into blame and revenge; also, I’ve found that self-righteousness is very comforting. But Jesus is quite clear on this point. He does not mince words. He says you even have to love the whiners, the bullies, and the people who think they’re better than you. And you have to stick up for the innocent. Pg 250-251
I enjoy reading Anne Lamott’s nonfiction books. (If you want to write or even if you already do write, read Bird by Bird. Excellent. It is a meditation on writing. That one gets 5 out of 5 paws!) She writes novels as well but I’ve not read any of them. She has a breezy, devil-may-care writing style but is deadly serious when it comes to Truth. Interspersed with her personal story are subtle spiritual truths that are easy to overlook but worth digging for. In my case, as I read I always keep a marker like a post it note nearby so when I run across something that lights even a teensy tiny spark inside, I mark it so I can go back and read it again and glean the hidden-in-plain-sight wisdom from it. She is honest, self-deprecating and full of humor (and tears).

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because we will be reading this one again and because her honesty encourages us to be both honest in our writing and with ourselves!

jack 2 12 25 14 a

Reviewer: Jack

Anne Lamott

anne lamottnon fiction book by Anne LamottClick to view a larger cover image of "Joe Jones" by Anne LamottNew Low Prices!

According to Wikipedia:

Bibliography

Novels

  • Hard Laughter. Viking Press. 1980. ISBN 0-670-36140-2.
  • Rosie. Viking Press. 1983. ISBN 0-670-60828-9.
  • Joe Jones. North Point Press. 1985. ISBN 0-86547-209-2.
  • All New People. North Point Press. 1989. ISBN 0-86547-394-3.
  • Crooked Little Heart. Pantheon Books. 1997. ISBN 0-679-43521-2.
  • Blue Shoe. Riverhead Books. 2002. ISBN 1-57322-226-7.
  • Imperfect Birds. Riverhead Books. 2010. ISBN 1-59448-751-0.

Non-Fiction

  • Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. Pantheon Books. 1993. ISBN 978-0-679-42091-0.
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Pantheon Books. 1994. ISBN 978-0-679-43520-4.
  • Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. Pantheon Books. 1999. ISBN 978-0-679-44240-0.
  • Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Riverhead Books. 2005. ISBN 978-1-57322-299-0.
  • Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. Riverhead Books. 2007. ISBN 978-1-59448-942-6.
  • Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. Riverhead Books. 2012. ISBN 978-1-59448-841-2. (with Sam Lamott)
  • Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. Riverhead Books. 2012. ISBN 978-1-59463-129-0.
  • Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. Riverhead Books. 2013. ISBN 978-1-59463-258-7.
  • Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. Riverhead Books. 2014. ISBN 978-1-59448-629-6.

The Woman’s Book of Confidence

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The Woman’s Book of Confidence,
Meditations for Strength and Confidence

Sue Patton Thole

MJF Boosks, 1992

Section 1: Weaving a Safety Net
“There are many ways – such as learning to understand and honor our needs, having realistic expectations, asking for help, and abolishing guilt – by which we can weave a supportive safety net for ourselves.” Pg 3

Section 2: Befriending Fear
“Although it’s not an easy task, viewing fear as a teacher is necessary in order for us to keep it from becoming a demanding and overbeating taskmaster.” Pg 35

Section 3: Becoming the Parent We Deserve
“So many of us have negative parental voices inside of us that shame and discourage us. It’s hard to have self-confidence and peace of mind when we are consistently castigating ourselves. But we can change those critical voices to supportive and comforting ones by becoming the parent we deserve to have.” Pg 63

Section 4: Embracing No-Fault Living
“Criticism dams the flow of good feelings, whereas encouragement and support strengthen our ability to become the best person we are capable of being.” Pg 91

Section 5: Finding Freedom through Honest Feeling
“By becoming aware of our feelings, accepting them, and expressing them creatively and constructively, we free ourselves to be fully human.” Pg 127

Section 6: Accepting What Is
“The acceptance I am talking about is not giving up or lapsing into hopeless resignation; it is having the wisdom to know when to say, “Ah, this is how it is. How can I have peace of mind in the face of this?” pg 151

Section 7: Changing What Can Be Changed
“Although many of us resist it fiercely, change forces us to grow and evolve, to become more flexible, resilient, and confident. Our task is to transcend any fear of the unknown and encourage ourselves to change what needs to be different in our lives in order for them to flow freely and creatively.” Pg 169

Section 8: Inviting Abundance
“In order to invite abundance into our lives we need to feel worthy of the myriad blessings life has to offer….” Pg 191

Section 9: Growing Through Loss
“Growing through loss enables us to evolve into deeper levels of confidence and maturity.” Pg 213

Section 10: Trusting the Feminine Within
“The Sacred Feminine, in her highest reality, embraces all, synthesizing the divergent and the similar, welcoming both the wounded and the wise to her breast. She honors the Whole and is wholly trustworthy.” Pg 239

Thoughts on the book:
My first impressions of the book are good but I find the use of metaphor too much. One metaphor would be good for each devotional but instead the author has included multiple uses of metaphor in the same entry. Also the metaphor of “weaving a safety net” a bit tedious even after only 10 entries. Perhaps it is because I don’t identify with it, at least not yet. The 10th entry, “Growing a Tail,” didn’t resonate with me at all – the metaphor is used as helping yourself and taken from an African proverb, “God will not drive flies away from a tailless cow.” Meaning, I guess, the same thing as that old adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” Good and helpful thoughts but I just didn’t get the metaphor. Don’t get me wrong – l love a good metaphor and use them in my own writings, but too much is too much.

Almost ¾’s of the way through the book and I am still thinking there are too many metaphors. Every entry, though short, is metaphor laden.

These feelings of too much metaphor stayed with me throughout the entire book. Every entry contained various metaphors and many of them visualization practices. Visualization doesn’t appeal to me so I generally just skipped over those parts.

However, the book itself did contain a lot of meaningful wisdom and I transcribed 8 pages of quotes to be used in 2016 devotional writings. So, all in all, I found the book to be very helpful and will keep and reread at a future date.

Rating : 3 of 5 paws

jack 12 25 14 Reviewer: Jack

 Sue Patton Thoele

Other books by the author

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