"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Blogger Friend Dies & May Books

Have any of you ever lost a blogger or other online friend?  To death?  Sadly, this Monday Carol aka American Bedu lost her battle with cancer.  Her blog was one of the first I ever started reading.  I believe January marked five years that I have "known" her through her blog.  Interestingly enough, she was in Saudi Arabia married to a Saudi man when we "met."  But she died a widow in North Carolina with her son and grandchildren and numerous friends loving and supporting her.  Here are a couple articles about her.
Arab News reports her death

Curious how her husband died and how she ended up in North Carolina?  Such a SAD story!!

Carol wrote about Abdullah often. He seemed like a wonderful man.  It's hard to believe we'll never read any more posts from her.  I was reading Susie's post last evening, looking at Carol and Abdullah's picture together and got teary-eyed thinking the two of them were no longer with us.


I'm dividing my reading between two books I received for my birthday and it's not likely I'll finish them in May. One is religious so I have to read it in digestible segments or my brain gets overwhelmed.  The other is rather interesting (in a childhood-in-Russia way), but I've just not read it quickly.  But these, I've finished so I'll post them now. 

The Return: A Family Revisits Their Eastern European Roots
by Petru Popescu -- I read one of his books last month (about how his Czech inlaws met each other in a Nazi concentration camp) and found this one about his own family's story.  He talks about his life growing up in Communist Romania, and his defection to the United States. The last part is about his and his wife's trip back to Eastern Europe first visiting her family's roots in Czechoslovakia and then his return after fifteen years. Very good read. I love the story he shares about when he first came to America and almost bought catfood for himself thinking they were cans of tuna.  Thankfully the ladies in the store steered him into buying people tuna, and he informed them that Romanian cats eat table scraps and mice.  They seemed shocked (or so he reports.) 

Teaching in a Distant Classroom by Michael H. Romanowski and Teri McCarthy -- I was hoping this book was more like one I read earlier this year which I loved!  But it was more about choosing the correct curriculum yet tweaking it if need be.  It had some good stuff, but since I'm not teaching overseas I didn't feel it was extremely helpful for me. I did enjoy some of the examples.

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans -- If you think a twenty seven year old should never write a memoir, you'd probably not enjoy this, but I read Rachel's other book last year and loved it. This book tells her spiritual journey of how she went from being a fundamentalist-type evangelical (one who knew all the answers) to someone who questioned her faith, and came to different conclusions.  I really enjoyed this book especially when she talked about pond-scum theology. I could relate to many of her thoughts.

Daily Life in the Time of Jesus by Henri Daniel-Rops -- I found this at the local Goodwill store one Sunday afternoon. It's over 500 pages, but quite an interesting book covering a variety of topics about life during Jesus' time. I like cultural stuff so this was pretty good to read this month.

Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood by Barbara Demick -- I read a book by her a couple years ago on North Korea and it was so good, that I wanted to read another.  This one was interesting as well, though I preferred the one on North Korea. 

Here is something from it that I shared on Facebook.
More from this book on Sarajevo during the war:  Check out these prices:  One can of Coke - $7.50; one box of chocolate chip cookies - $11; one banana - $6; coffee - 1lb. for $50; one gallon of gas - $100!  Also I mentioned yesterday that Ping-Pong balls were often given for small change.  Cigarettes were often given for salaries.  For instance, one man received 5 packs per month for his work with the police department.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sally and Alastair

This may only be funny to me - and Andrew, but I figured I'd post it in case I ever wanted to reread something that made us laugh.  

On Sunday Andrew and I were out together and talk of his upcoming birthday came up. He said, "I'm getting so old I can't remember anything, Sally*."

I replied: "Yeah, I know what you mean, Alastair."

An incredulous pause by Andrew.

"Alastair?! Who thinks of *Alastair* when they are losing their memory?"

Hahahahaa...OK, maybe you had to be there. :)

(*This is the name he calls me whenever he pretends his memory is failing).

Thursday, May 9, 2013


To be honest, I struggle with waiting on God.  There is one issue in my life that reallllllllllllllllllly makes me angry, and I want God to fix it.  Like five years ago.  I've prayed about it. I've cried about it. I've railed about it. I've about given up on God about it.

And there are other areas where I no longer wait. I gave up on God ever doing anything in those areas.

So, I saw this in a church newsletter the other evening and have reread it a few times because it speaks to me concerning how I handle waiting.

When God asks you to wait, what happens to your spiritual muscles?  While you wait, do your spiritual muscles grow bigger and stronger or do they grow flaccid and atrophied?  Waiting for the Lord isn't about God forgetting you, forsaking you, or being unfaithful to his promises. It's actually God giving you time to consider his glory and to grow stronger in faith. Remember, waiting isn't just about what you are hoping for at the end of the wait, but also about what you will become while you wait.

Waiting always presents me with a spiritual choice-point. Will I allow myself to question God's goodness and progressively grow weaker in faith, or will I embrace the opportunity of faith that God is giving me and build my spiritual muscles?

It's so easy to question your belief system when you are not sure what God is doing. It's so easy to give way to doubt when you are being called to wait.  It's so easy to forsake good habits and to take up habits of unfaith that weaken the muscles of the heart.

                                                                              -- Paul David Tripp, A Shelter in the Time of Storm