29 March 2010

Anne Rice - beautiful words.

Award-winning author - known for beautiful words. I'm not sure anything she's written is as precious as what she is sharing in this video.

17 March 2010

Drat it all. Book Review: Free Book* by Brian Tome

In case you don’t know, I review books for Thomas Nelson Publishers. No, I don’t get paid - it’s something I do because I love to read, love differing points of view, love to look at my precious Lord from a different or fresh angle. I prayerfully select the books I’m going to read - not that I believe my reviews are that important, but because I want to know I’m reading the right book for me. Some selections have come easily and some have been a struggle. Some reads have been fast - leaving me wanting even more - and some have been slow yet satisfying. But so far, I’ve been able to find beauty in everything I’ve read.

Until now.

Drat it all. I was so looking forward to reading “Free Book” by Brian Tome. Being a renegade, the title intrigued me and the short description captured me. We all want to feel that amazing sense of liberty in Christ, and I’ve had it brush against my skin enough to know it’s real. But something’s wrong - and try as I might, I’m not sure what it is. The book is very methodical - one of the most “step-by-step” experiences in Christianity I’ve had in a long time. I could recommend the book based on that alone. And the book speaks of grace - not a grace to sin, but a rich and abiding grace in pressing in to God and His amazing liberty rather than strictly obeying rules and regulations.

Brian talks about living an unbalanced life. It resonates with me, given my diverse palette of passions which are all summed up in Jesus. He even talks about tattoos. Having one (which I received to commemorate a milestone birthday), there should be a built-in kinship.

So what is it about “Free Book” that’s bugging me? As much as I hate to admit it, it’s a style thing. A few weeks ago, I reviewed a book by an author named Chris Tomlinson. I likened him to a pesky little brother whose words pierce to the core. Brian Tome might be the one on the other end of that spectrum - the big brother who has the answer to everything. There is a “loudness” to his tone that goes beyond the 120-point type on the cover. The conversational style to his writing feels strongly one-way. Rather than inspired (as LifeChurch Pastor Craig Groeschel states in his recommendation of the book), I simply feel tired.

Drat it all.

04 March 2010

I'm Not Writing. Or Am I?

I've been beating myself up lately.

Don't get me wrong. Life has been good. Actually, it's been better than good. It's been fairly close to beautiful. I am doing things I love to do - creating and designing and cooking and baking and encouraging and serving. But every day, as I close my eyes to grab a precious few hours of sleep, I think "another day - gone - and no words to show for it."

I love to write. I love words and phrases, love cadence and silence all blended together. And writing isn't coming easily these days. Oh, there are notes and thoughts all jumbled together on pieces of paper, there are partially-written moments that go with partially-written recipes, and there is a children's story dancing in my brain, just waiting to be painted on a page. But right now there's no "tied-up-in-a-pretty-bow" stuff happening.

And the undone bow is playing havoc with my heart.

Some writers tell me to just write, no matter what. Some writers tell me to walk away until the colors of the leaves on this particular undone season change. And the more I read, the more I'm reminded - I'm not writing.

Or am I?
This morning, I read Psalm 71. No, David didn't write about my dilemma in that song. But he did remind me of something I've known but have forgotten. He wrote about not dying until he had shared the stories of the Lord's righteousness with the next generation, with a world that had not yet seen Him in all His glory.

My life is a book for all to read. My writing is just a snapshot of the story being lived out and shared with everyone every day.

Living words - that's what we all are. Praying those words are more rich and meaningful than anything ever written on a page.

02 March 2010

The Pesky Little Brother - Crave by Chris Tomlinson

“God is different. He's much more terrifying than I had imagined, but also so much more glorious and beautiful than I thought possible.” ~ Chris Tomlinson, Crave

There are people in this world who prod me on, like a pesky little brother I don’t want to be bothered with as I rush through my self-important days. Despite my efforts to appear brilliant and more mature, certain individuals can level me with just a few well-placed words. In Chris Tomlinson, I believe I’ve met my newest “leveler.”

It starts with the title of his book. Crave - Wanting So Much More of God. As if he knows that quaking in my heart as it moves between the here-and-now and the now-and-forever, Chris’ first book shares a real, unvarnished view of a questioning Christ-follower. He addresses the topics rarely discussed in “grown-up” bible studies - topics that reveal a vulnerability and transparency we Christians often try to hide, for fear we’ll be seen as lacking on the journey. The stories are woven into other stories - about pagers and hamburgers and lawn chairs and strangers on airplanes and Twin Draft-Guards - with a purposeful lack of pretense. Each chapter is a moment, tied in a beautifully uneven bow.

Prayer. Suffering. Faith. Pleasure. Doubt. Joy. Boldness. What it feels like when God pushes - and when God is silent. What it means to pursue Christ - with abandon and with apprehension. In Crave, Chris Tomlinson pulls up a a chair and starts talking. There are no forced “teachable moments,” no alliterative points to ponder. There are simply stories - stories from a most insightful pesky little brother.