The Rosie Project

I just finished this 2013 book by Graeme Samson.  I loved this book and flew through it.  It follows the story on Don Tillman, an Australian genetics professor who has very little success in romantic relationships due to, although the book doesn’t come out and diagnosis him, Asperger’s Syndrome.  Don develops an idea he calls the Wife Project, which consists of a detailed questionnaire he believes will lead to the perfect life partner.

Don enlists the help of his best friend Gene in weeding out prospective wives and Gene sets Don up with Rosie who does not meet many of his criteria.  Despite what his brain is telling him, Don finds himself enjoying the time he shares with Rosie and even develops the Father Project in an attempt to find the identity of her biological father.

I would describe this book at a romantic comedy and I definitely was rooting for these characters.  I look forward to reading the sequel, The Rosie Effect.

Becoming Me – Rest

Our culture is about production, not rest.  Even still, our work is designed to have weekends, holidays and vacations.  We know these are important to our well-being.  What we are depends on what the Sabbath is to us.  This is the key to the identity of the people of God.

The history of the Sabbath dates all the way back to the beginning of the world.  In Genesis 1, God creates the heavens and the earth, and it happens over seven days.  God creates the light and darkness, the sky and water, the land and sea, the sun, moon and stars, the birds and fish, and animals and people.  God also gives man an elevated status and creates work.  In Genesis 1:28-29, He gives humans rules over everything.  In Genesis 2:15, God puts man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  Our job, if done for the service of humanity, is sacred.  Work is a good thing.  Genesis 1:31 states that God saw all He had made and it was good.

In Genesis 2:1-3, God introduces the idea of the Sabbath.  By the seventh day, God had finished with His creation and He rested.  He blessed the seventh day and made it holy.  Holy means set apart and made different.  Nothing in the Bible is ever holy in of itself, except for time.  It is holy because God says it is.

God created an economy of peace in the garden.  Ultimately, people rebelled because we wanted more.  In Genesis 3:17-19, God says cursed is the ground because of you and through painful toil you will eat; by the sweat of your brow you will eat food.  At this point, work becomes a struggle.  Now civilization is man’s conquest over space. There is no harmony so man’s goal is to establish authority over everything and everyone.

Later in the Old Testament, Egypt creates a pyramid system.  The people on the bottom work for the people at the top.  This creates an economy of production and consumption.  The Hebrew people are living in Egypt as slaves.  Exodus 1:14 says they made their lives bitter with harsh labor; the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.  There are several other examples.  Exodus 5:4 – why are you taking the people away from labor? Get back to work!  Exodus 5:17 – Pharaoh calls the Hebrews lazy.  Exodus 5:10-11 – I will not give you any more straw, but your work will not be reduced.  This is a constant restless cycle. Our present day economy is just like this and it is why we cannot rest.

God breaks into time and frees His people.  God destroys the system so that Pharaoh finally lets the people go.  Soon after, at Mt. Sinai, God gives Moses the law, including the Ten Commandments.  He reminds the people in Exodus 20:2 that I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of Egypt and out of slavery.  The first three commandments have to do with the people’s relationship with God.  The last six have to with how to connect with people.  The fourth is the bridge between the two.

Exodus 20:5-8 – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  There shall be six days of labor, but on the seventh, this is the Sabbath to the Lord.  There is more time discussing this commandment than any of the others.  With this commandment, God brings it back to an economy of peace.  Exodus 34:21 states that on the seventh day, you shall rest, even during plowing and harvest.  God made it clear that there was no excuse for not taking a Sabbath.

The Sabbath is important because it restores our humanity by removing us from the economy of production and consumption.  Creation is a gift and I have been given everything I need.  The Sabbath creates equality among people and allows us to live in genuine community with each other.  We surrender our lives to God and the Sabbath allows us to live in harmony with creation.  In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says take my yoke on you and learn from me and you will find rest for your souls.  The Sabbath should be both unproductive and inefficient, which is incredibly hard for most people.  However, it is through this time that we can replenish our soul and allow us to meet God.

Big Little Lies

I just finished Big Little Lies, the 2014 novel by Liane Moriarty.  I was interested in it because Reese Witherspoon is adapting it into a HBO mini-series.  The book kept me completely engaged, especially toward the end when the action picked up and all of the pieces began to fall into place.

Big Little Lies tells the story of Jane, a single mother who moves with her kindergartner son to a Australian beach community.  The story starts out with the idea that a tragedy has happened at a school event and there are interview excerpts with witnesses and school community members interspersed between chapters.  The book deals with some heavy issues, including bullying and domestic violence, and is almost tough to read at points.  I especially identified with the description of the mom-cliques at the school.  As a mother of a first grader and a pre-schooler, I am way too familiar with how parents can be just a cliquey as their children.

It will be interesting to see the mini-series play out.  Besides Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley are also going to star.

Becoming Me – Scripture

Galatians 5:25 states that since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  This means that we need to live our life in the way which God is leading us.  One of the important spiritual disciplines is reading the Bible.  We need to remember that the Bible was written by real people in real places.

The early parts of the Bible were originally passed down through oral tradition.  The Old Testament was written down between 1500-4 BC.  God would tell His people to write what happened down and these collected writings were kept in the Temple.  In 586 BC, the Temple was destroyed by conquering Babylon and in 539 BC, the Persians began to allow the Jewish people to return to their homeland.  The prophet Ezra began to collect all the writing he could find and they were stored in the rebuilt Temple.  The New Testament was written about the life of Jesus and the early church after Jesus’ death.

Scripture emerges as a process.  There are two aspects of the Bible: human and divine.  It was written by real people about real events.  It is also God’s Word to His people.  This is why it is called God-inspired.  2 Peter 1:20-21 says that no prophecy of Scripture came through the prophets’ own interpretations of things; the source is from God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that all Scripture is God-breathed.  It is useful to teach, rebuke and correct so that God’s servants can be equipped for good works.

It can be useful to think of it like a musical instrument, such as a trumpet.  It is the result of both the player and the instrument working together; however, the ultimate source is from God.  In Genesis 2:7 it states that God formed man from dust and breathed into him the breath of life.  Scripture is God’s means of breathing life into us.

Do you read the Bible to look for principles or for transformation?  Looking at Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son, one could read this story and think, “what are the principles we could learn from this?”  You could glean that it is important to be forgiving and loving, much life the father was to his returned son.  Then you would go about the rest of your day.

However, if you instead read the Bible to transform your life, you need to look at the story as being about you.  The Bible is your story.  You need to enter into the story and see with what characters you identify.  Are you the older brother who is bitter?  Are you the trouble-making younger brother?  This is what will transform you.  Joshua 1:8 says to keep this Book of the Law and meditate on it day and night.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says that these commandments are to be in your hearts.  We are to tell our children about them, talk about them at home, on the road, when we lie down and when we get up.  The Bible is your story.

Sick Kids

It is so hard when one of the kids is sick.  It really takes a lot for me to let them stay home from school; they practically have to be on their deathbed.  My four year-old has missed this entire week of school, so you can imagine how bad it has been.  Poor thing had a 103.7 degree fever at the doctor only to be told that it is just a virus and it needs to run its course.  It’s day five now, and we are still running.

Staying at home with a sick kid also means that my life is out of procedures.  Everything happening in my schedule has had to be rearranged, not to mention my six year-old’s obligations.  I have been so thankful this week for good friends and my mom who have stepped up to help.

I had a friend ask me yesterday how I stay so calm most of the time.  This was after a crazy Girl Scout meeting with 15 six and seven year-olds.  It also was probably the first time someone had asked me that.  I told her that it has been something I have really been working on.  Truthfully, I have been practicing my prayers and learning to let the little things go.  Ultimately, God is the one in control.  Girl Scout meetings may not go perfectly, my kids will get sick, but He is the one who has the plan.

First Stitch Fix – January 2016

So the idea of Stitch Fix has always intrigued me.  I tend to get stuck in my ways and am always looking to spruce up my wardrobe a bit.  As a stay at home mom, I am pretty casual but I also don’t want to look like a total scrub while out and about and at school pickups.

Here’s how it works: for $20, you get a personal stylist and fill out a questionnaire and then they send you 5 items to try on.  You can keep one, all, or even none and the $20 applies to any purchase.  Shipping is free, as is the return postage.  If you are also intrigued, you can try it: here

Here are the comments I filled out: I have plenty of blue jeans already, so I really don’t need any additional ones.  I am really looking for a few new pieces to liven up what I perceive as a boring wardrobe and look a little more put together.  Thanks!

My box came today and I was pretty excited with what I received:

1. Honey Punch – Layla Elbow Patch Detail Cardigan – $48

IMG_2815.jpg

I love this and am definitely keeping it.  The material is super soft and I think it’s pretty flattering.  It will go with a lot of what I already have.

2. Bancroft – Trisha Clover Charm Layering Necklace – $32

IMG_4400.jpg

I liked this okay.  I probably would have preferred a rose gold to a yellow gold, but ultimately, I prefer more simpler necklaces, so this one is going back.

3.  RD Style – Calandra Side Button Hooded Poncho – $68

IMG_7333.jpg

This one is going back too.  I just feel like I am swimming in it and it makes me look bigger than I am.  I guess ponchos aren’t for me.  I do appreciate trying things I wouldn’t ordinarily gravitate toward though.

4. Danial Rainn – Koda Split Neck Blouse – $68

IMG_1014.jpg

I actually really liked this blouse and probably would have kept it but I already have a cardigan in the exact pattern.  This blouse is polyester and I would have preferred a cotton blend, which would have been softer.

5. Level 99 – Giovanni Straight Leg Jean – $108

IMG_8909.jpg

True to my requests, I wasn’t sent blue jeans.  Instead I got these awesome mint green skinny jeans.  I love love love them and they fit perfectly.  This was definitely a winner.

So overall, two out of five isn’t bad and I felt like they understood my style fairly well.  I will try another box for sure and see what comes next!  If you are interested, check out the  referral link: Click here to try Stitch Fix!

Becoming Me – Prayer

We are created in God’s image and not in the image of someone else.  The Holy Spirit is the presence of God and is a powerful force.  God uses His power to save all of creation and restore it.  The Holy Spirit is alive in me.  Galatians 5:25 says that because we live by the Spirit, we must keep in step with it.  We need to live life in sync with what God is doing.

Spiritual disciplines help cultivate our heart and soul so that we can walk in step with God.  One of these is prayer, essentially just talking to God.  What if there is a right way to pray?  In Luke 11:1, Jesus has just finished praying and one of his disciples asks him to teach them to pray.  There must have been something different in how Jesus prayed.

Jesus does explain ways to not pray.  Matthew 6:6 says when you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who want to be seen by others.  They have already received their payment in full (recognition).  We are not supposed to pray in public to impress people.  If this is how you pray, you already have your recognition.  Instead, Jesus says to go into your room and close your door.  Then, the Father who sees you in secret will reward you.  Verses 7 and 8 say to not babble like the pagans.  God already knows what you need before you even ask Him.  You cannot manipulate God.

If God knows what I need, why even ask?  The purpose of prayer is not to get Got to do what I want.  In verse 9, Jesus explains how to start a prayer: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.  First we need to recognize who God is.  Jesus refers to God essentially as Daddy, which was revolutionary as it evokes, intimacy and respect.  This is a reminder that God is in control and gives peace in our lives.

Verse 10 says to continue the prayer: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  We need to surrender everything to God.  The purpose of prayer is to surrender our will, not impose it.  Our reward is the peace and joy that is found in surrender.  Verses 11-13 conclude the prayer: Give us our daily brea, forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.  This is a list of our requests to God.

Often, prayer in Scripture is not formal. If you looks at many Psalms, you can find examples of this.  One of the Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah, prays like Jesus.  Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah and was chosen before he was born.  See Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and set you apart.  Jeremiah had the unfortunate job of telling the nation that it was over for them.  They had rejected God enough, and there was no hope.  This was not a welcome message and he was put in the stocks.  Here are some examples of Jeremiah’s prayer: Jer. 20:7-8: You deceived me, Lord. I am ridiculed all day.  The Word of the Lord has brought me insult all day.  Verses 14-18: Curses be the day I was born.  Cursed be the man who brought my father news of me.  Why did I ever come out of the womb?  These prayers are incredibly honest about saying what needs to be said.

Despite Jeremiah’s anguish and crying out to God, he still maintains his faith.  Verse 9: But if I saw I will not say the Lord’s Word, it is like a fire in my heart.  I can’t hold it in.  God still has Jeremiah’s heart and he is surrendered to God.  Verses 10-13: I hear whispers about me.  But the Lord is with me and my persecutors will stumble.  Let me see Your vengeance of them.  Praise to God because You are saving me.  The way people are treating him does not change, but prayer changes Jeremiah instead.  Prayer should be a daily reminder of who God is and that I belong to Him.

Be alone, be honest, and surrender.