I’m usually late. I know it bothers people, and I don’t mean to upset anyone. It’s nothing personal. I do try to be on time. Of course, some things warrant that I go above and beyond—like catching a flight, or showing up to speak at an event. But, my natural bent is to always run just a bit behind schedule.
Technology helps, of course. I can set an alarm on my phone, complete with multiple reminders to show up, or telephone, or send an email, or run an errand. That works.
But timeliness is reminiscent of structure, and—for better or worse—structure is something I resist. H says I’m a rebel. I don’t mean to be rebellious. Really, I don’t.
Anyway. You’ve probably noted today is not Valentine’s Day. A few weeks ago, I told a friend I was considering running a post of things I love; for Valentine’s Day. This is that post. A couple of weeks late, yes. But heartfelt and sincere, nonetheless. I hope you can forgive my tardiness, and find a few things here that make you smile:
Some Books I Love:
Right now, I am reading The Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan. I haven’t even finished it. I’m on page 61, but I can tell I’ll be returning to it again and again. I can’t read it without a pen in my hand, because I keep underlining things. I cannot put this book down, but I have to. I have to put it down and gaze out the window and let his words sink in: “Under God’s economy, nothing really changes until our minds do. Transformation is the fruit of a changed outlook. First our minds are renewed, and then we are transformed, and then everything is different, even if it stays the same.” See what I mean?
Love Idol, by Jennifer Lee, available for pre-order, and releasing April 1, 2014. Last year, at JumpingTandem: The Retreat, Jennifer was one our keynote speakers. She blew the roof off that little conference room on the Great Plains of Nebraska. The woman gets her words from God, and she delivers them with power and with care. I read this book a few months ago and, when I closed the book, I held the book to my chest because it was so beautiful. If you ever get the feeling you will never measure up, I urge you to click over and order a copy of Love Idol for yourself. While you wait for your book to arrive, join the Love Idol Movement, right here.
United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity, by Trillia Newbell. I met Trillia last year, and then she graciously sent me an advance copy of her book, for my endorsement. Did you read the title of the book? And the subtitle? Of course, I endorsed it! From Trillia’s web site: “Civil rights leaders of fifty years ago fought hard to overturn the ‘separate but equal’ Jim Crow laws. America has come a long way since the 60′s. Our public facilities, parks, pools, and educational facilities – once segregated – are now filled with a variety of ethnic groups enjoying the benefits of togetherness. Yet, our churches remain separate but equal. In a time of great progress, why does the church remain relatively unmoved?” If you prayed that prayer with me the other day, or if the notion of diversity in the Body of Christ strikes a chord with you, please add this book to your reading list.
Spiritual Misfit, by Michelle DeRusha. I read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz more than ten years ago. When I read that book I thought to myself, “Wow! I’m not crazy! I can think the way I think and love God the way I do, and still be considered alright in God’s book!” Blue Like Jazz released me from feeling I had to “do faith” a certain way for it to be considered real, or for it to have value in the sight of God. I’ve read a lot of books since then, but none of them have had that impact on me. Not until I read Spiritual Misfit. If you struggle with trying to fit into a faith that gets itchy and pinches a bit too tight, if the lingo and the “dos and don’ts” throw you for a loop, if you’ve got more questions than you care to admit, read this. It’s available for pre-order right now, and releases on April 15, 2014.
Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline is, I think, a classic. A friend introduced this book to me at about the same time my mom sent a copy of it to H. My friend and I worked our way through that book a few times together, before we each moved to different states. This year, during Lent, I’m returning to the first five chapters of this book. You’re welcome to join me, and I’ll share more about the project early next week. I know there are so many people offering opportunities to focus your attention during Lent. I don’t want to take away from any of that. Instead, if you think it works for you, I believe this book, in conjunction with some other ideas I’ve got up my sleeve, will serve as a gentle companion on the Lenten journey.
Some Apps I Love:
I’m not a big app person, but these make my life a little easier, and a lot more fun.
Voxer. I’m being selfish here. Because I wish all my friends would download Voxer. Except for my middle-school career, I have never really been a big phone-talker. I don’t know why. I’d rather write an email, or send a text. Voxer is like texting, but using your voice. You can send a message—you can even ramble on and on for fifteen minutes at a time—and leave it at that. Then, at her leisure, your friend can listen to your message and Vox you back. It’s sort of like a walkie-talkie, only better.
Passbook. It came with my iPhone, but I believe Passbook is also available for Android. With Passbook, I can keep all of my boarding passes, gift cards, coupons, and more in one place. I just scan the gift card or store card, or I download my boarding pass and voila! Passbook keeps it for me on my phone. My wallet is less messy. My keychain doesn’t have all those plastic cards dangling from it. My boarding pass never gets lost in my bag.
Photo Grid. Tina Miller Howard told me about Photo Grid when I was visiting her in Austin. Photo Grid lets me make fun collages from photos I take on my iPhone. Straight from Photo Grid, I can post these collages to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Google+, Tumblr, Evernote, and more. I can add text to collages and/or single photos, as well as stickers, backgrounds, and borders. I can also create slide presentations, and add music. Or, I can make something like this, leaving you to wonder what these three women might possibly have in common (hint: #JTREAT 2015).
Some Music I Love:
Most people know I’m a fan of disco music. If it’s left up to me, disco will never die. But, I also like stuff like this:
Bruno Mars (because he’s kind of like old-school disco).
Ellie Holcomb. Met her last year and, wow! I’m going to be honest and tell you I probably never would have listened to Ellie if I hadn’t met her and heard her for myself. Now I have an Ellie Holcomb station on Pandora. Great writing music!
Forever Reign. I heard this song for the first time on a Sunday morning at Hope Community Church in Detroit. The people singing the song were regular people, signing about how much they need Jesus. We all do. It wasn’t fancy or slick, like in this video. But it was real, and it hasn’t left me, nearly two years later.
Hopefully, I’ve dropped enough hints in here to make you wonder what I’m up to, while at the same time pointing you in the direction of some really amazing resources. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Thanks for following along. Thanks for being a safe place for me to love God and love people.
Grace. And, Happy Valentine’s Day!
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