Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Storm Front - A look at just showing up


“A placeholder, really, the guy who helped carry things. Once upon a time, he’d been the chopper pilot, but he’d screwed that up, and royally, so now he simply showed up for callouts and hoped not to ride the bench.”

Gage turned, leaned against the railing, his arms folded over his chest. “You’re worth more tot his team than you can ever know. And it’s not just because you show up with the pizza.”

“I just followed my instincts and we got lucky. Anyone with a map and a compass could do what I do.”
“But they don’t, do they? You show up, willing, and that’s the point.”

He stared at Chet. “What are you saying?”
“I think you’re called to be a pastor. Or a missionary. A member of the Lord’s team of rescuers.”
“I’m nobody special, Chest. Why would –“
“All you have to do is show up. God will do the rest.” He smiled. “And you’re very very good at showing up, Ty.”




My job is hard. I’m not a missionary overseas winning dozens of converts with every sermon preached. I’m a teacher. Someone who shows up for school every single day (ok, so my school is in my home, but still…) with some messages to teach. I pull out a devotion book, make my 5 and 6 year old students open their Bibles to find the passage without help from me, then read it aloud to me. Then I read them the devotion including an example of how the character trait can play out in daily life. Then we move into Books of the Bible summaries where I try to get them to understand how the story of God and what He’s done for us plays out across so many different smaller stories. Then I make them recite large chunks of Scripture from memory. Then I teach them phonics and sight words and vocabulary words and everything else necessary to read their Bibles for themselves. In the afternoon I do my best to open their minds and pour math facts and concepts in. Then we do history – a timeline covering important events in history all the way from Creation to AD 33 – covers one of our walls. Over and over through the day I say “Make a wise choice.” – referencing Proverbs 19:20 and our “Wise Student Actions” poster. But 
honestly? It often feels like I’m just beating my head against the wall. Am I really making any difference? Am I doing anything remotely useful? Is anything sinking in? The behavior struggles haven’t changed. A couple students sometimes act like they don’t know the difference between Moses and Noah. The “School is boring” (One of the worst phrases to ever enter a child’s vocabulary) phrase keeps coming out. Am I accomplishing anything? 
 
That’s how Ty feels in Storm Front. He knows, KNOWS, the team doesn’t need him. He’s a grounded pilot, too afraid to step back into that cockpit and risk someone else nearly dying on his watch. He couldn’t save him mom. He couldn’t save Chet. He couldn’t save the girl he loved. He couldn’t even save himself!
But he keeps showing up. And he’s the one that is certain of where those lost kids are. He’s the hero needed. Just because he shows up. A bum knee, a broken heart, a fear of flying, and yet he’s what Peak Rescue needs – a man who will show up.

This winter, some missionaries came to our church and talked about how their work in a creative access country left them feeling like they were getting nowhere. They weren’t the missionaries to return with glory tales of record number of converts. They came to home assignment with names of a few people they’d invested years in who still had not made the decision to put their trust in Christ for their salvation. But they shared a proverb they had heard of how water dripping onto rocks makes big holes. The idea was that slowly, over time, small tiny things make huge impacts. God doesn’t ask us to show up and take the world by a storm. He asks us to just show up. Day after day after day. He asks us to keep spreading His Word, keep speaking truth, keep loving, keep witnessing, keep holding on.
 



Our summer camp theme is super heroes. Maybe we’ve got the wrong picture of a super hero. Maybe a superhero isn’t someone with crazy unusual abilities who saves the entire world on a daily basis. Maybe a real superhero is a Ty, someone who just shows up and does whatever God asks, whatever is needed, even if it’s just ordering the pizza.

Storm Front is the 5th in the Montana Rescue Series by Susan May Warren, published by Revell Publishers, May 1, 2018.

I highly recommend this book, this series, this author. Here’s a link a review of the first book in the series: http://cacbooksdevourer.blogspot.com/2016/11/wild-montana-skies.html





Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Song Unheard

“At some point, Willa-Wil, you’ll realize that you’re letting them win by not letting anyone close. You’re being nothing but what they made you – an abandoned child.”
How dare he – he, who knew better than anyone what it felt like to be a scared child on a mean street? She stood in front of him, too mad to sit at his side. “I let you in, didn’t I? And Pauly and Rosie. And the others, all of them. I love our family.” It wasn’t just a word, a lie, with them. They were all the same, floundering on the same sea.
“There’s no risk in loving us, though, is there? We’re safe.”
A strange thing to say about a horde of thieves. But he had a point. Not that she’d admit it to him. “Look, maybe, someday, someone will be worth that risk. But not Lukas De Wilde. Never him.” He was a mark.



Book: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White, Bethany House Publishers, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Adult Women
Subjects: Family Relationships, War, Lies, Crime
Summary: A mark. A target to steal from. That’s all famous violinist Lukas De Wilde is supposed to be for Willa Forsythe. And all she is supposed to be to him is a friend of an acquaintance. Except there’s that one tricky matter of her playing the violin as well, and having to play for him just once and him seeing the prodigy in her and falling in love with her. With being abandoned as a child and spending her life on the streets with the band of thieves she calls family, Willa is an expert at two things: stealing and guarding her heart. Willa scoffs in offense at his hasty proposal but accepts his offer of lessons. After all, what better way to find what she needs to steal than to be in his hotel room? What she doesn’t know is that she’s not after an object, she’s after a person, a person very close to Lukas. And what she absolutely will not admit is that he has genuinely fallen in love with her and she with him.
What she does know is that she’s not the only one after Lukas and the others are not afraid to resort to violence to get what they want.
Notes: A Song Unheard is the second in the Shadows Over England series, set at the very beginning of World War I. This book features the second girl in the group of thieves that have banded together to become family. An influential man in the government hires members of their family to do various jobs stealing information. Willa is a very jaded character, refusing to believe anyone will truly love her, to the point where she tells Lukas “Even if you were faithful a year, a decade, I would always be waiting for you to leave. Expecting it.” She sees herself as broken. And she rejects all the spiritual encouragement of her sister, her friend, Lukas, the church, and her brother, dismissing God, particularly when she is told He is a father. Lukas isn’t so whole himself though, having given his life over to his career and frivolous pursuits until his mother and sister disappear when the Germans invade their home and he himself is injured. Both characters have to accept who God is and that He genuinely does care for them and is with them, helping them. And for Willa, that requires finding herself as alone as she was as a child.
I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to accept God is actively involved in His creation and genuinely loves and cares for them.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Enjoyment Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Colossians 1:15-22 – The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a Grand Prize Package of a signed copy of the book as well as a lovely album of soothing songs based on the Scriptures called Hidden in My Heart (winner’s choice of CD or digital download)!!

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, January 11
Genesis 5020, January 11
Bookworm Mama, January 11
Blogging With Carol, January 12
Multifarious, January 12
Faithfully Bookish, January 13
Karen Sue Hadley, January 13
Mary Hake, January 13
A Greater Yes, January 13
Remembrancy, January 14
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
A Reader’s Brain, January 15
Cordially Barbara, January 15
Pursuing Stacie, January 15
Bigreadersite, January 16
Mommynificent, January 17
Baker Kella, January 17
allofakindmom, January 18
Pause for Tales, January 19
Just Commonly, January 19
Janices book reviews, January 19
Radiant Light, January 20
Book by Book, January 20
CAC Devourer, January 20
Splashes of Joy, January 21
Neverending Stories, January 21
The PhD Mamma, January 22
Cafinated Reads, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 22
Purposeful Learning, January 23
Carpe Diem, January 23
Henry Happens, January 24
Joy of Reading, January 24


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Troubled Waters

“You’re about the most controlling know-it-all I’ve ever met. You expect a lot from yourself – and your friends. You’re, in a word, obsessive. That’s great for business but not so great in relationships. You need to loosen up, have some fun, and stop trying to be in charge of everything. I know you’re afraid of losing everything you love, including Sierra, but you can’t control everything. Not life, not people.”
“I’m not controlling –“
“When I came on deck, you were declaring to the wind and seas that all would be well. As if they would obey you.”
No, he was… okay, maybe… if he could…

Book: Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren, Revell Publishers, 2018
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventuer
Target Audience: Adult Women
Subjects: Trust in God, Fear, Dating Relationships
Summary: Sierra wants to go back in time. If she could just not have made that promise to Esme, or just told Ian the truth right away, maybe she wouldn’t be sitting on the same boat as him feeling an ocean away. Ian wants to fix it. And by “it” he means everything.  His business that is falling apart, his niece running away and maybe most of all, his relationship with Sierra. When they join forces on a fundraiser voyage to fix the PEAK helicopter that targets Ian’s wealthy friends, they are at least confident that, as Sierra tells Ian, “We’re not going to encounter a rogue storm, go down in the middle of the Caribbean and end up on a desert island.” Except, that’s almost exactly what happens. When an accident occurs, Ian and Sierra do find themselves trapped together on a desert island. But maybe, just maybe, God has a plan to use this to bring them both to where He wants them.
Notes: Troubled Waters is the fourth in the Montana Rescue Series about characters living in a small town running search and rescue operations. This particular book deals with the characters who support the actual rescuers. Ian’s money funds it. Sierra makes cookies. Both long to feel like they are essential, or even just a little bit important. And both wrestle with trust. Ian has seen one person after another taken from him. He’s learned to control every single detail of life – and to guard his heart so that no one else dies or disappears, breaking his heart further in the process. Sierra has lived with a hippie mom and the men coming in and out of her life, and as Ian puts it, lives in “fear that you’ll be left behind. Forgotten. Fear that you aren’t important.” When the accident happens, they can choose to have faith in God and one another or cling to their fears.
These two characters were actually introduced in the prequel to the series and the issue of Ian’s missing niece is the secondary issue each book deals with.
The series overall is themed around Amazing Grace – each book dealing with some of the themes of the song – being lost and found and finding grace.
Personal Note: Every once in a while you read a book and feel as though the author must know you and have modeled their character after you. That’s how I felt about Ian in this story. When fear attacks a person can surrender to the fear and shut down, they can fight it by trying to control every circumstance of life or they can put their eyes back on God. Ian deals with it by fighting to control everything. So do I. And Sierra’s fear is that if she doesn’t prove her worth constantly, others will see that she’s not so important. And that’s even with a supposedly strong faith in God. I can strongly relate to that as well. So this note is a sort of warning – don’t read this book if you struggle with fear and don’t want to be challenged. Susan May Warren doesn’t hold back in her encouragement to move on from the fear that controls you and find freedom to truly live.
I personally found this to be the best of the series so far.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Enjoyment Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Psalm 142:7 – Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.

Thank you to Susan May Warren for gifting her cousin, Ruth, with a copy of this book to gift to me!

I enjoyed it very very much!