Friday, September 30, 2011

What's In a Name?

Like everything else with me, there is a story behind the name of my blog.  You ready?

I had what I called "trust issues" with God.  I know now a big part of that was that I thought I was saved for years, lived an unregenerate life, and wondered how come I had so many problems.  Even after the Lord saved me in 1993, it took years for me to understand His grace, and what He had done.  It took years for my pride to finally be demolished enough for me to understand that it was nothing I did - not that walk down the aisle, not the baptism, not even the re-dedications.  None of that mattered, those were all my own work, trying by the force of my will to be good.  And not good to be pleasing to God, but good so that my life would be easier, and maybe for the admiration of man as well.  But, I could not live like a Christian because I was not one.  I was not saved.  A little aisle walking after an emotional experience does not equate salvation.  Salvation is a work of the Lord, who brings a person dead in their sins to life.  How can a dead man decide to come to life? 

It actually wasn't until a little over a year ago (5/30/11, actually), sitting in the pew at Rockport Baptist Church (as a visitor, even), holding the cup during the Lord's Supper that it finally hit me, the things that had been starting to come together over the last few years, and had begun to explode in my mind and heart that spring.  The Lord opened my eyes to the work He had done, and when he did it.  And that all my years of trying to make myself good enough, and worthy enough, of praying during Lord's Supper and gripping that little cup so tightly, "getting right with God" was of no avail.  I am not good enough on my own.  My righteousness comes from Christ alone.

But I digress.

About 2005 or so I got involved in a homeschool forum, Sonlight.  On that forum, you had to have a username, of course.  People had very descriptive names, and I wanted one that described me and my walk.  So, I became Learning To Trust.  LTT, to my friends in Lifelong Learners and Bibliovores.  That is where I was - I was learning to trust God.  I was starting to explore WHY I believed what I believed, and study scripture to see what it actually said in context, and not what some cherry-picked verses in a Sunday School quarterly said.   I learned from all kinds of apologists - Roman Catholic, especially.  Can I say something here about those Roman Catholic women?  I know that sometimes RCs get a bad rap about not knowing their Bibles, but I have to tell you, these ladies who had converted to RC as adults knew their Bibles and their church doctrine frontwards and backwards.  I don't agree with them, but I would never disparage their scholarship, they are head and shoulders above me.  But I am gaining...!  Anyway, it was at this time that I was also introduced to the Doctrines of Grace, and begun studying as much as I could. 

So, long story (I said it would be, didn't I?) that brings us to now, today.  I am no longer Learning to Trust.  I have learned to trust.  I am learning more about God and His plans each day, about the incredible work He has done, and this amazing Bible He gave us.  I see more and more each day His hand in my life, and the life of those around me.  And I see so clearly what I was saved out of. 

So, now I trust.  Perhaps this should be called "Learning About God" or "Trying to Understand God" because my understanding falls so short.  But right now, I am so filled with gratitude.  I have a life that was redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ.  He has saved me.  He has forgiven me.  Not of my own works, but through his kind mercy.  And I want anything I do, even this little blog, to always reflect that gratitude.

Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

Reading Log for September, 2011

Definitely not going to make 100 this year, but I think that is okay.  Life has gotten very busy, and it is taking me longer to finish anything!  Plus I am finding that I have started and not finished a lot of books this year.  Life is too short to read bad books, I always say!


56. Stronger Than Dirt – 4 – Kimberly Schyae and Christopher Losee – story of an urban couple who buys a piece of land in upstate New York in the 90s and starts a farm, selling veggies and mainly fresh cut flowers in the New York City farmers’ markets. Very enjoyable “fish-out-of-water” story.

57. Bunnicula – 3 – is the new pet bunny a vampire? The cat says yes, the dog says let’s see….cute, short chapter book, read aloud to my 7 and 8 year old boys.

58. One Thousand Gifts -2 - Ann Voskamp – I guess I just didn’t get it. I loved parts of it, but parts of it went on and on and on…..perhaps I don’t have a poets’ soul. I had a hard time following the circles that her mind went in. Everyone else I’ve talked to loved it, so I guess it is just me!

59. A Trick of the Light – 5 – Louise Penny – Inspector Gamache returns. I just love these people.

60. Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers – 5 – Ralph Moody – excellent coming of age story, set in Colorado in the early 1900s. Described as a “Little House on the Prairie for boys”. Grittier than LHOTP, though. Excellent boys’ book, read aloud to my 11 and 13 year old sons. We will probably read some of the other books that follow this one.

61. Devil’s Food Cake Murders: A Hannah Swensen Mystery With Recipes – 2.5 – Joanne Fluke – dumb. Figured this one out right away. The mysteries in these books are getting lamer (more lame?) with each book, but the characters keep me coming back. Hannah needs to ditch both these guys and move to Florida or something.

62. My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir – 4 – Dick Van Dyke – Good story, but disappointing. Yes, he wants to only do family-friendly projects and he succeeds in that, yes he is kind and generous and supports lots of community service and peace projects. But he is still lost – all paths lead to God, as long as we love. Manages to excuse his adultery, his children living with people, their divorces, etc. and puts a happy face on it. And he is a left-wing liberal. The sad part is, that he is lost. He thinks he is being a good person and earning his way to Heaven because God is all love. Entertaining story, but in the end – pretty meaningless.

63.  The No-Fad Diet - 5 - The American Heart Association - extremely helpful book.  Those who know me, know I've done Weight Watchers, tried Sparkpeople, etc., all with some degree of success.  Especially WW, where I lost 25 pounds a few years ago.  Then the menopause hit, and it all came back, with a vengeance.  I love this book, though.  It goes through what is healthy, normal eating and exercise and discusses calories.  It all boils down to more energy being expended than calories coming in.  No only eating certain foods, or any of those trends- just good, common sense for establishing good habits.  It has you figure how many calories a day you need to eat to maintain your current weight at your age, weight and activity level, and then if you eat 500 calories a day less than that, you can lose 1/2-1 pound a week.  Gradual, maintainable.  I hope so, anyway!  So far, so good.  The week that I followed it I lost 1.6 lbs, the week that I didn't I gained a pound back.  So, we will see how it goes.  I am really tired of obsessing about my weight and trying to learn to accept "the new me" - but I need motivation to continue to eat well and get exercise.

And so...What did YOU read this month?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reading Log for August, 2011

A good reading month, overall.  I have several books going right now - life is getting so busy, who knows what I'll manage to finish this month!

51. A Red Herring Without Mustard – 4.25 – Alan Bradley – another fun mystery/adventure with Flavia de Luce. I love this kid.

52. Justification and Regeneration – 4.5- Charles Leiter – excellent resource explaining these doctrines in words even the simple-minded can understand. A very clear, straightforward teaching.

53. You Know When the Men are Gone – 4.5 – Siobhan Fallon – I didn’t realize when I started this book that it was a collection of short stories, all tied together at Fort Hood, Texas. I guess it was well-written because most of the stories end with all the loose ends…still loose. I really wanted to know how they were resolved. That is why this book is not a “5” for me – no completion.

54. Unjobbing – the Adult Liberation Handbook – 4.5 – Michael Folger. Generally, I would not agree with him on most aspects of life – he is not a Christian, he is way liberal/ peacenik/environmentalist/earth-is-our-mother. I got a lot out of this short little book, though. The basic premise is that we prepare ourselves for “jobs” – for work that often we don’t like, isn’t fulfilling, and we spend a huge chunk of our lives at it in order to pay for all the stuff we need/want. His take on it is that we should find what we love and try to earn some living doing that (as a homebased business), meanwhile freeing up the rest of our time to devote to other things we love, and live as minimally as possible in order to survive on the amount of money that brings in. I will add the note that while he was formulating this plan (he achieved a degree in classical guitar, and had never worked full-time in this field or any other) he did have a WIFE with a job and benefits. She did end up leaving that position, though. To them, living minimally meant not eating meat or dairy, only buying used clothes, living in a small home and only having one child. Like I said, we have almost no points of agreement philosophically. However, while I would not be willing to take the un-jobbing approach to his extreme, I think it is something we have done in our own lives to the point that we are comfortable with. We have a home-based business, where my husband is free to set his own schedule (as much as a contractor can) and we homeschool, so the boys can be involved in his daily life – his work is not something he goes away from us to do. I am at home, so I can help with aspects of the business. Since we are all here together, we are able to have more time as a family, and more time to do the things we enjoy. So, in conclusion – I really liked this book, liked his overall philosophy of living a life you love, but wouldn’t take it to the point he does. I guess that is why he gets a book published and I don’t!

55. Love Finds You In: Lahaina, Hawaii – 2.5 – Bodie Thoene – Well, this was just plain dumb. I generally would not get a Christian historical romance, but since it was by Bodie Thoene I thought it would be good. Plus, it is about the end of the Hawaiian monarchy, and I know nothing about that and thought it would be interesting. The history part was sort of interesting – it made me want to go find a real book about it, anyway! The story of the Princess Kaiulani was lame-o. I only finished it because I wanted to find out how it ended – and that was fictionalize as well! There are 50 books in this series, by different authors, all taking place in a small town in the United States with some historically interesting aspect (I think Missouri’s is Branson). The book was so full of clich├ęs…it reminded me more of a Lori Wick book than a Thoene one. I am most definitely skipping the other books in this series!