Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm a Guest...

I'm a guest over at Inkwell Inspirations, where I talk about a cool nonfiction book, The Principle Of the Path. Check it out if you have a minute or two.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life's Little Luxuries

I got to thinking the other day about how we cut corners during lean times. That's really no fun at all, is it? But what if there were ways to enjoy some things that only cost a few dollars more? That way you don't feel completely denied anything nice, fun, comfortable, luxurious, tasty, you name it.

For me, good bed sheets are one of life's little luxuries. Really, when you think about it, we spend up to one-third of our day sleeping. I know many of us do well if we get six hours of sleep a night, which isn't good, but I'm not talking about sleep habits today.

Have you ever taken a moment to examine the quality of bed sheets? You can by cheap sheets in a discount store, and that's fine. But really now, they do feel like sandpaper and they don't last very long and start wearing thinner with multiple washings.

Trust me on this one. Watch the sale papers, or check out places like, for sheets that have a thread count of 300 or more. The number designates how many threads make up one square inch of weave in the fabric. The higher the number, the tighter the weave and the better quality of sheet. Most basic sheets are around 200 threads. Try to find cotton sheets, too, if you can. Our favorite set is a 500 thread count made of 100% cotton that we snagged during a Black Friday sale for $25--a STEAL if you've ever checked the price of sheets. The texture is luxurious and very comforting. "Like buttah."

So when you can, splurge just a little on a simple luxury for yourself. Cutting corners is admirable and sometimes necessary, but when you are able, be good to yourself. Enjoy the ride!

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Are You Afraid?

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

So reads the back cover of FEARLESS, Max Lucado's newest book.

If you've ever read a book by Max Lucado, you already know what to expect--that Fearless is a great book. If you've never read a book by Max Lucado, I really recommend you pick up this book. Especially now. In his matchless storytelling style, Max faces many of our greatest fears head-on without flinching. Fear of: not mattering, running out (not having enough), not protecting my kids, overwhelming challenges, worst-case scenarios, the coming winter, death, the future, that God is not real, global calamity, to name a few. I don't know about you, but I've found myself running smack into some of these very fears.

Fear is paralyzing. It makes us shrink back, give up. It makes us suspicious of people and makes us look for the worst to happen. In this book, Max unflinchingly uses real scenarios and reminds us of the greatest weapon that is at everyone's disposal to fight fear. We just need to use it.

The back of the book contains study questions for each chapter, questions for personal reflection. I admit that I've read this book and not studied it in-depth. But I can say already that I've been challenged to push fear back and not let it gain any more ground in my life than it already has. I mean, I'm the woman who was afraid at times for my husband to drive to another town, for fear that he'd get in a horrible car accident and not make it home. This nonsense has no place in my life. Life lived in fear is not worth living. I plan to start through this book again and read it more slowly this time, studying the ideas he presents in each chapter, and taking the time to be honest with myself and face my own fears. Fear is not faith. How can I have both? How can any of us have both?