Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, May 16, 2010


~ I'm about halfway through Stroud's God's Heart for the Poor.  It's almost like a how-to for those starting up their own project, so I mostly skim through those sections.  Still no image of the cover to be found, so it's not on my sidebar, and I'm having issues with the blogger elements not cooperating with my template, so I haven't worked it out to just list the details of the book yet.

~ I was craving something a bit more . . . literary, maybe? . . . so I also started reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I bought it at Half Priced books a few months ago and figured I might as well read it since the movie will soon be coming out.  Only a couple of chapters in, but I like it already.  I added it to my sidebar, as you can see.

~ Last weekend I finally saw the movie Julie and Julia.  I was excited to read the book last summer because the movie trailers piqued my interest.  However, I found the book a bit hard to follow with the author's stream of consciousness.  Plus the main character, Julie, annoyed me with her selfishness and self-absorption.  And I was left wishing there was more of the Julia Child scenes in the book.  All that to say, after reading the book I wasn't bothered about not watching the movie.  But I actually really enjoyed the movie!  Julie is more palatable in it and we definitely get a lot more of Julia.  I'd like to read Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France now (which I linked, in case any of you would like to buy it for me!  :o) ).

~ I just read my friend Aleen's blog and she mentioned a book she just finished: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.  South Korea and China was the first ever mission trip to went on, and the organization we partnered with aimed to spread the gospel to N Koreans.  I had such amazing and life-changing experiences on that trip and stories from that country still stir my heart.  So the book sounds really good and I'd love to read it!  Of course I'll prob have to wait til it's in paperback and a tad bit cheaper . . .

~ I'll have a lot more time to read since my 2nd job just finished.  It's also a bit stressful 'cause it was my main source of income since it paid twice as much as my 1st job.  BUT I am basically all set up to substitute for the rest of the year, so I hope to do that at least two or three times a week . . . but there's only 3 wks left of school . . . *sigh*

~ I went to a job fair for an area district on Friday.  There were HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS, of people there looking for jobs.  It's not a good time to be an unemployed teacher, let me tell you!  I handed out all twenty copies of my resume, tho.  So hopefully I'll get some phone calls for interviews soon. 

~ I got crazy with our new vacuum yesterday -- I vacuumed my bed, my drapes, my mini-blinds, the window sills, all the shelves upstairs (using the attachments, of course), the floorboards, the walls and ceilings, the upholstered chairs, the bathroom floor, my bed again since all the dust from the other items got kicked up and resettled on it, the lamps, and the carpet.  And I slept soundly, with no mental images of thousands of microscopic dust mites crawling all over me during the night.  I suppose I could offer my vacuuming expertise for a small fee if no job prospects come up . . .

~ I'm in the last days of my 20's.  Haven't looked at the calendar to say for sure, but I'm guessing there's only about 6 wks left of 'em.  Scary!

~ I'm cooking carne guisada for dinner tonight.  Haven't made it in ages, so I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Junkie Meets Jesus in a Trash Can

Last week I finished Colin Garnett's memoir, Junkie Meets Jesus in a Trash Can.  The BF gave me his copy when he came to visit in January.  Having come from a similar past as Garnett's, he thought it would give me some insight into the struggles and triumphs one encounters while trying to break free from addiction.  After reading this book I know one thing is for sure - it's nearly impossible to break the oppressive chains of addiction without the power of God.

That's actually a lesson I learned long ago, having invested so much over the past few years into the King's Arms Project.  There I met dozens of addicts who are eager to share their stories of heartache and pain, weeping over the tatters of their lives, vowing to give up the drugs or the drink or whatever else entangles them and holds them captive.  Yet the next day they turned up drunk again.  And the next, and the next.  An endless cycle of destructive addiction.  Most eventually lost their jobs and their families and their friends.  Some even lost their lives.  Somehow, the addiction was always stronger than their willpower and their love for their spouse or children; it was stronger than their self-respect and their dignity.  Yet, but by the grace of God, that could be me.  Or you.

I don't know what it's like to feel so hurt and hopeless that drugs are the only possible escape.  And I don't know what it's like to become so addicted to something that I'm unable to stop, even though I know it will cost me all I hold dearest to my heart.  In his book, Garnett gave me a glimpse of that.  His is an amazing story of how God can change one's life in an instant.  And it's a testimony of just how far He can pull you out of the pit, as long as you're willing to follow Him in obedience and faith.  I highly recommend you read this book.  I promise you'll love it so much you'll gladly overlook the various typos the editor missed in the last half of book and the occasional confusion caused by Garnett's stream of consciousness! 

Here's a excerpt that had me both laughing and crying:
Earl was baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and he was dunked into the water. The singing erupted once again and people were crying with Earl. I was in stunned silence. The Christians started to disperse back to their seats, and the preacher went back to his Bible. He threw a gauntlet down to me when he asked, 'Is there anyone else here tonight who feels the need to receive Jesus into their life as personal Lord and Saviour?'
The question had not completely left the minister's lips, and I was standing up and taking my jeans off. I heard myself saying, 'I do! That's exactly how I feel!'
The whole congregation turned to look at me and as they all looked at me, I felt an inner urge to turn it all into a joke and sit back down. But the truth was, I could no longer live my life under the influence of what other people thought of me. I looked at them, and in a moment's clarity of heart, I knew I could not allow these guys to define me any longer.
I said, 'I need to know this Jesus for myself.'
My jeans went one way, my shirt went another, and I climbed into this trash can of water and tearfully fell to my knees.
I hope I didn't give anything away, especially since the title basically says it all anyway, but I just love this scene!

I've been on a memoir kick over the last year.  It all started with a book a borrowed from my friend Elaine called, The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran.  Oh my, that is a hilarious book and I absolutely LOVED it!  I need to reread it and blog about it 'cause it is great!  Anywho, all that to say that the next book I've started is God's Heart for the Poor by Philippa Stroud.  It's really cool because it's basically the history of how King's Arms Project got started 20 years ago.  I love reading about familiar places, even though it makes me a bit homesick for Bedford.  The book is out of print, it's another one the BF lent me, and I'm having a hard time finding an image of the cover on google.  So I'll just have to post the title and author on the sidebar without the book image.  (Nevermind, I'll just have to leave the JMJINTC pic up for now 'cause I'm having element page issues . . . )  As for Junkie Meets Jesus in a Trash Can, I posted the link to the UK Amazon site since it gives slightly more info than the USA Amazon link, but I don't even think it's in print in the US.  But if you happen to come across a copy, read it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


If you live in Waco and feel the earth shaking, don't worry.  It's not an earthquake.  It's just thousands and thousands of baptists rolling over in their graves because there's dancing on the Baylor campus.  And to Michael Jackson, no less!

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