Five Minute Friday: Still

Sometimes the only thing we can do is be still and wait.

Sometimes it’s waiting out a storm, huddled in fear, praying for God to wrap His arms around us and keep us safe until it passes. Other times it’s anxious waiting, knowing the outcome of events could change our lives forever. Other times it’s waiting in limbo, unable to move ahead until we know the path we’re taking next.

When there’s a storm raging and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to fight it, we are still. When life is changing and we have no control over the direction it’s taking us, we are still. When we’re waiting for news that could forever change our lives, for good or bad, we are still. Still and waiting.

In our rushed and stressed society, “still” can sometimes be seen as a bad thing. But according to the Bible, sometimes we need to be still. Exodus 14:14 (NIV) reminds us: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV) says: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Sometimes, like Elijah, we only truly know God in the stillness: So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:11-12 (NASB)

Sometimes the storms and trials and uncertainties of life are reminds you be still and trust God.

Quick Lit: October

I’m so excited to link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit today! Fall is such a great reading time. As much I love a good mystery any time of the year, fall and winter just seem like especially good times for a darker book. Here’s what I’ve been reading so far in October.

The Lady Darby Series #2 Mortal Arts—Anna Lee Huber

I discovered this series last month. At first I was a little disappointed that our library only had the audiobooks, but once I heard the narrator, Heather Wilds, my opinion changed. The audiobook is such a great experience! She does such an incredible job with the accents and adds so much to these historic mysteries set in 1830’s Scotland.

In Mortal Arts, Kiera is still reeling from her confused feelings about investigator Sebastian Gage as she accompanies her sister’s family to Edinburgh. They are summoned to an old friend’s home to help with a strange situation, which quickly becomes much darker and more dangerous than they realized. Gage’s presence does nothing to help Kiera sort through her tangled emotions. She and Gage are forced to once again work together to clear an innocent man’s name—or is Kiera’s childhood mentor as innocent as she believes?

As soon as I finished this, I started book three. It’s been a long time since a series grabbed me the way this one has. Honestly, The Hunger Games was probably the last one I binged this fast. At the rate I’m going, I’ll have finished the entire series by Christmas.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I kept hearing this title described as a “creepy psychological thriller,” and it sounded like perfect October read. I finished it this past weekend, but even after mulling it over for a few days, I’m still not sure what to think about this book. It was definitely creepy and twisted.

I had a similar reaction after reading Rebecca for the first time. Like Rebecca, I plan to watch the movie and mull over this more in the days ahead.

What are you reading right now? Do you read seasonal books?

Stop Demonizing Busy

I’ve seen the phrase more times than I can count: “Stop the glorification of busy.” I understand the sentiment, I really do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in our busy world. And I’ve seen people who are busy for the sake of busy, adding every activity they can cram into a day or week without stopping to think if it’s needed.

But I think we need to stop demonizing busy.

Busy for the sake of busy is unhealthy. If you’re adding more and more to your plate just because you think you should, you probably need to rethink your schedule. If your kids have so many activities that you’re spending more time in your car than your house, you definitely need to make some cuts. But what if you’re busy doing the things you’re called to do?

  • Busy building the career God called you to?
  • Busy in the ministry you’re passionate about?
  • Busy raising kids?
  • Busy juggling your family, your life, and your dreams?

A few months ago I found a great deal on an eyeshadow palette I’d had my eye on for months. It came with an adorable makeup bag that reads “Never not busy.” That sums up my life. According to modern thought, I shouldn’t be proud of that. But I am. I’m busy, and I wouldn’t trade this life for the world.

Even the Bible says that busy can be good. Yes, it speaks frequently of rest. Rest is important, and we need to balance hard work with times of rest. But the Bible also tells us…

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭NASB

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields, that they are white for harvest.” ‭‭John‬ ‭4:35‬ ‭NASB

And we can’t forget the Proverbs 31 woman: “She watches over the activities of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs‬ ‭31:27‬ ‭NASB

I’m busy. I’m married to the love of my life, and he’s a pastor. That means a lot of church events and activities, a lot of planning and coordinating. I work full time as a dental hygienist. I absolutely love my career, and it’s a ministry in its own way. It amazes me how much my patients share about their struggles and how many times I get to tell people, “I’ll be praying for you.” I’m a writer, working on blog posts and articles and short stories and a novel. I’m a mom to two incredible teen boys who are almost grown, and I’m trying to spend all the time I can with them before they leave home to start their own lives. I’m busy with the ministries God has placed me in—teaching Sunday School and leading our 30’s/40’s ministry and our Women’s Ministries group. I’m busy building our little farm. Busy writing. Busy juggling a complicated and sometimes crazy life. But you know what? I love it, because this crazy, wild, beautiful life is exactly what God called me to, and I’m going to love it to the fullest.

Let’s stop demonizing busy. Stop making people feel guilty because their life is full. If your focus is on God and life is full of the good things He has called you to, then you’re exactly where you need to be. Keep your focus on God and embrace the busyness.

Bookish Pet Peeves

Every book lover has some pet peeves—the things readers (or sometimes non-readers) do that just drive us crazy. Today I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday to share some bookish pet peeves.

1. Folding pages instead of using a bookmark

Don’t fold the pages! There are so many cute bookmarks out there. Buy one, or several. Personally, I have several, but I also have my eye on a super cute Nessie one from Amazon right now.

2. Waiting a long time for a library hold

I’m impatient, and my Kindle has spoiled me. When I want to read a book, I want it now. When our library only has print copies and I have to wait for a physical book instead of getting it on Hoopla, I can get a little antsy. Case in point: right now I’m waiting for We Have Always Lived in the Castle to be checked back in so I can read it. It seems like a perfect October read.

3. Library patrons not turning their books in on time

Again…I’m not a patient person. And I really hate waiting.

4. Movie-based covers on books

I want to see the original cover art, not the movie version—especially since the movie is never as good as the book and characters are often miscast. Plus, the covers usually don’t match the rest of the series if they’re movie based covers. For the record—I love the original Hunger Games covers!

5. Bad covers

I know, we’re never supposed to judge a book by its cover…but I do.

6. Asking to borrow a book from me

Sorry, y’all, but I don’t loan out books unless you live under the same roof as me. I’ve just had too many bad experiences with my books never coming home.

7. Assuming that I’m “not doing anything” when I’m reading

Especially when I’m really wrapped up in a really good book…

8. Spoilers

I’ll admit, sometimes I am that person who reads the ending first because I need to emotionally prepare myself for the book. But in most cases, I don’t want to hear spoilers.

9. Reading slumps

Reading slumps are hard. I had one a few years ago, and it was so discouraging. I finally broke it when I tried a new genre (dystopian), and I haven’t hit a slump since then.

10. Bad editing

I know a few typos sneak past even the best editors, but it really pulls me out of a story when there are multiple errors, huge mistakes with character names or descriptions, major POV errors, and other easily caught mistakes.

What about you—what are your bookish pet peeves?

Five Minute Friday: Need

What I need has changed a lot over the years. When I was younger, the list was long and included a lot of silly things. Age and life and loss have changed that list. The past year has changed it.

This year, I’ve lost two friends and a high school classmate. A girl I grew up with and a close childhood friend both lost their husbands. This year, I’ve learned that life truly is a vapor. “Need” takes on a new meaning when death hits close to home. What do we really need in this life when we can’t take it with us? What do we need in a world filled with uncertainty, a world where nothing is really safe, a world where everything is fleeting?

What do I need? I need Jesus. I need my family–and more than that, I need my family to know how much I love them. I need to know that if I died, they would never doubt my love. I need to trust in something—in Someone—bigger than me. I need to know that I am not in control, but I am deeply loved and cared for by the One who is. I need faith that is grounded in the God of eternity.

Like Paul, I need to know how to be content in whatever circumstances I’m facing. When life is good and I have more than enough, I need to be content and grateful. When life is hard and I’m struggling, I need to be content and trusting. When peace reigns or when chaos swirls like a hurricane around me, I need to know that the God of the infinite universe is also my God, and He is always in control. My life is in His hands. He is all I need.

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