Saturday, April 24, 2010

book review: "caleb + kate" by cindy martinusen-coloma

“Since childhood Sunday school, I’ve been told that God is love. We colored it on our papers, banners hanging from the ceiling proclaimed it, we sang songs and used hand motions emphasizing the truth….God is love. He was love and will always be love and is love. It’s simple and also the most profound statement on the planet.”

“Caleb + Kate” is a love story, both between the two main characters but also between Kate and God. Though God isn’t mentioned in the story a lot, there’s an underlying theme that flows through the book of Kate needing to understand God’s love in order to understand the love she feels for Caleb. The story is a modern “Romeo and Juliet” except with a happy ending. Kate’s family owns the Monrovi Inn chain of hotels. Caleb’s father works for the Monrovi Inn but his grandfather wants to buy it – there’s an old feud that still lingers between the families. When Caleb goes to Kate’s prom on a dare, there’s an instant connection between them. He tries to ignore it and prove to himself that she’s as stuck-up as he’s assumed but the more time he spends with her; the more he sees he’s wrong. When their families find out about the blossoming romance, both try to dissuade their children. Caleb and Kate are determined though. Their relationship hits a rough spot, however, when his grandfather is diagnosed with cancer. Since he lives in Hawaii, Caleb has to go there to be with him. Kate worries things will change during his absence. She wonders if he’ll meet someone or his professed love for her will wane. At the end of the book she goes to visit him after being a part for six months and comes to a realization. “Caleb and I are bound by more than an emotion. I am bound to this man by love. A love that was created by the existence of God himself. A love that is God.”

I read this book in two days – my norm for a book I enjoy. Though I’m a bit skeptical of “love at first sight” stories or stories where teenagers are supposed to fully understand what love is, this was a good read. I can identify with Kate who had the view of “what is love anyway?” before she met Caleb. “…doubts about the longevity and truth of love creep over me. Now that I love him, it creates an even greater gulf between dreams and reality. I have not seen what I feel. This is the fairy tale alive and real. I’ve briefly experienced its touch through the pages of a book or while watching certain movies, listening to a song – but this has engulfed me heart and soul.” I think we all crave a love like that. We want someone to love us so completely and fiercely and to return that emotion that we search for it our whole lives. Some of us have found it. Some of us are still searching. I’m still searching for it and this I know: it’s worth the search.

book review: "never let you go" by erin healy

“Never Let You Go” by Erin Healy is about the struggle Lexi Solomon faces between her past and her present. The story has Frank Peretti-like suspense, especially when Angelo (an angel) saves Lexi when a man (who is really a demon) attacks her. Lexi’s husband has been gone for seven years ever since he walked out on her and their daughter. Ward, a man who Lexi had long forgotten about also reappears into her life upon the return of her husband. He was a former business partner with her husband in his selling of illegal drugs. He finds Lexi and tells her he needs the money her husband owes him or their daughter will pay the price. Lexi is also fighting with her need to forgive. Right before her husband disappeared, a former client of his killed Lexi’s sister. The man is now on trial and Lexi is being pressured to testify on his behalf by Ward. All of these seemingly separate situations create a tangled web for Lexi. Angelo tells her she “needs consult love” in order to break free from everything. She doesn’t understand – she just wants her life back to normal. The story ends with her visiting the man who killed her sister and asking his forgiveness. Ward barges into the room, his intent to kill Lexi. As she’s pinned against the wall, Angelo appears, giving her the strength to fight – even if not physically. “She rasped, “You leave us alone. You’re not my jailer anymore.” Ward’s moan grew to a shriek that pierced her ears. Lexi’s breathing quickened as she saw smoke begin to rise from his hair, his hands, his shoes. Lexi craned her neck toward Angelo, having no voice to beg for his help.” Ward then explodes and is gone. Having released the hold he had on her, he could no longer control her.

I liked this book. The underlying message is that love brings freedom from our overwhelming situations – which ultimately means God but Healy doesn’t directly say that. I found the spiritual warfare aspect of the story interesting. Maybe it’s because we can’t see that realm with our physical eyes so we can only imagine what goes on amid our routines and everyday life. To think that possibly demons and angels are walking among us, perceived to be humans is intriguing. It’s so important for us to know who our faith is in when trials come against us.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Here's another not-about-me piece that again, just kinda came to me. In our middle school house group this weekend we talked about acceptance so I'm thinking this is a belated train of thought from that.

I stare at my reflection
unsure if the person looking back is really me.

Locks of hair litter the floor;
the scissors laying beside me.

I heard you prefer girls with short hair
so I cut mine.

My hair is damp from rinsing it.
The smell of chemicals still lingering.

I heard you prefer blondes
so I exchanged my chestnut brown for a sandy yellow.

My glasses are now sitting in the trash can,
snapped in half for good measure.

I heard you prefer girls without them
so now I'm wearing contacts.

I've done all of this -
traded who I was for who I thought you wanted.

Yet will you notice me?
Will these changes make me stand out
or simply blend in?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This isn't based on a current situation I'm going through (no need to try to read between the lines) - the words just came to me today and I jotted them down. Maybe someone else reading this will identify...

You feel so far away
As I lay here – broken and bleeding.
I call out to You; my throat is raw from the tears I’ve cried.
My voice is nothing more than a whisper.
You can’t hear me; can’t see me as I’m falling apart.

So where are You?
What about Your promise to never leave me?
But then I see You.
I’m so weak – I don’t have the strength to stand much less walk.

You’re there but I can’t reach You.
“Don’t go!” my mind screams.
I close my eyes, welcoming the darkness.

And then I feel it.
A touch as light as a butterfly’s – peace seeps through me.
Opening my eyes, You’re there, holding me in Your arms,
Protecting me from…everything.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I'm working on another fiction piece and think I've completed the prologue. I don't have the plot completely figured out but it's going to be a first-person story about a girl and how seemingly random events all come together to tell her story. I can't think of a better way to celebrate finally working on my writing than by showcasing it on my blog :-)
Life is like a puzzle. With each moment we experience, we gain another piece that will ultimately fit somewhere, somehow. It’s just figuring out where the piece goes that can be tricky or if you know where a piece fits but don’t have it. Isn’t that the most annoying feeling ever? Knowing something is missing but not knowing where to find it? Ugh. Maybe I’m not making much sense. I tend to ramble and have this great logic in my head yet when I say it out loud, others can’t connect the dots. I’m trying to work on that. Anyway, life is sort of like a puzzle. I’ve had lots of pieces come into play lately and it all began with a text…

Thursday, April 15, 2010

book review: "pure scum" by mike sares

“Pure Scum” is about the birth of the church “Scum of the Earth” written by pastor and founder Mike Sares. He talks about how the church is “…a place where everyone is welcome, a place that we like to call “the church for the left-out and the right-brained.” The name of the church is found in 1 Corinthians 4:13: “Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” He talks about the struggles he’s faced, both personally and as the pastor of the church – decisions he’s had to make that weren’t popular.

I feel like the whole book can be summed up with this quote by Sares: “Could it be that one of the avenues to deeper relationship with Jesus is taking the risks that Jesus asks you to take - following Him where He bids you to follow?” For Sares this meant moving to a new place, starting a church, naming that church Scum of the Earth and countless other decisions where he must’ve wondered if he’d heard God correctly.

I love Sares’ honesty. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s not perfect. He talks about the struggles he’s faced in his marriage, how he feels like he’s not the best father or pastor at times. He shares his doubts. I think it’s the fact he’s so real that I liked the book so much. He comments, “the times I have been closest to God are times when I have been literally knocked to my knees.” He’s fully aware that he’s only a vessel and God is the One speaking through him. “When pain roars into our lives, God does not call us to be stoic. He does not expect us to keep stiff upper lips. God expects us to let our true feelings out because he can handle our honest emotions. Jesus was forsaken of God so that we don’t have to be. He was cut off from God so that we don’t have to be. Jesus said after his resurrection, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He will never leave us. Never.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Death has a way of bringing things into focus. To me it seems odd that something so unpleasant (for lack of a better word) can have such a profound impact - or maybe that's just me. I'm finding that trivial things no longer matter - I wish I could spend every second of every day working on goals and dreams I have (if only I could do without sleep). I want to make a difference and carry on the legacy of my uncle - I don't want his 59 years on this earth to be forgotten. I feel this drive to do so many things while at the same time don't want to be too busy to the point of failing to enjoy life. Life is short and we need to savor the simple things as well as the major. I need to avoid the trap of "I'll be happy when..." and choose to be happy now. I feel like I'm in a haze - though my body is here I feel like I'm really not. It's a rather annoying feeling. I want to press closer to God yet it seems He's at arms length. I'm struggling with the questions we all wonder at times: how could God let this happen? doesn't He care? Why did my uncle die alone? why couldn't his wife and daughter been able to say goodbye or "I love you"? People throw around Christian lingo in an attempt to comfort but do they have any idea what they're talking about? *sigh* Saying all of this, I'm determined to move forward. God can bring good out of the situation and I have to trust - there's nothing else I can do.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"When pain roars into our lives, God does not call us to be stoic. He does not expect us to keep stiff upper lips. God expects us to let our true feelings out because He can handle our honest emotions. Jesus was forsaken of God so that we don't have to be. He was cut off from God so that we don't have to be. Jesus said after His resurrection, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." He will never leave us. Never." - Mike Sares

Monday, April 12, 2010


Story is important in our lives because if we don't remember those who have influenced us, who will? I recently had an uncle pass away and I'm still processing the fact he's no longer here. At the funeral, the floor was opened up to anyone who wanted to share a memory of him. He was a children's pastor for over ten years and several people shared stories of being in children's church during that time. They shared how they finally understood God loved them because of my uncle or they accepted Christ - I didn't realize the huge impact he made on their lives. Because of him, they now are impacting other children - be it their own or through serving in children's ministry themselves. Something he started is still being carried on today. Without story, we fail to remember. We forget why we made certain decisions or chose specific paths in our lives because the memory that sparked the decision is now foggy. Story is important because if we don't remember where we've been, we'll forget where we're going.

book review: "different eyes: the art of living beautifully" by steve chalke

“Different Eyes” is about the need to understand who God is in order for us to live our lives for Him. One of the points he brings up is that when God appeared to Moses in the desert, He referred to Himself as “I Am” or “Yahweh.” This is important because different cultures had their own gods they worshipped so God needed to make it clear that He was not like those gods. It’s through Israel’s journey with Yahweh that they begin to discover who He is. “The point is this: while the names and metaphors Israel will come to use for their God may not be unique, the character of their God was matchless…with Yahweh, holiness is not about an otherness that is removed and isolated from this world, but exactly the opposite; he is involved with his people and on their side. It is this that sets Yahweh apart from other gods.” The other main point revolves around Jesus and how He dealt with people. “He provocatively pushes His audience beyond their rules to the underlying principles behind them; He is asking that they let go of legalism and live radically…as Jesus was quick to explain to his audience, rather than planning to do away with or replace the Law, his goal was simple: to give it its full meaning – and this he would do, not just by unpacking and explaining it but by reframing it.” Chalke equates it to the difference between playing a piece of music exactly as written versus improvising. The point being that not every situation has the lines of right and wrong clearly defined – we have to be willing to be open-minded instead of attempting to automatically cast judgment. It’s when we have that close relationship with God that we’re able to distinguish right from wrong and understand His will.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


They hide behind their fake smiles
Every hair in place. sporting a suit and tie.
Their words seem sincere but are empty.
As though any raw emotion is to be avoided.

I feel like a casual observer,
My eyes dry as I hear the sniffles around me.
The reality has not set in;
He’s really gone and not coming back.

I want to take the pain away.
I want to make it all better.
I see the way his wife struggles to be strong.
Left behind to carry on.

While some are superficial, others are genuine.
The love is evident in their embrace.
When they utter “let me know if you need anything,”
I know they mean it.

I’m struggling to understand all of this.
I feel as though I’m in a fog,
Nothing quite seems real.
It’s as though I’m going through the motions.

Why are we afraid of being real?
Why must we constantly paste on a smile?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Life has a way of keeping us on our toes. Driving to work today, I was noting how beautiful the day is with the sun shining and the evidence of spring all around me. I hadn't been at my desk for more than thirty minutes when a phone call completely altered my day. I found out my uncle had passed away from a heart attack only hours earlier. Though I wasn't close to him, I was in shock at the seeming suddenness of his death. I wanted to pray for his wife and daughter but I found myself not even knowing where to begin. I couldn't make myself get out anything more than "God..." and that was my prayer over and over. Moments like this are major reality checks. While some may shake their fist at the sky and question why God would allow this to happen or if He's even there, God was the first person I went to. My automatic response when I first found out was "God..." It's in these moments that you see how strong your faith is - where your trust is. I know God's there and He cares and now my uncle is with Him too.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


While I enjoy blogging, I've been thinking about how many blogs are out there. Is my voice heard at all over any of the others? It's like when you go to the mall and decide to grab a bite to eat in the food court. The noise is so loud that even attempting conversation with the person seated across from you is impossible. Everyone is talking and no one is being heard. I wonder if the same is true with blogs. Are we too busy trying to get our point across that we fail to listen to others? But for me, blogging is a good way to work on my writing in a non-threatening environment since everyone else is shouting and I'm coming across as nothing more than a whisper. My hope is that by sharing what I've been through and my thoughts, I can assure someone else out there that yes, I've been there too and it'll be ok. Sometimes even a whisper can be heard.

Monday, April 5, 2010

it's been a while

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted!! I have a current favorite song that I want to share. The song is "Beautiful, Beautiful" by Francesca Battistelli. Enjoy.