My Recent Reading Life

What's On Your Nightstand
Welcome to my reading life for this month! 
I am still working on last months pile but I did finish some excellent reads over the past month and I appreciate the opportunity to share my teeny list anyway, despite my slow reading I really enjoy my words and chew them well! Besides, reading about all of the reading everyone else is doing, surely puts a fire to my bottom to finish what I start. Which is also why  reviewing books saves the life of my books from landing in the pile of obscurity and also helps me to stay with it until the end! 
So this past month I did complete The Hunger Games Trilogy! Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into the world of Katniss Everdeen and the amazing world Suzanne Collins created for this intriguing character. I read Catching Fire and Mocking Jay without skipping a beat. Before I finished the first book it was easy to see that this would be an epic film. I am looking forward to the movie but so glad I read the books first! A rare victory for me (due to the slowness of my reading and the quickness of filmmakers!) 
Completing Patrick Conroy’s “My Reading Life” changed my life in some way. I loved the way he shared the story of the great, influential stories he has read and more so the wonderful, colorful portrayals of people he has journeyed with along the road of his writer’s life. I got it out from the library, but might need to own my own because it became my favorite bed partner for a few months. I’m a little lonely at bedtime without Mr. Conroy’s rich descriptive, amusing writing. 
I am right in the middle of Jeannie Palette’s Beckoned By The King” An Intimate View of Psalm 119 and hope to share an author interview and review very soon! 
I read for review From Blah to Awe by Jenna Lucado Bishop and found a few inspiring insights to hang onto from her Young Adult offering. I had to push myself through the beginning but found that I enjoyed her candor about her struggles to come to terms with her own “blah” attitudes towards God. 
A few of last months reads are in the stack waiting to be read. I blame that primarily on Suzanne Collins and Patrick Conroy! But that’s just the way I slowly roll. 
I am reading Praying For Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton. It is a 60 day journey with various Christian women and scripture reading with the focus of mentoring through prayerfully seeking spiritual direction toward our unique mission in life. Course it will most likely take me 120 days to get through, but I will say I am enjoying the richness of it with my morning coffee and journal time. 
Awaiting the book Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews For Jesus by Ruth Rosen to read for review from the wonderful people at Booksneeze
I know you will get a giggle when I tell you this but I have the urge to read The Decline And Fall of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. For Review. OK, that last part was a joke! I have read parts of it in college but not right through. Most likely that will be on my nightstand for the rest of the year, but at least it moved from my bookshelf to that most coveted and dusty place by the bedside! 
Although I generally do not read a lot of fiction I feel the need to read more now that Mr. Conroy has helped me accept the fact that I will never be able to read it all , I certainly can read and develop my own reading life better. However humble that may be. I am open to your best suggestions! I miss my wonderful escape of the past couple of months! I have discovered anew the power of story and am grateful! Add to this, I have started to write (officially) my first book. I am terrified, excited and moving along in this new endeavor! 
Don’t forget if you comment to offer me your best Fiction suggestion. 
Not too many pages, OK? 
For instance Stephen King’s new one looks good but 
WOW- that’s a lot of pages for this girl!
Happy Reading, friends-
See you next month!

Pausing for Possibility

Photo Credit Link

Well I have finally begun the the journey of a lifetime. I have no idea what the future holds but life as I know it has changed. My lifelong dream has been to write and publish a book. “The Book” has varied and changed in my mind over the years and I was not certain for a long time what direction or form it would take, but at long last, it has begun. Although I am only at the beginning, I am being pulled along by the characters and story,  which are being nourished and developed within even as I pour forth like a rushing waterfall. I have been impregnated with this seed and there is no turning back.

What this may mean for my Blog is that I may be publishing and linking up less. I will have some reviews, and hope to continue with the Inspiring Women Series. I have so many wonderful people who have offered to take part but I must ask you all to be patient with me as I try to re-prioritize and establish my writing goals, continue to seek employment, balance life and all with this new specific and exciting direction. I know I may not be able to keep up as well as I’d like with all of your blogs. I want to thank you all for sharing your words of encouragement and support while I have exercised my writing muscles here on the Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith.

I am also excited about my recent connection with local Book Writing Coach Lisa Tener and look forward to taking part in this upcoming event for aspiring writers on March 7, 2012! If you would like to check out this opportunity you can click via the link below or on the sidebar and join us!

Click Here!

I hope and pray you will continue to uphold me in prayer as God leads you, and celebrate the birth of this baby with me in due season! Oh, for those of you who might be interested in the Genre of the baby,
it is yet to be determined. Won’t it be fun to be surprised? I will say this: it might be fictional, dahlings.

In the meantime, I hope you will stay tuned for those upcoming interviews with authors, artists, homemakers, entrepreneurs and businesswomen as well as Book Reviews and an occasional ramble or rant from me, my Bloggy friends. For those who are waiting for me to send you those interview questions, just know that I appreciate your patience and am excited to share each one of you in due time! I have 10 wonderful guests lined up, each unique and inspiring. But the Baby must come first!
I wish you all blessing and Godspeed toward all of your own creative endeavors in the Blogosphere and beyond.

As always I can be reached via my Contact e-mail above. 


A Dog-Eyed View of God?

Me and my adoring shadow. 
There is great wisdom to be found in the company of dogs. Do not be deceived by their easy going ways. Or for that matter by their charming persuasion. God often reveals himself in the mundane. Or the Great Dane. 
To those who have eyes to see, these canine counterparts hold much wisdom. Quite honestly, some of  the greatest wisdom, therapy and comfort I have received has been in the wordless exchanges with my very own “Man’s Best Friend”. 
I remember when our daughter began her full assault on us in acquisition of thus said dog. I remember my fears, having grown up in the company of cats; to this day still in the company of them. I only had one dog, growing up; a stray I hid in the garage at the apartment duplex we lived. My mother was quite surprised when the landlord inquired about our new dog, which she knew nothing about. I fed that pup potato sticks and hot dogs when I exhausted my meager allowance for dog food unbeknownst to my unsuspecting mom. That sweet dog who I named “Friend” went off to the pound promptly and I swore off dogs forever in an attempt to quench the heartache I felt. Her memory remains with my guilt ridden mother and I to this day. I’m not sure what happened to her.
I didn’t trust dogs, either. I understand cats. They are independent. Predictable in their unpredictability. I get cats. They are aloof, and affectionate on their own terms. I can handle that. But dogs always seemed…needy.  Not just “needy”, but dependently needy. Unappealing to me. I am selfish, thank you. Cleaning cat litter is as sacrificial as I wanted to get. 
But, the Queen of Everything spoke and my husband sided with her in memory of his own dog. Two against one. Unfair. I knew this would impact me more than either of these two idealistic beings. I knew who would be on diaper duty. That would be me. I shuddered at the thought. 
We looked, and sought and eventually found the dog who would become our very own fur family member.
The decision making process fell more heavily on me as time went on as I visualized what this new family member’s presence would entail. 
Having inherited the “Eeyore” gene from my mom (this is a bit of a family joke and yes, she knows!), I began imagining in my mind potential catastrophes based on  various choice outcomes. I considered a small dog and was told they were yappy and snappy. I envisioned walking the yappy small dog in our then rural, backwoods area and imagined Coyotes or Fisher Cats springing out at us in the dusk and early hours. I pictured the two neighboring giant Rottweilers chewing the little dog at the end of my leash down to collar as I screamed uncontrollably. I dreamed of the wee lad dashing in front of a car, crushed under a tire, on one of the hilly, sharp cornered roads that surrounded our community. The large breed frightened me too. I visualized my daughter crushed by the behemoth sized dog, while she slept. I pictured us walking peacefully and again approached by loose dogs, caught between hundred pound bodies of angry, thrashing beasts.
Then we saw our medium sized “beast to be”. There was nothing so wonderfully appealing about him, except his eyes looked woefully in need of a home. The rescue told us he would be a good family dog. So this is how he came to us. This would be the beginning of our terms, in my mind. We provide a safe place for you, you be a safe dog for our girl. Simple enough. I brush my hands off and smile. Check off dog from list of things acquired for Queen of Everything. 
I did not suspect there would be wisdom to glean from this mangy mutt. But therein lies the beauty and providence of God. He uses everything to reveal Himself and draw us closer to His Truth, for those who have eyes to see. Perhaps we need to take a look from our dog Banjo’s perspective. 
The Tail Wagging Truth

Those brown, unwavering eyes blink lovingly at me day after day. I seem unable to do anything wrong in the sight of this sweet mutt. You see I am the giver of good things in his eyes. He receives and expects only good things from me. Biscuits, water, food, walks, and all sorts of mouth watering scraps. Good things are all he sees when he sees me. It’s obvious when I look in his eyes. 
There is something I long to grasp in this tail wagging truth. Something for me to learn from his eager anticipation of good from me. There is a spiritual biscuit to be gained here. 
My God is the Giver of Good Things. So often I anticipate bad from His hand. So frequently I am waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me instead of anticipating the net that catches my fall. Instead of anticipating good when he takes something away I suspect he is going to give me something less than. Something bad. I ask for good, and anticipate bad. Talk about double-mindedness. Why do I expect snakes instead of fish? Why? 
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Luke 11:11

When I call, that dog gets up and comes. Why? I am the giver of good things. 
There is no doubt. No hesitation. 
He comes expecting good things because he trusts and believes in me.
Obviously, I am not God. I fail. Yet Banjo’s love, trust and positive expectation of me does not waver. He continues to look at me with brown eyes blinking full of love. That look says that I am the tastiest, meatiest, best bone he has ever laid his doggy eyes on. His love is possessive and jealous. He still growls when my husband kisses me goodbye. He does not like anyone else near his favorite bone after all. 
God’s love never fails. Ever. He is jealous of anything that might deter me from His best for me. Unlike Banjo, God does not need anything from me. He loves me unconditionally, un-waveringly and with completely pure intentions. 
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m still learning  to trust the God who is trustworthy, faithful and true. Even Banjo would have to conclude, compared to God, I’m less than a Milkbone dog biscuit crumb compared to the choicest, most satisfyingly meaty bone and so much more worthy of devotion. I suppose that is the tail wagging truth. At least perhaps the dog-eyed view. 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
This post is dedicated to my friend Stacy @ A Life Lived Well who recently lost her precious fur friend Scooby and also to Susie @ Recovering Church Lady who has a her own new fur addition to the family- Layla.
May God bless both of you, right where you are, today and in the days to come with his presence, peace and love.
More Dog lessons here: Lessons From A Dog’s Ruff Life

Hang On, It’s Monday!

It’s this Wild and Crazy Guy’s Birthday today.
 I just love this picture from
July 4th Fireworks Celebration a few years back.

This week I am just trying
to SEE things 
in a different light!

A friend shared this poem with me years ago,
so I thought I would share it and wish you a wonderful week
wherever you are, whatever comes your way!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
For my Deep thoughts of the week Go Here!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

R.I.P. Now – Why We Rest In Peace Now or Never

Photo Credit: Mary Lynch

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest… Hebrews 4:1-3

Here’s the truth. 
We don’t just rest in peace when we die, friends. 
We have the opportunity to be more alive than ever before in Heaven. 
We find rest when we rest in Christ, alone.
When we enter into the provisional rest God provides which comes
 by faith not works, nor life or death;
we experience rest for our souls through our knowledge of God.

LORD, you establish peace for us; 
   all that we have accomplished you have done for us. 
Isaiah 26:12

 The fact is that we either are resting in peace now, in full complete trust in a God who provides rest or we are battling out our fleshly life in a state of unrest. 

 The Lord and King is the Holy One of Israel. He says, 
   “You will find peace and rest 
      when you turn away from your sins and depend on me. 
   You will receive the strength you need 
      when you stay calm and trust in me. 
      But you do not want to do what I tell you to.
Isaiah 30:15 (NIRV)

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:29

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, 
for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

We start resting in peace this side of eternity because peace comes through relationship
 with the Prince of Peace alone. 
There is no other peace. 
He is our peace. 
Any other peace we can have is temporary. 
 It seems to me the more we know Him the more we are able to desire that 
which is only possible in eternity anyway.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

Perfect Peace is found in eternal rest but eternal rest is found in Christ; 
that being said, if we are in Christ we are at rest now. 

We are resting in Peace.

We are not striving for a hope in this world that extends beyond. 
We are resting not striving. 
We are pressing on because we desire to be all we can be in Him.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (AKJV)
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:14-17
Rest In Peace.
Alive In Christ.
Rest, Life.
Now or Never.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
I have begun my rest already as He transforms 
my inner being to the image of the
Resurrected One.

 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21

I struggle with the idea of taking comfort in words that are meaninglessly strung together.
You have to wrestle with the claims of the One who 
claimed Eternity 
His own before you can wrestle with eternal concepts.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Revelation 1:18

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you,
 the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
John 17:3

Alive in Christ is Resting In Peace.
We are at peace in His presence.
He gives us rest from the pressures of this life now.

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, 
and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. 
For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:19

Sometimes the greatest gift He can give if we do not grasp this is to bring
 this into the physical realm by taking us to Himself.
This too, is only His grace and mercy in action. 

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
  For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the
 Lord of both the dead and the living.
Romans 14:7-9

Just my random thoughts as I consider the concept of Resting In Peace.
What are your thoughts? 

May you R.I.P.
Now and Forever.
In life today and passing through death to life eternal.
By His grace.
Through Faith.

 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10

Those who walk uprightly 

   enter into peace; 

   they find rest as they lie in death.

Isaiah 57:2

Thoughts, comments, questions? 
My mind pondered after the onslaught of RIP messages tearing through
 all forms of social media recently.

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