Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

Consider this the Christmas Letter, Alumni Update, New Years Resolution, Bucket List, Life Goal and general, all-round year-in-review extravaganza.
'Cause I missed the class on all of those.

In 2013 I successfully:
drove my pre-teens nuts
puked out my guts
and sent the dog through the windshield of the van

read a few books
got a few dirty looks
as I drove though the town in the van

cleaned off a shelf
found no magical elf
and did some grocery shopping with the van

folded nine thousand clothes
and even brought some of those
items home for my fam, in the van

dug and planted some seeds
in a yard full of weeds
after lugging supplies in the van

taught some classes for boys
who like to make noise
and sought silence in the refuge of my van

cooked a few hundred meals
and made a few deals
using coupons I keep in the van

wrote a few posts
and made a few boasts
about the kids I schlep around with the van

finished this in time
to meet my deadline
of the 2013 end of year

and might possibly be
the happiest me
if a Subaru replaces the van :)

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 5, 2013

book review : Chasing Hope

disclaimer: I was offered a free copy of this book in exchange for a written review.

Chasing Hope
a novel by Kathryn Cushman
Published by Bethany House Publishers

I run...sometimes...if I have to chase the dog.  The rest of the time, my aerobic activity might best be described as a jog.   A few years ago it would have been described as a sit.  That is, however, until a high school cross country coach offered open workouts with her team over the summer.   It was that summer when I learned about the physical and mental strength a runner of any level must develop.  I saw the dedication and rewards of commitment and training.  I saw the disappointment of falling short of a season goal, and the fortitude needed to try again the next day, month and year.

In Chasing Hope, Kathryn Cushman captures the essence of a runner's inner struggles, both with her body and her thoughts.  The story shows how a God given talent can be used, abused or misunderstood, but never ignored.  The conflicts the characters have with their own selves and with those closest to them do not shy away from pain and grief.  Each of the protagonists must do the hard work required to grow physically, spiritually and emotionally. 
While at times I felt the character of  Sabrina was written as much older than her chronological age (which did distract me), the allure of the real and humanly flawed characters pulled me back into the story.  Waiting to see if they had the perseverance to continue with a difficult task, a long-term commitment or a life changing decision.  Watching as each one wrestled with what it means to do "Big" things for God.  Wondering how I would handle their difficulties.

I would recommend this book to those who run...to and away from God.  His idea of a race well run may just surprise you. And get you off the couch.