The Subtleties Of Life...

It's that time again in the Anderson household, the time where cold evenings, fresh cut grass, the crack of a bat, the snap of a ball hitting a glove and the smell of a smokey barbecue fills our senses. It's time for baseball! This year both of our boys are playing. Two different teams, two different leagues, two very different boys and two extremely proud parents. Read more

The Subtleties Of Life…

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It’s that time again in the Anderson household, the time where cold evenings, fresh cut grass, the crack of a bat, the snap of a ball hitting a glove and the smell of a smokey barbecue fills our senses. It’s time for baseball! This year both of our boys are playing. Two different teams, two different leagues, two very different boys and two extremely proud parents.

It’s funny how sometimes it’s the subtle things in life that carry the most weight. Unfortunately they are also often the most overlooked. I have a hard time believing that God is ever really silent, I believe he is constantly shouting his affections for us from the balconies of heaven and that they really would echo through the halls of our lives if we would take the time to slow down and listen. Like I said earlier, I’m learning it’s the subtle things that seem to carry the most weight.

I’m one of the coaches on my oldest son Tre’s team. The other night we found ourselves in a position where we were up 8-7 in a rain soaked, cold game with only two innings left. Our starting pitcher had reached the 75 pitch limit and with no other pitchers available the head coach looked to Tre and asked him to bring it home. My heart sank, he’s never pitched before, in fact he’s never even thrown from the mound. He nervously accepted the challenge, wiped the rain from his hat and took the lonely walk to the mound where he proceeded to blow not only this dad away, but pretty much everyone else. He struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced and got the save. Everyone was shouting and ran out and greeted him at the mound when it was over. It was an amazing moment for not only him, but for me as his dad. I can honestly say that it was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had watching the team give him the game ball. He left that night and fell asleep with the biggest smile on his face. Last night we were back out on the field and Tre was tabbed as the starting pitcher against the best team in the league. To say he was nervous would be an understatement & I even more so, lets just say it didn’t end in the same fashion. He did great, but his nerves got to him a little. We lost 9-2, & he blamed himself. No matter what I said that look of disappointment didn’t disappear & there wasn’t a smile this time as he fell asleep.

Normally when we get to his school in the morning he is excited to get out and see his friends yelling I love you as the door slams shut. Today, he didn’t even open the door. I looked back and he apologized to me for his performance on the mound. Talk about ripping your heart out. I did my best to lift this little guy up and assure him of how proud I was of not only his baseball prowess but the man he is becoming. The hardest part was that my words didn’t seem to be penetrating the weight of emotion he was carrying. I got to the office and proceeded to edit some of the pics taken from last night when I saw this…

There I was forced to stare at the look of disappointment again. I began to pray for him, I prayed that he would know just how proud I was and that no matter what happens that nothing would change how I feel about him. That he was my son and that would never change. When I then could hear that subtle voice saying that no matter what I do the Father loves me and that I’m his son and that that would never change. It’s funny in that moment staring at that very picture above, the overwhelming feeling of love that I have towards my son, my God has for me. I began to think of all the times where I’ve felt disappointed and discouraged in myself, feeling the walls of life closing in only now to see that there was the love of a cross holding those walls back. Thank God for subtle lessons.

Book Review – A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

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Honestly A Million Miles In A Thousand Years was one of the most entertaining & captivating books I’ve ever read. Normally, being a married father of two in full time ministry I’m a guy that consumes a book in about 2-3 weeks. A Million Miles was a 3 setting book, I just couldn’t put it down. Donald Miller has a way of keeping an intriguing story line brewing with his disjointed style of writing. You as the reader find yourselves getting lost in not only the story written, but also in the idea of making sure you’re writing a good story with your own life. As Donald Miller himself puts it:

“…The book is really about a couple of guys who introduce themselves to me. They were film makers and they wanted to make a movie about a book I’d written called “Blue Like Jazz” which is a memoir. But in the process of creating that screenplay, they had to edit and change so much of my actual life, basically they had to make a bunch of stuff up to make my life more meaningful and exciting for the screen. So i studied the principles of stories that screenwriters use to make a story more meaningful and i began to apply those actual principles to my real life to make my real life more meaningful… I talk about those principles, i talk about the adventures i went on as i began to apply them to my life and what it takes to make a story beautiful when the credits roll at the end of it you feel fulfilled. And that can happen in our lives to not just in movies…”

For me once again one of the best parts of this book is the author’s ability to keep you as the reader completely captivated in the story. Tugging on all of your emotions from laughing to holding back tears as you join him in his pursuit of living a meaningful life. You then find yourself wondering what your life will look like as the curtains close and the credits roll.

“…the stories we often tell ourselves are very different than the stories we tell the world…”

“…The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.” – Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years

I actually was kind of sad when I closed the book. I was so caught up in the pursuit that I didn’t want it to be over. And then I realized now I get to better write my own.

Book Review – Fresh Start by Doug Fields

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If you had the chance to change your life for the better, would you? All it takes is a decision.

Trapped by harmful habits, behaviors, and attitudes, we struggle to become the person God has created and called us to be. Saddleback Church teaching pastor Doug Fields says it’s never too late to get a fresh start. With personal stories and youthful writing, Doug challenges readers to recognize that they may say they want God in their lives, but they really don’t want to change. They are stuck. He says, “It’s not about trying harder, it’s about plugging into God’s transforming power and submitting your entire life to Christ. Age doesn’t matter; fresh starts are for everyone.” Topics include:

  • Dealing with pride
  • Defining success
  • Living with guilt
  • Struggling with conflicts
  • Finding true friendships
  • Overcoming discouragement
  • Facing rejection
  • Attacking Anger

Unlike Doug Fields other works, I did find “Fresh Start” a little difficult to dive into. Although the book provides some pretty good content, I found myself wanting to skip ahead to different areas of the book that might prove to be more beneficial. I do believe this book would be beneficial for newer believers while also working as a great group guide for these people. The author has a way of just scratching the surface of some of very difficult issues that  people find themselves dealing with but would definitely lead to some healthier discussions and conversations in a group setting.

(This book was provided for free by Thomas Nelson)

Book Review – Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

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(Reviewed by Heidi Anderson)

In today’s world, can a woman truly “have it all”? A fulfilling career full of passion and performance? A belief that she is truly becoming the best, authentic version of herself? A happy, healthy life outside of work?

The book “Find Your Strongest Life” really dealt with the fears and questions that women tend to have concerning taking risks. For me it really brought things out clearly as to why some of us women feel the stress of life and are overwhelmed by the decisions that we tend to make in our culture today.

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to help women draw enough strength from life to feel fulfilled, loved, successful, and in control. Even more, he helps women reconnect with their purpose and gives a starting point for change. A research-based message that applies to work and life, Find Your Strongest Life shows women a “unified theory” for how they really can have it all . . . the right kind of all.

Not being much of a risk taker myself, the book definitely gave me some guidance in following my strengths and making decisions without regret. Again not being much of a risk taker myself it did show me my strong moments and how these moments have caused me to grow and will continue to cause me to grow.

(This book was provided for free by Thomas Nelson)

Book Review – “Primal” by Mark Batterson

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Our generation needs a reformation.
But a single person won’t lead it.
A single event won’t define it.
Our reformation will be a movement of reformers living creatively, compassionately, courageously for the cause of Christ.

This reformation will not be born of a new discovery.  It will be the rediscovery of something old, something ancient.

Something primal.

What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible? You would have more, not less. You would have the beginning of a new reformation—in your generation, your church, your own soul. You would have primal Christianity.

This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again.

Mark Batterson, Primal

PrimalCVR-highres

Already being a fan of Mark Batterson’s previous Books In a pit with a lion on a snowy day & Wild Goose Chase, I was excited to receive an advanced copy of Primal – A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity to review. That excitement only continued with each page as I was led back to a primal place in my own life. Just as Mark described in the opening pages with his journey down the catacombs of an ancient church building in Rome, you to are taken back to the ancient places of loving God in your own heart. Although not completely lost, I found myself accepting his invitation to find again that primal faith and love that once had me.

Broken down into four sections “The Heart of Christianity”, “The Sould of Christianity”, “The Mind of Christianity” and “The Strength of Christianity” you as the reader find yourself not just flipping pages, but digging deeper into your own heart and life with God by experiencing something that a lot of books fail to bring. This book isn’t just full of information and an author’s opinion but rather instruction and a challenge to resurrect what was intended from the beginning, to live fully for the great commandment.

In concluding the book, Batterson poses an invitation. An invitation to “…Be apart of something that is bigger than you, more important than you, and longer lasting than you.”. Go get the book and accept the invitation, I did!