Thursday, October 27, 2011

Building Recognition

Bianca and I were driving eastbound on Route 40 yesterday. As we were passing some buildings, BiBi asked from the back seat, "What's that, Mommy?" The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Me: That's a restaurant, sweetie.
Bi: No, Mommy. That's church.

(Keep in mind that we attend a seed church that is currently located inside of a business park, so I didn't think anything of that response.)

Bi: What's that, Mommy?
Me: That's a motel.
Bi: No, Mommy. That's church. (pause) What's that, Mommy?
Me: That's a store where they sell tractors.
Bi: No, Mommy. That's church.

At this point I begin thinking, "Ok...every building is church to her."

So when we come to the red light next to the Toys R Us, and she asks me "What's that?" naturally I respond with, "That's church, sweetie," thinking she would be quite pleased that I finally caught on.

Her response? "No, Mommy. That's toys!"

Oy vey!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This past Sunday, our church kicked off a two-year initiative simply called 212. As way of explanation, at 211 degrees, water sits calm and still in the pot. But at 212 degrees, it boils and moves and comes to life. At 212 degrees, water undergoes a transformation and begins turning into steam: something powerful enough to move a locomotive or generate electricity.

At CCC, we want the same to be true about our own lives and our relationships with God. It’s possible for us to come to church, sing the songs and listen to the message, and never really be moved to become something more than we currently are. We can attend a small group and form relationships, but still never grow. We can serve and help others, but never be transformed into the people God dreams us to be.

Over the next two years, we will be going on a journey to turn up the heat in our lives, to become 212 kind of people. We are hoping that God will transform us into something new: into people who trust God is amazing ways and who are radically generous with our lives.

I’m personally really excited about this process. I know God will move in big ways in our hearts, in our church, in our community, and in the world. I can’t wait to be a witness to it all. I am honored that I find myself a part of CCC at such an exciting time.

I was given a promise last year that I would experience an Ephesians 3:20 decade, and I finally feel like it is here. I am ready to turn up the heat and be transformed. I’m ready to recalibrate my life, living each day with a sense of adventure and excitement, with following Jesus at the center of it all.

I’m ready to Live a Radically Generous Life!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Our Last Great Hope

I have a confession – Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd has been in my possession since August. (I’m sure that fact has the best of the book-review bloggers cringing!) I started reading the book while I was away at the Women of Faith conference. I never finished.

Honestly, realizing how much time had passed without a review, I was considering merely skimming the book and glancing at other reviews in order to craft my own. But here’s the thing: after I started skimming the chapters, I felt compelled to start reading. It was this paragraph that tugged at my heart strings:

In Matthew 7:23 Jesus warns us that some people will be shocked at the final judgment when He says to them, “I’m sorry, but I never knew you.” These people will be wearing the right Christian t-shirts. They’ll have frequented all the trendy Bible study groups, and they are likely to have nothing but contemporary Christian music playing in their earbuds as they wait in line to enter heaven.

Immediately I recognize myself in that line and wonder if Jesus would find my name written in the Book of Life. With that thought in mind, I begin to read again.

I realize that some readers might not agree with Floyd’s doctrine. I know others have different ideas of what discipleship and evangelism really look like and entail. No matter what your personal set of beliefs, I think this book is still worth reading.

If nothing else, Floyd makes you stop and think. He helps you to consider your own actions in the area of evangelism (or lack of such.) Are you ok with the reality of your own status quo, or are you being called to do more in terms of bringing more lost souls into God’s kingdom? Only you will decide the answer to that question.

I rated the book 4 stars because the content did lead me to evaluate my current efforts in the area of the Great Commission. However, as you can see by the expanse of time that went by without a review, the book really wasn’t compelling enough in the beginning to draw me back in. I never once thought to myself, “Gee, I really want to finish that book.” It was more like, “{grumble, grumble} I still haven’t read that pesky book yet. BookSneeze is surely unhappy with me.”

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adversion to the Number 4

For an unexplainable reason, Bianca does not seem to like the number 4. When she counts, she says, "One, two, three, five, six...." She also likes to march and say "Hup, two, three, five!"

OK - in those cases, maybe she got a little confused....However, yesterday, my Aunt Dot called me at work to say that Bianca was counting in Spanish (thank you very much, Dora!) and said, "uno, dos, tres, cinco."

I can't explain why, but one thing's for sure: The number of the day in the Martin household certainly WON'T be 4!


I have a confession: lately I've been carrying around a load of anger. I'm still not exactly sure where it's stemming from, but I feel the burn in the pit of my belly way too much lately. I'm mad at my husband for promising a life for us that didn't materialize. I'm mad at my supervisor when she uses her authority over me. I'm mad at my body for not giving me the results I want on the scale. I'm mad that there are so many unloved children in the world. I'm mad at myself for being so mad all the time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Espresso for Your Spirit

Espresso for Your Spirit: Hope and Humor for Pooped-Out Parents” by Pam Vredevelt is a devotional of sorts written for parents who need a little pick-me-up. The author hopes that the book will bring refreshment for the soul the way that espresso brings energy to the body.

Each chapter starts with a Bible verse. Then a story surrounding the mundane adventures of parenting is told. The chapter concludes with a “Power Perk,” which could be anything from a humorous anecdote, inspirational quotes, or a favorite Bible verse. At the end of the book, you will find “Koffee Klatch Questions,” intended to be discussed with a friend or two – over a delicious cup of coffee, of course.

This may seem silly, but my favorite part of the book was the “Espresso Lingo.” Now I never again have to wonder the difference between a latte vs. a macchiato vs. a cappuccino! Thank you, Ms. Vredevelt!

I must admit that I didn’t exactly love this book like I love my Mocha Lattes. Though it was a cute, fun read, my soul didn’t exactly perk up after reading it. The one thing I did particularly enjoy, though, was the reminder that we as parents won’t ever be perfect. We aren’t alone in the mistakes we sometimes make. There will be days when we’re disheveled. There will be others when we simply don’t have the energy to get out of bed. But despite all of that, God is right there with us. If we keep our eyes and hearts focused on Him, He will give us all the respite and hope we need to keep on going.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On the Horizon

Perhaps it is due to the beautiful colors and crisp air of Fall, but the feeling of change is saturating the air. I must admit that I was beginning to feel a bit disappointed that the Ephesians 3:20 decade I was promised wasn't quite coming to pass. But now, all of a sudden, my insides are quivering with anticipation.

Though I don't know what it is, I sense that something wonderful is just around the bend. Something significant that will change my life as I know it. My Ephesians 3:20 decade is going to show up in an incredible, currently unimaginable way. I can't wait to see what's in store!

What about you? Is anyone else filled with an unexplained feeling of giddy anticipation?

Friday, October 14, 2011

A&P - 1 Year Later

If you can't tell, that is a picture of a dissected sheep's brain. Cutting open the tiny organ was today's lab activity in our A&P class. This exercise confirmed that I will never be a medical doctor! (I was a bit grossed out and nauseous by the whole process.)

I can't really explain, though, how proud and excited I am to have gotten this far in the class. I look back at my first attempt at A&P. I never made it to the first exam, let alone a dissection. But look at me now: heading into midterms with a 98%.

It just reminds me how badly my postpartum depression was affecting me. I literally felt like I was living in a fog. My brain simply wasn't functioning properly. I don't know what I was thinking attempting to take a 4 credit class in that state. But none of that matters now.

What matters is that I am clear-headed, focused, and intent on embracing the life I know I was created to live. I don't know how long it will take to get there, but I am certainly on my way!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Life Like That

Working in the Center for Vaccine Development at University of Maryland has its positives. The past two days I have heard fascinating lectures from brilliant scientists. Yesterday, I heard Dr. Gregory Poland, Director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, speak on the future of the personalized vaccinology. (He also handed me a plate in the breakfast line!)
Today, I listened as Dr. Hilary Koprowski, the inventor of the world's first effective live polio vaccine, told the story of his life. This man, who is considered a living legend in the field of medicine, has lived a very full and rich life.
He earned a degree in music while simultaneously earning his medical degree. He married the love of his life and raised a happy family. He retired from medicine, only to become certified in scuba diving in his 70's and started composing music in his 80's. He is a published author, and at age 95, he is still giving lectures. I am awed at his accomplishments.
At the same time, I am challenged by him. No, I may not achieve the fame or accolades in my lifetime like Dr. Koprowski did. But I can live the same kind of happy, full life that he has lived. He has consistently honored and cultivated his mind, body and spirit, and has remained true to himself and his beliefs even when faced with adversity. This is something to emmulate. This is a well-lived life that is available to each and every one of us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Living with Intention

Even though I had planned to write about living with intention every day in the month of October, sadly, it doesn’t look like this exercise will come to fruition.

One of my co-workers commented to me the other day, “You say you have no time, and I believe it. You work non-stop, you go to school, you work with a trainer, you go to your moms’ group, you are involved at church, you blog, and every weekend, you seem to have something planned. I don’t know how you manage take care of your husband and daughter in that schedule.” This passing comment from a mere acquaintance has been lingering in my head.

I am well aware what Titus 2, 1 Timothy 3 and Proverbs 31 say. I know that my priority – my life’s main ministry and calling – is to take care of my husband, my children, and my home. So why am I doing everything but what God has commanded me to do?

In this season of fall, I am taking a good, hard look at my life. Evaluating all of my activities and questioning whether they are the best use of my time. After all, if my family is being neglected at the expense of my busyness, then clearly something needs to change. Harry and Bianca are the best parts of my life, and I don’t want them questioning that fact.

Last night during my small group, the ladies who were gathered tried to make me feel better by saying, “You are providing for your family.” I still beg to wonder, though, am I providing them with the things that truly matter?

At Women of Faith, Steph and I heard a message about pruning. Just as it’s important to prune a rose bush to make it grow fuller, it is also important to cut things, people, activities, practices, etc from our lives that are restricting our growth into the people that God calls us to be.

I think it’s time for my pruning to begin!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Proof that My Brain is No Longer Functioning Properly

I just threw away a brand-new purple crayon and put a half-eaten pretzel rod away in the crayon box.
And to think I'm supposed to performing above par tomorrow at work.... Oy vey!