The Book Aisle February 8, 2014
I walked into the book aisle tonight at the big box store. I looked around at all of the books that I wanted to read and instead of wanting to read, I had an overwhelming desire to write. Usually the book aisle inspires me to read. Not tonight. Tonight I wanted to write. Needed to write.
The first time I felt this physical pain to write was when I read through the Pioneer Woman’s first cookbook. She wrote my book! That was my book to write.
Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means suggesting that I am on the same level with her in photography, writing, cooking, or humor…or acreage. But I felt a pain in my soul that I had missed it. She wrote it and now it had been written and I would never get that chance.
It was weird to me, too.
I felt it a second time. More intense than before. It was September and I was at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. I was listening to Katherine Applegate, the author of The One and Only Ivan, and was moved to tears more times than I care to remember. Her presentation is on the Library of Congress website.
I think I was the only one in the audience who welled up with tears. But, in my defense, I really had no idea what to expect at this festival. I had never been before and was there only because it coincided with a conference that I had to attend for work. And my colleague was going so I did, too.
The festival was held on the national mall with the capitol in the background. The mall was filled with books, authors, and readers. These were not just any old authors. These were authors who had written books that were currently making the best seller’s list and in book clubs and read to children at bedtime and studied in university classes.
I was completely unprepared. I guess I don’t get out much… I was overwhelmed.
I had never heard of The One and Only Ivan.
My name is Ivan.
I am a gorilla.
It’s not as easy as it looks.”
Chapter 1 of The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newberry Award
I can’t quit put my finger on why I was so moved by this presentation. I have watched it again and did not have the same intense reaction, but for whatever reason, it was a moment in time when I grew, noticeably, grew. I felt it.
I took a step forward.
And it just so happened… November 6, 2013
It wasn’t long ago that I was sitting where you are sitting, proudly wearing my Kojie jersey or antennae, wondering what life had in store for me.
Would I have a great career or flounder?
Would I marry or be single?
Would I have children or not?
Would I experience good health or poor?
What would my life look like?
What did God want me to do? Missions? Grad School? Teach? Where do I go? What do I do?
–I wanted to do God’s will.–
What does that mean?
How do I know?
So…I prayed…and waited…and listened…There was no voice, no sign, nothing.
So…. I waited, I read my Bible, I went to my classes, I talked to my friends, my teachers, my family. I dated. NOTHING was clear.
So…I prayed. I prayed for wisdom and I prayed for peace.
I took a job teaching school in Nashville, TN. I taught for a year and I prayed, talked to my friends… and waited… and wondered…
Is THIS it? Did I miss something?
I spent that summer at Camp Tahkodah and taught sweaty, distracted, hyper campers how to ride horses.
And it just so happened…a tall, blond, handsome college student was also working at Camp that summer. I wasn’t interested. He was waaaay to young. But he convinced me otherwise and we married the following year.
And it just so happened…that we heard that Highway Church was looking for a youth minister. We went to church on that following Sunday and they said, “No. We are not looking for a youth minister. However, if you’re interested, we will hire you anyway.”
And it just so happened…
Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field.
Esther was in the King’s court.
Mary and Joseph had to be counted.
Saul went to Damascus.
And it just so happened that you…
Are in Searcy, Arkansas
At Harding University
I look behind me and I see the hand of God – I see his Providence.
I look forward and I don’t see clearly. I wonder. What’s next?
What is God’s will for me?
This is God’s will for me….”…to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.”, “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. … And love your neighbor as yourself…”
——–Go forward with confidence. Because of what lies behind you. Because of the mighty hand of God.
II Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…”
——–Go forward, but look back occasionally at his providential hand and say:
It just so happened.
Leaving Jerusalem June 14, 2013
Jill here… Our guide is amazing! His name is Yossi Paz and he has figured out what these kids like and boy have we had some adventures! Last night after dinner, we loaded up the bus again for an evening tour of the lights of Jerusalem. We walked on top of the walls of Jerusalem and peeked in on a Rabbinical school where we saw Jewish boys sitting in a room full of books studying the Torah. They do that for 18 hours each day. We also were able to walk through the cemetery where all the Jews want to be buried. It houses Absalom’s tomb and Zachariah’s tomb. The archeologist working on that site was Yossi’s friend and he left a door open for us so we were able to climb up into one of the temple’s and take a picture. We felt very Indiana Jonesish.
Our first stop this morning was the Mount of Olives for a great view overlooking Jerusalem. We reflected on how Jesus wept when he looked out over the city. Our next stop was the Garden of Gethsemane. It is one of the few places that looks very similar to what it would have looked like when Jesus was there. We were able to go off alone for some quiet time before coming back to reflect. We also spent some time in the wilderness.