Thursday, April 11, 2013

Life Beyond the Books

Since my blog these days has been mainly book reviews, I wanted to give you a little update on what's been happening in my family.  Reading is only a small part of my daily life...

I have been substitute teaching more often than not...and I enjoy it!  After being at all grade levels and in various positions, I must say that my favorite is teaching the younger grades.  The day is full and I actually get to TEACH (versus monitoring "study halls"), which makes the time go by quickly and is a better use of my brain.  I may not be the most skilled at behavior management, but I do a good enough job that they ask me to return! lol  One lesson I had to learn is to how to say "no".  If someone asks for my help it is very hard for me to turn them down.  But I realized that working 5 days a week was too stressful for me.  I need at least one day off to grocery shop and do some things around the house.  So my #1 rule is now to say NO once I have 4 days of the week scheduled.

My boys all have birthdays around this time of the year.  They are (or will soon be) 6, 8, & 10.  Some of my family members got this birthday surprise for them:

Meet Rocky!  He is a good puppy, but also takes a lot of time to train and care for!  Baseball season has also started.  My two younger boys will be on one team (with their dad as one of the coaches), and Jacob will be moving up to a kid-pitch team.  Lots of ball games in our near future!

The other big news in our house is that my husband will be making the transition from high school teacher to full-time worship pastor at our church this summer!  It is something he has been wanting for a long time.  It will mean lots of changes with our schedule and finances...many of them good changes :)  However, any change creates anxiety in me.  And the thought of becoming a "pastor's wife" is very intimidating!  God and I have been having lots of conversations about this recently...

I am also involved in two women's groups that meet on opposite weeks.  I've been challenged recently to start journaling again as part of my time with God, which of course means setting aside more time.  I can already see some future blog posts in the making coming from this process...(but most realistically not until the summer).

So that's my life in a nutshell.  Just trying to balance family, friends, chores, work, exercise, and rest, all while remaining flexible enough to be obedient to God's voice.  I don't expect to ever have it all together.  I simply hope to enjoy the journey.  Thank you for being a part of it!

This pic was just too cute not to share :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Captive in Iran

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh are two brave women who refused to compromise their faith in Jesus, even when threatened with torture and execution.  This book is the account of their 259 days in Evin Prison in Iran.  It opened my eyes to the injustice happening in Iran, strengthened my faith by demonstrating how God can work all things for good, and challenged me to examine the depth of my beliefs.

Living in the U.S. it is hard to imagine a place without justice or religious freedom.  A place where women are considered "property" and justice is in the hands of the party who has been wronged. We take so much for granted.  In Iran, there are many women imprisoned unfairly and held in terrible living conditions. Many of their stories are shared in these pages.  Maryam and Marziyeh went to prison for sharing their faith with others.  But what they discovered was that they were put "in the best place they had ever been for witnessing to people hungry for the gospel of Jesus."  The authorities thought prison would teach these girls a lesson.  Instead, God got the last laugh.  The prison became their church.  Between being able to minister to the people there and the world-wide publicity their case received, the gospel was spread even further!

I was struck by something Anne Graham Lotz wrote in the forward.  Maryam and Marziyeh told her that "it had been easier for them to experience God's peace and presence and power inside Evin Prison than on the outside in America."  Wow.  They could have been released much sooner from prison had they compromised their faith, but they didn't.  Would many Christians in America be able to do the same thing?  Would I?

This book is well-written and worth the time to read.  May we stop taking our freedom for granted and lift up in prayer those who aren't as fortunate.  Thank you, Maryam and Marziyeh, for sharing your story with the world.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.