Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Beautiful Contradiction

I’m a walking, living, breathing contradiction. A grammar snob who sometimes misplaces commas. A clean freak whose room looks like a bomb-kissed bookstore. I’m an exercise enthusiast who both loves and hates running and a fiction writer who’s forgotten how to plot a story.

I’ll contentedly snail my way through an autograph line, but I hate waiting for long-term goals to come to fruition.

I despise cold weather … I live in the Midwest.

I love to travel … I can’t stand long drives.

I’m a borderline Vegan who eats seafood. A workaholic who loves to play. A perfectionist lugging an ever-present bag of mistakes.

A sinner whom God calls “saint.” A filthy peasant whom the King of the universe calls “daughter.”

I am nobody. And yet, to the only One Whose opinion matters, I am one of a kind.

Perfection is not a requirement for admission into God’s adopted family. We’re strange, fickle creatures who strive tirelessly one moment to practice purity and goodness, and the next fall like a slaughtered calf, sacrificed to the idols of our soul.

 We need not hide from our Father in a dark corner every time we do something silly or even devastating to miss the mark of perfection. We need only to throw back our heads, spread our arms wide and relish in the downpour of forgiveness, grace, and love waiting to fall upon us from a Savior who sees our every fault and quirk and still chooses to call us His own.

Imperfect, yet sought after by the One Who invented perfection. Now that is a beautiful contradiction.


“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” ~ Ephesians 1:4-8, NLT

Friday, October 11, 2013

Limitless Potential

Simon Orwell has grown accustomed to living in the dust of abandoned dreams. A college dropout from a prestigious university, Simon’s life has turned out much like his last great science project – an unfinished mass of potential, set aside, regarded as an impossible failure. Too broken to accomplish that for which it was created. Settling for the mundane, Simon believes he is unworthy and incapable of fulfilling his greatest dream. That of changing the world.

 Summoned to Mexico by his elderly partner on the project that would have literally brought light to those living in darkness, Simon faces the bleakest prospect of a new chance. Perhaps not a chance to rejoin the project and rebuild his career as a scientist – that hope has all but faded like the dim light bulbs of the poor Mexican town – but maybe, just maybe, a chance to remedy at least a few of his past wrongs.

 Hope becomes an unreachable goal once again when Simon arrives in the tiny town of Ojinaga to the tragic news that his partner is dead. Natural causes of course. The same natural causes that now stalk Simon as a hunter stalks his prey. Simon is thrown from his unassuming life, thrust into a quest for answers as to who is behind the old professor’s death and what clues he left behind for his young protégé.

 Now, taking refuge at a struggling orphanage, Simon must accept the help of some of his late partner’s closest friends if he is to find answers. Because maybe, the unthinkable really is possible. Maybe he, like his project, really does have more potential than he thought. Maybe even the ability to light up the world.

Least favorite parts:

 The book was slightly predictable in a few spots, but overall that did not detract much from its readability.

Favorite parts:

Despite his own lack of confidence and vision for himself, Simon is enveloped by unmerited encouragement from the orphanage director (and friend to his deceased partner), Harold Finch. Harold pushes the unmotivated Simon to view his life as something more than what he has made it so far. To set goals. To believe in impossible dreams. Probably my favorite line in the book is when Harold tells him, “Son, that’s the power of dreams. If they’re not big, if they’re not impossible, they’re not worth investing your life.” (Unlimited, page 177)


 At a time when I, like Simon, doubted my potential and the gift God has planted within me, Unlimited glimmered into my reading life with a challenge – “be more.” Channel that wasted energy and potential. Believe in the dreams that God has buried in your very soul. Believe in His ability to make the impossible possible. Believe that you are destined to light up the dark.

 I believe this book will challenge you as well. Dare you to defy your doubt, to trust that when you allow God to direct your dreams, the results could be … unlimited.

I'm giving this book four glowing light bulbs out of five.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Heart Can Bleed ...

In a world as dark and foreboding as the fear that rules it, one man is entrusted with a centuries-old secret and awakened to a life forbidden for half a millennium. Having impulsively ingested a bit of ancient blood with only a cryptic message as his guide, Rom Sebastian discovers an unknown power that lies dormant in every soul. A throng of emotions – passion, sorrow, hope, love – beautiful and terrible at once, but so vastly far above the simple life of fear known to every inhabitant of the decomposing earth.

   Now on the run from a fearful government who views him as “out of Order,” Rom must choose either to live in the familiar clutches of fear or bravely seek out the truth behind these new emotions. To learn their purpose … and his.

   Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee serve up a heart-racing thriller that’ll engage your every emotion and leave you craving more while digesting a hard-hitting truth. The truth that true life is not one that sits back in pillow-fluffed ease while fearing the future. True life is one of seeking purpose beyond ourselves, no matter what the cost, and no matter what the pain along the way. “Because in life we risk death. … The heart can bleed. And it will.” (Forbidden, page 373)

   Once again, Dekker transports us to an alternate reality to help us better understand our own. Once again, he weaves a climactic tale of romance and redemption to remind us of a certain life-giving blood. Much like the power of that life-giving blood, this is a story that cannot possibly be understood through mere description … it must be experienced.



While similar in many ways to Dekker’s Circle series (and personally, I believe that Thomas Hunter plays an unseen role in this story, *wink, wink*) The Books of Mortals trilogy takes it up a notch on the violence scale. Okay, maybe several notches. (Think head-chopping violence and mega-creepy villains from Green and rack up their frequency a bit.) Also, the spiritual analogies are slightly more vague, at least in this first book of the series. But dig deep and think hard … the content is rich.