Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strangers & Aliens--by Trey Dunham {a review}

My friend Trey wrote a book. 
And I read it.
I want you to read it too-because he is my friend, but also because it is a very good book.

The book is called Strangers & Aliens: An Anecdotal Commentary on 1 Peter.  The cover makes sure to explain it as “A Bible commentary for people who love stories, not commentaries.” And that is a really wonderful and true description of the book. It walks through the book of 1 Peter not by explaining every term from the Greek (although he does use Greek here and there) or endless amounts of cross referencing (although again-where appropriate), but rather by offering stories. And Trey has a million of them.

I met Trey right after my senior year of high school. My first experience with him was a very long and ridiculously over-my-head sermon that he gave to a college ministry I was involved in called This Generation. I found out shortly after that sermon that he would be taking over as the pastor because our current pastor was planting a church elsewhere. I remember sitting on a porch with my boyfriend (now husband) and a couple of our friends and being so off-put by this big-word-using, philosophically-minded man who was going to come in and change all the things we were doing. I mean he had already told us the name was being changed to h2o-blasphemy. As a 17 going on 18 year old, I was appalled. Who did he think he was?

I think it is somewhat natural to resist change-even if we know it will be for our good. Even if we see that somehow it is going to be better on the other side. Change is scary-and maybe we would rather just stay the same. I think that is what was really going on in our heads as my friends and I lamented the rise of new leadership on that warm evening back in 2002. Who knew that a year later, Trey would be the one who married me and my husband? Or that two years later, he would baptize us. Or that seven years later, we would follow him out of a big ole church into a living room of 8 people because we so believed in the vision that he had for what church could really be like.

So it doesn’t surprise me that Trey writes a Bible commentary that isn’t really a commentary. It also doesn’t surprise me that it is so good, and so captivating, and so thought-provoking.  He isn’t afraid to change it up. To chart new courses. To try something else. And it works. The book fluidly goes from stories about Nepal and New Guinea and Trey’s wonderfully eccentric family to how God wants us to live in Him here as Strangers and Aliens. Instead of some lofty exposition, he uses real life experiences that we all can understand and relate to.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when Trey writes about 1 Peter 1:13-15—the part about being holy. I mean, I really want to know what this whole “Be holy because I am holy” thing is all about. Trey explains it with a food fight-because of course, when I think of HOLINESS, I think of food fights. But he says “I threw the cookie because everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to be different.” (p 34). He goes on to explain “Not that being different is the goal, but some of the most intriguing captivating people I know are those who seem totally unaffected by the opinions and trends of the crowd around them. They are kind, nice, polite, sociable, but totally unaffected by what others think. They are just going to do what God says is right. In my mind, that is holiness. And I like it.”  I do too. I like being able to see holiness that way.

I love that Trey changed it up again. He took a kind of boring genre of books (sorry commentary authors!!) and brought something new and revitalizing and interesting. And I can’t see 1 Peter the same anymore. I want to always read the Word like that. To be changed. To see things in a new way in a hope to be more like Christ on the other side of it. And I want that for all my brothers and sisters around the world. So if you like stories and you like Jesus, grab a copy of Strangers & Aliens TODAY!! You can find all the info you need at TREYDUNHAM (dot) com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

6 years a miracle

I wrote about Libby before-the story of before she got here. You can read it here; I won't go into that part much today. Because today is the day we celebrate the miracle that Libby is. [Now, Joe, if you ever read this, don't think you aren't just as miraculous. You were the wonderfully normal and easy pregnancy that produced a wonderfully "normal" and funny and cute kid. We love you! You completed our family in a way that only you could.]

The little girl that no one thought would be born turns 6 today. She is still tiny-a mere 35 pounds-but seems giant compared to the 2 pound 2 ounce little baby that made an appearance 6 years ago, and made out little family of 2 into a family of 3. Her life has not been the easiest-leg braces, physical therapy, and more surgeries than the rest of us combined. But you would never know it from her awesome disposition. She is just a wonderfully cool kid. She has a quirky sense of humor and a tender heart. The other night as I was putting them to bed, I heard her laughing in her room. I went in and asked her what she was laughing about. Her response is classic Libby. "Oh you know, I was being silly with God. I told him that verses come from cheese." And then she melted into one of her laughs and slapped her knee. And God probably was chuckling with her because you can't help but smile when she makes silly jokes (even if it is the same joke over and over).

She loves food, and can easily put away 3 pieces of pizza in a sitting. She will try anything-tofu, shrimp, spinach noodles. I have yet to put something in front of her that she won't at least try. Her favorite food-ribs. She loves school and reading-a quality of mine that I am so excited to share with her. She is a sponge! She loves wearing dresses and being fancy, but isn't afraid to get dirty. I've realized that the best thing I can do for her is to stay out of her way. She has made her own way from the very beginning. And I have no reason to doubt that she will continue to do that from here on out.

Happy Birthday Libby Lou Lally!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A lovely reminder

I found this image here when looking up images for Psalm 27. A twitter friend Amanda shared 27:14 yesterday and it is a verse that has a lot of meaning to me anyway. I took a look at it in several different  translations, and was struck by the Message (shh--don't tell any biblical scholars) "Stay with God. Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God!" And the reason that I can keep moving forward and have purpose and be confident is because of what God did for me. So I'll keep going - and not quit - and *try* not to worry. Happy Monday everyone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bar Prep is all-consuming

Thus my lack of posts.
We have actually been doing some really fun things. We went camping. Which surprisingly was not terrible. The kids loved being outside all the time. Our camp site was right next to the bathrooms and the park--VERY convenient! We trekked over to Blackwater Falls to enjoy the view on Saturday-which was great! The only downside was a pair of raccoons and a skunk that really wanted to be our friends.

Last weekend we had a fun Saturday spent at the farmers market, and then to a birthday party at some new friends (old in some ways since Corey graduated with Sam) house. Our kids jumped right into the festivities-nearly running over almost everyone at the party in the electric car, getting soaking wet with water balloons and ending the evening in the birthday boys clothes.  I'd give it an A+ for funness.

Sunday was Father's Day-which turned out to be a fun day despite the fact that I sliced my thumb pretty good and had to go to Urgent Care. My (very wonderful and understanding) husband took me, and shushed me every time I said I was sorry for ruining Father's Day.
Yesterday we celebrated Joe turning 4. OH MY GOODNESS MY BABY IS FOUR. Where have these years gone? He is such a fun kid. Corey let him spend some of his birthday money at our local toy store and then took him out to lunch. The whole family got for-yo after dinner! It was pretty laid back, but such a great day spent celebrating our little man.

The rest of my time is spent studying...and running....and cooking...and trying desperately to stay as sane as possible. I'm not off my rocker yet. But there is still a whole month to go...

Friday, June 8, 2012

WINNER! and other news

I am happy to announce that LAUREN is the winner of a free copy of Real {Fast} Food by Trina Holden!! I can't wait to hear about the recipes that you try! For all you ladies that did not win-I HIGHLY recommend buying a copy for yourself here. You won't regret it. The other day I roasted a chicken per her instructions. Mind boggling good. AND I'm going to use the carcass for stock. AWESOME!

In other news, we are going camping this weekend. I am not a camper; I've been twice in my life-neither time was it very fun. But alas, the hubs has decided to be outdoorsy, so I am going along. Luckily we are going with another family, so the kids will have other kids to play with rather than bickering amongst themselves which has become their new favorite thing to do. In an effort to ensure that I at least eat really well, I made some yummy snacks for the trip.

I of course made Trina's bread for sandwiches-I really can't say enough about this bread. It's delic. I also grabbed a couple of recipes from themarathonmom. Specifically, the chocolate peanut granola bars and creamy jalapeno dip. This dip is sooooo good. Cilantro, jalapeno, ranch. Add some chips and I am in heaven-even with bugs and dirt. Finally, I made my black bean hummus (or paste if you are offended to use hummus in connection with anything but garbanzo beans). It is a nice change up from the regular stuff, and it has become a staple snack in our house for the last year or so.

I will certainly post how the trip goes. I'm hoping for lucky number 3 to be the one to change my view on the great outdoors.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pick your battles

Yesterday started off not great. Too little sleep + Corey getting called in + a 3 year old that can go from normal to ANGRY in a breath = exhaustion by 9 AM. Joe is tough sometimes. He is the sweetest kid in the world when he wants to be. He is the hardest kid in the world when he wants to be. And when he decides to be tough and irrational (can a 3 year old be irrational, I don't know) and stubborn, it WEARS ME OUT.

So yesterday we fought about clothing. We fought about breakfast. We fought about playing on my phone. So when we got in the car to go to church and Joe found his helmet and put it on, I had no more energy to fight with him. When he wanted to wear it into church, I let him. He wore it to the grocery store. He would have worn it to take a nap, but he had regained an ounce of logic by then and didn't fight me when I asked him to take it off.

Over the many years of my parenthood - I am oh so wise after 6 years of this thing :) - I have learned there is an art to picking battles. Some things matter. Some don't. But I forget to remember sometimes too. I forget that no one cares what Joe wears to church (certainly not Jesus). And it doesn't matter if he wants the exact same breakfast every single day. He's a stubborn kid; he's competitive; he has made me want to pull my hair out on more than one occasion. BUT he is mine. And I love every piece of him. Even when we meet out fight quota at 9 AM. Even when we battle.

PS--Don't forget to read my review of Trina Holden's Real {Fast} Food and leave a comment. You will be entered for a chance to win a copy of the book--and it is AWESOME!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week 3? I have no idea what day it is...

I think I am just finishing up the third week of bar prep nonsense. The days kind of melt together. Did I watch that Evidence video on Tuesday or Wednesday? Was it both? By the end of the day my brain hurts from trying to stuff in all this information. Add into that a kind of crazy work schedule for Corey this last week and it was tough.  I think that is why I was so encouraged when I read Beth Moore's words a couple days ago.

It says "When we don't know what, when, where, or how, we can trust in who. We won't always find our answers, but we can always find our God when we seek Him with all our hearts. And He will love and comfort us until all other answers come." Sigh. I need to hear that all the time. That even when I don't understand what is going on, I can find comfort in what I DO KNOW. And I KNOW Him. I KNOW that God loved me so much that He sent his Son-Jesus-to die on a cross for my sin and in my place. I KNOW that Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. And I KNOW that by believing in Him, I have eternal life.

At the end of 1 John, there is are a couple verses that I love about what we KNOW. "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true-even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5: 19-20).

I may not know all about Evidence yet-or Conflicts-or Civil Procedure-or any of the other topics that I will need to know by July 24-25. But I can take comfort in what I do know-in WHO I know.

PS!--Don't forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of Trina Holden's book Real {Fast} Food.