Sunday, April 11, 2010

On "Chasing Vermeer"

I recently had the privilege of joining a first-ever teacher's book club at our school. We are called "The Lunch Bunch", and at our first meeting, each chose a children's book that had made the top 100 list of newly published books. We were to read the book and be ready to discuss it at the following meeting two weeks later.

I chose "Chasing Vermeer", by Blue Balliett. I was interested because it was a mystery about children trying to solve the case of a missing Vermeer painting. That is the simple, one sentence summary. Like all good mysteries, there are many twists, turns, and seemingly unrelated events.

After all, who would ever think to link the number twelve, frogs, pentominoes, a strange book entitled "Lo!", and an ancient, priceless work of art? I will confess I never would have dreamed it! You'll just have to read this book to discover how they all fit pieces of a puzzle!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries. As I said earlier, this is a children's book; the main characters being six-graders. But as an adult...I was certainly captivated!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Several years ago my brother gave me a book for Christmas entitled "The Sacred Romance" by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. It revolutionized the way I understood Christ's love for me. After that, I wanted to inhale any other works by Eldredge.

One that I started awhile back and for some reason put down (then misplaced for over a year) was "Desire". I recently picked it back up and began reading it from where I had left off. Last night I began the chapter entitled "The Great Thwarter". I automatically assumed Eldredge would be referring to Satan. I could not have been more wrong.

He went on to explain that sometimes, because we replace our desire for God with other things (even good things like work, and church activities, and sports) and make plans regarding those things, and spend so much time thinking about those things that they become an addiction of sorts, or our idols—God chooses to remove those from our lives. He thwarts our plans. He takes away the "things" that we are using to appease our desires in hopes that we will begin to desire Him again.

Eldredge maintains that God created us for ecstasy, for pleasure, for love, for adventure. But we were supposed to experience all these things with HIM. We live in a fallen world now, and so we are filled instead with desire. God longs for us to desire him, so HE can fulfill that need for all of the above.

Its very thought provoking, and a little frightening, to be honest. I began to wonder what "things" I was replacing God with. And I began to pray that my plans and goals would truly not take the place of my love for Him.

I want to make two things clear, as I try to put my thoughts down on "paper".
1. Eldredge states clearly that not every bad circumstance in our life is God trying to get our attention. We live in a broken world and sometimes bad things happen.
2. I have not finished the book, in fact am only 1/2 way I feel certain there are more things for me to learn.

My prayer is that, just as "The Sacred Romance" showed me the true love of Christ for me, this book will teach me how understanding "Desire" can help me reach out and grasp the life God has planned for me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A "Must Read"

"Just Waiting for the Bell" by elementary school principal, David Wehmeyer, is a "must read" for anyone who has ever worked in public education! This short, anecdotal book gives insight and wisdom into the common (and not so common) occurrences in the life of a school administrator.

I laughed out loud many times as Mr. Wehmeyer shared stories that could very well have happened in my own elementary school. His dry humor is irresistible, and I found myself eagerly wondering what he was going to say next.

Without giving away any specifics, my favorite chapters were "Kamakazi Hugs" and "Duck!" You'll just have to buy the book and read for yourself to find out why!!