Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Late last month, I finished reading the Bible through for my third time. I tried several times to read it cover to cover, but always got stuck in Leviticus. In January of 2004, my dad suggested that I start reading the Bible with the New Testament, because it was an easier read and would give me a better understanding of the Old Testament. That did the trick. My first time through I read the Revised Standard Version. It has some of the beautiful language of the King James Version, but it easier to comprehend. My second time through, I read a New Living Translation (NLT). I loved the modern language; it made the whole book more enjoyable. My third time through I read a New International Version, which was like a mix of the first two, and is currently the most popular version selling. Back in March, Jesse and I splurged and bought ourselves nice, leather bound Bibles to last us for our lifetimes. Mine is a NLT study Bible. Jesse's is an New American Standard Bible.

I plan to read this book for the rest of my life. In the past 4-1/2 years that I've been reading it, I've finished five journals and I'm halfway through my sixth. Sometimes I jot down Scripture that strikes my heart and how I feel it relates to me. Other times I fill pages with my prayers. While I tend to use this blog as a diary, it's censored. My journals are the director's cut with no holds barred. Sometimes I go back and read through entries and I'm always surprised to see how many prayers were answered, how much my faith has grown, and how much it's stayed the same. For a period of about four months in 2006, I didn't write at all. I continued reading the Bible every night, but I gave God my version of the silent treatment because I was angry about my RA. Since then, I've learned to write through the anger and pain knowing that He wants to hear it all from me.

I've told Jesse that when I die, I want him to burn all of the journals. I don't want my kids to read about my struggles with faith and even with them. But at the same time, part of me thinks that reading about my faith journey might help them with their own. Then again, I've finished 5-1/2 in less than five years. If I write for another forty years, my journals will take up a full bookcase! I know that journaling isn't for everybody, but for me, it's a blessing to put my heart on paper every night before I go to sleep.

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first book in the Sisters of the Heart series. Anna flees her abusive, powerful boyfriend Rob by going to Ohio's Amish country where her Amish friend Katie lives. Katie's family takes Anna in, and she adopts their clothing and ways in order to hide in their B&B. But Katie's older brother Henry takes an instant dislike to Anna with her fashionable clothing and makeup for bringing possible danger to his family's doorstep. Anna quickly falls in love with the Amish way of life: no constant noise, working together, simple clothing, and time to think and focus on God, and her search for the self that has been hidden is really the most powerful part of the book. Anna's relationship with her parents is very sad and all too realistic. The home she finds with the Amish allows her to become more and rather than remain hidden, for the first time, she finds her true identity. Gray's book is a wonderful story of faith and romance.

As promised, here is Doogie's video of Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls. This video, made with two other boys in the class, got them an A. And yes, that is my son starring as the Fat Bottomed Girl. This video is no reflection of my parenting skills!