Category Archives: Reviews

Are you a Bubblicious Christian?

Jen Hatmaker does it again. Makes you laugh…makes you cry…and makes you wish you were her BFF all in the course of a few minutes.

I’m specifically talking about her revised and expanded book, “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity.” I came up with a little review by giving just three disclaimers for the book, then I’ll share my fav quotes and we’ll call it a day.

 Disclaimer 1

There isn’t a single way you can read this book and not get all squirmy living in “the bubble.” Reading it means your heart, mind and spirit are at risk of being disturbed, interrupted and likely changed. Hence the book title.

Disclaimer 2 Every time I read a blurb (since moms of littles have to read 2.2 pages at a time), my head was stuffed, like it had just devoured a banquet of brain food. It is challenging and unsettling because of its gospel-driven ferocity and fervor.  “Interrupted” ain’t your happy-go-lucky-Christian-novel.

Nope. This is raw and gritty and real. It’s a story told by a woman (plus her hubby who pipes in every few chapters) who was asked by God to give up a pretty comfortable Christian life and live differently.  This book will likely challenge your theology and ministry philosophy as well as loosen those strings of materialism that love to tighten themselves around your heart.

Disclaimer 3

It has some stats that will leave you wide eyed.

For example, “Fifty-seven million children worldwide work every day instead of go to school.” And “Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.”

I have lived basically my whole life under the shelter of a comfortable, Upper Middle Class Bible-belt-ish community. And you know what is easy to do in this comfortable little world? Snuggle up in the safety. Unfortunately, the safe places are where the scales and planks breed. It’s easy to “sorta” and “try to” live out the great commission, but it’s not easy to devote my whole life to it…like Jesus asks and deserves. Sure, I’ve said I want to “go outside of the four walls” … but I have found that difficult to actually walk out.

This book tells the story of Jen and Brandon’s move to do just that: church outside of the church walls, a barefoot church. (There’s a gut-wrenching story in the book of a compelling Easter alter call to give up their shoes…read: new cowboy boots…for the homeless….gah, this story is GOLD and requires Kleenex.) The pieces fell together for a church plant in Austin, TX, and guys, the way they do ministry is breathtaking. It’s different…radical…inspiring. It’s hecka hard to swallow, but gosh darn it, it is Biblical!

The only criticism I have is that I wanted more. Instead of ending, I wish the book had kept going with an epilogue full of what their church looks like today.  I’m thinking they should include a flash drive taped to the back cover with an emotional video compilation of pictures put to song..and some hidden camera vids of their small groups, conversations, preaching, etc. That’s all I got for criticism.

I don’t know, guys. That Jen Hatmaker is outside the box…in such a good, confusing, hilarious, Jesus-y awesome way. Read these quotes from the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about:  

“I’ve never been more aware of my own poverty, foolishness, ignorance, and arrogance. As I get older, I realize I know less about the mysteries of God and more about my own tomfoolery.”

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“Love has won infinitely more converts than theology.”

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 “The ‘come to us’ system is no longer an appropriate response to the paradigms that exist in our world.”

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“On a practical level, why would we expect unbelievers to come to church with no provocation? What do they know of the beauty of the Spirit? Why would they be attracted to an unknown Savior or a community that feels like worshipping Him?”

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“I worry the Christian community has accepted an insidious shift from laboring for others to prioritizing our own rights. We’ve perpetuated a group identity as misunderstood and persecuted, defending our positions and preferring to be right over being good news.”

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“We cannot possibly know all there is to know about anyone without digging deep, getting close, and providing a safe place for people to be known. This takes the one investment that comprises our hottest commodity: time. We invite people in again and again and again, peeling layers back and slowly discovering that God has surrounded us with beautiful people whom He loves. There is no time limit, no statute of limitations. Sharing our lives with dear people to win them to Jesus is the substance of Christianity, the delightful work we’ve been commissioned to.”

*******

“I am so confident in the gospel and its effect on humanity. The baby is so compelling, and if changing the bathwater introduces more people to Him, then sign me up.”

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“It’s not enough to be theologically brilliant without the heart of a missionary. It’s sometimes intangible work planted in the messy soil of relationships instead of the cleaner territory of theology.”

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And my favorite:

 Interrupted Quote

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The quotes listed are probably only 1/10th of the ones I underlined. AND they’re just the serious ones. There are some hilarious stories and phrases sprinkled Jatmaker style throughout the book.

It’s good stuff & I hope you’re brave enough to read it. Peace out.

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Friday Favorites

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a fan of alliteration.

I will award some favs today because everyone loves a good recommendation! Plus, I wanted to lighten things up around here.

Friday Favorites

Favorite YA Book: Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas (Great WWII book for kids in 4-6th grade)

Favorite Fiction Book: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert (just finished it last night and I was all happy weepy)

Favorite Author (male): Jon Gordon – So inspiring and easy to read!

Favorite Author (female): SARK aka Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy – She’s a visionary!

Favorite Person: Kevin … my hubs of (almost) 6 years!

Favorite Babies: Coleton Samuel (2) and Annabelle Hope (1) …wow that one was tough ;o)

Favorite Movie: 3 way tie between Legally Blonde, Mulan, and Goodwill Hunting..but what about Frozen & X Men, …ahh! So many good movies. I like movies.

Favorite Restaurant in the QCA: Red Crow Grill

Favorite City: Paris (Chicago is a close second!)

Favorite Restaurant in Chicago: Grand Luxe Cafe (beignets please!!)

Favorite Vacation Spot: Disney World with the kiddos, Europe with my man (I can hardly let myself think about it or I start checking flights!)

Favorite Snack: Chocolate Chip Cookies (I have a ravenous sweet tooth!)

Favorite Fruit: Honeydew

Favorite Season: Fall but really all the non-winter ones ;o)

Favorite Starbys Drink: Green Tea Frappuchino

Favorite food: Pizza!

Now I’m in a great mood for my Friday hangout day with the babes! I work Mon-Thurs and then Friday we do fun things. ❤ Cheers to that!

Friday Favs one

 

Transformation Tuesday: The Early to Rise Challenge, a review

WOW. The last week has been life changing for me….hence the new Tuesday tagline: Transformation Tuesday. 🙂

Last week I read a book called the Early to Rise Experience. (I call it the Early to Rise Challenge). If you know me, you know I am easily inspired, easily convinced and VERY easily excited :). I don’t even remember how I came across this book, but I bought it impulsively on Amazon. I would like to say: it is ridiculously awesome to think about how $10 spent on the right book can change someone’s life. (especially to an aspiring Non-fiction author)

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THIS BOOK HAS BEEN MY TICKET TO A BREAKTHROUGH! Maybe you aren’t a morning person and have serious doubts that you could ever become one. The author himself is a self-proclaimed NON MORNING PERSON! It’s not about that people! It’s about…you’ve heard it a million times…creating a habit. I have only been waking up pre-6am for a week and my body is already waking me up before my alarm! (Your alarm clock=your friend Fred who wants to help you have a better life, p55).

I have been waking up anywhere in the window of 5:10am-5:45am and using the hour or two before the kids wake up for a few glorious things.

1) Drinking my coffee while it’s still hot–Need I say more?

2) Spending time with God —Doing a devo and journaling my prayers is the way I ALWAYS want my days to begin. Humbled…prayed up…and with my focus set on the right things. I am no longer being JERKED out of bed and taken ahold of by my day…leaving patience hiding beneath the covers.

3) Writing — Who knew that my brain was so alive and creative pre-sunrise?! Sleeping me did not know. Awake me is loving it. I brainstormed 29 new blog topics this morning!!! Usually I’m so overwhelmed by all the things I should or could be doing that I’m unable to find clear thoughts to pen, or worse yet…never finding the time at all. But before the world wakes, before the sun rises and the world (aka the family) wakes, my idea bucket brims and time to write abounds. I think I might actually finish my first book at some point soon…eek!

4) Running — On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have short(er) runs, so I have plenty of time to accomplish them on the treadmill before the kids wake up. Score! This leaves the whole rest of the morning for me to hang out with my lovies and practice words and walking! (Pre-caffinated–the best way.)

If you don’t feel like you have enough time to get everything done that you want to do (namely, things that matter), I strongly urge you to give this challenge a shot.

I resisted waking up early for a long time. I made a lot of excuses. “I have babies.” “I don’t get enough time with Kevin at night.” “Blah-dee-blah-dee-blah.”

If I can do it, you can do it. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Snitch: A Review

Kev and I are always looking for a good movie or musical to watch. 🙂 I think it’s mostly because we don’t have time for getting into a TV series, plus we like the finality that a movie offers.

Movies that we pick usually have to match this criteria:

-Not Rated R (usually too crude, too sexual, or too violent…we were always left wondering why we watched it. So now we just don’t go there)

-Either action, adventure, romantic comedy, documentary (my fav) or drama if we have heard it’s good. We’re just not into horror, scary or independent films.

-Less than 2.5 hours. Preferably much less (of course it depends on how much time we have before 11pm and we turn into cranky zombies. Okay, that’s me not Kev)

SO, based on that criteria, I rented us a movie to accompany our pizza and candy for Halloween evening 2013. 

I am proud to say that the movie Snitch was a win.

**Of the two of us, I am known for being the bad movie picker. I usually read the back (which makes it sound INCREDIBLE) and pick some off the wall weird low-budget or just obscure movie that we both hate and suffer most of the way through before we realize it just isn’t going to get better. I try to pick “mainstream” movies but it turns out I’m just not up on pop culture and fail about 50% of the time.

But last night it wasn’t a fail! I am so proud to announce that we have a new movie to add to the “great” list. Snitch was definitely on the intense side, but appropriately so because it was Halloween!

The first 2/3 of the movie was SO intense I wasn’t sure I was going to give it a rave review. Like, My heart was literally beating at 130 bpm! I kept turning to Kevin to say, “Please calm me down! I don’t like this at all!” It’s just funny how you can watch movies where tons of people get killed and you’re like “oh that’s sad,” but when you get to know the characters, you just want their lives to be good and happy again!

Gosh, this movie seriously pulls hard on your heartstrings. Without giving too much away, the premise is that a kid gets set up by his drug using/selling friend so that the friend gets a lesser prison sentence. The high school kid goes to prison but refuses to set other people up (like he was) to reduce his sentence length. But his parents and you as a viewer are just SICK about this because he is looking at a MINIMUM prison stay of 10 years, and maximum of 30.

His awesome dad (the Rock) is determined to redeem what had been done to his son, and goes to craaaaazzy lengths to do this. He pesters the US Attorney to allow him to catch other drug dealers so that his son can go free.

It’s just this beautiful picture of a father’s crazy huge love for his son. Always incredibly powerful and moving! (also, they say it’s based on a true story. It seems like Hollywood HAD to embellish it like crazy….big surprise! If they didn’t, that dude in real life is a STUD.)

Unlike books, movies rarely move me on a deeper level to fall in love or emotionally connect with the characters. But this movie was different! You love the characters from the start and it’s just intense and awesome.

Those are the two words I’d give to this movie. You should watch it, but make sure you take your high blood pressure medication first.

*Also recommended is a snuggly blanket, buddy and/or glass of wine.

Enjoy…and then let me know what you think!

~Liv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found a sweet poem in my book today. it’s called “clothesline”

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you

us

them

those people

wouldn’t it be lovely

if one coule

live

in a constant state

of we?

some of the most 

commonplace

words

can be some of the biggest dividers

they

what if there was

no they? 

what if there 

was only 

us?

if words could be seen

as they floated out

of our mouths

would we feel no

shame 

as they passed beyond 

our lips?

if we were to string

our words 

on a commmunal clothesline

would we feel proud 

as our thoughts 

flapped in the

breeze?

-Marilyn Maciel