Friday, September 9, 2011

The Happiness Project

Before things totally run away from me, I thought I'd write a little bit about why I wanted to read this book and what I was hoping to get out of it.

Of course, it is a New York Times bestseller so when there was first a buzz around the internet, I made a mental note of it.

I started following Gretchen's blog a good few months ago and when I got my Kindle, hers was the first book I bought :)

I requested her paradox card since I'd bought an e-version of the book and I was delighted when I got it at work, all the way from New York.

Back to my expectations...

Some of you know I've not been my usual happy self.

This year has been hard for me, especially with the business and some relationship stuff.

I'm trusting in God and I know He will see me through but as is always the case when I'm in a valley, it's really hard to see the end from here.

So I thought I needed some happiness to keep me focussed while I'm being faithful with the other stuff.

My expectations will have been met if:

  1. I have about 5 different things to blog about (hey, I'm being honest)
  2. I have a couple of insights or aha moments that can help me reframe things in my life
  3. I get to know Gretchen better (I do love when I read an author's blog and "get" them)
  4. I increase my happiness quotient

So far so good.

What about you?

Why do you want to read this book, and what are your expectations?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is anyone out there?

Just checking in to see if anyone is out there as it's gone very quiet :)

Are you still reading?

If not, why? Do you need some encouragement?

If yes, how far are you?

I'm still reading but I take long with non-fiction as I like to think about things between chapters.

I've finished chapter 2 - I guess I should blog about that.

How are you doing?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why I wanted to read Crazy Love

Right, so I've finished chapter 1.

But before I chat some more about that, let me share a little about why I wanted to read Crazy Love in the first place.

I am wildly attracted to passion and passionate people.

Jamie Oliver inspired me to cook because of his passion for food.

And when I started seeing God as a passionate God, that was it for me.

God is an awesome, mightly, all-powerful, TECHNICOLOUR God.

No-one can convince me otherwise because he's shown me again and again in my life.

Only thing is... sometimes I forget.

Sometimes I forget for long periods of time.

This is when the burdens of life happen and I get focussed on the circumstances instead of on Him.

I won't lie - the last couple of years have not been great, spiritually.

I have really good intentions but things just keep coming up.

Actually, that's not entirely true. To be fair, I'm just not prioritising Him.

Until this year.

I've always seen the biggest leaps of growth in me when I've been in ministry.

I suppose it's because I automatically lead by example when I'm reaching out to people.

And so Crazy Love.

I want to be passionate about God again.

Slowly it's stirring inside of me - the passion, the desire, the love.

I read the chapter and nodded at some parts.

Yes, the heavens declare His glory. Gosh, and how!

I can see God every where if only I choose to look.

The beautiful grey skies, the bright blue skies, the stormy skies - I love them all! (the skies proclaim the works of His hands), the trees as I drive to work, how I make it to work in one piece every day despite the Jhb drivers, the view from my office building, the perfection of a sunset (way better than anything Photoshop can do).

Creation shouts out His name.

This chapter was about being still and worshipping God.

The best ways for me to do that are to put on some worship music (usually Vineyard) and sing along with the music turned up loud.

It also means gazing at His glory. At creation.

I've always battled with having a "picture" of God but when I look at creation, WOW, He comes alive for me and I am speechless.

And yet, even though he is the Creator of the Universe, He still cares for me.


How do I know it?

When I'm having a blah day, I'll look up and see a spectacular sky and I know He's created it simply to delight me :)

Do you find it easy to worship God?

What makes you know that He cares for you?

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have been reading and trying to get my thoughts together for a post for several days now.  Distractions, the weekend, and two sick little girls got in my way, but better late than never, right? 

Before I share my thoughts on the first two chapters of Crazy Love, I thought I would share a little about me and my faith.  I have been a Christian for over two decades now.  I was raised in church, the same church where my grandmother and my mother grew up, and it's the church we still attend today.  We have changed a lot over the years, but we are still a relatively small hometown congregation.  I have come a long way from the Christian I was ten, twelve, or fourteen years ago, but sometimes it's glaringly obvious that I still have a long, long way to go on this journey to really know God.

Maybe it's partly because I don't have a lot experiences outside my home church that I am not altogether comfortable talking openly about my faith.  I think the word for how I sometimes feel when it comes to faith and living for God is inadequate.  Like maybe I don't know enough to be talking with any authority on the subject of God, or like my relationship with God can't compare to that of many others around me. 

It's on that very point that Francis Chan challenged me in the preface in this book...on page 22, when he says, "It is important that we not measure our spiritual health by the people around us, who are pretty much like us"... well, he's talking to me there.  Who am I to guess what another person's relationship to God might be like?  Why should it matter to me?  The only thing I should care about is strengthening my relationship with God and deepening my understanding of His Word.  Does it matter if I am not as eloquent at sharing my faith or my thoughts as another?  Or does God just want me to step out and take the opportunities He's giving me and to trust that He will give me the words I need?

I say all this to show you that I may be a little unsure of myself here, talking about faith in such a straightforward way.  But I'm here, and I'm ready to talk and to hear what YOU think about Crazy Love and anything else that may come up as we read and fellowship together.

So, now that all that is out of the do we feel about the first couple of chapters of Crazy Love

For me, that feeling of inadequacy I mentioned was reinforced in some ways, as I realize yet again that I am but a tiny, tiny part of God's awesome creation.  And yet...He LOVES me more than I can even begin to imagine or comprehend.  How great is that?

I have a lot more to say that I can't find words for just yet, and after a long night with my babies last night, my bed is calling loudly!  I really just wanted to get a post out here for discussion...feel free to share any thoughts in the comments, or just share a bit about yourself and your faith if you want.  Marcia and I are excited to hear from you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How this will work

We start reading on Tuesday 1 March.

I've set Deanna and I up as blog authors so we'll lead and prompt discussions. If any of you want to do the same, let me know and I'll add you as authors.

We are aiming at doing 2 chapters every week so that we can read and reflect.

Deanna and I'll be writing some posts with insights, questions for discussion, etc. The rest of us need to please use the comment form to answer and discuss. If there are questions, we'll answer in the comments so everybody can follow along here instead of via emails.

Hmmm, I think that is all for now.

otherwise, ask away.

Are you excited yet?

Intro to Crazy Love

A few weeks ago Deanna posted goals for the year and said she was looking for someone to do a devotion or similar with this year.

Since I always think my spiritual life could do with work, I told her I'm up for it.

We've decided on Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The subtitle is "overwhelmed by a relentless God" which I love as that is my perception of God too.

Image taken from the official website

This is a New York Times bestseller and how could you not love a red book?

(or is that just me?)

The foreword's by Chris Tomlin, my favourite worship leader in the world. His voice is SO yummy :)

Here is a blurb taken from the website? (I need to hire that copywriter because I'm hooked!)

Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts — it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same.

Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

Anyway, I thought I would throw this out there as it will be fun and will provide some support and encouragement to read together.

So who's in? All you need is the book (buy from CUM books, Gospel Direct or Exclusive Books in South Africa) and a computer. I may even be persuaded to do a vlog (!) but don't hold me to it.

Deanna, I'm so glad you asked for a partner on your blog!