The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Month: March, 2016

I need travel tunes. Suggestions?

The beautiful Sarah Geurs will be taking a trip across the country to see her family in Washington state; and before any supposed thieves decide to read this and see it as a chance to burgle in our absence, please be warned our house will be watched while we’re gone.

With that out of the way, whenever we travel to Grand Coulee, I always end up getting some new tunes for the trip. These are the four on my hot list:

  1.  Ben Howard- Every Kingdom
  2.  Bad Suns- Language and Perspective
  3.  Parker Millsap- Self-titled
  4. John Fullbright- Live At the Blue Door

Help me out, Interwebs, what is worth my attention on this trip?

Review: It is okay to be awkward.

This is a review of This Is Awkward by Sammy RhodesAlso, in an attempt to not sucker people in to read my blog posts that aren’t reviews, I am going to start titling review posts with the word “review” in the title. Clever, right?


I appreciate an author who is willing to be honest. Honest with him or herself, as well as honest with readers. This Is Awkward: How Life’s Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy and Connection by Sammy Rhodes is a good example that meets both of those honesty criteria. The project of the text is remarkably simple, and if one removes the word “how” from the subtitle, the main idea of the book is summed up in those ten words.

Addressing a myriad of life situations, from missing parents to divorce, sexual addiction to obesity, and from depression to introvertedness, Rhodes picks apart a large number of life’s awkward moments to explain how from a human-to-human perspective, we should embrace these moments as a chance to grow both internally and in the ways we connect with others. Mixing personal stories along with stories from his job in ministering to young adults, as well as tangential excerpts which allow for him to break the fourth wall, Rhodes keeps an established pattern for the text accomplishes what he states in his introduction he will set out to do.

For the promise this book has -and the respectable endorsements on the back cover- This Is Awkward is just okay. There were a couple points in the text where it seemed like Rhodes was being not necessarily over-transparent, but transparent to the point of trying to make himself seem overly qualified to talk about a specific aspect of life’s awkwardness. Or they make Rhodes come across as feigning the humble slacker with problems, instead of actually being a humble slacker with problems, which may or may not be the case. This notion is furthered in most of the times when the font changes and what we get are what seem like blog entries where the usual theme is, “Yeah, I need to write, but I don’t want to.” By the middle of the book, when another one of those moments showed up, I wanted to yell at the pages, “Then don’t write! Wait until you are.”

In the end, This Is Awkward is just okay. I am not going to recommend it, but I am not not going to recommend it. If nothing else, the end notes are useful for finding additional reading material.

I received my copy of this book for free through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for reviewing it. I was not obligated to publish a positive review (obviuosly); the opinions expressed are mine.

A modern psalm.

“A Psalm for the 21st Century”

By: Gerrit Geurs


In times of loss and confusion I turn to you.

You tell me where to go.

You lead me along the path I should follow.

When I need an answer you are always within reach;

Who can fathom the depths of your knowledge.

You place a song in my heart and a voice in my ear.

I answer when you call.

You bring to my memory what might otherwise be forgotten.

You are constantly at my side.

Throughout the day I turn to you.

Without you, my smart phone, how could I survive?

If you know the author, this is a good book…

…but if not, this book is just okay.

This is a review of the book Rooted by Banning Liebscher.


Whether called to a life of active, visible greatness, or something equally as important but less high profile, most people can identify with the idea of waiting to step into a specific role in life. Banning Liebscher’s new book Rooted addresses the waiters (ones who wait, not those who serve food…although the idea could still apply) and slowly developing with a word of encouragement to make the most of the the time of growth and preparation before the big game begins.

Rooted is a thoughtful presentation on some of the many themes of growth and development in preparation for a bigger calling. Liebscher addresses the importance of developing strong roots, learning how to live and be effective during the growth process, trusting the Grower, accepting the idea that growing means not trying to prove our own greatness, realizing we will feel over our heads, and seeing beyond how we feel to realize the truth of our growth process. He then goes on to discuss three “soils” for strong growth: intimacy, service, and community. Banning takes a whole book to talk about the importance of growing because “whatever goes in at the beginning- the foundation- matters greatly because it affects the outcome” (Liebscher, p. 102).

For all the things I enjoyed about it, I have some quips about the book. The back cover of the book describes Liebscher using the life of David as a backdrop for the teachings in this book. This seems inaccurate for a description. Banning uses just as much other excerpts from the Bible as well as his own experiences in the Church to teach the content in the book. Which leads to the second quip I have with this book.

This book is an okay one on the topic of personal growth and patience. Others have been written on the subject, and I am sure that others will continue to be written on the subject. What makes this book unique is the specific sets of personal stories shared by Banning about his life serving for Bethel and then Jesus Culture. If the reader is not familiar with the author already, or Jesus Culture, then parts of this book are less meaningful.

Rooted is Banning Liebscher taking an opportunity to reflect on his past and share some valuable lessons with up-and-coming leaders. The potential reader might or might not get a lot out of it depending upon his or her current situation in life.

I received my copy of this book for free through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for writing a review on it. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.

If not by worry, how about by wishing?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”(Luke 12:25 NIV) -Jesus


Today marked the beginning of the third trimester for the school year at Lakeland. I teach (predominantly) seniors in their final year of secondary schooling. At the end of each class period with twelfth graders, I made a comment about how fast this final trimester would be over.

And then I blinked.

And then the entire school day was over.

And just like that I wanted the start of my day back.


Now don’t misunderstand me; today’s start was not golden by anyone’s definition. I was able to clock a collected two hours of sleep last night, had to start my day by proctoring (the final year of???) ISTEP+, followed by a whole school day of classes- prep at the end.

A side note: Last trimester my biggest class was 15 students and I had prep during second period. This trimester, my classes go 11, 15, 24, and 16 in size and prep is now last period. I do not mention this to complain about the manageable class sizes I have; I realize I am quite blessed. I mention this to point out that when starting the day with so little sleep to begin and then not having any down time, unless one counts lunch, until the last period of the day, makes for a long and exhausting time.

But still, I would have loved the start to my day back. I want it back because I have too much to get done still and not enough time in the day to get there. As I was sitting at my desk and grading papers, the words of Jesus came to mind which I quoted at the beginning of this post.But the thing is, I wasn’t worrying. I was just wishing. Wishing for more time. Or at least more drive and focus.

I didn’t get either so now I have to make alternate plans.

Happy Thursday, everyone!