The Geography of Memory (A Review)

I've been more intentional with my reading this year (speaking of which, have you sent me your book recommendations yet?), and this month, I've devoured two books. The first of those books was Jeanne Murray Walker's offering, The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer’s.  The book chronicles Walker's struggle in caring for her mother, who suffered in her last years from Alzheimer's. The book was honest and engaging. It led to me to consider my grandfather, who waged his own battle with dementia in his last days.

I penned these thoughts for The High Calling this week. I hope you enjoy them.

*****

My grandfather was a tall-tale of a man, one whose great appetites were matched only by his passion and wit. He was a successful businessman, a gentleman to all the ladies, a conservationist of conservationists, and a man of faith who rooted his family into a pragmatic Episcopalian practice. He was an accomplished man, a man whom success, it seemed, had deemed fit to call “friend.”

He was larger than life, my grandfather. I remember still the magnitude of his personality, the thundering voice that matched it. As a boy, I’d make the six hour trip to Monroe, Louisiana, and he’d greet me in the front drive, would thunder his standard salutation—“Hey goat head!” Even in my twenties, I remember how the greeting seemed to rattle my bones. Once, I swore I saw the Cyprus knees on the banks of Bayou Desiard rattle, too.

Continue reading at The High Calling.

Get Your Head Out of Your Rear, Girl!

This is not a piece about Miley Cyrus. Really. Aren't you glad? Are you a soccer mom, a basketball dad, or a baseball uncle? Do you know that parent who wanders the sideline, who screams direction (or worse) at their child after every mistake? This week, I penned a review of Bruce Feiler's The Secrets of Happy Families for The High Calling, which deals with the topic and addresses that parent (and then I said a quick prayer that I'd never fall into the category of over-bearing karate dad).

Enjoy the excerpt, then jump over to The High Calling for the rest of the article.

*****

Vann’s daughter was long and lean, and had the skill of a bona fide college prospect. In only the ninth grade, she ran with the grace of a Serengeti gazelle while simultaneously stalking the low post like a savage lioness. The mastery of her position was a curious thing, however. In the opening quarter of the game, she was a force, a sight to behold. But if she made a mistake, Vann would stand and pace the sidelines. A second mistake, and he pointed and yelled at the referees. After her third mistake, Vann turned on his daughter, sighting her in with both barrels.

“Get your head out of your rear, girl!”

“You’ve got to help defend the backside! Are you blind?”

“Don’t be such a sissy on the low block! Box someone out for the love of Mary!”

*****

Continue reading at The High Calling.

The Career and Family Dichotomy: Part Two

Last week I had the privilege of discussing the career and family dichotomy over at The High Calling in part one of a two-part series. Today, I am offering part two. Will you join me at The High Calling? All illusions of control vaporize like heat mirages on the pavement of U.S. 40 as Amber and I head east toward Little Rock, where a good team of doctors awaits the arrival of Titus at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We drive in silence, playing old Rich Mullins tunes. “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy I cannot find in my own,” Rich sings as we pull into Little Rock. I hope he’s right.

We arrive and check into the Emergency Room at 9:30, well past Titus’ bedtime. As we wait...

Follow me over to The High Calling to continue reading The Career and Family Dichotomy: Part 2.

Image by Royce Bair. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

The Saturdaily: Broken and Restored

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*Original image here

"The Saturdaily" is a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Check out this week's list.

When I was in ministry (yes, you read that correctly), a group of us had a list of "career enders," acts that would "disqualify you from ministry." I look back on that list and if I'm being honest, I'm ashamed that we would limit Christ's ability to restore.

Today's Saturdaily celebrates the restorative Father, the good God of graceful redemption. Enjoy.

1.  Drew Randle writes of Peter's restoration, reminds us that the moment of Christ-denial is not the end of the story. In fact, he argues that, "a broken individual [can] be restored and minister God’s grace to someone struggling with brokenness." For anyone struggling with the guilt of sin (or the sins of a spouse), Randle's piece for the High Calling is a must read.

2.  Emily Wierenga launched her book, Chasing Silhouettes, this week. This is the story of her struggle with an eating disorder, the story of her restoration and continuing freedom. In this post for A Deeper Family, she exposes this startling statistic:

...75 percent of women are disordered eaters, and 80 percent of girls have gone on a diet by the time they reach the age of 10.

Those statistics would suggest that you should share Emily's book with someone you know, someone who needs restoration. Or perhaps--pardon me for being forward--you need your own copy.

3.  Amber (my wife) knows the power of restoration. I re-read her love songs this week, her story of coming clean, of redemption. The imagery and honesty in her writing is stunning. Struggling in your marriage? Then this series is for you.

4.  Sarah Markley has found her sanctuary. In this piece for A Deeper Church, she writes about her sanctuary, the place where she meets a good God.  How do you reconnect with God after you’ve been away? Read this piece by Sarah and engage in the comments.

5.  To lighten the mood today, I've chosen this video by the David Wax Museum. This week, I've found myself addicted to their style, their unabashed way of having fun with music. In this day of melancholy hipster roots rock, the David Wax Museum is flat out refreshing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-_oUY7t3yQ&w=560&h=315] [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/44815449 w=500&h=281]

David Wax Museum Chuchumbe Video - China from Anthem Multimedia on Vimeo.

What were your favorite picks of the week? Share them in the comments?

The High Calling: I Do

TheHighCalling.org Christian Blog Network This month the editors at The High Calling have been running a narrative series on the topic of marriage entitled "I Do."  The series has been incredible, featuring contributions from Emily Wierenga, Duane Scott, Glynn Young, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Ann Voskamp, Cheryl Smith, and others. Each piece has spoken a different truth about marriage, "broaching the topic from multiple angles for the sake of helping, healing, and considering."  If you're looking for some solid narrative pieces touching on  marriage, spend some time at The High Calling today. In fact, you might follow their Marriage tag. And, while you're at it, I've reworked a piece for the "I Do" series. Read more here.

**Thanks to the editors at The High Calling for all the work you do behind the scenes.  The value you add to that space is immeasurable.