Monday, January 18, 2010

Multitude Monday, Take 146

Thanking God this week for...

199. grace to be disciplined about keeping up the "shiny sink at bedtime" principle (doing dishes every night after supper)

200. grace to involve Elijah in my tasks and engage with him

201. balsamic vinegar

202. catching up with my best friend on the phone

203. sweet-smelling Elijah after a long-overdue bath

204. loads of laundry clean and folded and put away (the same day they were washed, even!)

205. pink and purple in unexpected places in the sky at dusk

206. warm weather, enabling us to take...

207. walks outside, for the first time in ages

208. the ability to sleep well each night

209. clean water

210. healthy food to feed my family

211. His perseverance with me in spite of my sin

212. Elijah's eagerness to take a nap when he needs one

213. games of Settlers of Catan with friends over the weekend

214. vision insurance for the first time this year, enabling me to get...

215. new glasses for the first time in nine years (my old ones were SO dorky)

216. storytime at Barnes & Noble this morning

217. the incredible book I started Thursday and finished Saturday at 2AM--it was that good

218. evidence of His grace at work in and through me even when I am not having a good day--a further reminder that it is NOT about my performance but about His lavish kindness and mercy

holy experience

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ 1.14.10

Hoping to get back into the groove of blogging, now that the holiday madness is over. A good way to get my feet wet--as always, if you'd like to play along, credit goes to The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
darkness. Tonight is my late night--Steve and I keep an early to bed, early to rise schedule, but I'm a night owl by nature, so the compromise is that I stay up late about once a week and sleep in a little the next day. It's a perfect time to do some writing, catch up on emails, etc.

I am thinking...
that perspective is a funny thing: thanks to the crazy cold snap we had for the last couple of weeks, high 40s felt like a heat wave and prompted me to take Elijah for a walk.

Also, of course, about Haiti: most of all, about some friends of ours who have been waiting more than two years to bring home two girls they are adopting from there. Praise God, their girls are safe, but how torturous it must be to continue waiting in a situation like this--and fear that the process will be dragged out even further. Please pray that their adoption and so many others will not be stalled indefinitely, but will actually be expedited because of this tragedy.

I am thankful for...
the evidence of God's grace at work in my life--and the eyes He has given me to see it.

From the kitchen...
we cleaned out the refrigerator tonight--crockpot enchiladas for Elijah and me and balsamic chicken stew for Steve. Chicken tortilla soup is on the menu for tomorrow, and I'm still trying to decide what to make for dessert--possibly my friend Marjorie's coconut cake. Speaking of Marjorie...she and her husband are serious foodies and we are getting together for dinner Sunday night...they are doing most of the food, but the pressure's on for me to come up with a great homemade pasta sauce. (Confession: I usually use Ragu.)

Baking-wise, I haven't yet looked for, but want to find, a great bran muffin recipe. I've got one that we totally love--but it uses a box of bran flakes, and they have some less-than-appealing ingredients--so I want to try and find a more natural version.

I am wearing...
a white t-shirt, a gray long-sleeved EKU t-shirt (my brother's alma mater), a blue fleece zip-up sweatshirt, bright pink snowflake flannel pants, socks and slippers--and I'm cold. Our heat kicks way down at 9pm--need to go take a blog-break and turn it up and/or add more layers.

I am creating...
photo postcard thank-you notes for Elijah's Christmas gifts. We won't talk about those wedding gifts I've mentioned for the last two daybook entries... I'm hoping to get together with a friend very soon and do some serious stamping. I made almost NO cards last year and my stash is dwindling rapidly.

I am going...
to go nuts if I don't get this desk cleared off soon. It's gotten to the point where I feel paralyzed at the idea of even starting to make sense of the chaos.

I am reading...
the book of Numbers. After the flurry of posting about my 2009 reads, I got overly excited (and overwhelmed) planning a list of books to read in 2010. Then I felt convicted about spending SO much time reading various books, but not putting forth nearly so much effort to read more of God's Word. I want to increase my Scripture intake this year, especially Old Testament--so I've pulled The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made back off the shelf and am currently working through Numbers. Books of many kinds are valuable in many ways--but only one is living, eternal, inspired by the Creator, Savior and Sustainer of my soul.

Other books with bookmarks in them right now, besides a couple of 2009 holdovers I'm still finishing up: Soul Survivor (a highly recommended gift from my mentor), Same Kind of Different as Me (the current Bloom book club selection--I've never done a book club before), The House of Mirth (trying to read more classics), and two more Christmas gifts I started digging into last weekend: Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth and Crazy Love.

I am hoping...
to go hear David Powlison speak in east Tennessee in take another CCEF class this spend less time at the computer and more time engaging with write more...

I am hearing...
just the steady hum of the computer, and faintly in the background, the fake-running-water sound of Elijah's white noise machine. The house is nice and quiet late at night :)

Around the house...
a giant 50-pound bag of wheat berries in the kitchen, waiting for me to come up with a better storage solution. Christmas tree is STILL up...yep...what can I say, I like the twinkly lights. That, and we didn't get it up until the 5th and then were gone for ten days over Christmas and didn't get to enjoy I wasn't in a hurry to take it down. Also, I'm lazy.

One of my favorite things...
crawling into my soft bed under the electric blanket and cuddling up with Steve after a long day.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Seeing as how it's Thursday night, there's not much "rest of the week" left, but we've had a good week here and a full weekend ahead. Yesterday Elijah and I drove down to Whole Foods and then spent the afternoon with a friend from church and her kids, and had a great time. Wish they didn't live an hour away. Tomorrow we're having friends from Steve's work over for dinner, and then Sunday, as I mentioned, hanging out with church friends. Sundays are a highlight of the week anyway--it is a great feeling to look forward to Sunday morning worship and fellowship!

A picture thought I am sharing...
how about four? Because I can't choose :) I had so much fun snapping photos of Elijah playing catch with Daddy right before dinner last week. For whatever reason, he was SO wound up and found the whole thing uproariously funny--which made for some great pictures. Can you look at these and *not* smile?

Monday, January 11, 2010

MMM: Progress and Inspiration

How's everyone doing as we hit week two of Mega Memory Month?

I've been continuing to go at a bit faster pace than I originally planned, but I tested myself earlier this afternoon by typing it out and messed up just a couple of spots--so I need to be careful that in going quickly, I'm not getting sloppy. Paul's letters can be difficult to memorize in that he uses the same phrase over and over, but slightly different each time. And he uses LONG sentences!

I got some inspiration for memorizing yesterday--from a six-year-old! Joshua, an adorable little boy at our church, has already memorized all of Ephesians 1. So at lunch, he (with a little help from his dad, in the form of a few prompts) recited the chapter for me. It was so sweet!

As in the past, I am finding it extremely helpful to turn each day's verses into a prayer after I do the daily work of reading and reciting them aloud. Doing so goes a long way in making it a time of worship and meditation, not simply a cerebral exercise.

One of the key phrases I have memorized in the last few days is "that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you". What a hope God has called me to--the hope of enjoying Him forever, of worshipping Him fully as I was created to do! There are many things I hope for in this life, but they all pale in comparison to the hope of heaven: being free from sin and death, with a glorious, immortal body and a sound, sane, uncorrupted mind and a pure heart, able to see and savor Christ like never before, more and more for all eternity, always full of joy as I join together with brothers and sisters from every tribe and nation and language, singing His praises! Oh, that He might enable me to cling to that hope, to keep it at the forefront of my mind. May it govern the choices I make, the emotions I experience. What a hope to which He has called us!

Multitude Monday, Take 145

Thanking God this week for...

177. Elijah's delight in helping me empty the dishwasher, and his eagerness for a hug and praise afterwards when he finishes and closes the door

178. green smoothies

179. coming home to a clean kitchen when I'd left it an absolute disaster, thanks to my servant-husband

180. Cornish hens, our Christmas tradition (a little late this year)

181. Steve's discipline in going to bed early and getting up early

182. clean floors after running the vacuum

183. fleece-lined khakis for me and fleece-lined jeans for Elijah

184. hearing Elijah say "Jesus!"

185. the opportunity to capture great pictures of Elijah playing ball with Daddy

186. snow on the ground

187. though my sins were like scarlet, God has made me whiter than snow

188. dishes to wash and laundry to fold

189. the privilege of staying home full-time

190. reusable grocery bags

191. opportunity to serve a friend last Friday

192. the personal retreat I got to take all day Saturday

193. dinner with friends Saturday night

194. the Psalms

195. gospel-centered sermons at church every Sunday

196. grace that covers last year's mistakes and sins

197. grace that enables me to live differently today

198. the assurance and hope in knowing that it's not about me making resolutions and changing by the sheer force of my's about trusting that God WILL fulfill the resolution He made to conform me to the image of His Son, and simply cooperating with Him in that work.

holy experience

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009: The Year in Books (Nonfiction)

I tend to read a whole lot more nonfiction than fiction. Most of that has traditionally been Christian books, in the spiritual growth/Christian living genre, but in 2009 I tried to read a broader range of nonfiction. Here's my list, with the same rating system:

***** - Loved it. Excellent, worth another read.
**** - Liked it. Very good, would recommend.
*** - It was decent.
** - Didn't really like it.
* - Ugh, this was terrible.

In 2010, I'll rate the books as I finish them. I didn't do that with this list, so I left a few unrated since I don't remember clearly enough to give a fair rating. Anyway...

One Ministry of the Word – Mark Mann
I went to Mark for counseling several times during my struggles with postpartum depression. He's also the one Steve and I sought for advice when we were making a decision about church. While his book got repetitive, if I recall correctly, he makes a really compelling case for the importance of counseling and one-on-one ministry in the life of the church.

Because He Loves Me – Elyse Fitzpatrick*****
Beautiful gospel encouragement; Elyse Fitzpatrick has become one of my favorite Christian nonfiction authors.

The Prodigal God - Tim Keller*****
Astounding. Steve and I bought this after hearing Keller speak in January and fought over it, both of us finishing within a week. We keep having to buy new copies because we give ours away.

In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan*****
We've made a lot of changes in the way we eat this year, largely because of what I read here. See my full review.

It Sucked and Then I Cried – Heather Armstrong**
I totally love, but I didn't really think this book was worth the money. I definitely enjoy Heather's writing, so I hate to give it only two stars. But the book was almost all recycled blog material, so I'd read it before, and I think it worked better in blog form.

Grace Based Parenting – Tim Kimmel**
Vague and kind of sentimental/superficial; he threw around the word "grace" way too much without really making it clear what grace is and how it applies to parenting. I didn't find this nearly as helpful or inspiring as the many women who rave about it on my mothering message board.

Death By Love: Letters from the Cross – Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
I don't really remember much about this one. It seems like I didn't find it as wonderful as I expected. It was still good, though--I did finish it.

1920: The Year of the Six Presidents – David Pietrusza
Swiped this one off my brother-in-law's bookshelf. History fascinates me, and I should read more of it. This one was dry at times, but an intriguing glimpse into politics and the lives of past presidents (I was stunned by all the adultery).

A Hunger for God – John Piper****
Really helpful book about the benefits of fasting.

Do Hard Things – Alex & Brett Harris****
A very quick read, but I found it inspiring. While geared to teenagers, much of it applies to almost anyone, especially moms.

3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It – Sean Flynn***
Swiped this one off my firefighter brother's bookshelf. Sobering and made me proud of my brother, and a little scared for him, too.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time – Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (audiobook)****
Downloaded this for free thanks to and their deal for This American Life listeners. I can't really speak to the quality of the writing, but it was an inspiring, fascinating story. Mortenson, not Obama, should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families – Philip Gourevitch****
I've had a keen interest in Rwanda and the 1994 genocide ever since watching Hotel Rwanda a few years ago. This account was difficult to read, but worthwhile.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat – Elyse Fitzpatrick*****
Hugely convicting and beneficial for me--though I have never struggled with being overweight, I've absolutely had out-of-control eating habits and a sinful relationship to food. Elyse doesn't mince words, but she saturates the book with the gospel so that you're led from your sin to the beauty and mercy of God.

The Cross Centered Life – CJ Mahaney (reread)*****
I've blogged about this one many times before (here, here, here). This short book has so profoundly influenced my life, it was worth a reread this year.

Children of the Living God – Sinclair Ferguson****
A simple little book reminding us of our incredible identity as sons and daughters of God--I pulled out lots of great quotes (it was required reading for my class).

Biblical Parenting – Crystal Lutton**
Some good stuff here, but also some significant worldview differences that made me wrinkle my nose at the advice/perspectives. Helpful for me in clarifying my thinking, but I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend it widely.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me – Samuel Martin***
A free PDF book analyzing various Scriptures related to parenting. Valuable in helping me begin to think through some issues.

God is the Gospel – John Piper****
I talk about gospel-centeredness all the time...this Piper book helped correct and magnify my understanding of exactly what's good news about the gospel: the gift of God Himself.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp****
While I have a few significant concerns with Tripp's teaching, the good in this book outweighs the questionable. Lots of wonderful, gospel-saturated insights for parents.

Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling Through the Lens of Scripture – David Powlison*****
I've already talked your ear off about how brilliant I think Dr. Powlison is. This was the textbook for my biblical counseling introductory class in the fall, and I highlighted about half the text. Just phenomenal.

I started a few other books this year, some of which I abandoned (at least for now) and a few of which I am still in the middle of, very much enjoying. For 2010, I hope to read more creative nonfiction/memoirs, and I also want to be more intentional about reading books by authors I anticipate disagreeing with :)

How about you--what nonfiction have you read and loved this past year?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2009: The Year in Books (Fiction)

Inspired by my blog-friend Danielle, who writes a round-up post every year with reviews of the books she read, I decided at the beginning of 2009 to start keeping track of the books I read.

I love to read, and I used to devour books one right after another. Somewhere along the way, I stopped, and I have no idea why. It's not because I don't have time; I read an awful lot of blogs and such. It seems wise to read more books than blogs, generally speaking, so I tried to be intentional about increasing my diet of books in 2009.

I found keeping track of my reading to be wonderfully beneficial, and I ended up reading a lot more books last year than the year before. I plan to take it a step further this year by thinking ahead and mapping out a rough idea of the books I want to read in 2010. I want to read a healthy variety of books--fiction and nonfiction, Christian and mainstream, contemporary and classic.

My list is already too long; I often find myself depressed at the sheer number of great books and the awareness that I'll never be able to read all the books I *want* to read, let alone all the books I *should* read. Alas...

Here's part one, the novels I read in 2009. I'll use a version of Amazon's five-star rating system:
***** - Loved it. Excellent, worth another read.
**** - Liked it. Very good, would recommend.
*** - It was decent.
** - Didn't really like it.
* - Ugh, this was terrible.

Job (Illustrated Edition) – John Piper *****
I wasn't sure how to categorize this one...the story of Job from the Bible isn't fiction, but this is Piper's imaginative poetry, starting with the Biblical account and embellishing/imagining details. Piper's skill as a poet is impressive (I've talked it about it in the past with regard to his Advent poems), and the way he develops biblical characters like this is profoundly moving.

So Brave, Young and Handsome – Leif Enger*****
I picked this up after having read and loved Enger's Peace Like a River a couple of years ago. It met/surpassed my expectations. Enger's style is just beautiful. I loved not only the story but the elegant sentences.

Les Miserables – Victor Hugo*****
Thoroughly enjoyed this classic--unlike many classics, I can easily see why it's on the list of "great books." The version I read was abridged...someday I hope to read the full version.

The Shack – William Young***
Mixed feelings about this one. Whether or not I'd recommend it would depend very heavily on who I was talking to. It had some great passages that stretched my thinking, some beautiful ideas...but it also presented some views of God that I found very troubling, and I tend to agree with Piper when he says that "bad theology dishonors God and hurts people." (For another fascinating perspective: Katherine compares God and The Shack to the new Sherlock Holmes movie.)

The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan (part 1 only)**
I didn't get the appeal of this classic. The only parts I really liked were quotes I had already heard before. I asked on Facebook whether it was worth pressing on to part 2, and my favorite English professor from college even said no!

Eighth Shepherd (AD Chronicles #8) – Bodie & Brock Thoene****
I got the first book in this series as a Christmas gift before I was married, and read it only because it was from my in-laws and I felt like I had to :) It was slow going at first, but I am so glad I pressed on, because the series has been stellar. It's set in the time of Christ, and pulls out characters from the gospel accounts and imagines details of their lives. It also includes lots of Jewish cultural background that adds incredible meaning and depth to my understanding of Christ and the Word. The only thing that keeps this from getting five stars is that I feel like they're stretching out the series and milking it for money. The last several books are WAY shorter (like 100 pages shorter) and padded with a long "study guide" at the back. Annoying.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson
North! Or Be Eaten – Andrew Peterson
Fantasy is generally not my thing, so I was a little wary when I started these, but I loved the first and immediately devoured the second. The story is engaging, inspiring, clever; the characters capture your heart and your imagination. A few beautifully written lines in North! nearly brought me to tears. It's one of those books that, though extremely entertaining, doesn't stop at mere entertainment--it resonates with timeless truth and beauty and transcends a simple story. I can't wait until the next one comes out...and I look forward to revisiting these someday when Elijah is older. They'll make fantastic read-alouds.

So...there's the fiction I read last year. My goal was to read an old book in between every new one, and while I didn't do that, I did at least manage a couple of classics (including a behemoth--even the abridged version of Les Miserables was something like 700 pages!). Hoping to squeeze in more novels in 2010.

What's the best novel you read last year? What's your all-time favorite one (or two or three)?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Reflecting on 2009, Planning for 2010

I'm a little slow on the uptake, but wanted to share a few new-year-related blog posts I have found insightful. As one who is naturally introspective (sometimes to a fault), I love the turn of a new year and the opportunity to reflect and plan. Lord willing, I'll get some extended time away by myself to do that on Saturday, thanks to my amazing, generous husband. In the meantime, I'm pondering these helpful blog posts:

When You Can't Figure Out What the Answer Should Be
(Holy Experience)
Ann Voskamp shares that she's naming 2010 "Yes"--and offers last year's Year Naming post in explanation.

10 Questions to Encourage Engaged Parenting in 2010
I printed these off to be able to prayerfully work through them this weekend...a quick scan makes me think it's going to be a profitable exercise.

Each Morning Brings a New Year
(Shepherd Press)
I got this article in an email from Shepherd Press and my interest was piqued by this line: "No one speaks of New Year's Day as a religious holiday. However, for most people New Year's Day is a deeply religious holiday." Read on to find out what they mean.

Five Steps to Real Change in the New Year
More wise, inspiring words from Ann Voskamp about growing and changing.

Ten Questions for the New Year
(Donald Whitney)
A gem I've had saved for several years.

David Powlison on New Year's Resolutions
(Between Two Worlds)
No New Year's round-up is complete without this classic (originally published in 2007) post from my favorite biblical counseling guru.

Happy reading/reflecting!

Monday, January 04, 2010

MMM: Off and Running

Four days into Mega Memory Month, I'm off to a great start and glad to get back into the memorization habit. I haven't done any memory work for a while--and have actually lost some of the last project I did, after failing to follow through with the reinforcement work--so it feels good to be working on something again.

I thought it would be fun this time around to have in-person friends taking this challenge with me, rather than just fellow bloggers--and to my delight, several women from my church have decided to join me. In fact, a few of them are even going to work through Ephesians 1, as I'm doing. I've also heard that our pastor's son--age five or six--has the whole chapter memorized already, so I'm definitely going to have to ask him to share that with me next week!

The method I use (in case you've been living under a rock...I link to it so often because I think it really is THAT effective!) prescribes working on a verse a day, but I'm taking a bit more aggressive pace so far. Some of the verses are really short, and they sometimes break at odd places in the middle of sentences (and, Paul uses some really LONG sentences!). Plus, I figured I might as well take advantage of the motivation I'm feeling right now--and it'll give me some cushion in case I miss a day here or there later this month.

I've been reminded recently that not only is the ability to memorize a gift from God...but even the desire to memorize is a gift. So I'm praying that God will help me to steward these gifts with humility. I'm praying that He will purify my heart as I memorize Ephesians, that I won't be gaining knowledge for knowledge's sake, but will be changed by His Word and better prepared to minister to others through this work. Ultimately I'm praying this, as Ann so eloquently shared last week:

It’s not just about the words in me … it’s about The Word in me.
Christ in me.
Now that right there puts the “mega” in this month.

May "the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" as you work to memorize it this week!

Multitude Monday, Take 144

Thanking God this week for...

161. Skype (why on earth did it take us so long to get into this??)

162. old ladies doting on Elijah at the grocery store

163. hanging basket full of colorful fruit: red apples, orange clementines, yellow grapefruit, green apples (why didn't I get a picture??)

164. my new blender, which we are having fun experimenting with: green smoothies, raw applesauce, ice cream, almond butter...the possibilities are nearly endless!

165. Mega Memory Month

166. my new chiropractor

167. Elijah's angelic behavior at the chiro, enabling me to go in for adjustments and take him with me three times in the last week, with zero problems (!!)

168. hot showers

169. hot chocolate

170. clean laundry

171. late night writing time

172. Qdoba date for Steve's birthday

173. coupons for free chips & queso next time

174. Qdoba leftovers for lunch today

175. mercies new every morning, not just on January 1

176. grace to get up early and commune with that merciful God

holy experience

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy 28th

The love of my life turned 28 yesterday. How are we two years from 30 already?? Is it really possible that our TEN-year high school reunion is this year?

I don't (at least most of the time) take for granted how blessed I am to have this man in my life. He is strong--and I never, ever feel threatened by his strength, only protected. He is wise, when I am so often foolish. He is endlessly patient--a fundamental requirement for being married to me, I am sure.

I often marvel at two things: his brilliance and his good looks :) Steve is so smart--I love his creative engineer mind, always coming up with better ways to do things. I love to have deep conversations with him about all kinds of topics. And he just keeps getting more and more handsome! I thought he was SO hot when we were I look back at pictures of us then and laugh. He was a little boy then; the man he has become is even better looking!

OK, now that my audience is gagging...In all seriousness, I have so much admiration and respect for my husband. He's a hard worker, a man of integrity, a selfless servant who never complains or loses his temper. He models Christ to me in so many ways, and because of him, I am a better me. It has been my privilege to celebrate the last seven birthdays by his is my prayer that we will get to celebrate many, many more.

Happy birthday, Steve!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Mega Memory Month Begins

A lot has changed since January 2009, but I'm excited that one of the ways I'm ringing in the new year is the same as last year: Mega Memory Month!

Ann Kroeker is once again hosting this blog carnival/memorization challenge--a wonderful way to link up with others and reap the benefits of public accountability and mutual encouragement as you hide God's Word in your heart.

Memorizing extended passages of Scripture has been a hugely valuable discipline for me. It is so helpful to have God's Word running through my mind during the day and ready on my tongue to provide "a word fitly spoken" and build others up.

This time around, I've decided that "mega" for me means tackling a whole book. I've memorized chapters of Scripture before, but never one entire book, so I'd like to try that. I've chosen Ephesians, for several reasons:
  • It's one of my favorite books, packed with glorious gospel declarations.
  • I'm already familiar with many of the verses, which should give me a boost in a daunting project like this.
  • David Powlison says in Seeing with New Eyes: "You will not go wrong if you plunge into Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Master it. Be mastered by it. ...The Bible is vast and deep, and human life is diverse and perplexing. But in a pinch you could do all counseling from Ephesians. It's all there: the big picture that organizes a myriad details." Quite an endorsement!
Of course, there's no way I could memorize all six chapters of Ephesians in 31 days. I have a good memory, but not THAT good! I'm simply hoping that Mega Memory Month will provide a jumpstart on the project. Using my verse-a-day method, my goal is to work through Ephesians 1:1-2:10 this month, and then I'll spend the next several months committing the rest of Ephesians to memory.

I hope you'll join me. Just pick something to memorize--try something "mega" (challenge yourself based on what you’ve done in the past). If you're new to memorizing, don't be intimidated; just start small. As Ann has said, "Nobody is judging how well we complete this month-long memory project--it simply provides public accountability. Don’t let the word 'mega' discourage you from participating. Participate even if your selection is modest."

I'll be checking in, Lord willing, every Monday this month to share my progress and encourage you to persevere. Then on the 31st, we'll have a little celebration of what we've hidden in our hearts. Head over to Ann's blog to officially sign-up, and check out the following links for inspiration and tips: