This and that.

July 10th.
Summer days are in full swing - and so is the heat.
Thankful for our annual beach pass which allows us to trek to the beach for just a few dollars each week so we can take a break from the city heat and enjoy the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean.
And to the genius who invented fans - BLESS YOU!

~~~ Our month-long experiment to see if my people could handle the daily work required to care for a rabbit and treat it with gentleness and respect was a success!
We are now the official owners of a Holland Lop rabbit.
Meet Charlie - formally known as Charlotte.
(Apparently, one cannot decipher the sex of a rabbit until it is approximately six months old. His former owner was beginning to have her suspicions that her beloved rabbit was, in fact, a boy, and her suspicions were confirmed after a visit to the vet for a check-up. We are thankful Karen had Charlie examined before handing him over to us. He is healthy and happy, and knowing he is a boy is an important and needed piece of information!)
On a side note ... Having a rabbit is definitely a conversation starter! People want to do one of two things when they meet him: hold him, or cook him. There does not seem to be a middle-of-the-line!
Charlie is a sweet rabbit, and everyone in the family (who actually likes animals) enjoys him, so we look forward to having this little piece of God's clever creation in our family for as long as He sees fit.

Last weekend, Dennis hauled every Eastman child except Micah up to Fresno to spend the weekend with Steven and CC.
They swam for hours, )Luke and Caleb) saw the new Spiderman movie, spent an entire day at a water park, spent evenings talking together, and ended their time with worship at church followed by a delicious lunch.

And I - stayed HOME.
Three days of complete peace and silence without any demands or commitments. Something I have needed for some months, which my husband graciously provided.
I made no plans, saw no one but the cashier at Trader Joe's when I stocked up on food for the weekend and did not do one household chore. I slept, wrote, watched movies, thought, read books, and prayed. During the 60-hour respite, I learned a few things about myself.
1) I need more sleep. Each night found me sleeping soundly for ten hours, followed by a three-hour nap the following day. Though I have several more years of parenting young children and teens ahead of me, making early bed times nearly impossible, I definitely need to increase my REM hours throughout the week.
2) God did not create me for leisure. An hour here, an afternoon there, a morning to sleep in ... these things I appreciate and enjoy. But overall? I crave work. I need to be useful, have a purpose for my day, and I want to serve. Having a weekend alone with nothing to do was an excellent reminder that my "empty nest" days will need to be profitable. Whether Dennis and I serve together or in different areas, we most definitely need to have a purpose to our days!
3) I cannot let my brain go idle for too long. I envy others who can "shut down" for hours or days at a time before re-engaging, but my mind does not have the capacity to function like that. I am like the screensaver on a computer. Once my brain goes into "sleep mode" it takes a smack on the keyboard or a re-boot to get my thoughts working properly again. I much prefer keeping them well-oiled and ready to engage at a moment's notice!

Thank you, Dennis, for the gift of three days.
And thank you, Steven and CC, for hosting, feeding, entertaining, and loving my family!

~~~ This is my current reading list.
Normally, I read only one book at a time in order to keep myself completely focused on the topic at hand, but right now the Lord has me seeking wisdom on different topics, for different reasons.

Deserted by God is an EXCELLENT read. Ferguson does a fantastic job walking through some of the most often-used Psalms to shed light on wonderful truths tucked within. For anyone who is discouraged, in despair, or wondering if God truly means it when He says, "I will never leave you or forsake you," ... this book will us the Psalms to teach you how to identify the cause of your discouragement so you can fall back into the comforting embrace of a God who desires to ENcourage His children.

The first time I read It's So Much Work to Be Your Friend, I cried. Lavoie does a brilliant job creating a picture of what daily life looks like for people with learning needs. As a mother of five kids who battle dyslexia, his picture was a little too vivid for me. He helped me understand why they struggle, how they struggle, and how much help they need to "find their way" in a world that will not accommodate them. I cried because I felt like I had failed them in a hundred ways. But in His goodness, the Lord lifted my head and showed me that though I do not do everything well, I do some things well - and those things matter.
I am reading it again because now that the emotion has been acknowledged and released, I am ingesting Lavoie's information with practical perspective and thinking. And what a difference it makes!

The title alone of What did you Expect? makes me smile. It is the second book on marriage that my friend Jill and I are reading together this summer. I am expecting to laugh in between the thwacks on the back of my head. No matter how long you have been married, you are still two sinners trying to live together righteously. There will ALWAYS be something to learn!

Spiritual Depression - Its Causes and Cure provides exactly what you would expect. A touch more technical than other books on the same topic, but a worthy read. And a classic from what I have been told.

~~~ Happy Monday!
I will leave you with this quote by J. C. Ryle. It is a quote that provokes thought, to be sure!

"With God nothing shall be impossible!" Luke 1:37
Questions and doubts will often arise in men's minds about many subjects in religion. They are the natural result of our fallen estate of soul.
Our faith at the best is very feeble.
Our knowledge at its highest is clouded with much infirmity.
With Him who called the world into being and formed it out of nothing - everything is possible. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanses from all sin.
There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh.
There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ strengthening us.
There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us.
There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ's words never pass away - and what He has promised, He is able to perform.
There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us - then who shall stand against us? The mountain shall become a plain!
Let principles like these be continually before our minds. The angel's maxim is an invaluable remedy. Faith never rests so calmly and peacefully as when it lays its head on the pillow of God's omnipotence!

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