The Longing- A Book Review

I’ve never done a “formal” book review before… and I hesitate to call this one. Regardless, it’s my attempt at honoring the work of another talented author by sharing some of my thoughts and encouragements (to you, my reader) to check it out!

You are called to something so much higher than a good self-esteem. –The Longing

I was so grateful when Joey trusted me with his new “baby” for review! I’ve had it in my possession way too long (the whole busy-mom thing) but at last I have joyfully completed my task!

It is now my deep honor to introduce you to The Longing: Embracing the Deepest Truth of Who You Are

Unless we know whose we really are, we will live like orphans who’ve long given up the dream of ever being chosen, loved, and accepted by another. –The Longing

In The Longing, Joey takes the reader on a journey through many life experiences that just about anyone can relate to- and some that we are glad we can’t relate to yet (Joey- my husband has asked that I not ever need to hand-write my books! HA!) He defines the ache and longing that we all feel or have felt. With tears in our eyes (or hearts) reminiscing our own struggle to belong and know we have value, he guides us to a solution for that emptiness we feel. Through a really good mix of quotes, scripture, and modern day banter Joey makes the Bible truths and principals palatable for the current culture.

Despite what you’ve been told or have experienced, you are not the sum total of your gifts and talents, your strengths and weaknesses, your victories and defeats. You are not your job. You are not your status, your inflated fantasies of greatness or lowest levels of self-hatred. You are not your roles as husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, boss or employee, sinner or saint. You are not your net worth in homes, assets, or possessions. Your net worth is in the invisible, inestimable, immeasurable love of God. –The Longing

The Longing even worked as a read-aloud! Feeling bad that I’d taken so long to read the book, I took it on a long family trip. The hours flew by (thank you God, and thank you Joey) as I read some deep and meaningful reminders of who we are and whose we are. My husband commented on how refreshing it was to hear things he knew in his mind and heart but often get tucked away in the busyness of life. The Longing is a call to slow down, give ourselves permission to embrace the ugly in our lives, find acceptance in spite of it, healing because of it, and freedom to be who we are meant to be.

After creating the world in six days, on the seventh day God rested. When you and I don’t rest, we are one day ahead of God, metaphorically speaking. –The Longing

I have also been reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp – slowly- as I simmer in the truths of my need for a slower-paced life, a quiet heart, and a constant seeking after gratitude. I loved how Joey also touched on the need for living in the moment to truly relish what we’ve been given. I don’t believe in coincidence, so the fact that both books are speaking this message into my life right now comes with a need to heed.

It is in community where we silence all the noise thrown at us throughout the day and affirm our true spiritual identity. In community, our hearts receive the ongoing restoration they so desperately need. –The Longing

I don’t know who you are or what stage of life you are in. But I’m pretty sure that whatever season of life you find yourself in, The Longing is a book that will answer deep questions of your value and gently guide you to a place of confidence and peace- regardless of the circumstances surrounding you.

Ever since we were children, our hearts have longed to belong. This is the longing… We have all longed to be longed for. Our hearts have always wanted to be wanted by others, but what all of us have experienced, in different ways, is rejection. –The Longing

Joey O’Connor  has written 19 books and is currently the Executive Director for The Grove Center for the Arts and Media. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and his website.

You can buy The Longing at Amazon, Barnes n Noble, and Sony’s E-Bookstore.

Perfectly Penned

The pen slides perfectly into my welcoming hand. It cuddles cozily against my thumb and fingers. United, in seamless harmony, pen and hand perform the most amazing of tasks- my thoughts become visible. No longer are they floating through my head unseen. As I think them, they are written. Printed. Perceptible. Perfect. My human hand flows across pages with grace, capturing my many emotions, dreams, hopes, fears, challenges, successes, and prayers. Uniquely. My handwriting.

Then it strikes me. Will my great grandchildren know the beauty of this marvel? Will they experience the collision of notebook, pen, hand and brain, all in delightful accord?

My mind dances with dreadful visions of a possible future. Kindergardeners sitting at their little desks…. learning the alphabet on… ipads? Tap tap tap… their tiny fingers slide across the touchscreen. No need for the handwritten word anymore. Only scrapbooks, journals, and school papers of the growingly distant past remind the world that once humanity could write. Pen in hand. Then. Stylus in hand.  Now. Tap tap tap. ipod, iphone, ipad, and… ibrain.

I wonder if there isn’t some beautiful connection between the development of our brains and the synchronicity of our hands and hearts. What is the cost of this distant fate? The elderly will reminisce the days of handwritten greeting cards and love notes. “The good ‘ol days” they’ll say. I’m sure I will be among them, Lord granting me the days of life to do so.

But its faster. More exciting. Easier. Convenient. Efficient. Time-saving. Freeing.

Will we sell ourselves to technology for immediate gratification? Will we forsake the trials of patience and and the character-building of waiting… all for what appears “easy”?

Computers crash. Technology fails. Batteries die. Electricity is expensive. Spam. Phishing Schemes. Identity Theft. Privacy Lost.

And here I sit typing 🙂 Not bad. Unless I forget how to write. Pen and hand. Unified. Unique. Unforgettable.


The Beginning

I’ve been mulling over the purpose of this blog. I’ve decided that this will be a place where we (you and I) share the things that bring our life passion and excitement. We all want a life of quality… one well lived and above and beyond the mundane and monotonous.

I know I have many experiences in life that have lent themselves to meaning far greater than myself. Experiences that enlightened my perspective, reformed my view, or simply held great significance that was worth noting and retaining. Many of these moments have been recorded  and filed away.

Knowing this, I pulled out journals from my past and began perusing the pages, hunting for those grand moments that make the rest of life bearable. And though I found those moments penned by my hand at various stages in life, as I knew I would, I actually found something far greater. I remembered how important it is that we record our life stories.

For many hours over the last days, my heart and mind were sucked into the past through the pages of my journals. Emotions surfaced that I had almost long forgotten. Visions and pictures danced in my mind as the words unlocked doors of memory. What most amazed me was how far I’ve progressed as a person in life! The girl on the pages of my first year married is a very different girl than the one married almost seven years today! Same pen, perhaps, but very different person. The man I described in that first year is also incredibly different, and I realized how much more in love I am now than I was then. Things only realized in light of the hardships and pure pleasures that we have experienced.

I read through so many prayers… of thanksgiving, of praise, of pain, and of total anguish. How many times I realized that my prayers or words had been fulfilled in future events and days to come. What a huge blessing to remember that I had prayed many of the things I am now experiencing.

My trip backwards through the years did not require a special time-travel machine. It did not require large sums of money or even sick days from “work” (or, mommy-hood, in my case). I simply traveled through a  journal in which I had so carefully treasured much of my heart and its meanderings.

Not only was that experience incredible for me…. to remind me of where I’ve come from, the mistakes I’ve made, the miracles I have seen, or the blessings I have been a part of… but I know those written words will also one day unlock the “mystery of mommy” to my children and grand children. Along with photo albums, those words document the heart and soul of their mother… something I only hope to have pieces of when my own mother passes. And its a void in my life for those people who’ve passed and left little of themselves to get to know through their writing.

Maybe you don’t feel like a writer. Maybe you hate to read. Maybe you love it! Regardless, may you find some time each day or even week, to record your prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams, and goals. Record your struggles and your successes. May your words become the hope of generations to come, inspiration for those you live among today, and a preservation not only of your past, but of the legacy you are aligned with. Go forth and journal! 🙂

Journaling tips:

1. Remember that whatever you write is visible to anyone… as safe as it may seem. Only right what you don’t mind someone seeing!

2. Journaling can be very therapeutic. If you must write things you don’t want others to see, DO! Then destroy it if you need to! I’ve done this many times!

3. The journal does NOT have to be fancy. Go to a dollar store and buy a spiral notebook. You can also find books designed to be journals at stores like Amazon, Barnes n Noble, Borders, etc.

4.Not every entry has to be about some supernatural experience or moment of significance! If you really have nothing to say, just write about your day! Start with what you did and see where your hand goes!

5. Don’t give up. If a month goes by, fine! Sit down and journal whenever you have the chance. Find some quiet time to reflect on your day, your life, your favorite song or food… and record it.

6. Discretion. I have many times written emotional letters to people and given it to them- when really it should have been only for me. If you want to write a letter to someone, do. Then keep it. Put it in your journal. I’ve done this with emails too. Usually the second or third time I write it, I’ve been able to weed out the things that don’t need to be said and have actually written a letter I can give.