With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many sweethearts – or would-be sweethearts – are making plans for how to express their love. The holiday is also one of the most popular days for becoming engaged. But what happens after the chocolates have been devoured and the roses have wilted? Or what if, after years or decades of being together, you’re just not feeling it anymore? Plenty of marriage books offer activities and tips that promise to help you reconnect.
There’s something about the start of a new year that beckons us to set goals. According to the website History.com, the custom of setting New Year’s resolutions began in ancient Babylon 4,000 years ago. Each March people celebrated a 12-day religious festival and made promises to their gods. Those who kept them were assured favor in the coming year. The New Year offers an opportunity to reflect on what we’d like to change. In the West, often it’s our health habits. But what if instead of measuring our midriffs and kicking off another diet, we measured our lifestyle? That’s the prospect authors Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger offer in their book, “The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us” (Brazos Press, 2017).
Living on Maine’s coast for most of my life, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m no sailor. And the last time I caught a fish, I was 10. But I am a reader and an occasional doubter. So I was intrigued to read, “Crossing the Waters: Following Jesus through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt, and the Seas,” by Alaskan author and fisherwoman Leslie Leyland Fields (2016 NAVPRESS). Fields and her family live on Harvester Island, a rugged, beautiful place full of adventure, deep isolation, and danger. Throughout the fishing season, they cross the waters in boats, casting nets in hope that what they catch will sustain them.
My husband, Dana, and I welcomed our first child in our mid-twenties. It was wonderful and rewarding, and we treasured our little son, gleefully watching his every move, showing him off to neighbors, and reading him the original “Winnie the Pooh” before he could sit up. But I was lonely too.
“I have learned throughout my life that sometimes our deepest disappointments and darkest days are when God speaks to us most clearly. In times of great and desperate confusion, God taps on our hearts. In our loneliest nights He whispers clearly,” Marcus Doe, Catching Ricebirds.
After last week’s column about the upcoming apologetics conference, Why Jesus? 2016, occurring in Bangor, Maine, this May, a reader from Whiting wrote me a note to share his concern and disappointment that none of the conference’s headline speakers are women.