Sunday, August 29, 2010

Clingings to Psalm 139

image source unknown.

You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and rise up.

You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down.

You are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, you know it.

You hem me in behind and before. You lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me. And your right hand shall hold me.

Good thing, because I feel like I am losing myself.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review

Do you have a stack of books you've eaten up this summer?

Or perhaps, an untouched stack of well-intentioned summer reading?

Or maybe you had just one book you got through, but it was your defining book of the summer.

As summer is waning, I have a few books left in my summer reading pile that will have to carry over to fall coffee shop dates.

Isn't it exciting that fall is around the corner? Fall is my fave season.

But as for summer reading, I have a fave to share with you. Not favorite like my first Russian novel, or my first Emily Bronte (both defining books of my summer), but favorite as in best book I've read in awhile.

The book is called, "Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain," by Dr. William Struthers.

Not exactly what you expected, right? I realize that only a clinical psychology major would likely choose this book as her favorite summer read, but this book really is that good, and I recommend it to anyone.

"Wired for Intimacy" is recently out by a professor of psychology at Wheaton College. He teaches courses on behavioral neuroscience, men and addictions, and the biological bases of behavior. I know from my time at Wheaton that his classes are always full, and time with him is extremely coveted.

So, I read the book and got 189 pages with him. It was worth every page.

As a neuroscientist and researcher, Struthers explains how pornography effects the brain in a chapter he calls, "Your Brain on Porn." His explanations are scientific, but concise and reader-friendly, and the material is ground-breaking.

He shows how pornography disrupts and alters the brain's normal capacities and functions for intimacy, but he also spends much of the book making practical talk out of what it means to be made male in God's image, what it means to be masculine, and the male need for intimacy in relationships. It is so refreshing, insightful, and practical.

Why read this book? For me those reasons involved my connection to Wheaton and my interest in Dr. Struthers' work, my interest in psychology and counseling, and my and Neal's work with college students, for whom pornography is so often an issue.

You may read this book for any number of reasons, but regardless, you'll walk away with

1) a renewed passion for God's intent for, and gift of, intimacy
2) an increased respect for God's creation of both the human brain and the creation of His laws
3) a vision for achievable, healthy and holy male sexuality
4) and a confidence in understanding the modern, current issue of pornography.

There are also resources listed in the back of the book to help men out of the snare of pornography and sexual addictions.

I hope to circulate this helpful book in whatever ways I can, and I hope you'll do the same.

To learn more, visit

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hird Island

So, this post is one I've been really excited to share with you! And tonight, at Clark St. Starbucks with Neal studying across the table from me, I think I've got the perfect evening for it. We're sitting at a big window that opens right out to the bustling city street, with the city buses pulling in for their scheduled stops every so often. People coming, people going, and I find myself glancing up to see all the diversity passing by. That has to be one of the things I love most about the city... it's hard to be in my own little world, because the fact that there is a great, big, diverse world out there is right in my face every single day.

I love new places and the energy of exploring a part of the world new to me, don't you?

A few weeks ago, on our way back from FL, Neal and I got the chance to do just that. We are so grateful to the Staley's, parents of Neal's good college friend Jamie, for inviting us to visit them at their vacation home off the southeast coast of Georgia. They are such kind, hospitable people and showed us all around the beautiful and unique Hird Island.

I'll try to send you there to take it all in, through my pictures. There's lots, so grab a cup of coffee, and scroll down...

{The Marina}
Where we were picked up by boat

{Boat ride to the island}
A 15-min. ride through the water passage ways of the swampland

{Our ride to the island was nearly at sunset, so beautiful!}

{The House on Hird Island}
The island is 2 miles long, and has about 30 houses on it.
No roads, no stores, no mail.

{The Porch}
Read, write, journal, chat, nap, eat...
The possibilities are endless for this gorgeous haven

{The Trees}
These trees covered the island, making it feel enchanted

{Catching Crab}

{Boat ride out to the Atlantic Ocean}

{An Unforgettable Afternoon}
This island that we boated to has the open waters of the Atlantic washing up to its shores

{Our view as we explored and enjoyed the afternoon}
Not a person in sight for miles

It was absolutely sublime.

Time to close up shop at Starbucks, hop on the Vespa, and go home!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Locket Around My Neck

Pulling out the Florida scrapbook again. I've already scrapped the long, lazy beach days, the delicious pool days, and the road trip. I think all I have left to "glue in" are these beautiful evenings at the beach with ocean sunsets. I'd have to say that our quiet evenings were as enjoyable as our days, except on those couple nights when the bugs were biting!

We rode our bikes along the berm, brought 5 Guys burgers and fries out to the beach to watch the sunset, walked the shoreline, ate at our favorite beach restaurants, collected shells, and then watched the Home & Garden channel every night when we crawled into bed.

As far as favorites go, my favorite evening was the night we pulled up chairs on the spot on the beach where we got engaged. While we sat and watched the sun sink into the ocean, it was really, really special to sit right where Neal went down on one knee and to remember our engagement, laugh, cry, process our life, pray, talk of hopes, and be so, so thankful. And the beach was nearly as private as it was the night Neal proposed! These quiet, private beaches have ruined me forever to all other beaches.

All that to say, if I could wear in a locket around my neck all my memories with Neal from Pelican Bay, I would.

{As I said, ruined}