Friday, September 26, 2008

Feminine Reading

Well, after I finished my nonfiction book on manhood, I decided to reward myself with a nice fiction novel reaching to the essence of femininity. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers came highly recommended to me by a couple of important ladies in my life. I knew it was the perfect follow-up to Wild at Heart that I needed, and I purchased it immediately. Once I started mentioning that I intended to read it, I realized just how many women knew and loved this book. Ladies at my church admitted to reading it multiple times, some even on a regular basis. I could not wait to dive into the book.

The story is a fictional novel based on the Biblical book of Hosea and follows his prostitute wife named Angel through her life. The beginning chapters that tell of her early years are pretty hard to get through. She was greatly emotionally abused as a young girl and sold into prostitution at eight years old. Her way to cope with the constant sexual and emotional abuse was to shut the world out. Since she was a little girl, she was convinced that everything that happened to her was her own fault, and she never felt worthy of anything or anyone. At eighteen, she was finally at the end of her rope and taunting a man hoping that he would beat her to death and put her out of her misery. However, God had a different future in mind. A farmer named Michael Hosea had been praying for a wife when the Lord directed him to Angel.

The novel is about Michael's pursuit of Angel and her reluctance to let her walls down to be vulnerable again. The story is an incredible example of God's unconditional, never-ending love for us as His children. It was such a good book, that I never wanted to put it down. I even sacrificed a Sunday afternoon nap so that I could continue reading. I finished it in three days, and immediately regretted speeding through. I didn't want to be finished reading it. If I didn't already have another book in line to pick up (The Shack, by William Young), I would have flipped it right back over and started it again. I highly recommend it to anyone. It has the appearance of a romance novel, but it's truly a raw commentary of a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" that gets saved by grace. I was blessed by this story, and I think you could be, too.

Masculine Reading

Months and months ago, Brad read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, and it quite literally changed his life. He talked with me about it the entire time he was reading. This book genuinely helped him resolve some of the things that he was struggling with in his life. It also helped form his opinions on parenting approaches. He had suggested that I read it the minute he closed the back cover. I knew that the book would enlighten my understanding of my husband, as well as other men in my life, present and future. But, as a general rule, I am not a giant fan of nonfiction. Actually, I really don't like it at all. So, naturally, I put it off for a long time. Finally, after I had exhausted the Twilight series for the second time, I decided it was about time to pick up Wild at Heart.

I'm not going to pretend like it was a page turner for me the same way it was for my husband, but it really was great. Granted, it took me about three months to finish a tiny book, where I can usually crack out a Potter novel in a weekend. Some of it was hard to push through simply because it did not apply to me at all. But, after all, it is a book about "discovering the secret to a man's soul" not a woman's. However, it was really interesting, and it definitely altered my perspective on masculinity. It was kind of tough for me, though, because a man's masculinity depends so greatly on his father's influence. But, I know that I can provide a lot of support through my simple lack of squelching the "boy" out of our future son(s). It also helps me understand how to better support Brad and encourage his manhood. Little things... Like try to tell him how strong he is rather than cute. Challenge him to do certain things that I know he can do to "prove he's a man," and "allow" him to do other manly things like fish and hike and camp and just watch sports with the guys without me trying to make him feel guilty for not spending time cuddling with me or helping with the laundry. Now, let's see if I can put that into practice. Easier said than done. Overall, even though it took some discipline to finish, I'm extremely glad that I read it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Here's a little autobiography for ya

Well, I guess I should give an update for my long-lost friends before I start posting my daily thoughts about the book of the week (this week it is Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers) or whatever else is on my mind.

Brad and I have been married over three years. Part of me can't believe it has already been three years. I remember our wedding and honeymoon like it was just a couple of months ago. The other part of me can't believe it's ONLY been three years. It seems like we've been together forever and ever with no beginning. It's like I can't remember ever living before he entered my life. Interesting. Anyway, he's the love of my life, my perfect other half, and I can't imagine a day without him. Okay, I know, you can go ahead and gag if you want to. I'm just still so twitterpated. People didn't think my crush would survive our 18 month engagement. Looks like it has and then some. :)

We are living in Nashville and loving it. I'm working the front desk at an incredible accounting firm where I am surrounded by great, Christian workers. Too bad I have to dress up every day. Boo. Brad is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones, and excelling quicker than expected. What's new? He should open his own office by the end of the year. And if you're wondering, he has to dress up every day, too. Only he has to wear suits and ties. I guess I've got it a little easier.

We don't have any kids yet, but our happy family includes our incredible dog, Chester. He's a Havanese, and the best dog in America. He's also the cutest, see? He's 2 1/2 years old, and still has the energy of a puppy. We play tag and hide-and-seek through our apartment quite often. Chester's about as happy as we are that the weather is cooling down. He loves to hang out on the balcony and watch the people and cars go by.

Brad and I have found an incredible church in Nashville to be a part of, the Tusculum church of Christ. Thanks mostly to this congregation, Nashville has become everything I always thought it would be. We have a great group of friends and wonderful, godly examples to look up to. We're, of course, involved in various activities, classes, and ministries throughout the year. It keeps us busy as well as spiritually fed. This church home is always on the top of our list of blessings we are thankful for.

That's about it for a general update. I'm sure we'll get more specific as the blog goes on. In the mean time, pray for Brad. He's currently in St. Louis for the week doing the last leg of his EdJones training. Hopefully he won't get mugged in the "most dangerous city in America." ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nice To Meet Ya

Hello, there.

I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and add my own name to the blogosphere. I don't anticipate that this weblog will be anything enlightening, but it may be entertaining at times. While I don't generally have anything profoud to say, I usually have a lot of words to say regardless. I figured this would be an easy way to keep our far away families and friends up to date on what's going on in the Mehaffey household. Hope you enjoy it!
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