The Bride Collector

He’s BAAACCCKKK… YES!!! I love when Ted Dekker has a new book coming out… and he’s on a role right now! I’m having some trouble keeping up (hush… I’m sure having five kids has nothing to do with this…) with his books and any other reading I want to do… sigh…

However, when I was (ok, so it was everyone who follows Dekker and his management on twitter, but who’s counting?) offered the chance to read and review his newest thriller (before it is released April 13, 2010), I jumped at the chance!

The Bride Collector is about an FBI agent, a mental patient and the serial killer that brought them together. No, I am not kidding. The cast of characters is wide and fun… I mean, where else are you going to get Sherlock Holmes, Casanova and God all in one book? This book is true to Dekker thriller fashion… which has it’s upsides and it’s down. What??? I know, but it’s true… while I like Dekker thrillers, they always leave me a bit disappointed.

And this one, though not the worst by FAR, still has a… I don’t know… disappointing is not really the right way to describe my feelings. It comes down to this… I understand where Dekker is going, and the point he is trying to get across. I don’t really feel he fully pulls it off. He can tell a tale without a doubt. His fantasies are wonderful! The only thriller I’ve not been at least a little disappointed with was Blink (No, I don’t mean Blink of an Eye, but that is another subject to be dealt with at a later time).

So, here’s my thought, if you are just looking for a fun, summer day at the beach read or if you already like Dekker‘s work… this is a good choice. If you are looking for a love story full of action, friction and all things to make your heart sing… this is a good book for you. If you are looking to understand all that is Dekker and why anyone would want to read his tales… you want Black.

And by all means… Dive Deep!

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The Truth in Television

I have been doing lots of reading this week… working on a review of Ted Dekker‘s upcoming novel, so I have not been watching much T.V. Tonight, I took some time for a little couch time with my hubby. What I didn’t expect was to stumble across blatant truth in the form of an odd little show.

Last fall there was an intriguing add for a new show… so I tivo-ed it. Flash Forward was a rather interesting concept, has had some fun little twist and turns, and some turns I really wasn’t thrilled with… However, I’ve hung with it, mostly because I tend to REALLY want to finish something once I start… Basically, show is about how the whole world fell asleep (had a black out) at the same time for a little over two minutes at the same time, and everyone had a vision of what they would be doing in 6 months. Then they all woke up and tried to begin to deal with the craziness of their new lives.

Tonight I turned it on, and was messing around on my laptop when TRUTH reached up and slapped me across the head in the form of a scene between two FBI agents. Both are obsessed with their vision (or lack there of) of the future. The man didn’t see anything, and has since learned he will be murdered a month before the visions took place for everyone else. The second is a woman who saw herself having an ultra sound and learning she was carrying a little girl.

The first time I got a little smack, the female FBI agent is in a fertility clinic speaking with a dr. who is trying to encourage her to wait. She replies with the story of her vision, and these words, “I want THAT baby. Not a different baby two years from now…”

The next scene we see her in, she and her friend are talking about being ready to be a mom, and how much she wanted THIS child. The man said something about how THIS child doesn’t even exist yet. She looked him straight in the face and said, “Yes, she does. I know she does. She is out there making her way toward me. I have spent almost every waking moment thinking about who she is going to be. I can’t wait to meet her.” What??? This child, who hasn’t even been conceived yet, and they are saying the child ALREADY exists???

Now, as a woman who has 5 kids, had 5 miscarriages, and carried a total of 13 babies (there was a set of twins for sure and two possible sets) I get what she’s saying. Pregnancy is so different for a man and a woman. For a man, pregnancy becomes real when he can SEE his wife’s belly grow, and FEEL the tiny kicks that ripple across her skin. The baby becomes real when he HEARS the child’s first scream in the delivery room. But for a woman… for her, the baby is real when the little strip she pees on turns positive. That moment, with that breath, she is totally in love with her child. Her world has been flipped upside down. For the man, his world is rocked a little… For her, the world will never be the same.

The thing that shocks me is that they admitted the child who has not been conceived is still a person. How different that is from most things on T.V. where we are told it’s not a baby until it has been born… until then it’s just some tissue for the mother to do with whatever she wants. And yet, here’s a show saying this as-yet-not-conceived child WANTS to live – has places to go and people to see. Wow.

How do I love thee?

Love is a funny thing… one of those very hard to pin down kind of things – like Jell-O. What really says, “I love you” to you? What do you need to feel like you are taken care of? If you’ve read the books, what is your “Love Language“?

Companionship is big for T. This means several things to us… rock climbing, laughing together and watching B Sci-fi movies or TV shows. When we have not had enough time together (we did just have our 5th child, and the holidays, and so much going on at his office… you know, life) he’ll say things like “I don’t feel married any more.” Ugh… that’s a tough one to swallow.

For my kids, they are still developing and learning their own needs, so they really need some of each. However, I can tell my girls are feeling they are not getting enough of Mommy’s time… also a tough one to swallow. Two year old K has been greeting me each morning with “Mommy, I need you.” Her little heart does not understand that EVERYONE needs Mommy, all she knows is that Mommy has not been as available as she once was.

There is a balance somewhere… there has to be. One of my goals for this year is to find it… not just for me, but for my whole family. I need to speak personally, deeply to each of these God given gifts, of my love for them. Not just as a group, but as the individual they are… T, J, G, S, K and A… That is a deep river I must swim. One I dare not swim alone.

See, they are God given. Without seeking God first, I will NEVER be able to love them in a way that will speak to their hearts… there is not enough of me to go around. But God can multiply in ways we can not understand, and with Him, with Him only, I will be able to truly love all those He has placed in my life.

And this book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman,  is a good way to begin to understand all they are asking of me.

Sinner

Ted Dekker‘s done it again…

I just finished Ted’s newest book, Sinner. OK, now before you run to the bookstore… it’s not out yet… Unless you were at The Gathering this year, you have to wait ’til September 2, 2008. Sorry. I can tell you… it will be worth the wait.

Johnny, Billy and Darcy are back… so is Black. And the fight for Paradise is on again. Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were some great surprises. There were a couple of things I wasn’t real thrilled with, but even Ted can’t be 100% all the time 😉 The message is there, it’s strong and it’s worth your time.

We are all the sinner. We must all see the light for ourselves. We must all dive deep. Paradise awaits.

Carabiners and Grown-Up Girlfriends

I am reading this great book called Grown-Up Girlfriends by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver. Basically it is about finding and keeping real friends in the real world. Why, you might ask… because I have seen this from both sides… both the having and the not having. I have seen what great friends can be for one another, and I have seen how destructive bad friendships can be.

One of the things they talk about is how “women crave relationships innately and are driven to be in relationships” — good or bad — and how during stressful times women tend to congregate together. Like God, we desire to be in relationships, and like Moses, sometimes we need someone to hold our arms up.

I have been in those times… and had those there to help me. I have watched others go through such times with very few around them, and it cripples them. Isolation is not a good thing.

I am blessed with friends who have stuck by me for 18-20 years now, others who I have known a short time, but feel like I’ve known forever. They have walked some dark paths with me. They have laughed, cried, prayed for and with me. They have helped me grow up. I would not be who I am with out them. Any of them.

I talked to some of my friends about their role in my life and how it is something like a carabiner. The carabiner’s significance is its use to fasten the climber’s line to their belayer, or anchor person, on the ground. When the climber loses footing, the belayer steadies them while they regain their hold on the mountain. My friends have held me to the Rock while I fought off insecurity, fear, frustration and anger. They provided assistance, encouragement, sound judgment, prayer and “held the ropes” for me.

If you find yourself isolated, with very little human contact (and I don’t mean through your computer… that’s NOT human contact) pick up this book, find out what you are missing, and find some real friends. They are out there… and they are looking for what you bring to the table!

And to my friends (CA, KC, JG, CH, RH, JR, GR, JS, LT, MV, KW and I am sure there are others I am not thinking of right now, but will come to me soon, so consider yourself here) there are not enough words to truly say thank you for playing the role of a carabiner in my life!

The Gathering

Ted Dekker at the Gathering 2008Yes, I am a member of the Circle… or for those who are not in the know, I am a Ted Dekker fan. And today my DH (that’s Darling Husband – and he is a darling) and I got to go to a conference with about 300 other Dekker fans, otherwise known as The Gathering. And we got to go without children! That’s a big deal when you have kids!

While standing in line at the bookstore, I found myself in the middle of young people (when did I become old enough to use that phrase?) who wanted to seem so intellectual as they discussed the finer points of Dekker, CS Lewis and J. R. R. Tolken. Honestly none of them seemed old enough to know what finer points are. Too much living in books and analyzing them and not enough living in the moment. Too much tearing apart and not enough enjoying the whole.

Isn’t that the way we are with God? Too much focus on our little part here or there, and not enough seeing the big picture? What are we missing when we forget to ask Him to show us what He wants us to see? How much of the message are we missing by focusing on the details of the metaphor?

The highlight of the day was seeing those sweet faces welcoming us home… and lots of sweet baby kisses! What a great reminder that ultimately our relationships are the big picture, not the people we place on pedestals. They are simply a detail to guide us along in our viewing of that big picture.

Come on, Dekker heads – Dive Deep! And if you are not a Dekker head… you too need to Dive Deep!

Oh, as an added bonus, my DH created posters to display at the Gathering: