For a totally different topic, I've been reading a new book called The Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card. It's a really great book and it's the first in a series of 6 books. It's nothing like Ender's Game which is without doubt his most well-known book. This book takes place back when America was first being settled but it takes a twist from reality and throws a bit of fantasy into it. One thing that I quite enjoyed about it is the style in which he wrote. For example he would write things like "Ma said to set yer butt down." I love it! It's a really fun read and it has a lot of spirituality in it, although it's not always Christian. I just really enjoy books that incorporate the spiritual realm in them. If any of you are looking for a new book, try this one out. After I had finished reading it, Karla read it and now Kristina is reading it too!
For a third totally unrelated topic, I have a real appreciation for the way my family has been re-vamping Christmas gifts. This year instead of buying more "stuff" for each other, we decided that we would give money to charity in each other's names. We've been doing charitable gifts with my dad's extended family for quite some time and now I'm excited that we're incorporating this idea into our immediate family too! There are some amazing things that you can put your money towards. For instance if you look at World Vision, they have a bunch of medical supplies that have already been donated to them by pharmaceutical companies and all they need is money to ship it. So for every dollar you give, SEVENTEEN DOLLARS worth of medical supplies are shipped to the countries that need it most! This is just one of the many awesome places that you could put your money. At our church, our pastor has been really encouraging us to be more generous with money, even if things are tight right now. We have accepted that challenge and have been amazed! It seems that now that we have committed to giving more, we are less stressed about ourselves and it seems that we actually have more breathing room financially. It's bizarre and all I can say is that God is amazing and that he explicitly says in scripture to test Him with our money and to see what He can do. This has been a real encouragement to me and has really helped me to trust Him more and to rely on myself less. I would highly encourage you all to try to give even just 1% more than what you have been and to watch and see what God does in your life!