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Culture, Life, Millennials, Theology, Uncategorized

Why I Appreciate Wonder Woman’s “Weaknesses”

July 31, 2017

For the first time, I watched a live-action superhero movie, and the main character was a woman.

Wonder Woman, which was released June 2, has seen major box office success. The film has surpassed Deadpool in its earnings, making it the second highest grossing comic book superhero movie ever without Batman, Iron Man or Spider Man. Wonder Woman has also become the highest grossing film to be directed by a woman, surpassing Mama Mia. And last week it surpassed the final Harry Potter installment to become Warner Bro.’s third biggest release of all time. Impressive.

This film comes at a time in our culture when we were ready for it. The voices of feminism have been adding to the cacophony of talking points and noise for decades. Having made even more “progress” in more modern times, I am surprised it took this long to see a great film with a female superhero.

In my reflections about this movie, I incorporated some of what I’ve been reading lately from Evangelical Feminism by Wayne Grudem. There is a lot of debate around the topic of women and feminism in our culture, but there is still a lot of room for Christian women to speak into the topic, providing a positive perspective on the value of women through the lens of what scripture teaches.

The Bible teaches that men and women are created equal and yet different. Through these differences, men and women compliment each other and lead through these differences. Yet in those differences I’ve often felt that culture pins stereotype qualities on women, and those qualities are seen as weaknesses.

Male superhero characters like Superman are depicted as strong and willing to make the difficult sacrifice. They are calculated, not allowing emotion to get in the way, like we see from Tony Stark. Batman is focused on the journey ahead and willing to charge through a brick wall alone to make changes to Gotham.

Diana is different. First, despite the name of the movie being “Wonder Woman” she is not called that once in the film. She is Diana.

As a super hero, she brought with her some of the characteristics that are typically unique to women, but in a positive light. She was nurturing, and yet she was incredibly strong. She was not afraid to realize her emotions – feeling the pain and anguish of the ravages of war. And she was not afraid to bring others along with her in her journey, valuing the relationships.

“We’ll do this together!” -Diana

These characteristics, which can sometimes be viewed as “weaknesses” by our culture, were used in a way that brought great strength to Diana. These characteristics were a part of what motivated her toward making a difference. Diana was willing to be a team player, giving recognition to the others that were in the battle with her, because she was not concerned about her own recognition but was confident in her convictions.


“I am willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Who will, if I don’t?” –Diana

Diana recognized with ability comes responsibility. This is a valuable lesson that we can all use. Even if we aren’t a “super hero”, we have all been given different roles, opportunities, and responsibilities. The way we function in those roles will affect the lives of others. How are we going to steward our opportunities to lead? We each have the opportunity to impact eternity when we keep our focus on things that last: people’s souls and God’s Word.

Women have a unique ability to make an impact that will last for generations. I am talking about leaving a legacy with our families, friends, and the relationships we build. Women are often relational, ready to step in and connect – ready to care. This allows great power to connect on a heart level, and live out the gospel in word and deed.  Whether in motherhood, the boardroom, or any other role, shape the legacy that you want to leave behind.

Wonder Woman’s character realized her power, and used it for good. Let’s do the same with our abilities today – even the ones that might be seen as “weaknesses” by our culture.

Wonder Woman’s character realized her power, and used it for good. Let’s do the same. -@laurenamcafee… Click To Tweet
Hobby Lobby, Life, Teaching, Uncategorized

Making a Difference in Women’s Lives

March 8, 2017
In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share this article that was posted on the Hobby Lobby Newsroom! I love that Freedom Yarn is loving and serving women so well.
This article was originally posted on newsroom.hobbylobby.com

Hope, love, and dignity. These are a few of the values that Hobby Lobby customers support when they purchase Freedom Yarn. The eight unique Freedom Yarn colors found in stores are beautiful products with a life-changing purpose. The packaging label explains their mission: “Bring freedom, hope and sustainable income to the marginalized, including those rescued from or at great risk of human trafficking.”

John and Brenda Flower became aware of the desperate needs of local villages through their visits to India. Because of the caste system, women are forced into trafficking with no way to escape.

With their business backgrounds, John and Brenda looked for a way to serve these local communities. The idea for Freedom Yarn came when they realized they could recycle fabric and teach the women to make yarn from the material.

Freedom Yarn is unique, made from strips of fabric instead of a more traditional wool, cotton or acrylic fiber. Manufacturing Freedom Yarn provides a long-term solution for women who are coming out of trafficking and enslavement. This new means of income means younger women can avoid being trafficked.

Mariya Doss is the buyer that orders Freedom Yarn for Hobby Lobby. “We are grateful we can offer this unique product to our customers,” said Mariya. “This handmade product used by knitters and crafters is making a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable women and girls.”

“Seeing the women’s hope and joy makes all the hard work totally worth it,” said Brenda Flower. “Purchasing Freedom Yarn helps ensure these women’s freedom is not short lived but will be sustained for years to come!”

It is an honor for Hobby Lobby to partner with Freedom Yarn in making a lasting difference in the lives of women.

Read more about Freedom Yarn at www.ThatTheyRemainFree.com

Hobby Lobby, Theology, Uncategorized, Work

Three Reasons to Live Generously

February 13, 2017

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Generosity toward others is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. You may have heard that it is more blessed to give than to receive and wondered if that is really true. Most of us enjoy being on the receiving end of someone’s generosity, but could it actually be better to be on the giving end?
Generosity is defined as showing a readiness to give more of something than is necessary or expected (such as money, time or an action). Recent studies show that living generously can positively affect us in many ways. Here are three reasons why it is a good idea to make generosity a habit:

1. Generosity makes us healthier, happier and less stressed
Let’s be honest–who isn’t looking to be healthier, happier and less stressed? Research shows that making a habit of living generously can reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of dementia, reduce anxiety and depression, improve chronic pain, lower stress and more. With schedules that are more fast pace than ever, this simple practice can bring great benefits. (Read more at Michael Hyatt’s blog)

2. Generosity is contagious
The winter season often carries with it the flu and cold season. In fact, I am getting over a cold right now. So, naturally this time of year we want to run from anything considered “contagious.” But what if instead of the stomach bug, we saw an outbreak of generous acts? Our workplaces, families, and communities could be transformed.
One act of generosity can go a long way. Generosity often sparks other actions of generosity and can lead to a chain reaction of impact far beyond the initiator. Even when we don’t get to see the chain reaction, each act of generosity still comes back as a blessing for the giver.

3. The greatest model of generosity encouraged us to do the same
It was Jesus himself who told us that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). But beyond this direct encouragement, Jesus was also the ultimate example of generosity.
Jesus Christ spent his life serving others, and in the end was the ultimate example of generosity when he gave everything– even His life–for us as he went to the cross so that we might have a relationship with God (John 3:16). Jesus modeled generosity so we too could live generously toward others.

As my grandpa, David Green says: “We are put on this earth to give, to devote ourselves to a radical brand of generosity that changes lives and leaves a legacy. Generosity begins with an attitude that extends into every aspect of life, not just money.”

Generosity begins with an attitude that extends into every aspect of life, not just money. -@DavidGreenHL Click To Tweet

Consider today how you can show generosity. The benefits might surprise you.

-LM

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Hobby Lobby, Uncategorized

Book Review: Giving It All Away

January 25, 2017

Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living GenerouslyGiving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book. And not only because my grandfather, David Green, is the author. This book has years worth of wisdom on important topics such as family, work, and long-term vision.
The book begins by challenging the reader to live life intentionally: thinking long term. It encouraging the idea of leaving a legacy long after we are gone. Through the pages, the author walks through stories that shaped his life, such as the struggles of the Supreme Court battle for Hobby Lobby, an experience in the 1980s that almost brought the company to bankruptcy, and the path that lead the family to sign away the rights to the company. Even though I have lived the stories in this book, I still gained much wisdom through its pages! I highly recommend it!

View all my reviews

A legacy of true value is a legacy made of more than money. -@DavidGreenHL #GivingItAllAway Click To Tweet
Hobby Lobby, Life, Uncategorized, Work

New city, new job…

December 13, 2016

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I am so excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Corporate Ambassador for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. I am passionate about this company, its values, and its purpose. What an honor to serve the company where my working days first began.

It feels like just yesterday I was starting my first job at Hobby Lobby. It was unpaid, but as an eleven-year-old, I didn’t mind. I began the day after Christmas, and I was awake before sunrise. The Hobby Lobby stores were going to open in a few hours, and I had a job to do: assist the Hobby Lobby gift bag buyer in counting the Christmas gift bags that were left after the holiday.

My dad was the gift bag buyer, and because he needed to visit a few stores to get counts on the bags that were left after Christmas, it became a tradition that my siblings and I would join him to help his work go faster.

I remember getting to the stores before they were opened, and seeing the manager welcome us all in from the cold – my dad, and his four little assistants bouncing behind him, eager to be a part of his work. It felt so special- helping my dad, and working alongside family members while being a part of something bigger than us. That’s when my love for working at Hobby Lobby began.

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Throwback to when I was five years old – a few years before I started working with dad. 😉

So, after about a year living in New York City, I said goodbye to the Big Apple and moved back to Oklahoma City where the Hobby Lobby Corporate office is located. Michael and I loved our time living in Manhattan. I am convinced that the hardest time to move out of NYC is right around the holidays when the city comes to life with all of its magical decorations. What made this transition easier was knowing that it was God leading this change.

As I step into this new role, I can’t help but look back and remember those early days working with my dad in the stores. I never could have dreamed that so many years later, I would have the opportunity to serve as Corporate Ambassador, sharing with others the purpose and values of the company that I hold so dear.

New York, you will be missed. But here’s to another exciting adventure.

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-LM

P.S. Check out Michael’s latest blog post on the top 4 things he learned while living in NYC.

 

Family, Hobby Lobby, Life, Museum of the Bible, Uncategorized, Work

Latest interviews

October 29, 2016

Hey! If you would like to see my latest interviews, you can find them here!

IF:GATHERING

I sat down with Jamie Ivey while at If Gathering, and we discussed Museum of the Bible. The interview can be found here:

ifgathering

“Our hope and our mission for the museum is that we will invite ALL people to engage with the Bible.” @LaurenAMcAfee… Click To Tweet

 

SONDER PODCAST

I had a chance to discuss Hobby Lobby and religious liberty with my good friend Kirsten Haglund on her podcast Sonder. Our discussion is in Episode 4, found here:

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CALLED2BUSINESS 

When I spoke in Greenville, NC for a Called2Business luncheon, we filmed a quick segment on faith in business, and leaving a legacy. You can watch the short interview here:

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Our family has tried to be intentional about the values we hold as a business, and a family. -@laurenamcafee… Click To Tweet

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, Uncategorized, Work

Museum Highlight: Performing Arts Theatre

October 17, 2016

What is one of the most interesting aspects of the museum?

This is an impossible question for me to answer. I’ve been asked about my favorite aspect or what is most interesting, and I never know what one thing to pick! In traveling around the country and sharing the vision of Museum of the Bible, I do get one common reaction from audiences. When I present the visuals of what the museum will look like, the one area that always receives an audible response from the crowd is the renderings of the performing arts theatre!

We are using a digital mapping technique to transform the theatre and its white walls into a enveloping experience that brings the audience into the production unfolding around them. Using seventeen high output projectors and angle-compensating software, digital images are seamlessly woven together over varied surfaces to create a coherent environment—scene, landscape, or background—for the visitor. Here are a few renderings of this immersive space:

Standard Theatre view:

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Theatre with digital mapping:

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Theatre in concert mode:

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Theatre in Bible reading mode:

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Amazing!

We love incorporating the latest in technology in the museum, and this is just one example. So whether it is a daily Bible reading happening in the theatre or a Broadway show making its way to our stage, you will absolutely want to experience the performing arts theater once we open in the fall of 2017.

-LM

Bible, Culture, Millennials, Theology, Uncategorized

Theology Matters: Doctrine and Theology

October 7, 2016

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“Studying theology is just too hard. I’m not a scholar so it’s not for me.”

“Why do I need to know doctrine? I know God loves me and that’s good enough!”

“Theology is boring; I would rather read something more interesting.”

“Doctrine causes division.”

 

Have you ever had these thoughts? I know I have.

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My current reading has lead me to realize the importance of understanding doctrine and studying theology. I’ve been reading some books that emphasize this point: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin and Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin.

Doctrine and theology are words that some in my generation (millennials) may find divisive, yet on the flip side, we see a resurgence in the desire for greater depth in faith from millennials. (Recent study that shows youth and young adults value substance over style.)

Theology is “the study of God.” Our theology is shaped by how we view God from what we’ve studied (or from our lack of study).

Doctrine, which originates from the Latin word for “teach” (docere), means “what is taught.” Doctrine also can be about what is taught on a specific topic—such as the doctrine of salvation, gifts, worship, etc.

Theology matters.

Theology matters because it is the study of God, and there is nothing more worthy of our thoughts than God.

There is nothing more worthy of our thoughts than God. Click To Tweet

But theology also matters because it shapes how we live. Whether it’s how we vote, if we get married, how we handle our finances, how we view our work—our understanding of who God is shapes every area, whether we realize it or not. The more accurately we know God through his Word, the more effectively we can live out lives of genuine worship of Him.

 

Applying our minds to study theology and doctrine is worth it.

I used to think that if studying the Bible felt forced, then I should stop and come back later when my heart was in it. I thought it seemed fake, like going through the motions or checking off a box by studying, when I didn’t “feel” like it. I’ve changed my mind.

Mark 12:30 speaks of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yet in our world where feelings often rule our hearts, it is easy to make excuses for applying our minds to thoughtful study. Instead, we want to sit through a worship service that makes us “feel” connected to God or listen a sermon that makes us “feel” good. While these are good things, we also must have the balance of knowing God with our minds. Emotions ebb and flow, and in the moments or seasons when I don’t “feel” God near me, my world can be stabilized by the truths of what I know of God’s character—regardless of how I feel.

 

Transformation moves from the mind to the heart.

As Jen Wilkin helpfully says, “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”

In her book Women of the Word, Wilkin writes of the scientific community’s study of the mind-before-heart connection. When asked how to get more pleasure out of life, Dr. Paul Bloom of Yale University answered, “Study.”
A practical example of his point came from my love of coffee. I don’t enjoy coffee more by gulping down gallons and gallons of it. The enjoyment of coffee can be greater felt when I learn about coffee—how to appreciate it, recognize its distinct flavors, the different roasts, etc. Jen Wilkin puts it this way in her book:

Bloom has found that pleasure results from gaining knowledge about the object of our pleasure, not, as we might assume, from merely experiencing it over and over. Specifically, our pleasure increases in something when we learn its history, origin, and deeper nature . . . Finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better. (p. 31)

 

Growing in theological and doctrinal understanding is a lifelong process. Take it in steps that are do-able for you. The best way to grow in these areas is to get into the Bible. Beyond reading the Bible, I find it helpful to read others’ writings about their study of the Bible or various areas of doctrine.

 

I’ve written a number of posts about how I engage in the Bible, and there are a lot of great resources that I link to in these previous posts. Maybe you’ll find something there to help you get started.

-LM

Here are the results of my twitter poll on Theology and Doctrine:

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Millennials, Uncategorized, Work

What Millennials Really Want at Work: 3 Tips for Keeping and Engaging Millennials

August 18, 2016

You’ve got to love millennials, right? I love how this video represents some of the funny stereotypes that can be associated with this generation. It’s true, millennials are often considered self-absorbed, lazy, distracted, and entitled. But they are also capturing the attention of employers and researchers everywhere as they are on the way to becoming the majority of the work force.

According to a recent Gallup report, 71% of millennials are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. This lack of engagement by the millennial group (those born between 1980 and 1996) can lead to disloyalty to the organizations they serve. Why is this something we should care about? Because millenials make up about 38% of the workforce in America, and by 2025 that will jump to nearly 75% of the workforce. Employee turnover comes at a high price, so it could be worth your time to strategize ways to engage the millennial workforce, and harness their strengths.

Here are a few suggestions for engaging this powerful group of contributors:

1. Be a mentor. While it can seem that many millenials are entitled or overly-confident, we still value mentorship. Millennials want guidance from their counterparts who are older, and more experienced in the workforce. We are a very relational group, and often enjoy hearing feedback from an authentic relationship. Take time to provide helpful coaching conversations, and millennials will become more engaged in their work.

2. Communicate the company’s vision, and how millenials play a part. Millennials may seem short-sighted at times, but we do think about long-term plans. Millennials have a desire to make a positive impact on the organization they serve. We have grown up in a world where we see everyone’s successes and goals on social media, and can be tempted to lose patience with what we think should have been accomplished in our lives by now. This results in only half of millennials expecting to be with their current company one year from now. To help shift this staggering statistic, managers should show that they care about a millennial’s long-term plans. By communicating long-term vision which incorporates millennial’s role, this group will be more likely to get on board and stick around to join in making that vision a reality.

3. Recognize the myth that millennials are different from the preceding generations. Millennials want purpose, feedback and work/life balance just like those in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations. Yes, millennials are more likely to voluntarily leave their jobs than their older counterparts, but the same was true two decades ago for employees under the age of 35. I would argue that millennials are not particularly unique when compared to other generations. Millennials are just young. As was every generation at some point. Treat millennials how any employee would want to be treated, and this will help foster long-term commitment.

When given guidance and purpose, millennials can be a powerful asset to any company. As companies look to the future, those that incorporate millennials well will be on the right track for success.

-LM

Related Articles:

Gallup- Many Millennials are Job Hoppers- But Not All

Harvard Business Review- What Do Millennials Really Want At Work? The Same Things The Rest of us Do

Bible, Life, Museum of the Bible, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

“Busy” is not synonymous with “Successful” – Managing life well

June 24, 2016

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Have you noticed that when people are asked “How are you?” their response, more and more, is “Busy!”? I’ll admit, this is often my go-to response. It is the natural reply that rolls off of my tongue during friendly small-talk conversation. When I began to realize that this had become my typical reply, and dug a little deeper to try to understand why, I discovered that one of the reasons I want to say “Busy!” is because I want to make it sound like I am doing a lot of important things. It is an easy way of giving a #humblebrag. So I’ve decided that I want something better to say.

This is not to say that “busy” isn’t a truthful response, but I don’t want it to be my standard. Honestly, I don’t always even feel busy. I do have a full schedule, but it mostly involves things that I am passionate about and that fuel and energize me. Besides investing in my marriage, relationships, and spiritual journey, I get to work full time for Museum of the Bible, wear my “Hobby Lobby/Green family member” hat at times, live on the road 60% of the time, and try to keep up with my inbox, blog, and social media activities. And for some crazy reason, I just enrolled in two graduate level seminary courses!

Maybe my go-to response will be #blessed or “better than I deserve!”—but those seem trite and too #Christiancheesy. While I continue figure out what to say when asked “How are you?”, here are a few ways that I keep my schedule under control to avoid mental and spiritual burnout.

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1. Knowing myself and my limits.

A few weeks ago, I forgot this one. I had some work events that were higher stress than normal, and I didn’t give myself room to decompress afterward. I went from hosting a three-day retreat for women that are speakers and leaders, right into a three-week travel schedule to seven different cities/events, and ending back in OKC just in time for a full weekend of college graduation festivities for my brother-in-law. When I landed in OKC to change clothes and go right into graduation party mode, I was not in a good place—and Michael and I were having conflict. It wasn’t pretty. And it affected half of the celebration weekend. (Sorry to those of you that were around me!)

I needed to let myself have time to recover and rest. I need to make sure I have space in my schedule to allow for recovery when I see that things might be hectic for an extended time. We were not created to work for rest, but to work from rest. And if there are seasons when it isn’t possible to create that space due to situations that don’t allow a Sabbath kind of rest, I need to be sure I lean on God to give me the strength to make it through that time with grace. This leads to my second point.

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2. Not sacrificing my time with God.

I need to keep my spiritual walk a priority. When the schedule begins to fill up, and knocks other things off my schedule, I have to fight to keep this a priority. I need time with my Bible and time in prayer. It should be unthinkable that I can’t find time in my schedule for the Creator of all things.

God sustains me during the busy seasons better than any other gimmick or tip I could write about. I experience a significant difference when I am spending quality time with God than when I am setting aside that relationship as a lesser priority. God, and the truths from the Bible, is my greatest strength and sustainer. Yet for some reason, I still allow myself to forget and sacrifice that time for lesser things.

To this point, the friends of Martin Luther said he spent three hours in prayer every day. I don’t know what Luther’s schedule was like, but I have to assume it was pretty busy, with the-whole-starting-of-the-Protestant-Reformation-thing he did. He made time to pray, and it served him well.

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3. Creating a system that works for managing everything.

Whether its starting the day with reviewing my to-do list, or spending the first 15 minute at the office to say hello to co-workers, has led me to figure out my routines and processes and to use them. Since people have different personality types and temperaments, creating a system for managing things will be different for each person. This is something I learned when I got married, but saw even more clearly as I started working alongside my hubby. I saw that what worked for me as a system of keeping up with friends, work, spiritual life, etc. did not work for Michael. We have very different personality types and skill sets, so our life management strategies differ.

Here is one small practical example: Michael is an external processor, and he also tends to process his thoughts quickly. So for emails, he reads a complex email and can respond fairly quickly with a thoughtful reply. For me, I am an internal processor, and I need time to gather my thoughts. So I have a system that works for me where I read an email, and if I need to process it, I mark it a certain way and come back to it a little later to reply.

Another example is how we prioritize our Bible reading. I’ve found that the best way to keep consistent in reading my Bible is to do it at night. This has become a part of my routine, and I read my Bible and journal my prayers at night before I go to bed. This is not a system that works for Michael, and it won’t be the system that works for a lot of people as I discovered in an informal Twitter poll I took last week. I asked, “When do you read your Bible?” Out of 270 respondents, the results showed that 54% said “Random times,” 28% said “Morning,” 15% said “Night,” and 3% said “Weekends.”

We are all different, and it’s a wonderful thing. Find what works for you, and put your process to work.

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4. Lastly, I give myself grace!

I won’t always balance the schedule and life perfectly, and in those times I am thankful for a God full of grace.

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For a helpful book that provides perspective on how to manage the culture of busyness with a biblical worldview, I recommend Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.

›LM