Monday, May 8, 2017

Attend by Laura Davis Werezak, 2017

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A young Christian writer presents a practical guide for reconnecting with God and practicing the presence of God in our frantically busy world today.

Our world is full of distractions that do not promote the health of individual souls. What can people do when they feel they have no time or ways to find God? In her new book ATTEND, Laura Davis Werezak reminds readers to encounter God through 40 brief everyday activities that they have been taking for granted, from opening a window to jotting down a dream. Modern life and technology increasingly render these activities obsolete, and readers who struggle to connect with God through "typical" devotions will discover depth in their everyday lives through each beautifully written exercise. Like the wisdom Brother Lawrence provided in his 17th century spiritual classic The Practice of the Presence of God, these daily reminders guide readers to appreciate God in our midst today.

(240 pages)

I started out with the goal of doing one chapter a day from Attend and recording my results.

Day One, "Open a Window:"
I opened a window for a couple of hours this afternoon, and kept my door shut to keep the cold breeze from messing with the rest of the house. What struck me first was that, even though it was a chilly February day, my room actually felt perfectly fine once I turned off the overhead fan. Just think how much needless energy I waste on the fan when an open window would work just as well! Second, my room smells . . . it's hard to describe. Sweet? Yes, perhaps that's it. It smells fresh, like someone put some life into my normally stuffy bedroom. I need to keep my window open more often, it really does brighten my mood. Seeing how well the first suggestion worked also gives me hope for how it will help me spiritually as well. Also, my cat really loved the open window.

Day Two, "Make Your Bed:"
I usually never make my bed, but doing so this morning actually only took me about two minutes. Now my bed looks very pretty! I'm also feeling the need to clean my floor now, though, because it looks even worse in comparison with my tidy bed. I usually like to do my schoolwork on my bed with the blankets pulled over my lap, but I've had my eye on this pretty, fluffy throw blanket for a while now. I ordered it today for the foot of my bed, and I'll use it to snuggle under during the day.

Day Three, "Plant a Seed"
My pot of dirt, which will soon hold some chrysanthemums, is to the left. I'm looking forward to seeing what grows!

Day Four, "Set a Table"
I didn't really do this one per se, but I often set out my own plate/bowl so I'm counting it. Also, I helped set the table for a dinner party we had, so that counts, right?

Day Five, "Sing a Song"
For this one I'm counting the time a few days ago when I took a ridiculously-long shower and belted out Frozen songs in Spanish for like an hour. Hey, she said any song goes, right? Plus, she said she likes to use Spanish songs with her students!

Okay, yeah, I gave up on doing every single day's "assignment." I kept forgetting to do them, or forgetting to write them down, so eventually I just gave up and read the thing cover to cover over the course of a few evenings.

And what do I think? Well, I think that it's the best devo that I've read in a long time. Werezak's tips are all very good ones, and her discussions of faith and searching for God were both heartfelt and genuine. I loved most of them, and more than that I actually got the feeling that I would like her if she were a member of my church. She's not weirdly conservative or legalistic, something a lot of church leaders seem to be these days, but instead is just nice and straightforward and open to trying novel approaches to spirituality like meditation-type breathing and praying with beads (as a Protestant).

Honestly, I think Attend would make a great devotional for not just Christians but also for Jews and perhaps even for people of other religions (though she does quote a lot of Bible verses). The focus is on God, and growing close to God, but not really on Jesus per se. I think it's nice how much more flexible that makes the text for use by people from a diverse array of denominations and even of religions. If you're looking for a devotional to bring you closer to God, then this is the one that I would recommend.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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