Love and Faith

Merry Christmas!

“The message of Christianity is…Things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark – nevertheless, there is hope. The Christmas message is that on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Notice that it doesn’t say from the world a light had sprung, but upon the world a light has dawned. It has come from outside. There is light outside of this world, and Jesus has brought that light to save us; indeed, he is the Light (John 8:12).” Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year’s!

Bookish Radness

Awesome Giveaway Coming Next Month!

I have a December giveaway coming up and wanted to make sure you knew about it! Because I’m sneaky, the photo above is only hint of what’s in the giveaway….

So how do you enter to win? It’s easy, just sign-up for my newsletter! I’ll have one newsletter during December and I’ll share all the fun giveaways and prizes, plus a Christmas bonus! You can sign up here. I’ll pick a lucky winner from my list of subscribers.

Does this mean you’ll start getting daily emails from me? Not at all – I send it out twice a month, featuring favorite reads and exclusive author interviews. I promise it’s fun!

I’d love for you to help spread the word, so please feel free to share this with friends! You can share this direct link or this blog post.

Sign up here!

Love and Faith

The Most Random Round Up Ever Christmas Edition

First up, some Fun Finds and Christmas ideas!

Confession: I’m a big fan of subscription boxes. I’ve always loved getting fun mail. It’s one of my love languages. There are so many out there (teas, to art, to knitting, to Cat lady gifts ;), that it makes for some unique gifts. When done well, they are way awesome! Here are a few recent ones:

Fab Fit Fun: If you listen to podcasts, you’ve definitely heard about this. I wasn’t too interested, but I finally caved when they had a box for 50% off. I genuinely became a fan, so much so that I did the year subscription. I filed that under #treatyoself. Anyway, if you want to check out a box or are looking for a unique Christmas gift (my friend’s husband got it for her last year and she said it was one of her favorite gifts), definitely look into it! You can find out all the details here.

Causebox: True story, I remember when Causebox first launched 4-5 years ago. I got the first few boxes and I recently checked it out again and it has changed so much! There’s much more variety. It’s awesome to see how they’ve changed. All items are ethically made and they support artisans around the world. You can find out more here.

Little Passports: I’ve decided one of the most fun things as a kid is getting mail. Little Passports have monthly (or one-time) boxes on all kinds of things. My favorite? The travel ones. Gotta get these world travelers started young no? Right now they have a Christmas discount, so check out all they have here!

Out of Print: I know, I know, I always mention them, but listen! They have a few new favorites – like all kinds of socks (y’all, the cats get me every time) to Velocireaders. Perfect stocking stuffers and gifts. Also, they should really just make me some kind of ambassador already.

Literary Rebels: Who would I be if I didn’t mention this little shop? 🙂

And now to some really random finds:

Disc to Digital for Vudu: Do you have a Vudu account? It’s for your library of digital movies. You can also rent movies (sorry Redbox) and I love having movies all in one spot. I’m also trying to minimize things I have (except books #obvs), so disc to digital let’s you scan it and get the digital copy for $2.00. You might be wondering why I would pay $2.00 for a movie I already have, but it’s worth it to clear out space and there’s a ton of places to sell old movies, so it all works out.

Instagram Account to follow: The Kangaroo Sanctuary. You can never follow enough animal accounts and this is a fav.

Recent Reads

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (A book club read)
  • I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin
  • A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
  • The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harral (Another one from book club)
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson (New hardcovers releasing Spring!)
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

So what are you reading and what’s on your Christmas list?

Bookish Radness

WaterBrook & Multnomah Books I’m Excited to Read

Fall is a busy season for book releases. We’re talking ALL THE BOOKS. It makes for some nonstop work days, but also that means I get to snag a lot of books from the office. There are quite a few recent releases (even a couple from earlier this year) I’m looking forward to reading from WaterBrook, so why not share with y’all?

Have you read any of these yet? Which ones are you looking forward to?

Some Kind of Crazy by Terry Wardle

An unforgettable story, in the tradition of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, that reveals how a careful look at a broken past can open a path to profound healing and a satisfying future.

This is the intriguing story of the arduous childhood of a miner’s son growing up in the Appalachian coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania. The brokenness of Terry Wardle’s early life led to problems in adulthood that brought him to confinement in a psychiatric hospital. But that was not the end–in time Wardle experienced an emotional and spiritual transformation that began a journey toward greater health and personal freedom. So what does a man whose life was shaped by an often affectionate, sometimes hilarious, and always dysfunctional family have to share with all of us? Some Kind of Crazy is alternately, funny, tragic, insightful, and deeply biblical, a riveting book that will lead you to a place where God may touch and heal your own brokenness, whatever form it may take.

I’ve Seen the End of You by Dr. W. Lee Warren

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science–and between death and hope–as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Dr. W. Lee Warren, a practicing brain surgeon, assumed he knew most outcomes for people with glioblastoma, head injuries, and other health-care problems. Yet even as he tried to give patients hope, his own heart would sink as he realized, I’ve seen the end of you.

But it became far more personal when the acclaimed doctor experienced an unimaginable family tragedy. That’s when he reached the end of himself.

Page-turning medical stories serve as the backdrop for a raw, honest look at how we can remain on solid ground when everything goes wrong and how we can find light in the darkest hours of life. I’ve Seen the End of You is the rare book that offers tender empathy and tangible hope for those who are suffering. No matter what you’re facing, this doesn’t have to be the end. Even when nothing seems to makes sense, God can transform your circumstances and your life. And he can offer a new beginning.

A Month of Sundays by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson was quite concerned about the language we use between Sundays. He strived for a continuity of language between the words we use in Bible studies and the words we use when we are out hiking, at work, or eating dinner with family. He illustrated this passion in his writings and weekly sermons. A Month of Sundays is a devotional collection featuring excerpts of Eugene’s Sunday sermons arranged into thoughtful readings for every day of the month, drawn from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The four gospels give us snapshots of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Dig deep into Eugene Peterson’s thoughts regarding select passages, and discover clarity, insight, and wisdom in his distinctive style of earthy spirituality.

Double Blessing by Mark Batterson

New York Times bestselling author and pastor invites readers to pursue, recognize, and flip every blessing from God. He provides the tools necessary to inventory one’s blessings and participate in double blessing – that moment when a blessing in your life is leveraged to doubly bless another.

Mark Batterson believes it’s possible to experience more of God’s blessing – but that might look different than you would initially expect. The first wave of blessing is that which God gives you: time, treasure, talent. The double blessing, the second movement in this relationship, is our giving back to God by giving to others. In a day where divine flourishing and godly stewardship has been reduced to a hashtag; #blessed, Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.

Something Needs to Change by David Platt

USA TODAY BESTSELLER – The author of Radical takes readers on a soul-searching journey through impoverished villages in the Himalayan mountains, daring them to make a difference in a world of urgent need, starting right where they live.

“Grippingly vulnerable and unforgettable. I could not put this book down.”–Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.

Blessed Broken Given by Glenn Packiam

An invitation to find beauty and meaning in the ordinary and imperfect aspects of your life; not as a call to settle for less, but rather as a way to mysteriously participate in God’s power and purpose.

Glenn Packiam wants to empower readers to find great joy, purpose, and passion in their daily living. While bread may be one of the most common items on our dinner tables, Jesus chose to take it at the Last Supper and invest deep, wonderful, and transcendent meaning in it. Like the bread that was blessed, broken, and given; readers will see how God uses ordinary experiences to cultivate their mission and their brokenness to bring healing to the world. The ordinary is not the enemy; it is the means by which God accomplishes the miraculous. Through clear biblical teaching and practical steps, Packiam leads the reader into a more purposeful, directed, hopeful future.

Finding God’s Life For My Will by Mike Donehey

The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for award-winning contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North shows readers that by seeking God first and focusing on serving Him, we can live daily in His will.

“Perhaps God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.”

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God’s specific plans for his life. He came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uberspiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret–just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

“This is my story…how I gave up begging to know God’s will and began to ask His life to come and change my will.”

With his signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Mike will show you that discovering the Father’s purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you’re unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.

These two aren’t traditional books, but I’m excited all the same!

My Real Story by Becky Thompson

What if you were able to recognize the story that God was writing in your life as you were living it? A popular blogger to millions of women helps you answer that question for yourself, as you create a unique keepsake journal.

Becky Thompson invites you to reflect on your own spiritual journey. With mini-devotions from Becky, artistic scripture verses, personalized prayers, reflection pages, and spaces where you can record those moments you don’t want to forget, My Real Story will encourage you to look back through the different seasons in your life in order to capture the heart of who you are in Christ.

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

(I have used this every day since I snagged a copy)

The perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion. This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

 

Happy Reading!

Bookish Radness

“When You Want to Go To Europe, But You Can’t Yet” Book List

It’s been far too long since I’ve been to Europe. Have you ever been? There’s so much I love about it and so many countries to see. But since I don’t have a trip planned on the direct horizon, I have been wanting to read more books by European authors or set in Europe. So I’ve started and list and wanted to share with you all, in case you also have the travel bug.

Some of these I’ve read and others were recommended. Also, England, France, Spain, and Italy have all been on my list, so I’ve focused on those countries.

France

  • Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau
  • The Red Notebook by Antonine Laurain
  • Author Simone de Beauvoir

Spain

  • Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez Reverte
  • Author Federico Garcia Lorca

England (not by the Inklings or Jane Austen)

  • Author Laura Purcell
  • Author Peter Mayle (bonus for the French too)

Italy

  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
  • Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  • Author Elena Ferrante

Bonus (these came up in conversation):

Chilean author – Pablo Neruda

Any other European authors to add to the list?

Book Reviews, Fiction, Nonfiction

What I’ve Been Reading | Fall 2019 Edition

I would like to give myself a high five for blogging this week! Granted it’s a recap of books, but hey, it’s a new post! Have you read any? Would love to hear what you thought of them!

Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber – Really enjoyed this series! While the conclusion felt a teeny bit rushed, I think it was more because I was sad to say goodbye to so many characters. Maybe we can get some short stories of a few years down the road :).

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – This was a fun one for book club. It’s a quick read and produced lots of reactions. My take – if you’re looking for a fast read with some interesting historical pieces and foodie culture of NYC, it’s worth checking out.

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden – She continues to be one of my favorite historical authors. She always finds little bits of history I know nothing about and creates a fun story. If you want a bit of romance and history, be sure to check this one out.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – Even though I hadn’t read it yet, I was really excited when I heard this was becoming a movie (I read her debut), but honestly I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. This may be a slight spoiler: The story itself is interesting, but there was a character I felt she tried to make the “perfect” character, even when their decisions were actually terrible.

Endless Night by Agatha Christie – When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to think. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it was in first person (which I’ve never read from Agatha), but I trust her books, so I stuck with it and I have to say it was worth it. Super eerie! Of the several I’ve read, definitely her most creepy!

The Dream Called Home by Reyna Grande – I really enjoy memoirs. No matter if you agree with every point and/or every decision a person makes, I truly believe there is always something we can learn from reading people’s stories. Grande’s is a story of an undocumented immigrant and the journey of a writer. If you’re looking for a memoir, check out this one!

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell – I’m a big fan of Siri’s historical fiction novels. As that’s her go-to genre to write, so it was so much fun to see her step into suspense and thriller!

Happy reading everyone!

Writing Challenges

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day “We’re Done!”

Well, 26 days is close enough to 30 right? The last week of August decided it was going to go out with a bang, so I just didn’t have the time to write. I even had the questions ready to go, so adding those here. Please feel free to share your answers!

  • What is your most memorable airport/airplane experience?
  • What’s one of your favorite animals and why?
  • What are 5 states in the U.S. you’d like to visit?
  • What are your favorite zucchini recipes? (This one I 100% made up because I have zucchinis growing like nobody’s business 🙂 )

But the good news is that I was already planning to celebrate the end of the month (and summer) with a giveaway!!

 

Also, I’m excited to be kicking off the newsletter this Fall! If you’ve been around for a minute or two, you know I’ve gone back and forth about it. To be honest, I haven’t really been into it and I figured out why – I never had an idea I was super excited about for the bi-monthly newsletter. But that has changed and I’m really looking forward to sending these out. It will be a mix of the latest and favorite books, exclusive author interviews, fun giveaways, and more! I hope you’ll join me!

And today’s post is combining the two. Sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be entered your email to win a collection of recent releases, a Literary Rebel Mug, and sticker! Can’t wait to share with you author interviews, favorites books, and more!

Please enter by 9/9/19. Void where prohibited by law.

Enter to win!

Writing Challenges

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 26

What is one of your favorite movies and why?

Because it shares profound truths on so many levels. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. I wrote a lot more about it here.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”