Friday Finds 1/13/17

Happy Friday! Friday the 13th in a middle school is never boring, so I am sure I am about to have my work cut out for me when the school day starts in a few minutes. But first, I wanted to pop in with my first Friday Finds of the new year.

4 Year Old Who’s Read 1000 Books – sweet article about a little girl who I think I’d enjoy spending some time with

70 Books to Make You Feel Hopeful – I’m mostly bookmarking this for myself, but I think others may appreciate it. Books with depressing or ambiguous endings seem to be popular right now, so I will refer to this when I need to get that taste out of my mouth.

When Finland’s Teachers Work in American Public Schools – interesting piece if you’re interested in public education.

Are You a Giver or a Taker – one of the more fascinating TEDtalks I’ve listened to in a while.

All I Have is Christ – a behind the scenes look at one of my favorite worship songs

Only Enough, but Fully Enough

Excerpt from Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, Chapter 14: Day By Day

“Let each day have its value from your calling to abide in Christ. As its light opens on your waking eyes, accept it on these terms: A day, just one day only, but still a day, given to abide and grow up in Jesus Christ. Whether it be a day of health or sickness, joy or sorrow, rest or work, of struggle or victory, let the chief thought with which you receive it in the morning thanksgiving be this: ‘A day that the Father gave; in it I may, I must become more closely united to Jesus.’ As the Father asks, ‘Can you trust me just for this one day to keep you abiding in Jesus, and Jesus to keep you fruitful?’ you cannot but give the joyful response: ‘I will trust and not be afraid.’…

“…And so each day separately, all the day continually, day by day successively, we abide in Jesus. And the days make up the life: what once appeared too high and too great to attain, is given to the soul that was content to take and use ‘every day his portion’ (Ezra 3:4), as the duty of the day required…We learn to understand God’s reason for daily giving, as He most certainly gives, only enough, but also fully enough, for each day.”

What I Read: December 2016

Happy New Year!  I am excited to say that I ended the year having read 102 books – 104 if you count the Bible and The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp’s Advent devotional that I re-read this year.

I will post again in a few days to share my favorites from all of 2016 and my reading goals for 2017, but for now, here’s what I read in December.

  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – this came highly recommended and I bought it back in June, but for some reason I didn’t pick it up till this month. The book begins with a plane crash…not a spoiler. From there, we follow the lives of the survivors post-crash and learn about the victims’ lives leading up to that moment as we slowly come to learn why the crash took place.  Suspense without gore – a good, hard to put down story.
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson – this is the first of Larson’s books that I’ve read, even though I also own two others. Larson has a similar style to Jon Krakauer, who I’ve mentioned many times before. The book is completely non-fiction, but so well researched and written that it seems like you’re reading a story.  This one did start slow for me, as Larson chronicles every day of the ship’s journey before the big event, and I really just wanted to get to that part. Still, it’s fascinating and I put his other books on my priority list for 2017.
  • At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – set in World War II Scotland (are you surprised), this isn’t life-changing fiction but a well-told love story with a little bit of folklore and the Loch Ness Monster, so that’s fun.  A good beach/escape read.
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – I loved this book! I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it to anyone. Noah reads the story and this adds to the experience – it also helps with all the South African languages he uses in the dialogue.  For those unfamiliar with apartheid, it will be a valuable education. What I liked most about this book is that even though it is a memoir/autobiography, it is arranged topically instead of chronologically, and connects Noah’s experiences to that of a nation.
  • The Aviator’s Wife  by Melanie Benjamin – this is a fictionalized “autobiography” of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. I read this as a combo audiobook/ebook and I think I may have lost some of it in the process. I did like this book and I learned about Charles and Anne as people. It left me feeling a bit sad, so if you don’t want to feel that way at the end of a book, maybe don’t read this one.
  • Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin – I’m a bit late to this one but it is a good immigrant story.  It wasn’t my favorite because I found the character development to be a bit lacking and I felt detached from all the characters, but given the success of the book I know many people feel differently.
  • Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee – another Christian themed memoir…I didn’t relate to it and I’m glad it was a $0.99 kindle deal.  Not for me, but nothing wrong with it.
  • Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf – this one will probably end up on my top 10 list for nonfiction this year. Katherine suffered a brain stem stroke at age 26 and this is their story of recovery.  More than anything, I loved the deep Truth that is presented in this story. It’s currently $1.99 on Kindle – get it ASAP.
  • Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury – I only read this because I can’t not finish a series but I don’t think I can read much more by this author. Ugh.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but her perfectly tied up happy Christian endings frustrate me.
  • A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury – see above comment.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I have a confession to make. I have never read the Harry Potter series or watched any of the movies, but I have committed to reading them all.  I will refrain from commenting on them until I’ve read them all, but fantasy is not a genre I am particularly fond of, so we’ll see how this goes.

Prepare Him Room, Pt. 5: Behold the Savior

Oh, what innocence 

Sleeping in a manger under dreamless skies

See the newborn King

Trading every glory for a silent night

Here is the promise we have waited for

He will not leave us in the dark

He will bear our weight, He will wear our shame

Come, lift Him high

Behold, the Savior

Jesus Christ, law of love and light

Come, lift Him high

Behold, the Savior

Veiled deity

Praise of every angel, shepherds bowing low

Sweet humility

Mercy as a baby, God in flesh and bone

Here is the promise we have waited for

He will not leave us in the dark

He will bear our weight, He will wear our shame

Come, lift Him high

Behold, the Savior

Jesus Christ, law of love and light

Come, life Him high

Behold the Savior

Here is the promise we have waited for

He will not leave us in the dark

He is the promise we have waited for

The cry of every searching heart

Friday Finds

Merry Christmas! I’m finally on Christmas break — and of course my body still woke me up at 6:11am and I jumped out of bed thinking I’d overslept.  I couldn’t fall back asleep but I must admit I’ve enjoyed sitting on the couch with Finn, savoring my coffee in a real mug and looking at the tree.

Here’s what I’ve found for you this week.

For Thought:

Christmas Does – a great reminder for those who struggle to find happiness during the holidays

Why Time Management Is Ruining our Lives – the whole concept promises control and efficiency….but delivers anxiety and guilt.

Women’s Hope – I recently started listening to this podcast and it’s introduced me to a whole new group of Christian thinkers and writers.  As a starting point, listen to episode 42, in which Aimee Byrd discusses her new book, No Little Women. I think it’s the next one I will purchase.

For Fun:

2017 Reading Challenge – If you’ve been saying you want to start reading more, here’s some help for you.  Modern Mrs. Darcy just issued this 2017 Reading Challenge! I’m probably going to work through one of her lists.  And, if you need a list of books to help you get started, check out this list of the Top Books of 2016, as picked by bookstore owners.  I couldn’t believe how few of them I’ve read!


Prepare Him Room, Pt. 4

The fourth candle on the Advent wreath traditionally represents Love.  Love is the reason the Son of God took on our skin and bone, our weakness, our sorrow, and our distance from the Father. The Light of the World stepped down into darkness. He had nothing to gain from leaving his throne. The cost-benefit analysis comes up short on every human scale. He lost everything.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

His love tipped the scales in our favor. He found in us a treasure worth dying for. What a Savior!

Love incarnate, Love divine. Star and angels gave the sign

Bow to babe on bended knee, the Savior of humanity

Unto us a Child is born. He shall reign forevermore.

Son of God and Son of Man, there before the world began

Born to suffer, born to save, born to raise us from the grave

Christ the everlasting Lord – He shall reign forevermore.

Noel, Noel – Come and see what God has done!

Noel, Noel – the story of amazing love!

The Light of the world, given for us, Noel


Friday Finds

I’m starting to wonder if these Friday posts are getting a little too serious…anybody care to comment on that? Still working to find a balance of fun finds and food for thought. Maybe I will figure it out one day.

In the past several years this Friday in December also marked my last day of work before winter break…but not this year! UGH. Because Christmas falls on a Sunday, we have to come back next week. I work through Thursday. I know I shouldn’t complain because I still have a longer break than many in the corporate world, but I’ve grown accustomed to two full weeks and three weekends and this 7 weekdays and two weekends seems SO SHORT. I will try not to whine too much.

For Thought:

For Fun:

  • I’ve been playing Starbucks for Life multiple times a day this week.  I need want to win, though living 35.8 miles from the nearest Starbucks would present an interesting challenge in actually claiming my daily prize. I’m willing to have that burden in my life.
  • Mediterranean Pull-Apart Bread – I will probably be making this on Saturday afternoon and calling it lunch…and dinner.

One last thought – anybody have a good idea for a small Christmas gift that I could give about 80 people? It needs to be CHEAP and not too labor intensive.