Monthly Archives: June 2017

06/19/17

Summer Reading

Ya’ll. I have shared this before, but it deserves another retelling.

I was one of those children.

One of those children who couldn’t wait to dive in and get lost in the stories that filled my summers during school break.

In fact, some of my fondest childhood memories are in Ormond Beach, FL; where Nana & DatDat had a home for 26 years, and where I grew up for 25 summers. There I sit, curled up on the patio chaise lounge or on the edge of the swimming pool as my feet glide atop the watery surface with a book in my lap. Totally absorbed. I hear nothing and I see nothing around me. I was hooked.

In fact, it was in the summer in between my 10th and 11th grade years that A Voice in the Wind, perhaps my favorite book of all time written by Francine Rivers, was on my Honor’s English reading list. And that book ignited a fire in me that has never really fully extinguished.

I pray it never does.

So, each summer, I have endeavored to make my own little Summer Reading list. The days are longer, we are taking vacations, some time away from work and home, and days are spent outside around pools, lakes, beaches, soccer fields, etc. and are the perfect times to crack open a book! Plus, it doesn’t get dark until really late now, so I am staying up later than I do in wintertime. Again, I love the discipline of reading every night before bed, and in truth, I sleep so much better having read right before I turn out the lights. So much more constructive than watching TV or playing on your phone or iPad.

So, already underway, here is my Summer Reading List for 2017:

This Life I Live by Rory Feek

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The Sound of Glass by Karen White

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Already read the 2 above and my only words are “WOW!” Unbelievable faith, perseverance, and encouragement from one. And unforgettable characters, an insatiable mystery, and the sounds of the Carolina Coast in the other. I would recommend both highly.

And next up…

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines

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So fascinated by them! Their story, their business, their inspiration, their marriage, family, & farmhouse! Can’t wait for this one.

I also, guiltily, enjoy some light-hearted chick-lit or “beach reads” in the summer. Some laugh-out-loud, mindless entertainment never hurt anyone. And I have had a recent recommendation from a trusted friend and fellow bookworm to check out The Lowcountry Summer series by Mary Alice Monroe.

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The Summer Girls is Book 1 in this series and then we will see about the other 2. But, if the book is half as cute as its cover, I am all in!

Another recommendation(s) was from some friends as well as videos I have seen on “BookTube” YouTube channel and they are 2 series, so it’s a toss up as to which I pick up first. But, below are the first books in each of the series.

One a mystery series by renowned author Louise Penny…

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And the other, a fantasy/adventure tale (definitely not my usual, but it’s nice to do a little escapist-reading every now & again)…

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I am also planning on re-reading a few of my perennial favorites as well.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is what’s on my nightstand now and I am flying through it just as I remember doing with the first reading. And I might like it even more now than I did then!

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The Mountain Between Us was the first book I read by one of my favorite authors, Charles Martin. And since the film is coming out this fall, I decided this was a great time to re-read!

It’s a great, pusle-pounding adventure that I look forward to reading again. And the film trailer looks amazing! Check it out! 
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I love going through my shelves and rediscovering a beloved story all over again, don’t you?!? And, I discover something new with each re-reading.

So, what are you reading this summer?

xoxo…

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06/15/17

Faith Heroes

I recently finished a book, This Life I Live by Rory Feek and its message, and his story, or rather their story, struck me with such awe that I was almost left speechless as I closed the binding. His words were simple and his message even simpler- have Faith. Big, audacious, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, even in the midst of the wilderness kind of faith.

Rory and Joey Feek are faith giants.

People who wholeheartedly put their faith in the Lord to provide, and even if He did not & He chose not to heal and redeem Joey’s earthly body on this side of eternity, He was still God and He was still good and worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. And worthy to put their- and our- trust in.

Unequivocally.

My favorite book of all-time just might be Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, an epic tale of a young & ruthlessly independent Jewess slave in ancient Rome even as Christians were being burned at the stake or fed to the lions there on the dusty center surface of the Coliseum as spectators jeered. Francine was somewhat of a new believer when she first drafted and subsequently published this novel and she said that teh character of Hadassah was the type of Christian she wanted to be; that she wanted to emulate Hadassah’s incredible faith in Christ and be more like her.

I completely understand. And each time I read her words, and I have 4 or 5 times now, I am struck by that same sense of awe.

Although fictional, Hadassah is a faith giant; one of my faith heroes.

James “Jim” Elliot was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize to the Huaorani people of Ecuador. A people so remote and untouched by the outside world that they lived in the deep, deep brush of Ecuadorian jungle. In one of his final journal entries, Jim writes “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” and it is truly one of my favorite quotes. After her husband’s death, Jim’s wife Elisabeth continues to evangelize to these people; these same hands that took the life of her husband. Elisabeth continued the legacy and many of the Huaorani came to Christ as a result of her, and other missionaries, efforts.

Jim & Elisabeth Elliot belong in the Faith Heroes Hall of Fame.

There are so many others- examples in everyday life in our churches, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods- shining examples of faith. And how I envy them. How I wish my faith could mirror their own.

But, even as I wish and hope that my faith might grow stronger and the links grow more and more fortified, I am reminded that faith is ordinarily extraordinary – a choice we make each day to put our trust in Him, no matter the outcome.

Big or small.

Significant or seemingly insignificant.

Known or unknown.

Faith is believing in the unseen, even with no promise we can ever see it. Or without knowing the final outcome, but choosing to trust anyway.

Faith is trust put into practice. Trust in action. Not just in words, feelings, sentiments.

I want to ensure my faith & trust muscles are put into practice each and every day and never grow old, stiff, or ill-used. Trust and believing wholly each and every day. Living doubtless that I am in the center of HIs will & plan. Following His directives, hearing His words, and following along the path He has set for me.

Never second-guessing, always leaning in.

No holding back, but living full-out, full of hope, love, and strength.

I pray He continues to strengthen my faith muscles and helps me to trust Him more and more with each passing day. I don’t want to put my trust in anything or anyone less than Him…

xoxo…

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