A new installment of My Favorite Things! I’m including some old favorites of mine again, in addition to new favorites from the last month or so. Enjoy! ~Elizabeth
From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover. Similar to Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl, which I recommended last time, this book is about applying the gospel of Grace to everyday life. But honestly, I can never get enough good teaching on Grace, so the more the merrier, I say. 🙂 Christine’s book is so good I underlined practically the entire first chapter. Then I read the second chapter and underlined practically that entire chapter too. You can get a taste for her material through her book club videos.
Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro (or as my husband prefers to call it, Dead Leader Running). In all seriousness, though, I read this book 7 months ago, and it changed my life. It details Cordeiro’s own messy burnout and subsequent recovery. The most significant thing this book did was give me permission to take personal retreat days, something Cordeiro promises will “renew your hunger.” My husband had been recommending this kind of getaway for a long time before I actually felt I had the freedom to do it. Reading this book gave me that freedom.
I’ve only taken two of these retreats — once for six hours and once for three — but even after those short times, I experienced the sense of renewed hunger that Cordeiro talks about. I could go on and on about how much I loved my personal retreats (Katie Orr calls them God-Dates), but I don’t have time for that in this blog post. 🙂 And the fact that these two personal retreats were so effective for me is testament to the fact that retreat times don’t have to be uber-regular or uber-long. A little bit of unplugged time goes a long way.
Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp. Tripp wants people in ministry to apply the gospel to our own lives, something he sees is missing from ministry/missionary culture today. After I read this book about 6 months ago, I started asking myself the question, “Whose kingdom am I building?” It’s such a simple question, and if I answer it honestly, it can make ministry, social media, and blogging decisions easier. There’s much more in the book, but that was my biggest take-away. You can listen to Paul talk about the book and why he wrote it in this this short video.
When Breaks the Dawn. This third book in Janette Oke’s “When Calls the Heart” series continued to entertain me with cross-cultural stories, and I found lots of parallels to missionary life. Fiction is consistently cathartic for me and helps me cry when I need to get the tears out but can’t. I’ve also recently taken to reading fiction before bed in an attempt to disconnect from daily life and prepare for sleep.
Raw by Laura Hamm Coppinger. This series from my old camp counselor-turn-blogger tells her story of encountering grace. I felt like she was describing my own story; she just might give words to your struggles too. It’s worth the read, especially if you’re currently on a spiritual/emotional healing journey. Start with Raw and click on the bottom of each post to the next in the series, all the way through to Journey (for 11 posts in all).
Go Back to the Broken Places by Rachel Pieh Jones. This piece resonated deeply with me and perfectly described my experience of going back to Fort Riley, the last Army post my family was stationed at. When I walked up to those quarters, I cried. I couldn’t hold back the tears, and I didn’t even know why. Now I know why. We must go back to the broken places.
How to Know if You are a Pre- or Post-Griever (and why it matters) by Amy Young. This Velvet Ashes post explains why I can’t stop crying for the 3 months before people leave in May: I’m a Pre-Griever. Read it to find out which one you are, and why you need to know this about yourself.
I Miss Reading Books by Annie Downs. This post reflects my own experience in realizing I was not reading enough books or giving my soul enough breathing space, and choosing to do both again. I was relieved to know I’m not alone on this journey.
We Are Better Together by Lindsey Smallwood. A beautiful portrait of two women needing each other and of the God who knew they would, so He orchestrated their friendship. God has done this same thing for me over the years, and it’s true, we are better together.
Sapphira by Rebecca Faires. This devotional from She Reads Truth highlights the seriousness of sin so we can see the true magnitude of grace. As I’ve said before, I never tire of the gospel message. She Reads Truth blog posts don’t focus on the author (you have to search a bit to find the author), but when I looked to see who wrote it, I noticed that it was the same woman who wrote Crucify Him during Lent this year, another one that really stuck with me. I don’t know Rebecca Faires, but I like the way she tells the gospel story.
Acknowledging the Pain by Danielle Hance – This post was from Spiritual Formation week on Velvet Ashes. She’s honest about pain and suffering and uses the very words of the Son of God on the cross to give us permission to be honest with God, too.
The Grove: Spiritual Formation by Patty Stallings. Patty is always wise and true and inspirational. This post discusses what spiritual formation is and isn’t, and also, Who is actually responsible for our spiritual growth.
VIDEOS AND PODCASTS
Out and About from Sarah Bessey. You may as well know I’m a huge Sarah Bessey fan. Her writing and speaking is all kindness, gentleness, love, and grace — a rare thing these days. I love the way she speaks of her mothering, which is very similar to mine. I love how she meshes creativity and motherhood and really seems at peace with God (and His church). Watch the Whole Mama interview that’s embedded in the post, and click on the link to the Spark My Muse podcast. Sarah Bessey doesn’t disappoint!
Google Translate FAIL from Aaron Bratcher. I could not stop laughing when I first saw this my first year in Cambodia. Could.not.stop. It’s especially funny if you’re currently or have recently been in language learning. Many of the Google-translated phrases are now part of our family vernacular.
Facebook Friends Song from Studio C. Everything from Studio C (a Mormon group) is squeaky clean, though with varying degrees of hilarity. This particular one made me laugh so hard I cried. (Although I take exception to the New Mom. New Mom: You are not annoying to me! I heart your pictures. In fact I’m “Liker” when it comes to your baby pictures, so pretty please keep ’em comin’!)
What Playing Cricket Looks Like to Americans. Also made me laugh so hard I cried. And momentarily stopped breathing.
NFL 2015 from Bad Lip Reading. Sorry, I know I’ve shared this one before, but I just can’t help myself with the funny videos today. Most of these phrases made it into our family vernacular too.