Wednesday, January 29, 2014

notes from a bookworm

On this snow day, it seems as though time is passing much slower than it would be if I were at school with my sweet kiddos. I woke up and hopped out of bed, eager to run downstairs and take pictures of the rare snow before it melted.  I listened to Christmas music as I made dinner and prayed for a snow day. Last night I squealed with delight when I found out I didn’t have to wake up while it was still dark to go in to work. The Lord truly does answer prayers! :)
All of that is quite beside the point of this post. One of my goals on the 25 things in my 25th year was to read a book a month. While I have not read a book a month, I’ve already surpassed my goal by reading more than 12 books. The perks of being a teacher- summers off with time to read for pleasure. I have always been a voracious reader. My childhood was spent getting to know characters in various books as though they were my own friends. Lauren, my younger and more rambunctious sister, could barely be kept indoors or in one spot for more than ten minutes, while I read for hours, holed up in my room. Books offered me solace and a way to travel through time. My childhood tastes were mostly rooted in fiction, but as an adult, I have come to love non-fiction. In particular, the world of memoirs has afforded me a way to relate to others without ever having known them. If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I absolutely love the words of Shauna Niequist.

Here’s a quick review of the top five books I’ve read so far in my 25th year (in no particular order):

1.       The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (I had to include a fiction, book, ok? Don’t judge me.)

I absolutely love Nicholas Sparks, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. This book was different from his others in that it focused on a couple already married, but his way of weaving a story always draws me in. Plus this book was somewhat of a sequel to The Notebook; the male protagonist is Noah and Allie's son-in-law. The ending was a shocker, and a happy one at that. And yes, I cried. Duh.

Ree Drummond is amazing. I have followed her Pioneer Woman blog for years now and am a huge fan of her zest for life and delicious recipes. Reading the story of how she met her husband and went from city girl to country wife and mother cracked me up. Lots of laughter. And yes, tears.

Y’all. This book wrecked me. As in I sobbed through much of it. These were good tears, though, in that Jennie’s words challenged and convicted me. This book speaks to the fears we allow to hold us back from truly living as Christ commanded us. I’m still digesting and praying through how to apply what I gleaned from this one. A similar book I just finished is  Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking  Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons. This one had me in tears, too. It is amazing how we can allow our fears to hold us back from living the life that God has for us. I think my greatest fear is that I would be consumed by those fears. Both of these books were a glimpse into what it looks like to fight past your fears and trust in an almighty God.

This. book. is. hilarious. I read it on the Kindle app on my phone on the way back home from a funeral because I needed a laugh. My family was reduced to hearing me read aloud quotes from the book to them all way home. Melanie is a friend of the Pioneer Woman, and she writes so honestly. Her words bring so much comfort, because while reading, you think, “Wow, someone else does that, too?” This book chronicles her journey into the unknowns of motherhood. Definitely one I would recommend to my young mom friends or to anyone who just wants to appreciate their own mother more. :) I love teaching, but one of the blessings is that those 20 kiddos go home each day and I am not responsible for them 24/7/365!

Another one that is currently wrecking me, as I am not finished reading it yet. A few months ago, my uncle asked me what I missed most about Mexico. Seeing as how barely a day goes by without me thinking about Mexico, my answer came readily. I miss the simplicity of my life in Mexico. I had no car. I walked to work. My house was small but just enough for me. All of my possessions didn’t suffocate me. Of course I wanted more, but when I thought about my life, I was deeply grateful and knew that the Lord had given me just enough for a reason. Fast forward to now, and it is incredibly difficult to be grateful and satisfied when surrounded by a culture who cries out for more,more, more- and we want it now, now, now. This book is amazing-laugh out loud funny on one page and then tears of conviction and brokenness the next. There is definitely more to come from all that I’ve gleaned thus far.

So there you have it, friends. I guess I cheated and gave you a review of six books. :) What have you read lately that has been inspiring or entertaining to you?

Friday, January 3, 2014

catching up

Well, it's been almost 8 months since my 25 in my 25th post, and while I have made some progress through the list, some goals will have to be changed. And that's ok! It is curious how beginning a new year always makes people much more introspective and proactive. I know that personally, the Lord has been revealing so much to me through friends and through His word., but I'll have to share that later. For now, I want to catch up and share with y'all some of the adventures I have had in my 25th year thus far. I'm not really going through them in any order, so this is a taste of what I've done so far.

                                                                  7. Buy a new car.
My new baby, a 2013 Nissan Rogue.

At the end of June, my dad went with me to buy a new car. This day was extremely emotional, but also very exciting, as I made my first real life adult purchase! I was a hot mess that day, but the Lord did so many amazing things and provided in wonderful ways beyond my imagination. Then through the summer my new car, Scout, carried me on many a road trip, big and small.

Doesn't get much better than these three.

8. Road trip somewhere with Kristen, Cortney, and Teresa.

Well, I kind of cheated on this one. Kristen and Teresa met me in Athens and we all rode to see Cort. But it was a special day because we hadn't all been together just the four of us in years, and the Lord brought us together for a wonderful day.

15. Go to a "real" concert. 

Turns out 2013 was the year of concerts. In July, Teresa and I went to Keith Urban (as twins). In September my sister and I went to John Mayer together (swoon). And in October, Lauren and I went to see Michael Buble (swoon swoon swoon). Just a month later, Kai and I went to see Hillsong United (amazing), and a couple days after that I saw Audrey Assad and Rend Collective Experiment with my dear friend Erica. I. love. concerts.


Hillsong United Zion Tour

24. Visit Kai in D.C.

My sweet friend Kai is an extremely passionate and intelligent law student who had an internship in D.C. this summer, so just a couple weeks after purchasing my brand new 2013 Nissan Rogue, my dear friend Katie and I loaded up for a road trip of epic proportions. We made a stop in Raleigh to stay with an old friend from camp, and then we headed to our nation's capital! It was my first time in the city, but Katie loves the city, so I had two wonderful tour guides.

Mastering the art of the selfie, here, folks.


That's all for now folks! I'm so looking forward to many more memories in 2014. I've heard it said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting new results, so I've decided that instead of being insane in the new year, I would ask the Lord to help me do the hard work necessary to be the best me I can be for His glory. I'll be making monthly goals, and hopefully I'll be able to look back and see what God has done as a result of this discipline!

Grace and peace, friends.


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