Category: Resources (page 1 of 5)

What I’ve Been Reading

A couple weeks ago I posted on Facebook that I had been reading too many serious non-fiction books and I needed some lighter fiction to read on vacation.  People weighed in with some great suggestions and although I am a slooow reader I took them up on several and thought I’d report back.  So here’s some fiction and a couple of terrific non-fiction books you might want to check out.

Maisie DobbsThis was an engaging read that takes place just after World War 1 in London. Maisie Dobbs, a detective, is like a female version of the PBS series “Foyle’s War”. I love the setting and the period in history and found the historical information on WW1 and its aftermath to be sobering. A cool mystery.

The Invention of Wings. People have been recommending this to me for years, but because of some vague recollection of something I read previously by the author that I didn’t like, I’ve resisted. My loss. This book chronicles parallel lives, based on a real woman of privilege in early 1800’s Charleston S.C., and her slave girl (close in age). It is beautifully written, engrossing and enlightening.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  Quirky, different, and a quick, read. This is the story of a young widower on Alice Island in New England who runs a book store and discovers a toddler left to his care. It’s a bittersweet story of love and loss and choices that change us. I always want inspiring and uplifting endings and didn’t really get it here.

SkiosMy friend, Joanne is a voracious reader with much broader taste in books than mine (Read: she’s smarter and more literary). If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should. I got this suggestion from her, but I’m not crazy about farce or mistaken identity so I probably should have given this one a pass. It’s about a man (who I pictured looking like Hugh Grant) assuming the identity of a visiting lecturer at a gathering uber-rich folks on a Greek island and the mishaps that ensue. For me it was alternately entertaining, ridiculous, frustrating and tiring waiting for all the story lines to finally converge.

All the Places to Go (How will you Know?)  John Ortberg has impacted my spiritual journey more than any other.  This new book, about open doors and discerning God’s will, is immensely readable and relevant, filled with John’s delightful humor. He has great insights about biblical characters as always. Most of my copy is underlined. Highly recommend!


My husband, John, read The Boys in the Boat and LOVED it, so that’s what I’m reading now. Also, check out my friend Matt’s post on what he learned from The Boys in the Boat.

One last thing…I don’t know if I’m the only one, but the change of seasons really affects my appetite.  Blustery fall days with crimson leaves make me want to make soup. Lovely spring days like we’ve been having lately make me want to bake cookies. Similarly I find my appetite for God’s Word can change with the seasons of my life. Lately I’ve been ravenous, gobbling up Scripture like someone gobbling up chocolate after Lent.

I’ve written here before about how I like to mix up what I do for devotions, but one constant this year is a “Bible in One Year” reading plan through the YouVersion online. The one I’m using was created by Nikki Gumbel who started Alpha. I love it because his commentary identifies a unifying theme each day. I have found this particular discipline so valuable and strengthening. I have grown in my love of God’s Word and amazement at His care for every detail of our lives.

Now it’s your turn! What have you been reading that’s engaging, inspiring, uplifting??


Finding a Mentor and Being a Mentor

I sat across from a young woman at Turtle Bread where I often meet with people I’m mentoring.  It’s a vibrant little neighborhood place with a retro black and white tile floor and vintage distressed tables. It makes me feel hip, like I’m in a French café but in the middle Minneapolis. Such illusions. :)

turtle bread

I hesitate to use the word “mentoring” because it sounds so official and important and I am so definitely NOT. (seriously.) However, I’m blessed to be friends with some young women who I meet with one on one in what they refer to as a “mentoring” relationship.  Because people ask me about these relationships often, I thought I’d write a bit about them.

Finding a mentor is a little like finding a date on  You have ideas of what you want, but you’re also grateful if anyone says “yes” at all.  If you want some suggestions on finding a mentor, check this out.

Being a mentor is a little like jumping out of an airplane – you’re scared, but willing to take the leap. You feel out of control and completely dependent on the pro you’re harnessed to. That is, you’re acutely aware of dependence on God. If you want more on being  a mentor, check this out. Continue reading

What I’ve Been Reading

I had quite a list of books that I wanted for Christmas.  And I received a bunch, including two copies of the same book, both from my husband (He blames it on the fact that he didn’t save all his shopping til Christmas Eve like is his usual custom, so he forgot what he had bought. And wrapped, apparently)

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying making my way through this stack and I thought I’d share some with you.


Continue reading

An Autumnal Sabbath

Since Sunday is kind of a “work day” for us, Saturday is often our Sabbath day.  Mark Buchanan in his book, The Rest of God, writes:

“Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life.  Those two things, taken together, make up Sabbath’s golden rule….Sabbath imparts the rest of God – actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God – the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.”

For you, Sabbath may include a run (a big “WOOHOO!” for those running the TC marathon today!), a bike ride, a game of Monopoly, or a meal with a friend, but yesterday was a particularly delightful Sabbath day for us (note John’s caveat at the end of this post), so I thought I’d share some of it with you… Continue reading

On How I was Afraid of Being Labeled a Feminist

Here’s the pile of “serious” books I’ve been working my way through, the fiction (not pictured) – Charles Martin’s new book A Life Intercepted, and Jan Karon’s new book, Somewhere Safe, with Somebody Good  have been more fun (I am so totally savoring being back in “Mitford”!), but a girl’s gotta go for a little substance too.  Thus the pile.

Confession: I picked up Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist only because I felt I had to.  She was coming to speak at our church, and the women I walk alongside mostly (twenty-somethings) seemed to feel like she was speaking their language and saying something important.

I started reading with a bad attitude for three reasons: Continue reading

Hospitality: Ideas For those Who are Hospi-phobic and Those Who are Fearless Too

It’s One Word Friday!

Like I wrote recently, part of “Choose Life” means choosing to exercise our gifts.

And you’ve got ‘em!  You’re talented and capable and you’re gamers.

Hospitality seems to be one of mine, (although it’s easy to see how others are doing it so much better).  Some of you may have this gift too.  I hope you’ll add your ideas in the comments.

For others the thought of guests ringing your doorbell makes you want to hide under your bed.

Whether hospitality is one of your gifts or not, it’s a reflection of God’s welcoming heart that we’re all called to live out.  I hope this post will give you some resources and encouragement!

4 Suggestions if you’re new to opening your home: Continue reading

How Jen Hatmaker Interrupted my Perfectly Lovely Summer (and may wreck yours too)

It was the beginning of June and the whole summer stretched gloriously before me.  Oh the dreams I’d dream, the goals I’d achieve, the books I’d not only read, but remember and apply to EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE!  I was especially excited to get my grubby little hands on the new edition of Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted.

I pounced on the opportunity to get an advance copy in order to link up and post on it.  After all, my merry little band of spiritual misfits had joyfully jumped into “7” and experienced our own mutiny against excess a couple of summers ago.  I figured we were game for something new.

But here’s the thing…I missed some “fine” print.

Ok, it might not have been so “fine”, but I definitely missed two important details.

First?  The subtitle: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity.  WHY in the name of sweet baby Jesus would I want to read THAT??  If I’m comfortable with my Christian life (and I definitely am!), why would I want to be wrecked?

Note to marketing department: No one who actually reads the subtitle of this book is going to want to buy it.  “Wrecking” is not a selling point. Continue reading

Why Underwear is Important

Did you know that the average American woman owns approximately 21 pairs of underwear? About 10% of women own over 35 pairs.

Did you know underwear can mean the difference between a girl who’s educated with a chance for a bright future, and one who’s not?

Sometimes it just blows my mind how much I don’t know.  Recently I learned some not-fun facts about the challenges facing women in Uganda, including the challenge of underwear.  But I also learned something I can do about it.  And boy that feels good.

I’ve written before that our daughter Maggie is working in Northern Uganda this summer at Pader Girls’ Academy.  They teach and give vocational training to girls, many who have escaped the Lords’ Resistance Army, but can’t return to their communities.  They have become outcasts because of the stigma of being raped by soldiers or having babies out of wedlock.

But even after they have a tiny glimpse of hope for the future through education, there are still hurdles.  For example, I learned that girls often miss about 5 days of school a month when they have their period because they don’t have sanitary pads.  Or underwear.

Are you freaking kidding me? Continue reading

Is God Always the Hard Choice?

It’s One Word Friday!

Ok, so I’m not sure how I got there, but after becoming a Christian in my teens, I fell into a default mode that always assumed that God’s will must be the hardest, and most painful choice I was faced with.

Broccoli or brownie?  Broccoli must be more holy.

Cat or dog?  God surely hates cats so He must want to refine my character by inflicting a cat on me (if this is true, I’m not committed enough to be a disciple) Continue reading

Life-giving Links and Likes

Happy One Word Friday!  I think some of the ways we “Choose Life” (my two words) are by choosing truth, choosing grace, and choosing to delight in the gifts of God.  I thought I’d share some of those gifts that have been delighting me lately.  What about you?  Share what’s delighted you lately in the comments! Continue reading

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