Saturday, August 13, 2016

Summer 2016 Reads

Summer was busy, but before fall kicks off with another round of school, I wanted to share some of the books I read recently. All very different, but that's the joy of choosing books to read. Here are some of my summer reads:

Educating Esme is a hilarious account of a teacher's first year. It is an honest look at the ins and outs of teaching. Being aware of factors in teaching that are outside of your control is essential to teaching, and one Madame Esme was unashamed to write about in her book. It made me laugh and cry. What an inspiration as I finished my residency year of teaching and begin my first year in my own classroom.

Highlights: She studied Native Americans with her students and had interactive activities, including a naming ceremony (103). I was inspired when I started my own Native American unit, renaming Morning Meeting to Campfire and having our own naming ceremony. I became "Great Legend".

"I believe exposure to print is the key to reading achievement" (119).

Gracism is personal to me. This is by Dr. David Anderson, a preacher in the DMV (for those outside the area, that's not the Secretary of State's office; it stands for DC/Maryland/Virginia). I have heard him speak at National Community Church a few times and love his passion. His book on racial reconciliation is a major passion of mine, especially living in a city like DC. I follow him on Twitter and notice Brian Bennett's interaction with him as well. Brian is a preacher in my hometown area. He bridges the gap between Benton Harbor and Saint Joseph. Both men are working hard to love and include everyone in the Church. Read this book. I also want to check out his book, Letters Across the Divide.

Highlights: "In heaven, there will be one church and it will be multicultural" (41).

"So many people in the maturation process of race relations also need room to struggle, grow, disagree and fail" (71).

The Meaning of Marriage was a great read, even for a single person. I'm sure married people would have a different, more applicable perspective on the thoughts Keller shared. I always like to read books like this just to get some inside info on marriage. Maybe it'll come in handy someday.

Highlights: "Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for" (27).

Bossypants got me through summer school and grad school. It was hilarious. Just read it when you need some good laughs in your life! If nothing else, people who recognize it when you're carrying it around will tell you how much they loved reading it! Good conversation starter. 

Highlights: I have a uniquely German capacity to vacillate between sentimentality and coldness (131).

I prefer the retro chic of spending Christmas just like Joseph and Mary did - traveling arduously back to the place of your birth to be counted, with no guarantee of a bed when you get there (245).

The Listening Life is Adam McHugh's second book. I loved his first book, Introverts in the Church. This book had a different feel to it, and it took perseverance to get through some of it. But overall this book contains good principles to know how to slow down and listen well.

Highlights: "I dream of a place where leaders listen to followers, adults listen to children, men listen to women, the majority listens to the minority, the rich listen to the poor, and insiders listen to outsiders" (203).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Backwards Beauty

I get it. Using reverse psychology to get people to do what you want them to. I didn't really like the title/subtitle of this book, but I enjoyed this book overall. It was mainly written for high school girls (or at least girls living with their parents still based on a few lines in the book), so just be aware of that if you're looking to buy this as a twenty/thirty-something.

I like connecting with authors and I think Jessie and I could be friends in real life.

I liked how she had extras you could check out at the website. Jessie ended every chapter with a written prayer and small group questions you could use if you wanted. I did not use them, but I could see how this could be a good book for a high school girls' study.

Jessie had a way of convicting you about things but also helping you realize you are not alone by mentioning that she struggles, too. She covered everything from beauty/makeup to food and exercise. She uncovered the ugliness of pride and jealousy in women's lives.

"There's nothing as beautiful as a smile. A smile shows confidence, joy, and peace with yourself. A smile is contagious and brings life to the people around you" (63). That's great because smiling's my favorite, to quote ELF. :)

Are we willing to listen to what God says about us over the voices in our heads that come from other people or ourselves?

A lot of great principles can be found in this book. I recommend this to young women to gain perspective on the topic of beauty.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Messy Grace

I really appreciated this book. Caleb has a way of sharing his story that is respectful to all people mentioned. He shares some of the details of what it was like to struggle with his newfound faith and the tension it caused in his relationships with his parents. "When I was put in a position of having to choose either [my parents] or God, I was facing the most difficult decision of my life. Many nights I stayed up late and seriously thought about no longer following Jesus. If I did that, at least I would have my parents back. I couldn't go back, though" (125).

This book gave me a lot to think about in relation to being a Christian who wants to show love to all people. "It's time that we Christians focus on building bridges with the LGBT community rather than burn them" (59).

Caleb was challenging and honest. I recommend this book.

I received this book for WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I Was Blind (Dating), But Now I See

This book. So good. I highly recommend this book to my friends who are single. If you are married, it might also help you understand your single friends better and give you an insight into what goes on in the dating world these days.

I don't know if you've ever read a book and instantly connected with the author, but I'm pretty sure Stephanie and I are soul sisters. She's an introvert who grew up with one brother. She talks about moles, awkward moments, and having to explain that as a single person, she has one person in her family. She struggles with hospitality and had a married man express interest in her. The similarities in our lives were crazy. With each sentence, I was pulled into her dating stories and seeing how God wove all of them together to help her become who she is now.

This entire book is about how over the span of a few years, she gets set up with eight different men. I had to laugh at her take on online dating: "Two of my least favorite pastimes were getting rejected by someone and rejecting someone else. Why would I pay monthly fees to experience exponentially more of both" (176)?

This book gave me hope. It gave me a lot to think about in becoming who I need to be. It also begs the question, Who knows any good men they'd like to set me up with now?

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Whatever is Lovely Coloring Book

Whatever is Lovely is a great coloring book that is for reflection and worship. It is not just Scriptures but inspiring quotes. The great thing about this one is that it is not so overwhelming with tiny areas to color, so it does not take forever to complete a page. Here's an example of what I did for one of the pages. 

I liked using nontraditional colors to make it different. Coloring is relaxing and while it is becoming more of a trend to use adult coloring books, it is also just good to calm down and do something that does not involve technology. 

This book includes different artists who drew the black and white outlines for each page. On the back of each page, there is a verse or description of what inspired the work of art. In the back of the book, there's also a Spotify playlist people can find to listen to while coloring. I am a fan of music-inspired art. 

Pick this book up if you are looking for a way to relax after a long day or reflect on the weekends.

I received this book for WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.