April 28, 2017

Reading the Puritans: Where Should You Start?

The Puritans lived over 200 years ago, but their words still speak today. Through careful study of Scripture and much prayer, they left a legacy of writings and sermons that address the mind, confront the conscience, and engage the heart. And those who make the effort to mine their works carefully reap rich rewards! (Not sure what I'm talking about? Learn who the Puritans were and why you should read them.) But the list of Puritan authors is over 2000 names long, and their published works number even higher. So where do you start? Here are some favorite go-to recommendations for getting started: Voices from the Past -- Volume 1 and Volume 2 A collection of single-page devotional [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in January & February

It's always fun to start a new challenge, and this year's #Read2017 challenge is no exception. I learned some things last year--like the need to stay more balanced with fiction and nonfiction--and discovered just how much I enjoy biographies and certain authors (here's looking at you, Tolkien and Wodehouse), and am anticipating a good year of learning and exploring more genres. As usual, I started off the year with a bang, reading 9 books in 2 months (not counting the re-read I did of my favorite Dee Henderson series), most of which fit under specific categories for this year's challenge. One book was chosen as my local library's book club selection, two were sent as review copies, and [...Read More]


Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age

It seems like the more control we gain over our physical well-being, the more we want to control -- and the more it scares it when we can't! But what if we've been approaching our healthcare all wrong? As frail, mortal humans we place a premium on physical health. We want to be healthy and whole. If we are hurt or injured, we seek a remedy. If we are diseased, we seek a cure. We exercise, diet, and take vitamins to keep our bodies working in prime condition. We even spend money on well-visits just to make sure there's nothing wrong behind the scenes. None of that is wrong . . . until it crowds out everything else. None of that is harmful until it becomes our main focus in life, causing [...Read More]


Join the Reading Challenge in 2017!

Good books have been some of my best friends, mentors, comforts, and sources of enjoyment throughout my life. But perhaps the greatest thing they have been is my teachers. We can learn so much from any type of book! Fiction can help us better understand other personalities, explore different areas of the world, and learn how to deal with various real-life situations. Nonfiction can teach us about great people and great events, guide us in discovery about the world and ourselves, help us improve in a skill or pursue a hobby, and teach us how to think through various topics or concepts. Reading a variety of genres and topics will not only stretch our minds and mature our thinking, but it [...Read More]


A Year of Literary Adventures – #Read2016

One of my goals for this year was broadening my literary horizons -- aka, reading outside my comfort zone by intentionally choosing titles from a specific list of book categories. My comfort zone is fiction, specifically mysteries and a few choice classic novels. Fiction is great for stretching your imagination, introducing you to new places and experiences, and increasing your empathy and understanding of different types of people. But too much fiction can dull your mind. We need a balance of "fun" reading alongside the nonfiction books which require more focus and thought. Some nonfiction might be harder to get through, especially on days when you're feeling overwhelmed physically or [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in September/October – #Read2016

After reading like crazy in July and August (probably making up for all the weeks I didn't read while we moved), my literary adventures slowed down a bit over the past few months! Part of that was just the normal fluctuation of life; part of it was because I was digging through some deeper material . . . specifically the two-volume set on a Mormon's journey to Christianity, which was fascinating and educational but also full of meat and rather long. Along with those two books, I read three others that fit within my #Read2016 categories, and two just-for-fun books in a fictional series. Here's what I explored from September-October (includes affiliate links): Gospel Meditations [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in Summer 2016 – #Read2016

Apparently moving cross-country kind of throws you off your groove in every area of life for quite a few months. Even reading. Even for die-hard bookworms. I suppose I should have expected it. But I filled up my Kindle before we left and rather naively thought I would gets loads of reading done on the way. Unfortunately, between the long bumpy days in the truck and the exhausted night of trying to sleep in cheap motel rooms, that didn't happen. In fact, I only read 2 books in the whole month of May... I'm not sure that's ever happened before! Even once we got to Wyoming and finally found a place to rent, life got full fast with unpacking and settling, full-time ministry, exploring the [...Read More]


Why Is A Christian Worldview So Important?

We can't keep our faith in a box. It's not something that can be relegated to reading the Bible every morning and attending church on Sunday. It needs to color our realities, shape our perspectives, and direct our thoughts and action on day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. It needs to instruct our view of this world, of humanity itself and all our endeavors. Every single realm -- from science to history, from creative arts to psychology, from occupation to recreation, from family relationships to personal ambitions -- must be viewed through the lens of God's truth. Why? Because how you see the world, and the people within it, determines how you interact with it. And how you interact [...Read More]


Practicing Habits of Grace

Start talking about spiritual disciplines -- habits like reading God's Word, praying regularly, attending church, evangelizing the lost -- and I guarantee someone will roll their eyes and respond that the word discipline is just too legalistic, not grace-oriented enough or allowing for Christian liberty. Others will sigh at the amount of effort required to maintain those disciplines. I think some people don't really understand the point of spiritual disciplines. It's not just a list of things we HAVE to do, in order to be considered spiritual. It's not what defines a good Christian. Spiritual disciplines have a higher purpose than simply acting as a spiritual to-do list. tweet [...Read More]


Introducing Erin Salazar, Author of ‘Pix Goes to London’

I'm excited to introduce a real-life friend of mine today! Erin Salazar and I met at college and stayed in touch through social media ever since (fun fact: she was also our wedding photographer!). She's a wife, mother, teacher, artist, and writer who loves to travel, and has a passion for opening children's eyes to the joys of reading and the thrill of discovering the world -- whether it be their back yard or a far-away land across the ocean. Through her books, Erin hopes to help children develop a love of learning and cultivate their innate curiosity about the world around them, so that one day they can make a difference for good. Erin's newest book, Pix Goes to London (note: affiliate [...Read More]