August 22, 2017

Life in the Age of Smartphones

If you're reading this, you're probably old enough to remember life before cell phones. Think back to that time for a moment . . . Remember how quieter things were, how less distracted everyone was, how intentional you had to be to stay in touch with friends or family. Remember the hand-written notes in your mailbox, the hours of visiting quietly on the porch, the curiosity about other's life-events, and the satisfying hard work of searching for answers by making actual conversation with people in front you. Do we romanticize those pre-cell-phone days? Sure, to some extent. But there were aspects of life that we can never go back to, so in a way -- it's worth romanticizing a [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in May & June

May and June were busy months, especially with several weeks taken up with preparing for and then helping with our church's annual VBS. In fact, I was running on reserves the last few weeks, and didn't do much reading at all in the latter half of June. But I did manage to complete 7 books for the #Read2017 challenge, including two that I'd been working through for a few months prior (What's Best Next and 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You), both of which called for frequent personal response, either through applicatory "homework" or simply careful consideration and prayer. But they were both well worth the time -- as well as the loss of reading anything else during those hours! I also [...Read More]


How Does the Gospel Transform Productivity?

Like most of you, I live a busy life with too many things on my to-do list and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Poor planning, unforeseen interruptions, and just life in general all combine to make productivity much harder than it should be. And one glance at the personal development section at Barnes & Noble reveals that many of us feel that way! In fact, a quick search for "productivity books" on Amazon returns over 36,000 results. I guess we have a problem with getting things done. Is the answer simply learning various methods and strategies to streamline our work and do more in less time? I don't think so. To be sure, those methods can be helpful -- almost anyone [...Read More]


#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in March & April

I read ten books in March and April for the #Read2017 challenge. Lest you think that's all I did that past two months, be aware that many of them were short, quick reads. Only two were nonfiction, and each of those were short and easily skimmed through in about an hour. Of the remaining eight, half were under 150 pages and the other half kept me completely captivated -- you know, the type that you don't stop reading until 2 AM? ;) Here's what I read in March & April (contains affiliate links): All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr Category: Book on the bestseller list Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ I don't usually read bestsellers, which is one reason I made a point to include that [...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]