Life has been full lately. In fact, I think June disappeared down a rabbit hole. Between my husband being away for 2 weeks on business, and my spending several weeks immersed in VBS responsibilities, the whole month rather flew by without much else getting accomplished! And July is starting off almost as busy with multiple deputation meetings, a holiday, and our 11th anniversary.
I’m tempted to bemoan the lack of progress on things like writing my book, creating art pieces, or simply keeping up with housework . . . but I know that the time spent ministering to others is well-worth the sacrifice! Nothing compares with influencing souls for eternity.
But it hasn’t been all business and ministry. I’ve managed to get some reading done, discovered a few new helpful resources, and even done a little bit of creating (find my newest piece here). So grab your cup of coffee or tea, and settle in for another Life Lately chat.
What I’ve Been Doing . . .
Writing. I’m still plugging away at my next book, temporarily titled Proverbs for Social Media. I’ve been enjoying the research into word meanings and the chance to draw pointed applications to a very relevant topic, but the writing has been a rather slow process — or at least it feels that way. I’m almost halfway done, and am hoping to start querying agents soon. I’d love your prayers for the right publishing opportunity to arise quickly!
Vacation Bible School. This pretty much takes over the month of June. I usually spend the week leading up to VBS practically living at church, helping my pastor’s wife create and assemble all the fun decorations and set pieces. We both have a heavy dose of creativity, so it’s always a lot of fun seeing what we come up with by the end of the week! Then my husband and I are both heavily involved with helping during VBS itself — we do the opening assembly, lead the children’s classes, and generally pitch in wherever else it’s needed. Many of our kids come from the outside community, and most of them are from unsaved families, so it’s a great opportunity to share the gospel and teach them some of the basics of Christianity. This year’s theme was a “Time Lab” and we focused on Jesus’ role throughout eternity past, earthly history, present day, and eternity future. It was a fun week, and hopefully profitable in the eternal sense!
Deputation. We’re traveling a bit this month, doing more meetings to raise support for our church-planting ministry. If you want to keep up with our travels (and our little bison mascot), follow our Facebook page @ASteadfastFaith.
Reading . . .
Little Men and Jo’s Boys. ♥♥♥ One of the few classics I enjoy is Little Women, but I realized recently that I’d never read the two follow-up books to the story! So I finally remedied that. Little Men was different than I expected — more like snapshots of the boys’ lives at Plumfield, with no over-arching storyline. But it proved to be critical for understanding the events and characters of Jo’s Boys, which was also a much more fulfilling storyline. I appreciated the closure in that third book, especially as it brought Jo’s sisters back into view, and it was interesting to see where some of the other minor characters ended up. But Little Women will remain my favorite of all three, by far.
Christian History Magazine. ♥♥♥♥ If you’re interested in learning more about people and events in church history, you should sign up for this magazine! Digital subscriptions are free, and snail-mail versions are available for a donation of any amount. Every issue is focused on one major theme — for instance, the latest one was all about Baptist history in America — and has a variety of articles, recommended resources, and snippets of trivia about the topic. Learn more.
Church History in Plain Language. ♥♥♥♥♥ Speaking of church history, I heartily recommend this book if you want a thorough but readable overview of the last 2000 years in Christianity. The author, Bruce Shelley, takes a more biographical approach in his narrative, which makes it very enjoyable read. And for those who shudder at the thought of reading something academic: fear not. This one is written for the average church-goer, not the graduate student. He doesn’t assume any prior knowledge of events or people, and distills key terms and events into bite-size pieces that are easy to digest. I’d consider it my first choice for anyone interested in recovering from “historical amnesia” (the author’s term for having a mental blank for the time between the apostles and our current day). Find it here.
Rock Harbor Mystery Collection. ♥♥ I got this 5-book series by Colleen Coble for a dollar or two on Kindle, and thought it might be similar to my favorite Dee Henderson novels. It had the crime and suspense, but I was disappointed in the “spiritual” aspects. In the first book, a major character gets saved; but after that, the only Christian influence was a few mentions of prayer and an occasional discussion about faith or forgiveness — unlike Dee Henderson’s books, where character wrestle with very real spiritual struggles throughout the whole story. Additionally, after the first two books, the events started getting weirder and more unrealistic, and most of the characters didn’t continue to develop in a believable manner. I don’t mind that in science fiction, but I prefer my mysteries to be believable and the characters to feel real. I give the author props for creativity and a good writing style, but this is not a series I’d generally recommend.
Trying . . .
Running. Or more specifically, re-learning how to run. I used to love running in college, but when the Wegener’s hit in 2007, I was prevented from continuing by lack of energy and damaged joints. But now that I’ve been in medical remission for several years and have come completely off one of my medications, my energy has improved and my joints have healed. I was trying to walk every day, but it takes so long to get my steps in that way . . . so I decided to try a “couch to 5K” program. My running is still pretty pathetic — when I started, I could barely run 60 seconds without getting winded — but I’m gradually improving! I don’t plan to ever run any races, other perhaps an occasional 5K, but it’s fun to get back to something I used to enjoy. If you’re a runner, I’d love to hear any tips you have!
Lentils. I’ve seen a lot of buzz about lentils lately, but have been hesitant to try them. I didn’t know how to cook them, or what to put them in. But then I decided to make over my breakfast routine, hoping to reduce my sugar and bread consumption, and decided to give them a try. Lately I’ve been cooking a handful of brown lentils, chopped onion, sweet red pepper, and broccoli or summer squash in a little bit of olive oil, then adding 2 lightly fried eggs and real cheddar cheese on top. It’s been so yummy and I’m amazed how long it keeps me full — and the best part is, there’s no added sugar or fake chemicals. But I’d love to branch out and try some other recipes too . . . so let me know if you have a favorite way to eat lentils!
What have you read / tried / experimented with lately? Share in the comments below!