January 11, 2018

#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in November and December

Can you believe 2017 is almost over? I guess every year goes a little faster, the older and busier you get. And we have been busy! I usually try to avoid that over-used buzzword, but in this case, there's no other word for it. The past two months alone have included: ministering in Wyoming; driving cross-country; spending a month in Massachusetts, a week in Pennsylvania, and a week in North Carolina; visiting extended family, historic sites, and visiting multiple churches throughout the country; finalizing our ministry presentation and beginning our deputation meetings; taking a seminary class in 7 weeks, including writing a 25-page research paper; celebrating the holidays with our [...Read More]

#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in September and October

This has been a busy fall! We are getting ready to start traveling for our missions deputation, and I also just started another seminary class. Somehow I managed to complete 6 books for my #Read2017 challenge before that all really got going (several of which I'd already started earlier in the summer), plus a handful of easy fiction reads that weren't included in my challenge categories. Here's what I read in September & October (contains affiliate links): Speaking in Bones, by Kathy Reichs Category: Mystery novel Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ Another great book in the series about Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (popularized by the tv show Bones). I have trouble reviewing fiction [...Read More]

How Personality Tests Help Us Understand People Better

I believe personality tests have value for us, both as Christians seeking spiritual maturity and as adults seeking stronger and more unified relationships. The key is to remember that our personality results do not define us; only God's Word can do that. These tests simply get us out of our normal way of looking at things, and share another perspective that we might never consider otherwise. But we shouldn't stop at simply knowing our type! Once we have a basic understanding of what those results mean, we ought to spend time reading about the other types -- not simply to satisfy curiosity, but to learn how to relate better to other types of personalities. We need to go beyond learning the [...Read More]

#Read2017 – Literary Adventures in July and August

I finally had some downtime last month, and was able to make some good progress on my #Read2017 challenge by reading -- or completing -- 8 books. Several of them had already been started earlier in the year, so don't think I spent all my time reading the past two months (I wish!). And several of those were fiction, which I always devour rather quickly! I'm almost finished with reading through every category on my list at least once, and am starting to think about challenges for next year. I've been considering a few different ideas, including either a "curiosity" challenge or a "tackle the reading list" challenge. Any suggestions? I'd love to hear what you're interested in reading next [...Read More]

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]

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