2014 Reading List

Well, I really tanked on my 2013 reading list, so a lot of these are going to be repeats. Apparently moving to a new country and settling in to ministry really cuts into my reading time! I resolve to read more this year, however. So, here is the list for this year:

  1.  The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief – James Speigel
  2. Washington: A Life – Ron Chernow
  3. No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 – Graham Bowley
  4. The History of Love: A Novel – Nicole Krauss
  5. Uncensored Grace: Stories of Hope from the Streets of Vegas – Jud Wilhite
  6. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany – Stephen Ambrose
  7. The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture – Stephen Mansfield
  8. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions – Lysa Tyrkeurst
  9. Ike’s Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment – Stephen Ambrose
  10. Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) – Cheryl Strayed
  11. Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing – Pete Wilson
  12. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church…and Rethinking Faith – David Kinnaman
  13. The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys the Men of WWII – Stephen Ambrose
  14. Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain
  15. Majestic and Wild: True Stories of Faith and Adventure in the Great Outdoors
  16. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis – Devin Brown
  17. Gods and Generals – Jeff Shaara
  18. The Reagan Diaries- Ronald Reagan
  19. Bridge to Haven- Francine Rivers
  20. All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir – Brennan Manning
  21. The Last Full Measure: A Novel of the Civil War- Jeff Shaara
  22. The Steel Wave: A Novel of WWII- Jeff Shaara
  23. Made to Crave- Lysa Terkeurst
  24. Fifteen Minutes- Karen Kingsbury

Best of 2013

It’s that time of year again! I know you guys have been looking forward to this since last year’s post (or, like me, you completely forgot about it)! This year it’s going to look a little bit different because, well, I moved to El Salvador and I just don’t watch as much TV, see as many movies, buy as much new music, or really do much of anything that I used to do.

Favorite Movie: The Croods– Like I said, I haven’t seen too many movies, but this one just really cracked me up! So far I’ve only seen it in Spanish, but I bet it’s even funnier in English.

Favorite Album: John Mayer- Paradise Valley- I love it. It’s smooth, it’s soft, the lyrics are great as always. It’s great driving music. It’s great napping music. It’s just great music.

Best Thing I Did To Prepare Myself To Move To El Salvador: Language Acquisition School- I went out to MTI (I forget what that stands for) in Colorado Springs for two weeks in January and loved every minute of it. It was two weeks spent in linguistics and preparing to learn a language. It was all so helpful. Not to mention I spent two weeks with about 40 other people who were also about to head out on the mission field. It was a great time of fellowship and hearing incredible stories of God’s faithfulness and calling. Plus it was two weeks in an incredibly beautiful setting where I did lots of exploring.

Best Novel I Read This Year: Divergent- I love teen fiction. I just love it. I can’t wait for the movie to hit the theaters in March!

Best History Book I Read This Year: The Life of Andrew Jackson– All I knew about this guy was that he was the only president ever to pay off the national debt (earning him his place on the twenty dollar bill), but he is actually a pretty fascinating character. A close second place in this category would be Killer Angels. It’s about the battle of Gettysburg and was good stuff.

Best Habit That I Started This Year: Starbucks Time- My missionary coach (a requirement by North Point that I am extremely grateful for) recommended to me that I take a couple of hours out of the work week to do something just for me. Something that I really enjoy doing that will charge me back up. So every Friday, after staff devotions, I head over to Starbucks for a couple of hours before the kids get out of school and just sit and read. It took me a little while to get over my guilt complex of sitting at Starbucks and not “doing something productive,” but after a few weeks of going, I realized that it was probably the most productive thing I did all week because it completely recharged me and allows me to enter into the weekend charged up and ready to invest in the girls.

Favorite Thing To Do: Spend Time With The Kids At La Casa- I just love those kids. They have totally and completely captured my heart and I look forward to when they get out of school each day. And in those rare moments when one of the girls shares her heart or her struggles, or her tears, it is my greatest privilege to sit and listen.

Favorite Trip: I can never answer this one. I love traveling and each trip has something special about it. This year’s traveling was limited now that I am in El Salvador, but I was able to fit a couple in before I left. Colorado Springs, as I already mentioned, was a real game changer. California with Hannah to go to Disneyland- epic. We spent 48 hours cramming in as much as possible including- Santa Monica pier, Fish tacos at Rubios, Slurpees from 7-11, Disneyland, getting as close to the Hollywood sign as possible, dinner on Sunset Blvd, a quick trip down Hollywood Blvd, breakfast at the beach in Santa Monica, a beautiful drive up the PCH, Starbucks in Malibu, a quick tour of Pepperdine, and Rodeo Dr. Yep, all in 48 hours (including two 5 hour flights!). My trip home in September was also fantastic. I loved just being home, eating familiar food, meeting my nephew, and catching up with everyone. Family vacation was the best part of my trip home. We went down to Rosemary Beach for a week and it was a great time to spend exclusive time with my family.

Favorite Game: Rummikub-  I have spent literally hours playing this game with the girls. I had never heard of it before this past fall really and I love it. So addicting.

 

Charges for 2014: Part 3

Charge #3: 1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved , be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Be steadfast. Be immovable. This work is not in vain.

Charge #2: Be Relentless

Those two words move my soul and get my heart pumping in indescribable ways. Be relentless. Let nothing shake you. Don’t let your emotions and feelings get in the way of your calling. Be relentless with those kids. Love relentlessly. Forgive relentlessly. Relentlessly give your time. Don’t give up. Don’t be shaken by their bad attitude or their hurtful response. Be relentless. Be relentless. Be relentless. As God so relentlessly pursues, loves and forgives me; so will I for these kids.

Charge #1: An Undivided Heart

I have been reading several Psalms each day since the Spring and when I read Psalm 86 a few weeks ago, a concept in verse 11 really stuck out to me. The verse reads:

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

The words “undivided heart” really jumped out at me. I feel like my heart can become so easily divided here on the mission field (and just in life in general). I feel divided between relying on the Lord vs. relying on my own abilities, trusting the Lord to provide vs. worrying about my finances, laying the kids I work with at the feet of Jesus vs. trying to “fix” them myself, and finding my home here vs. feeling a pull from my home in the States. And those are just a few examples! There are constantly things battling for my heart. But my prayer for 2014 is to have an undivided heart. To trust fully. To worship only One. To rely completely. Undivided.

 

Charges for 2014: Part 2

Charge #2: Be Relentless

Those two words move my soul and get my heart pumping in indescribable ways. Be relentless. Let nothing shake you. Don’t let your emotions and feelings get in the way of your calling. Be relentless with those kids. Love relentlessly. Forgive relentlessly. Relentlessly give your time. Don’t give up. Don’t be shaken by their bad attitude or their hurtful response. Be relentless. Be relentless. Be relentless. As God so relentlessly pursues, loves and forgives me; so will I for these kids.

Charge #1: An Undivided Heart

I have been reading several Psalms each day since the Spring and when I read Psalm 86 a few weeks ago, a concept in verse 11 really stuck out to me. The verse reads:

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

The words “undivided heart” really jumped out at me. I feel like my heart can become so easily divided here on the mission field (and just in life in general). I feel divided between relying on the Lord vs. relying on my own abilities, trusting the Lord to provide vs. worrying about my finances, laying the kids I work with at the feet of Jesus vs. trying to “fix” them myself, and finding my home here vs. feeling a pull from my home in the States. And those are just a few examples! There are constantly things battling for my heart. But my prayer for 2014 is to have an undivided heart. To trust fully. To worship only One. To rely completely. Undivided.

 

Charges for 2014: Part 1

As 2013 was coming to a close, I began to pray for some new wisdom and a new “charge” for 2014. I feel like there are three main things that God has placed on my heart, so I thought I would share them with you in a series of three short posts. (You know, since I haven’t posted since October, I might as well overload you with three in a row!)

Charge #1: An Undivided Heart

I have been reading several Psalms each day since the Spring and when I read Psalm 86 a few weeks ago, a concept in verse 11 really stuck out to me. The verse reads:

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

The words “undivided heart” really jumped out at me. I feel like my heart can become so easily divided here on the mission field (and just in life in general). I feel divided between relying on the Lord vs. relying on my own abilities, trusting the Lord to provide vs. worrying about my finances, laying the kids I work with at the feet of Jesus vs. trying to “fix” them myself, and finding my home here vs. feeling a pull from my home in the States. And those are just a few examples! There are constantly things battling for my heart. But my prayer for 2014 is to have an undivided heart. To trust fully. To worship only One. To rely completely. Undivided.