Saturday, May 30, 2020

Favourite Things - May Roundup!

Welcome to the latest edition of 

Favourite Things!

Wow! What happened to May???

April seemed to last forever, but now I'm shocked that June is just around the corner!

Fortunately, I still managed to discover a few awesome things over the last few weeks...

Here are my
Favourite Things - May Roundup!

#1. SGN - Some Good News - in a world filled with fear and illness, we all need a little good news! John Krasinski has brought light into a dark season, and started a worldwide phenomenon with SGN! 

#2. From The Ashes - Jesse Thistle's striking memoir brought to mind Tara Westover's incredible Educated. His childhood of brokenness and addiction filled me with shock and anger. But as I'm reading it, I had to feel hope. After all, I know that this abused child grows up to become this eloquent writer. With each page, I marvelled at both the deep flaws in our society's systems, and the immense resiliency of the human spirit.

#3. Garden Centres Are OPEN!!! - for most people, this is just a normal spring activity, but for me, this is a rare pleasure! Normally, we're on the road right now. In the 5 years since we've owned our home, I've never been able to plant my garden before late June! I'm seeing flowers bloom in my garden that I've literally never been able to witness in person! 
An unexpected blessing of lockdown...

#4. Crustless Quiche - we've managed to avoid the very decadent lockdown-bread-baking trend, but I'm pretty obsessed with this delicious, healthy recipe!

#5. The Beautiful Promise - okay, this one is a bit biased, but it's still one of my very favourite things! We've had so many amazing gifts of ministry support over the last few months, that we decided to create our own gift of thanks! Four very special songs, all sharing the promise of God's love and faithfulness. 
Please visit our site to receive your copy of 

These are my Favourite Things for May!

Have you tried any of these?
What new things have you fallen in love with this month?

Please share in the comments below...

Monday, May 25, 2020

Book Review: Don't Overthink It, by Anne Bogel

Two book reviews in a week?

And now you know how I'm spending my time in lockdown...

As I've recently shared with you, I've been reading a LOT this season! I'm really leaning into fiction, but I couldn't resist the chance to read Anne Bogel's new nonfiction: Don't Overthink It.

I've been a superfan of Anne's since I reviewed her charming book, I'd Rather Be Reading. Since then I've become an avid reader of her blog, and a lover of her fantastic book lists!

In the era of Covid-19, overthinking has almost become a national pastime. Who among us has not obsessed over daily stat-checking, worst case scenarios, and the constant worrying of an uncertain future?

This book wasn't written in the pandemic, 
but I think it landed at just the right time.

If you don't consider yourself an overthinker, Anne opens with this idea to ponder:

"When we talk about overthinking, we're talking about those times when we lavish mental energy on things that don't deserve it." 

Overthinking can look like worry, fretting the small stuff, second guessing, and indecision. Chapter by chapter, Anne looks at all the different facets of overthinking, exploring causes and discovering solutions.

Anne's topic is well researched, with scientific references and a great suggested reading list. Each page is filled with helpful suggestions, and each chapter ends with questions for personal reflection. But even with all that practicality, this is still a charming and personable book. Anne is honest about her own struggles with overthinking, sharing examples from her life. She communicates her ideas in the way that a warm, smart friend might share her thoughts over coffee.

I was struck by the idea of how much mental energy we waste on overthinking. 

The very first lines of the book are a quote from Proverbs:

Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
Proverbs 4:23

In this global pandemic, it's easy for our thoughts to be ones of worry, stress, and fear. 
Don't Overthink It offers us a different choice.
As the lockdown is forcing us all to slow down, let's use this time to choose a new normal.
Let's choose something better for ourselves...

If you love added content, visit Anne's page 
where you can get discussion guides, digital bonuses, 
and info on purchasing autographed copies!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review: Saints, by Addison Bevere

So, who else is devouring books these days?

I started the year (remember January, when we thought we could make plans?) with a goal of reading 2 books a month, but I've quickly doubled that to 4!

Navigating lockdown has occupied a lot of my practical brain, so I'll admit that fiction is truly capturing my imagination right now. But that said, I'm so excited to share this brand new nonfiction with you today!

"Saints" is a word that brings up lots of images - holy people, living stained glass lives, very separate from us "normal" people. We imagine Victorian paintings, glowing halos, and gruesome martyr deaths.

Not really something most of us aspire to live out...

Addison Bevere thinks that, not only should we want to be Saints, but it's really the most authentic path of faith we could be following.

Did you know the word "Christians" is only used three times in the New Testament? But over 60 times, these new followers are called "Saints," which simply referred to those whose relationship with God is maintained through faith in Jesus.

By that definition, we're all saints.

But how do we reclaim a word with so much weight and history?

Saints is a brave new message to abandon our own ideas of goodness and faith, 
and ask the deeper questions of grace and glory.

I underlined half of this book and turned down so many pages I almost cracked the spine! Addison is calling us to rediscover who we truly are in Christ, and to create a new language for the living out of our faith. Saints captures a great balance between deep, meaty ideas and a relatable writing style. Before hearing the interview linked below, I'd never heard Addison speak, and yet, reading Saints felt like being in an inspiring conversation over frothy cappuccinos (anyone else missing cafes these days?)

There are so many great ideas in this book! I love Addison's thoughts on salvation as a "change of identity," holiness as otherness, and how we "undersell" grace. I actually couldn't stop thinking about this idea of a limited, "sloppy" grace, "devoid of imagination" that shortchanges both people and God.

 But this is probably my favourite sentence in the whole book:

"The greatest injustice facing our world today is 
our refusal to become the expression of Christ on the earth. 

Whoa... What a challenge to all of us, both as individuals and as communities of faith. 
What would the world look like if we changed our idea of how we express Christ? 
How would our priorities shift if we chose to fully express God's grace to a broken world? 
How many lives would be transformed if we simply reimagined who we are in Christ?

This is the challenge of Saints. 

Addison recently did a great interview with
 Johnny Rocket and Hollie Taylor of the Why Me Project. 
You can find the whole interview HERE.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.