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Tag: currently reading (page 1 of 10)

Currently Reading: My Beach Picks

This week we’re on our first vacation since our honeymoon!  We’ve gone to see family or traveled to weddings, of course, but I don’t count those as vacations.  But we’re spending a whole week at the beach as a family and are absolutely thrilled about it!

Since I’ve known this trip was coming for a bit, I’ve been collecting books to read on our vacation.  Vacation is a chance to get away from the norm and I wanted books that fit that theme too instead of bringing serious non-fiction or anything I was planning to review.

Here’s what I was looking for when I picked out vacation reads:

1. Electronic

Because we’re flying, I can’t bring a stack of heavy books.  I rarely buy Kindle books since I read a lot of non-fiction with pencil in hand.   But before our last trip to my sister’s wedding, I bought a Kindle book on a whim and read it on my iPhone via the Kindle reading app.  I was surprised at how much I liked it!  I could read easily during our car trip and could pull it out for a silent, undistracting activity in the hotel room after my son went to bed each night.

2. Fiction

Again, I read a lot of non-fiction normally.  This year I was challenged to read  more fiction and have found that reading fiction renews my love for reading.  While I enjoy reviewing books and learning, I’ve missed the feeling of getting lost in a story.  So these vacation reads is about rekindling that feeling.

3. Breezy and Fun

Growing up, my mom would have called these “fluff” books.  At this stage in life, I’m having the most fun when I read fiction books set in current times and, occasionally, set in a dystopia.  What I don’t like to read (currently) is historical fiction – it feels too much like a school assignment from childhood.


This is what my app looks like now!  Books galore waiting to be read!




The best part is that I haven’t paid full price for any of these books!  Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy (the best blog for book lovers) keeps a great list of Kindle deals.  I checked that list religiously and was able to purchase most of these books for about $3-4.

Interested in hearing a little more about the books I’ve chosen?  Just look below and I’ll explain my choices!



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This summer I discovered Rainbow Rowell starting with Attachments and moving on to Eleanor and Park.  The books are fun for anyone to read, but since Rainbow is from Nebraska and sets many of her books in cities here, it makes it especially interesting to me.  I breezed through the first two books, so I’m expecting to finish this one quickly as well.


is everyone hanging out without me?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Okay, so Mindy’s memoir isn’t technically fiction, but I think it will be a fun read.   And I’ve been wanting to read this book for a couple of years now.  I like Mindy’s work on The Office and The Mindy Project, so I think I’ll enjoy this book!


something borrowed

 Something Borrowed: Emily Griffin

This book I chose on a whim after seeing it on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s list of Kindle deals.  After re-reading the synopsis, I’m not sure I’m going to like it.  Thankfully, I think I only paid $0.99 so if I end up hating it, I won’t feel like I wasted money.


where'd you go bernadette


Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

It seems like every reading list I’ve seen in the past year included this book so it has been on my “to read” list for awhile now.  I can’t wait to dig into this one and find out if I like it as much as everyone else does!


veronica mars

Vernoica Mars and the Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

I’m a little late to the Veronica Mars hype – it was just this summer that I watched the show for the first time.  Admittedly, I binge-watched all three seasons in a few weeks and then ran out to rent the movie.

It makes me a bit nervous to read a book based on a TV series, BUT the author is the creator of the show, which gives me up.  Plus Anne liked it and I trust her bunches.


And I have one more book that breaks the rules listed above.

cold tangerines

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

I’m bring a physical copy of this non-fiction book.  Shauna Niequist is one of my absolute favorite authors and she always inspires me to write.   I’m looking forward to reading it in those moments when my phone is dead or when Hadden is using it.  My mom sent me this book for my birthday in August, but I have been saving it for this vacation!  This book is non-fiction and a little deeper than the rest so it doesn’t quite fit my “beach reads”, but I’ve loved both of Shauna’s other books so I’m excited to be reading this one.

So now I only have one problem:  how do I choose which book to crack open first??


Connect with me on Goodreads!

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Currently Reading: Women, Leadership, and the Bible

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Have you wondered what the Bible says about women in leadership?  Have you heard people express strong, conflicting viewpoints on a theological issue and wondered how they can arrive at such different truths when starting with the same book?  Have you wanted to study for yourself, but felt paralyzed by an overwhelming topic?

This is the book you’ve been looking for!

And it is the book I’ve been looking for too!

If you’ve read my blog for long, you’ll know that I’m passionate about women and Christianity.  I have recommended books on the topic of women in leadership before, but I still hadn’t found the right book.  I wanted to find a book that could be my “go to” recommendation and I wanted it to be focused on studying the issue, not on someone’s opinion.

Dr. Natalie R. Wilson Eastman wrote the book I was looking for and she far surpassed my expectations.

Women, Leadership, and the Bible is truly tremendous.  Natalie took a heavy, hotly-debated topic and wrote a book that is accessible, thorough, thoughtful, and even funny at times.

Instead of telling her readers what to think on this topic, Natalie tells them how to think.  In fact, Natalie never actually reveals what “camp” she falls into so this book is for complementarians and egalitarians alike.  And it is also for people who don’t know what either of those terms mean.   🙂

Women, Leadership, and the Bible will challenge you to be a better thinker and to carefully evaluate the Bible and other people’s interpretations.  I love what Natalie said in the Introduction:

I don’t want to tell women what to think.  Plenty of Christian resources and people are quite ready to tell women exactly what to think about theological issues.

I want to help women learn to think for themselves.  This book exists to help equip women to move beyond surface Bible study into a deeper understanding of how to “do” interpretation and how to “do” theology.  In this book, I help women learn those skills in the process of exploring and discerning biblical and theological answers to their questions about the issue of women’s roles in church leadership.

And that is exactly what she does!  Natalie breaks down the intimidating interpretive process into small, accessible steps.  She is constantly encouraging and reminding her readers that they can study this topic well, even if they don’t have a background in theology.  Through multiple appendices and her website, Natalie gives her readers the resources they need to study.  Also included throughout the book are insights from her mentors who have studied this issue on their own.

What I love about this book is that it applies to so much more than gender issues.  The same intense study process that Natalie walks you through could be applied to any theological issue.  I kept thinking that this book seemed like a seminary class (or three!) rolled into a book.

Women, Leadership and the Bible is worth every penny – I hope that you’ll buy or borrow a copy today and start working through it.  I believe that every Christian would benefit by reading this book!


p.s. If you’re on Goodreads, don’t forget to add this to your “To Read” list!


**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Currently Reading: A Beautiful Disaster (+ GIVEAWAY)

 The wilderness opens our eyes to the intrinsic value of Christ’s body by stripping us of our independence.  It shows us how dependent we are on the gifts and graces of God.  Most often God infuses these graces into our lives through the lives of other believers.  Among others we can better figure out what is good for us.  With them we can discern what is necessary for our well-being.  We live life together for the good of one another and for the good of all creation.  It is together that we live a robust life in the kingdom of God and bring life to others.  It’s together that we survive in the wilderness.

About six years ago a new Resident Director was hired for my college dormitory.  Her name was Marlena Graves.  Within a few months I was babysitting her sweet daughter and getting to know her and her husband as well.  At the end of that year, I applied to work as a Resident Assistant and spent the next two years working under her leadership.  Since then, Marlena has been a friend, a mentor and a surrogate family member.  Now we’re fellow members of the Redbud Writers Guild.

a beautiful disaster

When I first met Marlena, I’ll never forget her casually saying, “I’m a writer.  I am working on a book.”

Today I’m so thrilled to be reviewing that very book.

A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness is special to me because it was written by a friend.  But I have found it to be special for more than that.  This book is a treasure field, chock-full of wisdom.  I read it slowly, savoring and pondering its truths.  I am sure that others will find it as life-giving as I did.

Marlena writes about the desert wilderness of the spiritual life.  Dorothy Greco rightly refers to Marlena as a “wilderness guide”, one who has spent time learning the lessons of the desert and now leads others through their own spiritual deserts.

In A Beautiful Disaster Marlena writes powerfully about her dysfunctional childhood.  “I lived in a world of turmoil…. I needed God to show me his path through the desert wilderness of poverty, DUIs, adultery, mental illness, prison, a house fire, the death of loved ones, and my own bad decisions.”  Marlena found God in the wilderness of her childhood and learned lessons there that served her well as she grew.  In her adult life, she encountered more wilderness experiences.  Yet instead of despairing in these deserts, Marlena found God there.  She discovers that “desert land is fertile ground for spiritual activity, transformation, and renewal.”

Rather than being preachy or platitudinous, as many writers tend to be when discussing suffering, Marlena’s tone is consistently gracious and humble.  The book is brimming with wisdom, intertwined with stories, Scripture and quotes.  The result is a thoughtful, serious, and beautiful guide.

After just one reading, my copy of A Beautiful Disaster is marked up with notes and scribbles throughout.  Each chapter seemed better than the last.  I will certainly be revisiting this book many times in the future and will be giving copies away as well.  Out of all the books I’ve read on trials and suffering, this will definitely be the one that I recommend to others.

Finally, it seems impossible that I write any endorsement of A Beautiful Disaster without also endorsing its author.  As I said before, Marlena is a friend and a mentor.  I can attest that Marlena’s life matches her message.  She is sincere in her pursuit of Jesus and is constantly encouraging others towards him.  Marlena reflects Jesus in her writing as well as in her life.


 We come out of the desert with a healthy dose of self-forgetfulness and a firm resolve to serve God and others in love.  Like Paul and the other apostles, we resolve to remember the poor and the afflicted.  The desert has made us more compassionate towards those who are suffering, and so we seek to do what we can because we remember what it is like to despair and to feel alone.  Serving God has become our pleasure.  We live for the sake of God and others, for we have experienced the beauty, the brevity, and the fragility of life.


Because I believe in this book, I am buying a copy with my own money and giving it away to a reader.  To be entered in the giveaway, please do the following:

1. Share this review with your friends/followers on a social media network

2. Leave a comment below telling me where you shared it!

This giveaway will close on 27 August 2014.  I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner and will post it on 28 August.  When you comment, please make sure you include a way for me to contact you (email, twitter, etc) in case you’re the winner!


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