Wild and Free: Book Recommendation

I always share my booklists with you before I read them, but every time, I end up going off list just a little bit.  This summer, one of my favorites has been one I purchased on a whim, unsure if I would like it or not.  Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, has been a beautiful gift to my weary soul.

515nSd04QLL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_When I ordered this book, my only concern was that it would be another super-Christiany-suburban-white-stay-at-home-mom book, but the title said Wild and Free, and the subtitle, “a hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough,” was an idea my Young Life girls and I had talked a lot about a few years ago, so I ordered it despite my reservations.  I am so thankful I did.

For a long time, I have struggled with what it means to be a Christian woman.  So often, I feel like I just don’t fit the mold.  I am too opinionated, too strong willed, too outspoken, too inclined to break the rules and dismiss authority.  When I’m around other Christian women , I often feel less than.  I feel like I don’t measure up, like everyone else is better at being a Christian than I am.  But at the same time, I don’t want to be like everyone else.  I don’t think that the word gentle describes me, and I’m 10 times more willing to use the f word than I am willing to use the word submit.  (I know, I know, if any really good Christian women read this blog, they are scoffing at me rn 😁.)

Wild and Free has done something beautiful inside of my rebellious soul.  It’s reinforced in me the truth that I am enough, and despite my tendency to drop a curse word in every other sentence, I am not too much.  I have felt convicted about what it means to speak and pursue life, and what it means to live in the freedom that the Gospel offers.  It’s beautiful and hope filled and has allowed me to believe the Gospel truths that the Lord proclaims over me.  I am starting to really believe the truths that I tell high school girls every week: Jesus will never love me more than He does right now, in this very moment, and He allows me to walk forward in freedom.

 

This book is great to read on your own, and would also be a beautiful study between friends or in a book club.  Give it a read, ladies.  Let Jesus speak His wild freedom into your hearts.  You can check out more sweet things for Jess and Hayley at wearewildandfree.com.

 

*For those of you who are really concerned about my repulsion to the word submit, rest assured that Jesus and I will tackle it during premarital counseling. 🙃

 

 

 

 

 


Summer Beach Reads

I have a tendency to pick heavier books, ones that aren’t so quick to get through (I’ve been reading Eric Metaxes’s lovely 700 page Bonhoeffer since Christmas), but when I do find a good novel, I get lost and race through to the end pretty quickly.  Summer is a time for getting lost in novels, rather than struggling through 700 pages full of German names I can’t pronounce or keep straight.  So, with that in mind, here are my picks for the summer.

 

vanishingVanishing Girls, Lauren Oliver

This one caught my eye on Amazon because it was “recommended because you liked Girl on a Train.”  HMU if you ever find a man who understands me the way Amazon Prime does.

I read Vanishing Girls in about 5 days while I was traveling through Santa Barbara with my family.  If you can let yourself get lost in the mind of a seventeen year old girl, you’ll love it.  I had a hard time at first, because this teenage-written-by-adult-voice is why I dislike John Green so much, but I gave Lauren Oliver a chance and really enjoyed the book.  There’s enough suspense to keep you on your toes throughout the whole book, and I while I pride myself on watching enough Law and Order and Criminal Minds to predict the ending to any book like this, (I’m basically a detective), I wasn’t able to do that with this one.  So hats off to you, Lauren Oliver.  Vanishing Girls is fun, easy, summertime reading, with a nice little twist at the end.

 

braveEveryone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave

Okay, so this one isn’t necessarily easy subject matter, but it’s a novel, and that’s what makes it worth it, right?  My reader’s heart just gravitates towards World War II and Holocaust literature (Bonhoeffer, remember?).

Since I haven’t read it yet, I’ll share some snippets from the Amazon description:

“London, 1939.  The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.  Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.  Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.”

Of course, they will fall in love, and at multiple points throughout the book I’m sure I will cry.  But where else is a better place to hide your tears than at the beach?  It’s either ugly sobs alone in my apartment or pretending to be fine behind my sunglasses as I slurp margaritas through a straw.  I’ve made my choice.

 

512DSu9A8HL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh

Again, I trust my friend Prime with this one.

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl... “a finely crafted novel with a killer twist.” (Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train)
 
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.”
51n9fRCno3L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

This one has been on my list since its release in 2014.  It has excellent reviews, is already available in paperback, and, according to reviews, “reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love.”  I’m in.

“A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.” -Amazon

 

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HARRY POTTER.

My heart is kind of torn in two with this one.  Harry Potter wrapped up so perfectly with the seventh book; every little loose end tied up.  It was meant to be told in seven parts.  But, as a true Harry Potter fan, how can I be upset about more Harry Potter?  It just better be good.  Come on, Rowling.   We’re all counting on you.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is available for preorder and will be released July 31st.

 

 

There you have it, my top 5 summer picks.  There is an accompanying list of childrens’ books to go alongside this one, but since not everyone spends their time with fifth graders, I’ll save that for another post.

As always, I’ll keep you posted on how these turn out, and if you have a book recommendation, send it my way!

 

 


Books to Get Your Sh*t Together

ADULTHOOD.  Ugh.  I simultaneously love and hate it.  This year has been a crazy transition and has had extreme ups and downs.  From bursting into tears the second students leave my classroom to leaping with joy at all of the exciting new things adulthood brings (a salary, a dog, more wine, etc.), this year has been one to remember.  In the midst of this transition, I feel like the theme of the whole year has been getting my sh*t together, in so many different arenas.  You really don’t realize how much of your sh*t you need to get together until you are the only one responsible for all of it.  Like, for example, health insurance.

I have never in my life spent more than 30 seconds thinking about health insurance, because my parents paid for my health insurance and just handed me a little card to put in my wallet.  But this year no one handed me a card to put into my wallet, so now I don’t have one.  This is an area of sh*t that I have yet to pull together.  I’m pretty sure I pay for health insurance and I just need to email someone, honestly.  But I haven’t sent that email, and have instead employed the tactic of hoping I don’t get sick or injured.  So far it has worked out for me.  I’ll get this sh*t together later.

This year I have read quite a few books about getting different arenas of sh*t together.  So instead of continuing to write about all of the sh*t that I don’t have together, I figured I could share these books with you.  I’m also thinking about unlinking this blog to my classroom blog, because I am saying sh*t too much.  Hm.  Here are the books.

 

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

I am a things person, I always have been.  From earrings to stationary to dog toys, I have always loved things.  I’m a sucker for subscription services (that’s another blog post waiting to happen), and I buy every book that catches my eye.  I just love pretty things.

My love for things makes moving a nightmare.  In the past five years, I have moved all of my things seven times.  SEVEN TIMES.  This stage of life is miserable in terms of moving.  It drives me crazy.  Each year gets worse with the more things I accumulate. This year, moving into my own one-bedroom apartment, where there is room for all of the things I have been hoarding at my parents’  house, was the most eye opening of all.

I read this book while I was babysitting a few weeks ago, and I realized how many things I actually have and how ridiculous it is that I have all of these things.  So I followed (almost) all of Marie’s advice, and got rid of so much.  I’m talking, four trips to Goodwill, 4 bags of clothes shipped off to Schoola, a big trip to Half Price Books, and countless trash bags full of junk.

The whole premise of the book is this that the reason we are constantly cleaning and tidying up is because we are holding on to far too many things.  The two primary reasons we hold on to a ridiculous amount of things are, 1) a fear of the future, and 2) an inability to let go of the past.  i.e., “what if I want to wear that [ridiculous bridesmaid] dress again?” or, “I really loved that wedding, and I have such great memories in that dress!”  Both reasons are poor reasons to keep the dress.  We should only hold on to things that bring us joy, and by holding on to things that don’t, we are actually causing more stress in our lives.  Marie says it much more beautifully than I do:

“…when we delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. … It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life.  The question of what you own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.  Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job.”

She then goes through her process of sorting through everything you own and choosing what to get rid of.  It really was incredible for me to read and to realize how much I hold on to because of fear.  After getting rid of so many things, I feel more free to invest time and energy into worthwhile endeavors.  I think this book has changed the way I live and hold onto things forever.

 

618-NKA0yTL._SX401_BO1,204,203,200_ The Stash Plan, Laura Prepon & Elizabeth Troy

I bought this book because I’m really into meal prep right now (which, by the way, is going great.  I am saving money and feeling better about my body).  What I didn’t know, was this book is about far more than meal prep.  I ended up reading about how scary GMOs are and how many crazy things we put into our bodies.  We are constantly eating foods that our body can’t even recognize, much less get nutrients from.

So I read all about GMOs and have since then started removing harmful chemicals from my kitchen and my diet.  So far, I am loving it.  It’s more expensive, but at some point in adulthood, we need to ask ourselves how much our health is worth (especially if we haven’t figured out the whole health insurance game 😁)

Apart from all of the info about GMOs and such, there are some great recipes that I am in the midst of trying out.  There’s also a lot of theory in this book that I’m not completely sold on, and I probably won’t be following the book 100%, as I can’t afford to go to the extremes that celebrities do.

 

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Rich Bitch, Nicole Lapin

Still a favorite.  I wrote about this book earlier this year, and still follow Lapin’s advice and reference it constantly.  This is one of those books that will always stay in my collection, even after the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Everyone should read this book, especially all my fellow single, independent, badass ladies.

 

 

So there you go.  My top three get your sh*t together books.  The beauty in all of it, though, is even though I will never actually have all of my sh*t together, at the foot of Jesus, none of it matters.  The Gospel, the only glue that will ever truly hold our lives together, says that we will never have it all together and that’s okay.

So, in the end, whether I feel like I have it all together or I don’t, there is always peace, rest, and hope in knowing that it’s already been taken care of.  Thank you, Jesus, that my rest and my worth is found in you and nothing else.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30

Looking for Lovely book review

I was so honored to be asked to be a part of Annie Downs’ launch team for her latest book, Looking for Lovely.  I loved Let’s All Be Brave, and was so excited to open up her newest book before its release date. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Looking for Lovely nearly as much as I loved Let’s All Be Brave.  I got about 100 pages in before putting it back on my shelf without finishing the chapter.

Annie does a lot of things really well in her writing.  Her voice is strong and carries through with each of her carefully chosen words.  Her books, this one even more than Let’s All Be Brave, reads like a journal entry or a blog, much like you’re just talking to a friend.  There were times when I really loved this style of writing, but other times I was just unimpressed by it.

It might also be that I am just so different from Annie that I couldn’t relate to a lot of her writing.  She calls a lot of different friends by name, without introducing them she will just say things like, “I was at the farmer’s market with so-and-so,” again reinforcing that talking to a friend feeling, but she threw so many different names into the book that I just couldn’t keep up.  I also just can’t relate to being so extroverted as to have intimate relationships and experiences with so many different people.  I just kept thinking, how can you possibly spend time one on one with so many different people?  How does this not exhaust you?  To her credit, I think for Annie, this way of life and writing is 100% genuine.  She really is that extroverted.

The whole premise of this book is about her “broken crazy,” when things were going wrong in her life and she started seeing a counselor.  Although she kept using the phrase “broken crazy,” I don’t think I ever actually learned what that meant.  The assortment of essays felt loosely thrown together, with this vague thread of this undefined “broken crazy” holding them together.  Maybe if I was in the middle of a “broken crazy” season I would understand?  From the comments in the launch team, it was clear that so many women could relate, but I was not one of them.

All in all, I think that the things that pushed me away about this book might be the very same things that would make someone else love it.  Annie is honest and so genuine in her writing.  She makes you feel like you are sitting across from her at a table in a coffee shop, which is a beautiful thing to be able to convey through writing.  Looking for Lovely was not my favorite, but I know that there are many other ladies out there who will hear grace and freedom in Annie’s fun and conversational style writing.

Looking for Lovely will be released on April 5th, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.


Aslan & Watercolors

Sophomore year of college, my roommate and I trained ourselves to get up at 6am every morning to spend time with Jesus (I’ve talked about this one a couple of times).  When I started student teaching, I rolled that time back to 5am.  These early mornings were so precious and foundational to me.  But about a year ago, I stopped wanting to spend time in the Scriptures.  Suddenly my magical routine wasn’t working anymore.  With no warning, God went silent.

I think we all experience times like these, times when Jesus just isn’t speaking loudly.  Maybe He’s whispering and we just can’t hear it, but the shock of feeling wrapped up in His embrace each morning to no longer hearing his voice is a hard punch to bear.  I feel like Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia; Aslan is here right beside me, and then I turn around and He’s gone again with no promise of when He will return.  He’s there, but He isn’t.  He’s with us, but we’re alone.

But Aslan is always on the move, and Jesus is always good.  He is alive and active, working in our lives and walking beside us each step of the way.  His presence in our lives looks different in each season, but in each season, He is there.

In the past year, I’ve come to learn one thing.  Jesus is the same, today and forever, and yet in each season He is revealing to us new facets of His grace.  In each season, I encounter a new side of Him.  In each season, He calls me to something new, to something a little higher and a little harder.  He challenges my routine and calls me to follow where He is leading.

All of this to say, my college routine wasn’t working anymore, and Jesus wanted me to meet Him somewhere else.  In this new season of life, He has led me into the most beautiful dance with Him.  I’m back to my 5am mornings, but they are no longer stale and barren; they have been transformed into a rich and colorful time of drawing near to my Jesus once again.  Who would have thought a little bit of paint could change so much?

I put away the devotionals and invested in a journaling Bible and watercolor pens.  Setting aside the commentary and focusing on the Word alone, rhythmically reflecting on sometimes just one verse, has changed everything.  Aslan is back.

And then—oh joy! For he was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow underneath him. … “Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”
…  “Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” -CS Lewis, Prince Caspian

I have found this method of Bible journaling and coloring so effective, so I want to share the practicalities of it with you.  Here’s what it has looked like for me while going through Ephesians this week:

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Sometimes I really do focus on just a few words.  Ephesians 1-3 are all about unity and grace, and then you get to Ephesians 4-6, where there are subtitles like, “instructions for Christian living.”  For a girl who has hated following rules since the day she could say, “no,” this is a tough section for me to get excited about.  But within these chapters, Paul says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”  (Ephesians 5:1), and this verse spoke so much to me that I ended up focusing on the idea of what it means to live and respond to instruction as a dearly loved child.  Those four words were so powerful.

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The single column and wide margins of this journaling Bible make it so perfect for writing and reflecting.  As much as I love the marked up, falling apart Bible I have had for years, it has been surprisingly powerful to have a new Bible with fresh pages.  It has really allowed me to read the same passages with new eyes and an open heart.  Here’s another example from John of how great these margins are:

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As always, everything I buy is straight from Amazon.  Here’s the shopping list for all of the tools I’ve been using and loving:

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  NIV Bible Journal Edition, $30

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Water Color Brush Pens, $10 for a 5 pack

Zebra Highlighter Milliner, $7

Zebra Highlighter Milliner, $7

 

 

Paper Mate Flair Pens, $13

Paper Mate Flair Pens, $13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve never used the Amazon mobile app before, download the app and use the code ERIN12599N at check out to save $5!  And while I’m sending you Amazon links, I might as well throw The Chronicles of Narnia onto this list for those of you who are still waiting to step through the wardrobe.

 

Think you might try Bible journaling?   I would love to hear about it!  Leave a comment or send me an email.  There are some pretty cool online communities of women practicing Bible journaling as well, check out IllustratedFaith.com if you’re interested in seeing more.

 

 


Ballin’ on a Budget: The Life & Times of a First Year Teacher

My dad would be shocked to read that I’m writing about money (really, that I’m even willing to talk about money).  Not exactly this compulsive I-need-that-Anthropoligie-top-right-now-spender’s favorite topic.  But @dad, look who’s growing up 😉

I knew that I wouldn’t be making a ton of cold hard cash as a teacher, but I had no idea what it would actually look like.  I wanted to be responsible about it, and I wanted to make wise decisions, but there was a serious lack of financial teacher-to-teacher advice on the internet.  Turns out teachers don’t like talking about finances as much as we like talking about boogers and lesson plans.  Who would’ve thought?
In a series of grown up decisions, I adopted a dog last weekend.  He is beautiful and perfect and cuddly and I now have a man to spoon so I regret nothing.  This investment did, however, make my financial struggle bucket just a little bit heavier.  Worth it, like I said, but still a thing to be addressed.  So I figured the next best thing to spend more money, so I bought a book called Rich Bitch.  I bought it because it had the word bitch in the title and I need help with money.  It sounded like the right book for me.rich

I buy a lot of nonfiction books that I don’t end up reading, but this one has been awesome.  (I never would have thought I would use the word “awesome” in reference to anything with the subtitle “A simple 12-step plan for getting your financial life together…finally” But…here I am.)

Nicole Lapin covers a lot of material in this book, from retirement plans to student loans to credit cards to buying houses.  Many of these were applicable to me, and a few not at all (yet…this is a book I will hold onto).  I could talk about any number of these topics, but I want to cover the information that I wanted most when I accepted my first job offer (woohoo!) in April.

Alright, so it’s time to get financially vulnerable.  I’m totally okay with putting my salary on the internet because a) money shouldn’t be such a BFD, and b) I’m pretty sure you can just Google my salary and find out what it is.  So here it goes.

As a first year teacher at a rockin’ public school, I make $45,000 a year.  That $45,000 is a ten month salary, and I receive it monthly over a twelve month period.  That means that untaxed, I get $3,750 a month.  Once taxes and whatever insurance and ish I pay for, I get $2,757 in my bank account each month. As a hot single lady with no kids and few responsibilities, this is plenty of money.  I am not in need, and I praise Jesus for the privilege of being able to say such a thing. 🙌

Lapin, in her charming and witty and makes-you-want-to-read-about-finances way, says that I should be spending my money the following way:

70% should be going towards the essentials (housing, food, transportation, bills, insurance)

That 70% of essentials should be broken up as follows:

35% housing, 10% transportation, 10% food, 15% bills/insurance

15% should be going towards savings (or as she calls it, the endgame)

15% should be going towards extras (obviously, anything not included in savings or essentials)

 

Lapin then breaks this down with her starting salary of $150,000.  HAHA.  Honestly.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Here’s how that break down looks per month with a first year teaching salary of $45,000.

Essentials (70%): $1,930

From that 70%: Housing (35%): $965, Food (10%): $275, Transportation (10%): $275, Bills (15%): $413

Endgame (15%): $413

Extras (15%): $413

 

A priority for me, apart from the essentials, endgame, and extras, is tithing.  I could have pulled that money out of essentials or out of extras, but what made the most sense to me was to just calculate that ten percent first and then eliminate it from the equation afterwards.  So, here’s how that looked for me:

Monthly salary of $2,757 minus 10% tithe (which, TBH isn’t going to a church right now but rather to friends on missions and working in local ministry): $2,757 – $276 = $2,481.  So then I just adjusted everything as if my base salary was $2,481.  This made the most sense to me.  So then I ended up with this:
Essentials (70%): $1,737

From that 70%: Housing (35%): $868, Food (10%): $248, Transportation (10%): $248, Bills (15%): $372

Endgame (15%): $372

Extras (15%): $372

 

Lapin makes it clear that she believes if you can cut out expenses in one realm, you’re free to add that extra money somewhere else.  So, if you live with 4 other roommates and can find rent for $500, that frees up $370 to put towards your extras or wherever you want it.  Or if you’re like me and your parents are still paying your car insurance and phone bill, PTL for their generosity and put that extra money towards savings or paying off student loans or your weekly happy hour🍸🍹or wherever needed.

Right now, this budgeting is in it’s very first stages, as in, it has yet to be implemented but is purely ideological.  It is, however, the information that I needed last year and couldn’t find, so it’s what I’m spilling across the internet for all to read.  It’s not much, but I think it’s needed.  It’s the first set of building blocks towards the financial stability I hope we will all be able to find, because though teaching doesn’t make us rich, it’s worth it, and we can still live with the confidence of a Rich Bitch attitude.

 

In closing, know this, first year teachers:  1) This book is helpful and I like it because Nicole Lapin says dogthings like, “rich bitches do hard shit” (Lapin- pg.228), 2) don’t panic but also don’t overspend: your salary will be plenty, but you won’t be rolling in bathtubs full of dolla dolla bills, and 3) you should definitely get a dog even though it will cost $600 (aka 2 months of teacher “extras”) just to legally get him into your apartment.  Worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fall Book List

There are so many great books in this world, how does anyone ever keep up with them? Here’s the books that are most currently littering every surface of my apartment.

accidentalAccidental Saints, Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the pastor of a Lutheran church in Denver.  Amazon describes her as, “Tattooed, angry and profane,” awesome. Amazon goes on to describe the book: “this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA.”

I started reading the moment I opened the package, and within five minutes she had used the words a**hole and Jesus on the same page and I knew she was my kind of girl.  I just feel bonded to her.  We all need a little bit of edge.

At one point she tells a story about when she was asked to speak at a youth conference and she freaked because she doesn’t know how to talk to teens, only adults.  And I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if that was my problem?  Unfortunately our talents are reversed, and my hope is that one day I will learn how to speak to adults.

One Thousand Wells, Jena Lee Nardellaonethousand

So part of my whole “becoming an adult” thing is figuring out where and how to give.  I am thrilled to be able to commit to supporting one of the organizations that I’ve given to sporadically for several years, Blood:Water.  Blood:Water builds wells in countries and villages affected by HIV and AIDS.  Over the past ten years they have built over 1,00 wells and have brought relief to countless people.  Their co-founder recently published her memoir, and I’m really excited to read it.  (You get a free signed copy if you sign up for a new monthly donation right now!)  I haven’t started it yet, but I will keep you posted.

41C+ffCh5dL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Why Not Me?  Mindy Kaling

I just love Mindy Kaling.  Seriously.  How can you not?  She has written yet another series of essays and I can’t think of a single reason why to not pour myself a glass of wine (or two) and spend a night laughing with Mindy/by myself.  Hey Amy Poehler, can you write a second book too?  Plz?

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins516YNFvZnrL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

I finished this one a few weeks ago.  It was good, once I got into it, but quite honestly, I forgot I had read it until I just saw it on my Amazon orders list.  It was a good read, and the end had me hooked, but all in all nothing too memorable.

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She Reads Truth: Daniel

This is the most recent study I’m in the midst of.  It’s a 19 day study but I will exercise humility and let you know that it has taken me much longer than the scheduled 19 days.  It’s been great though, and maybe it’s just the mountains whispering to my heart, but I think this one might be the most beautiful design yet.  As always, the book is meant to go along with the free online study, and you don’t need the book at all to do it.  Join me?

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GRE Premier 2016

Well… it looks like I made it a solid four months out of school before deciding I’m ready to go back.  What the what.  I signed up to take my GRE on November 12th and am hoping to head back to UT for grad school next year.  Teaching + going back to school sounds like a good idea, right…? 😳😳😳 Someone come teach me how to do math so I can pass this test.

A few others I am wanting to read...

The Kite Runner: I know I’m way late to the game on this one (like, years late), but I keep seeing And The Mountains Echoed everywhere, and I feel like I should read The Kite Runner first, even if out of obligation.

Same thing with Go Set a Watchman, I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird, but it was a long time ago and I should reread before I decide to pick that one up.


In the classroom…

wonder 510Bi8e5ihL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_ 513hgSybYgL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ 51L10EnuJbL._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_

In my classroom, we are making our way through Wonder for read aloud as a whole class, while small groups are making their way through When You Reach MeA Wrinkle in Time, and Ender’s Game.  Check out the teaching blog for more on that.  (These books are also littered around my apartment as I simultaneously weave together all of their plot lines in a feeble attempt to keep up with each of my students.)


Looking for suggestions on…

I am really looking for a good book about the Holocaust.  This summer I devoured The Book Thief and All The Light We Cannot See.  Anybody have another good suggestion?  I’m also looking for a Holocaust book I can read with my class.  We should be starting our Holocaust & World War II unit in October.  I’m so excited to teach such important topics.

As always, send your recommendations my way!  There is nothing I love more than a good book. 🙂


Summer Catch Up

Summer is wrapping up, and my three month long hiatus is hopefully wrapping up as well.  While traveling the world and hiking mountains, I just couldn’t find the time to write that I had hoped I would have.  (I was also feeling angsty about world problems and wanted to yell more than write, but that’s another post).  I did, however, find the time for a million beautiful other things.  Sometime’s it’s hard to live fully and write fully at the same time.  Here are some summer highlights:

The Warren Fellowship at the Holocaust Museum Houston:  As crazy as this sounds, this might have be been my favorite week all summer.  I have wanted to write something about it all summer, and I still just don’t have the words.  I have been forever changed by the things I learned and people I met.  Meeting Naomi Warren, a Holocaust survivor, and her family, was an incredibly powerful experience, as was hearing from so many authors, scholars, historians, and educators.  I am forever indebted to everyone who made the fellowship possible.

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Naomi Warren & the 2015 Warren Fellows

 

Europe:  Oh, to be a world traveler.  The one thing I learned was how much I still have to learn.  It felt as if I could spend all year traveling Europe and I still wouldn’t have learned enough.  Every city we went to, we would hear about where other people had been and what they had seen, and I quickly realized there just wasn’t enough time to see it all.  We went to Rome, Tuscany, Sorrento, Capri Island, Paris, and Munich.  Each stop was beautiful and absolutely breathtaking in its own unique way.

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Tuscany, Italy

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Munich, Germany

 

Wilderness:  I never expected to find so much freedom in guiding as a third year.  The moment I stepped foot on trail, it was as if there was nothing else we could possibly worry about.  For the first time, the trail was my comfort zone, my safety net.  I knew those mountains and I knew those trails and there was nothing that we couldn’t conquer.  It was beautiful and powerful and Jesus showed up in big ways just like He always does.

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Mount Princeton

 

 

 

Follow-up from my summer reading list:

inventionofwingsI loved The Invention of Wings, and naively didn’t realize until halfway through it that it was based on real people.  Remember learning about the Grimke sisters in school?  I didn’t remember, either, but their story is awesome and so woman-empowering and I am so into woman-empowering right now.  I had about 8 delays and a cancelled flight on my way to Rome, so I read this one almost entirely in the airport.  It was great, and I highly recommend it.

 

millionmilesI accidentally stumbled upon A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, fell in love with it, and got onto a Donald Miller kick.  I don’t know why it took me so long to read his books.  He has my stamp of approval.  He’s Christian but he doesn’t sound Christian-y and I like that.

 

 

searchingforsundaySearching for Sunday changed the way I think about everything.  It was like finally someone was using all of the words that I have had jumbled up inside of me for so long.  I have fallen in love with Rachel Held Evans and wish I had sooner.  She’s a badass and we can all learn from her boldness and honesty.  I now follow her on all social media outlets and you should too.  Why can’t all Christians be so cool?

 

 

bookthiefI’m currently absorbed in The Book Thief, and have made it halfway through its 520 pages in two days.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to recommend a book before I finish it, but I’m going to.  Read it.

 

 

 

 

Papertowns:  I didn’t like it, as predicted.  I still want to finish, I’m about a third of the way through, but I can’t promise I’ll make it to the end.  The Book Thief has priority right now.

I read the first 15 pages of Americanah and couldn’t get into it.  I wanted to, I really did.  Hopefully I will pick it back up again.

The First Days of School:  I started reading this to get ready for my first year teaching, and it’s been crazy helpful.  Not the most captivating, obviously, but I’m thankful for a little guidance right now.  I’ll share some more info on how I’m preparing for my first year on my teaching blog.

 

That’s it, folks.  Nothing super captivating or beautifully written, just a needed catch up post so that we can get to pretty words later.  Stay posted during this time of transition as I start my first year teaching. Ms. Green’s first day of school is August 3rd…eeek!!

 


Loading up the Kindle: My Summer Reads

This summer I am headed off for adventure, (which I will tell you about tomorrow), adventure in which it would be unwise for me to lug around the 25,000 books I want to bring with me.  So, although I never thought I would leave paper behind, I have traded in my beloved bound books for my mom’s Kindle for the summer.  I repeat: just for the summer.  My apartment will still be floor to ceiling with books.

As resistant as I am to it, it’s actually been pretty fun to load up the Kindle with all of the books I want to take.  Although I have been shocked at the prices, why am I paying $12 for a book that I can’t put on a shelf?!  I was expecting like $4.  I guess I have been out of the loop for awhile.

Anyways, I thought I would share my summer reads with you.  Here they are!

 

51nF+eXFRSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, Shauna Niequist

This one has been on my list (and everyone else’s, for that matter) since months before its prerelease.  #basicchristianwhitegirl   But I hadn’t ordered it because I convinced myself that I didn’t need another devotional at that moment, and I should really save the $15, and it was backordered.  BUT, it went on sale the other day (buy the hardcover and get the kindle edition for $1), so of course, I bought them both.  Shauna Nequit is my favorite author and mentor writer, and her newest book is a devotional, providing a short scripture and devo for every day of the year.  I’m excited to read a few with my morning coffee in Italy.

 

americanah Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the bad*** girl who gives the feminist speech at the beginning of Beyonce’s flawless.  This book was on my “maybe I’ll read” list, until I realized who the author was, and then it shot up to my “going to read” list.  You can check out the Amazon page, but the awards are endless. Seriously.  Here is the Amazon preview:

“Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also has a $2 Kindle exclusive called “We Should All Be Feminists.”  I’m down.

 

inventionofwingsThe Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

This is one of those books that I want to read for me as well as for my students.  Sue Monk Kidd is the same author who wrote The Secret Life of Bees, which I absolutely loved in ninth grade.  I’ll give you a snippet from the Amazon preview:

“…a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.  Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.”

That was enough for me.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!  (I have a feeling it’ll be good.)

 

papertownsPaper Towns, John Green

Okay, so I didn’t like The Fault in Our Stars (the only other thing I’ve read by John Green.)  But, I’m not about to see a movie without reading the book first, and I do want to see this movie.  Even though I didn’t like his other book, this one looks really good.  I hope I haven’t been deceived by the teen targeted media…    Also Sarah told me John Green has a sweet youtube channel, (did everyone know about this?!), which isn’t for teens at all.  I haven’t watched anything yet, but I’m intrigued.

 

wearinggodWearing God, Lauren F. Winner

This purchase hurt my heart, it really did.  $15 for a book I will never hold… and the hardcover is $20.  I am a poor girl but I have wanted to read this book since it came out, so I bit the bullet.  I read just the sample part and was hooked, so I knew that it was a purchase I needed to make.

Lauren Winner dives into different metaphors of God.  Who is He?  How do we see Him?  I think this book will not only open my eyes to a deeper understanding of God, but a deeper level of spiritual writing.

 

deeplyrootedDeeply Rooted Magazine

This one isn’t on my Kindle, but I downloaded these $7 digital copies to my iPad.  If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen me post about this magazine a month or so ago.  I am obsessed.  The articles cover a variety of topics on Christian womanhood, but ultimately all point back to Jesus. The photography is beautiful, and everything is just put together so beautifully that I want to leave it on my coffee table forever.  But not only is it beautiful, it is good.  When I ordered my first copy, I read every article before I set it down.  I am so excited to devour the other 4 issues that I haven’t read yet.

 

 

 

There are a ton of other books on my to-read list, many of which I hope to pick up this summer.  Among them are:

Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doer

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  Mindy Kaling

The Maze Runner, James Dashner

 

What are you reading this summer?  What else should I add to my list?  As always, send me your critiques and recommendations!

 


Lent 2015

I told you yesterday that one of my biggest struggles is seeking unity and reconciliation.  But lately, Jesus has opened my eyes to a greater truth, a greater way I am supposed to live, and He is calling me out of my complacency and into a life lived in complete unity.

So, through prayer and direction from Him, I have decided that for Lent this year, (my first real Lent) to give up listening to music in the car while I am by myself.  But Lent is about more than giving something up, it’s about focusing the attention that would be spent on that one thing back on Christ.  So starting this morning, it’s no more car radio, and prayer instead.  I spend a countless amount of time in the car by myself, and I can’t help but imagine what that time could turn into if I used it for something good, for something Kingdom centered.

I compiled 40 things I want to be praying for (many of them prayers of unity and reconciliation) onto notecards, and put those 40 notecards onto a binder ring.  For the next 40 days, whenever I drive to school or to the grocery store or wherever I am going, I will pray over one of those prayers.  I think that God can do something really big with this, and my hope is that this would go far beyond just the time of Lent, and that deep, intentional prayer would weave its way into the depths of my heart and my life.

 


 

You guys know I also love books and I love pretty things and I love Bible studies.  I am using two different studies for this time, and I think you will love them just as much as I do!

 

Follow: Watching + Walking + Wonder

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I’ve told y’all about Naptime Diaries before.  They are wonderful people and I was thrilled to be able to partner with them for a giveaway during my launch week.  They are back to doing great things with this Lent devotional.  The book is divided into eight sections: Deny Yourself, Seek the Kingdom, Humility, Faith, Compassion, Prayer, Leadership, and Raised to Life.  Each of these eight devotionals are written by different people, women whom I love and admire, like Jess Connolly, Lara Casey, and Jamie Ivey, among others.  (I also think there is one male writer, let me hear ya holla for gender equality)

These books are sold out, which is actually fine because how could you get one in time to start today anyway?!  But thankfully there is a printable edition still available in the NTD shop!  You can order that here.

 

Near the Cross

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.53.22 PMShe Reads Truth (remember the John study I talked about?) also has a beautiful new Lent study for 2015, and of course, I ordered it as soon as I could.  She Reads Truth makes beautiful studies all the time, but what I love most about the Lent book is that, similar to their Advent study, it is an actual book- 142 beautifully crafted and illustrated pages.  Actually, I think it is so beautiful that I am not going to write in it so I can use it again next year.  This book is full of scripture, snippets of wisdom, lyrics, and prints that I will probably cut out and frame.  It will follow along with the online study, as usual.  This book is sold out as well, but you can still order the beautiful prints, and you can follow along online, 100% free of cost.  (or you can download the study via the SRT app for $1.99)Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 8.34.55 PM

 

However you observe Lent this year, whether it be with She Reads Truth and Naptime Diaries or with nothing but a pencil stub and a tattered, worn Bible, I pray that it will be a fruitful time of rededication to the Lord.  In the words of Preston Yancey, who opened my eyes to the beauty of the liturgical calendar through his book Tables in the Wilderness, “Lent is not an occasion for us to feel bad and then throw our hands up and say, “But Jesus, am I right?” It’s a chance for us, yearly, to enter into the posture of a people who take seriously the significance of their redemption, the cost, and ultimately the great joy.”