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January's Reads

January's Reads

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Last week I learned that Trent's grandmother loves to read. She said that she would rather read than watch television and that her eyes are still working great (she's 86)! I loved getting to bond with her over this shared love - from asking her what she's reading now to looking through the contents of her bookshelves. While I enjoyed the sneak-peak into her reading world, here's a sneak-peak into mine.

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

“As we welcome and affirm the voices of women in our churches and communities, as we learn to walk in an attitude of trust instead of the language of combat, as we participate in God’s receptive movement for women, as we make space for one another’s wisdom and experiences, as we care for the oppressed in tangible ways, we are joining with God in his caring, sustaining, and transforming activity on earth.”

Why I read it: My friend, Erika recommended this read to me. A week later, I was in conversation with my sister about the topic of women in church and the marketplace and knew I needed to read it.

What it's about: Sarah Bessey explains that Jesus made a feminist out of her. She knows that the title of her book may cause people in multiple camps to cringe, but she writes about her own experience anyway, in terms of growing up in the church and working in ministry. She writes through key passages in the Bible about the topic and calls women to speak up - to learn their voice, and for the church to listen to this important part of the body.

Why I enjoyed it: This book challenged me in a lot of good ways. It made me ask questions, reread parts of the Bible, and pray.  It gave me new vocabulary for conversations with friends and made me consider my own history of where and what I learned about what it means to be a woman.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

"Don't you find it remarkable... that the whole world can be involved in this madness we call war, and all the while the flowers and the bees and the seasons keep on doing what they must, wise but never weary in their wait for humanity to come to its senses and remember the beauty of life? It is queer, but my love and longing for the world are always deepened by my absence from it; it's wondrous, don't you think, that a person can swing from despair to gleeful hunger, and that even during these dark days there is happiness to be found in the smallest things?"

Why I read it: When we first got to the States I visited my friend and fellow book love, Alison. She greeted me with a smile, a hug, a burning candle and cups of tea, and a large gift bag of MANY books. She'd been setting aside for me books that she loved and knew I would too. This was one of those books.

What it's about: Laurel returns to her childhood home as her mother is near the end of her life. She realizes the many unsolved questions she has from her mother's past and takes the time to search for them. At the same time, this story follows Laurel's mother as a young adult in London during World War Two. The reader is watching the secrets unravel at the same time as Laurel.

Why I enjoyed it: I loved how deeply human this book is. The story is woven together magically, the language us lyrical, and I couldn't put the book down for the last 100 pages because I just had to know (just ask Trent, I was quite distracted for two days). This book gave me a deeper insight into life in London during the War and it also made me think about my own grandparents, remembering their lives along the timeline of this book's narrative.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

"Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die...And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day, but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift."

Why I read it: Trent gave me this book for our anniversary!  (So, you know, it took me a little while.) It was one of those perfect times of gift giving, too, when he gives me a book on writing and I give him a book on entrepreneurship. He wanted to inspire me in my writing and he nailed it.

What it's about: Anne Lamott writes about writing!  She's taken from courses she's taught, years of experience, and her own personal story and woven it all together into chapters like: Perfectionism, Plot Treatment, and How Do You Know When You're Done?

Why I enjoyed it: I feel normal! Lamott shares about some of the feelings that I don't want to think about when it comes to writing: fear, dread, frustration. I look at those and say, "Oh, because I feel that, I must not be a writer." Anne says, "Oh, girl, you are!" (Well, not like that cuz she doesn't know me.)

Art for God's Sake by Philip Graham Ryken

"All too often we settled for [art] that is functional, but not beautiful. We gravitate toward what is familiar, popular, or commercial, with little regard for the enduring values of artistic excellence. Sometimes what we produce can be described only as kitsch - tacky artwork of poor quality that appeals to low tastes... Ultimately this kind of art dishonors God because it is not keeping with the truth and beauty of his character."

Why I read it: My brother just graduated from Biola University with his degree in Film & Media Arts. While helping him move out of his college apartment, he handed me a stack of books saying, "Take what you want!" I'm guessing this was required reading?

What it's about: We get to create art for God's pleasure! It gets to be good art. That is worship.

Why I enjoyed it: Again, here I felt affirmed in what I've been thinking about for a couple of years. It was a good reminder that our my work should be done with excellence - from my writing, to this blog, to our ministry.


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