Summer Reads

Summer Reads

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June took us on an airplane, across the continent, and away from my beloved library. I stocked up, bringing books with me in my suitcase, and was eager to borrow some favorites from friends in Calgary. We went from enjoying the wooded backyard in Connecticut to the big skies and mountain air of the foothills.

July brought us a new niece, more plane rides, and the finalization of purchasing tickets to make a huge move in early September (Antalya, here we come!). Through the change of scenery and anticipation of another upcoming change, here's what I've been reading.

What books have been the soundtrack to your summer?

Garden City

by John Mark Comer

Our job is to make the invisible God visible — to mirror and mimic what he is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.

Why I read it: I found this book sitting on the coffee table at our friends' home. Soon into conversation, they started talking about it and once the book got in my hands, I couldn't put it down. I finished the first half over the course of our two day stay.

What it's about: John Mark writes about how we're built for work. He writes about Genesis 1-3: our identity, our purpose, and our calling. He shares his own journey with his family to embracing Sabbath and eagerly awaiting all things being made new.

Why I enjoyed it: Within the first few chapters, Comer makes the bold statement that this phrase going around that "Who we are is more important than what we do," is misguided. It's an extreme. What we do does matter and it flows from who we are. I'm loving his lyrical, blog-like format and explanation of the grace of Sabbath and our God-given identity. If you're new to the "faith and work" conversation, this is a great place to start - he quotes other great authors like Keller and Brueggemann, making this book a great launch pad for deeper reading.

Mrs. Pollifax: Innocent Tourist

by Dorothy Gilman

Why I read it: Carrie has been trying to get me to read these books for years. She even handing me a stack of Mrs. Pollifax books once, and I never read them. While I found myself immersed in stories set in New England, I wanted to break out of my little literary bubble and travel a bit. Mrs. Pollifax herself lives in Connecticut and in this book, she travels to Jordan - so I went with her!

What it's about: I jumped into this series quite late, though I caught up soon enough. I jumped into established friendships and long running jokes. Mrs. Pollifax does some undercover work (though her cover is quite legitimate, she's an innocent tourist, afterall!) for the CIA, taking her to Jordan.

Why I enjoyed it: Mrs. Pollifax is such an endearing and smart character! She is my #oldagegoals for sure. I loved traveling with her and how this book weaves in a good amount of Arabic and cultural lessons as well.

Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled

by Dorothy Gilman

"Syria is a very safe country - for tourists."

Why I read it: Mrs. Pollifax has me hooked!

What it's about: After her trip to Jordan, there's another mission that brings her to Syria. There's more travel, more mystery, and more Arabic! 

Why I'm enjoying it: This book was written in 2000 and it's so fascinating to travel through Syria given it's current state. Again, Mrs. Pollifax doesn't disappoint with her wit and quick thinking. Carrie, I'm sorry it took me so long to dig in!

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

by Sara Hagerty

"Hope, and how it draws me to Him, means that not one of those minutes curled up in pain was lost, not one of those minutes of closeness with Him is forgotten, not one of those negative pregnancy tests was wasted."

Why I read it: This was another recomendation from a Calgary friend. My simple question: "Do you have any books that would hit me where I'm at right now?" had her running to her bookshelves and gifting this to me. She was so right - I needed ths book right now.

What it's about: Sara beautifully tells her story, as if you're walking alongside her, not just of adoption and infertility, but also through her marriage and her relationship with Jesus. I love her humble honesty and genuine heart.

Why I'm enjoying it: Not only did this book keep pointing me to Jesus, and to the bigger life narrative - it also orchestrated some key pivots in my heart. Sara's words gave me space to claim celebration as a word to describe this season of waiting. If you're in a season of waiting or grieving  unfulfilled dreams, this book will be good for your soul.

Your Marriage Today... And Tomorrow

by Crawford & Karen Loritts

"Marriage is the sacred conduit by which God's plan and purposes are passed on from one generation to the next."

Why I read it: This book was given to me by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Even still, I got to choose this book from a list of books and chose this one because I've gotten to hear Mr. Loritts speak at our shared alma mater, Cairn University! As someone I already respect, I wanted to read more about what he had to say about marriage.

What it's about: Crawford and Karen co-authored this book (which includes endorsements from all of their children!), sharing their story and experiences of the legacies left by their marriage and the marriages before them. They share things that they have learned that help keep their 47-year marriage thriving and clinging to God.

Why I'm enjoying it: I'm loving learning more of their story. It's powerful to hear of how God redeems even the broken parts of their pasts, and welds them together for His glory to shine through. Some of the practical tips are ones I've read in other marriage books, but the gold of this story is the practical application shared in these pages.

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