Sunday, December 25

The Books I Chewed on in 2011

A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer
was the first thing I picked up January 1.
Starting the year with Parker is my little
tradition that helps me truly expand to
greet the new year.
I've read 48 books this year.  Words have encircled me.  Thoughts have inspired me.  The lives of others have been my example to continue to move beyond myself, to live with purpose that builds the kingdom of God, to become more me as I become more his.  It's been a good year.  These are all the books that I took on this year. The ones I've emboldened are the top 5 that made me think, stretched me and made me want to share its wisdom with others.
  • A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer
  • This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes by Marilyn Berger
  • The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
  • Great Expectations: Interactive Guide to the 1st Year of Marriage by Toben and JoAnne Heim
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where you Are by Ann Voskamp
      One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
      One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
      was the one book that I wanted to drink
      in quickly and then just as quickly stopped
      reading simply because I didn't want it to
      be over.  After leading women in a book
      group through it and seeing the ripple
      effect it has had in their lives, I'm certain
      it's one to re-read over and over.
  • Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller 
  • Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff
  • The Rock that is Higher by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  • The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg
  • After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
  • Sheet Music by Kevin Lehman
  • Let Nothing Disturb You - St. Teresa of Avila
  • Sacred Companions by David Benner
  • 58: Fast Living - How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty by Scott Todd
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • Churched by Matthew Paul Turner
  • Bittersweet:  Thoughts on Change Grace and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
I resonated with the loss of ministry, the
confusion of God's call, and the heartache.
of all of it.  Thank you, Shauna, for putting
words to the pain and showing the side
that no one usually gets to see.
  • The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
  • Mark for Everyone by N.T. Wright
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling 
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Love Wins by Rob Bell
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • The DiVinci Code by Dan Brown
  • The Shack by William Paul Young
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • Wild at Heart by John Eldridge
  • Between Women of God by Donna Otto
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (again!)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Becoming a Woman of Influence by Carol Kent
  • The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias
  • Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri Nouwen
  • The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules
    This gem was snatched up for free on Kindle
    during the year.  It was serendipitous that
    my Bible study decided to study Ruth 
    and so I began this in conjunction.  It fed
    my soul as a woman seeking to follow
    hard after God.  I couldn't wait to get 
    into it every week.  
  • The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James
  • The Faith of Leap by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
  • Braided Streams by Marjory Zoet Bankson
  • Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James
  • Esther by Charles Swindoll
  • The On-Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy
  • Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Discipleship by Alan & Debra Hirsch
  • NIV Application Commentary/Esther by Karen Jobes
  • Building a Discipling Culture by Mike Breen
  • Simply Christian by N.T. Wright
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This summer's reading theme was "What's all the Fuss About?"  It was some of the most fun I've had 
reading in a while.  Had I not done that I would have only
 read 2 fiction books.  It's intriguing to me how much non-fiction
has taken such a front seat over the years.
Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship (Shapevine)
Untamed by Alan and Debra Hirsch
As I think more intently about mentoring
this book challenged me to create
relationships that are wholistic.  In short,
it came at a very good time.

I attempted a few books that I just had to set aside.  As interesting as they were, I just couldn't push through Malcom Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Kathryn Schultz's On Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Alexandra Robbins' The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, and David Brooks' The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement.   I'd love to read them one day, but these are the kinds of works that I think I grasp better and get excited about in the form of a TED talk. 

What were your most inspiring reads this year?

Wednesday, December 21


DH and the boys are out in a blizzard to pick up his mother and brother from the airport.  I am sitting in a quiet, clean house, noting the snowfall and drinking tea.  And frankly I'm soaking up all the normalcy I can before Christmas jumps in.  It's a refective time so with that here is a bit of a reflection on the last month of life.  
We enjoyed Denver's Night at the Museums at the beginning of November.   This year we went up to Golden to explore the American Mountaneering Museum and the Astor House with friends and their amazing kids.  Amazing because they have a great story.  And amazing because they just are.  

B took part in a three part physics co-op wherein they built towers, bridges and containers for the egg drop.  He did pretty well with his design.  It didn't break from the fall from a second story window.  Of course, some kids in the group were disappointed that they did so well so they did end up breaking a couple just for fun. 

We studied sheep.  Yes, sheep.  We thought, too, about shepherds.  It was a two week unit study and one thing I most enjoyed was reading to B from Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg.  Sometimes we assume that kids won't understand our "adult" spiritual formation books.  But Margaret writes so accesibly that B tracked right along with her and we both were reminded of what the Good Shepherd does for us daily.  This little craft was so cute and easy for S to make.  And it was so much more fun than gluing cotton balls to paper like he's done sooo many times in Bible class.  

We began to be Thankful.  S made a little thankful tree.  The crafts you think are overdone (i.e. ahem...gluing cotton balls to paper to make sheep) they end up loving.  He said what he was thankful for and we wrote his thoughts on leaves and taped them to a branch.  I think his favorite part was hacking the branch off the felled limb in the backyard.   And on the computer is which is B's math curriculum for the year.  He and I both love that it's all online and includes instructional videos.  Plus I love that it's only $10 a month. He's doing really well, and if he's ever stuck I just watch the video with him and help him work through both practice and graded problems.  I can even set up rewards for him and pause the program (like I did for Christmas this week).  He's halfway through his year but he's 3/4 of the way done with math!

 We took a little break. J was off the whole week of Thanksgiving and we were lucky enough to find a little condo in Estes Park to rent for three days. It was out of cell phone range and had no internet access.  Perfect.   We played games, walked through downtown and watched the glassblower for a long time, enjoyed their community-wide free Thanksgiving Dinner, took in a movie and tried out their skatepark.  Perfect.  Oh, I said that.

We don't have many traditions at the holidays, but since moving to Colorado we've been to see the Littleton Christmas Tree Lighting every year. So, after returning from Estes Park we went to cute little downtown Littleton yet again and froze and watched as the wind blew all our candles out.  But it's still fun.