Laudable Linkage

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I found a lot of good reads the last week or so:

On Blind Faith and God.

Why You Desperately Need the Holy Spirit , HT to Challies.

The Power of De-Conversion Stories: How Jen Hatmaker is Trying to Change Minds About the Bible, HT to Challies.

Who Is the God of Mormonism?, HT to Challies.“One thing you’ll discover as you’re talking with your Mormon (LDS) friends is that though we use the same terms, we often mean very different things. Mormons have different definitions of Gospel, repentance, salvation, grace, Hell, and nearly every term you’ll be using in your conversation.”

5 Things That People Who Are Dying Want You to Know, by Kerry Egan, HT to Lisa.

How to Choose Worship Songs. Yes, to all the points mentioned here.

My Son, Withhold Judgment, HT to Challies.There are some times we need to act quickly; there are other times to realize we don’t know all the facts and need to wait.

How Do I Fight Pride When Competing in School, Business, and Sports? HT to True Woman.  “If we are better in some subject than someone else, God made us better. And his reasons for doing so are not pride and boasting and elitism. His reason for doing so is that we might use our competencies for the good of others.”

If God Doesn’t Heal You, HT to True Woman. “Although God can heal us, we must never presume that he must.”

The Why of Encouragement.

Why Do I Believe in Credobaptism, HT to Challies.

Why Young Christians Need Old Books, HT to True Woman.

In Defense of Evangelicals Who Support Trump, HT to Proclaim and Defend. Interesting, whichever side you’re on. Not written by an evangelical but by a Jew who acknowledges that “It is usually easier for an outsider to defend a person or a group that is attacked than for the person or group.” As he also says, “Character is a complex issue.” I’m not willing to say it’s not a factor at all – far from it, and I don’t think he’s saying that, either – but it’s true that some people with awful personal lives can be good leaders. But if we acknowledge that on one side of the ballot, we need to concede it for the other as well.

Growing Old Graciously, HT to Challies.”I don’t know everything, but what I do know, I can share.”

The Benefits of Listening to the Elderly, HT to Challies. “Why might the Lord, in his grace, cause the aged to repeat themselves as they do? What is the Lord showing us through it? Rather than rolling our eyes or thinking ‘Here goes Grandma again,’ what can be gained from these times?”

When I Give a Book.

On Writing Books and Getting Published, HT to Challies.

The Incredible “Mehness” Of Social Media, HT to Challies. An aspect we don’t often think of. Even if much of what we do there is harmless or even interesting, how does that impact our everyday lives and responsibilities? Do those things impact those with whom we have to do or take our attention away from them?

Ideas For Things to Do On a Snow Day, HT to Story Warren.

And in the “Seriously?” category: There’s a Reason using a Period In a Text Makes You Sound Angry, HT to Lisa. I never knew this was an issue – and it shouldn’t be. A period is just the end of a sentence, not the end of a conversation or an indicator of anger, disinterest, or insincerity.

Hope you have a fine Saturday!

(Links do not imply 100% endorsement.)

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What’s On Your Nightstand: January 2018

Nightstand82The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand the last Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.

Here we are a month into 2018, and I feel like I have gotten off to a pretty good start on my reading goals for the year.

Since last time I have completed:

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung, reviewed here. I actually finished this back in December, but after that month’s Nightstand post. It’s a book aiming to help children see the overarching story of the Bible and place individual stores in their place in the bigger picture.

Gospel Meditations for Christmas by Chris Anderson, Joe Tyrpak, and Michael Barrett, reviewed here. Excellent. I read most of it in December but finished up the last couple of pages early in January.

Conscience: What It Is, How To Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andrew David Naselli and J. D. Crowley, reviewed here. Excellent – both Biblically based and very practical.

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped in His Own Body by Martin Pistorius, reviewed here. Excellent.

Watership Down by Richard Adams, reviewed here. My first time through this classic, and I enjoyed it very much.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, reviewed here. My first Chesterton book, and not at all what I was expecting, but it kept me pondering for a long time after closing it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, reviewed here. Not my usual cup of teas, but I enjoyed it.

Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser, reviewed here. Very good.

I’m currently reading:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining through Me Every Day by Joni Eareckson Tada. This is a year-long devotional book, so I probably won’t list it every month.

Up Next:

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Death On the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge beginning here Feb. 1! It’s a modern mystery set around some of the places Laura lived.

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, also for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge.

Possibly Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller, also for the LIW challenge.

After those – something from my reading plans for the year.

If you are interested in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge taking place next month, there is more information and a book list here.

Have you spent any of these winter days in a cozy book?

(Sharing with Literary Musing Monday)

Laudable Linkage

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Here are recent reads that have captivated my attention:

Love Like Birch Trees.

How to Sit at the Table With Those Who Hurt and Offend You, HT to Linda. “Extending love to someone who offended you does not mean you’re accepting such treatment – it means you realize you cannot thrive in a place of anger and resentment.”

What to Say Instead of “I Know How You Feel” to Someone Who Is Struggling, HT to Linda. Sharing our similar experience in an effort to let someone know they’re not alone often just draws attention to ourselves and makes the other person feel unheard. This gives a helpful distinctive.

When Our Heroes Don’t Live Up to Their Theology, HT to Challies. How do we think about spiritual giants who were blind to the wrongness of slavery.

Helping Your Daughter by Being Her Emotional Coach, HT to Story Warren.

You Can’t Have Ethics Without Stories, HT to Story Warren.. “We often forget what the Bible actually is. If not a dictionary or an encyclopedia, what is it? The Bible is, among other things, he writes, ‘a faith-forming narrative.’”

Why Children’s Books Should be a Little Sad, HT to Story Warren.

How DNA Testing Botched My Family’s Heritage, and Probably Yours, too, HT to Challies.

And finally, this dog has a dedicated owner:

Happy Saturday!

(Links do not imply complete endorsement of sites or authors.)

Laudable Linkage

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I’ve come across a lot of good reading already in 2018! Here is some that stood out to me in various ways:

How an Old Man Helped Save My Faith, HT to Challies.

I Couldn’t Call God “Father,” HT to Challies. A sweet testimony of an Iranian woman’s journey to Christian faith.

Show Me Your Endurance. “While church leaders dismissed my friend as unpolished and uneducated, I realized her experience was a part of my discipleship journey in ways that information acquisition and discipleship habits alone were not. I saw in her life what my own could look like as I trusted God to be there for my child and for me.”

These Hibernation Days, HT to True Woman. “Winter is a fallen seed, before it has sprouted again. It is God’s gift to us, to teach us of the value of rest, quiet, hiddenness, and death.”

Harsh Light, HT to Story Warren.

A few with the new year in mind:

Bible Reading Schedules. A couple of these I have seen before, a couple were new to me.

Preventing Spiritual Scurvy this Year: The Micronutrient Bible Reading Plan, HT to Challies.

Beginning of the Year Check-in Questions for Christians, HT to Challies. “Don’t leave your spiritual growth up to spontaneity. Make a plan. Now that we’re in 2018, here are some questions to ask as you formulate ways to grow.”

A Launch-Yourself-Forward Worksheet. If your resolutions or “one word” choices fizzle out sooner rather than later, this worksheet might help you implement those changes.

How (Not) to Read Next Year, HT to Bobbi.

They are our children, after all. When everything does not turn out all right in our children’s lives.

Clearing to Neutral: The One Habit That Stops You From Procrastinating, HT to Lisa.

What Sugar Does to Your Brain, HT to Challies. Not good news after the excess sweets throughout December.

And finally, many of us are in a very cold weather system right now. We haven’t had snow here except for about an hour one day. I hope those of you “snowed in” get some sunshine and warmer temperatures soon. Meanwhile…

Happy Saturday!

Reading Plans for 2018

I have enjoyed reading ever since I first learned how, and the past few years I’ve benefited from being more intentional in my reading rather than just picking up the next thing on the shelf. I’ve wanted to incorporate classics, non-fiction, and new books as well as getting to more of my beloved fiction and some of the older books I have on hand. A few reading challenges have both helped me in those ways and made it fun to do with others. So one of my favorite things to do is map out my reading plans for the year. Many of the challenges overlap, so that helps – otherwise I’d probably only be able to do one. I’ve been tweaking it year by year to be more purposeful and yet have some flexibility in case I come across something during the year that I want to read that isn’t on any list. Last year was one of the best in all those ways, so I am hoping this year will be as well.

So these are the challenges I will participate in. For the first few I’ll just list the challenge and will share what books I’ll read when the time comes. Then I’ll list the challenges where I have already chosen what to read.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge is hosted right here during the month of February! More information is here as well as an extended book list. On Feb. 1 I’ll post a sign-up post and share then what I’ll be reading.

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Tarissa at In the Bookcase hosts the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge in June, so I will share at that time what I will read for that challenge.

aliterarychristmas-buttonTarissa also hosts the Literary Christmas Challenge for the last six weeks of the year. The main rule: read Christmas book!


Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts the Back to the Classics Challenge. She comes up with categories and we come up with a classic at least 50 years old to fit each category. She also gives away a prize – a $30 gift card to Amazon.com or The Book Depository. You get one entry for the prize drawing for six categories completed, two entries for nine categories completed, and three entries if you complete all twelve. We don’t have to name the books, but it helps me to do so, and we are allowed to change during the course of the year. As with each of these challenges, more information is provided at the links above. So the classics I am going to aim for this year include:

1.  A 19th century classic. Something by Dickens or Wilkie Collins. I have unread books by both of them, so I’ll need to decide later which to choose.

2.  A 20th century classic (published before 1968). I am thinking about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve always been a little wary of it, so I haven’t quite decided. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903)

3.  A classic by a woman author. Adam Bede by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)

4.  A classic in translation (Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language.) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)(Finished 1/26/18)

5. A children’s classic. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)(Finished 2/3/18)

6.  A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction, which she goes on to say can be a detective or spy novel. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton. (1908)(Finished 1/18/18)

7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

8. A classic with a single-word title (no articles). Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

9. A classic with a color in the title. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

10. A classic by an author that’s new to you. He Fell in Love With His Wife by Edward Payson Roe

11. A classic that scares you (due to its length or it intimates you in some way). The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. I have come close to reading it many times and then backed away, but Tarissa’s review encouraged me toward trying it.

12. Re-read a favorite classic.Many would fit this category. I am thinking David Copperfield, but we’ll see.

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Adam at Roof Beam Reader hosts the TBR Pile Challenge to encourage us to get to those books on our shelves, Kindles, or TBR lists. For this one we have to name the books we are going to read, along with two alternates (in case we can’t get through a couple on our list), and we have to have owned them for at least a year, so any book on our To Be Read pile published 2016 and earlier qualifies. And! Adam offers a prize: a drawing for a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository! Tempting for any book lover! So here is what I plan to read for this challenge:

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett(Finished 2/3/18)
  2. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (Finished 1/18/18)
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  4. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  5. Adam Bede by George Eliot
  6. He Fell in Love With His Wife by Edward Payson Roe
  7. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)(Finished 1/26/18)
  8. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  9. Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His own Body by Martin Pistorious (Copyright 2013, Finished 1/8/18)
  10. Going Like Sixty by Richard Armour
  11. Sins of the Past by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason
  12. Another Way Home by Deborah Raney

Alternates: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin and Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser (2006)(Finished 1/28/18)

As I finish them, I’ll come back and link the title to my review.

mount-tbr-2017Bev hosts the Mount TBR Challenge to also encourage us to read the books we already own, but with a few differences. Every 12 books read is another level or “mountain” climbed. We don’t have to list the books yet (although some books for the above TBR challenge will count for this one as well), but we do have to commit to a level. I am tempted to try for Mt. Vancouver (36 books) since I passed that last year, but I think I’ll keep my options open and commit to Mount Blanc (24 books). The one main rule here is that the books have to have been owned by us before January 1, 2018. But that means every book in my house and Kindle app on Jan. 1, even the ones I just got for Christmas, count! I appreciate that because too often I push my newer books back behind the ones that have been sitting there for a while.

So I think that will keep me busy for a while. 🙂 People often ask me how I get to so much reading, so once I wrote Finding Time to Read. On the other hand, last year I read 76 books, but some blog friends read twice that! So I’m not at all in the “big leagues” when it comes to reading, but I do love it for various reasons.

Do you make any reading plans for the year? What do you look forward to reading this year?

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Book)

Laudable Linkage

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Just a few this week, but since some of them had to do with Christmas themes, I thought I’d go ahead and share them.

How God Used A Christmas Carol to Resurrect Literature in My Life. “People can be tempted to think that books are meant to take us away, meant to give us a mental holiday from our lives, but that is not true. Great books, living books, are not meant as an escape from life, but a passage into life.”

Who Were the Magi?

What’s the Difference Between Lament and Complaint? I’ve wondered about this, so this was timely for me.

4 Reasons Every Church Needs Senior Saints, HT to Challies.

End of Year Evaluation. This is not a recent one – I’ve had it in my files for years and think about doing it but haven’t yet. I have trouble choosing superlatives and tend to over analyze all of that. My friend Susan isn’t actively blogging currently, sadly, but thankfully she has left her old posts online.

I mentioned recently that Phil Vischer’s Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables was on my top 12 books read this year. I recently discovered this video of a speech he gave which is kind of a condensed version of the book. It’s fun at first because he does some of the different characters he voices in the Veggie Tales programs. But then he gets to the meat of the matter. Personally I don’t care for the phrases about God “showing up” and calling Jesus “the Big Guy,” but if you can look past that, this is well worth the 56 minutes.

Happy last Saturday of the year!

Laudable Linkage and a Question

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It’s been a little while since I have been able to share interesting reads found online lately, so I have a longish list. But first I have a question.

I used to save all my links on Del.icio.us.com, but they’ve not been up to par for some time now – being bought by various companies, relocating, changing their url. etc., and now they’re “read only” – I can’t add new links to them. I liked that the tags were searchable: if I wanted to look up a link I had saved about the Bible, I could search for “Bible” and find all my links on that subject. Lately I have been saving new links to a draft in my gmail account since I always have that open, but sometimes either the draft itself or the content disappears (maybe when it gets too long?) So my question, or actually two questions are: Is there anything else like Delicious out there, and is there an easy way to import the links I already have over to something else? It would take ages to place all those years of links individually, so I probably just would not do that and hope the read-only version of Delicious stays up, or maybe I’d just do it for a couple of the most important categories. I’d love hearing any suggestions!

Ok, on to the most recent rewarding reads:

Hermeneutics for Parenting: Study the Word, HT to Story Warren. Though this is in the context of teaching one’s children, when it gets to the part about Bible study, it’s good basic, concise Bible study truth for anyone.

The Rise of Digital Technologies and the Decline of Reading. This is not an “abandon all technology, books are better post.” Some good tips for finding balance and adapting.

Empty Tables: Singleness and Barrenness. “I had to learn my purpose could not be put on hold until I was married. In the same way, I have to learn I am not less than, being withheld from, incomplete, or unable to learn what God has for me to learn in barrenness.”

Do I Want My Children to Be Careful or Take Risks? HT to Story Warren. This is a hard one to balance. I think I erred on the side of carefulness probably too much, but I can see the need to encourage and allow for some degree of risk-taking as well.

Millennial Motherhood: Three Traps For Young Moms.

An Ode to ‘Women of a Certain Age.’ Loved this, especially after just recently passing a “milestone” birthday. I have a lot of living left to do!

5 Practical Steps For Seeking Wisdom through Mentorship, HT to Challies.

Charlottesville, Confederate Memorials, and Southern Culture. A difficult subject, one I certainly don’t have all the answers for, but this sounds like a reasonable approach.

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Colorblind, HT to Lisa.

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff, Advice for Boomers Desperate to Unload Family Heirlooms, HT to Button Floozies. Also linked to the latter was this place which takes old sewing notions and the like: I don’t like the name of the place but I love the idea!

10 Elements of a Light and Bright Space, HT to Linda. This is exactly my style, except for the open shelving (too much to dust!)

Lessons from the Otter on Doing Hard Things, HT to Jessica. Randy Alcorn draws some observations from an otter afraid to go into the water and then finding it’s “what he was made for.” I’ll include the video below. I love this because this is so me! “Sometimes we need to just get our shrieks out of the way as God lowers us toward the water, finally just jump in that water, and discover the wonderful things God has for us!”

Happy Saturday!

(As always, linking to a particular site does not include 100% endorsement of that site.)

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It’s later in the day than I usually post these, but here are a few good reads discovered in the last week:

Today, More Than Ever, Read Beyond the Headlines. Yes! And the Twitter feeds.

Hard Evidence for a Supernatural Book.

Those Spiritual Gift Tests? Maybe You Ought to Ignore Them.

Please Stop Saying “Christianity Isn’t a Religion, It’s a Relationship” HT to Challies.

10 Suggestions for new Bible College Students, HT to Challies.

White Christian conservatives should oppose protests by white supremacists.

On Waiting and the Lord of the Rings.

Redeeming Princess Culture, HT to Story Warren.

And something from Pinterest that resonated with me:

The Rock higher than I

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I don’t usually do these three weeks in a row, but I have come across a lot of good reading lately!

An Army Without Supplies. The people on the “front lines” – of either military or spiritual endeavors – are needed, but so is the support system behind them.

Instant Coffee, Instant Faith. “It is not the massive floods that cause a tree to grow; it’s the steady stream of water day after day, month after month, year after year. The Christian life does not consist only of great breakthroughs; it consists mainly in mundane, steady obedience.”

A Blog on Worship, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “Worship God, not just with your voice, but with your obedience, your devotion, your service, your time, your resources, your priorities, your thoughts, and your actions. Jesus bought all of you, so worship with all of you. Worship: It’s more than you think.

What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

How We Misunderstand Strong Women, HT to True Woman.

When the Words of My Mouth Are Pleasing Mostly to Me, HT to True Woman.

I Had an Abortion, HT to True Woman. Counsel to someone who has lost hope of forgiveness.

If You Like Narnia….suggestions for other books in a similar vein.

And finally, I saw this on Pinterest but couldn’t get to where it originated from. But it hit home – I have a tendency to over think things.

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Have a great weekend!

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been able to share the interesting reads I’ve come across, so I have quite a list accumulated.

Love Is More Than a Choice.

How I Process the Moral Failures of My Historical Heroes. I’ve been pondering this for some time, with the thought of possibly writing a post about it, so I was glad to see some thoughts very similar to my own.

Pray Them Home: Three Prayers to Pray for Prodigal Children.

The Father Who Eliminates Shame.

Ecumenical vs. Evangelical, HT to Challies. A good, concise summary of the history and the issues involved.

The Not So Simple Life. “No matter where you land on this simplicity spectrum, all of these endeavors don’t satisfy the peace we hope to gain from the ‘simple life’…Even simplification is a vain pursuit when it takes up so much room in our minds and our hearts.”

Don’t Take This Personally. “We each cast ourselves as the star (and director and producer) in our own movie. All our life’s plots revolve around us. And all the people in our relationships are supporting actors. But here’s the catch: The supporting actors in our movies are actually busy starring in their own movies.”

Dear Girl: Please Don’t Marry Him. “Your fear of breaking off the relationship should be obliterated by the fear of making a foolish marital choice which is far, far worse.” I don’t know anything about this author, but thought this was a good article.

Teens Who Choose Life in Unplanned Pregnancies Need Support and Respect, Not Shame, HT to Challies. Being pro-life is not just a matter of being anti-abortion.

The Art of Days. Seeing beauty in the everyday tasks.

Let Your Kids In On Your Ministry.

Desire, Choice, Consequence: Building Character Through Stories, HT to Story Warren.

Member of the Family.

As You Grow, So Should Your Dresses.

Is the ESV Literal and the NIV Gender Neutral? HT to Challies. Very little, if any, translation from one language to another is literally word for word the same, due to differences in sentence construction, words for which there are no equals, etc.

6 Keys to Help You Be the Boss of Your Blog.

The Numbers Trap, HT to True Woman.

Is Screen Time the Enemy of Reading? I almost didn’t read this, figuring I knew where it was going to go, but I was pleasantly surprised.

To a Schoolgirl in America: Writing Advice From C. S. Lewis.

Free ebooks, HT to Worthwhile Books.

I saw this on a friend of a friend’s Facebook, and I don’t know who originated it, but I think it’s great. The OT is so much more than moralistic stories.

What the Bible's About

(Links do not imply 100% endorsement of site or author.)

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