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3 Books I’m Reading this Winter {And Why You’ll Want to Read Them Too}

Winter read
I love reading year-round but especially so in winter.

Everything about the season woos even the nonchalant reader into its web. Frigid breezes, barren branches, and darker days all invite us to come in, bundle up, light the logs, and pour a cup of tea. What better way to answer the invite than with a book in hand?

 

3 Favorite Books This Winter
The three books I’m reading this winter are above average, one in particular. Let’s begin there.

 

Jesus in the Beanstalk…Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life, by Lori Roeleveld.

 

Jesus in the BeanstalkDon’t let the clever fairy-tale inspired title fool you. This book isn’t for fluff-seekers. It’s for those who, like me, have grown weary of living in a land of giants. Yes, our culture offers a plethora of its own giants but I’m convinced giant slaying begins at home. Every giant-slayer first requires the Word, as Lori points out, but this book is the second thing I read during my time with the Lord. Sometimes it’s a full chapter, other times just a paragraph. It’s not a book to gulp down but to savor. Her questions at the end of each chapter often marinate in my mind throughout the day. Add Lori’s sense of humor to the mix, and you hold a book that will motivate you to pick up a nearby rock and slip out your sling. I can’t say enough about this book and its impact on my life.

One fave quote: “It’s important for Christians not just to believe in God but also to believe God, trust what he says enough to obey him. The enemy has been clever to convince us that what God offers is dry and boring–and it is if we allow the truth to remain on the surface. But if we bury it deep in the soil of our souls and expose it to the light and the living water of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves clinging to the true Vine, Jesus Christ (John 15). We discover that we, too, are giant-killers.”

 

The Story of With…A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create, by Allen Arnold

 

The Story of WithThe Story of With may have never crossed my radar except for Lynn Blackburn’s excellent review on Edie Melson’s, The Write Conversation. {Thank you, Lynn}

The first and last part of the book is non-fiction. He unfolds a story illustrating his points in between, which I admit to skipping. I’m sorry. I’m a shoot-it-to-me kind of girl. When I want a novel I’ll read Lynn’s or Edie’s. A quick flip to the back proved to be gold. So many relevant nuggets. For me, the main takeaway is that we often rush off to do God’s work instead of inviting the Holy Spirit into the creative process.

One fave quote: “You can experience a sense of expectancy in the midst of interruptions, knowing the unplanned can lead to something better than anything you could have planned. Imagine stepping into your relationships and creativity with a power that isn’t limited to your solutions or strength?”

 

 

Fierce On The Page…Become the Writer You Were Meant To Be and Succeed On Your Own Terms,
by Sage Cohen

 

Fierce on the PageMy first introduction to author and poet Sage Cohen was her book, “Writing the Life Poetic”. It remains a staple on my shelf. So imagine my delight when I learned of her latest release, Fierce on the Page. The book was still warm when it arrived in my mailbox. Yep, it was hot off the press. With 75 brief but brilliant chapters on using ferocity to transform your craft, there is something for every writer.

One fave quote: “Writing can teach us who we are and what we are called to say. You become the person who could write the poems, as Stanley Kunitz advises, through the writing of the poems–and the stories and articles and essays. Doing what is true for you is the path to becoming your own best expert.”

 

 

I’d love to hear your process when reading more than one book at a time. For me, I use Lori’s book most days during my time with the Lord and on other days, I pepper my time with Allen’s. I carry Sage’s book in my purse, snatching extra moments as they come my way.

What are you reading this winter? And I have to ask: Coffee or tea?

**The Story of With is only $2.99 on Kindle right now!

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10 Ways to Help Fall Linger A Little Longer

Helping Fall to Linger LongerWho wouldn’t want fall to linger a little longer? It ushers in a season of crisp breezes, ripe apples, crackling fires, and a host of other sensory delights. I’m convinced heaven will be an eternal season of fall. {Of course, we know where that lands Summer. Sorry, Brian and other summer lovers}.

Today I’m sharing ten ways that will help us to embrace this vibrant season for all its worth. Some of these ideas include affiliate links (marked by *), but all opinions are my own.

  1. Read a Proverb every day…aloud. Don’t know which one to read? Choose the chapter that corresponds with the day you’re reading. Because there are 31 Proverbs you can’t go wrong! I’m often surprised by how His Word lines up with circumstances taking place on that particular day. Read it aloud to engage another sensory, leaving a greater impact that will help you retain the truths you read.
  2. Buy a new mug. I purchased a white-washed one at Target last week that reads “Warm & Cozy”. It reminds of chunky knit scarves, warm cups of tea and my beloved electric blanket. It reminds me of fall. Novel Teas Uncommon Goods
  3. For my literary friends, you’ll enjoy Novel Teas. In past years, I’ve bundled up individual packets of Novel Teas* to share with fellow writers, agents, editors, etc., at the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference. (These would also make for great literary-lovers stocking stuffers!) See the entire birthday collection here.
  4. Savor a good book. Don’t rush it. Turn each page with purpose, taking time to underline meaningful words, phrases, and sentences. My two reads for this fall are “Jesus and the Beanstalk” by Lori Roeleveld and “The Story of With” by Allen Arnold (thanks to Lynn Blackburn’s review). Gratitude Uncommon Goods
  5. Invite the spirit of gratitude year-round by gifting this to yourself. Writing notes of gratitude is one simple, yet powerful gesture to show other people how thankful you are for them. A Year of Gratitude* provides 52 thank you note cards along with tips on sending out a note card each week for a year. {Maybe we should start a gratitude challenge!}
  6. Take a country drive to stare at the stars. Since moving to the country one of my favorite destinations can be found outside on pitch-black nights. The stars cover the sky like a lit blanket. Rarely do I gaze upwards without Psalm 147:4 on the forefront of my mind: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Bundle up, head outside on a clear night with a blanket, and consider your mighty God as you star gaze.
  7. Take pleasure in the sunrise and sunset at least once a week. I’m more apt to take a quick glance out the window to see the sunrise or sunset and then move on with my day. Maybe you are too. But one way to make fall linger a little longer is to embrace the fullness of each day. Why not begin with enjoying how God bookends our days? Pop on a warm sweater, pour a hot cup of tea and head outside to watch the sun rise. Ask God what He desires for this day. And as the sun sets later in the day, thank Him for the day and whatever it contained, confident that it was of His design for your life.
  8. Take pictures. Pack your phone or camera and ride to places that remind you most of the fall season. Maybe it’s a nearby waterfall, mountain, or park. Or maybe your photo expedition leads you to your own backyard. Take a snapshot of those things that will bring a smile to your face long after the season ends. Date Night Bucket List
  9. Spend time with loved ones. Few things bring more enjoyment than spending time with friends and family. Go to festivals, pumpkin patches, take hay rides or pick apples. If you’re searching for fun ideas to do as a couple, Date Night Bucket List will go a long way in snuffing out the, “What do you want to do tonight?” type questions. My usual answer is “Whatever you want to do” which sometimes lands us in front of the TV watching army shows with bagged popcorn. But no more! Date Night Bucket List* to the rescue. Date prompts on birch wood sticks take all the guess work out of the night. (There’s also this one for families!) See the entire Anniversary collection here.
  10. Perform kind gestures. This might include raking leaves, picking up sticks and branches, or baking a loaf of pumpkin bread. Doing acts of kindness as a family is one way to instill the importance of putting others first into children and grandchildren. I know this firsthand as my dad was always chopping wood/kindling for elderly neighbors in the fall and winter. We would quietly stack the goodies by their door. The purpose wasn’t to receive accolades but to simply bless another person. Little did he know how his gestures of kindness would carry on throughout the generations.

I hope the above ideas will get the proverbial wheels turning to come up with your own ideas {please share in the comment section!}. As mentioned earlier in the post, a few of the above ideas include affiliate links to Uncommon Goods. Not only is it a store filled with unique and creative gifts it’s also one that values sustainability. This is seen in many of their products* as they offer handmade, recycled, and organic items. One thing I most appreciate when perusing their site is how they highlight their artists. I hope you’ll check it out for yourself.

Your turn! How do you help this season to linger a little longer?

 

Related Items:
-Jesus and the Beanstalk, by Lori Roeleveld {sign up for her award-winning blog and receive a free chapter of Jesus in the Beanstalk}.
The Story of With, Allen Arnold (and Lynn Blackburn’s review}.
-The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference

 

Up For a Summer Challenge?

Thanks to friends Lori and Lynn, I was introduced to the book 40 Ways to Get Closer to God, by Jerry (Chip) MacGregor with Keri Wyatt Kent.
I downloaded it via Amazon, but I’ve not yet set sail on this journey, so I’m curiousโ€”would you be interested in joining me for this summer challenge?
Here’s a brief description of what awaits us:
Practical Steps to a Deeper Faith. Sometimes faith demands action.
This practical book gives Christians ideas for how to adjust their
hearts to get closer to God.

Each chapter contains a unique
challenge and a brief explanation that puts the challenge in context. The challenges are broad in scope, allowing
people with varying personality types and learning styles to benefit
from them.

Everyone moves at their own pace, but as I post about the various ways, you could join in the fun, if you wish. Or, if you’re more comfortable sharing one-on-one, email or meet me for coffee.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
Are you ready for a summer challenge? Me too! 
I look forward to hearing from you.

Opportunity Dressed in Overalls

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in our local Word Weaver’s workshop, Getting Ready for Conference.

Cynthia Owens did a great job pulling the workshop together, along with her trusted instructors Marcia Moston, Mary Denman, Edie Melson, and Lynn Blackburn. Sue Stout, Carolyn Knefely, and Bruce Brady served faithfully behind the scenes. It was a true team effort.

From the get-go, we were reminded of this scripture: We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

Remember the popular saying “let go and let God?” I wonder if some of us “let go” a bit prematurely, forgetting our responsibility in fulfilling God’s plans for our lives. (You mean letting go doesn’t include Junior Mints and a nice comfy couch, while resting on God’s promises?)

Marcia reminded us that our responsibility includes being prayerfully sensitive to God’s Spirit, while continuing to work hard at honing the skills we believe God gave us, trusting He will use them for His glory…in His ways…and in His timing. Now that’s letting go!

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

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