Monthly Archives: August 2015

How a book is ruining my life…

Such a simple task I was given, a fun one even, but I found myself wondering the aisles of CVS with my brain and heart pinging against each other.  Will I ever be the same?  Will I ever be able to go back?  I’m not sure.  I think I’m ruined.  The conundrum that plagued me; buying makeup.  But not just buying everyday makeup.  Buying makeup for girls who have been rescued from sex-trafficking.  What a fun opportunity to get to bless these young women who have endured horrible, inexcusable pain.  So I walked in and my typical cheap, uber money-conscious self walked straight to the dollar shelf.  My hand was practically hovered over a $2 foundation when I heard myself wonder “Would you buy that for myself?”  There are many cheap things that I willingly don on a regular basis.  But foundation is not one of them.  We women know the perils of cheap foundation.  Dry, cake-y, streaky, nightmares upon our skin.  The chance of a breakout alone is not worth the pretty price tag.  The answer was no.  No I wouldn’t wear it.  So why would I so willingly get it for someone that I would consider “less fortunate.”  If the second commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:31) then why do I willingly jump to the cheap rack?  So that I can get more things and feel better about myself?  I could buy 5o things for $50 or I could buy 12 higher quality items for the same. Why would I pick the former as the best option?

I blame Jen Hatmaker.  Her book “7” has put me to thinking about every move that I make.  I already made the decision not to get pajamas at H&M for these girls.  The idea of buying clothes from a sweatshop for girls who were rescued from similar situations seemed a bit counterintuitive.  How can I justify the celebration of freedom when it another is still in bondage?  Ouch.  So many jabs in the gut over this.  It’s a balance and yet it’s not.  I could go crazy over each purchase I make wondering the ramifications of my decisions.  Or I could just be more conscious about the decisions that I do make.  Sometimes being a good steward doesn’t just mean being a good steward of finances.  Sometimes it means being a good steward of time, relationships, and choices.

The book “7” taught me to be a conscious consumer as well as a conscious Christian.  How am I hurting when I want to help?  How are my decisions effecting others.  What can we all do to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves?

(Side note:  I highly recommend the book “7” by Jen Hatmaker to you.  But be forewarned that you will clean out your closets and inevitably become a crazy person by world’s standards)

Confessions of a Book Nerd…

My name is Bekah and I’m addicted to reading.  I know this is probably a great problem to have, but perhaps it has gotten a little out of hand.  Between the wonderful ebook and audiobook selection at the library (hurray for not having to leave the house) and my constant pillaging through amazon, I have accumulated quite the list lately.

Remember how my goal this year was to read 26 books?  Well I hit 27 books on July 31st.  Yea guys, I’ve ready 27 books so far this year.  For the sake of full disclosure, I have read 24 books since May.  MAY!  I know this is pretty typical of some people, but this is a lot for me!  It’s to the point where I feel weird if I’m not listening to an audiobook while cooking or cleaning…

Anyway, I’m not going to share the full list of 27 books with you.  But I am going to let you know what my top 10 favorites have been!  So here we go.

1.  “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg

Favorite Quote:  “What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become”

This book guys, it’s amazing.  It was refreshing and challenging in the best possible ways.  John Ortberg wrote one of my all time favorite books “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” and I’ve been a huge fan of his since.  If you realize that the rhythms of your life are becoming taxing to your soul, this book is for you!

2.  “Anything” by Jennie Allen

Favorite Quote: “The idea that we would actually hand it all over to God and say, “Go. Build it. Do whatever you want with all I have” . . . it is terrifying.”

Bonus Quote:  “We move and love and restore not to matter but because we have been moved, loved, and restored.”

I read this book in a whirlwind of 6 hours and it is by far one of my favorite books.  The concept of saying “Ok, God, I will do Anything” is scary and vulnerable in the best possible ways.  Jennie brilliantly tells us what it looks like to live life in light of eternity.  Life is so short in comparison and living in complete abandon is totally worth it.  My favorite part of all of it is that “Anything” looks different for each person.  For some it means “move to Africa” whereas others it could mean moving in to help an aging parent.  But surrender and obedience is the objective.  Surrendering to someone else’s calling is not obedience! Sigh, Just, GAH!  This book is so so good I could not possibly recommend it enough.

3.  “Jesus is_____.”  by Judah Smith

Favorite Quote:  “The greatest hindrance to recieving the grace of God is not their scandalous sins- it’s their empty good deeds.”

I’ve read a LOT of Christian and Theology books in the past 8 years because of school.  If I’m being honest, there is nothing in this book that I would consider new revelation to me or something I had never heard before.  But this is the book that I want to have 10 copies of to give out to people who are new to Jesus and just figuring things out.  It is so concise and Judah Smith is so easy to follow that another title for this book could be “the ABCs of who Jesus is.”  I totally recommend reading it and then giving a copy to everyone you know.

4.  “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan

Favorite Quote:  “There were times in my life when I had one thing to do all day, but I still couldn’t get to it. “I gotta go to the post office, but I’d probably have to put on pants. And they’re only open till five. Looks like I’m going to have to do that next week.”

This book is hilarious.  I will fully admit that the above quote depicts my life more than I would really care to admit.  This was one of the books I listened to on audiobook and I recommend doing the same.  Jim Gaffigan is just hysterical and I’m not sure I would have gotten the full comedic effect had I tried to read the book instead.  This book is truly so so funny and the audiobook is only 5hours long.  Get it!

5. “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst

Favorite Quote:  “Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth. Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire. Discernment is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.”

I am not the person who has a problem saying “no” to things.  I know a lot of people who overwhelm their schedules with things that suck the life out of them because they have a hard time saying no.  I’m not that person so I really thought this book wasn’t going to be for me.  But it was.  Because sometimes I say no to things that are still good in the fear that it will suck away my soul too.  The balance is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.  This is another easy read and I highly recommend it.

6.  “The Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley

Favorite Quote:  “A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.”

I love Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast and listen to it regularly.  So I knew I needed to read this book and it did not disappoint.  He covers 5 different areas of effective leadership and I found myself going “YES!” over and over.  I’ll definitely be using this as a leadership training tool, a reminder to myself as a leader, and a rubric for leaders over me.

7.  “Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl

Favorite Quote:  ““While cooking demands your entire attention, it also rewards you with endlessly sensual pleasures… The seductive softness of chocolate beginning to melt from solid to liquid. The tug of sauce against the spoon when it thickens in the pan, and the lovely lightness of Parmesan drifting from the grater in gossamer flakes. Time slows down in the kitchen, offering up an entire universe of small satisfactions.”

If you know me, you know that the kitchen is my favorite place to be.  I love food and eating and learning about food.  This book was right up my alley!  Ruth Reichl is a former food critic for the NY Times and this book is about that time in her life.  It is such a fun read!  She talks about her different experiences as she dressed in disguise in order to give untainted reviews to the people of New York.  This book is light and fun and will truly make you hungry.

 

8.  “Interrupted” by Jen Hatmaker

Favorite Quote:  “God does not change, but He uses change—to change us. He sends us on journeys that bring us to the end of ourselves. We often feel out of control, yet if we embrace His leading, we may find ourselves on the ride of our lives.”

This book is similar to Jennie Allen’s “Anything” the biggest difference being that Jen Hatmaker tells more about her personal story.  She talks about how different her plans were from Gods and how complete surrender has radically changed her life.  It’s great!  She’s so raw that I felt like listening to a friend talk about her journey.

9.  “Yes, Please!” by Amy Poehler

Favorite Quote:  “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

I love Amy Poehler.  This book is as funny as you would expect it to be.  But I was also pleasantly surprised to see how inspiring it was.  She talks about her work ethic and why women should support each other.  Really great stuff.  I also really enjoyed reading her birthing plan.  That alone is worth getting the book in my opinion.

 

10.  “This Time Together” by Carol Burnett

Favorite Story:  When she almost peed her pants while talking to Marlin Brando on the phone.

I love Carol Burnett.  I blame this on my mother.  She obviously wasn’t really on the TV when I was young, but I was exposed to enough clips of her show to appreciate it.  Of course, I also appreciated her role as Miss Hannigan in the film adaptation of the musical  “Annie”.  This is also one I recommend listening to on Audio book because her stories in her voice just felt like listening to a wise person telling you about their life.  I loved hearing about her first days in Hollywood and her days in New York.  If you’ve ever been a fan of Carol, you will truly adore this book!

 

Tell me, what books have you been reading lately and love?  I’m needing more ideas to feed my reading obsession!

 

Visits with an old friend…

I picked up an old friend for a short visit the other night.  There is just something so comforting about familiarity that makes me smile.  We stayed up late just being with each other, just like old times.  Great friends can do that, pick up where they left off and never skip a beat.  That’s exactly how it was and it was delightful.

We watched Top Chef together and smiled knowing that our time together would come to an end soon.  That’s the worst part about short visits, knowing that they will end.  Knowing that the hurt of separation will be deep, painful and difficult.  But the key is to enjoy the time while it lasts; to bask in each others presence.  To just sit there and know that these moments are precious and times are short.  The key is to not focus on the moment that you say “see you later” but be fully in the now.

The next morning we said our goodbyes and indulged one last time in the moments that make my heart flutter.  It was sad that it was over and it left me feeling weighty, sorrowful, and automatically looking forward to the next time we will meet.  I already look forward to that moment when I can take the warm, fluffy crust and dip it in garlic butter.  When I can enjoy the perfection of melted cheese with salty pepperoni and smokey bacon.  Yes, the other night I caught up with my good friend Pizza Hut Pizza after a multi-month hiatus and 1 month of eating healthy.  The reunion was glorious, albeit very difficult the next day when I felt the need to drink 1 bazillion gallons of water.  But still.  The reunion was sweet and delicious.  I decided at 9pm that I wanted pizza, went and got some and it was one of the best “YOLO” moments in a long time.  I still don’t regret it.

Can you relate?

Do you ever go on health sprees and just need to break it with something utterly terrible for you  before you lose your mind?

Do you reunite with favorite foods the way you would an old friend?  Or is that just me and my stress eating/ binge eating/ food loving problems?