I Have Big 2018 Summer Reading Goals


Do you read more in the summer? I think I do. More fiction, that is for sure.

After plowing through summer reading guides and taking a peek at what has been on my to-read list for months, here are the books I really, really want to read these next few months:

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Advent Week 4 – He Comes – Peace

*I’ve followed an Advent ordered used in some liturgical churches, but in others, the Love and Peace weeks are switched. No matter, really, just a note.*


“…Christmas is not simply about a birth but about a coming.”

– Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas

My parents like to tell the story of the Christmas that Santa delivered a Barbie Dream House under the Thompson tree. It turns out, Santa doesn’t much like staying up to 2am putting tiny sticker decals on tiny pretend kitchens. Santa has never really forgiven me for that. There aren’t enough milk and cookies in the world.

Here’s the thing that I should never admit: (Santa, skip on down) I don’t remember wanting a Barbie Dream House. I don’t remember asking for it. I don’t remember putting it on my Christmas list.

But the gift came and it was perfect, my Barbies and I were so excited. I completely forgot I ever wanted it.

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Advent Week 3 – A Very Ordinary Life – Joy


“Don’t be put off by the ordinariness of the means of joy, for in that ordinariness is hidden the extraordinary riches of the Gospel.”  Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas

For years I was the “run into Target for one thing, spend $100″ girl. I need this shirt, laundry detergent, a 500 pack of cards, and new measuring cups.

But then job leads dry up and so do needless shopping trips. Unemployment squeezes a lot of unnecessary out of a life.

Not too long ago, I walked into Target for the first time in nearly a year. It felt like coming back to a hometown. I knew how to navigate the aisles, but it was all so foreign.

I stayed away from Target like an alcoholic stays away from a bar. Pennies were ruthlessly counted. Retail emails had to go. I counted up how many hours I would need to work at my part-time job to pay my bills. I bought travel size toothpaste and laundry detergent with the hope that by next paycheck, I would have enough for more. One month, I slipped my rent check in the mailbox and was so overwhelmed with gratitude, I welled up with a flood of tears. I didn’t think I would have enough. I didn’t think I would make it.

(Pause: I understand how very first-world this is. I know thousands of people across the country–not to speak of the millions of people in the world who will never even know the provision of having bills to pay–live this way every day and I feel your weariness in just a small way. If I could carry every burden, to ease this for just a bit, I would. I see you.)

A lot of glitter fell off my life in those months. That’s ok. I was never meant to wear a ton of it anyway.

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Advent Week 2 – If your heart is pierced through this Christmas – Love


Last Christmas, because of extended unemployment and a dwindling bank account, I left my apartment and moved in with generous friends who have a spare room and even bigger hearts. I spent my days working a part-time retail job and padding around their house trying to will myself to open LinkedIn for yet another day.

One morning the house was quiet, the Christmas tree up, it was raining outside, and I sat down by the fireplace with a cup of coffee and a book I wanted to finish. Hurting and weary, sitting on the floor by that tree was the only thing I could muster up that day.

I believe with all my heart that season of unemployment was ordained. I was intended to sit on the sidelines for a while. The need to produce, drive and succeed needed to die and it was a slow fade. To date, this was the hardest season of my life.

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Advent Week 1: Next Year Will Be Different – Hope

My parents kept a basket of my old baby clothes in the attic. Most are handmade, smocked by my grandmother. Others are delicate and cost my family a fortune.

My parents had a garage sale recently and to my surprise, these little pieces were in the pile to be sold. Mom kept them stored away, saving them for grandchildren, my children, children I don’t have. And because too much time and fertility had passed, she was selling them along with the hope she would see me with a family.

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