I’m a sucker for a “Best of” list and this time of year there are plenty to go around. It was a good year for good books. Stories are my drug of choice and I lost myself in a few really great ones this year.
Before the holidays kick into full swing, here are a few of my favorite reads in 2017. Whether you need a good distraction from your family gatherings, or if you have readers on your gift list this year, I hope this helps make book-buying a little easier.
Continue reading “Favorite Books of 2017”
The day I left my job at NewSpring, Katelyn knocked on my door with a bag full of Chick-Fil-A stress food. I was in shock, not yet as sad as would be, not yet feeling anything. I believe I cried a bit, but nothing like what would come.
I lived in a condo on Lake Hartwell and the living room faced the water. Katelyn sat on one couch, me on the other. I remember staring at the water. I just remember looking through the trees at the water.
I worked at NewSpring for nearly eight years. I tight-fisted that idol-job until it broke me. I sported the self-inflicted wounds of pride, perfectionism, fear and I can still smell the relational carnage I left in my wake.
Now, here we were on a day in mid-March watching the sunset over the water, taking the tiniest steps toward healing. Food wrappers littered around and the light fading away, Katelyn broke a silence.
“Do you want an easy life or do you want a better story?”
“A better story,” I said.
Continue reading “If you’ve ever been bruised, bloody and pushed back out to fight again….”
Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?
It’s been a while. I’m still alive.
Very much so: I started a new job, tried to buy a house, aborted said house plan, rented another, moved and started another brand new shiny job.
Would all major life events please form an orderly queue? One at a time, please.
My hair is a bit grayer and my eyes a more tired, but onward.
It will be much too complicated (read, boring) to detail the two-jobs-in-four months deal, but I will say that both have been huge blessing, both coming at the exact time. And my previous employer understood exactly why I had to leave to take my current job. I had to leave because I had to write.
And that’s the bottom line of it all. I spend most of every day writing and telling stories. I talked to a lovely lady today, tomorrow I’ll chat with another person with another interesting story. Hopefully the next day and the next and the next as well.
I’ve been writing, but just not here.
Continue reading “Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?”
Welcome, 2017 with all your fresh, blank-page, newness.
Here we all sit, with journal lines, computer screens, new books, and plans.
Ask around and I bet we can find a few people who have set a “word of the year.” I think it’s our way of breaking free of New Year Resolution bondage. I wonder if we set these words over our years because they have been bouncing around in our hearts for a while and it is only post-holidays that we give ourselves space enough to breathe and take inventory. The things that are lacking ten to show themselves a bit more. We were anxious for most of last year, so our word for 2017 needs to be peace, for example.
It’s never been that way for me. When I pray and listen, the words, phrases or verses the Lord gives me will make little to no sense here at the start.
This is terrifying.
Several years ago I could not let go of the word JOY and as cheery as that sounds, it was one of the hardest years of my life. Joyful yes, but extremely hard. Lasting fruit is often forged in this most desperate circumstances. I never saw the battle of that year coming as I sat on my comfy couch in January.
This blog is a place of accountability for me. I want to tell stories, mine, yours, strangers, whomever. And I want to grow this little space this year. The question I ask myself before posting is, “would I tell this around a table?” and if so, I want to flesh it out – all the good and
bad honest. If I’m telling a story, or talking about books or recipes, it’s evidence I’m writing, reading, cooking, and listening. If I’m writing about it, I’m showing up and actually experiencing life.
This means I need to be brave.
I am not brave.
Continue reading “Brave and Behold”
Disclaimer: I’m not a critic (though if anyone is looking for a willing reviewer, I’m raising my hand) but I love books and I read some really fantastic writing this year.
I did not get to every book I wanted to read this year. I have some highly recommended books I’ll start over Christmas (more on those later) but listed below are the favorites of the ones I did read this year. I’ve also included a section on books I didn’t love, love, love, but maybe you will. Just because a book wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.When we have a spare chunk of time or brainpower, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the choices of books. My hope is you can jump off from the recommendations here and find something you will love. Books are investments of time. We all want to invest well.
Here are my favorite reads of 2016:
– I’ve said lots of words about my love for this book. Not just a favorite of 2016, but a favorite of all time
– I don’t want to say too much about this other than it is so compelling and worth every second of time.
Another Brooklyn – Jacqueline Woodson. Gah. I just can’t get over anything she writes. This book beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Honorable mention: Last Ride to Graceland – Like a road trip through my childhood. If you are from the south, this book will ring lots of bells.
Continue reading “Favorite Books of 2016”