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Friday Favorites

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August, you are a bit like swimming with a strong undertow. There I am kicking and splashing about in the waves and suddenly, woosh, I feel like I’m getting sucked under. School is now in full swing, and the calendar feels much fuller. Last week, over spicy shrimp and sweet potato fries (and with a crisp unexpected August breeze) my bestie and I talked for a long time about margin and schedules and calendar and keeping sanity for us and our families. It’s a hard thing, a tension to be managed and not a problem to be solved my pastor would say.  But it’s one I’m praying about a lot–how to protect sacred moments around the dinner table and how to remember the Sabbath. I learned a long time ago that when you feel a strong undertow pulling you under it’s best not to fight and scream and freak out. Relax and hold tight, and it will spit you out into calmer water so you can swim again. Here’s to slow meals and good books and pouring into those around us.

Here are some favorites recently…

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker: The chapter on fashion will make you need Depends, and the chapter on the church will hit you in the gut. Jen Hatmaker writes with hilarity that cannot be matched, but her passion for loving well is what always gets me. (Also, the beef bourguignon recipe is a game changer. I’m making it for the second weekend in a row.)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: WWII stories are my favorite, and this one is so wonderful I would have finished it in one night if I knew staying up that late wouldn’t make me a complete grouch the next day. If you liked The Book Thief, I think you’ll love this one.

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor: Heather recommended this one, and she knows what I love. This is a beautiful story of love, loss, and family. Such a great read.

You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan: I read this one out loud to Matt on the way to Alabama a few weeks ago. Like all of Francis Chan’s books, he hits you hard in a no-fluff-this-is-what-it-means-to-die-to-self kind of way. It’s a different kind of marriage book, the kind that focuses not on two people but elevates the gospel and the mission to make disciples.

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith: This is our first read-aloud book of the year for school. We are only about one quarter of the way through it, but it’s a riveting story of two sibling bunnies Picket and Heather. It’s filled with lots of adventure, the words are gorgeous, and it keeps the attention of kids and adults alike.

The Frugal Paleo Cookbook by Ciarra Hannah: Whether you eat strictly paleo or not, this cookbook has a lot of easy, inexpensive recipes. Our favorite so far–the teriyaki stackers with grilled pineapple!

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman: A call to enjoy the ordinary moments of life, this book has me thinking. I sent this quote from Simply Tuesday to two of my best friends this week…

To sit on a bench is to keep company with Abraham who, along with Sarah, tried to control the promise God made of an heir. But God told him it wouldn’t happen by Abraham’s effort or planning. Instead, he took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Our part is not making the promise come true. Our part is to count the stars.

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