So sorry, I've been absent for a few days...I know you're probably wondering when I'm ever going to move on from my birthday!?!? The truth is, I'm still celebrating (why not?) but I'm reigning it back in and trying to get "back to business!"
I got a very generous gift card for 2 of our very favorite restaurants, so we've been eating out like crazy for the last few days and now I've decided that I'm officially sick of eating out. It's great not to cook and grocery shop and clean up, but after awhile of it, there's only so much that sounds good from a menu. So tonight we've been laying low at home. I cooked dinner, Travis and Ryley went for a run, we've played wii, we've checked email, I've scrapbooked...all in all, a pretty good night. What I haven't done however, is everything I should be doing. You know...laundry, bills, cleaning, looking for Travis' passport, etc...things like that. I guess I figured it can wait because it will all be there tomorrow. I've decided that sometimes you just need a night to play tennis with your husband...even if it's via a gaming system.
I've got several things I could blog about, none of which seem very exciting at the moment. So, in an effort to come up with something, I will choose the subject of great books.
I have been meaning to share some of the books I've been reading lately because I've been on a really good streak. As a general rule, I almost never read fiction. I don't have anything against it, but I just don't enjoy it. I like books that explain things, that challenge me to think deeply or that tell a true story about someone's life. I am not into books that aren't true. I know that's weird, and many people have tried to convince me to dabble into fiction...if I had a dime for every person that has suggested "Redeeming Love" by Francene Rivers, I'd be rich...but, I'm sticking to my guns for now and choosing my biographies instead! So here are a few books that I've recently finished and that I highly recommend:
#1- Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
I've read this one before, but felt like it would be a good refresher to read on vacation. It's an incredible read about our calling as women. Great chapters about being a wife, a mother, and a woman who loves the Lord. It's very convicting...I always read it and walk away with something that I need to work on. This time, I was very convicted about what time I get up in the morning and how I use or waste my time. I'm still working on that one, but it has motivated me to start my days in a wiser way. As a fun side note, because I read this almost entirely while laying poolside, it now smells like sunscreen and chlorine! Two of my favorite smells!
#2- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Travis and I were each given this little devotional book by our friends, Michael and Roberta, while we were in Naples. We LOVED it immediately and we've both been using it everyday since we returned home. It is a great little book, packed with very powerful reminders about who God is and what his word says to us. I love it because it's written from God's point of view, as if he's writing or speaking to us individually. I've written down so many great lines from this book already...it's basically a good reminder about the promises of God. Each day has just a short devotional, centered on a theme of some sort, and then it lists the verses it was drawn from. It's a great springboard for your quiet time if you're looking for something new. This is probably my favorite devotional book in a long time.
#3- Standing Tall by C. Vivian Stringer
I just finished this book last week and I LOVED it cover to cover. For those of you who like college basketball, or women's sports, you would love it. Holly Shelton, I'm talking to you here!! I chose it for a couple of reasons. First, Coach Stringer used to coach my beloved Hawkeyes at the University of Iowa and she is cherished in Hawkeye land. She took the Hawkeyes to the Final Four and she won the Big Ten conference several times. Secondly, I knew she had overcome some kind of personal tragedies, but I wasn't sure what. Let me just say now, I had no idea the level of sorrow this lady has endured. One of her greatest losses was that of her husband, who died suddenly of a heart attack, while they were in Iowa. She felt the need to move not too much later, because she was so devestated and she could not escape all their memories there. She got a job at Rutgers, where she is today, and some of you may remember her as the coach of the team that Don Imus now famously degraded with his racist comments. After reading this, I am almost certain that she is a believer in Christ. I would describe her as a picture of grace and dignity in the face of unbelievable trials. She is a history making coach...the only coach, male or female, to take three seperate teams to the ncaa finals. She has an incredible reputation among her collegues, her players, and her critics. There are few women like her in the athletic world and I have such tremendous respect for what she's been through and how she's held her head high regardless. If you are a sports fan, get this book. It will inspire you and challenge you. She is the kind of coach any parent would dream about entrusting their daughter to and the kind of coach any player would be privileged to be mentored by. Amazing.
#4- Mistaken Identity by Don & Susie Van Ryn, Newell, Colleen & Whitney Cerak, and Mark Tabb
I am currently reading this book, after seeing this unbelievable story on the Today show, Dateline, and Oprah. It's the story of the two girls who were mistakenly identified after a horrible car crash at Taylor University. What is so amazing about it, is that both families are Christians and they have handled an incredibly devestating situation with grace and forgiveness and strength that can only come from the Lord. We saw their story on tv and we both agreed, we were awed at how the love of the Lord radiated in them, in the midst of their worst nightmare. The fact that no lawsuits have been filed, or even mentioned, and that they are able to move forward not as enemies, but as true friends is incredible. It's been a great read so far, I'll let you know when I finish it.
So there you go, some of my favorite and recently read books. I have great plans to post about a few other things this week, but we'll see if that happens or not! Also, stay tuned because this blog may be a bit of a mess in the coming days. I'm trying like crazy to get some updating and blog re-decorating done, but I know it will probably take a few days to get it all back together. So hang in there with me and hope for a better outcome! Have a great Wednesday tomorrow!