Summer is a great time for light hearted reads. I love to always have a book going in the summer. Something that is easy to pick up and doesn’t force me to think too hard. I want something that is fun, enjoyable, and leaves me feeling good at the end.
I’m a sucker for blog posts where people share what they are reading. I’ve found a lot of great books that way. In that spirit, I wanted to tell you about two books that I recently finished in case you are looking for your next read.
House of Living Stones by Katie Schuermann
Want a true confession? I didn’t think I was going to like this book. It’d been on my “to read” list for awhile, but I’m not traditionally a fan of “Christian fiction.” It rarely comes across as authentic to me and there is just something about it where the plot and the Christianity feel forced. This book was different. The characters and the story were just plain fun (especially if you are a Lutheran, like me). The story was heartwarming, real, and down to earth. It was comfort food in book form. I’m looking forward to seeing what the residents of Bradbury are up to in the next installment.
On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander
This is the third book in the “A Bakeshop Mystery” series about Jules; a chef who moves back to her hometown of Ashland, Oregon to heal after her marriage falls on shaky ground. Her mother has been single handedly running the family bakeshop and is in need of some help. Jules steps in and finds a home in both the bakeshop and back in Ashland. For a sleepy small town, there always seems to be something sinister going on – and it usually leads to murder. Which gives us a fun “who done it” story while endearing us to Torte (the family bakeshop) and its staff. My sister and I have enjoyed reading this series together. The books are fun and light hearted. And a new book comes out this month! We are looking forward to cooking some of Jules’ favorite recipes and having a little party after we finish reading the new book.
So if you are looking for your next summer read, you may want to consider giving one of these two a try.
Have you read anything interesting lately? Let me know! I’d love to check out your favorites as well.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with hundreds of my LWML Iowa East District Sisters in Christ at our biennial convention. This is an organization that has been near and dear to my heart for a number of years now. Not only has it gifted me with numerous friendships, but also the opportunity to combine my monetary gifts with those of Lutheran women from around Eastern Iowa to give to missions on a greater scale than any of us could do alone.
It was a refreshing time of fun, fellowship, Bible Study, mission speakers, and more. But I think one of my favorite parts of the weekend came when I came home and unpacked my suitcase. LWML Past President, Janice Wendorf was our keynote convention speaker. One of the themes of her speech was how our Mites (mission offerings) connect us. Connect us to each other, to those our mites support, and also those who God has put in place to help reach those in need. She gave each of us a mite box and challenged us to start the conversation with someone in our life.
My Mite Box didn’t make it very far. My seven year old son, Noah pulled it out of my suitcase. I asked if he wanted a Mite Box of his own (he knows we usually just put change in the one on the kitchen counter). Excitedly he said yes.
Then we continued the conversation.
Me: “Noah, do you remember what Mites are and who they are for?”
Noah: “Yes, it is money for Jesus’ missionaries.”
Me: “Where are you going this week?”
Me: “Did you know that your camp is one of the missions that these mites support?”
This was exciting for a seven year old. A personal connection. Missionaries were not just unknown people in a far off land. They were real people that went canoeing with him, helped him catch frogs, and taught him about Jesus at Camp that very week.
Noah: “So I can put money in this box and it helps my camp?”
Me: “Yes! And so many others.”
This warmed my heart. To be able to pass along a way for my child to help serve others in his everyday life. I am thankful for a weekend with my LWML sisters that lead to me being able to have moments like this that will continue long after I return home.
noun. The act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.
With the changing of the season, comes a great time for reflection. Did you know that 2016 is now over half over? Does that excite you? Invigorate you? Scare you?
For me, it has been a great time to take a step back and evaluate how the year is going. I’ll be honest. A lot has changed in my life since I put my 2016 goals on paper last December. And that got me thinking about where I wanted to have my focus as we enter the warm summer months. The months where the kids are out of school. The months of new opportunities and adventures. Also the months of trying to balance work, life, and family a little differently than we do during the school year.
The word that kept coming to mind? Embrace.
Embracing. Accepting. Enjoying. Whatever comes my way this summer. Inviting it in. Seeing where things go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to abandon goals, hard work, and being intentional. I am just choosing to embrace the season and renew my focus to make the moments count.
This summer, I choose to:
~ Embrace Home
~ Embrace Work
~ Embrace a Change in Pace
~ Embrace Faith
~ Embrace Learning
Let’s take the journey together this summer and embrace what life has in store.
Writing is therapeutic to me. It always has been. There is something about allowing words to flow out onto the page and watching what they create that is magical. I’ve taken the past year or so off from any sort of blogging. I haven’t stopped writing. I just wasn’t doing it in a public form. I decided it was time to dip my toe back into the blogging world. Nothing fancy. Nothing earth shattering. Just me and my thoughts. So, welcome. I’m glad you are here!