Failing the 2017 Reading Challenge (And My Top 10 Books for 2018)

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I almost did it. I came so close. And yet, as the year died, defeat looked me in the eye.

Yes, I had many challenges fighting against me — several months rendered useless because my time was monopolized by ministry, and three months not even being home. But I had overcome them, I made up for what was lost, I was almost there, I almost made it — but didn’t. I didn’t complete my reading challenge. I only read 45 out of the 52-book goal that I attempted.

But all dramatics aside, my reading challenge wasn’t a failure in any sense. There’s never not a good time to read, and my commitment gave me a goal and accountability to be intentional about picking up heavy tome. Or slim e-reader, as the case may be.

Looking back now, I ran into some interesting adventures in Literary land. I had a hurdle initially trying to even organize and label all the titles I read. Where do I file The Great Divorce? As fiction, or Christian living? How do I define The Story of Reality?

I also read many things I didn’t enjoy this year (I’m looking at you, Steinbeck), things read solely because they are on the List-Of-Things-You-Are-Supposed-To-Read. I wonder if the List-Writers have ever read anything themselves. Yet, I also gave myself rein to read some light things solely for enjoyment. I found some new favorites. Good Christian dystopian fiction does actually exist. (There’s a sentence I truly believed I would never see.) I even read a book that hasn’t been published yet, as an alpha reader for a friend.

But the easy part of being a reader is the actual reading. The impossible part is answering the inevitable question. “Which was your favorite?” And I have forty-five to choose from. So, instead of attempting the impossible, I shall instead pick the cream of the crop, making both my task and my suggestions a bit more manageable.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 books from 2017. Continue reading

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Don’t Instagram Your Godliness

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This should come as no surprise to anyone, but at risk of repeating the obvious: We’re living in the internet age. We communicate through emojis, learn through videos, and keep up through pictures. We have surmounted the limitations of space, breaking her hold on us, as we can communicate just as easily with those who live across the country as with those who live across the street. But we’re not just inhabitants of the internet age. We’re Christian inhabitants of the internet age.

And we want our online identity to reflect that. We ask ourselves “If someone looked solely at my profile, would they think I’m a Christian?”

So we saturate our online selves with spirituality. We post inspirational verses edited over sunrise stock-photos. We share the coffee-and-Jesus picture. We tweet a quote from today’s devotional; we make sure we pray a nice, theological, long prayer in our group. And everyone can see very well how much we love Jesus and what good Christians we are.

Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong for us to share online so others can see our good works.

Jesus is. Continue reading

Responsible Wonder: The Dance of Adulthood | Katherine Forster

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I’m delighted to share an article from Katherine Forster! She’s a great friend and example, and I’m honored to let her share about the delicate and yet beautiful balance of adulthood today. Leave her a comment to let her know what you think, and then head on over to her blog to find more weekly wisdom and loveliness!


My mom tells me that when I was just a toddler she would go for walks with me, pushing the stroller down the sidewalk of a street down the road from our development. The other day I was biking down that same road, like I do so often now, and I passed a woman pushing a toddler in a stroller.

It was a little girl, blond like I was at that age. I waved to the mom, and as I coasted past I saw her daughter pointing at something excitedly. I didn’t notice anything of particular interest in that direction, but the little girl was laughing in obvious delight.

So much has changed since I was that little girl—and at the same time, so little. Continue reading

Reblog: I’m Useless (And That’s a Good Thing)

Throwback Tuesday, because I need to learn this lesson over and over again.
“Because you see, sometimes I can get caught up in this mindset that I’m so very useful and I can accomplish this and I can do this myself and I will do this next and I’m going to do that and I’m going to get this done and I will and I can, and —
And that’s a lot of I’s.”

Seeing Everything Else

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I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Or perhaps it’s more of a love-hate-appreciate relationship? Let me explain.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become one of those people who love to be organized (which was an immense surprise to all parties involved). I schedule my day’s activities, I sort my study materials into little folders, and even my closet is (semi) categorized by season and color. There is an immense satisfaction in checking off the boxes of my to-do list, and one by one seeing the white emptiness disappear.

But there’s a problem. I love the idea of fulfilling my to-do list, of keeping my area decluttered, of staying organized, of having these grand New Year’s resolutions that help me to better my life.

But I am an utter failure at doing so.

Because every year, about a week or so (if I’m lucky) after January 1st, after we’ve all…

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New Year’s! Remembering 2017

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We’re officially closer to 2030 than we are to 2000. That’s disconcerting.

Happy New Year! (*balloons, confetti*) Here at the beginning of this new year, I wanted to take a quick break from our regular seriousness to chat with you guys. Because it’s been a while since we’ve talked. So let’s sit down together on the couch with our coffee (and me with my hot chocolate) and reminisce about our year together.

(Actually, how about you sit on your couch and I’ll sit on mine, not because of the limits of technology, but because I am currently quarantined to my room coughing my lungs out. Hence the lighter tone of this, because I start spouting nonsense when I’m tired. But somehow very logical nonsense. Anyways.)

Writing

2017 was a big writing year for me. I became a regular contributor for the Rebelution. I was asked to join TCB’s writing team. I wrote 52 articles in 52 weeks. (Though being honest, that number was made by doing several in one week and none for two months.) But perhaps the one accomplishment that makes me inordinately happy is the fact that I just realized that Seeing Everything Else has a very suitable acronym, which I shall now use to make my life easier in so many ways. Because Seeing Everything Else is a mouthful, but SEE is nice and manageable. And ties in really well. And was completely unplanned. So yes, it makes me happy.

There’s also a lot of new faces. And when I say a lot, I mean SEE just hit over 200 followers before 2018. (Thank you guys, you’re amazing!) So I don’t know as many of you as well as I’d like. But I want to. What are you learning right now? How are you growing? What’s God been teaching you? Who do you think is the best Avenger? (It’s Cap, by the way.) Comment, shoot me an email, let me know!

Life:

2017 was just a very big year for me generally too. I thought this would be a year of quietness, a year of waiting. So I was prepared for that. But God surprised me. I had some massive events and privileges, such as Continue reading