Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : 2016

Hey-o! It's New Years Eve. Time to bust a recap of my reading accomplishments for 2016. And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I read every book on my list (except one) and then some. My official goal for this year was to read 20 books. #nailedit
I also had a secret goal which was to read 24 books. #nailedthattoo
Granted, I read three full novels in the last week alone, but goals are goals and if the housework has to take a hit in order for me to achieve them, then that's just a sacrifice I'm willing to make. The only book from my original list that I decided to give up on was In Their Own Voices by Simon & Roorda. After our adoption came to an end in May, I lost the motivation to continue that one, and I don't really feel bad about it. 

So without further ado, here's a little review of everything I read this year:

Obviously, I read the majority of this book prior to 2016, but I couldn't quite wrap it up by the end of last year. It was a real hallelujah moment when I turned the last page on this one.

So good! I can't believe I had never read this one before.

Couldn't put this one down. Probably the most thrilling thing I read this year.

Not gonna lie, kindof a let-down after all the hype surrounding this little play, but it was still good. I mean, it's Shakespeare after all. 

A re-read (duh) and completely lovely (as usual).

Still feels awkward telling you people I read a sex book this year, but the truth is the truth and this may have been the most encouraging thing I read this year.

I think this may have been the longest book I read this year (not including TR since I read most of that one before this year), but it was excellent.

So nice to read a manageable biography after slugging through TR for such a long time. I'd love to read more from Joseph J. Ellis.


Possibly my favorite read for the year. I loved this book.


Such a fun one! It was like going on summer vacay with my high school girlfriends that I haven't seen in forever. 



Perfect October read. After I finally made it through that dadgum introduction, I couldn't put this one down. I highly recommend reading it during the month of October.



Y'all. The next two books in The Baby Years are both coming out next year. April and October according to this blog post. They're taking up two valuable slots on my 2017 book list, but I am so excited!!

Chilling. Possibly the most unconventional book I've ever read. 

Meh. Whatever.

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan : completed 12/23
Beautiful, beautiful book. I haven't written a recap of this one (or any of the final ones on this list) because I just finished it a week ago (and I've pretty much been reading non-stop the whole rest of this week), so consider this a mini-recap of The Pilgrim's Progress. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to get through this one this year but a little determination goes a long way. I absolutely loved this book, but it's not one I could get through very quickly. I had to stop and digest it bit by bit. My favorite part of Part I (Christian's journey) was his capture by the Giant Despair and his subsequent escape from Doubting Castle. My favorite part of Part II (Christiana's and her children's journey) was hearing the stories of characters such as Mr. Fearing, Mr. Feeble-mind, Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid reminding me how tender my sweet Lord is and how I should live without fear. We've got several Wednesdays in January already dedicated to quotes from this classic work. Again: beautiful book.

Child of Grace by Irene Hannon : completed 12/24
This one was loaned to me, and I wanted to read and return it before the year was over. Totally a generic Christian romance, and I totally read it in less than 24 hours. #cantstopwontstop

Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber : completed 12/28
Another loaner. First Debbie Macomber book I've ever read. It was about a wife leaving her husband a list of 3 women she wanted him to consider dating and marrying after she passed away. Interesting, but the characters were difficult to like, and can someone tell me why this whole opposites-attract, we-hate-each-other's-guts-but-then-somehow-end-up-together storyline has caught on and become such a common plot for movies and books? I mean, is that the way it happens for anyone in real life? It's tired, and I don't buy it.

Gardenias for Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn : completed 12/29
This was my personal reward book. I decided back when I bought this book in July that if I finished everything on my list, I could read this one--but only after I finished everything else. DONE! Reading Gardenias for Breakfast was like taking my own private little victory lap. And what a precious book to end the year with, too. I was crying sweet heart tears at the end of this mother-daughter story. Y'all already know I feel this way, but RJG can do no wrong.

So there you have it. 24 books in 12 months. Fun fact: the three novels I read this past week all had significant characters named Hannah in them. My name has never really been a super-popular one, so I found that out of the ordinary. What have you read this year? Anything worth recommending? Have you accomplished any goals or resolutions this year that you're proud of? I hope so, and I hope you enjoy bringing in 2017 tonight with the ones you love. Check back tomorrow for my 2017 book list and see ya next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"Certainly, war meant dying, but it always shifted the ground beneath a person's feet when it was someone who had once lived and breathed in close proximity."

~from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak~
image credit: Daily Kos

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Florida

Since the very beginning of our marriage, Cody and I have talked about seeing all 50 states together. It's a big Bucket List item for us, and we decided this year that we needed to start working toward it. Even though we've traveled to several different states together for various reasons, we decided to define our parameters for this Bucket List goal of ours and start making it happen. Here's what we decided:
  • We will do at least one specific, unique activity in each state.
  • We will purpose to visit at least one new state each year. Preferably more, but at least one.
  • We will buy a T-shirt from every single state with the goal of one day making a cozy T-shirt blanket to commemorate our success. In the meantime, fun wardrobe options.
  • We will create an All-American scrapbook of our adventures with a spread from each state, and I will also create a blog post for each state.
That's pretty much it. Not complicated, but definitely measurable and super-fun. And of course, we decided to start at home. So the weekend of my birthday, we traveled down to the Keys, stayed in a little "cottage" on Marathon, and spent one whole day on Key West checking out the Southernmost Point, eating the freshest fish straight out of the Caribbean, ducking in and out of funky gift shops, laughing at how many crazy roosters are all over that island, and watching the Mallory Square performers at sunset try to swindle us out of our money. Too bad we never carry cash.


Florida : done.

Have you visited all 50 states? Do you care to? What's your favorite one?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."

~from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak~

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Tuesday Confession

This will be my longest confession to date.
It's actually a double-confession of sorts.
Part I : one of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting Christmas cards in the mail.
There's something so magical and spectacular about opening your mailbox and seeing a stack of personal cards instead of credit card applications and coupons to Pet Supermarket.
Since we've been married, I have never thrown away a single Christmas card we've received.
I am the extreme opposite of a packrat, and I absolutely detest clutter. 
But there is a special drawer in my house just for Christmas cards. 
I love them.
Part II : I always keep one of our own Christmas cards each year.
They're pretty, they cost money, and they're a fun little recap of our year together.
And even though I have obsessively affectionately kept every Christmas card we've ever received, I realize that the average person probably does not have the same affinity for Christmas cards that I do, and they probably don't treasure our Christmas card for the rest of their lives.
And I don't expect them to.
Well, not entirely anyway.

Is this the craziest confession I've made yet?
Can we still be friends, and more importantly, will you still send me a Christmas card now that you know this about me?
Is there anyone else out there who keeps their own Christmas cards? I cannot possibly be the only person on this planet who does that, right?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : Talking As Fast As I Can

Well, y'all, completing this book means I have officially made my 20-book goal for the year. *waits for thunderous applause to die down* Are you proud of me? For those of you wondering what the heck happened to The Pilgrim's Progress (I see you, Dad, Oakie), no worries. I'm still determined and on-track to finish it before the end of 2016. 

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham was just released like, 2 seconds ago so I definitely felt very in and current giving it a read, but honestly, it was just meh. Not to be ugly, but I think Lauren Graham is way funnier scripted which I guess shouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world. I'm somewhat of a fan of Gilmore Girls, and yes, I marathon-ed A Year In The Life the day after Thanksgiving and to be honest about that, overall I was disappointed with the revival, and I've officially decided that the entire series should have ended with Rory's high school graduation from Chilton so I could love the show unreservedly. But I digress. That's a post for another day and probably another blog since this blog is supposed to be about books. Back to the matter at hand: I picked up this book because it seemed fun, and I thought perhaps I could gain some insight into that trainwreck of a revival. 

But all in all, the whole book was very trite and clichéd. It read like one big, gushing thank you letter to the universe, and I felt like I had already read everything the book had to offer online. In the book, Lauren says, "As an actor person, as well as a person person, I don't think I naturally exude competence. I exude more of an 'I'm kind of winging it here, but isn't this fun?' type of vibe." And that's exactly how this whole book reads--like she was just winging it and it got patched together and now let's sell it because hey! Celebrity! Beloved TV character! Anything she writes will sell! Which is ironic because she also talks in this book about how her editor said they could sell a sub-par book by her because of her status, but that she had real potential and they could do better than that. 

I did enjoy the fashion chapter. Most of that was genuinely amusing. So there's that. And the book was easy to read. But as a whole, I would not recommend this book. Unless you are the biggest Lauren Graham fan in the entire universe and you haven't read or seen anything about the promotion of this book, I don't really know why you'd want to read it. Just my honest opinion. 

Do you like reading books by celebrities about themselves? Do you have any that you would recommend? I think the only other one I've ever really read was Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos which I actually really liked, but it wasn't even on my radar. I just happened upon it in a used bookstore and picked it up because #adoption. Are you a fan of Gilmore Girls? What did you think of A Year In The Life?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Casual Fridays

Basically just this. Because if I was this talented at anything, that's all I'd do all day long. Wow.


Oh, and Army beat Navy. What?! This has been some year. Donald Trump is our President-elect, the Cubs won the World Series, and now Army beats Navy? Come, Lord Jesus.


Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, the blog hit 20,000 views sometime this weekend. 
So thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"God only knows what the human heart can experience in a space of time that men call hours."

~from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss~

Happy Birthday to my Kindred Spirit!

Happy Birthday, Caroline! I love you forever!
Kamakura ~ July '16

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"I may suffer, I must suffer, He means it, He wills it, but let it be without repining, without gloomy despondency. The world is full of sorrow; it is not I alone who taste its bitter draughts, nor have I the only right to a sad countenance. Oh, for patience to bear on, cost what it may!"

~from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss~

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. What a cold, grey, hard book. Set during World War II. Narrated by Death. 

Yeah. What else can I even say? 

Because the narrator is Death himself, I was immediately intrigued. And you know what? Zusak's writing made me believe that Death was really telling the story. It was compelling, unconventional, and a bit disturbing. After the first few pages, I thought he surely wouldn't be able to keep up that unorthodox style of writing throughout the entirety of the novel, but he did. Markus Zusak definitely has a gift.

In The Book Thief, we learn that Liesel Meminger is a girl that Death has seen three times, and although Death, as he informs us, tries hard not to take notice of "the survivors", for some reason, Liesel Meminger grabs his attention, and after his third encounter with her, he takes her discarded journal and learns her story. In The Book Thief, he tells that story.

When we first meet Liesel, she is almost 10 years old. As Death concludes his account, she is 14 years old, half a woman. And then there is an epilogue allowing us to catch a brief glimpse of what the rest of her life was like. Between the prologue and epilogue, The Book Thief is divided into 10 parts, each made up of several chapters.

Obviously, this was a fictional account of a made-up person, but because it was set during the very real historical event of World War II, it was difficult to read, especially toward the end. There was nothing imaginary about the Führer, the fear, the helplessness, the absolute cruelty toward and extermination of the Jewish people. What a devastating time in our not-so-distant past.

I would highly recommend this book. While it does contain some difficult content and there is a bit of coarse language throughout (though I think even the language was appropriate to the story and not at all gratuitous), it was well-written and gripping. Definitely worth your time. When I posted my book list at the beginning of this year, I had a friend comment that The Book Thief is one of the best modern classics she has read in a while. And I absolutely agree.

Have you read The Book Thief? What is the best book you have read lately? 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Casual Fridays

Listen, y'all. My family wins at gifting. And the funniest thing about that is: I don't think "Gifts" is even the love language of anyone in my family. But we love each other a lot, we love spending time together and talking and knowing everything about each other so that naturally comes out in our gift-giving. Remember earlier this year when I just randomly received Gerald in the mail? Remember the gorgeous books my husband got me for my birthday? And I haven't even told you about how I never used to wear jewelry at all until my mommy(in-law) started finding me jewelry that I actually love and wear all the time now. They just get me. 

And this year, my Mom wins. I mean, my Mom wins all day, every day, forever and ever amen, but this year, the birthday present she gave me rendered me speechless and made me cry. Remember way back to this post when I off-handedly mentioned that I always wanted a Hushabye Mountain music box like the one from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
It plays Hushabye Mountain.

And you wind it by cranking the windmill.

I am in love with this music box.

Have you seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?? His workshop is INSIDE THE WINDMILL

My Mom didn't just casually keep her eye out for some music box that played Hushabye Mountain. She actively searched for one, ordered it from England, found this beautiful wooden music box, and then hunted down a person who could take the Hushabye Mountain song out of the music box it was originally in and put it into the windmill music box. She's been working on this gift for months.

And she kept it all a secret. 

I play it everyday.
Thank you, Mom! I love you forever!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"...God's children please Him just as well when they sit patiently with folded hands, if that is His will, as when they are hard at work."

~from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss~

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Tuesday Confession

I prefer the chicken sandwiches from Wendy's over the chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-a.
Stone me if you want, but it's true.
They're not as oily, and they don't taste like pickles.
They're just better, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

What's your favorite fast food joint?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"...God notices the most trivial act, accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service, listens to the coldest, feeblest petition, and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts at good works. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He loves us, what different creatures we should be!"

~from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss~

Monday, November 21, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : Sandy Toes

* SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS *
Y'all.

My BFF Christy (Miller) Spencer had her baby ON my birthday AND named her after me.

Yes, I'm totally serious.

I can not even.

My life is complete.

Recap done.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Casual Fridays

You guys. It came late Tuesday afternoon, and I had enough self-restraint to wait until Wednesday morning to open it. 

But then I read that whole dang book.

I was up until 4 AM.

Even though I had to be up for work at 7:45 AM.

Newsflash: I do not bounce back from an all-night reading party like I used to.

#totallyworthit
#noregrets

Check back for the recap Monday.



These shaggy, dirt-tracking messes got haircuts this week! Don't they look handsome? The groomer put Tennessee Vols bandanas on them this time around. Why a groomer in Winter Haven, FL is putting Tennessee bandanas on their canine clientele is a mystery to me. They're lucky I grew up with a father from the Volunteer State. If those dogs had been wearing Gator bandanas, we'd be looking for a new groomer.


My husband seriously outdid himself with the birthday spoiling this year. Look at these breathtaking books with their classic illustrations! They're gorgeous! I have a big-time crush on my new books, and I am starting to have an actual crisis about creating my book list for 2017. I really don't know how I'm going to do it. I'm trying to keep my list for next year shorter (as in like, 12 books total), but I just want to read ALL THE THINGS! Help.




What's on your agenda for the weekend?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Our Sweet Girl!

Happy Birthday, Shallot! We love you forever, precious girl!
I'd like to take today to direct your attention to the right side of your screen (if you are viewing my blog on your phone, you're going to need to scroll down to the bottom and change to the web view). Have you noticed that Compassion box? As you can see, I share a birthday with our darling girl Shallot. She lives in Uganda, and today, she turns 9. We love her dearly and pray for her consistently. We write her letters, and she writes us back. I would encourage you to consider sponsoring a child in need. You will change his or her life for the better and fall in love in the process. We hope to be able to visit Shallot one day, but we may never get to hug her this side of Heaven. If you have questions about how this all works, I would love to talk to you more about this amazing ministry. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."

~from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne~

Monday, November 14, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : Stepping Heavenward

Be not deceived by this small-looking book. To quote Shakespeare, "though she be but little, she is fierce."

Written in 1869 by American author Elizabeth Prentiss who is probably best known for penning the words to the sweet hymn "More Love to Thee, O Christ", this book was given to me by a precious woman in my life a few months before I turned 14 years old. I know that I read this book (or at least the majority of this book) when it was given to me, and I know that I enjoyed it, but I really didn't remember too much about it which is why I was eager to stick it on a book list right away. I didn't get to it last year, but I'm glad I put it back on this year's list to read. It was....I don't even have a word for what it was! Beautiful. Inspiring. Relatable. Emotional. Companionable. All these words are true of this book, but they somehow miss the mark. Is there a word that encompasses all these and touches on something a little deeper? I don't know, but let me do my best to try to unpack this one.

To start with, I'm actually going to share what's printed on the back of my copy. As a general rule, I never read the backs of books (and thanks to this rule, I didn't even realize this book comes highly recommended by one of my favorite ladies!), but I think it's a good place to start for our recap:
"How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen!" writes Katherine in her brand-new journal on January 15, 1831. Her heartfelt words mark the start of your own unforgettable journey following Katherine as her life unfolds from sweet sixteen to her grown-up later years. As she learns that true happiness is found in giving oneself to others, you, too, will be immeasurably encouraged to step heavenward--to live with greater godliness, humility, tranquillity, and hope.
"This book is a treasure of both godly and womanly wisdom told with disarming candor and humility, yet revealing a deep heart's desire to know God. We need such intimate accounts, need them desperately when the word commitment is so little understood and so seldom practiced. I do not hesitate to recommend it to men, who need to better understand the wives they live with, and to any woman who wants to walk with God." 
Who wrote that glowing recommendation, you ask? None other than Elisabeth Elliot herself. And I didn't even realize it till I was probably more than halfway through this little treasure!

Stepping Heavenward is a fictional young lady's journal, and the whole book is written as such with a few excerpts from letters here and there to fill in some of the blanks. Like a true journal, there are sections where Katherine writes nearly every day, but there are also long stretches where she goes for months or even years without writing. 

What I truly loved about this book was how every word rang true. I found myself wondering if some of these pages weren't taken from my own heart's journal which was especially encouraging as I read about Katherine's constant struggle to consistently grow her faith in and love for God. It made me realize that perhaps I'm not the only one who constantly feels like I'm taking one step forward only to fall three steps back on this journey to Heaven.

Not only did I relate to Katherine on a spiritual level, I totally got her on a personal level as well. The revelations and lessons she learned from sweet 16 through marriage to a man and the emotions that go along with every single one were so on point. I cringed, laughed, fumed, rolled my eyes, and cried right along with her to the very last page. It's nice knowing we're not completely alone in this world and that our little struggles aren't really so uncommon. 

I echo Elisabeth Elliot's recommendation almost unreservedly. I do have one exception to make for women my heart is especially tender toward. If you are a woman who is longing for children and as yet God hasn't fulfilled that desire, this may not be the book for you right now. I know I personally had to put this book down at times and take my bruised heart to my loving Savior. When you're doing your best to "step heavenward" and you come across a line like, "And do people call it living who never had any children?"...it hurts a little. 

But the message this book ultimately conveys is that God uniquely gifts people with their own tailor-made trials and tribulations to refine each one and bring them closer to Himself. That includes the childless, the barren. So if you can handle it, I definitely think you should read it. But if this happens to be an area where you're struggling to keep your head above water, where you're doing your absolute best to not get discouraged or become bitter--hold off on this book for a while.

For the rest of you: dive in. It's a good one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Casual Fridays

Alright, listen. We're doing another Photo-Prompted Post today because, let's be honest, it's just easy. So sit back and enjoy the ride.
First of all, I got this e-mail yesterday, and oh my gosh I'm excited which is why it is the obvious choice for our first photo today. According to Robin's blog, this book releases November 25. So what does this mean?! That I'm getting the book prior to the release date?? If you'll remember, I was a tad distressed last year when my pre-ordered Christy book didn't show up until 2 days after the release date. I don't want to get my hopes up or anything, but if my book is on its way, it might be here in time for my birthday next week! I'll update you as soon as that Tracking Number goes active. Because I know this is just as important to you as it is to me, right?
**Update: Expected delivery is November 18th. That's this coming Friday! I'm freaking out over here!**
While we're on the topic of books, let me introduce you to my new favorite book in the whole world. (Yeah, I know, take that last statement with a grain of salt, whatever. Currently, it's my favorite book ever.) I alluded to my birthday in the last paragraph and my husband has already started spoiling me. He gave me this gorgeous collection of poems, songs, and lullabies selected by Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. It is illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings by James McMullan, and it comes with a CD of Julie Andrews reading some of her favorite poems. I'm a bit of a poetry nut and when Cody let me open this present, I proceeded to sit, absolutely enthralled, for at least an hour flipping through the pages, reading Julie Andrews' introductions to each of the 9 sections, admiring the artwork, visiting with some old favorites, and discovering some new ones. I love it.
Speaking of Cody, he and I went to the Switchfoot/Relient K concert last Friday, and it was awesome. One of Cody's birthday presents this year was this VIP experience which included meeting Switchfoot and hanging with them during their sound check before the show. The event was at a very hipster courtyard type venue in downtown St. Pete and we stood for hours on Friday between waiting in line, the VIP stuff, and the actual show, and my legs were killing me for 3 straight days after, but it was totally worth it. The concert rocked hard.
Oh yes. Yes, I did. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios?! You know I snatched those off the shelf as soon as my eyes lighted on them. And you also know Cody does not like the pumpkin flavored things so these morsels of absolute delight have been mine all mine.
And since I mentioned my pumpkin spice obsession, I need to commemorate my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season provided by my BFF Danette. She dropped in the other day for a sweet visit bearing my favorite hot beverage. What a pal. We have another friend date planned for this weekend. Friends are the best (especially my friends).
Before we leave the topic of pumpkins altogether, check out our most recent accomplishment in the puzzle department. This may have been our most difficult puzzle yet even though it was only (note my use of the "sarcastic font") 700 pieces instead of 1000. Who knew there were so many subtly varying shades of orange?

And now for photos of my dogs because I mean, really, what is this blog even about? Books or my dogs? I'll let you figure that one out. I don't even really have anything to say about them today but just indulge me.
Moving on, let's wrap this post up with one last photo. We have been having open-all-the-windows weather lately, and I can't get enough of it. It's been beautiful outside, and it's fall, and I've been burning all the spicy-scented candles and drinking all the apple cider and eating things like honey-soaked cornbread for breakfast. I love Florida. Life is sweet.
What are you loving about life right now?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"Love, whether newly born, or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create a sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world."

~from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne~

Monday, November 7, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : Secrets of the Blessed Man

You guys, it's getting serious over here. I am on track to meet my 20-book goal this year. 16 down, 4 to go. And I'm actually already about halfway through The Pilgrim's Progress so it's actually more like 16 down, 3 and 1/2 to go. I'm giving my book list the business

I read Secrets of the Blessed Man in 3 days starting on October 27th and finishing on October 29th. It's a simple, straightforward book, and I was not only encouraged reading it, I was also challenged. 

If you'll remember: last year I read a biography about my Grampa (written by my Dad), this year I read a book by my Grampa, Paul Norman Tassell. Secrets of the Blessed Man is an exposition of Psalm 1. There are six chapters in this book: one for each verse in Psalm 1. At the beginning of each chapter is an outline of what is covered in that chapter. I'm not sure if these were actually just a collection of sermons that he preached through, but they certainly could have been.

My Grampa's writing actually reminds me a lot of Elisabeth Elliot's writing (and you should know by now how much I appreciate her). They both present the truth from God's Word in a no-nonsense style, and because they write the truth, their writing is always relevant even years later. Secrets of the Blessed Man was written in 1966, but as I was reading, I once again came to the conclusion that there is nothing new under the sun. We're still struggling with the same things in 2016 that people were struggling with 50 years ago in 1966. We still hear the same old arguments against the Bible in the name of science. We still see people putting their hope in politicians (can I get an "Amen"?). We still feel the scorn of ungodly people when we say our faith is in God and His Word. It was encouraging to read this book and be reminded that I am Separate from this world, Stable where God's planted me in this world, and Secure in my salvation. I was also challenged reading this book and being reminded how important the Study of God's Word is for the believer, how the ungodly are like Stubble, and how the unrighteous will be brought to Shame. I'll admit that evangelizing the lost is something I struggle with, but it is the call of every believer and my Grampa was passionate about it. Along with the clear message of the Gospel, the challenge to share it with the whole world was prominent in this book.

If you didn't catch it in that last paragraph, my Grampa was the KING of alliteration. Definitely a beneficial skill for a pastor to employ because it undeniably aids in memory. This book was rich with not only alliteration, but Scripture as well. I don't think there was a single page in this book that didn't quote God's Word. My Grampa did not rely on his own wisdom or knowledge to explain Psalm 1 or to drive his point home, he went back to the Bible which needs no defense or help from us. 

I would absolutely encourage you to read this book whether you're a Christian or not, and if you are a Christian, I'd encourage you to share it with an unsaved friend or family member you've been praying for. Like I mentioned before, the Gospel and the Way to salvation is clearly presented in this book, and if reading this book doesn't prompt them to make a decision about eternity, it might at least be a good springboard for you to discuss that with them further. 

If you've been saved by God's grace, what is the most encouraging thing (outside of the Bible) that you've read? Or who is an author that challenges you in your faith? If you haven't been saved, please find someone to talk to about all of this. It's the most important thing you can do. If you don't have someone in your life that knows God personally, please feel free to e-mail me at hannah(dot)hancock87(at)gmail(dot)com. I would love to send you a Bible and start a conversation with you about Jesus and how he is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. 

Be blessed.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Casual Fridays


THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!

And that's about as much as I've got for you today because that was hands down the most exciting, nail-biter of a baseball game I have ever seen in my life and I'm still pumped up over it. 



GO CUBS GO!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune...when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality."

~from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne~