These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. I wore them in Japan for two weeks, walking 8-10 hours a day. Earth shoes are cool in general because they put your heel lower than your toe, aligning your spine correctly and toning your calf while you walk. I <3 them. by proteamundi
proteamundi
proteamundi These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. I wore them in Japan for two weeks, walking 8-10 hours a day. Earth shoes are cool in general because they put your heel lower than your toe, aligning your spine correctly and toning your calf while you walk. I <3 them.
Favorites
I polished each of these 7 books off in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't put them down. by shelby
shelby
shelby I polished each of these 7 books off in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't put them down.
To read
Mixx Myra #shoes. The reason I repin so many heels is because they are soooo cute and I can't walk in them to save my soul. by dresdenfan
dresdenfan
dresdenfan Mixx Myra #shoes. The reason I repin so many heels is because they are soooo cute and I can't walk in them to save my soul.
shoes
Bound Headstand Against a Wall: From Bound Headstand with Straight Legs, step both feet onto the wall, walking them up so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your legs straight to increase flexibility in your hamstrings and lower back, and draw your navel toward your spine to work your abs. Hold here for five breaths. by candice
candice
candice Bound Headstand Against a Wall: From Bound Headstand with Straight Legs, step both feet onto the wall, walking them up so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your legs straight to increase flexibility in your hamstrings and lower back, and draw your navel toward your spine to work your abs. Hold here for five breaths.
To order
This is a calf of the dairy industry. This is a veal crate. This little guy is put in here 24-48 hours after birth and will never see his mother again. He'll live in here for a few weeks until he's grown a bit, and then he'll be sent to the slaughterhouse. Calves are kept in these crates so they can't move around, so that their muscles stay "tender" for veal meat. They are fed a formula because humans drink the milk that was meant for them. Don't support the dairy industry. GO VEGAN. by olive
olive
olive This is a calf of the dairy industry. This is a veal crate. This little guy is put in here 24-48 hours after birth and will never see his mother again. He'll live in here for a few weeks until he's grown a bit, and then he'll be sent to the slaughterhouse. Calves are kept in these crates so they can't move around, so that their muscles stay "tender" for veal meat. They are fed a formula because humans drink the milk that was meant for them. Don't support the dairy industry. GO VEGAN.
Favorites
I've made these banana bars several times and people swear I put crack in them  :)  They are YUMMY! by traci.downing.5
traci.downing.5
traci.downing.5 I've made these banana bars several times and people swear I put crack in them :) They are YUMMY!
Desert
Planks are effective on their own, but add a stability ball in the mix and you'll really feel the burn in this core and butt-toning move.   Lie on an exercise ball under your belly and walk your hands out until the ball is under your shins. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.  Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs and stabilize your torso. Lift your left leg up, squeezing your glute, then slowly lower your leg back onto the ball. Switch sides and lift the right ... by chasity
chasity
chasity Planks are effective on their own, but add a stability ball in the mix and you'll really feel the burn in this core and butt-toning move. Lie on an exercise ball under your belly and walk your hands out until the ball is under your shins. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs and stabilize your torso. Lift your left leg up, squeezing your glute, then slowly lower your leg back onto the ball. Switch sides and lift the right ...
Contain Yourself
These boots are awesome. They are so comfortable to walk in and I love the height. I get many compliments on them because they're by pingan
pingan
pingan These boots are awesome. They are so comfortable to walk in and I love the height. I get many compliments on them because they're
Favorites
pick your running shoes correctly. I've had the same ones since high school... let's just say that's a lot longer than 4 months! Shopping time! by ruby
ruby
ruby pick your running shoes correctly. I've had the same ones since high school... let's just say that's a lot longer than 4 months! Shopping time!
Natural light
The kind of shoes I wore as a toddler. 1950's White Leather Lace-Up Baby Walking Shoes: I got them for my kids too by Gloria Garcia
Gloria Garcia
Gloria Garcia The kind of shoes I wore as a toddler. 1950's White Leather Lace-Up Baby Walking Shoes: I got them for my kids too
Favorites
In more ways than one. When your life isn't going smoothly it will reveal them, and when their lives aren't as smooth either. I've had people jump to treating me poorly because their choices weren't doing any favors for them, and no matter how much I just tried to be there I had to repeatedly tell them I wasn't a whipping post. Too bad they didn't understand before I had to cut them out. by MistyLane
MistyLane
MistyLane In more ways than one. When your life isn't going smoothly it will reveal them, and when their lives aren't as smooth either. I've had people jump to treating me poorly because their choices weren't doing any favors for them, and no matter how much I just tried to be there I had to repeatedly tell them I wasn't a whipping post. Too bad they didn't understand before I had to cut them out.
Favorites
I put this in Crafting. O_O because I could probably make them. by jenny
jenny
jenny I put this in Crafting. O_O because I could probably make them.
Favorites
Do it yourself I Spy Books... take pictures of your kids' toys, print photos and put them in a cheap photo album. I've seen this idea many by celina.neo
celina.neo
celina.neo Do it yourself I Spy Books... take pictures of your kids' toys, print photos and put them in a cheap photo album. I've seen this idea many
for the kiddos
The Fast Lower-Ab Workout|Yes, these muscles are tricky to target, but toning them pays off—and not just in swimsuit weather. by chasity
chasity
chasity The Fast Lower-Ab Workout|Yes, these muscles are tricky to target, but toning them pays off—and not just in swimsuit weather.
Health
Doll Shoe. I am sorry for bad quality of this photo, I have just dropped it in because I was asked about what they are made of.   It's jewelry wire and metal beads and lots of hours of twisting :)    The most incredible thing about the shoes - that the doll can actually stand on them... if you do not breath while looking at her :D by maxine
maxine
maxine Doll Shoe. I am sorry for bad quality of this photo, I have just dropped it in because I was asked about what they are made of. It's jewelry wire and metal beads and lots of hours of twisting :) The most incredible thing about the shoes - that the doll can actually stand on them... if you do not breath while looking at her :D
Rings of Interest
The Fast Lower-Ab Workout|Yes, these muscles are tricky to target, but toning them pays offand not just in swimsuit weather. by chasity
chasity
chasity The Fast Lower-Ab Workout|Yes, these muscles are tricky to target, but toning them pays offand not just in swimsuit weather.
Health
How to Protect Your Spine and Lower Back While You Lose Weight by dorthy
dorthy
dorthy How to Protect Your Spine and Lower Back While You Lose Weight
fitness
Walk in my shoes:  Art Therapy shoes. (Linda Hill from HillArtistry.com) While suffering a major depressive episode, painting just didn't work, so I made "Walk in my Shoes" to express how things were going. The insides are done, too. by eileen
eileen
eileen Walk in my shoes: Art Therapy shoes. (Linda Hill from HillArtistry.com) While suffering a major depressive episode, painting just didn't work, so I made "Walk in my Shoes" to express how things were going. The insides are done, too.
Art Journal Ideas
The trick is to put the pan in a cold oven and then switch it on and begin your timer. Im amazed how many people dont know this. Cook bacon in the oven. Cover cookie sheet with tinfoil first. We do 375 for about 20 min instead of 400 for ten because the lower and slower the more fat renders out. I hate getting SPLATTERED!! This works perfect! I've tried it and we love it! by brandy
brandy
brandy The trick is to put the pan in a cold oven and then switch it on and begin your timer. Im amazed how many people dont know this. Cook bacon in the oven. Cover cookie sheet with tinfoil first. We do 375 for about 20 min instead of 400 for ten because the lower and slower the more fat renders out. I hate getting SPLATTERED!! This works perfect! I've tried it and we love it!
Foodie stuff
Yup, you are not seeing things, I put a diaper in the bottom of all my pots! Why, because a diaper will help retain the moisture in your by Cory M.
Cory M.
Cory M. Yup, you are not seeing things, I put a diaper in the bottom of all my pots! Why, because a diaper will help retain the moisture in your
THAT'S SO SMART
Vegetarian Tamale recipe. :) These are absolutely fabulous. I substituted earth balance for the butter, and Mom made a scrumptious mix of veggies (not unlike what's in the recipe) to put inside. It really doesn't suffer from not having cheese. AND they freeze really, really well and take about the same amount of time to steam two weeks later (we just had them for supper last night). :) by leticia
leticia
leticia Vegetarian Tamale recipe. :) These are absolutely fabulous. I substituted earth balance for the butter, and Mom made a scrumptious mix of veggies (not unlike what's in the recipe) to put inside. It really doesn't suffer from not having cheese. AND they freeze really, really well and take about the same amount of time to steam two weeks later (we just had them for supper last night). :)
Favorites
Now, I'm not usually a smoothie person, mostly because I have high hopes for my smoothies. I want them to be a meal in itself. I want them to be filling and satisfying. I want them to be healthy. And sweet. And delicious. Simply put I want them to be my everything. Yet they rarely are. They are by harriett
harriett
harriett Now, I'm not usually a smoothie person, mostly because I have high hopes for my smoothies. I want them to be a meal in itself. I want them to be filling and satisfying. I want them to be healthy. And sweet. And delicious. Simply put I want them to be my everything. Yet they rarely are. They are
Movies
I did this and lost 2 pants sizes in just 2 weeks!! 8 Exercises to Target Your Lower Abs | YouBeauty by jacquelyn
jacquelyn
jacquelyn I did this and lost 2 pants sizes in just 2 weeks!! 8 Exercises to Target Your Lower Abs | YouBeauty
Labels and beauty
I was a little skeptical about ordering boots online, but these are great. Walked in them all day the first time I wore them! Also good by trisha
trisha
trisha I was a little skeptical about ordering boots online, but these are great. Walked in them all day the first time I wore them! Also good
roots
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes ~ These pancakes are FABULOSITY! I've now made them 3 weekends in a row because they're SO good! by KauaiHawaii
KauaiHawaii
KauaiHawaii Cinnamon Roll Pancakes ~ These pancakes are FABULOSITY! I've now made them 3 weekends in a row because they're SO good!
Entrees and Side Dishes
Oh how I love these! Pogacsa are little Hungarian cheesy biscuits that, if made correctly, are so buttery they will melt in your mouth! My grandma's are amazing, but she is the type of cook who does a "pinch of this and that" and I need a very specific recipe because I am not a good cook. by katie
katie
katie Oh how I love these! Pogacsa are little Hungarian cheesy biscuits that, if made correctly, are so buttery they will melt in your mouth! My grandma's are amazing, but she is the type of cook who does a "pinch of this and that" and I need a very specific recipe because I am not a good cook.
holiday - christmas
Sexy Arms in 6 WeeksIf you’re just starting out, aim for two sets of 8 to 12 reps of the heaviest weight you can handle for each exercise. Looking for more of a challenge? Shoot for two sets of 15 to 25 reps per exercise. Bent-Over Row Step IPrimary muscles worked: lats, back extensors, rhomboids, rear shoulders, biceps, core. Stand with a slight bend at the knees, holding the weights at your sides. Lean over, extending your chest while reaching your hips back. Allow your arms to hang straight down toward the floor with your palms facing your thighs. Bent-Over Row Step II  Looking forward at the ground (not up), pull your elbows up and rotate your hands until your palms are nearly touching your upper rib cage and your elbows point toward the ceiling. Lower the weights to the starting position with control. Repeat.tip: Keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine to engage your core and protect your lower back. Upright Row Step IPrimary muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, biceps.Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the weights hanging down in front of your body, their ends touching.Upright Row Step IIRaise your upper arms, leading with your elbows while bringing the weights up the front of your body as if you were tracing an imaginary midpoint, stopping when your elbows become level with your shoulders. Lower the weights back to the starting position.tip: Keep your chin up and your belly button tucked in. Chest Press on Ball Step IPrimary muscles worked: chest, front of shoulders, triceps. Sit on a ball and walk out so that your head and shoulder blades are resting on the ball. Lift your hips by contracting your glute muscles to make a bridge. (Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and below your knees to give you stable support.)Chest Press on Ball Step II Bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. Then extend your arms over your chest and bring the dumbbells together to make a triangle over your chest. Lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat. tip: You will need to engage your core throughout the exercise to avoid falling off the ball.Overhead Press on Ball Step IPrimary muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, triceps. Sit on an exercise ball with your belly button pulled toward the spine. Hold the weights in front of your shoulders, your palms facing in.Overhead Press on Ball Step IIPush the weights up until your arms are extended. When your arms are extended, they should be slightly in front of you rather than directly overhead. Lower the weights to the starting position and repeat.tip: Keep your chin lifted slightly and your core stable.from this website by osa
osa
osa Sexy Arms in 6 WeeksIf you’re just starting out, aim for two sets of 8 to 12 reps of the heaviest weight you can handle for each exercise. Looking for more of a challenge? Shoot for two sets of 15 to 25 reps per exercise. Bent-Over Row Step IPrimary muscles worked: lats, back extensors, rhomboids, rear shoulders, biceps, core. Stand with a slight bend at the knees, holding the weights at your sides. Lean over, extending your chest while reaching your hips back. Allow your arms to hang straight down toward the floor with your palms facing your thighs. Bent-Over Row Step II  Looking forward at the ground (not up), pull your elbows up and rotate your hands until your palms are nearly touching your upper rib cage and your elbows point toward the ceiling. Lower the weights to the starting position with control. Repeat.tip: Keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine to engage your core and protect your lower back. Upright Row Step IPrimary muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, biceps.Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the weights hanging down in front of your body, their ends touching.Upright Row Step IIRaise your upper arms, leading with your elbows while bringing the weights up the front of your body as if you were tracing an imaginary midpoint, stopping when your elbows become level with your shoulders. Lower the weights back to the starting position.tip: Keep your chin up and your belly button tucked in. Chest Press on Ball Step IPrimary muscles worked: chest, front of shoulders, triceps. Sit on a ball and walk out so that your head and shoulder blades are resting on the ball. Lift your hips by contracting your glute muscles to make a bridge. (Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and below your knees to give you stable support.)Chest Press on Ball Step II Bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. Then extend your arms over your chest and bring the dumbbells together to make a triangle over your chest. Lower the weights back to the starting position and repeat. tip: You will need to engage your core throughout the exercise to avoid falling off the ball.Overhead Press on Ball Step IPrimary muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, triceps. Sit on an exercise ball with your belly button pulled toward the spine. Hold the weights in front of your shoulders, your palms facing in.Overhead Press on Ball Step IIPush the weights up until your arms are extended. When your arms are extended, they should be slightly in front of you rather than directly overhead. Lower the weights to the starting position and repeat.tip: Keep your chin lifted slightly and your core stable.from this website
exercises
"[...] People seem to become what's put in front of them--much like we become what eat. Those who work with children know this. It should be no surprise then, that young people today are more alienated from the very planet we call home than any generation before; the earth simply isn't put in front of them." -Whole Systems Design, LCC by jan
jan
jan "[...] People seem to become what's put in front of them--much like we become what eat. Those who work with children know this. It should be no surprise then, that young people today are more alienated from the very planet we call home than any generation before; the earth simply isn't put in front of them." -Whole Systems Design, LCC
Favorites
because the sum of you is greater than the parts........put them together and you are pure magic....and there is none other like you by AislingH
AislingH
AislingH because the sum of you is greater than the parts........put them together and you are pure magic....and there is none other like you
Favorites
Sole Society - apparently I love these because I've pinned them in at least three colors at various times <3 by AislingH
AislingH
AislingH Sole Society - apparently I love these because I've pinned them in at least three colors at various times <3
Favorites
This year, I decided to make a stack of the books I read. I wanted a tangible and visual encouragement to choose knowledge, words and wisdom over mindless entertainment. I cancelled my Netflix membership and spent many Saturdays getting lost in bookstores and buying books before I even finished the one I was in the middle of, and the stack grew and grew. Halfway through, I had finished 16 books. Now, 2014 is coming to a close, and the grand total of books read this year is 39 (but the Bible is really 66 books if if you really want to get specific...). I loved some, struggled to finish some, highlighted the heck out of some, and shared many with friends and family.  Now, I'm sharing the final list with you with a few of my thoughts in hopes that you too will read more books this year than you did last year. If you have recommendations of must-read books for 2015, please share them in the comments!  I've shared a quote from each book, the photo (because don't we all judge books by the covers just a little bit?), and my thoughts in review of each-- happy reading! One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. // "I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else."  This book is a beautiful challenge-- "a dare to live fully right where you are." Grab a notebook and prepare your heart for a whole lot of thankfulness and start writing your own list of one thousand gifts. It will change your outlook on life. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. // "How wild it was to let it be." This is one woman's compelling, honest, beautiful story of her adventure "from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail." I know it's about to be a movie, so read this first before you see it. You won't want to put it down, you'll feel like you were there every step of the way, and you'll fall in love with Cheryl page by page. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. // "The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer." This book is short but profound, a "classic exploration of Christian community" that was written in the early 1900s but is still completely relevant today. As a small group leader, this book was a wealth of wisdom and truth on how to foster an authentic community-- I think I underlined something on almost every page. Gospel by JD Greear. // "Radical generosity and radical commitment to the mission is the response of every person who has experienced the grace of Jesus Christ. Following Jesus, being His disciple, means living as He lived. He leveraged His life for the lost." This book is about "recovering the power that made Christianity revolutionary" and I loved it. Bold, easy to read, helpful, and so solid. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. // "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This "eater's manifesto" is a fantastic read about how food has shaped our culture and changed so wildly over time, what Pollan calls the American Paradox-- "the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become." As a gluten-free vegan with a majorly plant-based diet, I loved this book and his proposals of how we can make great food choices, but I would strongly recommend this to anyone who eats food (aka everyone). A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. // "Don't ever let me think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story--just like the typewriter was mine." This collection of writings from O'Connor's journals is honest, raw, unedited and wonderful, "the record of a brilliant young woman's coming-of-age, a cry from the heart for love, grace, and art." A short and stunning read. Forgotten God by Francis Chan. // "We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It is when we live like this that the Spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we are not capable of." This book is all about "reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit," but not in a weird, hyper-spiritual way. It's like a conversation with a friend who is super passionate and prays with you often and points you back to truth and who God in the Trinity really is. Start Here by David Dwight and Nicole Unice. // "Remember that this life with Jesus is not something you accomplish or master; it's a growing relationship from this day forward." This book was written by two people on staff at my church that I respect, love and admire. It's a book about "beginning a relationship with Jesus," but it didn't matter that my relationship with Jesus started a long time ago-- this book was still an authentic and encouraging reminder of what faith looks like. This book comes straight from the Bible through the words of two people who love the Lord so evidently and are such incredible tools He is using to build the kingdom here on earth. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. // "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." If you want to weep and have your heart feel basically every emotion on the whole spectrum, this is the book for you. I recommend reading it before you see the movie, but definitely do both. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. // "I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." This book (currently on loan to a friend, hence the different picture! sorry!) is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy. Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt. // "One of the hardest parts of packing light, I've learned, is that it's as much about what you take with you as it is what you leave behind. ... Packing light isn't as simple as throwing up our hands and leaving everything up to God. It's as much about holding on as it is about letting go-- and knowing the difference between the two. It matters what you put in your suitcase." This book on "thoughts on living life with less baggage" follows Vesterfelt's journey on a cross-country road trip, but it's so much more than that. It's a refreshing and honest read about life and the journey and how to do it all authentically and simply. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. // "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. // "What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel  God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts." This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens. Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. // "I saw that the church wasn't a museum for good people; it was a hospital for the broken." You may have seen the viral video a while back by Bethke, and this book is an expansion of that. It's about "why He is so much better than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough." It's full of contrasts between Jesus-life and religious life, and it's an awesome read. Room by Emma Donoghue. // "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror." - The New Yorker This book will absolutely take you captive from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down. It's riveting and a thriller through and through in the very best way. A must-read. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. // "In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship." This book, a "call to a life marked by holy passion and relentless faith," is bold and beautiful and compelling. This was the first book by Manning that I read, and I loved his style, his wisdom and his heart. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. // "God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, 'Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.' But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, 'Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.' When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else." I've been a major Tim Keller fan since falling in love with King's Cross, and this book didn't disappoint. It's about "the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters." If you've ever put your faith in any of these things (aka everyone), this book shows us how the Bible reveals powerful truths about our society and our hearts.  The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. // "To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disc plies who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are." This book is a classic. I've been wanting to read it for ages and was so excited to find this old copy on my parent's bookshelf at home. I love the word ragamuffin--"each of us comes beat-up, butnr-out, ragged and dirty to sit at our Father's feet. And there he smiles upon us-- the chosen objects of his 'furious love.' YES. So good. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. // "'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.'" This novel is enchanting, and I now understand the hype around it. It's simple and full of wise and quotable lines. Do yourself a favor and pick up this beautiful read. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. // "I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful." Total honesty here: I did not like this book at all. Everyone and their mother seems to be obsessed with it, but I struggled to get through it. I made myself finish it, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I just straight-up don't like Miller's writing style, and he really rubbed me the wrong way. But hey, everyone else seems to love it, so maybe it's just me. A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. This book was written as an attempt to write a history of the world for younger readers, from the Stone age to the atomic bomb. It isn't full of dates or facts, but it reads more like a story. I found it heard to get through the whole thing, but it definitely was interesting to read about the scope of history and humanity in a new style that was definitely much more engaging than a textbook. If you like history, this is definitely a book you'll love. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. // "Ice-pick sharp...spectacularly sneaky...impressively cagey." -New York Times If you didn't hear about this book, read this book, or see this movie this year,  you must live under a rock. It spread like wildfire this year, and rightly so, because this book is haunting, it sucks you in, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat in the best way. There are so many twists and turns--I couldn't put it down. The movie is incredible as well--not for the faint of heart though. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. // "But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control. It's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched." Anne Lamott is my new favorite. She's frank, honest, refreshing, sentimental, wise and witty. An author with dreadlocks that shares thoughts on faith but isn't afraid of cussing is my kind of author. This book is a great collection of Anne's "thoughts on faith" -- a definite must-read.   The Road by Cormac McCarthy. // "The searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece." This was one of those books that I've always heard about and it's won the Pulitzer Prize and is a national bestseller, so when I found it at my favorite local bookstore for just a few bucks, I knew it was time to give it a read. There aren't chapters or clear dialogue or anything, so I found that I flew through it quickly even though it was slow in parts. It's intriguing and moving and makes you wonder what the world might look like someday. Gold by Chris Cleave. // "Her life was one endless loop that she raced around, with steep banked curves so she could never change or slow down. It just delivered her back to herself, over and over and over." This book is heart-warming and heart-breaking, about Olympic speed cyclists, love, ambition, loyalty, family...you fall in love with the characters, want to cheer them on as you read about their races, and want to cry with them when the pain comes. This book (I have to say it...) is gold. Little Bee by Chris Cleave. // "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, 'I survived'." The back cover of this book says it all: "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds." So there you have it. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. // "If you write, good ideas must  come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are." I found this little book at my favorite local used bookstore, and seeing that it was "a book about art, independence, and spirit" intrigued me. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, wasn't the worst, I underlined some stuff and disagreed with some stuff. The back says "it is about having values, about belief (in the imagination and its relation to personal integrity), and about the bravery of coming to understand yourself and of putting marks down on paper." Writers, it's worth a read. Everyone else, probably not. From the Library of C.S. Lewis compiled by James Stuart Bell. // "This is the perfect entrance to the world C.S. Lewis inhabited, and it arrives just when that world of books is under the threat of extinction. Thanks to those who have given us such a gold mine." This book is just that-- a gold mine. I've been obsessed with Lewis and his books for years, but this was all "selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey" and it was fascinating. I think one of the best ways to get to know somebody is to read the books they love, and this was like doing that with Lewis. Not a page went without underlines or sticky notes or big fat stars from me, and I have a whole new wealth of information from writers I never read before or knew about. These selections span many centuries and are deep and brilliant and categorized by theme to break it up-- it's an excellent book and resource that I loved every word of. Quiet by Susan Cain. // "It's as if extroverts are seeing 'what is' while their introvert peers are asking 'what if.'" EVERYONE. READ THIS BOOK. NOW. I've never wanted to give a book to everyone I know so badly (okay, except maybe the Bible). It's gold. As a hardcore introvert, this book resonated with me on every page and made so much of how I feel and see things and respond to things make so much sense. It was hugely helpful, absolutely brilliant, deeply insightful, fascinating, wise, and just so very good. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" -- YES. Introverts and extroverts alike-- read this and I promise you will understand people and yourself more clearly and it will change your life. Also-- Susan's TED talk is incredible too, if you're more into that sort of thing than you are into reading a whole book. Whatever you do, just soak up her goodness ASAP. Small Victories by Anne Lamott. // "Who knows, maybe those two robe leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right--a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream." Anne's writing is a breath of fresh air-- I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and appreciated her honesty about the reality of life and faith as she shared her thoughts and experiences on some of the best and worst of it all. She feels like that best friend you can count on to crack you up while also giving you a swift kick in the pants as she points you back in the right direction toward Christ, all in her honest, frank, wise and witty way. A must-read collection of essays and stories, no matter if you have read stuff from her before or if you've never heard from her. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. // "Sometime before I die I think I'll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I'll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I'll say to outer space, this is my card." This book is "an affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation." Marina died in a car crash five days after she graduated, and this is what she wrote before that. It's beautiful. I loved every word-- both her fiction and her essays equally. She was 22 when she died, and being 22 now myself, I was struck by (and slightly envied) her poignancy, raw talent and elegance-- I so highly recommend this book. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. // "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path." This. Book. It's one I want to shove into the hands of every single human I meet. Everyone needs to read this. I discovered Brown through her TED talk a while back and fell in love with her research, completely. This book was wonderful. Based on so much sound and thorough research, it dives into "how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead," so it's relevant to every single living person. Read this book. Now. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. // "But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way." This book, described in the inner flap as "the most lighthearted of all [Austen's] novels" was elegantly written (as to be expected) but humorous at points, poignant at points, and strangely modern and relevant at points. I loved it, I don't think it gets enough credit-- it really is a great work of Austen's. Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. // "The human soul seeks to integrate our will and our mind and our body into an integral person. Beyond that, the soul seeks to connect us with other people, with creation, and with God himself--who made us to be rooted in him the way a tree is rooted by a life-giving stream." My church did a sermon series on the soul last month and recommended reading this book as an accompaniment to it, and I'm so glad I did. The soul is the most important part of us and caring for it is so crucial, and this book was chock full of great words of wisdom on how to do so well. Loved this one. Ties That Bind by Dave Isay. // "Listening to the experiences of regular people living life to the fullest and exemplifying humanity at its finest has, time and again, stirred my soul and strengthened my faith in this nation and its people." I became a fan of NPR this summer and always loved the times I would catch StoryCrops-- snippets of conversations of people who shared their stories and conversations and hearts with the world. This book captures those conversations between relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors and more in heart-wrenching, beautiful, moving ways. This book was one I read in one sitting and loved so much. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. // "We are seeking Jesus--we want to smell him on the skin of others, and we want to hear tell of his activity. We are seeking fellow travelers for this journey. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen, to love well, to learn how to have eyes to see and ears to hear. We want to be part of something amazing and real and lasting, something bigger than ourselves. We want to be with other women who know and love and follow our Jesus. Somehow we know that we will love him better if we hear from others how much they love him, too." This book's title might turn you off, or might make your heart swell with excitement. Either way, this book is a fantastic, honest, engaging read. "Feminist" has always been a word with strong reactions and associations, but this book is really "an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women" through "exploring God's radical notion that women are people, too." It's so great. Bessey makes beautiful things out of her words. Hearing God by Dallas Willard. // "We were important enough for God to give his Son's life for us and to choose to inhabit us as a living temple. Obviously, then, we are important enough for him to guide us and speak to us whenever that is appropriate." This book is about "developing a conversational relationship with God" and to be honest, I've started and lost interest in it several times throughout the last year, but finally sat down and before forcing myself to commit to finishing it. Flipping through it, I underlined a ton and wrote lots of notes, so it's obvious that it resonated with me, but maybe the density and depth of the material just made it harder to digest in large quantities.It was my first book by Willard and I loved his intellect and wisdom, but wouldn't recommend this book for a light or quick read, although I do think it's a good book for those who have ever wondered about statements like "God spoke to me" or "God revelaed this to me" or things like that. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. // "He comes as a Baby because He's done with the barriers. He comes vulnerable because He knows the only way to intimacy with you is through vulnerability with you. You can't get to intimacy except through the door of vulnerability. So God throws open the door of this world--and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you." This book. Stunning. Holy. Soul-filling. I cannot say enough good, worthy words. Every day of this Advent season, this book and Ann's glorious way with words quieted my soul, drew me to bended knee in awe of my Savior and this season, and was such a breath of quiet, fresh air I desperately needed. I will absolutely be returning to this work of art every Advent to come. (ps-- there is a version for children and families that I'm sure is out of this world!)   The Bible.  // For the first time in my life (as sad as that is to actually admit out loud), I have officially read the entire Bible. And it changed my year and my faith and my heart. Reading through it this way, with a portion from the Old Testament, a portion from the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb every day,was interesting and showed me Scripture in a whole new way, with parallels I never realized before and connections I made for the first time. Now, at 22, I have finally read every word of Scripture and can't wait to continue diving deeper and deeper into this love story I'll never get enough of. While I would definitely say there are better and deeper ways to study the Word, this is a great way to get into it and stay accountable to getting through even slower or less exciting books and chapters, so I definitely recommend doing it at least once in your life. Whew. What a year of reading it has been. Share your favorite reads or best recommendations in the comments and I'll add them to my list for 2015! My goal is 50+ books next year, so stay tuned for future RADreads posts! by Daisy Price
Daisy Price
Daisy Price This year, I decided to make a stack of the books I read. I wanted a tangible and visual encouragement to choose knowledge, words and wisdom over mindless entertainment. I cancelled my Netflix membership and spent many Saturdays getting lost in bookstores and buying books before I even finished the one I was in the middle of, and the stack grew and grew. Halfway through, I had finished 16 books. Now, 2014 is coming to a close, and the grand total of books read this year is 39 (but the Bible is really 66 books if if you really want to get specific...). I loved some, struggled to finish some, highlighted the heck out of some, and shared many with friends and family.  Now, I'm sharing the final list with you with a few of my thoughts in hopes that you too will read more books this year than you did last year. If you have recommendations of must-read books for 2015, please share them in the comments!  I've shared a quote from each book, the photo (because don't we all judge books by the covers just a little bit?), and my thoughts in review of each-- happy reading! One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. // "I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else."  This book is a beautiful challenge-- "a dare to live fully right where you are." Grab a notebook and prepare your heart for a whole lot of thankfulness and start writing your own list of one thousand gifts. It will change your outlook on life. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. // "How wild it was to let it be." This is one woman's compelling, honest, beautiful story of her adventure "from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail." I know it's about to be a movie, so read this first before you see it. You won't want to put it down, you'll feel like you were there every step of the way, and you'll fall in love with Cheryl page by page. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. // "The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer." This book is short but profound, a "classic exploration of Christian community" that was written in the early 1900s but is still completely relevant today. As a small group leader, this book was a wealth of wisdom and truth on how to foster an authentic community-- I think I underlined something on almost every page. Gospel by JD Greear. // "Radical generosity and radical commitment to the mission is the response of every person who has experienced the grace of Jesus Christ. Following Jesus, being His disciple, means living as He lived. He leveraged His life for the lost." This book is about "recovering the power that made Christianity revolutionary" and I loved it. Bold, easy to read, helpful, and so solid. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. // "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This "eater's manifesto" is a fantastic read about how food has shaped our culture and changed so wildly over time, what Pollan calls the American Paradox-- "the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become." As a gluten-free vegan with a majorly plant-based diet, I loved this book and his proposals of how we can make great food choices, but I would strongly recommend this to anyone who eats food (aka everyone). A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. // "Don't ever let me think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story--just like the typewriter was mine." This collection of writings from O'Connor's journals is honest, raw, unedited and wonderful, "the record of a brilliant young woman's coming-of-age, a cry from the heart for love, grace, and art." A short and stunning read. Forgotten God by Francis Chan. // "We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It is when we live like this that the Spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we are not capable of." This book is all about "reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit," but not in a weird, hyper-spiritual way. It's like a conversation with a friend who is super passionate and prays with you often and points you back to truth and who God in the Trinity really is. Start Here by David Dwight and Nicole Unice. // "Remember that this life with Jesus is not something you accomplish or master; it's a growing relationship from this day forward." This book was written by two people on staff at my church that I respect, love and admire. It's a book about "beginning a relationship with Jesus," but it didn't matter that my relationship with Jesus started a long time ago-- this book was still an authentic and encouraging reminder of what faith looks like. This book comes straight from the Bible through the words of two people who love the Lord so evidently and are such incredible tools He is using to build the kingdom here on earth. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. // "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." If you want to weep and have your heart feel basically every emotion on the whole spectrum, this is the book for you. I recommend reading it before you see the movie, but definitely do both. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. // "I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." This book (currently on loan to a friend, hence the different picture! sorry!) is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy. Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt. // "One of the hardest parts of packing light, I've learned, is that it's as much about what you take with you as it is what you leave behind. ... Packing light isn't as simple as throwing up our hands and leaving everything up to God. It's as much about holding on as it is about letting go-- and knowing the difference between the two. It matters what you put in your suitcase." This book on "thoughts on living life with less baggage" follows Vesterfelt's journey on a cross-country road trip, but it's so much more than that. It's a refreshing and honest read about life and the journey and how to do it all authentically and simply. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. // "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. // "What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel  God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts." This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens. Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. // "I saw that the church wasn't a museum for good people; it was a hospital for the broken." You may have seen the viral video a while back by Bethke, and this book is an expansion of that. It's about "why He is so much better than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough." It's full of contrasts between Jesus-life and religious life, and it's an awesome read. Room by Emma Donoghue. // "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror." - The New Yorker This book will absolutely take you captive from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down. It's riveting and a thriller through and through in the very best way. A must-read. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. // "In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship." This book, a "call to a life marked by holy passion and relentless faith," is bold and beautiful and compelling. This was the first book by Manning that I read, and I loved his style, his wisdom and his heart. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. // "God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, 'Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.' But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, 'Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.' When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else." I've been a major Tim Keller fan since falling in love with King's Cross, and this book didn't disappoint. It's about "the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters." If you've ever put your faith in any of these things (aka everyone), this book shows us how the Bible reveals powerful truths about our society and our hearts.  The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. // "To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disc plies who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are." This book is a classic. I've been wanting to read it for ages and was so excited to find this old copy on my parent's bookshelf at home. I love the word ragamuffin--"each of us comes beat-up, butnr-out, ragged and dirty to sit at our Father's feet. And there he smiles upon us-- the chosen objects of his 'furious love.' YES. So good. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. // "'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.'" This novel is enchanting, and I now understand the hype around it. It's simple and full of wise and quotable lines. Do yourself a favor and pick up this beautiful read. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. // "I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful." Total honesty here: I did not like this book at all. Everyone and their mother seems to be obsessed with it, but I struggled to get through it. I made myself finish it, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I just straight-up don't like Miller's writing style, and he really rubbed me the wrong way. But hey, everyone else seems to love it, so maybe it's just me. A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. This book was written as an attempt to write a history of the world for younger readers, from the Stone age to the atomic bomb. It isn't full of dates or facts, but it reads more like a story. I found it heard to get through the whole thing, but it definitely was interesting to read about the scope of history and humanity in a new style that was definitely much more engaging than a textbook. If you like history, this is definitely a book you'll love. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. // "Ice-pick sharp...spectacularly sneaky...impressively cagey." -New York Times If you didn't hear about this book, read this book, or see this movie this year,  you must live under a rock. It spread like wildfire this year, and rightly so, because this book is haunting, it sucks you in, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat in the best way. There are so many twists and turns--I couldn't put it down. The movie is incredible as well--not for the faint of heart though. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. // "But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control. It's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched." Anne Lamott is my new favorite. She's frank, honest, refreshing, sentimental, wise and witty. An author with dreadlocks that shares thoughts on faith but isn't afraid of cussing is my kind of author. This book is a great collection of Anne's "thoughts on faith" -- a definite must-read.   The Road by Cormac McCarthy. // "The searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece." This was one of those books that I've always heard about and it's won the Pulitzer Prize and is a national bestseller, so when I found it at my favorite local bookstore for just a few bucks, I knew it was time to give it a read. There aren't chapters or clear dialogue or anything, so I found that I flew through it quickly even though it was slow in parts. It's intriguing and moving and makes you wonder what the world might look like someday. Gold by Chris Cleave. // "Her life was one endless loop that she raced around, with steep banked curves so she could never change or slow down. It just delivered her back to herself, over and over and over." This book is heart-warming and heart-breaking, about Olympic speed cyclists, love, ambition, loyalty, family...you fall in love with the characters, want to cheer them on as you read about their races, and want to cry with them when the pain comes. This book (I have to say it...) is gold. Little Bee by Chris Cleave. // "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, 'I survived'." The back cover of this book says it all: "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds." So there you have it. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. // "If you write, good ideas must  come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are." I found this little book at my favorite local used bookstore, and seeing that it was "a book about art, independence, and spirit" intrigued me. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, wasn't the worst, I underlined some stuff and disagreed with some stuff. The back says "it is about having values, about belief (in the imagination and its relation to personal integrity), and about the bravery of coming to understand yourself and of putting marks down on paper." Writers, it's worth a read. Everyone else, probably not. From the Library of C.S. Lewis compiled by James Stuart Bell. // "This is the perfect entrance to the world C.S. Lewis inhabited, and it arrives just when that world of books is under the threat of extinction. Thanks to those who have given us such a gold mine." This book is just that-- a gold mine. I've been obsessed with Lewis and his books for years, but this was all "selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey" and it was fascinating. I think one of the best ways to get to know somebody is to read the books they love, and this was like doing that with Lewis. Not a page went without underlines or sticky notes or big fat stars from me, and I have a whole new wealth of information from writers I never read before or knew about. These selections span many centuries and are deep and brilliant and categorized by theme to break it up-- it's an excellent book and resource that I loved every word of. Quiet by Susan Cain. // "It's as if extroverts are seeing 'what is' while their introvert peers are asking 'what if.'" EVERYONE. READ THIS BOOK. NOW. I've never wanted to give a book to everyone I know so badly (okay, except maybe the Bible). It's gold. As a hardcore introvert, this book resonated with me on every page and made so much of how I feel and see things and respond to things make so much sense. It was hugely helpful, absolutely brilliant, deeply insightful, fascinating, wise, and just so very good. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" -- YES. Introverts and extroverts alike-- read this and I promise you will understand people and yourself more clearly and it will change your life. Also-- Susan's TED talk is incredible too, if you're more into that sort of thing than you are into reading a whole book. Whatever you do, just soak up her goodness ASAP. Small Victories by Anne Lamott. // "Who knows, maybe those two robe leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right--a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream." Anne's writing is a breath of fresh air-- I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and appreciated her honesty about the reality of life and faith as she shared her thoughts and experiences on some of the best and worst of it all. She feels like that best friend you can count on to crack you up while also giving you a swift kick in the pants as she points you back in the right direction toward Christ, all in her honest, frank, wise and witty way. A must-read collection of essays and stories, no matter if you have read stuff from her before or if you've never heard from her. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. // "Sometime before I die I think I'll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I'll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I'll say to outer space, this is my card." This book is "an affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation." Marina died in a car crash five days after she graduated, and this is what she wrote before that. It's beautiful. I loved every word-- both her fiction and her essays equally. She was 22 when she died, and being 22 now myself, I was struck by (and slightly envied) her poignancy, raw talent and elegance-- I so highly recommend this book. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. // "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path." This. Book. It's one I want to shove into the hands of every single human I meet. Everyone needs to read this. I discovered Brown through her TED talk a while back and fell in love with her research, completely. This book was wonderful. Based on so much sound and thorough research, it dives into "how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead," so it's relevant to every single living person. Read this book. Now. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. // "But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way." This book, described in the inner flap as "the most lighthearted of all [Austen's] novels" was elegantly written (as to be expected) but humorous at points, poignant at points, and strangely modern and relevant at points. I loved it, I don't think it gets enough credit-- it really is a great work of Austen's. Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. // "The human soul seeks to integrate our will and our mind and our body into an integral person. Beyond that, the soul seeks to connect us with other people, with creation, and with God himself--who made us to be rooted in him the way a tree is rooted by a life-giving stream." My church did a sermon series on the soul last month and recommended reading this book as an accompaniment to it, and I'm so glad I did. The soul is the most important part of us and caring for it is so crucial, and this book was chock full of great words of wisdom on how to do so well. Loved this one. Ties That Bind by Dave Isay. // "Listening to the experiences of regular people living life to the fullest and exemplifying humanity at its finest has, time and again, stirred my soul and strengthened my faith in this nation and its people." I became a fan of NPR this summer and always loved the times I would catch StoryCrops-- snippets of conversations of people who shared their stories and conversations and hearts with the world. This book captures those conversations between relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors and more in heart-wrenching, beautiful, moving ways. This book was one I read in one sitting and loved so much. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. // "We are seeking Jesus--we want to smell him on the skin of others, and we want to hear tell of his activity. We are seeking fellow travelers for this journey. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen, to love well, to learn how to have eyes to see and ears to hear. We want to be part of something amazing and real and lasting, something bigger than ourselves. We want to be with other women who know and love and follow our Jesus. Somehow we know that we will love him better if we hear from others how much they love him, too." This book's title might turn you off, or might make your heart swell with excitement. Either way, this book is a fantastic, honest, engaging read. "Feminist" has always been a word with strong reactions and associations, but this book is really "an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women" through "exploring God's radical notion that women are people, too." It's so great. Bessey makes beautiful things out of her words. Hearing God by Dallas Willard. // "We were important enough for God to give his Son's life for us and to choose to inhabit us as a living temple. Obviously, then, we are important enough for him to guide us and speak to us whenever that is appropriate." This book is about "developing a conversational relationship with God" and to be honest, I've started and lost interest in it several times throughout the last year, but finally sat down and before forcing myself to commit to finishing it. Flipping through it, I underlined a ton and wrote lots of notes, so it's obvious that it resonated with me, but maybe the density and depth of the material just made it harder to digest in large quantities.It was my first book by Willard and I loved his intellect and wisdom, but wouldn't recommend this book for a light or quick read, although I do think it's a good book for those who have ever wondered about statements like "God spoke to me" or "God revelaed this to me" or things like that. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. // "He comes as a Baby because He's done with the barriers. He comes vulnerable because He knows the only way to intimacy with you is through vulnerability with you. You can't get to intimacy except through the door of vulnerability. So God throws open the door of this world--and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you." This book. Stunning. Holy. Soul-filling. I cannot say enough good, worthy words. Every day of this Advent season, this book and Ann's glorious way with words quieted my soul, drew me to bended knee in awe of my Savior and this season, and was such a breath of quiet, fresh air I desperately needed. I will absolutely be returning to this work of art every Advent to come. (ps-- there is a version for children and families that I'm sure is out of this world!)   The Bible.  // For the first time in my life (as sad as that is to actually admit out loud), I have officially read the entire Bible. And it changed my year and my faith and my heart. Reading through it this way, with a portion from the Old Testament, a portion from the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb every day,was interesting and showed me Scripture in a whole new way, with parallels I never realized before and connections I made for the first time. Now, at 22, I have finally read every word of Scripture and can't wait to continue diving deeper and deeper into this love story I'll never get enough of. While I would definitely say there are better and deeper ways to study the Word, this is a great way to get into it and stay accountable to getting through even slower or less exciting books and chapters, so I definitely recommend doing it at least once in your life. Whew. What a year of reading it has been. Share your favorite reads or best recommendations in the comments and I'll add them to my list for 2015! My goal is 50+ books next year, so stay tuned for future RADreads posts!
Favorites