Plate Scene in Green: Green relates each of these plates to the others, but it is the woodland theme that underscores the theme of the by Hercio Dias
Hercio Dias
Hercio Dias Plate Scene in Green: Green relates each of these plates to the others, but it is the woodland theme that underscores the theme of the
Favorites
Do You See Colors When You Meditate?  Seeing colors during meditation is a common, healing experience. According to the ayurveda and other Eastern healing systems, each color relates to a specific chakra or energy center in the body, so when you see a given color, it means that healing is taking place in that area of the body. If you see green colors, for example, your heart chakra is being rejuvenated and renewed. Visions of blue indicate that the throat chakra area is healing itself. by Meridith Fayce Cantelli
Meridith Fayce Cantelli
Meridith Fayce Cantelli Do You See Colors When You Meditate? Seeing colors during meditation is a common, healing experience. According to the ayurveda and other Eastern healing systems, each color relates to a specific chakra or energy center in the body, so when you see a given color, it means that healing is taking place in that area of the body. If you see green colors, for example, your heart chakra is being rejuvenated and renewed. Visions of blue indicate that the throat chakra area is healing itself.
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Psychedelic rainbow over Mount Everest  This is an event that is extremely rare to be seen among these mountains, yet one photographer, Oleg Bartunov, managed to be in the perfect place and the perfect time. Many others had visited Mount Everest, but none had been as lucky to be here at the same as Bartunov.    It is said that this marvel is created from tiny ice crystals that are found within the center of these clouds. Light from the sun by tamika
tamika
tamika Psychedelic rainbow over Mount Everest This is an event that is extremely rare to be seen among these mountains, yet one photographer, Oleg Bartunov, managed to be in the perfect place and the perfect time. Many others had visited Mount Everest, but none had been as lucky to be here at the same as Bartunov. It is said that this marvel is created from tiny ice crystals that are found within the center of these clouds. Light from the sun
Natural wonders
addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to by tabatha
tabatha
tabatha addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to
Food
Duncan Campbellâ s Beer can light relates closely to the objects found in 'It for Others', his 2014 Turner Prize winning film, in which anthropomorphised objects assume the form of packaging for other products. Examining what Campbell perceives to £250.00 by farfetch
farfetch
farfetch Duncan Campbellâ s Beer can light relates closely to the objects found in 'It for Others', his 2014 Turner Prize winning film, in which anthropomorphised objects assume the form of packaging for other products. Examining what Campbell perceives to £250.00
Lifestyle
I'll never forget this scene in The Help. May we always love others enough to instill in them a sense of their value, so that they will instill it in others. by King_guosir
King_guosir
King_guosir I'll never forget this scene in The Help. May we always love others enough to instill in them a sense of their value, so that they will instill it in others.
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Atheism, Religion, God is Imaginary. The concept of gods is so ridiculous that these people have to gather together once or twice a week to convince each other that these shared superstitions are perfectly sane. If it wasn't so destructive to society I suppose the rest of us could laugh it off. But that isn't the case is it? by alicealice
alicealice
alicealice Atheism, Religion, God is Imaginary. The concept of gods is so ridiculous that these people have to gather together once or twice a week to convince each other that these shared superstitions are perfectly sane. If it wasn't so destructive to society I suppose the rest of us could laugh it off. But that isn't the case is it?
Atheism
Oh how Jenna would love this little bird scene! (And that little bunting or banner inside.) Cute idea to make scenes in a jar for whatever your theme is you are decorating for. Or a decoration on a shelf in a kids room or family room. This is adorable but I think it would also be cute to cover the top of the jar with burlap and jute or lace or something a bit more rustic or vintage too. by fougere
fougere
fougere Oh how Jenna would love this little bird scene! (And that little bunting or banner inside.) Cute idea to make scenes in a jar for whatever your theme is you are decorating for. Or a decoration on a shelf in a kids room or family room. This is adorable but I think it would also be cute to cover the top of the jar with burlap and jute or lace or something a bit more rustic or vintage too.
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Josephine Wall - Taurus, the sign of the bull, is the one that others count on to come through in the clutch. Driven by determination and power, Taureans tend to be successful because of the perseverance that motivates them. Everyone seems to know that a Taurus has a temper, but rarely do they get to see it. Taureans are patient, gentle and possess an enormous amount of common sense. by stefanie
stefanie
stefanie Josephine Wall - Taurus, the sign of the bull, is the one that others count on to come through in the clutch. Driven by determination and power, Taureans tend to be successful because of the perseverance that motivates them. Everyone seems to know that a Taurus has a temper, but rarely do they get to see it. Taureans are patient, gentle and possess an enormous amount of common sense.
Favorites
{A Very Vintage Christmas} www.sugarlumpstudios.com  Each day I will offer a new post highlighting a project with a Christmas theme. Most of the projects will be super simple and others a bit more complex, but my hope is a good time will be had by all that visit and we can get into the holiday spirit! by loretta
loretta
loretta {A Very Vintage Christmas} www.sugarlumpstudios.com Each day I will offer a new post highlighting a project with a Christmas theme. Most of the projects will be super simple and others a bit more complex, but my hope is a good time will be had by all that visit and we can get into the holiday spirit!
Vintage Christmas
Anxiety is one of these annoying emotions every human being is condemned to experience at one point or another. Of course, some will handle it better than others but nobody can be completely free of it. Unless they're not human, in which case I would love to meet them (and steal their brains). Anyway, today, I want to share with you the 10 little tips that made a huge difference in my life by helping me keep my anxiety in check! #anxiety #stress by jean
jean
jean Anxiety is one of these annoying emotions every human being is condemned to experience at one point or another. Of course, some will handle it better than others but nobody can be completely free of it. Unless they're not human, in which case I would love to meet them (and steal their brains). Anyway, today, I want to share with you the 10 little tips that made a huge difference in my life by helping me keep my anxiety in check! #anxiety #stress
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How to ask your ladies to be bridesmaids  1. Put cute, personalized letters in a mason jar. 2. Made a label for the polish that said "I found my man, but I still need my girls." 3. Put "something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new" on each bag, AND THAT IS THE DUTY OF EACH PERSON.  4. Decorate everything according to your wedding theme/colors! :)  The girls loved it!! by nanette
nanette
nanette How to ask your ladies to be bridesmaids 1. Put cute, personalized letters in a mason jar. 2. Made a label for the polish that said "I found my man, but I still need my girls." 3. Put "something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new" on each bag, AND THAT IS THE DUTY OF EACH PERSON. 4. Decorate everything according to your wedding theme/colors! :) The girls loved it!!
Getting
Spreepark PlanterWald: Many deteriorating theme parks are hidden behind security barriers, or camouflaged with faux facades in an effort to pretend that they do not exist. But this particularly fantastic place, Spreepark PlanterWald, is "hidden in plain view". It is located smack in the middle of a major European city - Berlin - close to the much-visited Treptower Park. by therese
therese
therese Spreepark PlanterWald: Many deteriorating theme parks are hidden behind security barriers, or camouflaged with faux facades in an effort to pretend that they do not exist. But this particularly fantastic place, Spreepark PlanterWald, is "hidden in plain view". It is located smack in the middle of a major European city - Berlin - close to the much-visited Treptower Park.
Favorites
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela by tabu-sam
tabu-sam
tabu-sam "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
quotes
Bloodstone  At one time, Bloodstone crystal was known as Heliotrope. The word heliotrope is composed of the Greek word for "the sun", helios and the Greek word for "to turn", trepein. The first historical uses of the gemstone were to cause changes in the weather. If you know of someone that tends to be a little too "me" oriented, give them a gift of a bloodstone gemstone. It helps them to see how things affect not just them but others around by proteamundi
proteamundi
proteamundi Bloodstone At one time, Bloodstone crystal was known as Heliotrope. The word heliotrope is composed of the Greek word for "the sun", helios and the Greek word for "to turn", trepein. The first historical uses of the gemstone were to cause changes in the weather. If you know of someone that tends to be a little too "me" oriented, give them a gift of a bloodstone gemstone. It helps them to see how things affect not just them but others around
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I’m excited to share this recipe with you today. We’ve tried many many different donut recipes, some that are suppose to be quick, no-rise donuts, and others that you work with all day and let them rise, etc. Some were good, others were okay, but it wasn’t until we made these and devoured the entire batch in … by lidia
lidia
lidia I’m excited to share this recipe with you today. We’ve tried many many different donut recipes, some that are suppose to be quick, no-rise donuts, and others that you work with all day and let them rise, etc. Some were good, others were okay, but it wasn’t until we made these and devoured the entire batch in …
cookiesNbars
The “Core” is the most central region of the body, it essentially is everything that directly attaches to the hips, which includes: the bones of the pelvis, spine, rib cage and femur (thigh) and all of the muscles that power those regions.  The core is the focal point of all physical power in the body, it relates to our posture and affects our ability to position the body and to perform action. Good Core development will result in greater potential strength and energy. by AislingH
AislingH
AislingH The “Core” is the most central region of the body, it essentially is everything that directly attaches to the hips, which includes: the bones of the pelvis, spine, rib cage and femur (thigh) and all of the muscles that power those regions. The core is the focal point of all physical power in the body, it relates to our posture and affects our ability to position the body and to perform action. Good Core development will result in greater potential strength and energy.
Favorites
ricos felling are sadness because his family is far away and he struggles to survive. this relates to the theme because he always is sad about his family but he says he is over them but in the end he wants to go back home simular to what he said on page 196 by june
june
june ricos felling are sadness because his family is far away and he struggles to survive. this relates to the theme because he always is sad about his family but he says he is over them but in the end he wants to go back home simular to what he said on page 196
All things Paper
HDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - MonopriceHDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - Monoprice Compatible Devices   HDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - Monoprice?? Extend the range of your High Speed HDMI signal and keep the wiring hidden safely within your walls using this HDMI Wall Plate Extender! The HDMI Wall Plate Extenders use Cat5e or Cat6 network cables to transmit the HDMI audio-video signal over distances greater than the 25 foot maximum certified for High Speed signals using HDMI cables alone. To use them you need to run two Cat5e/6 cables through the walls.   Note that these must be CL2 rated for in-wall use and must be wired to the EIA/TIA-568B standard.  Next you plug the ends of each cable into the backs of the wall plates. Make sure that the wall plate labeled "HDMI IN" is at the source side and the one labeled "HDMI OUT" is at the destination end. Once the cables are inserted into the wall plates, screw in the cable bridges to make sure they do not disconnect or come loose.Tip: The Cat5e/6 cables need to be plugged into the appropriate jack on the back of the wallplate, labeled 1 and 2. To make it easier to identify which cable is which, it is recommended that you use different colored cables. So, for example, the Red cable would be Cable 1 and the Green cable would be Cable 2.   Now, install the Wall Plates into a single-gang, low voltage mounting bracket (not included) in the wall and install the faceplates. Your extender is now ready for use! Simply plug the output of your source device (e.g., AV Receiver, Blu-Ray player, etc.) into the HDMI IN jack and plug the TV in your remote room into the HDMI OUT jack.  Your HDMI Extender is now ready for use! Under most circumstances the system will draw all necessary power from the HDMI cable itself. If you have signal reliability issues, you may need to plug a 5 VDC AC adapter into one or both of the wall plates to provide necessary power. Alternatively, you can hardwire a 5 VDC AC adapter into the back of the remote wall plate (labeled HDMI OUT), with the positive wire connected to the + and the negative wire connected to the - connection.Note: Primecables ??strongly recommends the use of minimum 24 AWG HDMI cables when connecting a device, such as this extender, between the source and destination devices to ensure minimal signal loss and maximum High Speed signal reliability.   Note: Although this extender will work with Cat5e UTP cables,??123ink STRONGLY recommends using Cat6 STP cabling for anything longer than minimal distances. Cat6 STP cabling will provide the highest reliability and signal integrity to ensure that your installation is trouble-free under all conditions for years to come.  Note: The 5 VDC power jacks on the front of each wall plate are "standard" cylindrical DC power jacks with a 2.1 mm pin diameter. by Top-product
Top-product
Top-product HDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - MonopriceHDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - Monoprice Compatible Devices HDMI Over CAT5E / CAT6 Extender Wall Plate w/ LED Indicator (Pair) - Single Port (1P) - White - Monoprice?? Extend the range of your High Speed HDMI signal and keep the wiring hidden safely within your walls using this HDMI Wall Plate Extender! The HDMI Wall Plate Extenders use Cat5e or Cat6 network cables to transmit the HDMI audio-video signal over distances greater than the 25 foot maximum certified for High Speed signals using HDMI cables alone. To use them you need to run two Cat5e/6 cables through the walls. Note that these must be CL2 rated for in-wall use and must be wired to the EIA/TIA-568B standard. Next you plug the ends of each cable into the backs of the wall plates. Make sure that the wall plate labeled "HDMI IN" is at the source side and the one labeled "HDMI OUT" is at the destination end. Once the cables are inserted into the wall plates, screw in the cable bridges to make sure they do not disconnect or come loose.Tip: The Cat5e/6 cables need to be plugged into the appropriate jack on the back of the wallplate, labeled 1 and 2. To make it easier to identify which cable is which, it is recommended that you use different colored cables. So, for example, the Red cable would be Cable 1 and the Green cable would be Cable 2. Now, install the Wall Plates into a single-gang, low voltage mounting bracket (not included) in the wall and install the faceplates. Your extender is now ready for use! Simply plug the output of your source device (e.g., AV Receiver, Blu-Ray player, etc.) into the HDMI IN jack and plug the TV in your remote room into the HDMI OUT jack. Your HDMI Extender is now ready for use! Under most circumstances the system will draw all necessary power from the HDMI cable itself. If you have signal reliability issues, you may need to plug a 5 VDC AC adapter into one or both of the wall plates to provide necessary power. Alternatively, you can hardwire a 5 VDC AC adapter into the back of the remote wall plate (labeled HDMI OUT), with the positive wire connected to the + and the negative wire connected to the - connection.Note: Primecables ??strongly recommends the use of minimum 24 AWG HDMI cables when connecting a device, such as this extender, between the source and destination devices to ensure minimal signal loss and maximum High Speed signal reliability. Note: Although this extender will work with Cat5e UTP cables,??123ink STRONGLY recommends using Cat6 STP cabling for anything longer than minimal distances. Cat6 STP cabling will provide the highest reliability and signal integrity to ensure that your installation is trouble-free under all conditions for years to come. Note: The 5 VDC power jacks on the front of each wall plate are "standard" cylindrical DC power jacks with a 2.1 mm pin diameter.
Bestseller
I cannot believe how true this is... infact its so true that I feel guilty because I now understand how we all know how each other feels but refuse to let it out and then we get trapped in each others feelings but dont know it that they are not only our own but everybody elses as well... by La Vie En Rose
La Vie En Rose
La Vie En Rose I cannot believe how true this is... infact its so true that I feel guilty because I now understand how we all know how each other feels but refuse to let it out and then we get trapped in each others feelings but dont know it that they are not only our own but everybody elses as well...
Words
Gratitude is where I live! I am one in 6 billion people on this earth and it owes me nothing, I owe Jesus Christ for his sacrifice and my repayment begins by living his example to the best of my ability so that others who don't know Jesus but know me...know Jesus b/c they know me! by barbara.stone
barbara.stone
barbara.stone Gratitude is where I live! I am one in 6 billion people on this earth and it owes me nothing, I owe Jesus Christ for his sacrifice and my repayment begins by living his example to the best of my ability so that others who don't know Jesus but know me...know Jesus b/c they know me!
This is life
Father, thank You for teaching me to count it all joy when I enter into diverse temptations, because patience is having its most perfect work in me. As I learn to be more patient with myself, I also exhibit that same patience with others. Teach me how to wait on You knowing that even if it appears as though the promise may be delayed it is not a denial, but will manifest in the fullness of Your time. Give me the strength to endure, be productive and prosper in the process. Amen. by alyson
alyson
alyson Father, thank You for teaching me to count it all joy when I enter into diverse temptations, because patience is having its most perfect work in me. As I learn to be more patient with myself, I also exhibit that same patience with others. Teach me how to wait on You knowing that even if it appears as though the promise may be delayed it is not a denial, but will manifest in the fullness of Your time. Give me the strength to endure, be productive and prosper in the process. Amen.
Favorites
"Fun fact: The Beatles used to forge each others autographs when the others weren’t around. Each of these pieces of paper shows one Beatle signing for the others." by lois
lois
lois "Fun fact: The Beatles used to forge each others autographs when the others weren’t around. Each of these pieces of paper shows one Beatle signing for the others."
For my Future home
Beauty in the Heart:  A Study of Godly Beauty for Young Women" covers such topics as modesty, trusting and humility.  The author uses three of the most studied women of the Bible (Sarah, Esther and Ruth) to demonstrate these and other areas that He considers to be TRUE beauty.  As I mentioned earlier….society is not only unconcerned with teaching these and other virtues to our girls, but it is doing it’s best to contradict God’s Word on these by elsie
elsie
elsie Beauty in the Heart: A Study of Godly Beauty for Young Women" covers such topics as modesty, trusting and humility. The author uses three of the most studied women of the Bible (Sarah, Esther and Ruth) to demonstrate these and other areas that He considers to be TRUE beauty. As I mentioned earlier….society is not only unconcerned with teaching these and other virtues to our girls, but it is doing it’s best to contradict God’s Word on these
Favorites
Easy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - WhiteEasy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - White Compatible Devices  Easy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - White                               123ink is proud to??carry a??line of low voltage cable pass through wall plates  with an "easy mount" design that does not require a work ring or low  voltage gang box inside of the wall for installation. The wall plates  feature a unique design with tabs??on the sides that fasten tightly  against the back of a drywall mounting surface providing a clean looking  installation without the hassle of installing a gang box or work ring.  The design also allows for additional versatility as the wall plates can  either be installed vertically or horizontally on the wall.              ??             Recessed  low voltage pass through wall plates give your installation a finished  appearance but allows you the versatility of using the cable types of  your choice. Multiple lines can be passed through a single plate  allowing you to mix and match, eliminating the need to have multiple  plates spread out across your wall.             ??             With these new plates you can install low voltage cables behind  your flat panel TV, your amplifier, or other audio/video devices with  ease.             ??             Total dimensions: 4.9" (L) x 3.25" (W) x 1.5" (D)             Cable pass through dimensions: 1.75" (L) x .75" (W)????             ??             *The color indicated can vary in tone and/or hue between production  runs and manufacturing facilities.?? The color of this item may not be  an exact match to any other product, even if they are indicated as being  the same color, whether sold by 123ink or any other vendor.??  Individual pieces may also vary very slightly in color from each other. by Top-product
Top-product
Top-product Easy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - WhiteEasy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - White Compatible Devices Easy Mount Low Voltage Cable Recessed Wall Plate, Slim Fit - White 123ink is proud to??carry a??line of low voltage cable pass through wall plates with an "easy mount" design that does not require a work ring or low voltage gang box inside of the wall for installation. The wall plates feature a unique design with tabs??on the sides that fasten tightly against the back of a drywall mounting surface providing a clean looking installation without the hassle of installing a gang box or work ring. The design also allows for additional versatility as the wall plates can either be installed vertically or horizontally on the wall. ?? Recessed low voltage pass through wall plates give your installation a finished appearance but allows you the versatility of using the cable types of your choice. Multiple lines can be passed through a single plate allowing you to mix and match, eliminating the need to have multiple plates spread out across your wall. ?? With these new plates you can install low voltage cables behind your flat panel TV, your amplifier, or other audio/video devices with ease. ?? Total dimensions: 4.9" (L) x 3.25" (W) x 1.5" (D) Cable pass through dimensions: 1.75" (L) x .75" (W)???? ?? *The color indicated can vary in tone and/or hue between production runs and manufacturing facilities.?? The color of this item may not be an exact match to any other product, even if they are indicated as being the same color, whether sold by 123ink or any other vendor.?? Individual pieces may also vary very slightly in color from each other.
Bestseller
Keri Hilson on the dress she wore in this scene: "It was red and it was flowy---two things I'm not fond of. My mother's favorite color is red. I guess it's just that feeling---you don't want to remind yourself of your mom too much. But when I'm in character, I love experimenting. That's the only way I would've worn that dress!" by cara
cara
cara Keri Hilson on the dress she wore in this scene: "It was red and it was flowy---two things I'm not fond of. My mother's favorite color is red. I guess it's just that feeling---you don't want to remind yourself of your mom too much. But when I'm in character, I love experimenting. That's the only way I would've worn that dress!"
Favorites
This is a really neat idea. Each table has a number so have everyone from that table leave you a note for your anniversary that year.  Maybe not whole books though, as it says on the thing. Perhaps a small notepad that can be easily stored, along with the others, in an old purse, and quickly decorated with stuff to make them identifiable. by matilda
matilda
matilda This is a really neat idea. Each table has a number so have everyone from that table leave you a note for your anniversary that year. Maybe not whole books though, as it says on the thing. Perhaps a small notepad that can be easily stored, along with the others, in an old purse, and quickly decorated with stuff to make them identifiable.
Favorites
ATTENTION ALL GIRLS: We ALL know that the lower stomach is one of the very hardest places to burn fat and tone. These are some terrific exercises to do in the morning and at night to burn those hard to tone areas! Do this every morning when you wake up, and every night before you sleep. I suggest 20 reps of each but take it slow until you get use to it! by jerri
jerri
jerri ATTENTION ALL GIRLS: We ALL know that the lower stomach is one of the very hardest places to burn fat and tone. These are some terrific exercises to do in the morning and at night to burn those hard to tone areas! Do this every morning when you wake up, and every night before you sleep. I suggest 20 reps of each but take it slow until you get use to it!
For the Home - interior
I think having quotes on each table at the reception and then a short story about us that relates back to said quote is a cute idea :) by MissMadisonRaneesMama2013
MissMadisonRaneesMama2013
MissMadisonRaneesMama2013 I think having quotes on each table at the reception and then a short story about us that relates back to said quote is a cute idea :)
Favorites
Dual Meaning Typography - This piece is particularly relevant to my content dealing with deception and manipulation of information. Each line is a contradicting statement using colour and reading direction to distingush between the two. I feel what is important here is the way in which it is hard to read but done in a way that it is still legible and clearly communicative. by carol.hasky
carol.hasky
carol.hasky Dual Meaning Typography - This piece is particularly relevant to my content dealing with deception and manipulation of information. Each line is a contradicting statement using colour and reading direction to distingush between the two. I feel what is important here is the way in which it is hard to read but done in a way that it is still legible and clearly communicative.
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 kathrine
kathrine
kathrine 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!
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