Thursday, October 31, 2013

Breakfast and Some Books

The breakfast of my dreams!
Yoplait tangerine Greek Blended yogurt, topped with bran Chex and raspberries.
Half an English muffin with strawberry cream cheese.
Earl Grey in the Wisconsin cow mug.

I am obsessed with this yogurt. I can't explain it. (It's imperative that you put the Chex on right at the last moment so they don't get soggy.) Crunchy, creamy, juicy, heavenly.

THIS JUST IN: Thomas Pumpkin English Muffins are in the house! For the love of Pete, go grab yourself 8 or 10 packages and throw them in the freezer, the bread box, and your mouth. (I found some at my beloved Dented Can for $1 a bag, but now I'm just bragging again.) Top them with whipped cream cheese. Fall in love with breakfast all over again.

This? This was my night stand a few weeks ago. The stack has evolved slightly since then, but any changes have been more lateral than progressive.

What on earth am I saying right now? It's not even making sense to me.

The point is, I'm a flaming hot mess of good intentions. My drive to read is on par with my drive to wear gingham and eat salsa.

You see what I'm up against.

Holy Bible - New Living Translation 
I'm reading right now in Matthew and just, whoa. Jesus was pretty gutsy, right? I know this in my head already, but he really just didn't give a rip what people thought about him. He told it like it was. Also, he told a lot of it quite cryptically...I can't help but wonder what the crowds really thought of his parables. Some were real head-scratchers.

Meet Me in the Meadow: Finding God in the Wildflowers
A friend from church saw this and thought of me. Can I just say that there's nothing kinder in the world than being thought of? It makes me verklempt, if I'm not careful. As for the book, it might be my actual soulmate. Finally, someone understands me!

"Because God played this intimate role in each wildflower's creation, their features give insight to him." 

YES! That's what I've been saying all along! Call me a hippie. It's okay. All I know is, flowers show me God. Now I have proof.

Orphan Justice - Johnny Carr
I'm not all the way through this one. It's meaty and I'm moving like a slug in honey. But it's so good. It's affirming all of my hunches, which is to say it's affirming that God meant serious business about caring for orphans and Jesus wasn't just talking in riddles. This probably isn't the last you'll hear about this one.

"Stop and consider this: Just like the children of Israel, we, as God's people, will be judged for withholding justice from the oppressed and the orphan. If we have the means and the capability to care for orphaned and vulnerable children, yet fail to do so, we are in direct disobedience to God."

Jesus Freak - Sara Miles
One of you awesome readers recommended this book to me, I immediately clicked over, loved the cover, bought it, read it, BOOM. So thank you, dear reader. If you happen to see this, give me a shout so I can personally thank you.

Friends, this is one of my favorite books of the year.

I have some deep theological disagreements with the author, kind of like this book, which happens to be one of my favorite books in the history of the world. This sort of dichotomy used to really leave me conflicted, but this post helped nudge things into line. I can get a little angsty about sharing things like this, things I know many of you would not approve of. But here's where I fall: full disclosure. I'm okay with you disagreeing or thinking I'm wrong. And at the point that I believe I should hide something, I probably need to take a closer look at why I have it in my life.

Jesus Freak took me by surprise in more than one way. It made my brain hurt and my heart beat faster. It made sense to me on so many levels, and yeah, there were several babies I had to toss out with the bathwater.

So this one isn't for everyone. But it changed the way I think about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It helped shape the way I view ministry and service and loving hard people well. It shined a light on more of my failures (there seems to be no end to this phenomenon. Help!)

The copy I read was from the library, but I'll be ordering one to keep, because I'm dying to take my ink pen to it and I just need it to be another of my permanent friends on the shelf.

Chase (Bible study) - Jennie Allen
This study rocked me at a time when I really needed to be pointed toward some difficult truths. So often I fall into the trap of believing I need to be doing certain things in order to win God's favor, or His proximity.

And then there's David. Reckless. Emotional. Ordinary. Constantly tripping over His humanity while he chases the One he loves best.

So maybe my failures are fully expected by God and maybe He does just want my heart. Can it be??!

"David was not remarkable apart from God. God moved around him and through him in the most powerful stories. But something about the way David saw God transformed the way he lived. He saw God differently than everyone around him. He loved God and he lived like he loved God."

A Sweethaven Homecoming - Courtney Walsh
My homegirl wrote this, a sequel to this book.  I keep loaning my copy out before I get a chance to read it myself. Ack! The first one was so good. I need to know what's happening with Campbell, dangit! Courtney dishes about this one right here.

Activist Faith: From Him and For Him - Burroughs, Darling, King
This one's up after I finish Orphan Justice. I'm especially excited to read the chapters The Poverty Epidemic and Beyond Bigger Prisons. Stay tuned!

Ask the Passengers - A. S. King
I picked this up at the library and was instantly sucked in to the title, cover art, and the hook - a young girl escapes the angst of adolesence by sending her love to every airplane that flies overhead, communicating with the passengers, searching them for the solution to life's riddles.

I finished it, but reluctantly, at times. It would have been so much stronger if it had focused more on its hook. Bummer.

White Jacket Required - Jenna Weber
I traveled to Ethiopia in August with Jenna and describe her now to Cory and Sarah as "One of the chefs". (Man, I love those chefs.) It was such a treat to read her memoir. Her writing brought her into ultra-focus and I found myself wishing for a do-over of the trip. There's so much more I want to talk to her about, now.  Also, I dog-eared 90% of the recipes she shared. If you're a foodie and generally a nosy person like me, you will dig this book.

Dark Nights of the Soul - Thomas Moore
The dearest man walked up to me at church a few weeks ago during "greeting time" and said, "You and Cory are readers? Well, read this. Both of you. And then we'll get together and talk about it."

I haven't started it yet, but I will. And when I do? Best book club EVER.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
In case you ever doubted my cool-factor, which registers in the negatives, I tried to read this book and couldn't get into it. I'm the only person to grace the internets who isn't raving about it. I'm so sorry to disappoint. (In my defense, I historically always have trouble reading anything remotely historical. Also, I historically have trouble not using the same word multiple times in the same sentence, historically speaking.)

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality - Jacob Tomsky
It's unfortunate that we're ending here. 'Tis the luck of the draw, or the stack, as the case may be.
I'll cut to the chase. I loved this book for the first 4 or 5 chapters. I took a picture of the cover with my wonky flip-phone and texted it to not one, but two friends.

This book has rated-R language. I had a hunch it would. Take your complaints to the management, okay? (I talked about my thoughts on books with bad words here.)

Initially, I was riveted. It was so dishy and juicy.  Jacob Tomsky has a unique command of the written word. I loved his voice. But around the half-way mark it got repetitive, depressing, and boring.

I soldiered on and finished it, and I'll be honest, when I went to the fancy hotel last month for my fancy meeting, I saw things in a whole new light. 

So, what are you reading right now? Leave me a comment and I'll send one of you an FPFG-approved care package. It will be weird, I can promise you that much.

Flower Patch Nerdygirl