Thursday, October 29, 2015

Books of Vacay

I heard Shauna Niequist speak once (love her!) and she mentioned that her pet peeve is people who shorten words for no reason. She said something to the effect of, "If you have time to go on a vacation, then you probably have time to say the word vacation." That's basically brilliant comedy right there, but also? Vacay. Vacay. I say it all the time. And I always think of her now. Hate me, Shauna!

Anyway, I read up a MEAN STREAK while we were in TN last week. Since it was a road-trip, I didn't have to stress about which books to take...I took them all! Winning.

I also took this photo with my phone late one night, in low-light mountainous conditions. It's grainy, but you can't make me care.

Since my love for books matches my love for you, I'm going to include links to each, along with some favorite quotes.

Let's begin.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - I read this gorgeous novel for a book club I'm a part of. It's fantastic! The writing is perfection, the characters are robust, and the plot (part mystery) keeps the train zipping down the tracks.

"And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you've prayed for. God probably won't undo what's been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the new day." 

If that doesn't hook you, I don't know what will. (And if you read my last post, you understand why this passage speaks to me so hard right now.)

Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God by Lauren Winner - I'm only half-way through this one - it's meaty! But I'm truly loving it. The thought of seeing God very tangibly in ordinary things is so appealing to me, and the author makes the point that not only is it comforting, it's necessary. Throughout scripture God reveals and describes in ways other than Father or Creator. This books lends a very fresh perspective on who He is and how He loves us.

"The poet Maxine Kumin wrote an essay about making blackberry jam....she writes, 'making rich with gratifications. I get a lot of thinking done. I puff up with feelings of providence. Pretty soon, I am flooded with memories.'...I wonder if, while baking our manna and spreading our banquets and putting up preserves, God remembers. I wonder what memories flood the jam-making God. I wonder what beloved person, dead and gone, God talks to while sugaring the blackberries."

"Jesus's original audience would have known that when they heard a teacher talk about vines, they were hearing about themselves...It is as if Jesus studied the Hebrew scriptures and found the most precarious depiction of humanity He could, and said, 'That is who I am: I am allying with humanity when it is most endangered.' When I am producing bad fruit and farthest from God's pleasure, Jesus is already in that place. It is not alien to Him, and I am not alone."

"This is why Jesus is hymned not as grape juice but as wine: because He is dangerous and excessive. He is more than you need, and He is more than pleasure, and if you attend to Him, you will find so much there that you will be derailed completely. And you will think your heart might break. And then, per Louis de Blois, He will withdraw and you will be miserable and sick until He returns."

Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman -
Emily Freeman is one of my top five favorite writers ever, so there was never a chance I wasn't going to love this one. I'm only four chapters in, but it's so good that I keep stopping to read things out loud to Cory.

"Creation invites a vastly different image to this word small. Driving toward the mountains, standing on the beach, sitting beneath the sky on a moonless night - I feel small, but I like it this way. It's comforting, like I'm not in control and I wouldn't want to be.

In these places, I'm small enough to breathe in deeply, small enough to see what's happening, and small enough to let go, to be loved, to remember the with-ness of Christ. This kind of small carries wonder, gratitude, and peace. This kind of small leads to worship."
"Learning to live well in ordinary time isn't a call to elevate moments; it's a call to draw close to Christ."

The Road to Becoming: Rediscovering Your Life in the Not-How-I-Planned-It Moments by Jenny Simmons - I met Jenny, former lead singer of Addison Road, a couple years ago in the buffet line at Hope Spoken, when I dropped my plate on her little daughter's head. (No injuries were sustained.) I felt an instant connection with her, and that's before I even knew she was writing a book. Once I heard, I had no doubt that I'd love it.

It is so, so good. Her writing is fresh and homegirl has a knack for telling a story. She's the normal, funny friend you wish lived next door. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far, her book is sprinkled with pop culture references (this wins in my world, every time) and she writes things in italics sometimes, like "Carpe freaking diem." 

"I was the kind of girl who wanted faith for other people. Me? I wanted answers, happily-ever-afters, and enough control over my life that I did not have to cling to Jesus for my very breath, my very bread. I only wanted religion." (<< I just got goose-bumps typing that out, because Hi, Shannan Martin.) 
"I will choose to be a dreamer in the face of reality because that is the only way I have found to be fully human." 

Parable Treasury by Liz Curtis Higgs -When we returned home from TN, this children's book was waiting for us. I left it on the coffee table and Ruby, my earliest riser, came down an hour early and read the whole thing. Last night, I read one of the stories to Silas before bed, and it is precious. Such a beautiful way to teach parables to Littles...and with awesome (culturally diverse!) illustrations.

I'd like to offer an Honorable Mention to: the current issue of Cooking Light magazine! It has outdone itself. So many weird, pickled things. It's like they instinctively know how to win friends and influence people.

You're turn. What are you reading?

I'm all ears.


*Amazon affiliate links used, because the book beast must be fed...