7 Book Reviews // Plot Twist Tuesday

We’re a quarter of the way through 2020?! Are you revisiting your new year’s resolution to “read more this year” with all the extra time we’ve been given? Same here.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” (Mason Cooley)

Speaking of having to stay where we are, this weekend I color-coded my bookshelf and reminisced about the days when my décor signs “Gather” and “Let’s Have a Grand Adventure” were applicable.

Anyway, if you’re scouting for some new reading material, you’re welcome to browse my 7 book reviews of 2020 thus far (and also 7 blog posts I enjoyed). They aren’t hot-off-the-press titles, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts because I think book or article discussions are almost as exhilarating as springtime.

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Lavender Lattes // Plot Twist Tuesday

This poem for spring fever debuts Plot Twist Tuesdays. Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week so this is an attempt to cheer them up, and plot twists are sporadic and unexpected, right? So it will be with Plot Twist Tuesdays — a random Tuesday where I post book reviews and recommends, share creative work, or talk about the art of writing.

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Valentine Dinner Theater (Your Creativity Welcome!)

A normal winter morning. I was probably supposed to be sweeping the kitchen floor or doing my math at the table, but I paused when a flash of red caught the corner of my eye.

Posted on our family fridge was a fancy invitation:

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2020: All That Concerns Me

Looking Back

Of course, it wasn’t always picture perfect. But once again it’s a January where I can say with confidence, “Yep, God was faithful.”

When I think of our 2019, I think of intense indoor soccer games, dating through the winter months, engagement in the spring, and weddings galore in the summer. In the fall we set up our apartment, while enjoying getaways to the mountains, and then Christmas brought sweet time with our families.

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

(Psalm 138:8)

The ESV says it, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” Through life or death, sorrow or triumph, God’s purposes will be accomplished this year. As I think of our plans and prayers for 2020, I’m glad the the best is still yet to come in eternity.

Looking Forward

Our personal long-term plans unfold a month at a time, so we just take the next right step. Luke’s faithfully completing his masters of divinity with Hebrew and missiology classes; I’m working at an office whose mission is to reach geographically isolated people with the gospel. We’re blessed.

When friends of mine ask me my goals for the year, I usually begin with, “Ummmm….good question.”

I have a lot of informal resolutions, intentions for organization and new habits, but my goals generally fall into three categories.

One Thing Necessary (Time with God)

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

The core of new year’s resolutions for me is always more Scripture and prayer and a re-look at my other spiritual disciplines (I desperately need these “habits of grace.”) The tension is always between my desire to be more deeply in the Word but wanting to savor every last moment of sleep in the mornings.

My question — how do I arise from sweet dreams, pull meat from the freezer, say goodbye to my husband, make coffee and a healthy breakfast, make the bed, meet with Jesus — all before 7:45 AM?

A few tips for the battle:

1) The Dwell app. This has been a way to track and listen to Scripture while getting ready in the mornings.

2) Accountability. Our church small group is studying I Thessalonians together, and this is an encouragement and motivation to get deeper.

3) Prioritization. Let’s re-remember that seeking the Lord is better than anything. Luke 10 tells the story of Martha (busy about her work) and Mary (sitting at Jesus feet). Our Lord commended Mary for choosing the better part … one thing is necessary. Sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Health

GREENS! Not pictured: the desserts we also consumed

Another core category is more exercise and more kale! (We’re doing good so far. See pic on left; a couple of those dishes are made by my sister).

As for educational health, I set a goal to read at least 20 books in 2020. As we were sitting in a cozy, well-lit living room for small group last week, I had a bright idea (pun intended). Perhaps Luke and I would choose to read more if we had more soft light in our house? So, Luke and I spent our free time one evening shopping for a floor lamp, and after three stores we found our prize. It’s already working.

Writing

Fun fact: this is the church building author L. M. Montgomery attended

I probably shouldn’t announce my creativity plans, because they are never set in stone, but here we are. I hope to post here about twice a month, and I also have a couple other writing projects in the works. I’ve joined a writing community called Hope*Writers and it has been an encouraging experience.

Coming soon: One of my desires is to write a series on something that I’m passionate about — loving Christ’s bride, the church.

Grace is too expensive to waste it on NOT loving the Body of Christ well. In 2020 Luke and I have committed to tangible church goals (like arriving to Sunday service EARLY…not late) and heart-level church goals (like diligently giving and like supporting a brother in Christ whose January baptism is a steep cost beyond just plunging into chilly waters).

Mobilizing others to pursue Christ and worship with a church body is near and dear to our hearts, and I’m excited to write about this from my little vantage point.

Can you see how your goals this year piece together to bring glory to God? It’s the reason we’re here. Whether it’s making a salad or wrestling in prayer in the mornings, we must bring Him praise. Maybe it’s writing a paper or reading a good book. Trying to plug into a church or planning a getaway to the mountains. The heart of it is — how can we sit at Jesus’ feet and worship Him in all that we do?

Thanks for following my site and HAPPY 2020!

Review: Little Women

Here’s the thing. I’ve listened to the audio unabridged Little Women so many times that I feel a certain ownership, almost as if I wrote it myself. So if I sound a little possessive of the characters in my review of the 2019 adaption, that is why! I humbly consider myself to be rather an expert on the subject of the March family.

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Lost Ornaments and Found Worship

Dear Readers,

I have a Christmas story for you. It’s about how I lost my Christmas ornaments two years ago due to some false expectations about my future . . . but I found a reminder to worship.

I’m not posting the story on my blog right now — I’m just sending it to my email list. I invite you to enter your email address over on the right side bar (even if you are already a follower, you’ll still see an option to enter your email if you haven’t already).

Merry Christmas, friends!

Love, Abi

PS. If you still didn’t get the story this weekend and you want to read it, contact me and I’ll send it to you!