In the month of November I went white water rafting down the longest river in the Caribbean. I took a solo writing retreat. I turned 25 and celebrated with a sleepover slumber party. I ate good Thanksgiving food with friends who have become family. I moved and am living by myself for the first time. I went to a baseball game or two (or seven). I wrote 44,000 words of what will soon be my first novel (she says in faith). I listened to the Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me approximately 600 times. I saw Mockingjay! I ate sushi and gnocchi and empanadas and cake and lots of pizza. All said and done November was, as expected, the best month of the year.
Things No One Tells You About Going on Short-Term Mission Trips at Relevant – “If at the end of your trip you say, “I am so thankful for what I have, because they have so little.” You have missed the whole point. You’re poor, too.”
#DudesGreetingDudes Is One Guy’s Flawless Takedown Of Catcalling at BuzzFeedNews – Hey bruh! You like football? Wanna watch football? You look like you played football! Where’d you play? What position? #DudesGreetingDudes
What If Your Life Is Already The Best Thing? at Momastery – “Maybe the experts should be saying: Look! You’re already started. Your life is beautiful. Well done. Carry On!”
What To Know When You’re 25(ish) at Relevant – “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep with me for this leg of the journey? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”
The Multinational People of God at Faith Improvised – “The beautiful vision of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands” (Rev 7:9) is – or should be – at the heart of the church’s self-understanding. This is what God is up to in the world…”
Why You Really Matter: An Anthem for Women at A Holy Experience – “We are the women who unloose the hair, the women who do the lavish unlikely, the women who bow at the bare feet of God and touch pure holiness and we are rent by grace and we break and we fit and we spill over everyone with this shocking love.”
Benjamin Watson’s Thoughts on Ferguson by Benjamin Watson – “I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin…”
Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids? at Huff Post Parents – “We made our kid’s happiness a central goal – and now it’s difficult for them to generate happiness — the by-product of living a meaningful life.”
My Arrest in Ferguson – by Jason Janz on Man In Black – “Love Your Neighbor. Love your black neighbor. Love your white neighbor. Love your conservative neighbor. Love your liberal neighbor. Love your neighbor crying out for justice. Love your police officer who’s trying to do his job. And if God lays someone on your heart to reach out, loving usually starts by listening. It’s how someone begins to hear you say, ‘I love you.’”
MOST POPULAR POST //
Here’s the thing about the next sure thing – “…the future is bright, bright, bright, almost as bright as the love that my Savior God has for me. And He is faithful, faithful, faithful and He has promised good things. (SURPRISE! ‘Good things’ does not just mean ‘husband and babies.’)”
MOVIES & TV SHOWS //
Once Upon A Time on Netflix – Guys, I love this show. It’s getting cornier as we go along but that’s okay. Plus there are so many handsome princes. And now we’re in Neverland (LOVE the dark Peter Pan, love it) and Emma has Hook and Neal after her and obviously I want her to be with the father or her child but I also kind of want her to choose Hook because he’s so hot.
Mockingjay Part 1 – AH! I love Peeta! So this one breaks my heart. I watched The Hunger Games and Catching Fire the week before going to the theater and as always when watching Catching Fire I asked myself, “Why do you do this to yourself? You know you’re just going to be sad.” Because it’s so emotional! And good! I was annoyed at first when I heard they were making the third book into two movies but Part 1 was awesome. It was great. I have no complaints except that I have to wait until next year to watch the rest.
The Gob Act: A Tribute to Arrested Development on YouTube – See if you can catch all the Gob quotes!
Daniel Radcliffe Raps Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics” on YouTube – I just love thinking about Daniel Radcliffe deciding, I’d really like to be good at rapping. And then getting to work. He’s crazy.
This Video Totally Exposes the Secret Behind Christian Girls on Instagram and It’s Hysterical on faith it – “I used to spend five minutes reading the Bible, and then, like thirty minutes trying to figure out a hashtag.”
Taylor Swift – Blank Space on YouTube – I’m a little mad at Taylor for pulling her music from Spotify because I was so pumped for 1989 (of course not pumped enough to go find it somewhere else). Luckily this guy is on YouTube and it’s so good.
Javon Johnson – “cuz he’s black” (NPS 2013) on YouTube – There is no excuse for ignorance. Listen to people’s stories.
Sam Hunt – Raised On It – Be still my heart. I could always use another country boy to love. And this video is summer and fun and youth and friends and life.
Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me – If you’re not listening to Pentatonix sing Christmas songs, is it really Christmastime? They are talented angels. Also I have a huge crush on Avi.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – It was fun. I didn’t realize it was a series and downloaded some super long pdf that included all the books. I read one and a half.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner – First of all, I can’t believe scorch doesn’t have a t in it and I try to put one in every time. Second of all, I read this book in like, fifteen minutes because I could not put it down. (That is an exaggeration.) Every chapter ended on a cliff hanger and it had me hooked! I was a little disappointed by Minho, though. I remember LOVING him in the first book and all of a sudden he had no redeeming qualities. I wondered if I’d romanticized him after the fact (and after the movie) but then I read…
The Death Trials by James Dashner – …and realized that Dashner just kind of gave up on characterization and decided to pigeon hole the guys. So Minho was the sarcastic, impulsive one, Newt was the sap, Thomas was the indecisive leader, etc. While I loved the first and second books in the trilogy and read them each in less than 24 hours, by the time I got even part way through the third one I was a bit over it. I really got tired of Thomas’ whole “who can I trust? But can I trust them? I don’t know, despite everything, I think I’m going to trust her,” thing. And the “all of a sudden I just knew I should trust her. Despite everything, I decided in that moment to trust her, but I’m going to question it again in a couple of hours.” I know that his life was confusing, but make a decision, man! In the end, I would’ve been much happier if WICKED won and they all died. Because to me that seems realistic. WICKED was this huge, all-powerful entity that could make dead bodies appear and disappear at their whim. They tricked and brainwashed and made food appear in a box every month (or week or whatever the movie makers thought made the story better) and in the end they were too easily overpowered.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Gaiman has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I read this one during my writing retreat. I was scared it was going to be scary based on the description on Goodreads, but it’s not. It was imaginative and relational and laugh out loud funny. Because Gaiman can make dark underground rooms full of people talking to rats funny.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – HOLY CRAP! I have never read a book like this before. At first, I was turned off by the many (odd) adjectives and adverbs. I mean, Amy described a dip as “semeny.” What even is that? Besides gross? If the book hadn’t gotten so many praise and popularity (and a movie) I might not have kept on. But I did and soon enough I was swept away by the story. I appreciated the back and forth, his and hers perspective, past and present. Little did I know… but I won’t tell you what little did I know, JUST IN CASE, because I had zero idea of what this story was about before cracking it open and it was so much better that way. I ADORE a not happily ever after ending, a realistic ending that makes sense and Flynn delivered. A twisted, realistic, sad, well-that’s-what-you-get ending. What a story!
Regnum Stellarum: The First Wormhole War by Wendell Mitchell Snow – A friend of mine wrote this one during NaNoWriMo last year! I wrote about it here.
What The Church Won’t Talk About: Real Questions From Real People About Raw, Gritty, Everyday Faith by J.S. Park – I’ve been reading this book for 100 years (AKA since it was released) because it’s full of so much good truth and wisdom that I can’t take too much at once. It needs to be digested. I’m almost finished now, though, and can very confidently recommend it to anyone and everyone. I especially appreciate how it’s organized by topic. It makes it easy to pop in for some encouragement and a challenge, because Park is not about letting you wallow. I’ll probably write a proper review once I’ve finished.
WORDS OF WISDOM & SOME PICTURES //
The nights can be long. And dark. And terrifying when we don’t know the dawn is coming. Sometimes even terrifying when we see the dawn approaching because we’re not sure what the light will reveal. But we forget there are friends sitting here in the dark with us. We forget we’re all navigating the unknown. And we don’t always realize that the things we didn’t plan – perhaps even the things we said we could never take – are often the things that set us free to live a life that’s more full than the one we’d have so meticulously arranged.
– Beth Woolsey