February Favorites 2019

February Favorites 2019

You guys, how is it possible that March has snuck up on me? Most years it feels like I sneeze and February is over. But this February was tough for me. I was sick for much of the month and an abundance of rain made us all a bit stir crazy.

What’s a girl to do? Think of my favorite things, of course! Let’s turn this frown upside-down and think of the positives!

Favorites February 2019

1 Cozy Cardigan | 2 Butter Dish | 3 The Bible Project | 4 Apple TV | 5 On Reading Well | 6 Homeschool Planning System | 7 Sour Cream Enchiladas | 8 Dip Powder Manicures | 9 My Husband’s Humor!

February Favorites 2019

1. Favorite Clothing Item – Cozy Cardigan

Winter illness begs for warm comfort. This cozy cardigan was up for the job! It was a Christmas gift from my parents and is perfect for a casual comfy vibe when going out-and-about. And since I’m vertically challenged, it’s long on me so is equally perfect for when I’m sitting by the fire in my jammies.

2. Favorite Kitchen Tool – Butter Dish

It may seem strange to wax poetic about a butter dish, but this is a real MVP in our kitchen. We use Kerrygold butter, which is an odd size, but this butter dish holds it perfectly with room to spare. I keep it on the counter near the toaster, and this style butter dish keeps the mess to a minimum if my kids decide to butter their own bagels in the morning. And since the butter stays soft, I can quickly whip up grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. What can I say…when I’m sick, I have a warm place in my heart for anything that makes life easier.

3. Favorite Infotainment – The Bible Project

The kids and I have been watching Bible Project videos in the morning during breakfast, and they are FASCINATING. So good. They’re targeted to adults (and believe me, I’ve learned a lot), but my kids ask to watch them, too. The whole idea of combining in-depth Biblical studies with comic-book-style art is genius.

4. Favorite Tech – Apple TV

We watch The Bible Project via their app on the Apple TV. I originally purchased an Apple TV so that I could mirror my MacBook or iPad to a TV screen, but it’s become a piece of tech that I use every day. I use it to play music I’ve purchased in iTunes; to watch PBS Kids, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and Vudu; and I even love the screen saver that displays my favorite photos that I have stored in the cloud.

5. Favorite Read – On Reading Well

I purchased On Reading Well on a whim when I was browsing in a bookstore and promptly dropped it in my reading basket. I was curious about the topic and thought it would be a quick read. Instead, I’ve been so entranced by the author’s writing style, word usage, and content that I haven’t even made it out of the introduction yet! I’m now determined to take it very slow with this one and have enjoyed re-reading sections over several days until I feel like I’m ready to move on.

6. Favorite Homeschool Help – My Planning System

I promise you that this isn’t a shameless plug for my own blog content and videos…I’m genuinely so grateful to find a system that works for us! Since I do so much of my lesson planning way ahead (via Homeschool Planet) and set up a workbox system that gives my kids independence in getting their work done, days that Mommy is running at way less than 100% aren’t completely wasted, and getting ready for the next day requires little effort from me.

7. Favorite Recipe – Sour Cream Enchiladas

Another book that I added to my reading basket on a whim was the Magnolia Table cookbook. I enjoy reading a couple of recipes a few times a month, along with the beautiful pictures and little peeks into life with the Gaines family. Many of the recipes are what I would call semi-homemade, which is perfect for a busy mom that still wants to feed her family well. I’ve tried several recipes and my kids have loved them all, which is saying a lot because my kids are not shy about proclaiming their discontent (“This is disgusting,” is something that I’ve heard way too often at the dinner table, and yes, we’re working on kindness and gratitude because wow). The big hit this month was the Sour Cream Enchiladas recipe. Even I tucked into a couple of helpings, and I’m not a big enchilada fan.

8. Favorite Self-Care – Dip Manicure

When I was single and care-free, I spent many an hour in the nail salon. Having perfect fingers and toes seemed like a necessity, and I enjoyed the pampering. But once I started birthing babies, my salon visits greatly diminished and I didn’t care about manicures anymore. I didn’t want to spend the little bit of free time I had at a nail salon, and just wanted to keep my nails cut short so that I could do All The Things.

Now that my youngest is four years old, I feel like I can breathe again. I started caring about how my hands look, but nail polish, nail stickers, and even shellac couldn’t withstand the abuse I put my hands through every day. I was so happy to learn that the nail industry has come a long way in the ten years since I’ve received regular manicures and introduced dip powders. It’s AMAZING. There are so many colors to choose from (I’m currently sporting a pinky-beige sparkly color – N16 if you care), and even the slip of a knife hasn’t ruined my manicure. I’m officially a fan.

9. Favorite End-of-the-Day Treat – My Husband’s Humor

When I was single (and I was single for a long time, didn’t marry until I was 33), I assumed that I would marry someone with a personality similar to my own. Thankfully, I eventually realized that marrying someone like me would be the most boring thing! I decided that I would much prefer marrying someone the opposite of me – silly, goofy, fun.

Enter my husband. 🙂

He’s such a goober. Makes us smile every day. Knowing that it has been a tough month for me, he’s been so good about being cute and silly at the end of the day, even when he’s had a long day, too. The maxim that opposites attract has certainly been true in our case.

Aaaaaahh, it was such good medicine to reflect on the positive aspects of the past month. May March be full of joy and positivity for you and me both!

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12 Perfect Gifts for a (Christian) Book Geek

12 Perfect Gifts for a (Christian) Book Geek

Perfect Gift Posts:

For those that like to escape into a book…

Les Miserables – This was a book by Victor Hugo before it was a broadway play. And soon the movie will come out!! I CANNOT WAIT!!! This is a bit of deep reading for an escape, but the themes of redemption and grace are worth it.

Anything by Francine Rivers – She does a great job of telling an entertaining story with deeper themes. My favorites are:

Anything by Deanne Gist – This is pure entertainment here. Just plain fun. Some of my favorites:

What a Girl Wants – Oh man, this book made me laugh so much. And I mean a true laugh out loud, not a chuckle or internal, “Well, now, wasn’t that amusing.” This is especially funny to anyone that has been involved in a church singles ministry. Because you know that you wish someone would write a book about all of the craziness you see in there sometimes.

For those that read to understand their world…

Anything by Anne Lamott – Be warned, Ms. Lamott is NOT a member of the vast right wing conspiracy. And you’ll never see her sipping tea at a party. So buy these books only for people that understand that Jesus loves everyone, not just those that look and sound like them. Also, buy her books for anyone that wants to improve their writing. Because her writing? It’s a wonder.

Introverts in the Church – I’m understanding more and more about myself as an introvert, and books like this one are partially responsible. Buy this book for the introvert in your life that needs to know that they don’t have to fake at being an extrovert to be a good Christian.

For those that have big dreams for the future…

Quitter – I started reading this recently and love it because it’s different than you think it’s going to be. Buy this book for anyone that doesn’t feel fulfilled in their current occupation and hopes for more.

Platform – This book has so much good information in it it’s mind-boggling. Buy this book for anyone that hopes to build up a business, reputation, or brand.

What are your suggestions for books that would make great gifts?

Perfect Gift Posts:

10 Perfect Gifts for a Bible Geek

10 Perfect Gifts for a Bible Geek

Perfect Gift Posts:

Do you have someone on your shopping list that spends their lunch hour doing a Bible study? Do you they like to share what they’ve learned in the pages of a commentary over a cup of coffee and scone? Then you may have a Bible geek on your hands.

I know that you’re tempted to get your Bible geek loved one a coffee cup with a touching verse painted on it, but maybe we can do better. I’ve listed below ten possible gift ideas that I would love to receive if I didn’t have them already.

A New Study Bible

In this digital age, many people (including myself) forego a bound Bible for their favorite Bible app on their smartphone or tablet. If your Bible geek loved one isn’t one of those people, their Bible undoubtedly has a lot of miles on it. They may be ready for a new Bible, or maybe just another specialized Bible. Just be sure to find out their preferred Bible translation before making this purchase. Are they Team NIV or Team NASB? Or Team NKJV? People are pretty picky about that.

1. Life Application Study Bible

Commentary from this study Bible was one of my favorite resources when I prepared Bible study lessons. Practical and to the point.

2. Key Word Study Bible

This one is for those that like to dig around in the original languages. I loved to take this Bible along with me when I traveled and needed to work on a lesson.

3. Archaeological Study Bible

I’ve never used one of these but I’m intrigued. There may be one in my future.

Bible Reference Books

4. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Love this so much. I’ve been looking pretty worn out these days, but I wasn’t actually around during Bible times. So I sometimes need a thing or to ‘splained to me.

5. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History (Broadman & Holman Reference)

I haven’t used Bible atlases much, but I always like to have one around. Just in case.

Bible Study Software

6. Accordance Bible Study Collection

Full disclosure: In my pre-Mac days, I used the PC Study Bible software and loved it a whole lot. But now I have a Mac and had to make a switch. I read a lot of good things about the Accordance software, so settled on it. It has tons of add-ons that you can purchase (like the resources above). And a bonus – even though I bought the Mac version, I was able to install an app on my iPad, sign in with my Accordance account, and use my modules. So pretty nifty.

Bible Study Workbook

Guided Bible study workbooks aren’t for everyone, especially hard core Bible geeks that don’t want someone else doing the studying for them. But the following studies are a bit out of the norm and can be very satisfying to a Bible geek.

7. Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Workbook)

This is one of the first studies I ever did, and I still think about key concepts that I learned from it. It’s a great way for a Bible geek to learn to move from all the studying and put feet to their faith.

8. A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place, Member Book UPDATED

This is one of my favorite studies because it is so incredibly in-depth and takes you from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

9. Scouting the Divine

I’m working on this one right now and love the way it helps you climb into the pages of Scripture. Definitely worth a look.

Leadership Conference Attendance

10. Catalyst Conference

Is your Bible geek seeking God about future ministry opportunities? If so, they may be interested in attending a Catalyst conference. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend yet, but salivate every time I hear about it. I imagine it could be expensive what with conference fees, travel, and hotel. This would be a great gift from a group.

Do you have any ideas for a great gift for a Bible geek? 

Perfect Gift Posts:

Gutenberg Encouraged Me

As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend we went to Austin to greet my sister at the finish line of the MS150. After two days of biking through the Texas countryside, we hoped that it would be an encouragement to my sister to know that family was waiting for her at the end. The trip was also a bit of a pilgrimage for my husband since he graduated from the University of Texas and lived in Austin for fifteen years.

We had a few hours to kill Sunday, so we wandered a bit on the UT campus. We eventually ended up at the Harry Ransom Center, where I was shocked to find that they had this:

That’s a Gutenberg Bible, people!

I’d actually seen a Gutenberg Bible when I was a kid living in Germany, but what do you know when you’re ten years old? Twenty-five years later, I was appropriately moved by the historical importance of the book.

I was moved by the fact that the first book printed on a printing press, which would make the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution possible, was a Book that makes personal spiritual reformation possible.

I was moved by the fact that the design of the first printing press was possibly based on the design of wine presses, and that the first Book published on that printing press tells about a Man who’s first recorded miracle was turning water into wine.

And I was moved by the fact that Gutenberg made such a positive and immeasurable impact on the body of Christ simply by doing what he was made to do.

I wonder how many times he doubted his passion. If he ever thought that he was wasting his time and nothing would come from all of his hard work.

Whatever doubts may have come along the way, he followed his vision through. And hundreds of years later, I can sip a latte in a coffee shop while working on a Bible study or reading a good novel.

I went to Austin hoping to encourage, but left as the one encouraged.

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