I enjoyed getting back to old-fashioned blogging last month with a more personal update. I got feedback that you enjoyed it too, so I'm back again this month with another personal update about what I've been up to this past month.
My fall garden
I haven't taken the time to water or weed; I've just been letting the plants that were out there do their thing.
The beans just keep coming and coming with no work on my part (other than lots of picking!)
I've also got a beautiful patch of kale, along with a few broccoli plants.
The zinnia patch, although it looks pretty nasty and overgrown as a whole, continues to produce some beautiful blossoms that brighten the bookshelf beside the chair in my room.
I finished 5 books in August:
I Dared to Call Him Father is the fascinating true story of Bilquis Sheikh, a prominent Muslim woman. Her unusual journey to a personal relationship with God turned her world upside down-and put her life in danger. Originally published in 1978, the book has sold 300,000 copies and is a classic in Muslim evangelism. The 25th anniversary edition includes an afterword by a missionary friend of Bilquis who plays a prominent role in the story and an appendix on how the East enriches the West.
I will never tire of hearing testimonies of God's mercy and grace, and how he so lovingly draws people to Himself.
There were some instances where I was not on the same page theologically with the author, and yet, she was a new Christian living in a country with very little light and much hostility towards Christians.
Her dedication to Christ, her acknowledgement of the weakness of her flesh and total need for dependence on Him were challenging and inspiring to me.
In this compact, nonpartisan book, Andrews urges readers to be “careful students” of the past, seeking accurate, factual accounts of events and decisions that illuminate choices we face now. By considering how the Nazi German regime was able to carry out over eleven million institutional killings between 1933 and 1945, Andrews advocates for an informed population that demands honesty and integrity from its leaders and from each other.
- Does it matter that millions of ordinary citizens have checked out of participating in the decisions that shape the future of our country?
- Which is more dangerous: politicians with ill intent, or the too-trusting population that allows such people to lead them?
- How are we supposed to tell the difference between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”?
- How does the answer to this question affect not only our country but our families, our faith, and our values?
- What happens to a society in which truth is absent?
I have no feelings either way about this book, and I think that was the author's intent. It simply presents many questions to ponder. It's not a storyline with a resolution; instead the reader is left to answer the questions presented and determine what their own course of action will be.
In Indistractable, Eyal reveals the hidden psychology driving us to distraction. He describes why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off our devices: Abstinence is impractical and often makes us want more.
Eyal lays bare the secret of finally doing what you say you will do with a four-step, research-backed model. Indistractable reveals the key to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of us.
A work of fiction based on real events. Cover-ups in the church, lies, and hypocrisy drive a teenage boy to make sinful choices. The consequences of those choices affect him and others in greater ways than he ever expected.
I laughed and I cried. I couldn't put it down. The author did a phenomenal job taking truth and weaving it into a fictional narrative that tells the story of many survivors of abuse, lies, and cover-ups. The fictional aspect was written realistically, although with a happy ending, which does not always occur for every person who shares the experiences the main characters went through. I appreciated the happy ending, though, because while the book sheds light on problematic issues within churches today, it also shows that these issues can be handled in a way that can be healing for survivors and glorifying to God.
Danger is never far from Audra's family farm in Lithuania. She always avoids the occupying Russian Cossack soldiers, who insist that everyone must become Russian — they have banned Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language. But Audra knows her parents are involved in something secret and perilous.
In June 1893, when Cossacks arrive abruptly at their door, Audra's parents insist that she flee, taking with her an important package and instructions for where to deliver it. But escape means abandoning her parents to a terrible fate.
As Audra embarks on a journey to deliver the mysterious package, she faces unimaginable risks, and soon she becomes caught up in a growing resistance movement. Can joining the underground network of book smugglers give Audra a chance to rescue her parents?
I found my heart racing and my teeth clenched at many points during the book. The author did a good job portraying the emotions the characters felt.
Where I get books to read
I read 90% of my books on the Scribd app. I pay $9.99 a month, and I can read or listen to whatever I want on the app. (You don't own the books permanently, but you can read or listen to anything as long as you have a subscription.) They have just about everything on my book list available. Rarely do they not have a book that I'm wanting to read or listen to. I really love it because I spend far less than I would to purchase new books, while at the same time keeping my home clutter free. (Click here to try it free for 60 days.)
Something new I tried this month:
I tried a new clothing subscription service called Wantable this month. I've been using Stitch Fix for several years, but I thought it would be fun to see if a new company would add a little more variety to my wardrobe. I wrote an honest, unsponsored review of Wantable here.
A blog post I wrote this month:
Since grandparents day was in September, I was thinking about my grandparents, and I came up with a list of 5 Things I Learned about Homemaking from my Grandmothers.
A goal I worked on this month:
I mentioned last month that I really needed to drink more water because I was feeling like I was dehydrated all the time.
One thing that helped was to fill up a half gallon pitcher in the morning and use it to refill my water bottle through the day. Then I didn't have to keep track of how many bottles I drank; I only needed to try to make sure I emptied the pitcher each day.
I also started adding these mineral drops to my water. They seem to have helped a lot with balancing my mineral levels so that I'm actually absorbing the water I drink. My mouth feels a lot less dry. (This bottle will last forever too since you only use a few drops at a time.)
Something I've been thinking about this month
I posted the following on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
This is what love looks like. ☝🏻 . Yes, I know those are actually strawberries, but strawberries can also look like love. . See, here’s something about me I don’t like saying, but is true. I really, really dislike cooking. I always have. I don’t know why; I think it’s partly because I’m awkward, slow, and messy in the kitchen, and it just usually turns out to be a not-very-enjoyable experience. . But I’ve realized more and more that food is one of the absolute biggest ways to show love to other people. I know for myself that I feel loved when someone makes food for me. There’s just something so comforting about a belly filled with food made with loving hands. . I’ve come to understand that the fact that I find cooking so difficult means I have an opportunity to show love in an even greater way. The effort I put forth is just as much my gift to the recipient as the food itself. . And so today I’ve spent the afternoon preparing a (belated) birthday dinner for my dad with a lot of his favorites – roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, homemade biscuits, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. . I’m slowly learning to appreciate the chance to get into the kitchen and take advantage of the opportunity to give the gift of food to my loved ones. Instead of bucking against it and doing it out of duty, I’m learning to view it as a chance to love. . Anyone else have something in your home you dislike doing? How can you change your mindset from duty to love? . #imperfecthomemaker #onlylovetoday #intentionalhome #lovingmyfamily #christianbloggers #saturdaythoughts #ministryofmotherhood #risenmotherhood
And now looking forward to October, here are a few of the things I hope to accomplish:
Raise awareness about Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence awareness month, and as an advocate for abuse victims, I spend a lot of time behind the scenes working to support victims. Along with helping victims themselves I also spend a lot of effort raising awareness for others who can help.
Many people I've met have wonderful hearts and assure me they would be the first to help, but they just don't know “anyone like that.”
But what a lot of people don't realize is that domestic abuse doesn't just happen to women who live with a rough looking guy in a white tank top. It festers silently behind charming smiles and all the right words. It hides behind social media posts where a family looks so happy and perfect. Sometimes the person you share a pew with at church is suffering silently and alone. No one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of her house, and she does not know who she can tell that will believe her story.
This Month I Plan to Read:
Is it Abuse? by Darby Strickland.
As a domestic abuse advocate, I am always previewing books that I think will be helpful for both victims and for those who want to help a friend or loved one who may be a victim.
I pre-ordered this book last month, and it arrived recently. It's pretty thick and might take me more than a month to get through it.
This one was on my maybe list last month. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but there are only so many hours in the day. I was hoping to fit this in, but I was also trying a new routine with some supplements I'm taking at various points through the day. I didn't feel like it was wise to add multiple new routines to each day, so I put this one on hold last month. We'll see if I can do it this month.
Well that was fun! If you want to see even more, you can follow me on Instagram. Thanks for following along!