What I'm Into (April, 2016 Edition)

What I'm Reading:

Fiction:

April was an INSANE month. Nevertheless, I still got some reading in. 

Best mystery:  What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan  

Perfect beach read:  Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Book that disappointed:  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I've heard so many people rave about this book that it just did not live up to my expectations of it. I'm glad I read it... But it was a SLOW read for me that I had to force myself to finish. 

Book that did not disappoint:  Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. I'm always a little skeptical of sequels but this sequel to The Kitchen House was every bit as compelling as I hoped it would be. 

Non-fiction:

I also read two non-fiction books during April: And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye by Kara Tippetts and Enrique's Journey  by Sonia Nazario.

Kid's Books:

We continue to read LOTS with Hope. This month our favorite was Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.

Things I Love:  

Children's Museum, April 2016

The DuPage Children's Museum: Our first foray there happened to be on Spring Break, which meant it was CRAZY. Nevertheless, Hope LOVED it... And it's saved my sanity on more than one rainy April day since then. 

Magnolias April 2016

The magnolias at the Arboretum, however fleeting they are. (And this year, they were VERY fleeting.) 

Hope Grocery Shopping April 2016

Grocery shopping with Hope: She brings such cheer wherever she goes. 

Brookfield Zoo April 2016

Cold days at Brookfield Zoo: They're far less crowded than warm days and nearly all the animals are out and active. 

Airport April 2016

Airport good-byes: Well, I guess I don't actually love these... But I love having a husband who supports my calling and cheers me on when I fly to places to speak. 

Campference 2016

The Women in Youth Ministry Campference: Quite honestly, this is an event unlike any I've ever seen. It's so powerful to have a group of women come together, learn about ministry, relax, and deepen their relationships with God and each other. It was such a joy to speak here. 

Montreat April 2016

Montreat: The place where Campference was held. It did my heart, soul, and body good to be in such a beautiful place for a few days. 

Exodus Open Arms Award

Teenagers who advocate for refugees: My high school students were honored to receive Exodus World Service's Open Arms award at the Celebration of Hope in April for their work with refugees. 

Brookfield Zoo Jean & Greg April 2016

The zoo with friends: The only thing better than going to the zoo is going with friends! 

Daffodil Glade April 2016

The arboretum's daffodil glade. To think, last year, we took our maternity photos here. And now Hope's here! 

Faith Forward Poster 2016

Faith Forward: It was such a joy and a privilege to be part of the Faith Forward conference. I loved worshiping with Audrey Assad, hearing Lisa Sharon Harper (among others) speak, and leading a workshop on The Jesus Gap. 

Hope Goes To Msp April 2016

Traveling with Hope: I'm so fortunate to be able to bring Hope along - even on research trips for The Arbor Research Group. Don't get me wrong, traveling with a kid is challenging but oh so worth it. 

Arboretum April 2016

Being outside on beautiful spring days. 

Confirmation 2016

Confirming 8th graders in the spring and visiting with them in their homes in the weeks before confirmation. 

Grandpa B & Hope April 2016

Visits from grandparents. 

Tulips & Hope April 2016

Spring flowers. 

11 Months Hope

Walking! Hope is on the move, walking unassisted. 

8th Graders At Fly April 2016

Transitioning the 8th graders into our high school ministry immediately after they were confirmed... And handing out some leftover t-shirts to those who came. 

Carasel April 2016

The carousel at Brookfield Zoo. Hope got situated, grabbed the pole, and squealed with delight as soon as her gorilla started going up and down. 

Art Institute April 2016

Admiring Monet at the Art Institute. We actually went to see Van Gogh's bedrooms... But so did everyone else in Chicago. When we saw the wait was two hours (something which simply does not work well with a baby!) we moved on to other exhibits. 

What I'm Into Button

Today I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I'm into. You can join the conversation here.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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