What I'm Into (February, March 2017 Edition)

What I'm Reading:

Fiction:

Best chick lit: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which reminded me a LOT of the musical If / Then. 

Book I'm still thinking about: I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

Best mysteryI See You by Clare Mackintosh 

Best romanceAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Most binge-worthy author: Taylor Jenkins Reid. I've flown threw three of her books in the past two months. Nothing earth-shattering, but definitely enjoyable.

Book that had me until the very last page:  Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Book whose politics I can hardly stomach anymore: Foreign Agent by Brad Thor

Most forgettable book:  A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury. I used to LOVE the Baxter Family books. Now, I find them pretty atrocious. I don't know if I've changed or if the writing has changed but they are definitely no longer for me. 

Most confusing book: Good as Gone by Amy Gentry 

Nonfiction books:

I read 6 nonfiction books in February and March. Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle DeRusha, Rising Strong by Brene Brown, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in Their Time of Trial by Sarah Beckman, Very Married: Field Notes on Love and Fidelity by Katherine Willis Pershey, Short-Term Mission: An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience by Brian M. Howell, and Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World Amy Peterson. 

Kid's Books:

We continue to read LOTS with Hope. This month our favorites were The Jesus Storybook Bible, Children of God Storybook Bible by Desmond Tutu, Caillou Takes a Nap (Hope is really into Caillou right now), Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (Fun fact: An audio version of this is available if you have an Amazon Echo), Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, and Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer by Danielle Hitchen.

Things I Love:

Map Puzzle

Puzzles: Hope is super into puzzles right now. Whenever we put the map puzzle together, she always grabs Illinois (her state) and says "Hope!" 

Pete The Cat Feb 2017

Live theater: We took Hope to her first live theater production of Pete the Cat at our local community college. She LOVED it, dancing in her seat to all the songs and putting on her own show for all those who sat near us. 

Mona Hope Feb 2017

The Children's Museum: It's a lifesaver on cold winter days or rainy spring days. Of course, it's also a cesspool of germs. After we went in February, our entire family was sick for the next month. 

Dueling Unicorns Feb 2017

Dueling Unicorns: This is, without a doubt, the game of the year for FLY (and the year's not even over yet.) Let's just say it involved balloons, shaving cream, and jousting. 

Mom And Dad At The Arboretum Feb 2017

Walks at the Arboretum: We took Mom and Dad to see the train exhibit at the Arboretum on Valentine's Day. Hope LOVED this exhibit and was crushed when it left for the year in mid-February. 

Jim's Farewell Feb 2017

Farewell Parties: Let's be clear. We don't love farewells, but if we have to say good-bye, I do love saying good-bye well. I learned the importance of this as we helped our junior high and high school teens say good-bye to our congregation's long-time senior pastor, who took another call in March. 

Great Grandpa Feb 2017

Visits with Great Grandpa: While Jen attended a conference, Doug and Hope headed to Jacksonville to spend some time with our family there. 

Sarah Bessey Feb 2017

Sarah Bessey: I love her books and I loved getting to hear her at the She Loves Event in Vancouver. 

Ash Wednesday March 2017

Ash Wednesday: I love the slowness of Lent and the intentional space to lament all that is not right in our world. 

Samson And Hope March 2017

Samson the Cat: When we got Samson in 2013, we were told he was "good with children". That has proven to be correct. He is exceedingly patient with Hope, who tends to smother him with her love. 

Sad Midwestern Winter March 2017

Unusually warm winters: We love them UNTIL there's a dusting of snow and the girl goes nuts because she thinks she can go sledding... But there's not enough for that so we have to make do. 

The Fam At The Arboretum March 2017

Walks at the arboretum. 

Haiti Team Building March 2017

Preparing for Haiti. This summer, we're taking a team of high school students to Haiti for our summer mission trip. We're knee-deep in preparations for that trip right now! 

Emily With Unleashing

My new book, Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders: I'm so proud of this book, seen here with one of my former student leaders. So many youth workers want to do student leadership well. I pray this book will give them a theological and practical foundation on which to build their team. 

Youth Sunday 2017

Youth Sunday 2017! 

Hope In Snow March 2017

A late season snow! Hope's big discovery during this snow was that her footsteps left footprints. She was memorized! 

Raising Readers March 2017

Reading: Hope is a little bookworm. It's my proudest accomplishment thus far as a parent. 

The Gage March 2017

An evening out: In March, we saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch (VERY VERY strange) and then had a delicious meal at The Gage in which we tried to figure out what the heck we'd just seen on stage. 

Hope And The Goats March 2017

Goats, clearly. 

The Artist March 2017

Drawing. 

Dad's 76th

Celebrating Dad's 76th birthday. 

Hope At Bounce Around March 2017

Bounce Around: So, there's actually a lot I didn't love about this place... But I'll also be the first to admit that after a week straight of rain, letting Hope run around here for a morning saved my sanity. 

What I'm Into Button (1)

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). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

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