It's been a busy month. To say that I'm exhausted is an understatement. There's a time I would have been proud of this. Not anymore. Here's hoping for a slower April!
Due to the busyness of this month, my reading took a hit. Nevertheless, I read a few really great books.
Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale is the best fiction book I've read so far this year. The Nightingale tells the story of a few of the women of World War II. It's a stunning read with well-developed characters that sheds light onto a little known aspect of the war. Warning: It's also a tear jerker!
I also really enjoyed Anita Diamant's The Boston Girl. Written from the perspective of a grandmother telling her story to her granddaughter, The Boston Girl tells the story of a woman coming of age in early 20th century Boston.
TV: The Walking Dead (So sad this season is over!), The Good Wife, Madame Secretary, American Idol, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, The Black List, Modern Family, and The Amazing Race.
Movies: McFarland USA
Things I Love:
Summer Trip Meetings: In anticipation of Baby Girl's arrival sometime in May, we pushed up all our summer trip meetings to this month. Although I won't be going on either of our summer trips this year, I loved being part of these preparation meetings and in particular, seeing my adult leaders step forward to facilitate them well.
Helping teens to discover & use their gifts: This month, we've been hard at work preparing for Youth Sunday. One of the things I love about this tradition is the way in which it gives teens the opportunities to discover and use their gifts to serve and honor God.
Lenten worship: I love the season of Lent and in particular, how our congregation practices it. We meet every Wednesday in Lent for dinner followed by Holden Evening Prayer. If you aren't familiar with Holden Evening Prayer, you should be!
Welcome Pack Deliveries: Our youth ministry maintains a Welcome Pack Closet filled with the bare necessities refugees need to begin life in America. This month, we got to deliver some of these supplies to a refugee family from Bhutan. They spent 22 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before being resettled in the US.
Family: We spent a weekend downstate, where my husband grew up, in mid-March. While there, we enjoyed our first baby shower as well as celebrating my husband's grandpa's 95th birthday. As part of his birthday celebration, I had the honor of preaching at Perry Presbyterian.
The Progressive Youth Ministry Conference: I had the privilege of leading a seminar about transitioning teens from confirmation to the wider church at the Progressive Youth Ministry Conference downtown Chicago, right across the street from the John Hancock Building. What I love most about this conference is how it exposes me to voices I'd otherwise never hear. I also loved connecting with my friend, Morgan, whose book, Woo, you should be sure and check out.
Making progress on the upstairs reno: Since the first of the year, we (and a host of our friends & family) have been hard at work on renovating our upstairs in anticipation of Baby Girl's arrival. After a fiasco with Home Depot, we FINALLY got the right carpet delivered late this month. Not 10 minutes after the carpet guys left, our new couch also arrived.
Open Grand Rapids: I spoke on my book, The Jesus Gap, at Open Grand Rapids last weekend (Don't ask me what I'm doing with my face in the above picture...) Last year it was here that I presented my research and ended up with a book contract with the Youth Cartel. Now I'm in the process of writing a student devotional on Jesus, based on the results of my research. While in Grand Rapids, I also enjoyed connecting with my friend, Gina. Her book, A Woman in Youth Ministry, is a must-read!
Baby showers: Last Sunday was our third and final baby shower (One downstate, one at church, and one with friends & family up here). We feel so grateful and blessed by how much Baby Girl is already loved!
Birthdays: We celebrated my Dad's 74th birthday at a local burger joint on Monday.
Today I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I'm into. You can join the conversation here.
- 12 Books You Should Read
- A blessing for youth leaders nurturing faith beyond youth group
- 8 ways to help mission teams conclude more than “poor people are happy”
- The fantasy youth ministry candidate
- What students need most when they’re stuck spiritually
- The tearing of the curtain
- How do you not hate them?
- Messy Ashes
- What it means to be a Bradbury
- The (false) unity of 9-12