Thursday Thought: The Art of Defeat

Defeat stinks. There’s just no way around it. It really stinks. People don’t feel halfway about it. It’s not like we have people getting the rug pulled out from under their feet and then saying “I actually kind of enjoyed that!”. Defeat is
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Top Five Children's Books: Science Fiction

Science fiction! As a genre of literature, this one pulls neck and neck with fantasy but provides something just different and plausible enough to create a sense of wonder and fascination. I didn’t grow up with a lot of science fiction reading
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Thursday Thought: Faith that Amazes

There’s a seemingly quick and simple story in the New Testament that, true to form, still manages to pack quite a punch: the story of the Roman officer. The story shows up fairly early in Matthew 8 and is also recounted in Luke’s gospel. 
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Thursday Thought: Never the End

In my personal bible reading I’ve been working through the book of Isaiah, and whoooooo boy. It is rough. Compound that with the fact that the other day I happened to be listening to the soundtrack to Interstellar at the same time and let me tell
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Thursday Thought: The Battle for Enough

When I was younger, I was obsessed with doing well in school but one of my reasons for doing so was tragically off. Having the brain injury that I do, I was very aware of how difficult it made my mathematical comprehension. I was still very solid
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Top Five Children's Books: Classics

When it comes to children’s fiction, some books stand the long test of time and endure as fan favorites. These are the books a child grows up loving or have been passed down to them after being well-loved by the generations before them. They’re
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Thursday Thought: More Faith, Less Fear

There’s a lie that I’ve bought into many times and I know I’m not alone in it. It’s a seemingly little lie, but it can wreak havoc in our lives if we aren’t careful. Somewhere along the line we all get sold the notion that to be afraid is to be
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Thursday Thought: Perseverance over Prosperity

Sometimes, life goes horribly wrong. It’s not something we can avoid or dance around. You work and toil and struggle to reach your goals. You sacrifice and labor just to push yourself that much closer to your dreams. You do everything right, and
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Top Five Children's Books: Fantasy

Fantasy. There isn’t a kid alive who hasn’t wished for some fantastic magic in their world. It isn’t a wonder that fantasy is one of the most popular genres of fiction across the board. But if you can’t escape into magic in reality, why not do so
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Writing Contest Winner: Sophie Brubaker

I can't tell you how excited I am to share the grand prize winner of my children's writing contest, Sophie Brubaker! Nine-year-old Sophie wrote a charming, whimsical, and adventurous story about bike riding friends. Something that really caught my
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Thursday Thought: The False Percent

Obstacles and hardships are not just a possibility in life, but an absolute certainty. That’s just a fact of life. Life is going to be hard. We just know it. I remember my mom once blithely saying “Life is dangerous! No one makes it out alive!”,
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Top Five Children's Books: Historical Fiction

Who doesn’t love some great historical fiction? Historical fiction gives us not only fantastic stories and characters but context into eras we might not have known much about otherwise. And no one is better served by historical fiction than
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Thursday Thought: Rest in the Now

No one, and I mean no one, likes the feeling of helplessness. There isn’t anybody who wakes up first thing in the morning feeling helpless and thinks “Aw yeah! This is awesome!”. It just doesn’t happen. The sensation of being weak or helpless is one of those great uncomfortable feelings that is almost worse than the actual thing itself. 
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2019 Top Reads: Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo 

We’re already here! The final installation of my top reads from last year! That went quickly! But before we wrap up completely there’s room for just one more book from none other than the great Kate DiCamillo. Earlier in this series, we looked at Louisiana's Way Home which was a follow up to the book we’re covering now: Raymie Nightingale. True to DiCamillo’s writing style, the story is a sweet beginning to the friendships explored in her other connected books. 

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2019 Top Reads: Song for A Whale

Song for A Whale, Lynne Kelly

I’ll start by saying this: I didn’t know when I started reading this book that I would spend an inordinate amount of time feeling incredibly anxious over the emotional wellbeing of a single whale, and yet there I was. There were even one or two people who got panicky texts from me about how I wasn’t going to be ok until I knew if the whale was ok. Sorry again about that. You know who you are. 

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Thursday Thought: Redeemable You

For the last month or so in my personal Bible study, I’ve been working my way through Judges and 1 Samuel. I’m gonna be perfectly honest here, it isn’t all that fun. A lot of times I’ve explored these books separately or in little chunks as part of a broader study. But camping out and chewing away at this period of time has been a totally different experience. There’s no nice way to say it, but the time of Judges in Israel was ugly. Just ugly. In many ways, the stories start to sound like a broken record. Israel’s doing well. Israel finds a shiny new god to follow. Israel falls into chaos. Israel wonders how that could have happened and where God is. God rescues those who turn to him. Rinse and repeat. 
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2019 Top Reads: Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

There are few authors who successfully write in multiple genres as well as Neil Gaiman. The man is an absolute master. Gaiman’s writing style is thoroughly unique to him and translates easily to whatever genre he’s exploring. His narrative retelling of Norse mythology is no exception. 

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Thursday Thought: Nowhere to Go But Forward

There’s a maxim I have for myself in times of trouble: nowhere to go but forward. It’s a reminder not just that I’m not out of the fight, but also of the immediacy of my situation. It’s a reminder that I’ve needed more times than I care to count, because let’s face it, sometimes life can be wildly unpredictable. 
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2019 Top Reads: The Line Tender

The Line Tender, Kate Allen

If you like sharks and deep narratives on how we handle grief and change in youth than this is the book for you! I found this book on one of my big library hauls. The cover alone is stunning and when I did my usual flip through the first few pages, I found that each chapter heading comes with beautiful, huge, shark artwork that, honestly, I couldn’t get enough of. What a gem. 

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Thursday Thought: Better Than Growing

Ever heard the word Christianese? It’s the idea that in Christian circles there are certain words we use so much they become part of their own language. Christianese is a collection of overused buzzwords that have lost their punch after being the first thing on a person’s lips for so long. They’re words like “intentional” “calling”, or “fellowship”
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2019 Top Reads: The Wizards of Once

The Wizards of Once series, Cressida Cowell

I would apologize for having Cressida Cowell on this list twice, but that would mean I’m sorry and I’m really just not. Not even a little. What can I say? Here’s an author who knows how to build an incredible children’s series.

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Thursday Thought: Fearful World, Courageous Choice

No one likes being afraid. I’m not talking about that adrenaline rush, thrill related fear that you get from riding a roller coaster, bungee jumping, or going on a date. I’m referring to capital F fear. The kind of fear that makes your heart pound, your vision narrow and your muscles twitch with anticipation. There’s not a person on this earth who enjoys the sensation of genuinely believing they are in mortal peril.
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2019 Top Reads: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This read came to me in the best way possible. My dear, dear cousin sent me this book in the mail with a letter declaring that I needed to read it as soon as possible and write her back with my thoughts. The sheer brilliance of sending it with such a letter will become abundantly clear in a moment. 
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Thursday Thought: From Where the Ground Feels Good

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about a Bible story that never was. Thank goodness it never was. We’re all the better for it. I was considering the rather dramatic conversion of Saul to Paul. This change is so dramatic I have to confess that when I was little I spent more than a little while thinking these were two separate people. Full stop.
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2019 Top Reads: Gates of Fire

If there was any book that kept me awake thinking late at night long after I’d finished it, it was this book. Ask the people in my life that I was texting in all caps the minute I finished. It was that good. If you saw the movie 300 and wished there was a more accurate book that paid beautiful homage to the philosophies of brotherhood, bravery, and the warrior spirit, then this is the book for you. 

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