Reading Goal Update And A Give-Away!!

My reading goal for this year is to read at least twelve books….or one book every month. I got behind on my posting, but not my reading! I’m already way ahead of my goal! So here is what I read in March and April.

In March, I read three books. Book one is When Helping Hurts by Corbett & Fikkert.

I read this book in preparation for our mission trip to Haiti. I found the book very helpful in really looking at the purpose for short-term missions and ways to evaluate the purpose and desired outcomes of these trips. I would recommend this book for anyone involved in missions of any sort.

Book two is The Letter by Marie Tillman.

Although this book was a little sad, I still enjoyed it. I’m such a sap when it comes to true stories. 🙂 I could identify with a lot of the emotions that Tillman expresses. This is part of the book description from Amazon:

In 2003, Pat Tillman, serving in the US Army, hastily wrote a “just in case” letter to his wife, Marie. When he returned on leave before his departure to Afghanistan, he placed the letter on top of their bedroom dresser. For months it sat there, sealed and ever-present, like a black hole through which Marie knew her stable life would be pulled if she ever had reason to open it. Then, in April 2004, Marie’s worst nightmare came true. In the days following his death, it was Pat’s letter that kept her going and, more than that, it was his words that would help her learn to navigate a world she could no longer share with her husband.

Book three is How Sweet the Sound by Amy K. Sorrells.

Another good book! This story was inspired by the story of Tamar in the Bible. “From a distance, the Harlans appear to be the perfect Southern family. Wealth and local fame mask the drama and dysfunction swirling through their family line. But as the summer heats up, a flood tide of long hidden secrets surface. Devastation from a rape followed by the murder of two family members brings three generations of the Harlans together on their pecan plantation in Bay Spring, Alabama. Chief among them is Anniston, who by the time she turned thirteen thought she’d seen it all. But as her heart awakens to the possibility of love, she begins to deal with her loneliness and grief.”

In April, I read four books! Book one is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

I can’t say that I agree with the premise of this book, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. “Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.”

Book two is The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

For some reason it took a few chapters for me to get into this book, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it! It ended up being one of my favorites that I’ve read so far this year! “After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.”

Book three is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

Yes, another somewhat sad book/true story. Although this one is a little different in that the author is the one that is dying and the story is told from his perspective. This book really makes you think about the importance of making every day count and living each day with purpose. “At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.”

Book four is Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay.

This book has also become one of my favorites from this year! A really easy read that is written in the form of letters between two of the characters. “Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore. But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.”

How’s your reading going? Maybe you’ll find something on my list that will spark your interest! So now for the give-away! I am giving away my copy of The Light Between Oceans! To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me a book that you have read in the last couple of months that you have really enjoyed. The give-away will end on Sunday night, May 15 at 11:59pm. I will pick a random winner on Monday, May 16 from all who have left comments and announce the winner on my blog. So….leave a comment and Happy Reading!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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Goal #4 for 2016

Since the beginning of the year, I have been sharing with you some of my goals for 2016. Goal #1 is to read at least 1 book/month. Goal #2 is to take control of my health, and goal #3 is to read through the Bible in one year.

Today, I am sharing goal #4…..to go on a family mission trip. This has been a desire of mine for several years, but until this point it has not worked out for one reason or another. But…2016 is the year that it WILL happen! Next month Emilie, Jacob and I will be going on a short-term mission trip to Haiti. We are going with our church, who is partnering with Operation Mobilization. Unfortunately, Katie won’t be able to join us because of the timing of the trip and the scheduling conflict with her college classes. But, Katie is actually leaving for Europe tomorrow! It’s not a mission trip, but rather a trip for class credit with a group from her school. She will be going to Rome and Greece! Very cool, huh??

As far as our trip to Haiti, we will be working with an orphanage there and sharing the Gospel in word and deed with those that we are blessed to come into contact with. We will also be providing some vacation Bible school type activities with the children. We are so excited and grateful for this opportunity and are really looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us!

We have been busy making pre-trip preparations: getting passports and signatures on needed forms, attending training meetings with our team, raising needed financial and prayer support, and obtaining the needed vaccinations and medications. We would be most grateful if you would be willing to pray with and for us for our upcoming trip. These are our current prayer requests:

1. Health and safety for all team members before and during the trip
2. All financial needs to be met
3. Acquiring the remainder of our needed vaccinations/meds
4. Open hearts and minds for what the Lord has planned for our trip
5. That we would allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of our trip, rather than relying on ourselves
6. Unity and flexibility of the team
7. Transformed hearts and minds for both the Haitian people and ourselves.
8. Lots of sweet memories for my kids and I!

If you would like to see what’s going on during our trip, I plan to publish a blog post each day while we are there. But, I’m not sure what the wi-fi situation will be like, so I can’t make any promises!

A big thank you to all of you that are supporting us financially and through your prayers! We can’t wait to see how God will use us to minister to the Haitian people and how He will use the Haitian people to minister to us!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Goal #3 for 2016

I’ve been sharing my goals for 2016. Goal #1 is to read at least one book a month, Goal #2 is to take control of my health, and today I’ll share Goal #3.

Goal #3 is to read through the Bible in a year. I have read all of the books of the Bible…many several times…but I’ve never read through with an intentional plan for completing the entire Bible in one year. This year I am using a reading plan called For the Love of God that is put out by the Gospel Coalition. You can sign up at their site and every day you will receive an email with the day’s reading and a short devotion. The daily reading is approximately 4 chapters…one from four different books of the Bible; so far it’s been two Old Testament books and two New Testament books.

I really like doing it this way. It’s really easy to get bogged down in Leviticus or Numbers if you try to read straight through starting at Genesis. This way there are great glimpses of how the Old Testament and the New Testament really carry the same theme throughout the entire Bible. So far I’ve completed the books of Matthew, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. Currently, I am reading the books of Genesis, Job, Mark and Romans.

Even though I’ve listed this as Goal #3, I really consider it my most important goal. God’s Word is active and alive. It has answers to all my questions. It provides me with comfort, wisdom, guidance and peace. It is the number one way that the Lord communicates with me. As a Christ follower, it is my spiritual nourishment and without a daily intake of it, my spiritual health suffers tremendously.

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If you are not already reading the Word every day, I highly encourage you to start. If you’ve never read the Bible before, begin in the book of John…it’s a great place to start! If you have read the Bible, but only in bits and pieces and only on an occasional basis, I encourage you start reading the Bible every day…even if it’s just a chapter or two from Psalms or Proverbs. And if you are ready to go deeper in your knowledge of the Word, I would encourage you to pick a reading plan and commit to reading through the Bible…cover to cover! There are lots of plans to choose from, but this is the link to the For the Love of God plan that I am using: http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/loveofgod/

We all make time for other things in our lives: tv, facebook, other social media, movies, books, magazines, hobbies, etc. I challenge you to make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word every day. It certainly pays greater dividends than any of these other activities!

Even though we are already a month into 2016, it’s not too late to start. Start today and make it a daily habit!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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