Coffee + Art // Cup of Job

Being a massive fan of coffee (it might actually be a problem…..) I’ve been trying to track down as many local coffee shops around my town- especially now when we need to support small businesses more than ever. So I started a list of local places to try out (because I’m also a wing 1 in the enneagram world and I live by lists).

As I started checking out all these incredible places to get my caffeine fix, I started noticing that they also had something extra that made them even more enticing and incredible– art. Some shops showcased local art and artists inside and some displayed artwork outside in the form of murals or beautifying the building they resided in.

Cup of Job not only has the cutest facade outside to welcome you in, but it also has art inside in the form of literature. I loved everything about this place, including their mission: to serve God and the community. Nothing could make my heart happier than God + coffee + art. Thank you Cup of Job for making my day. See you again soon!

dad

I should be headed home.

I’ve got a boring and very long six hour drive ahead of me, where my only companions will be road and trees. And yet, I still find myself unable to turn back onto the highway. Unable to stop turning from one street to another- searching, hoping for some memory to appear. It’s almost pathetic to think one would, I barely remember this side of town, but it’s where you called home for several decades. Of course, I didn’t know you then, I wasn’t even a thought yet. But I’m so devoid of my own memories that instead I am trying to recreate ones that I wasn’t even a part of.

So I continue to drive- past your high school, past your old home. Because the feeling of loss has hit me so hard in this moment, that I need a memory to tether me back to reality.

***** I wrote this several years ago after a trip to Alabama. If I ever am able to get it together to add more… well who knows. A short novel? A book of essays? Or just ramblings. Either way, this beginning- this little bit of writing has been dying to get out of my head and into actual written words. And since his birthday is tomorrow (July 24th) I felt it fitting to finally type these words today.

God and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I wrote in a previous post about how I seem to constantly be quoting movies in Bible Study. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I do love I can relate movies back to God.

A few months back I was leading a Bible Study and we were discussing how faith works– that you can’t always see what’s next or coming, but having faith means taking the first leap, knowing God will catch you. The vision that was instantly put in my mind (that I of course had to share) was from a scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which by the way is one of my all time favorite movies)! Towards the end, Indiana is trying to reach the Holy Grail and has to complete a bunch of tasks first. One of them involves taking a literal leap of faith, crossing a bridge that does not seem to exist. Only when he steps out does he see the facade that has been created to trick the eye– there is a bridge, but you had to step out first in order to see it.

This scene is the perfect visual for me when thinking about trusting in God and having faith. You might not see where it’s going to lead you (or even take you next) but having the faith and trust that God will protect and provide helps you to cross that invisible bridge.

Try watching that scene and NOT thinking about this thought. You’re welcome. haha

God and Clueless

I’ve started noticing that every week at Bible Study I seem to quote a movie and relate it to our current topic. So while I continue having this odd, yet awesome habit I figured I’d share it here as well.

So this week a friend of mine made a correlation of what God sees versus what we see using a tapestry. He sees the big picture, but we only see a small part of it. This of course brought to mind the Clueless quote about Monet. “…full on Monet….it’s like a painting, see. From far away it’s okay but up close it’s a big ol’ mess.”

I think we get so tied up in thinking we know what’s best and what direction to take, that we often overlook the plan of the One that actually knows best. He sees the bigger picture and what the whole plan is, while we only pretend to know what it might look like. We see the smaller picture– what is happening right now and can only guess what the rest of the picture will look like. Why? Why don’t we just trust in the One that sees the entire thing and wants the absolute best for every one of us?

April 2020 Reads

This month I read….

1. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley ****

So my mom actually told me about this book. She was reading an article somewhere and heard how great this book was supposed to be and since she knows I love to read- she told me about it. It was the first of Foley’s books I’ve ever read and I really enjoyed it. I felt like it kept me in suspense until the very end!! I can’t wait to read her next one!

2. Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis ***

While this wasn’t one of my favorites in the series, I did still enjoy it. And I highly recommend the entire series!!!

3. The Path Between Us……. by Suzanne Stabile ***

Since I already own (and love) the book: The Road Back To You and am totally obsessed with all things enneagram right now, when my Bible Study mentioned this book I put it on hold right away! This month I finally got to read it. It deals mainly with the relationships between the numbers, which has definitely helped at work. If just choosing one though, I would recommend and prefer The Road Back To You over this one. 

4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Bali Kaur Jaswel ****

Recommended by a friend, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into (with the title alone I felt hesitant). I really enjoyed this book though! The premise is a group of Indian women living in England (and most are widows- all have been married) sign up for a writing class with a young Indian/English tutor. The stories turn out to be very provocative (and amazing) and the story that unfolds throughout the classes is a great plot twist. The best part though, is definitely looking at the idea of marriage in different cultures and what they have taught women about marriage end even sex and if that should still be taught and accepted. 

5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ****

This is the first of Reid’s books I’ve read and I really liked it. It was surprising and revealing and I enjoyed the entire thing. I love how Reid broke up the story telling into sections about each husband. It makes you wonder about all the Hollywood stars of the past and their true backgrounds!

6. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn ****

This was the book we had picked for our Ashes Book Club (my work). While the quarantine meant that we weren’t able to meet in person like we normally do after Afternoon Tea- we did meet virtually to discuss. The writing was great and the story itself was heartbreakingly beautiful.  It then started me on a World War 2, set in France genre. 

7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah *****

So while this book was actually written about World War 1 (and present times)- it also was set in France. Kristin Hannah is a phenomenal author and this book is by far one of my favorites. 

8. The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff ****

Another World War 2 book that deals with what happens when you are forced to work under the enemy, but then fall for him?  I liked that while the theme was similar to the others I read- it was it’s own book with its own plot twists. 

9. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ***

I figured I would jump on the DJ&TS train, especially since I loved the last book by Reid I had read. Based in the 60’s and 70’s about a fictional band (that is mirrored after Fleetwood Mac– one of my favorites) I was super excited to delve in. Unlike her other novel though, this one was written like an interview. So while the story was interesting- with so many characters talking it took awhile for my confusion to subside and my interest in it to peek. Someone recommended listening to this one on audible and I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I had. 

10. The Library Book by Susan Orlean ***1/2

A friend of mine not only recommended this book to me, but also lent it to me as well. Switching from fiction to nonfiction can be difficult to me, which is why it’s only 3 1/2 stars instead of higher. I will say though, I love Orlean’s writing. It is enamoring and a true work of art. I also loved the topic, since libraries have always been one of my favorite places- an entire book written about a specific library was intriguing to me. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was how she broke up the chapters- I couldn’t understand the back and forth order and therefore it took me a bit longer to get back into the flow of things. Overall though- I loved this book and will forever recommend it!

11. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis ***

Another of the Chronicles of Narnia Series. This one really dug deeper into the devil aspect and what it looks like when we think we are following the right one, only to find out we were misled. It’s a slippery slope. C.S. Lewis and his work of talking about God and big picture subjects in a mythical way for kids to enjoy baffles me and I love him for his amazing creativity! 

12. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis ****

The LAST of the Chronicles series and the end is truly heartbreaking. This part of the series really made me question how God can love us when we are so awful. But His grace and love are shown throughout this story and makes me love Him all the more. 

until next time,

xo, kel

March 2020 Reads

The monthly roundup….

1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton **

I’ve mentioned before that I’m participating in a 2020 Book Challenge (on facebook) and one of the challenges was to read a book published in 1920. Unfortunately, the only Agatha Christie book that would’ve fit this category I had  already read (and I want to read only new to me books for this challenge). Which stinks, because I am a HUGE Agatha Christie fan….. Edith  Wharton, not so much.  It was definitely proof that language has changed in the past 100 years, which does make me a little sad- language use to be said eloquently, not we shorten our words because apparently it takes too long to say adorable. 

The main takeaway from this book for me was sometimes life sucks, but you make your choices and you stick with them (or at least in 1920 you did)– another fun change of our modern culture. (Can you hear my sarcasm?) Some might enjoy this book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

2. Prince Caspian/ Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis ****

Ever since our book club decided to read The Chronicles of Narnia last November, I decided that I would read the entire series. (I also made this my “series” challenge in our 2020 Book Challenge.) I really have throughly loved all the books in the series so far, but honestly nothing will ever be greater than Lewis’ first, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ***

So I watched this movie and decided I wanted to actually read the book too. For once, I felt like the movie was better (am I even allowed to say that?). 

4. Inspired by Rachel Held Evans ***

Evans is one of my favorite authors to read- her books have all been heartfelt and sincere and this one was no different. Her view on church (having been brought up in one) put into words what I’ve felt and couldn’t express. Her passing took away an amazing and though provoking woman that I wish I had known.

5. Philippians by John Mac Arthur ***

When doing a Bible book study, I like learning the history and context of a book/it’s author/etc.  MacArthur provides that, although not in as much depth as I would like, it’s enough for me in the right now. 

6. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott ***

This novel is told from multiple women’s perspectives during the Cold War/Iron Curtain time. I really enjoyed the stories told from an American and a Russian while both on a mission to release the Russian Masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago. I did feel like the book lacked as much detail as I would’ve liked and I sometimes spent too much time trying to remember who was currently telling the story. Overall though, it was an interesting read and I enjoyed it.

7. The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell **1/2

Okay, to be honest- had I read this book a decade ago, my rating would’ve been so much higher. But alas, I put it off until now. I did learn a lot (like what a Maven is) and it’s interesting that since I’ve learned these terms, I’ve noticed them more frequently (even on FreeForm shows, ha!). Since the Internet and Social Media have exploded in the last few years and so the information explained in this book isn’t as relevant as it once was. Still an interesting read.

8. Philippians- Small Group Study by Henry Blackaby ***

Philippians was obviously the Bible book I was studying during March…. while I did enjoy this book, it was more of a devotional– asking questions meant for self-study- which is not a bad thing, just not what I was looking for at the time. 

9. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan ***

After reading (and watching) Crazy Rich Asians and enjoying it, I wanted to give the second book in the series a chance. While it was a good “light” read- the overdone drama and ridiculousness of the characters sometimes wore on me. Overall, not a bad story- but would I read it again? No.

10. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan **

After reading 2 of the 3 books in the series, I felt compelled to download and read the last one. I think at this point I was over the insane amount of drama needed to make this book work and the characters were no longer funny in their overly rich and shallow ways- it was just too much. I finished it- and I will say the author gave the series a good ending, it was not my favorite book.

11. Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan ***

Since I’ve been reading the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, I was really intrigued by learning more about him and his wife. Although this is a work of fiction based on true life events, I still felt like I learned a great deal about the creator of Narnia. Recommended by a friend, I would also highly recommend this book as well.

Until next month,

-k

February 2020 Reads

This past month saw more reading than watching tv for me. I’m just hoping it lasts.

In total, I read 14 books in February!! WHAT?!?

1. 9 Perfect Strangers by Laine Moriatry ****

I started this book because it is going to be made into a movie this year (and that was one of the book challenges for the group I’m in). I enjoyed it, although towards the end I did kind of feel like it got a little too crazy and unbelievable. I also wish that they did a little better character development for the main “crazy” woman character. But overall, it was a page turner and I really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to catch it in the theaters. 

2. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine (which is a pen name for 2 sisters) ****

This was a book club read and I really enjoyed it!!! It was definitely a page turner and wasn’t what I was expecting, which is nice. Sometimes I feel like some books can all become too similar. The ending was a little too happily ever after, could it have really worked out that way? But I don’t care, it made me happy!

3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan **

So yes, essentially this book is about a bookstore, but it also is part mystery (which I liked). What I didn’t like what how much technology talk there was. I don’t know code, I don’t understand what certain technological things are and so often times I felt lost while reading this.

4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han *****

Yes, that’s right 5 stars! Would I have thought that if I hadn’t of seen the movie first? Maybe not. But I loved this story and I love, love, love Lara Jean Song Covey. And Peter. It’s the cutest high School love story I’ve read in a long, long time. 

5. The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan ***

Another book club book. The description made this book sound like it was going to be a lot like the Sandra Bullock movie, Practical Magic. Luckily, it was nothing like it. Some parts were drawn out for me, but overall I felt like it was a new and interesting read- it didn’t remind me of anything I had read before, which always is a plus for me. 

6. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi ***

So I actually listened to this book. And it took me 4 months. I realized that I could only get 1-2 chapters in while I drove to work and try as I may, I just cannot listen to reading anywhere else. Not my thing. But at least I tried. As for the book, it was the 2nd of a trilogy and I really liked how the author wrote both parts 1 and 2 (this one). It’s a bit magical and has African roots. I can’t wait for the third!

7. The Prodigal Prophet…. by Timothy Keller ****

Nonfiction Christian book and I loved it. I’ve become a really big fan of Keller’s books. This one is mainly about Jonah (you know, the one that was swallowed by a whale in the Bible?) and how he shows both sons from the Prodigal Son Bible story. It was thought provoking and had me digging into my Bible. Definitely recommend it!

8. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng ****

Another book that is going to be made into a movie this year! I wasn’t sure where this book was going (and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much). It tells the story of 2 families and how their worlds and lives intertwine. You also won’t see the end coming!

9. PS I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) #2 by Jenny Han ****

Since the second movie was coming out, I had to read this book before it did. It had some aspects that were different from the movie, but it was still cute. A little bit more “cutesy” and cheesy than the first book though, which is why I really liked it, but not as much as the first. I also hate to admit this, but I preferred the second movie to the second book. EK!

10. Always and Forever (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) #3 by Jenny Han****

The last (sniff, sniff) installment of the series. I wasn’t sure how it was going to end (or where in regards to time). Overall, I liked it, but I REALLY want to know what happens in college!!!!!!

11. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer ****

Two main characters from two different countries and time periods, but connected because they are family. One character lives in Poland and her story takes place as WWII begins and the Nazis invade her country while she is just a teenager. The other main character is an adult woman in recent times with two children, one being severely on the autism spectrum. I enjoyed both stories and how they merged. I feel like it had a different take than other WWII books I’ve read and I honestly didn’t see it working out the way it did. The end had me gushing tears, but I loved this beautiful story. 

12. A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood, Poems by Fred Rogers a/k/a Mr. Rogers **1/2

Okay, so let me preface this with I am NOT a poetry person. I hate poetry. However, another book challenge from the group I’m in had “read a book of poems”, so I picked this one. I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid (much to my mom’s distain). The Tom Hanks movie has also recently come out (which I have yet to see). So in knowing I needed a book of poetry, but not looking forward to finding one, when someone recommended this book I jumped at it. While it is definitely made for little kids, it was adorable and fun and I feel like is something I will one day read to my kiddos. 

13. James by John MacArthur ***

I’ve been trying to read commentary books on the Bible along with the books of the Bible as my study time. I really enjoyed reading James, especially since we were also studying it in Bible Study at church. 

14. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah ***

My friend Kelly recommended this book to me and I am glad I read it, even though it was a little too sad for me (but I also blame that on having just finished The Things We Cannot Say).  It’s a story of a small family (dad, mom, daughter) who travel to Alaska (The Great Alone) in the 1970’s and how they cope with living off the grid. It’s beautifully written and for that I feel like it may deserve more stars from me, but I just couldn’t stand how the mother handled every situation. But- it’s real life, so I guess it’s not always suppose to be rose colored glasses. Either way, I would recommend it (as would/did Kelly)! 

January 2020 reads

For 2019 my goal was to read 100 books…. I think I got to the mid 60’s. 

So this year, I am determined to read 100. 

I’ve also joined some awesome facebook reading groups- Silent Book Club, PBS Reads, and a private 202 Reading Challenge group that a friend invited me to. Each one has great discussion, great ideas, and even ways of tracking books.  So let’s just say that my “to be read” pile has increased expediently!! 

January reads and how I rated them: 

Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie-Renee Lavoie **

( I actually picked this for our Ashes’ Book Club- our family Tea Room’s book club which meets every 3 months). 

Okay so I enjoyed reading this story, but it also brought back painful memories of when my dad left my mom so it was hard to get through. Luckily it had humorous parts and was relatively short. 

Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis ***

(This was a book club pick for my friends book club group, but I was behind on reading it. I do plan to read the whole series this year). 

A classic. I cannot believe I haven’t read this sooner. And of course the ending made me cry. 

The Hopeful Skeptic…by Nick Fiedler ***

I’ve had this book waiting to be read for awhile. Maybe if I had read it earlier I would’ve liked it better, but for where I am now I just didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t consistent in its point and I didn’t agree with a lot of what I read. *

Galatians by John MacArthur ****

Galatians by Theodore H. Epp ****

Galatians…. Edited by James Merritt ***

To be fair, I was co-leading a Bible Study group with my mother-in-law on Galatians the last couple of weeks, so I used these books as resources. The book by Mr. Epp was actually my grandmother’s and her handwriting is in it, which made it even more special. I learned a lot from each of these books though and loved all three. 

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller ****

Absolutely loved this book. Austin and I have been married 3 and 1/2 years and I feel like this book taught me so much. It is written by husband and wife in such an honest fashion that it could be read by long term spouses to just married spouses, to engaged or dating couples, and even singles. I definitely recommend this book!

One Day in December by Josie Silver ***

I finally read this book after my friend Kelly told me that while yes it was chick lit, it had a different ending than you would think. I liked that it was original and not like every other girl falls for boy story, but I’m still not the biggest fan of romance novels…

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri ****

Another recommendation by my friend Kelly (she really does pick good ones). It was beautifully written and I enjoyed learning more about Indian culture, especially this family’s transition from India to America.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis ***

I’m really enjoying this series (more than I thought I would).

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine ****

This was a book club pick and I am so glad it was chosen. It was such a great and interesting read. I could not put it down!!!!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie ***

Another great Agatha Christie read and twist. I don’t even try to guess the murderer anymore… I never come anywhere close, but I love that about her books! 

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