Category Archives: Adventure

Wednesday Reads: Summer Has Entered the Building

Summer has entered the building. Okay, well maybe not all the way in the building for some of you, but at least he/she is in the parking lot. That means graduations (from Pre-K, K, 5th grade, 8th grade, 12th grade, college), family vacations, kids repeating “I’m bored”, and a myriad of other “things” that make summer so great and sometimes so exhausting.

So to fill those days with some purposeful even frivolous reading, here’s a few books to consider for the people in your life.

For the female graduate (middle or high school):

9781414375243_p0_v1_s260x420Popular: Boys, Booze, and Jesus by Tindell Baldwin – the title alone will grab most girls’ attention. Flip over to the back cover and they’ll be even more interested:

All I wanted was asking for at fifteen was to belong, to be love, and to be a part of something. Deep down, I wanted to be loved, not for a night but for a lifetime. I wanted to be found beautiful because of who I was, not what I looked like. I wanted so much, and my Christian life seemed to provide me with so little. 

Tindell’s vulnerability oozes through the pages. She speaks to young women as if she was the best friend they never had. One who tells the truth about high school, friendship, boys, and sex. It isn’t preachy; it’s honest and raw. She reveals the “ugly side of sin and the amazing redemptive power of a Savior who” loves us desperately. As a women who has worked almost exclusive with teens all of her life, I cannot recommend this book enough.

The-Selection-Series-768x1024 Selection Series by Keira Cass – This four-book (with a promise of a 5th) is a cross between The Bachelor and the book of Esther. In true dystopian fashion, Cass has given female readers less gore and more romance. The female lead is strong yet feminine, while the male lead is dashing and masculine. Their characters are not without flaws including stubbornness and secret scars. Aside from the four novels, there are several novellas which depict side stories told from different characters points of view. With just the series alone, the girl in your house could fill and entire summer with reading. (Click here to see a Wednesday Reads dedicated to the first book.)

For the Adult Female (this could be you)

me_before_you_final3Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Fair warning: I’m two-thirds of the way through with this book and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna end sadly. However, I am intrigued by the two main characters: a 20-something female who lives a uneventful, normal life and a 20-something year old male quadriplegic, who lived a fascinating, adventurous life before his injury.  Both characters are multi-layered and the heart of the plot is controversial and thought-provoking. While it sounds like a heavy read, I have found it to be more of just great story telling. Read it and let me know what you think.


7244809_GGo Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee – This is the “assumed to have been lost” novel that Harper Lee tried to sell to publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Since TKAM is one of my all-time favorite books, I will be purchasing my copy in advance. In fact, I will be getting a physical book just as a keepsake.  Here’s a brief summary provided by the publisher:

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

For the Men in Your Life (sons, husbands, etc)

Unbroken-MovieUnbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand – if the man in your life have seen the movie, they will still enjoy the book. In fact, the movie didn’t even do justice to Louis Zamporini’s story.  The historical facts surrounding WWII that Hillenbrand presents alongside Louis story are utterly fascinating and will increase your appreciation of not only veterans but what our military sacrifice even today. So worth every page that is written. (Can’t get the men in your life to read, try the book on DVD. It’s wonderful too! Side note: Rory’ Gilmore’s TV grandfather reads the audio version.)

41NHKOqQHqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A Dangerous Faith: True Stories of Answering The Call to Adventure by James Lund and Peb Jackson – (Great for male graduates) The publisher’s summary says it all:

Meet the called: mountain climbers, deep-sea divers, fighter pilots, and jungle missionaries who follow God into the adventure of a lifetime. Dangerous Faith tells their dramatic true stories, revealing incredible truths only risk can inspire.

Each of these trailblazers rejects security to reach for a perilous place few Christ-followers dare. Their stories will thrill and amaze you. What they discover just might revolutionize your life–because He’s calling you, too, into a life of risk.

Adventure. Passion. Freedom. Truth. Are you prepared for a Dangerous Faith?

For the Kiddos in your Life (elementary age – to read themselves or to be read aloud by you)

A_wrinkle_in_time_digest_2007A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’engle – What a classic that should be shared generation after generation. A touch of magic, blended with deep truth, and loads of plot twisting suspense. Possibly the best book to ever start off with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Read it with the kids and share in its amazingness all over again.





wonder_rj-palacio_coverWonder by R.J. Palacio – a powerful tale of a young boy with a disfigured face. Full of life-lessons that will offer hours of family discussions. Here’s a summary provided by the publisher:

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.


Hope this gives you a little nudge to get the family reading this summer.  I know I will be “encouraging” it around my house.

And to get you started, I’m having a book giveaway for a book I’m planning to read this summer. Just leave a comment below letting me know your summer reading plans, I will pick a random winner Friday morning.

51buYyRFFtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The winner will receive a copy of Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer. Check out the book information by clicking here.

Don’t forget to leave a comment!



Three Things Walter Mitty Taught Me

811borCplNL._SL1500_The weekend is here!  Time for hanging out with friends and family, eating pancakes and bacon, and chilling on the couch with a good movie. As for the last activity I have a suggestion: watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller.  This movie, released on DVD last spring, is funny, touching, inspirational, and filled with amazing scenery. As I watched it again last week, I was reminded why I love a good movie: it teaches me something and changes the way I live and think about my life. And Walter Mitty taught me a few things.

“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” (One of my favorite lines from the movie.) This seemingly forgettable statement is so very profound. If you stop and ponder it long enough, its truth will be blinding. The best way to explain it is with a contrast: Times Square in NYC and the village of Cumbatza in Ecuador. One is filled with flashing lights, posters of flawless faces and bodies, honking horns, and billboards promising exciting adventures. The other is overwrought with unwieldy foliage, rocky paths, potholed dirt roads, ramshackled huts, and cinder block houses painted in faded pastels. One screams “LOOK AT ME!” The other remains silent. Yet in the moment that you walk Cumbatza’s dusty road, drink in the unspoiled nature growing as it wills, you see sheer beauty that takes your breath. It’s a moment almost too much for the soul. It’s beauty hurts the heart so you’ll never forget the moment. It doesn’t ask for your attention, but you give it willingly. That’s true beauty.

Some moments don’t photograph well. Sean Penn, who plays an award-winning photojournalist, says it perfectly during a pivotal moment of the movie. He and Walter are sitting atop a peak in the Himalayas while Penn is waiting for the elusive snow leopard to make its appearance. His camera is aimed and ready. The leopard saunters out of hiding and stands almost eyeing the camera across the peak. Penn is thrilled and invites Mitty to look through the lens at the leopard’s rarely photographed beauty. Mitty tells Penn to take the picture before the leopard disappears again, but Penn refuses with this simple words: “Sometimes I don’t take the picture. I don’t like the distraction of the camera.” In a world where selfies and documenting every moment with a camera phone is king, Penn has it right. The camera is a distraction from experiencing the stuff of life. In the small moments or big events, no camera can capture what is happening in our hearts. Instead of seeking the camera’s flash, we should be engraving the moment on our souls. This way it can never be destroyed.

A life worth living is the risky one. Walter –for perfectly adequate reasons – has chosen to life an ordinary life. While there is no shame in his responsibility, there is shame in not really living. In his case, he lives two lives: one at his desk job and another in his imagination. Clearly, his imagination is the life of risk and personal fulfillment. While I don’t advocate taking risks for the sake of adrenaline, I do believe that a life that requires tough yet rewarding decisions — the kind that scare you witless– is a life worth living. I don’t need to bungee jump or swim with the sharks to meet this need, but I can sell all my worldly possessions and live in the jungle. I can abandon my  teaching career, to learn another language and build relationships with those of another culture. And then do it all over again by moving back home to seek another Providential adventure. No matter who you are or what job you head off to every morning, there is a risk you know you can take to truly live. It’s a dream that lies deep in your heart, a wish that occupies your daydreams, or a purpose that replays in your mind everyday. It’s that risk that you must take to make your living “worth it.”

This weekend I challenge you to do two things:

1. Watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

2. Consider whether you are living the comfortable life that ensures safety or a life that’s lived as a sold-out, risk-taking adventure with God

After all, if you live a life where you scare yourself a lot, then you are really living. Walter Mitty would agree!

Click Here to watch the movie trailer.

Purchase the Movie Here (DVD version)