Tag Archives: Alicia C. Hall

An April Recap

Learned in AprilLast month I started the practice of recounting what I learned each month.  I believe it’s important to see how I’ve grown instead of always focusing on where I need to grow. This practice of looking back to look ahead is helping me be more grateful, more intentional, and just more me. Grab a journal or piece of paper and join in why don’t you.  Click on over here to see how others are recounting their Aprils.

1. I still love watching my husband preach/speak.

Early in the month Keith and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at a Hispanic church participating in their missions-focused weekend.  I took the above picture Friday night when Keith was speaking (with an interpreter since it was an all hispanic congregation). While he spoke, I was once again so proud that he’s my husband and so grateful that he allows God to use him however he chooses.

2. Being a 1-car family in a family of four is not fun.

Recently our son’s car decided it wanted to visit the repair shop and require some not-in-the-budget car repairs. Needless to say, keeping up with four different people’s driving needs with one car is near impossible and daily frustrating. When Keith and I were young married, one car suited our needs just fine. But when the 17-year-old prefers you drop him off down the street from the school, someone’s needs aren’t getting met:)  This lesson leads me to #3 . . .

3. Dogs are vital to the stuck-at-home mom.

With just one car in the family for now, I get to stay home a lot. While this allows me to work efficiently, it also forces me to deal with cabin fever on a weekly basis. Harvey keeps me sane with his daily walks and companionship. Please note just because you see me chatting with him doesn’t mean I’ve totally lost it: I’ve just become Tom Hanks and made him my Wilson.

4. I’m a fan of hiking, but my knees aren’t.

Earlier this month, Keith and I did an 8-mile mountainous hike with some friends. The view from the top was spectacular and worth the hike. However, my knees weren’t convinced.  In fact, the last mile down had me interceding for supernatural strength or a piggy-back ride.

5. God’s new nickname is Jehovah-Nick-of-Time

We are finally moving into a new place this weekend. There was a time I was worried we’d be sleeping in the car. But that worry quickly disappeared as God provided everything we needed at just the right time we needed it.  Seven days before our lease was up, we found a place that we love. Then we were able to extend our apartment lease for a few days until the house was available (that’s only because the next renters backed out). Finally, I went to the mailbox one afternoon and discovered a sweet and unbelievably generous gift, one that was a direct answer to prayer. All this occurred one week before becoming “homeless.”  The truth is while I think God is working in the nick-of-time, He knows it’s simply right on time.

6. God sees dreams and clears paths as we work.

For quite a while I’ve wanted to attend a writing conference. If you’ve never investigated one, they don’t tend to be affordable. A friend told me about one taking place this July in Michigan. I checked into it and then applied for a scholarship.  I went back to working on my writing class website and forgot about it.  Recently,  I got an email saying I’d been approved for one of the scholarships.  I was overjoyed and knew that God was clearing a path for me to continue pursuing His purpose for me.  Can’t wait to see what else he does as I pursue this dream.

Okay, that’s my “learnables” from this month.  I wanna hear about yours. Leave a comment and let me know what you learn in April: the good, the bad, the ugly, or even the funny.

Edition: On the Reading Radar

Wednesday Reads WideMy Kindle wish list is quite large and gets bigger each week. Since I follow many authors and book clubs on various social media outlets, there’s a new book recommendation almost daily. I could seriously go bankrupt purchasing books. I wish I was a library fanatic but I have a hard time borrowing a book.  What started out as a educational pursuit of taking notes and highlighting books has become a personal hobby. Therefore, I must own the book so I can deface it to my heart’s delight.

No matter if I check it out or purchase it, here are a few books that are on my radar right now.  More than likely you will see a review of one or five in the next few weeks.  By the way, Mother’s Day is around the corner and if you need to buy a book for your mom (hint hint to my kiddos), any one of these gems will do.

51-siNDoBeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Reservations for Two: A Novel of Fresh Flavors and New Horizons by Hillary Manton Lodge.

I adored Hillary’s first novel (check out my review here).  This novel is a sequel, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Food writer-turned-restaurateur Juliette D’Alisa has more than enough on her plate. While her trip to Provence might have unlocked new answers to her grandmother’s past, it’s also provided new complications in the form of Neil McLaren, the man she can’t give up. 

Juliette and Neil find romance simple as they travel through Provence and Tuscany together, but life back home presents a different set of challenges. Juliette has a restaurant to open, a mother combating serious illness, and a family legacy of secrets to untangle – how does Neil, living so far away in Memphis, fit into to her life? 

As she confronts an uncertain future, Juliette can’t help but wish that life could be as straightforward as her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can her French grandmother’s letters from the 1940’s provide wisdom to guide her present? Or will every new insight create a fresh batch of mysteries? (Taken from  HIllary Manton Lodge’s book page. Click here to visit her site.)

 

Dog_Crazy2. Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Since Harvey (our basset hound) joined the Hall family, I’ve become a little partial to books with dogs, about dogs, or told by dogs, such as Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.  This one by Meg Donohue sounds like a winner to me. Check out the publisher’s overview below:

The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.  (Visit Meg’s author page here.)

 

Savor_FinalCoverOptions_rev233. Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist

Shauna is one of my absolute FAVORITE writers.  In fact, I want to be her.  She is so great at sharing everyday life in a way the reveals an extraordinary God. Her new book is a devotional format (365 days worth) which is slightly different from her other books which are essay format.  I have loved all three of her other books: Bittersweet, Cold Tangerines, and Bread and Wine.

Check out an excerpt here. 

 

516TXpkm6+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Many bloggers and writers that I follow on social media have discussed the book. Every quote I’ve read from the book has challenged me or hailed a hearty “Amen!”  Living in Ecuador forced me to re-evaluate what is truly important in my daily life – and it is not the busyness of work, school, or even church.  I’ve got a feeling this book will only reinforce my ideas.  Check out this intro from the McKeown’s book page.

  • Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
  • Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?
  • Do you feel motion sickness instead of momentum?
  • Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?
  • Have you ever said “yes” simply to please and then resented it?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

I’m sure that several of those questions resounded with my readers.  If so, this might be the book for you.  I can’t wait to glean from its wisdom.

If you dive into one of these books on the radar, let me know what you think.  Come back and leave a comment so reader’s can get more info. 

Happy Reading,

~a