May 26, 2016

My Favorite Things (Summer Edition)

The school finish line is within sight but I'm crawling, people. Crawling. 

This year has been a great one in terms of family (We have a teenager now, which I am truly excited about!), in terms of church (We'll celebrate 8 years at the end of the summer!), and in terms of writing (I turned in my next book--on friendship--in March!). The Lord has seen me through some touch-and-go times this year, but in the end I can say that He is changing my heart slowly but surely. There has been so much abundance this year that my husband and I have had multiple conversations about how we can "steward the abundance" well.

Although it's been good, I'm still ready for the school year to come to a close. I'm ready for sun and heat (neither have been around much yet here in Virginia), slow mornings, and a whole lotta down time with my boys. Yes, really.

In honor of the summer fun ahead, I want to share with you some of my current favorite things. I hope that they'll add a little fun and flare to your summer as well.

Dude Perfect
Dude Perfect is a group of five guys who film themselves doing crazy trick shots. They now have a weekly show on CMT where they basically do stupid guy stuff and prepare for their trick shot videos. My boys LOVE Dude Perfect, and I love that they love these videos because they are super fun, hilarious, amazing, and 100% family-friendly. Oh, and the Dude Perfect guys are Aggies, so it helps with the brainwashing. My oldest son got a Dude Perfect indoor basketball goal for his birthday and my kitchen has now become a trick-shot zone.
Hope*Writers Podcast
As a writer, I'm always looking for encouraging and practical resources from fellow writers and bloggers. I've found the Hope*Writer's Podcast (by Emily Freeman and Myquillin Smith) to be both deeply encouraging and helpful. I especially loved the Instagram episode, because I love Instagram, but I have no idea what I'm doing with mine. If you're an aspiring writer, you'll definitely want to check out the podcast. (And have you seen my advice post for writers?)

Speaking of Podcasts...
I absolutely loved and continue to think about Jen Wilkin's one-off talk (at A&M no less), Robe Your Minds for Action.

Books, Books, and More Books
If I like a book, I recommend it to everyone I know (and give it 5 stars on Goodreads). The books I find myself recommending most lately are Unashamed by Lecrae Moore, Galatians For You by Tim Keller, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. (And I continue to talk about The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.)

Man Weekend
I don't remember if it was my idea or my husband's, but I want to share an idea with those of you anticipating a child's milestone birthday or event. When our oldest son turned 13 last week, my husband planned a "Man Weekend" for him. He invited men from our church who know our son to go away for a night with the two of them. They played Knock-Out, blasted each other with water balloons, and ate lots of food, but the point of the getaway was for each man to help our son know what it means to be a godly man. They talked to him about following God, how to treat women, honoring God through sports, and friendship....at least that's what I hear; I wasn't invited :) I was at home praying for my son to have ears to hear! What a blessing to have men like this in his life.

Cajun Shrimp
Last summer for my birthday, my friends gave me a bag full of their favorite beauty items. My friend Susan gave me her go-to nail polish, Opi's Cajun Shrimp. I've had it on my toes ever since!

Go-To Food: Pioneer Woman's Dinnertime Cookbook
Did I mention that I have three growing boys? Man, can they eat! The Pioneer Woman knows something about cooking for hungry (cow)boys, so my favorite recipes these days are from her Dinnertime Cookbook. I especially like the freezer meals, such as the homemade Taco Filling.

The LongReads Weekly
I'm a HUGE fan of longform writing. Recently, I subscribed to the LongReads Weekly newsletter, a compiled list of the week's best longform writing from all across the interwebs, and I look forward to it popping into my inbox each Friday.

Music
I have Sandra McCracken's Psalms, Ellie Holcomb's As Sure as the Sun, and United Pursuit's song Hidden on repeat.

King of the Court
Fun fact: I like to play sports. I grew up playing softball and played up until a few years ago when my kids' sports schedule gobbled my time right up. Currently, I'm binge-playing tennis. My husband, who beats me at everything, humors me, as does my friend Amy, who also beats me at everything. So instead of getting creamed, sometimes we play King of the Court, which basically means that I lose to two people instead of just one.

TGC Women's Conference
Can't wait! Anyone going? I'd love to meet you!

Happy Start to Summer, Friends! What are your current favorite things?