Wednesday, April 30, 2014

the best of the month: APRIL

Last month I started a series called The Best of the Month where I share my favorite articles and blog posts from the past month.  Each day I read multiple articles so when I come across one that I really like, I save the link.  At the end of the month I sort through all the links, divide them into categories, and share my favorite from each one.  Hope that you enjoy these reads as much as I did.


Jessica at Jessica Lynn Writes: Hope For My Military Child

This morning I was holding my newborn daughter, and for the first time I felt a twinge of sadness. She didn't choose this lifestyle. Her dad will deploy in the future and leave her for months at a time. Through her tears, I'll have to explain why he left and comfort her when all she wants is him. I love that she'll grow up experiencing new places, but it absolutely breaks my heart that she'll see her family's faces more on a computer screen than in person. 
This may be the life I chose, but I didn't necessarily choose it for her, so I hope I can show her the positive aspects of this military life and I hope they'll outweigh the negative just a little bit. I hope the friends we make across the world will become her surrogate family, giving her the physical hugs, kisses, and playtime when her real family is far away. I hope my husband and I will be a good example as parents so when he jets off for the sandbox she'll know he's coming back to a family bound by love. I hope, whether we move across the world or down the street, that she'll understand—as cliche as this is—that her home isn't defined by an address, but by where her heart is planted.


Laura at Hollywood Housewife: Blogging is My Favorite: When I Blog

Your favorite bloggers - those that write well, post frequently, or photograph recipes, fashion, or crafts - are spending a lot of time on their blogs. They’re not squeezing it in during naptime. If they don’t have some sort of help...or kids in school all day, I guarantee you that they’re getting up extra early or working late into the night. Solid blogging takes a lot of time. The content itself takes hours, but then if you want anyone to see it you have to have a presence on social media, respond to reader and professional emails, and deal with various backend issues.


Sandra Glahn at Her.meneutics: The Feminists We Forgot 

This "new woman" is not an invention of second-wave feminism either. Betty Friedan did not start the "woman movement;" Christians did. Motivated by the belief that men and women were made in God's image to "rule the earth" together, these pro-woman, pro-justice believers sought to right wrongs for those who had less social influence.


Eve O. Schaub at Everyday Health: Our Year of No Sugar: One Family's Grand Adventure 

 I wanted to see how hard it would be to have our family — me, my husband, and our two children (ages 6 and 11) — spend an entire year eating foods that contained no added sugar. We’d cut out anything with an added sweetener, be it table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or fruit juice. We also excluded anything made with fake sugar or sugar alcohols. Unless the sweetness was attached to its original source (e.g., a piece of fruit), we didn’t eat it. 
Once we started looking we found sugar in the most amazing places: tortillas, sausages, chicken broth, salad dressing, cold cuts, crackers, mayonnaise, bacon, bread, and even baby food. 


(I'm including two from this category because there were SO MANY amazing choices - I finally narrowed it down to these two)

Rebecca Wohl at Commission on Biblical Gender Equality: I Can't Change My Spots

I took her hands even tighter into my own and led her to a chair so we could talk. Her sweet spirit and kind words moved my heart, and I could tell we had more to chat about. 
“Well, after all these years of believing that women shouldn’t be in the pulpit, I just can’t change how I feel about that. But your – ,” she hesitated again.
I smiled again and tried one more time, “Sermon?”
 “Ok, for lack of a better word, yes, your sermon was really one of the best sermons I have ever heard, and it challenged me in my faith – imagine that, after 80 years of walking with Jesus.”
I was very humbled and grateful for her generous words, but wanted to push further…  “Ah, thank you so much! It was my true honor to bring God’s Word today. I’m so thankful that the Spirit ministered to you. So you are not sure if women should preach, but you think that maybe, I’m an OK preacher though?” I pushed further.
“Oh yes! The best! But that’s just you honey, I don’t know about any other woman out there.”
“So, if I’m a good preacher, and I am a woman, isn’t it possible that there are other good preachers out there who are women too?”

James Hoskins at Christ & Pop Culture: "God's Not Dead" and the Angry Atheist Professor: That Was Not My Experience 

...I’m concerned that the movie God’s Not Dead perpetuates a false stereotype: that of the bully atheist philosophy professor who is out to destroy every Christian student’s faith. I’m sure there are some of those professors out there. But I doubt that they are a majority. Even if they were, though, I don’t think caricatures and stereotypes are helpful. When we uncritically accept a caricature of someone, we become less gracious people. Instead, we become more dismissive, presumptuous, and defensive. We also become more likely to misinterpret an honest challenge to our faith as an “attack,” and react in a way that is less than winsome.


Kim at She is Fierce: The Sound of a Silent Doorbell

All I could do was wait to see if my doorbell would ring. 
When morning came and it hadn't, I received a phone call confirming that Dh was OK.
What I felt then was almost harder than what I had experienced the entire sleepless night.
 It was the guilt that follows that moment of relief.
Because it wasn't my love, but it was most certainly someones.
It wasn't my heart broken, but the hearts of 4 other families.


What Kept Me in Church Was Communion
When my eyes locked into the lay minister’s and he said, “Christ’s Body, broken for you,” I believed him.  When I dipped that scrap of bread, humble yet holy, into the communion wine, it sent shivers down my spine.  “Christ’s blood, spilled for you.”  This was the Gospel, simple and true.
It wasn’t a fancy program or a new method to “reach my generation.” It was following the example of Christ when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  And I did: I remembered Him.

When the cynicism of Christianity scabbed over my heart, the simplicity of the Gospel ripped it open again.  In my remembrance of Him, the offenses I held against the modern Church faded away.  

What is the best thing you read (or wrote!) this month?

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