Best Nonfiction of 2011

It’s that time of year . . . time to reflect on the books I read during 2011. Overall I read forty-eight books (that includes a handful I read only snippets from). Of those, twenty were fiction, and eight were school textbooks. Of the books I read this year, I loved fifteen of them and strongly disliked five of them; the rest were somewhere in between. It was a good year in books. Here are the top six best nonfiction books I read in 2011.

  1. Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey
  2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  3. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
  4. The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies
  5. The Lost Virtue of Happines by J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler
  6. Unplanned by Abby Johnson

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Showing Love

1 Corinthians 13 is commonly known as the “Love” chapter of the Bible. As I read the chapter, I began to wonder how often I truly show my boys that I love them. There is no doubt, not even a small one, of my love for them, but how often do I show them?

Of course, I dress them and feed them…all of their needs are taken care of. But, more often than I would like to admit, I get caught up with the to-do list or activities I want to do. I forget to show them my love in a way they understand.

So one day I sought to show my boys I love them in tangible ways. (The inspiration for this idea is found here and here.)

 We had pancakes for breakfast, because Drew asked for them. It was the third time in four days that we had pancakes for breakfast. 🙂

We sat on the couch and read books together.  They both enjoy looking at the pictures of the animals. 🙂

They love to play with stickers, so I gave them each a page of stickers which they arranged randomly on sheet of paper. 🙂

It’s rather hard to take pictures while I’m busy playing with the boys. 🙂 So some of our activities were undocumented. 🙂

We had fun tickling each other. Thankfully I escaped without any tickling. One of the cutest sights in the world is Carter trying to tickle Drew. 🙂

I watched Drew play with his cars…we hugged…and laughed.

Slowing down to purposely show my boys some love makes for some wonderful memories.

Posted in Carrie's 101 List, Wholesome Womanhood | 1 Comment

Sanctifying Singleness

Singleness is used by God for sanctifying his children.

I have heard and seen many different blog posts or books written from the perspective of marriage being a sanctifying tool in the hands of God. More needs to be said about God’s use of singleness. Just like marriage (and any other season of life), God uses singleness to mold and shape his children the way he wants them to be.

During my years of singleness, God molded and shaped me in big ways. First, he continually brought me to a point of acceptance of his will. It’s hard to look at life and be willing to accept what God is doing .  .  . when he’s not doing what you want. Yet, this is what happened while I was single. God was keeping me single and bringing me to a point of saying, “Wherever you take me, I believe it will be best.” That is a HARD place to come to.

I also received practical experience with Romans 12:15. It felt like everyone I knew was announcing new relationships, engagements, marriages, and then pregnancies. All I wanted to do was engage in a pity party, and I did do that all too frequently. Yet, this verse came to mind, “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” I am called to rejoice with my friends as God works in their lives.

Acknowledging that God is at work even when it feels like he’s not. Again, this is hard. Emotionally, I frequently felt like God had forgotten me and was not working in my life. In contrast, he seemed to be working in the lives of my friends who were getting married. Yet, God is always at work in the lives of his people. It’s a matter of bringing my thoughts into line with the truth instead of allowing my emotions convince me of a falsehood. And it’s hard.

Yet all of these things worked in my life to bring me closer to God. Accepting his will, practicing Romans 12:15, and acknowledging God’s hand taught me lessons that will continue to benefit me throughout life.

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Parental Rights

On a recent trip to Denver, Jason and I encountered an environmentalist outside the public library. He was zealously trying to stop people, urging them to be concerned about the state of the environment.

As we walked past, he called after us, “Share the love! Save the world for your children.”

His words did not cause us to pause. I am not that concerned with saving the world (his particular concern was the ocean) for my children. I am, however, concerned about preserving my rights as a parent to direct the upbringing of my future children.

The following is a gripping video of the erosion of parental rights in America. Please consider taking the time to watch this video; it will be well worth your time.

“This generation has to fight to preserve and protect parents’ rights in the Constitution of the United States so that our grandchildren and greatgrandchildren can have the protections they need to be successful.” – Scott Scharpen

The issue of parental rights is not one that concerns only those that are already parents. This is an issue that will affect America for generations. Even if you are not currently a parent, this is an issue that affects you. Even if I never have children, I think about my nephews. I do not want the rights of Tim and Carrie to be taken away; they are the ones responsible before God to raise Drew and Carter. The government must not take that responsibility away.

The issue of parental rights affects everyone.

“We have to ask ourselves the question: What are our parental rights worth to us? How much are we willing to sacrifice? How much are we willing to invest to make sure that today, and for the future, those rights that we hold so dear, so that we can direct the upbringing and education and raising our kids how we see fit. How much is that worth to us?”

Posted in Family, Godly Living | 1 Comment

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Last week Roma tomatoes were on sale and I had recently found a recipe for spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes. So I thought I’d experiment and try it out.

I was a little skeptical that there would be a fresh tomato spaghetti sauce that I would actually like. (Tomatoes aren’t particularly liked by anyone in this family. :-)) But I had to find a recipe that was good in order to complete #25 on my 101 list. So I put away my reservations and jumped right into this new experience. 🙂

I followed this recipe (minus the parsley). It started out very chunky and as it simmered it boiled down into a juicy delicious smelling, although still chunky, spaghetti sauce. Since my family also does not like chunky spaghetti sauce, I put it through the blender and then I was finally able to taste it.


Now all I have to do is wait for tomatoes to go on a good sale, borrow my Mom’s pressure cooker, invite Melinda over and spend a day canning tomato sauce. 🙂

This post is linked to Try New Adventures Thursday.

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Intelligent Design = Biblical?

Is intelligent design a biblical concept? Many Christians would answer “yes.”

Yet, the concept of an intelligent designer does not necessarily lead a person to believe in God. William Dembski has written a great deal about intelligent design, and he pointed out this reality: “Even if a theory of intelligent design should ultimately prove successful and supersede Darwinism, it would not follow that the designer posited by this theory would have to be a transcendent deity or for that matter real in some ontological sense. One can be an antirealist about science and simply regard the designer as a regulative principle—a conceptually useful device for making sense out of certain facts of biology—without assigning the designer any weight in reality.”[1]

As Christians this should give us reason to pause and reconsider our support of intelligent design. Can we really be behind a theory that only gets us an undefined designer? The designer  could be the God of the Bible . . . but intelligent design theory would also be compatible with multiple gods working together in the design of the universe. Or the god of ????

Basically, intelligent design does not lead to belief in the God of the Bible. Thus Christians should be wary in their support of intelligent design.

[1] William Dembski, No Free Lunch (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001), 365.

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How to Organize Books

I love to hear about how other people organize their books! There is something especially satisfying about seeing rows of beautiful books lined up on shelves in neat, organized rows. It has a very calming effect on me. With that said, here is the system I use to organize my books.

As a general rule, I organize my books alphabetically by title. For some reason, this strikes me as one of the best ways for books to look organized. Plus it makes them quite easy to find.

At this point in time all of my nonfiction books are mixed together, and there are no subdivisions of other topics. At some point (when I have enough books to warrant it), I would like to divide my nonfiction section into smaller section, such as theology, philosophy, ethics, etc. At that point, I would probably still organize the books alphabetically by title in each subsection.

I follow a similar method for the biographical section of my library and the section of books on godly womanhood/marriage. The biographical section of my library is smaller than the nonfiction section.

The only section of my library that is organized differently is the fiction section. Instead of alphabetizing the books by title, I alphabetize them by author. There are two reasons for this. First, I am more apt to remember the author of a novel rather than its title. Secondly, I want books in a series to be together, and if I were to organize them by title, serial books would not necessarily be near each other.

Various other ways of organizing books intrigue me. For instance, I would love to organize my personal library using the Dewey decimal system . . . but this seems a bit impractical at this point simply because I do not have enough books to warrant such a complex organizing system. By the time I have enough books to do it that way, I probably won’t want to make the massive time investment that it would take to switch to the new system.

I also am intrigued by organizing books by the color of the spines. I experimented with this once on my shelves, and it provided a very nice aesthetic experience. However, I can’t quite figure out the best way to quickly find a specific title if the books are organized by color. It would be harder to know exactly where my books were if they were organized by color.

All in all, this system works well for me. The only thing I’m not good at is keeping track of who I lend my books too. I let people borrow my books and do not write down who has them. Then later when I am looking for a particular book, and can’t find it on my shelf, I can’t remember if I let someone borrow it or not. *sigh* I need to work on that one.

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