books i read

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young – Yes, the same guy who wrote The Shack. I loved this follow-up. It takes some suspension of disbelief for the premise but once you buy in, it’s a beautiful book. I found it insightful and moving. I don’t want to give away the plot, but if you loved The Shack, you’ll love this one. Probably even more.

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth – This is the first book in a trilogy of memoirs. It’s the basis for my beloved Call the Midwife television programme on BBC. This book is absolutely brilliant. I didn’t know what to expect since the show is so lovely, but the book is a delight. I found myself genuinely rejoicing and loving the people of the East End with “Jenny Lee.” I will say that Chummy in the show is better than Chummy in the book though. I have an essay I’m halfway working on about mission theology in Call the Midwife – I really should finish it.

Harvesting Fog by Luci Shaw – Still savouring this one.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist – This is an advanced copy as the book hasn’t released yet but people. People. Seriously. You will want to buy this book and then buy six more to hand out to your friends. It’s beautiful, disarming, theological, and lovely. Shauna is like the dear friend who loves you, and then quietly throws the big truth bomb into the middle of your own mess. And I made about three or four of her recipes already.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown – I mentioned this one in my January round-up, but finally finished it this month. And WHOA. Must-read. I underlined madly and I’ll take the wisdom forward into my life.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate by Justin Lee – This book is a gift to the Church. I feel  like God has called Justin for just such a time as this. He’s a grace-filled truth-teller with a gentleness to him.

The Unlikely Missionary: From Pew-Warmer to Poverty-Fighter by Dan King – I travelled to Haiti with Dan King and he tucked this book into my backpack. I’m embarrassed it took me a few months to finally read it because it’s a compelling first-person account of falling in love with Jesus and justice. I felt very drawn towards Dan while we were in Haiti, and now I know why – his heart is after God.

Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by Peter Enns – This was the first book in Kelley Nikondeha’s #TransitLounge bookclub. I don’t have time to do a big review but I finished it! Don’t miss all of the links and reviews as they discuss it further. The next book is The Politics of Jesus by John Yoder. (Also: don’t miss this Twitter account parody, John Yoda.)

Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World by Lisa Bevere – I heard Lisa speak a few years ago and, even though our style or personalities are so different, I was drawn to her passion. I picked this book up at the used book store and found the same thing: we may write very differently, but her passion drew me in.


books on my nightstand right now

The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse by Michael Gungor

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale by Ian Morgan Cron

television worth watching

Doctor Who – I’m nearly finished with series 4. I’ve steadily been watching and becoming steadily more obsessed. When I watched the episode with the weeping angels, I nearly came out of my skin with needing to Talk About All The Things but I refrained. Twitter, you’re welcome.

Call the Midwife – I’m watching series 2 from the UK right now. It’s even better than series 1.

movies i’ve watched – in or out of the theatre

Emma (2009 BBC Version)
starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller is an absolute delight. It really captures the lightness and felicity of the book. Absolutely adored it. A perfect Sunday afternoon movie.

in my ears

For the Sake of the World (CD/ DVD) Bethel Church – I pretty much downloaded this album for the sake of the song, This is Amazing Grace.

All Songs and Daughters – Amber Haines signed me onto this one and whoa. Love their album The Longing so much.

I must tell you how much I am loving Jonathan Martin’s sermons. I downloaded a bunch of them after Kelley Nikondeha told me it was an imperative. Well. Well. Well. Let me just say that I started crying – like really crying – on the elliptical machine at the gym and had to compose myself during his recent series about the women of the Gospels. So if you’re looking for a good podcast, let me commend our brother Jonathan (a self-proclaimed “hillbilly Pentecostal”) to you.

in my kitchen

It’s been a grey and rainy February, so I’ve turned to comfort food. The big winner this month is Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna.

Oh, and can I just say that Kelly at Love Well’s garlicky green beans are a revelation? I never liked green beans until I tried to make them with this recipe. Now I can’t stop. I make green beans at almost every meal. One night, my sister came over for supper and we ended up nearly fighting over the green beans. She wanted to lick the bowl.

pinning all the things

Source: flickr.com via Sarah on Pinterest


random thing making me happy

Evelynn Joan’s ringlets. I mean, seriously. Have you ever seen such hair?

evelynn ringlets

And let me assure you, this hair is an apt metaphor for her little personality – she’s a riot, absolutely stuffed full of mischief and trouble-making but pure sunshine. This girl creates more havoc than the rest of them put together, meanwhile butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

what i’m looking forward to next month

I’m enjoying my slow-down in my online life, as life here has picked up quite a lot lately. I still likely won’t be posting much for the next month or two – instead of usual prolific 5 posts a week, it may be more like one or two – but I’ll be around here and there.

I have my first two little get-togethers with a couple of groups locally. Overall, I’m looking forward to it. Both groups seem like a wonderful and low-pressure place for me to begin to get my feet wet. (I put together a Speaking page for the old blog. Let me know if I can pop by with your people, eh? I promise I won’t cry – much.)

I’m into line edits with Jesus Feminist. You guys, I cannot WAIT to give this book to you. Cannot. It is killing me not to share it.

Tinies have their spring break this month. So looking forward to two weeks without packing lunches. (And having the tinies home full-time, of course.)

Also, my birthday is this month!

So what about you? What’s on your nightstand? What television show has captured your imagination? What are you pinning or cooking or planning?

Linked up with my lovely friend, Leigh for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up.

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh



In which I will not be silenced
In which art is like manna
thank you for sharing...
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  • I’ve been missing you Sarah! Might take a lookies at these books! I started crossroads at Christmas, I might pick it up again 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Morag Renfro

    Just finished Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. It was hard hitting but very honest look into the workings of small town England – recommend it. The characters even visited my dreams! Will probably move on to the next Scotland Street book by Alexander McCall Smith next (love them). We finished Sherlock and Downton Abbey last month so now we’re on to Doc Martin and House of Cards on netflix.

    • I had that book from the library but didn’t actually read it, Morag. I’ll have to give it another go.

      • Morag Renfro

        It’s confusing at the start – a list of who’s who would have been helpful. I’m a Brit living abroad so it was deliciously descriptive of lots that I miss.

  • I like taking a peek at your books, you’re voracious like Ben. I want to get Brene Brown book you read, sounds what I need. I’m loving Shauna’s book & feel heart tugs along the way. Oh my, miss Evelynn! Weren’t you just born yesterday? I joined in on Leigh’s what I’m into as well, loaded with my favorite bites:)

    • Well, this month was a bit of an anomaly. I had a bunch of books that had been sitting around, half-finished, and I just decided to get them all done. And yes, with the Growing Up of our babies, K! Waaaaah.

  • Whoveian!!!!!!!!!!!! Woot woot! Good obsession to have. And I have Enns and Gungor on my bedstand (per say, Gungor is on my e-reader:) )!!!!! Thanks for sharing this. Also, which is your favorite companion thus far?

    • I still love Rose so much. I nearly leaped out of my skin when I spotted her in the crowd. But I loved Martha and Donna so much, too. I can hardly pick. They’re all so different and I love each of them for those differences.

      • I know! When she appeared, i about lost it! Plus, I’m not sure even if Martha knew her if she could have told the Doctor. But how the hell did she get there? I SWORE she was stuck in the other universe!

  • Laura

    Happy Birthday! I’m a March baby, too. Can’t wait for Series 2 of Call the Midwife to start in the states. I’ve got Fringe in my Netflix cue– I’ve heard good things but I’m still a bit skeptical. I saw Kelley’s post on Jonathan Martin serrmon and will need to check it out. As for books, I’ve just finished the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd ( a mother/son writing team who lives in the States but writes mainly about WWI England). Nothing deep–fun mysteries solved by a nurse in WWI. Also, I’m exploring stress-reduction mindfulness so I’m starting Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living. Hoping to engage my body, mind and spirit in being present to the moment and calming my overactive and overreactive mind. An adventure for sure.

    • I’ve heard good things about Fringe, too, but just didn’t seem to catch my interest. Let me know what you think. Those books all sound good, too.

  • “Blink” is probably THE best episode of Doctor Who ever! Even though the Doctor and Martha are hardly in it.

    • Deliciously creepy. Just goes to show how you don’t need gratuitous violence to be scary.

  • Laura

    O, another thing. I’ve been dwelling in this Lenten readings series created by Associate Pastor Kevin Greene of West End Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA. Even though I live in SC, I so enjoy staying in touch with my church family in Richmond. This is the 2nd year Kevin has created these amazing and poignant daily devotions. They are simple, powerful and accessible, incorporating music, art, Scripture and words from Christians through the ages.

  • I’m either reading or want to read 90% of what you’ve listed. Is this your first time with A Prayer for Owen Meany? It is my most favoritest book so if you have need of discussion afterward, you know who to call. Love All Sons & Daughters and Ever’s ringlets and most of all, you. I cannot wait to hear how your local get togethers go. March on, friend!

    • This is my first time! I’ve not read any John Irving and it keeps coming up as a recommendation for me from friends. So I’m ready to give it a go.

  • These posts are so fun – my husband calls me nosy, but I just love to know what people are reading, watching, listening to, eating. I’m one of those people who drives through the neighborhood slowly at night so I can peek in people’s windows (not in a creepy way). My friend just loaned me “Torn” – looking forward to digging in to that. Also reading “”The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century” by Joan Chittister. Loving the Benedictines. I love Shauna N., too – need to get this one when it releases officially. Kind of envious that you know her in like a real-person, real-life way.

    • Glad to know I’m not alone in that – I love looking in windows! And I don’t actually know Shauna Niequist in real life. We share a mutual friend and know each other on Twitter, that’s all – I hope to meet her someday! And meet you, too, Michelle.

  • can we be bethel music friends? i have been indulging my inner charismatic lately (ps–one of the formative books of my life is on sale for kindle right now–chasing the dragon by jackie pullinger–on noes! do you hate kindles? do you hate me now?)

    the call the midwife books had such a spiritual element to them that i didn’t quite find in the show. i am most definitely going to write about how well that series does poverty. i would KILL to read your essay on it 🙂

    • Yes, we can. I nearly called them my guilty pleasure. 🙂 And I don’t do well with reading books on Kindles or computers but I’ll try for you, darling. And yes, the spiritual element! So strong. I feel like YOU need to write that post, not me.

  • Jennifer Daniel

    A Prayer for Owen Meany is part of the modern canon of literature as far as I am concerned. Our great grandchildren will read it in literature class.

  • Kelly

    If you are looking for an easy-read novel, I promise you will LOVE “Wonder.” Such a sweet and hopeful story. Also just finished “The Kitchen House” and next to-read is “Generous Justice.”

  • Laura @ Hollywood Housewife

    Bread and Wine is just amazing. I cannot wait to buy it for everyone I know. Also, I liked Owen Meany, but my favorite Irving is The World According to Garp. Just great storytelling.

    • I’ve not read anything by John Irving before so this is my first foray. I’ll try that one next.

  • Jessi

    Owen Meany!! I am almost finished and I can already say it is the best book I’ve read in a very long time.

  • Tiffany Norris

    We were talking with friends about the weeping angels tonight!!! I make my husband hold my hand through those episodes!

    • Deliciously terrifying and yet so simple. I still get shivers.

  • So what is your favorite take-away from “Daring Greatly”?

    One of mine was the stark contrast between fitting in and belonging (pp. 231-232).

    The other was this, which is sure to become a classic out here in the vulnerability-can-kill-you blogosphere:

    “The important thing is not to discount the stretch-mark friends to gain the approval of the strangers who are being mean and nasty or are too cool. Nothing serves as a better reminder of that than the immortal words of my friend Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing: “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.”

    • I also hope you have read or will read “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz. Her research dovetails perfectly with Brown’s but focuses more on the effects of certainty and the belief systems we build hiding behind it. Certainty and vulnerability are connected in some amazing ways that are made quite evident by reading those two books in tandem.

      • I haven’t read that one – will have to check it out!

    • That is so good. I loved that part!

  • Mary1912

    I haven’t been watching TV much anymore. We dropped our cable. But as far as movies are concerned, I just saw Hugo and absolutely adored it from start to finish. A truly magical film. It shot straight to my personal top 10 list.

    As far as reading, I am plowing through “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”. It’s interesting but a bit too much detail for me, so it’s a bit of a slog. But I am determined to finish because I want to learn more about the less famous wives. I am searching also for a good book about the love of God but I haven’t really found one yet.

    • I did read a couple of the Philippa Gregory ones to get an idea of the wives of Henry VIII. Not really my style but at least it was more of a “story” which is more interesting, if that makes sense. And we don’t have cable anymore either – who needs it with the Internet, right?

      • Mary1912

        I did read Philippa Gregory too, which got me interested. 🙂 I agree…tell me a story! Yeah, I don’t miss cable as much as I thought I would except for the SPORTS. I miss the sports! And good documentaries. 🙂

  • fiona lynne

    First, I love that you’re so into British TV shows. It just makes me happy and weirdly patriotic 🙂
    Also, have you tried wrapping green beans in bacon and then cooking them in the oven? ah.maz.ing.
    Can’t wait to read your book. Do you know if it’ll be out on this side of the Atlantic at the same time as in the US or do I need to bribe someone to send me a copy?!

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    I love the BBC version of Emma! Her flawed, but well-meaning spirit, resonates with me. ; )

  • I’m so glad you love Call the Midwife, and even happier you love the books. I must confess, having read the books I find the TV series too saccharine now, especially now that I know what really happened to some of the characters. But still, finally, a TV show about women that involves them being strong and capable, each in their own right. Hurrah.

    I also recommend checking out Jennifer Worth’s In the Midst of Life, which is her experiences on working the the dead and dying, and is especially poignant given that Worth was diagnosed with the oesophageal cancer that killed her not long before the book’s publication. Incredibly factual, brimming with faith and patience. I want to grow up to be Jennifer Worth.

    Also, Evelynn Joan’s ringlets are adorable!

  • cwillms

    The second Jennifer Worth book (In the Shadow of the Workhouse) was wonderfully written and, in spots, so painful to read. She was an amazing storyteller.

  • rhonda

    A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favourite book of all time. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Stephanie

    I have “Call the Midwife” (the book) on-hold at my local library. Can’t wait to read it. I suspect it will be even more beautiful than the show…which I love.

    Thanks for giving a quick review of “Cross Roads.” I heard Paul Young speak last year at Re:Write and he was absolutely phenomenal. So humble and so NOT the status quo.

    Evelynn’s hair is definitely amazing.

  • Lacey

    Sarah, I think it was you who introduced me to Jonathan Martin’s blog a few months ago, and since then I’ve been visiting to Renovatus as much as I can. It’s 3 hours from me – a perfect day trip. The podcasts are wonderful, but being there is special and totally worth the drive. Your writing has helped create a vision in my mind for my faith, and when I go to Renovatus I see a community of people living that out. Just beautiful! I think of you when I’m there, and know you would have beautiful things to say about it. Hope to see you there someday!

  • I’m reading up on some of your old posts now, and LOVING your selection of books – Daring Greatly, Torn and Bread & Wine are also three of my favorites in the last month. I also just started One Thousand White Women (historical fiction) the other day, and it’s AWESOME. Not sure if that’s a genre you like, but it’s been a fun read thus far.