The conference topic was on friendship, something I find that many of us take for granted. There are many kinds of friendships, and not every relationship we build is as easy as pie. I was encouraged by the speakers and their instruction from the Word. The musical choices were also heartwarming, familiar hymns I could sing in my sleep but also a few new ones, all sung with fresh voices and given with cheerful smiles. Not quite as important as the ministry, but also of worthy mention was that the decorations were adorable. There were fluffy pink and white paper balls strategically placed to help you find the restroom, bookstore, and workshop rooms, plus sweet pink mugs with baby's breath and fronds in them. The food (including the millions of homemade cookies) was also scrumptious.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Koetsier, taken at Fredrick Meijer Gardens last spring.
And now, in lieu of the first day of spring (which I am aware I am not posting exactly on, but whatever), here is my Winter Reading List!
*side note: if you noticed I did not say Spring Reading List, good for you. I sincerely dislike making "to read" lists for myself, as it takes all the fun out of reading for me. It makes it feel more like a task or assignment. Plus, I prefer choosing my books based on my mood at the moment.
*side note #2 I apologize for the boring-ness of this reading list. I am fully aware that there are very few "fun" books on it. Let's just say I've had a crazy fall, an even crazier winter, and sping is looking up to be a new kind of crazy so I'm just holing my seat belt right now and learning to just let God.
So, at last I present to you, my Winter Reading List. That is, books I read this winter.
Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell. I confess, I have not yet finished this book. But it's one of those kinds of books you keep near you and reference often. Written concisely and clearly, it's one of the most helpful but also engaging "how to" books I've read on writing. (Often "how to" books are very dry. JS Bell has a knack for wit and relevancy.) Alongside this, I also have gone through The Usborne Creative Writing Book, which I purchased from Usborne Books and More with Patti. It has some really helpful pages that I copied for character development, as well as some plot development tips and exercises. What's nice about it is that it also is easy to read for a variety of ages, I would even recommend it to any homeschooling moms out there!
Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow
My absolutely favorite read this winter was A Time to Rise, by Nadine Brandes. Five stars. Go read it. Now. It is the last installment of the YA dystopian trilogy that entwines faith and adventure to engage and inspire readers, essentially calling them to action while considering if you knew your time of death, how would it change your life? If you have read it, please pop on over to Amazon and rate the first two books, A Time to Die and A Time to Speak. While both are still available for Kindle, they are no longer available in paperback- the only way I read! (I know, I'm very behind the times and I'm perfectly happy reading this way.) Voting will help bring them back to us the way we hard-core readers love to read best: the old-fashioned way.
Legacy of Faith, by Lydia Brownback
For devotions I am currently reading The Triune God (various authors), which was given to me at the Philedelphia Reformed Theological Conference last year. Although not as "flowery" as Dillow or Brownback, it is very solid and I'm taking my time in reading it alternately between finishing John (since I didn't do this earlier in the year). By the by, I am going back to the Conference this year and very much looking forward to it. Check out the link if you're interested! There is one held in (actual) Philedelphia, and another in Byron Center, Michigan.
I am also currently reading The Chaos of Stars, by Kiersten White.
I started reading Unblemished by Sara Ella but was slow in getting through it and had to return it to the library before I'd finished it. So perhaps it doesn't count as a Winter Read, but I'm putting it on here anyway so someone can hold me accountable to finish it. (If you don't see it on my Spring Reading List, someone please send me frowning emojis. That's really the worst punishment I can come up with right now.)
What books have you all read this winter so far? Any recommendations? Did any of you attend the RegardingHIM Conference or will you be at the Philedelphia one? I look forward to hearing from you, readers!