An Update: Adam’s Musical Journey

26 Feb

Day 3 of 7 Posts in 7 Days with Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary!

7 day blog challenge 7 posts, 7 days

I haven’t talked much about Adam and his music on this blog lately, and since I have to write everyday this week it’s probably a good time to touch base on this topic! This is called A Dreamer’s Wife after all!

Honestly, I’ve thought about whether I should even keep that domain name, because it probably seems a little misleading to visitors who pop in and check out this site. My husband hasn’t toured for over two years. Is Adam still going to pursue music? When? On what level? How come he doesn’t have an active website? Why is he a social media hermit right now? How can someone be a successful musician with a family?

I think my husband fits the title of “dreamer” perfectly, though. He has his priorities in order and is making sure that he feels led by God to really pursue this path before diving in. In his own words, “I’m an all or nothing person”. He has been very focused on being a father, husband, and full-time engineer at Soundcheck. Obviously this leaves little room for an essential thing called TIME! I know that if God is leading Adam to share his music, it will be in a way that will not jeopardize our family.

About a month ago, though, Adam did have a sort of revelation about what motivates him. The idea of recording a CD of his songs as a legacy for his daughters inspired him to really focus on getting his project together. What a tragedy it would be for these amazing songs he has written in the past few years to go unheard and be lost forever if something were to happen to him in the near future! Whatever happens with his music outside of that, is up to God! Although we both think it would be cool for him to play Catholic conferences and events like that on occasion.

Adam is no longer motivated by getting validation from strangers about his music. Many musicians and artists are desperate for fan feedback to reinforce their worth. This is why music often overshadows anything in a musician’s life – why so many marriages fall apart. Adam finds a strong purpose and mission in his vocation of fatherhood. (Disclaimer: I know that there are amazing individuals who are evangelizing and using their gifts to spread God’s message -Adam is one of them, but many more are seeking their own self-interests.)

So, right now, Adam has begun recording his EP/album (whatever it’s going to be!) in his home studio. Gotta love Pro Tools! I absolutely cannot wait until the day comes when I can start sharing some of these songs with you all! I know that it is all in God’s timing, though, and I’m trusting in Him. He is also rehearsing for his one-hour set for Catholic Underground in April. All of you Nashville people need to mark April 26th on your calendars! We’re going to bring our oldest daughter along so she can listen to her daddy play the songs she loves!

Any prayers you can throw my husband’s way as he discerns God’s plan for him in regards to his music would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Five Favorites (vol. 20)

25 Feb

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Day 2 of 7 Posts in 7 Days with Jennifer of Conversion Diary! I’m linking up with Hallie and ladies at Moxie Wife! Here are some of my recent, random faves!

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Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a favorite (yet), but I am excited about Private Lives of Nashville Wives on TNT! I’m mostly interested in following Bryan White and his wife. He is one of Adam’s musical idols! AND his How Lucky I Am CD was basically our dating soundtrack and we danced to “You’ll Always Be Loved By Me” for our first dance at our wedding reception! Plus, I’m always interested in anything that has to do with Music City!

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Have you checked out FOCUS’ 30 Catholics Under 30 List yet?

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Evernote

I just started using the Evernote app a few months ago, and I LOVE it! Why did I wait so long to try it out? It’s a list-maker’s dream!

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I’ve seen this movie so many times, but I haven’t watched it in awhile! I think I’m going to pull this one off the shelf soon! Cue Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”!

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Happy Birthday to the best dad in the world! 🙂

Grace, Humility, and the Impossible

24 Feb

First of all, let me just say that I might be insane! I signed up earlier today to commit to blogging every day this week! What was I thinking?! I feel like I succumbed to peer-pressure by the other 246 Catholic bloggers who already linked up before me with Jennifer Fulwiler at  Conversion Diary! I don’t want to be left out of the madness! There is something greatly unifying and inspiring just knowing that all of these other people are doing the same thing, though! Here’s to 7 Posts in 7 Days!

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William Wilberforce/Source: Wikipedia

This past Saturday, Adam and I were invited by a friend of mine and her husband to attend an interdenominational church service that was featuring Eric Metaxas as a guest speaker! (Bonus: Christopher Duffley, who is blind and autistic, sang at the beginning of the service and it was such a blessing to hear him!)

I have made no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of Eric Metaxas’ books and his message. (Check out my “read” list on Goodreads located in the right sidebar!) I heard him speak a year ago on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and this year he discussed William Wilberforce and his fight to abolish the slave trade. What really stuck with me during Metaxas’ talk, was how humble Wilberforce was and how he lovingly debated with his political opponents. Much of Metaxas’ speech was taken right out of his chapter on Wilberforce in 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness (a book I recently started reading). On page 51, Metaxas writes:

Wilberforce understood the profoundly important concept that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God. He hated the sin but loved the sinner, and he never demonized his opponents. He fought against them valiantly but always with grace, knowing that he had been part of the problem at one time, too, and knowing that if it weren’t for the grace of God, he would still be a part of the problem.

Metaxas likened this issue to the abortion debate in our culture today. He stated that “Jesus commanded us to love our enemies.” And, just as Metaxas pointed out that we are often guilty of doing, I find myself thinking that I’m on higher moral ground, especially when it comes to things like abortion. I tend to think “I can’t believe so-and-so is completely ignorant about that” and “I’m glad that I do more good than so-and-so”. The truth is, it is only because of God’s grace that we have the knowledge that we do. God lets us see certain truths when we are open to Him that others are blinded to because they reject Him.

How timely was this speech?! Imagine my excitement – and conviction – when I heard the Gospel reading on Sunday morning about loving our enemies (Matthew 5: 38-48)! The exact topic that Metaxas stressed in his talk the previous night! Trust me, my ears were open!

And if that wasn’t enough, I also read a post from Biltrix about the reading yesterday, titled When the Gospel Pokes. I can definitely relate!

All that is good is from God, and it is only because of His grace that we can have wisdom, love, knowledge, faith, and the ability to offer forgiveness. It would ALL be impossible without God’s grace.

Speaking of overcoming the seemingly impossible with grace, another important thing about Wilberforce is that he remembered that it was only with God’s strength that he could abolish slavery. Metaxas writes:

He first required a deep sense that the Lord had called him to these things –else he would have been overwhelmed, and the many setbacks would have been a great discouragement. But because he knew that God had indeed set these objects before him, he knew that the battle was God’s battle, not his. All he had to do was to be obedient to what God was asking him to do and to know that God brings the victory.

What a great reminder to each one of us! When we feel that God is calling us to something, we have to remember that He is in control and it is not up to us to make certain things happen. All that we can do is trust and obey. And pray – often!

For more about Wilberforce, you can read Eric Metaxas’ book Amazing Grace and/or watch the movie. The Kindle version is currently $3.79 on Amazon. Metaxas is also in the process of writing a book about inspirational women and a book about modern-day miracles. I can’t wait!

Moments of Grace No. 3

17 Feb

Since last I wrote a Catholic Woman’s Almanac post, the blog and link-up names have changed. It is now…

Moments of Grace Logo

Happy to be joining Jenny and ladies this week! Here we go!

Thanking God for
…a home heating system that continued to work through all of this crazy cold weather!
…hot tea to ease my congestion!
…wonderfully supportive parents!
…my amazing husband who loves being a daddy so much! He took our oldest girl to a Father-Daughter dance a couple weeks ago! Someone captured this beautiful pic of the two of them that’s featured on the parish website! Melt my heart!

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I am praying for
…some fellow Catholic bloggers who are going through some hard times right now, including things like miscarriages, autism, family addiction issues, etc.
…my mother-in-law’s continued fast healing after her hip replacement surgery.
…the souls in purgatory.

I am pondering
…purgatory. (See next section.)

I am reading

  • Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg. This book has been on my wish list for quite some time. I finally downloaded it and it is very interesting so far. I haven’t spent too much time thinking about purgatory lately, but our prayers and sacrifices truly make a difference to these souls so that they can be finally united with God for eternity. I’m trying to be more conscious about praying for specific people and not just going through the motions for the “souls of faithful departed”.

I am creating
…hand-knit dishcloths. I love that they don’t take much time to knock out and most of my old ones were in desperate need of replacing!

I’m learning
…more about prayer. I just finished up Prayer Primer by Fr. Thomas Dubay a couple weeks ago. I’m really trying to commit to a more dedicated prayer life. I plan to post something later this month about some helpful insights I have come across.

Around the house
…My two girls and I were sick most of last week/weekend with the flu. We’re finally on the upswing. Thankfully, my husband did not catch the bug!
…Adam is clearing out the storage space today that we rented while the house was on the market. It’s going to be interesting to try to re-integrate this junk back into our house! Can anyone say, “garage sale”? The weather needs to warm up ASAP!

Look what I found
…Brandon Vogt does a weekly book give-away on his blog. Three of the current ones on this week’s Love and Marriage Book Giveaway just happen to be on my to-read list right now! Crossing my fingers that I win one of them!

I am looking forward to
…attending a protestant church service with one of my friends to hear Eric Metaxas speak again! (Love him!) Also, Christopher Duffley, will be singing! If you haven’t checked out this precious boy on YouTube yet, you should! He will amaze you and make you weep like a baby!

A favorite quote for today…

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For more of my favorite quotes on prayer, click here!

Have a great week, everyone!

10 Inspirational Quotes about Prayer

12 Feb

I’ve really been focusing a lot on improving my prayer life lately – it’s definitely one of my main goals for this year. I’ve been reading some great books, including Prayer Primer, by Fr. Thomas Dubay, and I’ve been coming across some great words of wisdom about what prayer is and what it does for us. I thought I’d share!

10 Inspirational Quotes about Prayer

1. “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” -Soren Kirkegaard

2. “The best thing each of us can do for those we love is to become a saint, a man or woman of deep prayer.” -Thomas Dubay, S.M.

3. “To pray well one must live well.” -St. Augustine

4. “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.” -Mother Teresa

5. “Prayer is a mother who conceives and nourishes all virtues.” -St. Catherine of Siena

6. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” -Matthew 21:22

7. “A soul which gives itself to prayer, either much or little, should on no account be kept within narrow bounds.” -St. Teresa of Avila

8. “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” -Corrie Ten Boom

9. “Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” -Mahatma Gandhi

10. “If you ever want to be holy, to know God, to live His will, then the number one thing that you are going to have to do is pray. PERIOD! Nothing else matters.” -Fr. Larry Richards

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Do you have a favorite quote about prayer? If so, please share below!

Five Favorites (vol. 19)

5 Feb

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Last month, I wrote about my goals for 2014! This week, I’m writing about five of my favorite things that are helping me to be intentional and achieve these goals!

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Home Budget App

HomeBudget with Sync

Finally, we found something that makes it as easy as possible to categorize and track spending! I love that this syncs between my iPad and both of our iPhones!

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7-Minute Workout

This is a great little interval training video and something that I can totally fit into my schedule at least few times per week! Seven minutes is better than nothing, right?

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Study the Gospels in a Year

I started receiving daily readings in my inbox in December, but you can still join and start reading now if you haven’t already signed up!

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The Word Among Us

My parents bought me a subscription for Christmas! I love the daily meditations in this Catholic devotional magazine!

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PowerSheets

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I’ve mentioned these amazing planning sheets a couple times already on this blog, but it’s worth sharing in a Five Favorites post! I highly recommend these for anyone who wants to be purposeful and make sure their goals align with their priorities! I totally adore Lara Casey, who created this amazing system!

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Have a great rest of the week! Check out Hallie’s and the other lovely ladies’ Five Favorites at Moxie Wife!!

The Problem with Tolerance

28 Jan

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Source

Driving to work a few months ago, I noticed a purple bumper sticker that I hadn’t seen before that stated “Tolerate: Believe In It.” It was similar to the “Coexist” bumper stickers I’ve seen numerous times. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was “emptiness.” Believe in IT? Huh?

Alright, alright. I know what people are getting at when they say “tolerance” – they mean acceptance. The first definition of tolerance, according to Merriam-Webster, is the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” While this sounds like a decent and respectful idea, and everyone certainly deserves respect, it falls short. Here’s why:

1. Tolerance does not seek truth.
First of all, tolerance sounds to me a lot like “relativism,” defined as “the belief that different things are true, right, etc., for different people or at different times.” (Thanks, again, Merriam-Webster.) This is a big reason why the concept of tolerance leaves me empty. It signifies that there is no real truth; that “tolerance” is supposed to be some supreme social ideal that we are to bow down to so no one’s feelings are hurt. Catholic speaker and author, Matthew Kelly states, “A world without truth is a world without joy or meaning.”

Whoa! That’s a pretty powerful and wise statement. You can’t have joy or meaning in this life without truth! It’s not possible! Truth is the key to a meaningful and joy-filled life. Tolerance is not the path to truth, and, therefore, does not lead to true joy and meaning. Clearly, relativism and tolerance is a dead-end street to seeking purpose in one’s life.

2. Tolerance is isolating.
Contrary to popular belief, tolerance does not build community. Tolerance is lazy and selfish. It doesn’t really have concern for others, it just wants everybody to get along. You stay where you are and I’ll stay here and we’ll just do our thing. Cool?

Tolerance is also defined by Merriam-Webster as “the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.” After reading that, how does tolerance still sound like something that makes a successful society? I tolerate an itchy sweater or a long wait at the doctor’s office, we shouldn’t have to tolerate people. Yes, personalities and ideals clash, but we are called to recognize the dignity in each person, no matter how hard it may be at times.

3. Tolerance is not love.
What’s missing from this tolerance picture, is LOVE! Love trumps tolerance – no contest. Let’s be real: Would you rather be tolerated or loved?

Love requires sacrifice, listening, care, respect, honesty. Love wants others to get to Heaven. Love puts others first and seeks truth. Love makes the impossible possible. Love does not have limits.

Many of us know the popular words in 1 Corinthians: 4-7 (NAB), but they are worth repeating here:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

One thing that love does not require, though, is that we agree with one another. Somehow this absurd lie has been perpetuated that to really love someone and want what’s best for them, you have to let them do whatever they want – and encourage it. To quote a recent tweet by Rick Warren, “It’s nonsense that you must agree with people to #love them. I often disagree with people I deeply love. I married one!”

And still, even while reading about the beauty of love, there are those who are fuming that I am dogging the false ideal of tolerance. How dare I have the gall to bring God, faith, and the Bible into this “debate”! But I say, how can I not, when the best this world can offer is tolerance, because the world denies God, and thus rejects love? There is no love without God. And this is precisely why there is a huge problem in our culture in this day and time. So many are settling for humanism over Christianity, this world over the next, relativism and tolerance over truth and love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s stand united in truth. Let’s continue to grow in love and live by the golden rule. Let’s choose joy and live with purpose each day. Let’s build each other up and use the gifts God has given each of us. Let’s embrace God’s grace and shine His light!

A life without truth, joy, community, and love is… empty. And I have a problem with that.

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Five Yummy Slow-Cooker Recipes!

23 Jan

It’s no secret that it has been CO-OLD around the country over the past couple weeks, so a warm meal that makes the whole house smell delicious is extra appealing and satisfying during this time of year! Plus, I love easy, inexpensive recipes! And, bonus, apparently January is National Slow Cooking Month!

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Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites!!

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Chicken Taco Soup

This is more like a chili, than a soup, and it is delicious!!! It has a little kick to it, so beware!!

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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I used the recipe I linked to above as my base and made some tweaks, such as adding some diced carrot and celery and eliminating the butter. I also used milk instead of cream and it turned out just fine. I’m a potato-freak, so I love this soup! And who doesn’t love bacon and cheese?!

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BBQ Pulled Pork

My go-to cheap, big-crowd meal! Instead of using a tenderloin like the recipe calls for, I use a less expensive cut of pork such as a pork shoulder or Boston butt roast. I have literally spent about $5 on 4-5 lbs of meat and fed over 10 people. The secret to tenderizing the meat is root beer! And, like some reviewers suggested, I always use Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Sour BBQ sauce. It has a good flavor with the root beer! Yum!

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Slow-Cooker Baked Chicken

Baked Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

This chicken has turned out so well in the crock pot. It starts falling apart when I plate it! It’s the perfect way to make chicken to shred for a soup or casserole recipe or eat as is. You can add carrots underneath, in addition to potatoes wrapped in foil to make a whole meal. And you can make homemade chicken stock with the leftover bones!

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Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken

Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken recipe

This can be eaten served over rice or wrapped up in a tortilla! It’s easy to overcook the peppers, though, so I’d just watch the time closely the first time you make this!

I’m always on the lookout for more great slow-cooker recipes, so please share one of your favorites in the comments!

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I’m linking up with Hallie and Co. at Moxie Wife! Come join us!

I’m coming for you, 2014!

6 Jan

motivational quote from Ana Brandt

Source

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions or big annual evaluations of my goals, but I am all about living purposefully this year!

Maybe the combination of turning 30 last month and facing the reality that my oldest daughter is starting Kindergarten this year has got me putting on my big girl pants. In fact, like many others (including those linking-up at Plain Grace), I even decided on a word to focus on for 2014 – intentional!

I have been working hard on my PowerSheets, a goal-planning guide created by Lara Casey, to plan the first six months of the year. I cannot recommend this packet enough! It has motivated me so much and has really helped me put my goals into perspective in light of my vision- God’s vision- for my life! If you feel like you really want to prioritize and break things down into manageable bites, check them out! These can help you out no matter what your dreams are!

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My vision for 2014, and my life overall, includes:

-constantly seeking God’s will
-being thankful for his grace and blessings
-having a thriving marriage centered on Christ
-raising our two daughters to know, love, and serve Him
-using our talents to bring others to God and spread joy
-having a warm home where others can feel the love and joy of family and God
-reading, studying, and growing in wisdom and understanding

My five goals that I have chosen to put my energy into this year (and why) are:

1. Cultivate a marriage and family that continues to grow in God’s love, because that’s where true joy is and we want to shine His light and the goodness of family.

2. Create a financial plan/budget that works for our family, so that we can be good stewards of our money, save for our girls’ education, and prepare for emergencies, big purchases, and our future.

3. Create my online community, Faithful Dreamers, to encourage and inspire others to follow God’s will and dream big!

4. Be healthy, so that I can have more energy and feel good about how I’m taking care of myself for my family. I desperately need to squeeze in some exercise a few times each week!

5. Spend more time in prayer, so that I can hear God’s word, discern his plan for my life, and deepen my relationship with Jesus. This will greatly help me to be the best version of myself.

2014 is all about a year of action for me! I’m ready to put some ideas into motion and I want to do things with intention! For a peek at my Making Things Happen in 2014 vision board, click here!

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What are you focusing on this year? Do you have a special word that is guiding and motivating you?

My Five Favorite Books of 2013

2 Jan

I know that I’ve been MIA most of the past month, but I was so busy with all that comes with preparing for Christmas that blogging just never really made it to the top of the priority list! It’s a new year, though, and I’m ready to get back to it!

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I’m joining Hallie and others at Moxie Wife this week for a Five Favorites post of my top reads for the past year!

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The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic 
by Matthew Kelly

I love Matthew Kelly and this book is so practical and filled with so much truth. I love the prayer process that he outlines. Click here to check out some of my favorite quotes from the book!

{2}

Running For My Life
by Lopez Lomong

This book is definitely one that alters your world-view. US Olympic Athlete Lopez Lomong’s journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to a life in America is so inspiring. God’s hand in his life is evident throughout the book and speaks to the truth that God has a purpose for each of us.

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One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp

This is such a beautifully written book! Voskamp definitely inspired me to be thankful for every tiny blessing that may typically be taken for granted or go unnoticed. It’s also a great reflection on the gift of grace.

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33 Days to Morning Glory
by Fr. Michael Gaitley

Along with many others who have gone through this retreat, I highly recommend this book to consecrate, or re-consecrate, yourself to Mary! Who better to shape and mold our hearts for Jesus than his mother?! (Thanks, mom, for giving it to me this past Mother’s Day!)

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My Life With the Saints
by Fr. James Martin

I really enjoyed reading how various saints impacted Fr. Martin. It really inspired me to want to grab a few biographies of saints and dig a little deeper! I already have a few on my “to-read” list, some of which he recommended in the book!

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I can’t wait to read so many more books in the coming months! Some of which include finishing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, Finding God’s Will For You by St. Francis de Sales, and Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaclee Ilibagiza.

What books impacted you this past year? What do you want to read in 2014?