July 2016 Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the July installment! Current favorites:

Book: Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. This book was so good and so hard to read at 51XFKp6q0-L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_the same time. The details of how people were treated during the war were heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. But the hope that permeated it all was so encouraging! I found myself surprised at the ways in which God worked in and through Corrie's life as she walked closely with Him through such great trials. I especially love how she talked about entrusting things to Him when they were too big or difficult for her to carry. And I liked how selfless and hopeful her sister Betsie was, always finding reasons to be thankful, praying for her oppressors, hoping they would see the light of God's love. These people endured unfathomable pain and oppression, yet they used their situation to minister to and love on countless others, sharing the hope and joy found only in Christ, even in the midst of great pain, sorrow, and darkness. It reminded me that God truly does use everything for good, if only we will walk with Him and allow Him to work in and through us.

Song: NEEDTOBREATHE'S NEW ALBUM CAME OUT!!! I can't tell you how excited this makes me! It made my day. No, it made my week. I can't pick a favorite. They're all fabulous! Listen to it now. It will touch your heart, lift your spirits, and probably make you want to dance like nobody's watching.

Verse: "...Not my will, but Yours be done." - Luke 22:42. My sister and I have been house hunting for the last few weeks, and the process is tiring and discouraging as we keep returning to square one. I have been in great need of this reminder that God's plans are not our plans; each place we look at that disappoints us is a place that isn't right for us. I can either choose to be frustrated about that or grateful that God has spared us from pursuing a new home that would end up not working out or not being all that it could be. He knows the next step for us, and He will reveal it in His time (even if the next step looks completely different from what we're hoping for).

Food: I made some delicious Crockpot Creamy Cashew Chicken last week, and I threw in some cauliflower and rice/quinoa meatballs (using this recipe), too, on top of some jasmine brown rice. Yum! I also just got some of Bob's Red Mill's Old Country Style Muesli, and that's been really good with cashew milk and a banana for breakfast the last couple of days.

Blog: Emily P. Freeman's website/blog. I love the variety of her posts and the consistency of the encouragement woven throughout. She shares prayers for specific situations or emotions, reflections upon different life lessons, links she likes from other sites, and more. I started reading her book Simply Tuesday, too, but my library loan expired, so I'm waiting for it to be available again before I can finish it. I just really appreciate the way she speaks love, grace, and truth into the everyday moments and situations of life, opening my eyes to things I wouldn't see otherwise.

Memory from this month: My Fourth of July weekend was full of fun things! I got to FullSizeRenderspend Saturday evening with some good friends, enjoying Thai takeout and Gilmore Girls. Sunday was my best friend's birthday, and our church had a big block party with good food and even better company, culminating in a really good fireworks display. Monday rounded out the fun with some time with my family followed by adventures in Stillwater with my best friends, complete with tacos, ice cream, sparklers, and lots of laughter.

Now it's your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I'd love to hear them!