7 Reasons to Join the Liturgy of Life Reading Group – 2016

It’s hard to believe it has been almost a year since my first post here. Blogging through 2015 has changed my life. My mind and heart have grown and stretched each day by reading, writing and connecting with many of you.


In 2015 Liturgy of Life (did you ever even realize it is LOL for short? love that) hosted an online reading group, together we read five books about the Christian faith, home and family. Now as 2016 is quickly approaching (feels a bit too quickly actually) I am excited to announce the 2016 Reading List and invite you to read along.

7 Reasons to Join the Liturgy of LifeReading Group2016

This year I’m adding a new Link-Up function at the bottom of every post pertaining to the reading group (you don’t have to be reading at my pace just be on the same book, for my week by week reading plan click here).


So I know you are holding your breath and just dying to know what the 2016 reading list is.  Drum Roll Please.


Seven Quick Takes:

Why You should Join the Liturgy of Life Reading Group


1. A Grief Observed, CS Lewis.  We will spend the first part of 2016 looking at grief and pain in the Christian life.  A Grief Observed is simply C.S. Lewis’ journal from the months following the death of his wife.  It gives insight into how to love and support those around us who are grieving and raises important questions for a Christian to struggle through as we face the pain in our world.

(We will read this book for 4 weeks, January 17th-February 13th)


2. The Problem with Pain, CS Lewis. I swear I’m not obsessed with CS Lewis, this book just seemed to be the best follow up to A Grief ObservedThe Problem with Pain is the most intellectual book we will read (for all of you academics out there, you are welcome, for the rest of us, I’m sorry but it will be a good challenge for us). Here the same Lewis writes about the reasoning and logic that can help ground a Christian as they deal with grief.

(We will read this book for 10 weeks, with a break after the first two chapters to do some reading on Lent and Easter (see below) so the dates will be February 14th-27th and then April 3rd-May 28th, this is  short but dense book so I’m hoping by breaking it in half it will help us to digest it a bit easier).



3. Silence by Shusaku Endo.  This is the must read off this list.  Silence is one of the best novels I have read, coincidentally it is also being made into a feature length film which will come out in November.  It is a story of a priest in the persecuted church in Japan. It is placed in the early 1900’s but remains ever so relevant as we ponder the persecution of Christians all around the world today.

(We will read this book over 5 weeks May 29th-July 2nd)



4. Animal Vegetable Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver. About halfway through the year we will move from a focus on suffering to begin looking at the patterns of the natural world, where grief and celebration are both a part.  Kingsolver is not Christian but her perspective on the rhythms of life and contentedness to place, nature and community bring insight to the American Christian worldview. This book is an easy to read memoir of a year of local eating and farming. It has a lot of information about food culture in America as well as some decent recipes.

(We will read this book from July 3rd- November 18th )



5. Let Us Keep the Feast, compilation, edited by Jessica Snell. This book is a great review of the major liturgical seasons Snell’s compilation gives a brief history of each liturgical season and some simple ideas of how to celebrate them at home.

(We will read this book in two sections, we will read the chapters on Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost  from February 28th- March 2nd, and then Introduction, Advent, Christmas and Epiphany from November 20th through December 15th)


6.  I hope that reading these books will change your life and I am excited to hear from you.  Please comment here or join the discussion by liking the Liturgy of Life facebook page, linking up anytime you are reading and blogging along with us or joining our facebook discussion group.


7.  If this list isn’t enough for you here is a quick re-cap of the 2015 list.





It has been an awesome year, thank you for being part of it.



For some other fun quick-takes check out the Link-up at thisaintlyceum.com

The Hidden Art of Homemaking

My daughter sits across from me, spitting beets in all directions.

My husband sternly,

“Zenie, put that back into your mouth and eat it.”

“Then look at your mother and tell her thank you for this yummy food.”

“You know Mama doesn’t have to cook for you, she does it because she loves you.

And I’m a little bit surprised, not at my daughter, I totally understand disliking beets. No, it is my husband’s words that give me pause. Making dinner an hour ago I could have sworn that I did indeed have to do it, far from being an act of love it felt much more like a chore that needed to be completed. And while I do enjoy cooking, getting something edible on the table at meal time, on most days feels like just another task that has to get done.

Of course  I do have some obligation to feed my family, at least to feed my child. But there is no requirement that I make marinated beets with Venison Tenderloin, or  homemade yogurt and granola for breakfast, or to feed them anything more elaborate than tuna straight from a can at lunch.

When I stop and think about it all of the extra steps I take to make a meal for my family are, exactly as my husband put it, they are because I love them. Cooking is a way to show them I care, to give them a personal, creative and tangible experience of the love that I have for them.

Now cooking may not be your thing and there is nothing wrong with tuna from the can from time to time if that’s what y’all are eating, but we all have something. Maybe you clean, and having an orderly home speaks love and care from your heart (this is definitely not my thing). Or maybe you knit scarves or wash cars or write notes. Whatever it is, most of us at some point in our everyday life, choose to go above and beyond to take care of someone we love.

It is something uniquely human. When a wolf drags home a dead deer or a bird  coughs up a worm meet their family’s needs, their family won’t know the difference if they set the table with flowers or a cloth napkin. But to us those little steps speak loads to us. A set table to us says, “we’ve been expecting and preparing for you,”  a flower arrangement says, “I wanted to make make something beautiful for you.” When we creates something pretty, or tasty or comfortable for someone else it is  a communication of love.

This week we are beginning The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaeffer in the Liturgy of Life Reading group. In it Shaeffer challenges us to take those tiny everyday things and give them a second thought. To remember why we are so disappointed if we burn the pancakes or why it means so much when our husband vacuums the floor or our roommate sends us a get well card. Each of these little acts are powerful communications to those in our lives.

Shaeffer challenges us to reclaim the ordinary, to remember that God dwells in each of us and when we are creative and thoughtful we express His creativity and care.  Now being intentional is not my strength and paying attention to details does not come naturally for me (if you don’t believe me I’m sure my husband vouch for my careless and lazy ways), but I want the people around me to know that I care and to feel loved (by me and by God), most of us do. So let’s work through this together. Join in and read along as Shaeffer helps us to recognize that life is made up of nothing more than lots of tiny moments and we have the choice  to live purposefully in them.

Who’s excited?


This post is part of The Liturgy of Life Reading Group. We are currently Reading the Hidden Art of Homemaking. We would love to hear from you, or join our group and read and ponder along with us.

Thanks for being here.


On Turning 35

On Turning 35 Liturgy of Life

Approaching my 35th birthday I planned on posting some dismal reflection on aging.

I had all sorts of ideas floating around about why I was less than thrilled to embrace this next milestone. 35 is harder for women than men, I think, because  if you happen to have a baby after this birthday you will be categorized as “advanced maternal age,”  and though the cut off is for the most part arbitrary, it puts me on edge.

More than that, with each birthday I can’t help but recognize that I am just that much closer to the end of my life. Death will surly visit me as it does everyone and  each year marks my body’s decline until one day it won’t be able to do all that I want it to. As a Christian I have a hope in Jesus who has defeated death, but still the pain and loss that comes with the end of life is real and frightening.

I found myself wishing for a life without calenders, a life where a year passing is marked by the seasons and a day by the sun rising and setting rather than being obsessing over day planners and to-do lists. I’d welcome a life where the date of an event remains a fuzzy memory and can only be recalled in terms of its relationship with the moon.

So with all these thoughts spinning in my head and with moving boxes still piled up to my ears I went to bed on the eve of my 35th birthday prepared to feel pretty glum about the whole thing.

Instead I woke up to  my little girl’s giggles, she was up at 6 am, so excited to celebrate with me.   My family brought me both a balloon and flowers and my husband planned a fabulous day including a trip to the beach and ended it with artisan pizzas (my favorite dinner choice) and blowing out a candle stuck in an ice cream sandwich. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

I was reminded again that amidst all of this aging crapola  I was grateful to be alive.  Life is short, and every day I have a choice to make, I can spend it grumpy because it isn’t what I wish it was or I can celebrate it as the gift that it is.  So here is to turning 35 or 25 or 85, let’s receive all that this year brings, and let’s do it together.

On Turning 35 Liturgy of Life
As part of our trip to the beach on South Padre Island we visited the Sea Turtle Sanctuary. Basically a dream come true for me, I mean have you ever seen up close a 200lb sea turtle? Totally Amazing.


On Turning 35 Liturgy of Life
Can’t get enough of these two.