Welcome to "the good stuff" a collection of things I've discovered via the interwebs. It usually includes articles, books, movies, television shows, videos, or podcasts that I've enjoyed or found interesting. I've been storing up some articles over the past few weeks, and really wanted to share them with you.
On Being An Influencer // Juliet's Library
Juliet has an Instagram that features beautiful photos of books, but I appreciated this post she shared on her blog on some of the struggles of being an influencer on social media.
Millennials Have Adopted A Culture Of "Un-dating" And Frankly It Needs To Stop // Kaitlyn Pastor
A friend shared this article on social media, and I found myself agreeing with the whole thing. This is an important article for such a time as this.
Fortnight Isn't A Game, It's A Place To Hang Out // Owen Williams
I gave workshop related to media a few months ago, and we talked about Fortnight in the workshop. Another friend shared this article, and I thought it offered some insights into why Fortnight is so popular with young people.
A Tip For Having Better Conversations // Modern Mrs. Darcy
I could probably write a whole book or blog series off of this article, which offers a very valuable tip on having better conversations and deeper, more intimate relationships with the people in your life.
Disney Princesses with Careers Based Off Their Characters // Talia Lakritz
An artist shared these renditions of Disney princesses in outfits and careers based off of their personalities. If you're a Disney princess fan, this article of photos will be a treat.
Interested in some more "good stuff" take a gander at previous link shares.
I'm joining Emily P. Freeman in her quarterly posts focused on reflecting over what we learned during the the past season. While winter doesn't "feel" finished where I live in Pennsylvania, I'm sharing this post with great hope that spring will come in mid-March. In the meantime, I have much to reflect on from this winter, but here are five things that I've learned so far.
1. I'm a mom!
Brandon and I were surprised and delighted to find out in December that we're expecting our first child! Our little one is due around August 18th, and we couldn't be more excited! At the same time, it has been odd to realize that I'm a mom already and that I have a lot to learn as we enter this new season of life. Stay tuned for more on the Mama Madi front.
2. Structure is helpful in my time with Jesus.
I once thought that "mature" Christians don't need to read devotionals during their time with Jesus. They just read the Bible chapter by chapter, right? (ha!) Well, I realized in January that I needed a different method for spending regular time in the Bible. I just can't focus mentally when it comes to reading the Bible chapter by chapter in this season of life. So I pulled out a devotional that I bought a few years ago called New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. It has been such a help in my time with Jesus each day.
Paul Tripp offers a reflection on the gospel for each day of the year and shares a passage of Scripture that pertains to the reflection. It has been so fun to just read different parts of the Bible and have someone challenge me to think about different ways that the gospel affects my life. If you are someone that also needs a little bit of structure or guidance in Bible reading, definitely look into New Morning Mercies or another devotional.
3. I miss blogging regularly and plan to continue blogging in 2019.
A number of Christian bloggers wrote about the future of personal blogging in December, and they shared about how personal blogs are still valuable despite the boom in the big ministry blog and social media's micro blogging. I agree with them, and I found myself longing to blog again in December. I began 2019 with a resolve to blog more in this year, and I've been doing so.
I missed blogging, particularly the joy and thrill of writing and sharing content.
4. Putting my phone in my kitchen at night saves my sanity in the morning.
I have grown tired of my phone, and yet it feels like a necessary part of my life in allowing me to communicate with others. A few weeks ago, I decided to try leaving my phone in our kitchen at night to see how I felt in the morning, and the difference was amazing! It is a breath of fresh air to not wake up in the morning and check my phone right away, which is what I would do if I charged it by my bedside.
I'm hoping this remains a habit in my life.
5. I need regular introverted time.
I've been in denial about this for a long time, but I've finally come to terms with the truth: I need regular introverted time despite my extroverted tendencies. I started to realize this the first few months of being married, but my need for introvert time was solidified last week during a snow day. I had the whole day to work on projects and things that I normally do in the cracks between time with people or meetings. I didn't think a whole day focused on tasks could feel so refreshing until the snow gave me what I needed.
This revelation has made me rethink my schedule and think through how to guard and prioritize regular introvert time throughout my week in order to flourish energy-wise.
These are just a few things that I learned this winter. What are some things that you've learned this winter?
For a number of years I took part in a 31 day writing challenge. Every October (except for 2017 and 2018) I would write for 31 days about a topic of choice. This challenge always proved to be a fruitful exercise for my writing, and it was a joy to finish the month with a cohesive series. I'd like to think that these series will one day pave the way for the discipline of writing books to be published.
I have never put all of the series in one place before, so it's fun to see them all together. My personal favorites to read and write were Seeking the Kingdom and Confessions of a Creative Christian (my very first series). Follow the link of the blue title next to each year to view all of the posts for each series. Enjoy!
2018 - Longing For Home
2016 - Seeking the Kingdom
2015 - Faith > Fear
If you'd like to see more series on the blog or if you have an idea for a future series, feel free to leave comment below.
I like to think of myself as both a content creator and a curator of content on this blog. While I enjoy writing my own content, it is a joy to curate and share "the good stuff" that I've found in the midst of life. "The Good Stuff" usually includes articles, music, books, podcasts, movies, and television shows that I've enjoyed, thought about, and definitely talked about outside of the interwebs. Here are a few things I'd love to share with you this week...
Cultivating a Work-Wise Family // Hannah Anderson
How do families in an increasingly digital marketplace prioritize the family, the home, and create wise boundaries that allow work and home to flourish?
Second Wife, Second Life // Lore Wilbert
I gladly read anything that Lore Wilbert writes because she has a way with words. In this article she shares thoughts about being her husband's second wife.
Hormones, Surgery, Regret // Walter Heyer
A former transgender woman shares about his experience with gender dysphoria.
When Calls the Heart // Hallmark
For most of January I enjoyed this sweet Hallmark series about a female teacher that takes a position in the Canadian frontier at the beginning of the 1900s. It's available on Netflix.
Anne With An E // Netflix
A new retelling of the classic novel Anne of Green Gables. I've been really enjoying this show on Netflix.
I can't tell you how many articles I read in 2018 that declared blogging to be a dying art. The belief is that social media has made less people want to start their own website or blog, and it's made many bloggers give up their websites for the ease of a social media platform.
Despite so many naysayers, I've committed myself to continue writing and blogging here in 2019 and beyond.
This past year was a year full of life transitions for my husband and I, and with so many transitions I did not write on here as much as I have in the past. The time away from blogging regularly gave me time to think about this space and to truly consider if I wanted to keep blogging.
As 2018 came to an end, one thing was certain in my mind. I want to keep writing in this space, and I feel as if personal blogs are still as helpful and relevant today as they were ten years ago. This belief was solidified while reading an article that blogger Tim Challies wrote: Why You Shouldn't Stop Blogging (or Why You Should Consider Starting).
It's an excellent article, and it reminded me of why I started this blog five years ago in my college dorm. Challies gives several convincing reasons for why personal blogging is still important and relevant, especially in a world of ministry and news article sites, decreased sharing of articles found online, and changing algorithms on social media sites.
I started this blog in 2014 and called it "Engaging Culture" and that's what it was about; engaging and talking about culture in light of being a new follower of Christ. This blog has grown and changed since then (even receiving a new name), but it has always been a place where I can share freely and without censor about what God is teaching me or what I am learning about Jesus, the Word, and the world. And I hope that it remains to be a space of sharing honestly in the future to encourage other people in their walk with Jesus or for others to understand how a Christian might think or respond to certain things.
I'm thankful for all of you that have followed this blog from the beginning and those of you that have joined along on the journey. I hope you will continue to be a part of the community and conversation here, even if you remain silent in the comment section.
But for now, I just want to share that I fully plan on continuing to write on here for as long as God gives me the desire to use my talents in this way, and I hope that 2019 proves to be a fruitful year for She Laughs Without Fear.
While I haven't written much lately due to life just moving faster than I can process, I have been regularly reading and enjoying the writing of others. Over the past few weeks, I've read a few articles and books that are too good not to share, and so I would love to share them with you now.
THAT Person is More Important Than Your Phone // from Becoming Minimalist
I couldn't have written it better myself - people have more value than your phone. Convicting reminder for me and a fitting reminder for us all, especially with Christmas gatherings on the horizon.
Reading the Jesus Storybook Bible in Iceland // from Christianity Today
We often take for granted the access we have to Bibles and Christian literature, but in the country with the highest number of books published per year, Christian literature is rare. But Lord willing the tide is changing.
A Cozy Christmas Cautionary Tale // by Shannan Martin
A humbling reminder that Christmas isn't about stuff.
18 Pieces of Goodness in 2018 Pop Culture // from Gospel Coalition
There are a number of pieces of goodness in pop culture this year, and I'm thankful for the reminder goodness should and is still valued in pop culture.
It's hard to believe that November is almost over and 2018 with it. It has been quite a year, and the Lord has proven faithful through all of it, even if it has turned out far different from what I expected or planned.
December is on the horizon with the longing and anticipation of the Christmas season. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. But the older I get the more the consumerism, hustle, and busyness of the season seeks to crowd out the peace and joy that so many Christmas songs celebrate. I'm learning more and more that peace, quiet, and joy isn't something that just happens to us, but rather something that we have to intentionally seek and guard space for in our lives.
Peace and joy ultimately doesn't come from our circumstances or everything getting crossed off our to-dos or wish lists. Peace and joy are ultimately found through resting in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
I've been thinking about peace and joy as my to-do list grows and the plans with family and friends keep rolling in. I want to intentionally carve space for peace and joy in this season through carving space to spend time resting in Jesus. It's difficult to guard that time in this season and in regular life, but I know that it will make this season all the more enjoyable.
One way that I've been preparing to spend time resting in Jesus in this season is by choosing a devotional to read for the Christmas season. This year I am reading Waiting Here for You: An Advent Journey of Hope with my mom, and it started a few days ago. It has been very helpful so far in preparing my heart for this season and intentionally setting aside time to rest in Jesus. It's just one of many different devotionals and tools to help prepare our hearts to remember from where true peace and joy comes.
If you are looking for peace and joy in this season, might I recommend intentionally seeking it through guarding time to spend with Jesus. One way to do that is through reading passages of the Bible or even devotionals that help point our hearts towards peace and joy. Waiting Here for You is one such devotional, but there are many others. If this is something you are interested, I'll share a few other resources below. I pray that they bless you in this season.
She Reads Truth Advent Study: Until the Son of God Appears
Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
The 25 Days of Christmas: A Family Devotional to Help You Celebrate Jesus
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and purchase a product, this blog will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping to support She Laughs Without Fear!
October is always a full month for me, but I am thoroughly enjoying the change of weather and colors here in the northeast. The changing of the seasons always reminds me of how God has made seasons to be a regular part of our lives, whether it is the physical changing of seasons or the changing of seasons in our personal lives. Change is a constant in this life, but one thing remains unchanging and that is the character of God. I have been dwelling on that truth in the midst of a lot of life change. While my life will always be changing, the God of the Bible remains the same.
One thing that does change regularly in my life is what books I'm reading. I'm an avid fan and advocate for reading. It's a simple pleasure that a lot of people do not take the time to enjoy. But I have found reading to be very life-giving in every season of my life. I thought I would share with you what I've been reading lately, and I'd love to hear about what you've been reading too! If there are any books you would recommend, share them in the comment section below. But here are a few books I've read over this past month:
French Women Don't Get Fat // Mireille Guiliano
I've been wanting to read this book for a few years, and I finally got a library card to go and check it out. If you are a francophile (a person that loves French culture like me) then you will likely enjoy this book. It is a fun book for just learning about ways that French people think about food and eating and staying healthy. While many of the things suggested are more difficult in the United States, it was still fascinating to think through the biblical principles of healthy eating that transcends cultures. This is not a Christian book but a lot of the things that she shared are biblical - like eating moderately and refraining from instant gratification when it comes to food.
Bringing Up Bébé // Pamela Druckerman
I had a month of reading books about French culture it seems, because this book was written by an American woman living and raising children in France and her observations of French parenting culture as well. I just find other cultures, particularly French culture fascinating. As Brandon and I prepare for having children of our own, I thought this is book was helpful in considering how other parents in other cultures raise their children.
There were a number of things in this book that Brandon and I will implement as we raise children. There were some things that I'm still thinking about, and other things that are either a matter of preference or I do not think would work well in our culture and in the ways that we would want to raise children.
One of the things that fascinated me the most is how French parents teach and educate their children to sleep at night and to practice waiting and not receiving instant gratification. The author made mention to how French children (by and large) do not throw as many tantrums as American children. It was interesting hearing this author's observations.
Deep Work // Cal Newport
I've been wanting to read this book for a few months and thankfully my local library had it as well. The tagline for this book is "Rules for Focused Living in a Distracted World", and that tagline sounded like a book that I needed to read. I'm in the middle of this book, but so far it has proved fruitful in helping me think about the ways that my phone, media, and other forms of technology really affect my focus when it comes to my work. This book is written towards those in the field of knowledge work (like computer programming or writing). However, Cal shares words and thoughts that transcend knowledge work.
If we're honest with ourselves, the blessings of technology far outweighs the ways that it distracts us and often hinders us from deep and meaningful work, even if our work is as a cashier at Panera. Technology creates barriers that often hinder us from doing the deep work of loving God and loving our neighbor.
I have a lot of thoughts from this book and will likely share more thoughts in the future, but in the present I would recommend this read if you are a knowledge worker looking to grow in focused living.
These are just a few books that I've been reading, but what have you been reading?
P.S. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and purchase a product this blog will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping to support She Laughs Without Fear!
We were made to share about good things with others. We share about the things that matter to us, the things that we love, and the things that we think would benefit our neighbor. Here are a few things that I've been itching to share with you.
The Power of One-on-One: Discovering the Joy and Satisfaction of Mentoring Others - excellent book about ministering to others. I devoured this book, and felt so encouraged in personally ministering to others.
How to Ruin Your Life in Your Twenties - good stuff to think about.
Loving Your Husband Before You Even Have One - I wish I would have read this book in my early twenties, but if you want to be married one day, this article is one to read.
The Next Right Thing - I listen to this podcast every week and it is a simple pleasure during my week.
Look Up Child - this whole album by Lauren Daigle is wonderful
Jefferson Bethke's Instagram Post about home responsibilities for men and women.
Let me know if you visit, read, or listen to any or all of these links! I hope they bless you on your journey.
P.S. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and purchase a product this blog will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping to support She Laughs Without Fear!
What a wonderful season summer can be! I've found over the years that summer is the season in which I read the most. It's due primarily to having a different schedule which enables me to have more time to read and I'm able to read in more locations.
One of my favorite places to read is in my hammock tied between trees. I have yet to enjoy this delight of hammock reading this summer due to moving and international travels, but I hope to be able to tie up my hammock soon.
However, this has not stopped me from reading a number of books this summer. I have a new bedtime routine to thank for the added reading time. I've started going to bed a little earlier and spending an hour or so reading before bed to wind down. This new habit has increased my reading consumption, and it has helped me to actually fall asleep faster. Maybe it's something you'd like to try too?
Well without further ado, here are some books that I read this summer, and a few quick thoughts about them. I'd encourage you to pick up one of these to read for yourself.
All The Light We Cannot See
Synopsis: The interconnecting story of a young and blind French girl named Marie Laure and a young German boy named Werner. It is set during the period of World War II and tells of the story of the connection between these two people during the war.
Personal Thoughts: I could not put this book down, and I often found myself reading it late into the night just to find out what would happen to each of the characters.
Get the book: All the Light We Cannot See
The Power of One-On-One
Synopsis: Jim Stump (missionary to college athletes at Stanford University) shares stories of how God has used one-on-one mentoring to lead many people to Christ over the years of his ministry, and how you can apply the same techniques that he uses.
Personal Thoughts: This book was insightful and impactful. It made me eager to mentor others, to look at the Bible with them, to share the gospel clearly with others, and to be fervent in prayer. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to minister to others and help them to grow in their walk with Jesus.
Get the book: The Power of One-on-One: Discovering the Joy and Satisfaction of Mentoring Others
A Million Little Ways
Genre: Non-Fiction and Personal Growth
Synopsis: Emily P. Freeman shares about how we can live out the art we were made to create with our lives. Being made in the image of God, we are each made with the nature of being mini-creators after our Creator. Emily unpacks what this could like to live in light of this fact in your own life.
Personal Thoughts: I love everything that Emily P. Freeman writes and this book did not disappoint. It was encouraging to be reminded that I am made in the image of God and that my creative pursuits are a reflection of His creativity and his mark on me.
Get the book: A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live
In His Image
Genre: Non-Fiction and Theology
Synopsis: Jen Wilkin shares ten ways that we are made in the image of God and how that affects our daily lives.
Personal Thoughts: Are you sensing a theme from my summer reading? Unintentionally I've read a few books about being made in the image of God, and it has formed a lot of my thoughts this summer. I appreciate Jen Wilkin's writing as well, and I learned a lot from her in terms of her observations about the ways we image God's character. You can read a post that I wrote about additional thoughts from this book: God Is Not Amazon.
Get the book: In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character
Summer is drawing to an end, but if you're looking for a new book to read, might I suggest the ones above. It is a pleasure sharing about books with others, and if you're looking for other books to read, visit the recommended articles below.
The Ten Best Books I Read in 2017
The Discipline of Reading
When Your Phone Changes You
When Humility Brings Peace
Welcome! I'm Madi, a laughter-loving, movie-going, spontaneous-dancing, follower of Christ. Join me as I seek glimpses of God's grace in the ordinary and everyday.
Copyright © 2014-2019
She Laughs Without Fear