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[[Hello. We’re back to blogging. Yes. No excuses for those three-ish months.]]

Julie and I read a lot. Blogs, books, magazines, newspaper stories on the Internet, seminary books and notes written over … email (ha!). We thought we’d like to share some of the best of what we read — what speaks to us and encourages us and educates us. This is the first installment in the series, “What we’re reading.”

This post from Baby Rabies: This Much I Know- On Anxiety And Organization. Wow. Jill’s post hits home for me, a gal who wants to please others and do everything and always be on top of every facet of my entire life. Not possible, and not the way to live. Click over there to read more from one of my favorite momma bloggers.

* The Hunger Games … book three. I read the first two pretty quickly. The third one is proving harder for me to get into. I’m about half-way through it.

* Jen Lancaster’s first book, “Bitter is the New Black.” Lancaster goes from high-paying career woman to living on unemployment throughout the book. But she brings many ounces of humor into her situation. And she’s coming to Naperville in May! I plan on seeing her.

* God and the Art of Happiness, by Ellen Charry. Ellen Charry was my systematic theology professor this past semester. She is an incredibly interesting woman (a former Jew who converted to Christianity), she’s brilliant, and she’s arguably the best teacher (stress on teacher rather than professor — what she does rather than what her title is) I had this year. She’s been at PTS for twenty-some years and is the first woman to teach systematic theology at Princeton. This book is the sequel to Charry’s first book, By the Renewing of Your Minds, which we read selections of for class. Charry believes the purpose of our lives is to know, love and enjoy God. In the Reformed circles I occupy, it’s much more common to be hesitant about the word happiness — God’s ultimate purpose is not for you to be happy, to have a comfortable life free from suffering, God wants you to be holy and take up your cross in following him. It’s refreshing to read Charry’s persepective that there need be no conflict between pleasure and piety, between goodness and happiness.

* Lost in Transition: the Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, by Christian Smith. To end my first year at seminary, I’m taking a three-week intensive class about college and young adult ministry. This is one of our texts. I was introduced to the concept of emerging adulthood when read this article in 2010, and there’s been more and more attention from the media and scholars about that population (ages 18-23) since. The authors did 230 interviews with emerging adults to find out about difficulties facing them, the underlying causes of those difficulties, and the consequences, for everyone.

* The Triathlete’s Training Bible. Borrowed from a friend who did an Ironman last year (which is crazy impressive), this book is helping me train for my second sprint triathlon in Philly in June and my first international distance triathlon in Chicago in August.

— Kimberly & Julie