April 29, 2015

Summer Reading List

Reading is something that I have enjoyed from a really young age, but I catch myself opting for Netflix over a book.  I'm trying to make an effort to read more this year, and what better way than a Summer reading challenge! I'm so excited to be participating in Megan's Summer 2015 Book Challenge! I really enjoyed finishing this challenge last Summer.  I love that the different categories make me read books that are out of my comfort zone.  And a little baseball season activity is always welcomed! 

General rules:
  • The challenge will run from May 1, 2015, to August 31, 2015. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on May 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on August 31 will count.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audiobooks and large-print books are fine, as long as the regular print versions meets this length requirement.
  • A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book during a later check-in, that's fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
  • Rereads can be used for a maximum of three books in the challenge. This rule is meant to encourage you to try new books while still allowing you to revisit books from your childhood or young adulthood that you might get more out of now. Please reread the entire book within the timeframe of the challenge in order to count it; no simply finishing old books or partial rereads.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge.
Here is my preliminary list! I might switch things around, but I'll be sure to update y'all on the must reads this Summer.  If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear your opinions! 

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you've had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

15 points: 
Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)

15 points: Read a book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (Or "lightness" or "darkness.")

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge.

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it's worth the most points!)

April 24, 2015

Oh Hello, Season Three

Well hello there! Since I last blogged, two months ago, we have moved from Mississippi to Arizona to Virginia and started our third baseball season.

So let's backtrack a little bit.  Spring Training in Arizona was wonderful.  I just love getting to spend February and March in a place that is 80 degrees and sunny.  Chris got to experience his first Big League Spring Training and absolutely loved it! A little baseball clarification, there is a separate Minor League and Major League Spring Training.  Chris got a non-roster invite to this year's Big League Spring Training.  It was a great experience for him to be on the Big League side and meet all the guys and learn how things work over there.  Let's just say, he never wanted to go back to the Minor League side ever.  There is definitely a difference ha!

So the last week of Spring Training is always super stressful for us Minor League families that don't have contracts that dictate where we spend the season.  So a few days before Chris hopped on a plane, we were told we would start the 2015 season in Richmond, Virginia with the Flying Squirrels.  We actually got to spend the end of last season here thanks to our first in-season call up.  It was a great feeling coming back to a place that we actually recognized.  I was able to find a great apartment that let's us have our dogs.  Having our pups definitely helps keep me sane when Chris is on long road trips.

The season has gotten off to a pretty smooth start.  I credit that to us having our "baseball season" routine as stable as any baseball routine can be since we've done this two seasons.  I also credit it to actually coming back to a place we have spent some time.  I don't feel like the adjustment has taken as long, and we have already settled into a good routine.

So that catches you up on the life of the Strattons in the past two months.  I plan on being a consistent blogger again, but I also plan on soaking up our real life here and focusing on enjoying our baseball community this season!

February 25, 2015

What Does the Bible Say About Fear? // Wednesday's Words

I'm going to be honest and admit that I had a completely different post written for today, but I chickened out at the last minute to post it.  I thought I was ready to share some major fears of my heart that I have had to surrender, but I wasn't quite ready.  The post is safely waiting in the draft folder for when I am ready to share.

So instead, I found my five favorite Bible verses about fear in hopes that they will bring you the same peace and comfort as they have brought me. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4:6-7 is probably my favorite Bible verse about fear because it reminds me to pray my anxieties away.  If I'm being honest, prayer is not my first reaction when anxiety and fear start to creep in.  Tears are my first reaction, and from experience prayer is much more effective than tears.  

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  
Psalm 34:4

I love the reminder in Psalm 34:4 for us to seek the Lord.  Sometimes I feel like we just expect him to take our fears away without us asking.  Like it is some kind of one-sided relationship and he is our fairy god mother father that just takes away fears as he sees them.  Yes, the Lord will absolutely take away your fears if you seek Him and surrender your fears to Him.  It isn't a "you get three wishes" thing.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  
1 Peter 5:6-7

And guess what? The Lord is so much better than a fairy god mother or genie in a bottle because He cares for you.  I think we get the good (so, so good) end of this deal.  The creator of the world cares for you.  I can't think of anyone I would rather surrender my fears and anxieties to! 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  
1 John 4:18

And not only does the Lord care for you, but he loves us enough to cast out our fears.  Y'all it just keeps getting better.  

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  
John 14:27

And finally, one one of my all time favorites are the promises in John 14:27.  The Lord gives us peace, and not just any kind of peace, His peace.  With the peace of the Lord on our side, there really isn't an excuse to be afraid. 

There is so much promise and so much comfort in these five verses for me.  I have found so much peace in the Lord by surrendering my biggest fears to Him.  I am by no means perfect, and still struggle daily with my fear of the future.  But the promises the Bible gives us about the peace that comes from surrendering our fears to the Lord is so comforting to me.  

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