The Very Worst Missionary by Jaime Wright {Book Review}

Description:

“The reason you love Jamie (or are about to) is because she says exactly what the rest of us are thinking, but we’re too afraid to upset the apple cart. She is a voice for the outlier, and we’re famished for what she has to say.” –Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author of Of Mess and Moxieand For the Love

Wildly popular blogger “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary” delivers a searing, offbeat, often hilarious memoir of spiritual disintegration and re-formation.

As a quirky Jewish kid and promiscuous punkass teen, Jamie Wright never imagines becoming a Christian, let alone a Christian missionary. She is barely an adult when the trials of motherhood and marriage put her on an unexpected collision course with Jesus. After finding her faith at a suburban megachurch, Jamie trades in the easy life on the cul-de-sac for the green fields of Costa Rica. There, along with her family, she earnestly hopes to serve God and change lives. But faced with a yawning culture gap and persistent shortcomings in herself and her fellow workers, she soon loses confidence in the missionary enterprise and falls into a funk of cynicism and despair.
Nearly paralyzed by depression, yet still wanting to make a difference, she decides to tell the whole, disenchanted truth: Missionaries suck and our work makes no sense at all! From her sofa in Central America, she launches a renegade blog, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and against all odds wins a large and passionate following. Which leads her to see that maybe a “bad” missionary–awkward, doubtful, and vocal—is exactly what the world and the throngs of American do-gooders need.
The Very Worst Missionary is a disarming, ultimately inspiring spiritual memoir for well-intentioned contrarians everywhere. It will appeal to readers of Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Lamott, Jana Reiss, Mallory Ortberg, and Rachel Held Evans.
(from NetGalley)

My Thoughts:

I read and followed Jamie’s blog many years back when I was also on the mission field, so I was fully aware of what I would be getting with this book. I am not bothered by cursing, but I will admit some of her unconventionally irreverent descriptions of things even made this easy-going reader a little uncomfortable. It is part of her plan and please know going in that that is not the point. Please see past all that for the point.

Be prepared to pull your boots up and be slapped around a bit. The author holds nothing back. She will make you look at your own life in a new way as she lays hers open for inspection. Her authenticity and humor will hold you as you read her crazy antics, and possibly your heart will be changed.

My “Missional Mama” blog title paled in comparison to the ultra cool swag like name, “Jaime, The Very Worst Missionary”. I was a little envious. Being a former missionary, I think it is very pertinent that you understand that what she is saying about missions was also what I experienced. I had many quandaries about being in South America and if what we were doing was in fact worth the huge sacrifices being made to keep us there. There were so many questions and not many answers. Plus we dealt with the craziness of life abroad including electrical house fires, boils, having money stolen, our car being broken into, and deep depression. So, her stories resonated from a place of understanding and head nodding.

This is an important conversation starter. Please read this book with friends and talk about what stirs your heart. Give it to your Pastors and leaders, your friends interested in missions, and send it to your missionaries. Look deeply at the conversation Jaime is starting here and see what is your part in the next best thing to do.

*This book was given to me by NetGally in exchange for my honest review. 

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Blue Apron Review

My brother invited me to try Blue Apron. He enjoys the grab ingredients and start cooking right away aspect of the service.

My box arrived on Saturday. It was wrapped inside an insulated box that was kept cold with ice. The meat was safely at the bottom between ice packs. I immediately took the entire pack and placed it in my fridge.

The first meal was Salmon & Dukkah – Spiced Vegetables. Each meal comes with a recipe card that gives very easy, clear directions and turns you into a gourmet chef.

It tasted amazing! The flavors in the vegetables was outstanding. The Salmon was perfect! There is not waste (as you use everything) but there was leftovers.

The second meal was Beef Medallions & Scallion Salsa Verde. Again the vegetables were popping with flavor along with the outstanding salsa over the beef.

I am amazed at how great both meals were. They were easy and fun with only olive oil needed to finish the recipes. The portions were satisfying. It truly gave me more insight into how much I actually need to cook at mealtime.  I am excited about trying future meals from Blue Apron.

* There are no links at this time. I was gifted these as free meals from my brother. It seems you are able to send meals after you have ordered a couple times. 

What I Am Into {February 2018 Edition}

I have always wanted a seating area in my bedroom. My place is finally big enough and I found this beautiful piece on Facebook Marketplace. I sit here every morning to read and journal and many times in the evening too. I just love it.

Read in February

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist – I listen to this on Overdrive. It was full of Niequist’s thoughts and stories on living authentically. It was not mind blowing, but I still found it encouraging and worth listening.

The One (The Selection) and The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass – Part of The Selection series, these young adult distopian books are a fun, light read.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini – Memoirs are my favorite genre especially when they are about something beyond my personal experiences. This life story details a rising TV star and her life in Scientology.

<a href="http://Every Child a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible“>Every Child a Super Reader by Pam Allyn and Earnest Morrell – This book, geared towards teachers, did not have anything new; what it did have was great ideas to try. If you are a teacher, this could be a great resource for ideas.

My reading goal for 2018 is to read 52 books. I am now 13 down.

TV & Movies

Black Panther  – WOW! I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Except for a few of the violent scenes where I closed my eyes, I was completely emersed.

The Goldbergs – It took one glorious clip from an episode about the Karate Kid to see I was missing out. I started at the beginning and laughed my way through 80’s pop culture memories brought to life with one obnoxiously dressed sMother and her family. I will very likely rewatch this series.

Favorites:

Golden Milk – After reading about the benefits of Turmeric, I started drinking this hot beverage with almond milk as a replacement for my nightly glass of wine.

Podcasts:

The Intermittent Fasting Podcast – I started fasting on 2/9 at 6:45 p.m. I had read about it numerous times while doing Keto but it seemed overwhelming. I am not sure why but after reading a Facebook update by a friend, I was ready and started immediately. I then found out one of my friends had been doing it as well with good results. When I start something new, I generally learn as much as I can. Listening and reading helps me stay the course. In nineteen days, I have lost 5.2 lbs.

February Things:

I started a new venture. Revital U is a company that sells smart coffee. The weight loss benefit is why many people get involved. The friend who introduced me to it has lost 20 lbs since November 2017 without dieting. I never lose weight that easily, but am giving it a go. What I like about it is the endless energy and focus. One of my local friends keeps telling me she likes the way it suppresses her appetite. If you want to try it, click HERE. For $4.87 you will get a three day sample to see for yourself why it is called “smart” coffee.

What have you been into?

*Affiliate links included in this blog post

Five Ways to Focus on Your Life

“The days are long, but the years are short.”  

-Gretchen Rubin

The word Mindfulness is boldly written in the front of my daily planner as a necessary reminder that it is my word for 2017. I quickly forget in the rush of the hours to concentrate on the moments of my days. Therefore, a focus on how to be mindful is a pursuit worth undertaking.

Learn to be present. Everything I have read this year about mindfulness included breathing. Taking a moment to stop, breath, look around, and concentrate on that moment does a lot for our well being. Being present is noticing the beautiful colors around you, smelling the scents that float through the air, and hearing the birds singing out to each other. It means deeply listening to the person in front of you. Stop right now and use your senses to notice your surroundings. What have you been missing?

Find what lights you up. What can you spend hours doing and still want more? What do you desire to learn more about? What class would you sign up for if you had the time? Discover what you enjoy and making time to do it. This adds a lot of beauty and energy to our lives.

Spend time with people who encourage you. Notice how you feel after encounters with each person you see today. Find those that make you feel happier and lighter. Spend time with people who make you want to be better and do more. Your life will feel much bigger when you spend more time with those who exude positive energy!

Create some space in your days. Margin in our lives is essential if we want to cultivate mindfulness. This means that your schedule leaves time for small moments that are yours to design. Perhaps you like to sip tea, take a long bath, or read a book. What ways can you find space in your day?

Make sure to move. There is so many benefits to adding movement to our lives including helping to clear our minds and keep us healthy. What are your health goals for 2017? What is one thing you can do to move more right now?

Let me encourage you to find one way to focus on your life and live a little more mindfully today!

Enjoy the View

IMG_9685 (1)2016! What a great time to instill desired habits. Blogging, healthy eating, simplifying, wearing clothing that feels right, dancing, reading, journaling, enjoying the view, and learning to be whole as a woman and a mama.

The goal is to live authentically and inspire that in others. More then ever before, we need to choose vulnerability and love. Speak life and truth in each other. Surrounding ourselves with healthy, safe friends that fill us and limit interactions with those that leave us drained or in pain. Life is about making choices.

What choices are you making for 2016?

What I’m Into {April 2014}

 

Books:

The only book that I finished in April was A Renaissance Redneck in a Mega-Church Pulpit by Randy Elrod. {Read my short review on GoodReads by click the title link. Follow me, while you’re there!}

 TV:

I am loving Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show! If I can’t make it until 11:30 pm, I watch it on hulu.com. The following lip sync battle with Emma Stone the other night is pure awesomeness …

I am also enjoying The Mindy Project! Mindy’s one-liners are super funny. You have to be listening when she adds things like, “I zero out my fridge every night before I go to bed” at the most hilarious times.

Movies:

I saw Noah. {meh!} I clearly missed a lot of what actually happened in my Bible readings, but I have confidence that Hollywood would not make anything up! {winky face}

Music:

This is my latest favorite:

Other Things I loving…

Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge – I have been following along since January. I upload my photo to the free Collect App on my iPhone and then add it to my Instagram (amyconcafe) feed with the tag #fmsphotoaday. Join us, it makes each day exciting!

— Instagram – amyconcafe

– Subscription boxes – Wow, this could become an obsession! Are you into this?

– Jimmy Fallon {oh really, I already mentioned him?}

-The library – I added all my future reads to my library wish list. Here is the problem, when I go in to pick up my pile of desired reads there are also other books at the library. I know! AND, all the new books are close to the check out section, so I usually have to grab a few of those too. It is a lot of reading stress!

-ALSO, the library has a little sale room where they sell donated books and magazines.The magazines run from 25 – 50 cents and some are the brand new! In other words, I will not be buying any full price anymore! Sorry, Target!

What about you? What are you into these days?

Love Food & Live Well by Chantel Hobbs {Book Review}


Details:

Go ahead. Get passionate about the food you eat!


Don’t fall for the lie that to lose weight you have to endure bland, uninspiring meals—and go hungry most of the time. Starting today you can love delicious food and lose weight at the same time! The secret is knowing when to have carrot cake and when it’s time for just a carrot.


Make food your ally by following Chantel Hobbs’s 80/20 rule. A full 20 percent of the time, splurge on the foods you love and incorporate them into celebrations and social occasions. The remaining 80 percent of the time, choose food that delivers maximum health and fuel for your body.


Using personal inventories, food plans, and new exercises for strength training and aerobic fitness, you will enjoy getting fit and trim. Love Food and Live Well guarantees that you can love what you’re eating while you lose weight.

via Waterbrook Multnomah

My Thoughts:

You cannot help but be motivated by a woman who has been there herself and now, having lost weight, is sharing her story and ideas. If you are like me and need the periodic pep talk to remember what healthy eating looks like and why you need to do it, you will find it here.

Chantel Hobbs encourages us to make changes and shares about the kinds of foods that will benefit our bodies. She even reminds us that we need God for real, lasting change, “surrendering to the living God your life, your own strength, and your ability to change is a daily occurrence. You have to lay down your desire whenever they get in the way of what God wants to do in your life.” (page 57)

Much of what you find between the pages of Love Food & Live Well, you have seen before. This is basically a reminder about calories, carbs, protein, fat, and other basic diet information with her personal push and challenge.  She spells out the 80:20 Rule to help you make the most of your eating and then leaves you with ideas and recipes. There is also a section on exercise with tips for scheduling, actual exercises with photos, and more.

Hobbs writing is easy and fun, plus it is encouraging to learn from a woman who has lost two hundred pounds and kept it off.  If you need a little inspiration, you will want to read Love Food & Live Well.

Are you encouraged by reading books about healthy eating, diet, and exercise?

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.