Links, Books, and Other Things I Love – August 2016

Once a month we share articles, books, and things we love at Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into.

Here are some of my favorites from July and what I’m looking forward to in August.

1 Second Everyday 

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

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Around the Web

• 4 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Is Hurting by Mike Foster

Two of the things are: “At least…” and “Why did you…?”

• Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up by Elizabeth Spencer

We don’t hear enough of this perspective.
“I well understand the temptation to weep for the past and to regret all things I’ll never do with my children again.
But I did do them.”

The Body of Christ Needs Bad Teeth by Jonathan Storment

“. . . but if you don’t go to a church that is filled with cavities or dentures, I think something may be wrong with your church.”

• See It and Forget It: How Default Settings Rule the World by Lena Groeger

“But there is a more subtle way that design influences our daily decisions and behavior – whether we know it or not. I’m talking about defaults.”


Putting the salad bar in a hard-to-miss location drove salad sales up 200 to 300 percent. Source: AAEA

• The Science Is In: Exercise Isn’t the Best Way to Lose Weight

What do you think? Why working out is great for health, but not for weight loss, explained in five minutes.


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On Reading, Writing, and Blogging

What You Read Matters More Than You Think

Researchers say that what you read influences your writing ability more than writing instruction.

How to Increase Page Views on Your Blog

10 tips on improving your blog (regardless of whether or not your goal is to increase page views). From Amber

14 Children’s Books To Talk about Race with Your Kids

Here are recommendations from Alabama librarians on their favorite books for children to start conversations about racism.


Five Books I Recommend

I especially recommend Warriors Don’t Cry about the Little Rock Nine and I Am Malala about the Afghan teenager who was shot by the Taliban and lives on.

Five Books I Recommend-July-2016-Lisanotes

Currently Reading

  1. The Language of Flowers
  2. Catch-22
  3. The Upside of Irrationality
  4. 10 Things Jesus Never Said
  5. Running Scared
  6. The Jesus Creed

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Things I Love

Morgan with Aunt Nancy

Morgan and Aunt Nancy

On July 4, Morgan and Fuller spent some good quality time with Aunt Nancy.

The Races?

I didn’t expect to enjoy this so much. I won free tickets to our local speedway. We convinced some friends and family to go with us and it was a fun (although loud!) evening.


Trey, Jeff, Jack, Kay, Lisa, Jenna

31 Days Coming Soon!

It’s time to think about it. Do you participate in the 31 Days writing challenges every October? I’m preparing to do a series on surprising ways to encounter God (that’s my topic so far anyway).

When Worlds Collide

Volunteers from Jenna’s church chose Manna House as one of their projects for their annual SERVE day in July. So Jeff and I had fun getting to serve alongside Jenna, Trey, and his parents.


A sea of red! SERVE day alongside Church of the Highlands

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On the Blog

• Are We Separating or Attaching?

As blacks and whites in America, we are more together now…or more separated?

• 4 Ways to Keep a Fresh Prayer Life 

We don’t have the exact conversations with each other every day. Why should we have the same conversations with God every day?

• Remember What You Read – Choose One Thing Per Book 

Do you remember what you read? Try this: Choose one important thing per book.

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What was one of your highlights in July? What are you looking forward to in August? Please share in the comments.

My previous link posts

50 thoughts on “Links, Books, and Other Things I Love – August 2016

  1. Lux G.

    I’m adding these books to my reading list and checking these links.
    Especially about increasing traffic and followers on the blog. 🙂


    Have a wonderful August!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve enjoyed these monthly round-ups via Leigh Kramer’s blog. It really makes me assess what I’ve been up to and what I want to be doing next. 🙂 Enjoy your week, Mari-Anna!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know, it rolls around so quickly, yes? I usually have good intentions to get it all done in advance. But you know that never happens. 😉 Praying you make your decision and have peace with it, whichever way it goes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I found Malala so encouraging. If you can, listen to her speak before you read the book so you can get her voice in your head. So gentle yet convicting! There are several youtube clips out there.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Catch-22? let me know if you get through it. I tried – often – and didn’t. But I have never really understood satire.

    I’m reading what I can to keep my morale from falling further. It’s been a hard few weeks, and right now reading is for reinforcing the positive.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, so far I can see where you’re coming from on Catch-22. It’s been a much slower read than I wanted it to be. 🙁 So I make no promises about finishing it either. I’ve already crossed off a couple other books on my list this year that are “classics” but just couldn’t keep my interest. I hope you find encouraging books to keep you encouraged and not discouraged, Andrew!

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          I gave up Catch-22 yesterday. I couldn’t take the distracted writing anymore. ha. Not sure I’d enjoy the flying scenes in the movie as much as you, but I might give it a try. Thanks, Andrew.

  3. Barbara H.

    I agree with the article about what not to say to those who are hurting. I pretty much agreed with the article about not mourning our kids growing up, but I thought the title was a little harsh, and I don’t feel at all guilty about missing the little guys who used to populate our home, though I love the young men they’ve become.

    I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusion about exercise. When Jim and I joined a gym at the beginning of the year, I lost 15 lbs. pretty quickly – but it stopped there. It sure seems like all this work would be worth more than 15 lbs.!! But it does benefit me in other ways.

    I’ve only just started thinking about 31 Days. I’m praying about whether to be involved and, if so, how.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I understand what you’re saying, Barbara. I do feel tinges of sadness when I look back at old photographs of when our girls were young. However, like you, I do love this stage of life too. That’s what I took away most from the article. So far, every season has had some very strong points to accompany it. 🙂

      I wish that exercise would play more of a part, but I’d probably just eat even more to balance it out. ha.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      But remember this is a whole month’s worth so it’s not that much. 🙂 I really try not to stay overly busy. I get grouchy otherwise. Just ask Jeff. ha.

  4. Mary Geisen

    This is an awesome post. You linked to several things that are of a huge interest to me right now. I am into fitness and healthy living so listening to the You tube video was very informative. I also am in the middle of writing a series on letting go which revolves largely around my sons who are grown and married (one is and one will be next month). I really paused as I read that post because I don’t believe I am crying over the fact that my sons are growing up, instead I am looking at what that feels like as the mom who is learning to let go of many things in her life all at the same time. Hmmm! Great food for thought! Love the one second everyday too.

    And as Linda said… “it’s time to think about 31 days already???” That will have to come after this next wedding. Happy day to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We’re in similar life-stages, Mary. I have one daughter who is married, and another who is getting married in October. It is a time of reminiscing for sure, even as we are optimistic about going forward. Hope you get through your wedding with ease! 🙂 I’m not sure how my 31 days will work out if I don’t prepare some now, so I hope to get a few posts under my belt so I won’t have to when it’s wedding time.

  5. Mindy

    Nice to find you again! I used to do the link-up for 3 words but have been lax in that area. Visiting from Barbie’s today where you are my neighbor : ) A great collection of links – anxious to check some of them out right now! Would love to read a couple of your recommended books that have also been on my radar. Have a great day.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Glad to reconnect, Mindy! I didn’t get much read last month, but the ones I did finish were good. I actually gave up on a few, too. I’m always proud when I do that because it’s hard for me to let go of a book once I start it. 🙂

  6. Jean Wise

    It took me forever to get through this post tonight. I loved all the links. I have been thinking a lot about default and how it influences us – sometime getting unplugged and reverting back to how God made us, our original default is good. Yet I have learning to be patient with myself when my default ego protection, lower brain kicks in with fear or flight – and being gentle with myself when I realize I don’t want to live operating from that mode. AND Jesus with bad teeth, needing dental care was amazing and new for me. love the photos too. Delightful post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “our original default is good” – nice insight, Jean! I could likely use a reboot. 🙂 That’s often my go-to fix-it method with electronics; unplug and plug back in. And pray for a miracle.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have really enjoyed doing the one-second videos each month. It’s been over a year since I started. I thought I would just do it one month and then stop. But it was too easy and too fun, so I’ve kept going. 🙂

  7. Caleb Suko

    That video on how exercise isn’t that great for weight loss was a bit crazy. I felt like they were saying that exercise is great for your health and can help you burn more calories but some people make bad food decisions after they exercise which ruins the weight loss potential.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve been guilty of that “logic” too many times myself. The more we work out, the more we think we “deserve” to eat. It’s hard to keep a balanced perspective on food. Hope you and your family are doing well, Caleb!

  8. Horace Williams Jr

    Wow! That is quite a list of books Lisa! It also looks like in July there were many blessings. Thank you for the reminder about October. That is definitely something to think about. Also love the video on exercise…very interesting. As I celebrate my 50th birthday today, I like how exercise makes me feel. It helps to strengthen the weakened side of my body from stroke. Always a treat when I visit here Lisa! Have a wonderful week and blessings to you and yours!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Happy 50th birthday, Horace! That’s awesome that you’ve made it here. The above-50 club. 🙂 You’ve had some tremendous challenges to get to 50; I praise God that he has brought you this far. I know it’s for a reason and I know that you honor him in those reasons.

  9. Heather

    Wow what a great way to round up some cool links and to count the blessings of the past month! Always loved going to the speedways with my dad ♥ And the salad bar article about defaults was quite eye opening! Eeek ! 31 days… October will be here before we know it! Happy August Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So you know all about speedways! It was my first visit ever. I had no idea what to expect. 🙂 I don’t even watch races on TV. But we all had such a fun time. Yes, that 31 days will be here in the blink of an eye. Thanks for stopping in, Heather.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The 1 second app has been such a fun thing to do each month. I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing it (it’s been over a year now!), but for now I’m still enjoying it so I’ll continue on. My poor family though…they know what’s coming when I get to the end of the day and say, “Oops, I haven’t done my one second video yet!” They become my stars. 🙂

  10. Joanne Viola

    I love this sort of post as I find so many wonderful new to me things to check out. Thanks for delivering! And I freaked when I saw you mention 31 days! How can it be that we are almost there again?

  11. Leigh Kramer

    I’ll be curious to hear what you think of The Language of Flowers. I thought it was entirely lovely and I still think about the meaning behind various flowers- though I’m terrible at remembering what means what!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m actually struggling with The Language of Flowers…just not connecting much with the main character yet. However, I’m way too curious to find out what happened with Elizabeth to give up reading altogether. 🙂 So continuing forward.

  12. David

    Dear Lisa

    I am finally reading “Open Mind, Open Heart”. I started it a while ago but found it too rich. This time I thought I would “just read it”. My wife was away for a week so I got a good head start: it was my kind of bedtime prayer reading.

    If I was being curmudgeonly there are bits I might grumble about but they’re not important.

    Mostly, it is a very exciting read – or, rather, the opposite. Reading much of it, the same heavyness, like relief, would come upon me as when I pray. So, very relaxing but very exciting when I realised what was happening.

    I’m looking forward to finishing it so I can read it again (this time with a pencil).

    Thank you very much for recommending it!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you’re finding some good things in it! You’re making me want to read it again myself. 🙂 I’d like to go back through it much slower too. Like you, the first time through I simply read and enjoyed. But on a second time through, I’d also like to really sit with each section a little longer.

  13. floyd

    Cherry pie… to watering the dog down? What a month! Also a good reminder that school’s rolling around again…

    Not sure how you find time to sneak some reading in.

    I’ve done a fair amount of traveling this month… still didn’t expect it to get behind us that quick.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The dog getting a bath was one of the more monumental things of the month. ha. Too much dust and not enough rain make for a very dirty dog. Yes, this month did start and end in a blur.

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