• Annual Top 10,  Books

    My Top Books of 2020

    Once again I sat down to select my top 10 books of the year, of the 78 I logged on Goodreads. Even after 10 years of practicing this discipline of reflection, I am still rather unclear on the criteria I should be using determine a top ten list. What is a favorite book anyway? A book beautifully written? A book that made you think critically? A book that affirmed your way of thinking? A book that met you in a special way? As a full-blown enneagram nerd, I appreciated how Dr. Drew Moser shares both comfort and growth Christmas gift ideas for each enneagram number on this podcast episode. These…

  • Books,  Extensions

    A Sojourner’s Truth

    I first heard Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s name when she was interviewed on the Truth’s Table podcast (from March 29, 2019). I was so impressed by her and her passion for mentoring, I immediately followed her on Twitter and ordered her book, Mentor For Life. A Sojourner’s Truth is her story of growing up in the South, going on to the United States Naval academy, earning her MA in christian leadership from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and starting the nonprofit Leadership LINKS Mentoring Program. Natasha felt like a kindred spirit, wise mentor, hospitable guide, and the kind of female leadership I continually long for. She has leaned into her own story, leadership abilities,…

  • Books

    This Too Shall Last

    This Too Shall Last is equal parts memoir, therapy session, and theological treatise. It’s the memoir of a woman who experienced the sudden rug of health and vibrant youth pulled out from underneath her over ten years ago. It’s a therapy session with a licensed professional counselor. And it’s a theological treatise from a seminary graduate on the role of the suffering and weak in the church. At just over 200 pages, it’s a relatively short book and yet packed with engagement on a topic most would rather keep to a cozy paragraph — something neat and easily wrapped up with a tidy bow. Ramsey starts the book with a…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books

    My Top Books of 2019

    I loved so many books this year. Out of the 55 books I logged on Goodreads for 2019, I chose 10 personal favorites as has been my practice for the last eight years. I read so many wonderful memoirs, novels, and spiritually formative books, it was difficult to select favorites. Have you noticed how we go through different seasons in our reading? Times we are devouring theology, basking in the beauty of poetry, finding kindred spirits who have written about the particular season of life in which we find ourselves, diving deep into an obscure topic of interest, or simply getting lost in the simple joy of a well-told story.…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books

    My Top 10 Books of 2018

    Reading has been a central part of my life since my mom prioritized library outings for us as kids. It’s been part of Tim’s life since he entered his twenties. And it’s been part our relationship since our first conversation. I pretty much fell for Tim after seeing his bookshelf and he pretty much fell for me after seeing the stack of books I was considering taking to Mozambique. Reading intentionally and widely continues to be a priority in the Hoiland casa. Without this shared commitment, we wouldn’t read half as much or enjoy the extensive conversations that ensue. Of the 50 books I read in 2018, I selected ten…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books

    My Top 10 Books of 2017

    Of the 50 books I read in 2017, I attempted to narrow my favorites to a list of ten, as has been my practice over the last six years. While I read some incredibly helpful books for my vocation – including an incredible book on managing organizational transitions and the basics of Christian fundraising – I also read some incredibly challenging books on race and learning how to lament the injustices and suffering we face in this world, if we aren’t closing our eyes. So, in no particular order: Kent Anan, Slow Kingdom Coming Having big respect for the author after reading about the journey and posture of his work…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions,  Faith

    My Top 10 Books of 2016

    Books and reading continued to be a major priority in the Hoiland casa throughout 2017. Tim and I spent a ridiculous amount of time discussing what we wanted to read, what we were currently reading, what we’d read in the past, what we planned to read on vacation or on a retreat day, what bookstores we’ve visited, what bookstores we hoped to visit, what bookstores we should return to soon, what bookstores are the best… you get the idea. This year, of the 50 books I read, I attempted to narrow my favorites to a list of ten, as has been my practice over the last five years. This year…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 10 Books of 2015

    Once again, of the 50 books I read this year, it seems I enjoyed memoirs more than ever. I continue to be drawn to real lives and stories I can learn from. I’m also reminded that our favorite books often reflect the context and timing in which they are read. While I was very low on fiction this year, I did stress-pound Jane Austen and Lucy Maud Montgomery to add some simplicity and lightheartedness to a year of wrestling with deep poverty, gang violence, systemic racism, and other forms of human brokenness. We all need our guilty pleasures! What were your favorites of the year and what were your guilty pleasure…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books

    My Top 10 Books of 2014

    For the fourth year in a row, I share my top ten list from the books I read over the last year. This year I read more fiction than normal and loved it! What were your top books of the year?   Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke, Geography of Grace The authors believe grace like water flows downhill. Through testimonies and reflection, including stories from the community of La Limonada, they share how God is at work in some of the poorest and most marginalized communities. The practical implications are huge.   Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close An incredible novel about a young boy whose father left several…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 10 Books of 2013

    This is my 3rd year of sharing the top books read over the previous year. But to be honest, it was a bit of a slow reading year for me. I half-read many, skimmed through previously read books and journaled a lot more than I consumed. While I greatly enjoyed all the books listed here and welcome your suggestions for 2014! Crouch, Andy Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power Each of us has a measure of power, whether we acknowledge it or not. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? How can power be used for good? Read this book for a paradigm-shifting view of the dynamics of power all around us.…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 10 Books from 2012

    Of the 50 books I read this year, it seems I enjoy memoirs the most. I do love hearing people share their stories and how they process those stories. With all my attempts to read widely, I always seem to end up selecting similar authors and style. I want to share my list of top 10 books read in 2012. Most likely their impact has had more to do with the timing and context in which I read them. I would love to hear your recommendations as well! Andi Ashworth, Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring I’ve waited for a book like this to be…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 11 Books from 2011

    Although I share Tim’s desire to read widely to develop critical and discerning thinking rather than cloning myself to one or two author’s thoughts or perspectives, I have compiled a rather narrow top 11 reads of 2011. It seems somehow wrong to have two of the same authors as well as three books on the topic of justice, but these were the books I was honestly most impacted by this year. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart An inspiring and informative read about how relationship and empowerment can bring change and self-respect to those who easily believe they are worthless. Boyle is a priest whose impact shows how each of us…

  • Books,  Extensions

    Peace Child

    I just finished an incredible book called, “Peace Child.” I am completely pumped up from it. I love God’s creativity in creating diverse cultures. And I love his self-disclosure and how he uniquely pursues even this remote tribe with his love. This story of a missionary to a head-hunting tribe of cannibals is such a beautiful picture of Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are…

  • Books,  Extensions,  Faith

    Learning from Let the Nations be Glad

    Just some excerpts and thoughts from what I have been reading. Passion“God is calling us above all else to be the kind of people whose theme and passion is the supremacy of God in all of life. No one will be able to rise to the magnificence of the missionary cause who does not feel the magnificence of Christ. There will be no big world vision without a big God. There will be no passion to draw others into our worship where there is no passion for worship.” Does this describe my reigning passion? Love“Love is helping people toward the greatest beauty and the highest value and the deepest satisfaction…

  • Books,  Fun Times

    Just a few of my favorite 2005 things

    Spent time with incredible people, participated in holistic ministry and learned more about the desires God has placed my heart all in a shanty-town in Lima, Peru Played with sparklers on the top of a volcano after watching the sun set over the clouds Went to a real island for the first time where I hiked a bamboo forest, lounged on a beach, walked through a pineapple field and went to a luau. Visited Washington D.C. twice with two amazing friends Stood by Niagara Falls with the mist on my face Received a promotion to Support Specialist Project Analyst Navigated a major road trip for the first time (we only…