My StoryCorps interview with my daddy

Back in October, I was able to participate in StoryCorps and interview my father. If you haven’t heard of StoryCorps, or don’t know what it is, you can watch the short video below. Also, visit their website at to learn more. Here’s a short snippet from their About page:

StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.

I had a lot of fun interviewing my dad and thought I’d share it with all of you!

I know he’s my father, so I’m biased, but I’ve always admired and looked up to him. It was a great experience getting to hear about what it was like for him growing up in Charleston, WV during the 60s and 70s, and also growing up with 9 other siblings in a house that’s less than 800 square feet!

It’s kinda long (40 minutes so you’ve been warned…) but I’d love to hear what you think!

My dad in “coach” mode
My father and his 9 siblings

Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta – BOOK REVIEW

40947713Title: Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference

Author: CJ Casciotta

Publication Date & Publisher: September 11, 2018, Faith Words

Genre(s): Christian Living/Practical Life/Personal Growth

Length: 217 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5460-3191-8

My Rating: 3.5/5.0


Description (from Goodreads):

Most of us grow up believing it’s more important to fit in than to stand out. But there’s something different about you…and it matters.

What if your weirdness was the key to changing everything? What if the outrageous, imaginative, crazy ideas that live inside your wildest dreams are actually there on purpose, divinely preinstalled to help others?

Knowing what makes you weird is the best thing you can offer your art, your business, your friends, your family, and yourself. It’s the essence of creativity, the stuff of movements, and the hope for humanity. It’s time to quit painting by numbers, conforming to patterns, and checking off boxes. It’s time to GET WEIRD.

My review:

I enjoyed reading Get Weird, and CJ Casciotta definitely knows how to inspire people to be their truest, weirdest selves!

While the book is a Christian Living title, it doesn’t read as such. Casciotta includes references to scripture and Christian beliefs, but also includes plenty of other references. To be honest, about halfway through the book I had to go back and double check that what I was reading was actually something I’d consider a “Christian Living” title. The flow of Casciotta’s writing and the way he weaves words just isn’t what you’d expect from a book like this… you aren’t going to find scripture on every page or a how-to explanation on how to increase your faith.

What you will find in this book is a lot of inspiration to be the weirdly wonderful you you were made to be! As a person that’s always had a hard time fitting in, this was a really great read for me. I definitely felt a little more comfortable with my “weirdness” after reading Get Weird. I recommend it to anyone else that struggles to accept their uniqueness in a world constantly encouraging them to embrace sameness.

Thank you to FaithWords for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of my review of Get Weird? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository


Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon – BOOK REVIEW

38141069Title: Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity
Author: Michelle Van Loon
Publication Date & Publisher: July 3, 2018, Moody Publishers
Genre(s): Christian Living/Practical Life/Personal Growth
Length: 192 pages
ISBN: 13:978-0-80241812-8
My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

Why are we so restless?

All of us have a little wanderlust—a desire for that next thing, that new place, but this competes with our longings for security, control, and safety. We don’t like how it feels to be unsettled and uprooted. Whether we’re navigating a season of transition, dealing with the fallout of broken relationships, or wrestling with a deep sense of restlessness, we are all experiencing some form of exile. And most of us do whatever we can to numb the feelings of unbelonging, powerlessness, and unsettledness that come with it. But the truth is that exile has a profound purpose if we can just learn to lean in.

Over and over again Scripture tells us that the people of God are exiles and wanderers. And this is good news because exile is what transforms us into pilgrims. In Christ, we are no longer directionless wanderers, but pilgrim followers who have a clear purpose and a secure identity. In Born to Wander, Michelle Van Loon weaves together personal stories and keen insights on the biblical themes of pilgrimage and exile. She will help you embrace your own pilgrim identity and reorient your heart toward the God who leads you home. Engaging and thoughtful, enhanced with practical suggestions, prayers, and questions, Born to Wander will teach how to trust God even when you don’t understand what’s happening around you and follow Him even when it hurts.

If you keep chasing security, you’ll never find it. Embrace the purpose behind the wandering and discover the freedom and safety of resting in God alone.

“Every one of us carries a restlessness that runs as deep as the marrow of our born-again bones. Our relationships shift like tectonic plates. We change jobs. We switch churches. And our culture tells us the cure for our restlessness is to buy a new mattress, a new car, or a new tube of toothpaste.”

My review:

I absolutely loved this book! I basically ended up reading each chapter at least twice because after finishing it the first time, I had to track down my husband so I could read it with him. And if my eldest child was home, then she got to hear it too. I just couldn’t keep it to myself!

I’m the the time of person that can’t seem to stay put for very long. I love road trips, I’ve had about a million different jobs, and although I’ve lived in the same city most of my life, I moved around a lot in my younger years. So, of course, a book titled “Born to Wander” was going to catch my attention!

There’s a major focus in this book on the fact that we aren’t called to be comfortable, to stand still, to settle… We’re called to live a pilgrim’s life. And there’s really only two paths we can take in life…are we wandering TO Jesus? Or AWAY from Him?

There was no fame-and-fortune bait on the hook when Jesus told Peter He’d make him a fisher of men. There was no promise of celebrity when God spoke to Abram and told him to leave the comfort of home and family. Both men’s lives – and the lives of most others highlighted in the Bible – became less comfortable and far more uncertain after God called them.

Lech lecha. Follow me. This is how we learn our true identity.

Every chapter in this book deals with a different topic regarding living in exile or pilgrimage. It caused me to take a step back and examine how whether I’m truly living for myself or if I’m following and living for Christ. As a person who takes pride in calling herself a disciple, the answers to the questions that came up in my reading of Born to Wander were truly important.

I loved the questions and prayers that followed each chapter and how, at times, I got to look at things from different perspective. I loved this excerpt on prayer:

Many of us think of prayer as something we do with heart and mind. We don’t always consider what it means to pray with our bodies, but discipleship always involves our physical selves as well as our inner lives.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone with a bit of Wanderlust… whether they consider themselves a Christian, or not. It’ll definitely cause you to take some time out and consider where your life is heading and where you want to be wandering to/for.

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of Born to Wander? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing Born to Wander? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository