January is my favorite month of the year, and I am SO excited to share some of my favorite things from this past month!

Podcast Episodes:
If you know me then you know I absolutely LOVE listening to podcasts while I’m getting ready in the morning or going on a long road trip. I listened to so many great episodes this month that made me feel ready to tackle the new year with a refreshed mindset, so I have to share those with you first!

1. That Sounds Fun Podcast January 2018 Rhythms: Sabbath & John Mark Comer
I am a HUGE fan of John Mark Comer’s writing and preaching, and this podcast episode was an incredible eye-opener for me. I grew up in the church, attended a Southern Baptist Church almost every single Sunday for the first 19 years of my life, and I cannot recall a single sermon, Sunday School lesson, or discussion about Sabbath. It was crazy to me that the act of practicing Sabbath is something so vital to our well-being and an actual command from God to do, yet I haven’t heard much about it aside from the 4th Commandment (Genesis 20:8). This episode made me really analyze my own life and how I can reasonably practice Sabbath as a college student (which I will write about soon). Two major takeaways: why practicing Sabbath is important, and how we can make Sabbath accessible to all people, especially those who are poor.

2. For the Love of New Beginnings: Episode 4 From “Turkey Burner” to Entrepreneur: Embracing Your Potential with Rachel Hollis
I fell in love with Jen Hatmaker’s podcast back in October 2017, and this had to be one of my favorite episodes she’s made yet. She opened the door for me to discover Rachel Hollis, who is equally as cool and inspiring as Jen, and I just want to be their best friends. My favorite things about these two women are how much they uplift, affirm, and encourage other women. They discuss motherhood, sexual harassment, and the freedom we have in being women of God. This episode was such a blessing, and you better believe I’ll be checking out Rachel’s book, Girl, Wash Your Face (which releases this month!!).

3. Conversations with John & Lisa Bevere: Fast Forward
I love listening to The Bevere’s talk about faith. It’s so refreshing hearing from a husband and wife who’ve done so many years of hard work and ministry together. I particularly loved this episode because they talk about fasting, another Christian practice that I never had any formal teaching about and have never actually practiced myself. Their teaching of the practice of fasting was truly inspiring, and the perfect episode for me to learn from as I start making my plans for Lent that begins this month (February 14th!).

4. That Sounds Fun Podcast January 2018 Rhythms: Lent & She Reads Truth
I know, I know, another Annie F. Downs podcast. But hear me out. For the past year, I’ve been all about finding better ways to be intentional with my time and with my life. This episode talks about Lent and fasting and I am here for all of it. Last year, I attempted to complete the She Reads Truth Lent study in Isaiah, and I only got to day 30 (barely). I would skip days then try to make up for them, and I just ended up disappointed with myself by the end of it. But I am determined to set myself up for success this year. I’m working towards finishing 2017’s SRT Lent study in time to begin the 2018 Lent study on time, and this episode has gotten me all sorts of excited for it to get here!

Movies & Music:

1. The Greatest Showman
I saw this movie in theaters with my sister while I was home on break, and then again with a friend from school a few weeks later. Featuring my absolute faves Hugh Jackman and Zendaya, it was a beautiful production of the “celebration of humanity” full of fun music and choreography. For 3 straight weeks, the soundtrack was the only music I was listening to all.the.time. Every morning while I was getting ready, throughout the day, and before going to bed at night, this soundtrack was playing. My roommates were getting sick of it. I even took a break from Taylor Swift’s reputation for this soundtrack. I have no shame. (Disclaimer: the real P.T. Barnum was a horrible human being who exploited people for his own personal gain. Unfortunately, our entertainment media like to give us false depictions and glorify people who don’t deserve it, but the movie was a work of art.)

Books & Other Reads:
1. Love that Lasts by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke
I first discovered Jeff Bethke during my freshman year of college, and his writing and speaking was the catalyst for my making my Christian faith my own. I was able to step out of the traditional, rule-following, border-line legalist way of thinking and walk into freedom and grace because of the way he presented his ideas that made me think and learn for myself. I’ve been following him and his wife’s ministry for almost two years, and they have been such an incredible blessing to me. This book was a great read to keep my heart set on God’s design and not my own selfish desires for romantic relationships.

2. More American Than Christian: 5 Things to Learn from Liberty University’s President by Phylicia Masonheimer
I admire Phylicia’s writing and voice so so much, and reading this piece from her made me love her even more. She’s gone to Liberty University, met her husband there, and worked there for years, but she doesn’t let her love for Liberty University silence her from calling out all of the hypocrisy we’re seeing from their president in the realm of politics.

This & That
1. Tarte Gifted Mascara– I absolutely hate mascara, but when I saw that Ulta had all Tarte mascaras for 50% when I was home for Christmas break, I had to get one to try out and my life has been changed!! This mascara is lightweight, separates my lashes perfectly, and looks beautiful but natural. I’m also a huge fan of Tarte because they’re vegan and cruelty-free. All of the wins in my book for a makeup product!

That’s all of my must-share favorites from this month! Feel free to leave a comment on things you’ve been loving this month, and I really do hope you’ll check mine out if you get the chance!

“How you spend your time is how you spend your life. If you want to experience the life that Jesus has on offer and you want to become the best version of yourself, you have to slow down, and you have to take time to rest and enjoy Jesus’ company.” -John Mark Comer

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