Month: July 2015

June Bookshelf

June Bookshelf

What are you reading this month?  In my other life I am a high school teacher which means I often don’t get a chance to read at the same pace that I do in the summer; although most of my non-teacher friends take more summer season vacations too, so I’m betting we all get more leisure reading accomplished in June, July, and August.  Last month I started or finished several books that I’d love to share with you if you’re looking for a good summer read to enjoy (hopefully on the beach or poolside!)

Savor is a great daily devotional that I got at the end of the school year.  In the past I began my day with Jesus Calling, but I must say I have thoroughly looked forward to starting my morning off with Shauna Niequist and a cup of coffee.  Her devotional gives me the expected dose of daily scripture, along with a nice bit of fellowship to also get my day rolling.  I first learned about Shauna watching the If Gathering this fall online.  If you haven’t seen or heard of If Equip, If Table, or If Gathering it is worth the Google search, you won’t be sorry.

The American Heiress was the perfect summer read that I was hoping to find this summer.  If you’re a Downton Abbey groupie like me, pick up this book and share the journeys of Cora Cash as she navigates high New York Society and stuffy British aristocracy in her pursuit to find a title to match her millions.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson is the best book I’ve read this year.  I first experienced his amazing nonfiction writing style in The Devil in the White City, which I devoured….but not as quickly as Dead Wake.  This newest book chronicles the final voyage of the Lusitania and all the geopolitics surrounding U.S. entrance into WWI that stemmed from her sinking.  Stay with me here….even if you’re not a 10th grade U.S. History teacher you will love this too.

Seamless by Angie Smith is an intriguing survey of the Bible as one complete story.  I am only in the second week of this study, so I’m going to hold off on a detailed discussion of it, but so far her writing style and videos are wonderfully thoughtful and relatable.  Plus she’s a Smith, so she must be fabulous.  (Abbreviated videos to accompany Seamless are available for free this summer if you’re looking for a study to do as a group or even on your own).  My best work buddy (and neighbor!) Ann and I are doing this one together, although we are a bit behind, but Angie does a nice job in her intro video of encouraging us all to go at our own pace, so really I’m just taking her advice.

And as always, the foundation of my book pile this month is the First Century Study Bible with notes and articles by my teaching pastor at Mars Hill, Kent Dobson.

Watermelon & Campari Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

Watermelon SaladSummer is in full swing and that means it’s farmer’s market season!  This salad was created with fresh finds from our local market and our backyard garden. The best part though?  It came about spontaneously and it’s super simple to make.  I devoured it for lunch, but it would also make a great dinner side dish for your next backyard BBQ.  Enjoy!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad
This refreshing summertime salad is perfect for a light lunch or as a main dish accompaniment for your next backyard grill out
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 package (6 - 7) Campari tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1 handful fresh dill
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Remove the rind from the watermelon, cut it into bite-sized chunks and toss into a mixing bowl.
  2. Slice each Campari tomato into 3 - 4 slices and toss into the same mixing bowl.
  3. Roll the basil leaves together and chiffonade them into thin strips, add to the watermelon and tomato mixture.
  4. Chop the dill finely and also toss into the mixing bowl.
  5. In a separate small bowl add the oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing until it's emulsified. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently.
  7. Top the salad with the feta and serve! (Note, if you toss the feta with the dressing it tends to break apart and almost disappear. I find it better retains it's presence if you add it at the end.)