What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Oddly enough, one of my favorite parts of seminary was the amount of books I was forced to read. I love to read, but often times I need help to find the time.
The Reading Writers podcast from Aaron Armstrong has been a recent encouragement to me in my quest to start back reading more. Aaron brings in fellow writers to discuss their latest project, books they are currently reading, and some books that have inspired them.
If you already read a lot, you may hear from some of your favorite authors and find some new books to check out. If you are like me and you want to read more, this can be an encouragement and a challenge to you. Download Reading Writers and give it a listen.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: In 2009, I had the honor of spending three weeks on a military base in Baghdad. I was there to write stories about the chaplains who serve in our nation’s military and minister to the men and women in our Armed Forces.
It was an amazing experience and gave me a new respect for those in active military service and those who have served since the forming of our nation. I am humbled and amazed at the men and women who have volunteered to leave their families behind for months at a time and selflessly put themselves in harm’s way.
We have so much to be thankful for in the U.S. So, on Monday, amidst the picnics and pool parties, take a moment to remember those who have given their lives to protect ours.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), managing editor: My favorite family vacation when I was a child was a trip out West—a two-week camping excursion through New Mexico and Arizona. I was about 10 years old, the perfect age for scrambling along dusty trails, clambering up rocky hillsides, playing kickball beneath towering pines, and marveling at the desert landscapes so different from my Kentucky home.
A photo from that trip shows me, my dad and my sister crouched inside an ancient Native American cliff dwelling at Montezuma Castle, a national monument in Arizona. I remember pondering how the prehistoric people could have built such a structure and what it must have been like to live there.
Our trip didn’t extend to Mesa Verde National Park, which has preserved a much more extensive set of cliff dwellings. So I was excited this week to plan another trip out West, this time looping into Colorado for a visit to Mesa Verde.
During the 1200s, while Europeans were building cathedrals, Native Americans in the West were building distinctive T-shaped doorways and creating kivas in their search for God.
Visitors can go inside some of the ancient dwellings, including Cliff Palace and Balcony House, as long as they’re willing to climb ladders extending more than 30 feet, crawl through tunnels, and climb open rock faces on the way out. I’m not 10 years old anymore, but I’m game for some climbing and crawling this summer.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: My favorite this week is a lunchtime walk in downtown Nashville. After being diagnosed with diabetes almost five years ago, I started a daily routine of walking at lunchtime.
It’s mostly for my health—walking 21 minutes a day can lower your risk of heart attack by about a third. But it’s also good for my mind and my soul.
Getting outside and away from my desk usually clears my head. When I’m out for a walk, I’m often able to solve problems with stories I’m writing.
It also gets me away from the distractions of email, calls, catching up on the latest research. And I have a few minutes of quiet to think and pray.
There’s always something to see while I’m out for a walk. This week, it was a street musician playing violin on roller skates and a string quartet practicing at a local coffee shop.
If you are looking for a way to jump start your walking routine, try these helpful hints.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?