Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Stuff I've Been Reading of 2011

Every Sunday I bring you half a dozen or so links to my favorite posts of the week. Things that provoke some kind of emotional response from me.

As the year wraps up, I wanted to highlight some of my very favorite pieces by some of my very favorite writers. These are ones that have stuck with me well past the initial posting. With the fluid nature of blogging, it can be difficult sometimes to gauge our long-term impact, so I want these folks to know that their words have lasted more than a week or two, but have changed me. (And for real, please subscribe to each of these blogs. They each put out quality content all. the. time.)
  • Tamara Lunardo: What's a Girl Worth? - More than just about anything else I've read this year, Tamara's post at A Deeper Story changed me. It forced me to look at some things that I'd buried for a long time and as painful as that was, it was incredibly important for me. Obviously it moved a lot of people, because it became the inspiration for a collection of stories from women about their value. Tamara inspires me all the time and I hope that she knows that she is invaluable to me.
  • Ed Cyzewski: Telling Proactive Stories Instead of Reactive Stories - Ed wrote on this topic a couple of times this year, but this was my favorite post. Every now and again someone writes something that really challenges my behavior and with this post, Ed did just that. These words changed the way that I look at big events, but also at my day-to-day blogging. I still do reactive blogging, but is my proactive to reactive ratio higher? I hope that it is, and that's thanks in large part to Ed's writing.
  • Sarah Styles Bessey: In Which I Promise Not to Call Myself Fat - Oh my word. This was one of those shaking-shoulder cries when I read this. Granted, that happens regularly when I read Sarah's words, but this one? Changed how I talk about myself. I am so grateful to her for her honesty and vulnerability with this post. She's working on a book proposal now and I cannot wait to read whatever it is that she puts out.
  • David Nilsen: Coping with Disappointment When Calvinists Refuse to Be Jerks - I know it's probably bad form to link to something on your own blog and probably also bad form to play favorites with guest posts, but yeah. This post was something special and to not include it in this list would be a far worse crime from where I'm standing. I don't know what led David to my blog, but I am so grateful that he reached out and asked about swapping guest posts. I definitely got the better end of the deal there (and that's not self-deprecating crap, it's just the truth). This post was absolutely amazing and has made me think about assuming how people will react if I'm honest with them. 
  • Shawn Smucker: How I Know My World Will End on May 21st - There were a lot of posts that went up in mid-May for the Harold Camping end of the world prediction, but Shawn wrote one that stuck with me. Death to self is something that I can't read about often enough, and Shawn used a weird story to bring that point home. I love Shawn's ability to draw beauty out of, well, everything.
  • Rachel Held Evans: On Being Kinder To Ourselves - This short post is brimming with truth. We need to be better friends not just to others, but to ourselves as well. Rachel lays that out beautifully here (as she does with most issues). I'm so thankful to Rachel for the kind encouragement she has given me this year. I cannot wait until her new book releases this fall.
  • The World Vision Bolivia Bloggers - Every one of these posts changed me. I am so thankful for the words and pictures of these folks. They were beautiful, heart-felt, and challenging. You can check out the individual bloggers here:  Joy BennettElizabeth EstherRachel Held Evans, Jana MelpolderLindsey TalericoMatthew Paul TurnerNish Weiseth, and Deb Wolf.
Huge thanks to everyone in my virtual village for sharing your words with me (well, and the rest of the internet) this year. You enrich my life, you cause me to think, you make me a better person. I look forward to seeing what you have to say in 2012!


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