This Year's Thumbs Ups

We spent the better half of 2010 in transition. The following books and music were our companions as we hit the road, went places new and old, packed boxes, and relocated. Now that the dust has settled, we can recall their encouragement, challenge, and wisdom with gratitude. Churchill by Paul Johnson

We kicked the year off with this book after getting it as a Christmas present last year. We've enjoyed many of Johnson's works of history, but this one is especially close to our Churchill-loving hearts.

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

Two brothers, one book that will make it possible to change when change is hard. A must for anyone trying to motivate people to do something new, different, challenging. This one helped us think differently about our work and life.

Deliberate Kids 2: The Adventure Your Were Born For by Phil Joel and friends

When we first heard Phil Joel's Deliberate Kids album, we didn't think it was possible for another album to pack more cool licks and essential theology into kids music. Until we heard this follow-up album. We also love how Phil pulled his old Newsboys bandmate Peter Furler back in for some drums, as well as his wife, Heather, and kids Phynley and Eden in for vocals.

Counting Stars by Andrew Peterson

We came late to the party on this one: Peterson's 12th album is our first. Now we're hooked. (And we found out that his children's books are great, too.)

Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

This was the book Steve read aloud to the whole family before bed throughout our fall transition time. (It was also the first book he bought for his new iPad.) We knew from Rogers' earlier work, the Wilderking Trilogy, that we could expect to hear our kids pleading well past bedtime, "Dad, keep reading!" We weren't disappointed.

The Land Bewteen by Jeff Manion

We suspect that our fall would have unfolded much differently if we hadn't read The Land Between and learned the significance of trusting God, thanking Him for our daily bread, and allowing Him to shape us in the midst of great change.

Words from the Fire by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Nothing like it. Dr. Mohler reminds us that something ancient--the Ten Commandments--are urgently relevant.

Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

I (Candice) kept hearing people ask about the "emergent" church. The most I could answer was that it's post-modern. But no longer. Thanks to the robust scholarship of DeYoung, and the quirky humor of Kluck, I can now go to a second sentence and even a third into explaining why I'm not emergent.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

This was a fast read with short blog-size entries tightly edited to offer concise insights on launching and growing new ventures (like

The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins

We rediscovered this older book and Steve found it to be an ideal model for kicking off the first 3 months of a new job at Southern Seminary.

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

We (especially Steve) have plenty of ideas over the course of a year, but this was a timely book for growing in the disciplines required to bring those ideas to life. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to get more ideas from birth to implementation.

What books (or albums) were essential to you this year?