Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Top Ten Albums of 2015

SURPRISE! I got this post done! (Yes, it was late, and, yes, it took me a few days to get it all pieced together once I started...but it's HERE.)

I love listening to music. And over the past two years I’ve found quite a plethora of Christian artists whose music I’m a fan of. Just in this last year we’ve accumulated quite a few more albums, some of which I really loved, some of which I enjoyed, and some of which have made it on this list of the top ten albums from 2015. 

Hopefully you’ll find some new music from this list that will brighten up your January!

Note: The below ‘ratings’ are semi-accurate. I say ‘semi’ just because I had a bit of trouble really deciding which albums deserved which place. ;) The two that I am absolutely positive on? Places #1 and #2. 

This album has an almost-country track titled ‘When You Smile’ that became one of my favorite songs from Mr. Darnell. It’s a completely adorable love song. And this CD is full of fun and deep songs about God’s grace.

When I think of Chris August’s The Maker, I remember four songs in particular: Superhero (a hilarious love song with lyrics that remind you of Superman/Lois Lane and Mr. Incredible), I’m in Love with You (THIS SONG is just so cute), Find You to Find Me (a lovely song describing how, in order to find out who we are, we have to find God), and He’s Still Here (depicting how Jesus is still working among us. He’s still as near to us as He was when He lived as a man). 


Can we talk about incredibly joyful? Rend Collective has taken praise music to a whole other level. They have this fun, quirky style that is kind of endearing. ;)

All the songs on this CD are good. That is all. (Okay, fine. Two favorites? Good Fight and the second rendition of Tomorrow.)

6.Francesca Battistelli: Hundred More Years

There are so many tracks on this album that are just fun, upbeat, and touching. Hundred More Years is a particular favorite, as is Trampoline. (And Francesca has a beautiful voice!)


When I first heard these guys, we were traveling many miles to visit my grandparents’ in Iowa. Sitting in the car, hearing their tracks depicting God’s grace and life’s goodness, I started tearing up some. The whole CD is good. Literally – every. single. song. From slower, very deep songs to a few simply about doing good and life’s beauty, I loved Among the Thirsty’s newest album.

There are many lovely songs on this one. When I heard for the first time, I was slightly surprised. Hawk Nelson has never been this good, and I was taken aback. (The lead singer changed…and the difference in the type of music they play is pretty amazing.) Live Like You’re Loved fast became a favorite on the album.


Can we just stop a moment and grin? This was not my first taste of Mercy Me, but it was the first time I really, really liked them. They’ve  grown in their music. I mean, this CD is so fun (many of the songs are impromptu-dancing-material), but the message is so profound. This album is just about grace. That’s the root of every single one of the songs. And it’s beautiful.

This is one of my current favorite albums (and bands). I love this CD! It has songs with this fun, happy feel that is just so enjoyable to listen to over and over again. I really like so many of the tracks on this album…I’m just not going to pick a favorite! And I love the lead singer’s voice.

So incredibly great. This was the first album from Sidewalk Prophets that I’ve bought. And I was not sorry in the least. Songs on this CD are simply fantastic. Everything in Awe, Prodigal, If You Only Knew, Come to the Table (which reminded me of Narnia), and Impossible are all songs I highly enjoyed, among…well, almost every song on the CD. Just buy it. ;) (So good!!!)

And...that's it! All of these CDs are good and come recommended! Enjoy your newly found music... ;)

Happy reading (and listening, o' course)!

~Micaiah K.~

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year + Reading Challenge

Hey, all! Can you believe we've just entered 2016? It flew by. But it was a great year, suffice to say.


And in this last year, I read a total of 55 books. (That's over one a week, so I'm kinda proud o' that number.) ;) I completed my GoodReads challenge to read 50, and I completed another reading challenge that I did with one of my friends. It feels so great to accomplish those challenges! Really, it does. (And GoodReads sends you an email to sum up your year in books... Totally fun for someone like me.)

Today, I just challenged myself to read 52 books this year. That's one a week. And, yes, I'll probably get more than that number in, but it's a good goal to aim for! But I was looking online for another reading challenge to do with my friend again this year, and I wasn't liking a lot of the ones I found. SO, I decided to create my own, using parts of the other challenges that I found. And I'm lettin' you all in on this one...

The only rule that applies to this reading challenge is this: you cannot count one book for two categories. Meaning: If you read a book set in, say, Paris, which you badly want to visit, and it's over 400 pages long, it can only go for either "A book set in a place you want to visit" or "A book over 400 pages long", not both. 


1. A book over 400 pages long.

2. A book set in a place you want to visit.

3. A book with royalty in it, real or fantasy.

4. A book that is under 150 pages long.

5. A book that intimidates you. (I think this one is War and Peace for me. I NEED TO FINISH IT.)

6. A nonfictional book. (This could be a biography, a Bear Grylls book on survival...which, yes, is probably going to make it on the list for me. :) I got two Bear Grylls books for Christmas! Already started one, too...)

7. A book set in your favorite time period.

8. A book that has a main character that is your opposite gender.

9. A true story. (Again, this can be a biography, a memoir of sorts, a book on WWII...anything, as long as it's a true story written as a true story.)

10. A fictional book about a historical event. (This is where you get to read a fictional book about a true story. ;))

11. A book by a New York Times bestselling author. (Ted Dekker, anyone?)

12. A book your friend recommends (and loved).

13. A book that you read with/to a sibling or friend. (This can also mean that you and your friend/sibling read one chapter a day, alone, and then discuss it together. It doesn’t have to be a read-aloud!)

14. A book set in a country outside of America.

15. The first book in a series.

16. A mystery.

17. A book (going to be) published this year, 2016.

18. A book you own but have never read.

19. A book you started and never finished.

20. A book you’ve already read once.

21. A book with a beautiful cover.

22. A book that was made into a movie.

23. A book written at least 100 years ago. (A Jane Austen or R.M. Ballantyne novel would work for this one.)

24. A book about/set in the outdoors. (Okay, so this one is totally fun. It can be a book about something in the outdoors – snowflakes, thunderstorms, survival techniques, etc. – or it can be a fictional novel set in the outdoors…such as: the protagonist surviving, lost, in the dense jungle of Peru… I’ve never actually seen a book about that, but I know Bear Grylls wrote a few novels about survivalists!)

And that’s the challenge. Are you up for it? If 24 seems like a lot, feel free to mix and match your favorites! Because…reading is about enjoying yourself.

Let’s get creative with this. Let’s expand our mental bookshelves by inching out of our normal reading habits to grab a book you wouldn’t automatically read. Perhaps. Because maybe that book is the start of a new adventure. And what is life without adventure?

To another year of adventuring…in books and in faith and in life.

Happy reading! And happy New Year...

~Micaiah K.~

P.S. That ‘Top Ten of 2015’ post I mentioned? It’s late, yes, but it’s still on the way. It just takes time…that I haven’t set aside yet. (Lots of links and pictures and things to find online…)