Highlights of 2018

Favorites of 2018

Favorites of 2018

Hello 2019. I’m grateful you’re here. There are so many things I am already hoping and praying for in the year ahead. But before I get ahead of myself, I want to take a minute to be grateful for what 2018 brought into my life.

So here are some of the books, movies, songs and moments that captured my heart and widened my thinking in 2018.

Favorites of 2018: My Favorite Books I read in 2018

I usually limit my year-end book list to 5 books. But I’m making an exception this year because I read so many books that blew my mind. If you want to follow along with me as I read during the year, you can keep up with me on Goodreads.


Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones


The Color of Water by James McBride

Heavy by Kiese Lamon

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (This was so good that after I read it, I listened to the audio version.)

In The Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Redemption by Wilbert Rideau


In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate

Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie

The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele

How To Be Less Stupid About Race by Dr. Crystal Fleming

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

It would not be an exaggeration to say that reading changed my life this year. These books challenged the way I think about addiction, trauma, incarceration, laws, housing, drugs, parenting, racial reconciliation and the church. I look forward to several of these books coming with me into groups and conversations in the coming year.

Favorites of 2018: 10 Songs I Listened To Over and Over Again in 2018

Goodbye Road by JOHNNYSWIM, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

My friend Carol played this album on a road trip to Florida and I have listened to it many times since!

Stand Up For Something by Andra Day (feat. Common)

This was on the soundtrack for Marshall (a favorite movie from 2017) and it’s been on almost every playlist I made in 2018.

La Bicicleta by Carlos Vives, Shakira

This is one of MANY favorite songs I dance to in Zumba class. Zumba definitely makes my list of things I am thankful for from 2018. It’s a little spot of happy in my week!

Our God Reigns by Israel Houghton (feat. BJ Putnam)

We sang this in choir this past summer and now I listen to it all the time. It just puts a little jump in my step.

Here In The Presence by Elevation Worship.

Another choir fav.

Seven by Sleeping at Last.

This is the latest in a series of songs dedicated to the Enneagram numbers. I have loved all these songs and the podcasts that accompany them.

Magic by Sia (from A Wrinkle in Time)

I Am Here by Pink

Found/Tonight A beautiful mash-up of two songs from two musicals (Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, both of which I LOVE) sung by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Benjamin Platt, which they did to benefit March for Our Lives, because DEAR LORD PLEASE TAKE THE GUNS OFF OUR STREETS.

Andante, Andante by Abba, from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

This movie was just delightful from beginning to end. The soundtrack has been on repeat since the movie came out, but I think this song in particular is so much fun.

One Of Them Days by Kiana Ledé

We went to hear a local artist (Crissy P!) back in November and the theme of the evening was 90s R&B. Later I was searching the songs and found this fun new take on Monica’s classic.

Here’s a link to a Spotify playlist of all 10 songs.

Favorites of 2018: Five Favorite Movies I Watched in 2018

Black Panther (I saw this movie 3X in the theater. Simon and I watched it again on New Year’s Eve. It’s so beautiful.)

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Just delightful! And also Let’s go to Greece!)

The Hate U Give (I was worried I wouldn’t like the movie as much as the book. Both were brilliant!)

On The Edge of 17 (Maybe it’s because I have so many teenagers in my life, but this movie just spoke to me. I know it came out earlier than last year, but I just saw it this year.)

Coco (Also didn’t see this until 2018. I watched it several times with Simon. So sweet.)

Favorites of 2018: 3 Experiences I Especially Want to Remember from 2018

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Number 1: Being Silent. In February, I attended a 10 day silent meditation retreat (Vipassana). This is easily the most important thing I did this year. I love to talk about it and I wrote all about it when I got home so I could remember everything, so if you want to know more, email me and I’ll try to convince you to go. 🙂 Then I bookended the year with a few days of silence out at Michael and Sandy Boultinghouse’s farm while they were away.

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Number 2: Hiking with my family around Arkansas. (above: on top of Pinnacle Mountain on Thanksgiving Day).

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Autumn colors in Arkansas while hiking Lake Sylvia with my boys.

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Lake Sylvia.

Lake Sylvia

More Lake Sylvia.

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Early Fall hiking around Heber Springs, Arkansas.

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Watching the boys climb rocks.

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Also playing with my real camera again in the woods. (also in Heber Springs, Arkansas)

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Number 3: Completing Yoga Teacher Training!

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Doing yoga training has been a long time dream! I’m super grateful for these gals, and for the many, many things we learned together. And also for the laughs. 🙂

Alison Chino Yoga in Hot Springs Arkansas

I celebrated completing training with my first ever yoga retreat in Hot Springs.


I’m so thankful for each person who came and to Whitney for cooking and hosting!


Look at this gorgeous lunch, just one of many beautiful meals.

PS. I’m helping to teach yoga on a beautiful retreat in Italy in 2019. Wanna go?

Lots more amazing things happened this year. I started making Kombucha and stopped eating meat. I spent more time in the sun than I have in a long time. I joined a gym for the first time in my life. I went to therapy. I participated in the Poor People’s Campaign. I visited The National Memorial For Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum. I worked on my biggest ever copyediting project,  a beautiful book by my client and friend, Jane Reeves. I walked with dear friends in familiar places that I love. I sang in the choir. I made homemade rolls in my sister’s restaurant. I watched my kids grow and do new and wonderful things.

It was also a hard year in many ways. There were great losses near to me. I deeply grieved settling back in a country (and a state) so rooted and steeped in white supremacy, the reality of which I see played out every day: on the news and in my community. Violence abounds in the world. The poor are criminalized instead of cared for. Also, Taido lived back in Germany until July. We survived living apart from one another and were grateful to be reunited in the summer. However, our path remains uncertain, much as it has for a while now. But as I look to 2019, I feel certain that He who has carried me along for so many years will continue to do so. I look around me in wonder at what God is doing while trying to find my small part in it, so that I can say with St Francis one day:

I have done what was mine to do, may Christ now teach you what you are to do.

Want to see more favorites (mostly books) from past years? Here’s 2009, 20122013, 2017.