Top Ten || October

1) Rivers & Robots’ newest album, Discovery

I have been a fan of Jonathan Ogden, Rivers & Robots’ lead singer, for a long time. His solo projects have blown me away. This is the first time I’ve listened to his band, and it doesn’t disappoint. Worship music can often sound the same with many groups creating stadium rock with similar melodies. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but I love that Rivers & Robots is doing something different. Lyrically, the entire album is rich with metaphor and authenticity. Musically, it’s light and meaningful. I urge you—spend significant time with this album. If you don’t like it at first, let it grow on you. You’ll eventually love it. Below is one of my favorite songs, “Satisfy.”

2) Homemade pumpkin scones

I can’t say they came out exactly like the picture, but I’m proud of the fact that I made these myself. It’s that time of the year for everything pumpkin, and these scones aren’t easy to make—but are totally worth. They may be bad for the body (not exactly earning you any fitness points), but they’re good for the soul. Just remember: baking powder and baking soda aren’t the same thing.

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3) The HoursTracker app

If you do any hourly work for your full-time gig or side hustle, HoursTracker provides an amazing way to keep it all organized. You can clock in and out on the app, add comments to describe how you spent the time, and easily export reports into Excel files. It’s obvious the makers of HoursTracker thought through the problems users would be looking to solve, and they’ve done a great job solving them with an intuitive and helpful user experience.

4) This story of Justin Gallegos signing with Nike

Justin Gallegos is a collegiate runner in Oregon who has Cerebral Palsy. Recently, Nike signed him as a professional athlete sponsored by the company. The video below documents some of this story, and it promises to bring out the tears. As this article reports, Justin has been an athlete all his life and has helped Nike develop a shoe for runners with disabilities. He’s looking to break a two-hour half marathon. The world needs more athletes like Justin and stories like this.

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My wife and I refer to the wing of our house where our kids sleep as the white noise capital of the world. Our kids have Dohm sound machines, and we keep one in our hallway, too. The Classic is fan-based and creates a low hum that helps mask the noise in the house and provides a soothing soundscape for our kids to help them (and, occasionally, us) fall asleep. These things are incredible.

6) “Why Experiences (not Things) Get Better with Time, According to Science” by Jay Harrington via Becoming Minimalist

This article presents a great, quick reminder that experiences pay greater dividends than things over the long run.

7) Peter Nyankiko’s story

Peter Nyankiko is a client of HOPE International’s microfinance institution in Rwanda, Urwego Bank. This month, we had our annual fundraising breakfast in Houston and shared Peter’s remarkable story. After measles left him blind as a child, Peter felt he had little options for his future. He and his wife (who is also blind) had a challenging time getting capital to start a business. They eventually found Urwego and received a loan to start a real estate business. Now, they have 25 rental properties and started a cycling cooperative with 150 employees to transport goods. What heroes.

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If you’re looking to turn your daily shower experience into a relaxing spa experience, look no further. When the minty goodness of tea tree oil mixes with the steam of hot water—you can forget the stress of your day. I’m loving this stuff.

9) Serial: Season Three

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In the third season of this wildly popular podcast, the makers of Serial explore the criminal justice system in the United States through the lens of a single courthouse in Cleveland. In each episode, you’ll find yourself tracking with stories showing some of the challenges interwoven into a foundational function required for the flourishing of society. You’ll feel confused, frustrated, optimistic, and enlightened along the journey. Beware, however. Some of the language and depictions of real events aren’t suitable for children.

10) “What to Know When Starting a Roth” from YNAB

Personal finance can sometimes feel more confusing than it actually is. YNAB breaks down exactly what a Roth IRA is in this post and spells out some of the most important things you need to know about saving for retirement using this type of investment account. If you’re just getting started with saving for retirement or know you need to, take some time to read this article and make a plan to get going today.