The Book List for 2016…..so far

Is it wrong to pray for a season of rainy weekends?  There are so many wonderful new books coming out  this year, it’s surely the only way I’m going to be able to enjoy them all.

Here are some of my favourites which are going on the top of my to-read list.  I’ve included the “back cover blurb” for your convenience.  Live {and read} brave, Sisters! Meredith xo

ScreenShot2016-02-12at8.32.20AMFor all the fullness of God available to His daughters, we often feel limited by two defining insecurities: “I am too much,” and “I am not enough.”

Co-authors and best friends Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan have felt the same, until one essential question turned the tables on it all: If God is wild and free and he created women, what does this mean for us today?

Wild and Free is an anthem and an invitation in equal parts to find freedom from the cultural captivity that holds us back, and freedom to step into the wild and holy call of God in our lives. With fresh biblical insight tracing all the way back to Eve and a treasury of practical application, Jess and Hayley reveal how women today can walk in the true liberty we already have in Jesus.

Because you don’t have to be everything to everyone. You don’t have to try so hard to button it up and hold it together. And you certainly don’t have to quiet the voice that God gave you when he created you to sing. Wild and Free will help you shake off the lies of insecurity in your life, and step forward to maximize your God-given influence for his glory and the world’s good

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me. { May 3, 2016}

51CNeHVU+zL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_In a world of comparison and discontent, it can feel impossible to be happy with life as we know it. Other people seem to have it all together, to be finding success, to be having more fun. But we weren’t meant for a life characterized by dissatisfaction.

In this entertaining and relatable book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary “actual” life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life.

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy {January 26, 2016}

Breaking-Busy-Cover-673x1024Have you ever felt like a fraud or failure as you struggle to find balance in life? Do you find yourself juggling everything in mediocrity and feeling like you’re succeeding at very little? In her no-nonsense way, Alli Worthington tackles the big questions about finding happiness and one’s God-given purpose.

Breaking Busy marries popular secular research with solid biblical principles, instilling confidence that you, too, can move from crazy busy to confident calm. With refreshing candor, uproarious true stories, and a Christian worldview, Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths. Then she empowers you to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know yourself and your Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy.

You will: Learn how to stop chasing what leaves you empty and start doing what you were created to do.  Identify the common lies you believe and how to strip their power from your life. Recognize how what you say no to determines what you can say yes to.

With relatable anecdotes, Alli models real-life guidance on boundaries, relationships, and self-care, humbly examining her own mistakes and walking through how she learned from her missteps and found peace in a world of busyness.

If you long to find real connection with both your loved ones and your Creator, Alli Worthington deftly balances intelligent humility and heartwarming humor to help you rediscover your path.

The Life-giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming {February 2, 2016}

51i1xWltXiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How to make home your family’s favorite place to be . . . all year long.
Does your home sometimes feel like just a place to eat, sleep, and change clothes on the way to the next activity? Do you long for “home” to mean more than a place where you stash your stuff? Wouldn’t you love it to become a haven of warmth, rest, and joy . . . the one place where you and your family can’t wait to be?

There is good news waiting for you in the pages of The Lifegiving Home.   Every day of your family’s life can be as special and important to you as it already is to God. In this unique book designed to help your family enjoy and celebrate every month of the year together, you’ll discover the secrets of a life-giving home from a mother who created one and her daughter who was raised in it: popular authors Sally and Sarah Clarkson. Together they offer a rich treasure of wise advice, spiritual principles, and practical suggestions. You’ll embark on a new path to creating special memories for your children; establishing home-building and God-centered traditions; and cultivating an environment in which your family will flourish. (Don’t miss the companion piece, The Lifegiving Home Experience.)

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living  {August 9, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at1.06.06PM-e1455127650293In a culture that values speed, efficiency, image, and busyness, some of us are aching for another way to live: more intentional, more connected. Simpler, slower, richer. Many of us have believed the myth that achievement and success bring us contentment, only to find it’s actually things like connection and meaning, not success and achievement, that provide true peace and genuine happiness.  

Present Over Perfect is bestselling author Shauna Niequist’s motto for how to live a rich, engaged, and loving life in the midst of what often feels terribly messy and imperfect.  Similar in format to Shauna’s previous books, Present Over Perfect is a collection of essays that focuses on the journey from frantic and tired to connected and free. Many of us find ourselves busier than we want to be, missing the sweetest moments along the way. We end up resentful and distracted, full of regret and feeling disconnected. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out to a new way of living—full of grace, space, and connection.

Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted {September 20, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at1.20.41PM-e1455128516430Shannan Martin had the best life she could imagine. She lived with her husband and three adorable kids in a cute little farmhouse on six rambling acres and had enough money, plenty of friends, a great church, and a safe, happy existence. Then the bottom dropped out when they lost their jobs and God called them to something radically different. Their world shifted to a small house on the other side of the urban tracks, an income on life support, a challenged public school, and the county jail (where her husband is chaplain). And yet their plunge from “nice, safe, and happy” was the best thing that ever happened to them.

Falling Free chronicles the Martin family’s pilgrimage from the faulty, me-centric wisdom of this world to the topsy-turvy life of God’s more being found in the less, challenging readers to rethink their own assumptions about faith and the good life. Anyone who yearns for something beyond status quo, middle-class Christianity but hesitates out of insecurity or safety concerns will find encouragement, food for thought, and practical guidance in this sweetly subversive book.

The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life {September 6, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at1.14.41PM-e1455128148388How can it be? When we’re naked and ashamed and alone in our brokenness, Christ envelopes us with his intimate grace. When we’re rejected and abandoned and shattered beyond wanting, Jesus cups our face, “Come close, my Beloved.” When we’re dirty and tear-stained and despairing, Jesus Christ proposes undying, dying love: “All that you painfully are and are carrying—I’ll take. All that I perfectly am and have—is yours. Just take me.”

There is a wooing that washes our wounds. Falling into this intimacy with him is the one thing we pray to never recover from. This kind of intimacy can only be tasted and swallowed, and it burns a holy yes through our begging veins.

Am I willing to take all that I have, break and give to Him?

Because all that He is,  He broke and gave to us.

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons Paperback– {February 2, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at10.03.19AMWhen Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for–home.

In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst–from summer’s intense heat and autumn’s glorious canopy through winter’s still whispers and spring’s gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.

Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.

Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark {March 15, 2016}

51CECex77eL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_How do you know God is real?
 
In the emotionally-charged, fire-filled faith in which Addie Zierman grew up, the answer to this question was simple: Because you’ve FELT him.  Now, at age 30, she feels nothing. Just the darkness pressing in. Just the winter cold. Just a buzzing silence where God’s voice used to be.
 
So she loads her two small children into the minivan one February afternoon and heads south in one last-ditch effort to find the Light.
 
In her second memoir, Night Driving, Addie Zierman powerfully explores the gap between our sunny, faith fictions and a God who often seems hidden and silent.
 
Against the backdrop of rushing Interstates, strangers’ hospitality, gas station coffee, and screaming children, Addie stumbles toward a faith that makes room for doubt, disappointment, and darkness…and learns that sometimes you have to run away to find your way home.

Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter {April 5, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at12.50.54PM“I want you to take every step of your life with excitement for where you are headed. And I want you to feel beautiful and confident as you do.”

But how? When the enemy whispers lies that we are not smart enough, pretty enough, or rich enough? Or are you too dumb, too loud, too quiet, too thin, too fat, too much or not enough? What if you don’t have what it takes to be who you really want to be?”

In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes {January 26, 2016}

41RF0gupp1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children―don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet―it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to help kids become hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

Fresh Out of Amazing: Opening Your Heart to God’s Unexpected Invitation {September 1, 2016}

ScreenShot2016-02-10at1.11.30PM-e1455127959325What happens when you need to be amazing–but you’re fresh out of amazing? It’s an issue all busy women share: that pressure to always be a go-getter when sometimes all you want to do is get going. Popular blogger Stacey Thacker has discovered that when you’re short on time, energy, motivation, and fairy dust, one thing can bring you back to amazing–Jesus.

When you overestimate your own awesomeness and find yourself falling short, Jesus picks you up. When you‘re trying to wear as many hats as possible–wife, mom, employee, friend, volunteer–Jesus holds those hats for you. When you’re not meeting your life goals and you’re seeing your dreams slip away, Jesus directs you to the goals and dreams He has for you.

 

 

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