Book List for 2017

Books are guide posts for my year.  They are chosen for encouragement, conviction, wisdom, enlightenment, education, perspective or as a response to prayer.  Books are the friends I turn to when I know I need to dig deep and spend time alone in contemplation.  Some people love yoga or walking.  For me, there is no greater relaxation than reading.

A few of these are recent releases but most are highly anticipated releases for 2017.  Enjoy!

athome

At Home In the World:  Reflections on belonging while wandering the globe.

As Tsh Oxenreider, author of Notes From a Blue Bike, chronicles her family’s adventure around the world—seeing, smelling, and tasting the widely varying cultures along the way—she discovers what it truly means to be at home.

In her late thirties and as a mom to three kids under age ten, Tsh Oxenreider and her husband decided to spend a rather ordinary nine months in an extraordinary way: traveling the corners of the earth to see, together, the places they’ve always wanted to explore. This book chronicles their global journey from China to Thailand to Australia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, France, Croatia, and beyond, as they fill their days with train schedules, world-schooling the kids, and working from anywhere. Told with wit and candor, Oxenreider invites us on a worldwide adventure without the cost of a ticket; to discover people, places, and stories worth knowing about; to find peace in the places we call home; and to learn that, as the Thai say, in the end, we are all “same same but different.”

cultivate

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

A guide to embracing imperfect progress and making what matters happen, little by little. Women often feel like they have to have it all together in order to live a meaningful life. Instead they feel inadequate, overwhelmed, paralyzed by fear and insecurity, and are exhausted simply trying to figure out where to begin. “The secret to living a flourishing life isn’t in engineering the perfect circumstances or having it all together. The secret is in the small,” says author and speaker Lara Casey. “It’s easier than you think to cultivate what matters. It all starts with a tiny seed.”

Welcome to the journey of getting messy in the rich soil of possibility—embracing imperfect, grace-filled progress to grow a life of joy.

Written as part encouragement anthem and part practical guide, Cultivate equips women to uncover and take action on goals that simplify life. Lara’s signature “goal gardening” steps release them from the pressure to achieve and gives them freedom to move from planning to planting. Readers will walk through each season, finding balance as they interact in fresh ways with their current life scenarios, with God, and in the communities where they are planted. “You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to plant! As you open this book, you are making a decision to leave the dry soil behind. You will lean in . . . and unrush your life. And in the process you will unearth your purpose.”

findingiam

Finding I Am – Lysa TerKeurst

What is the deep cry of your heart? The ache in your soul that keeps you up at night? The prayer you keep repeating? Jesus not only cares about this deep, spiritual wrestling, but He also wants to step in and see you through it.

Join Lysa TerKeurst on the streets of Israel to explore the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. Through this interactive, in-depth study we will be trading feelings of emptiness and depletion for the fullness of knowing who Jesus is like never before.

gracenotperfection

Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy – Emily Ley

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

 As a busy wife, new mother, business owner, and designer, Emily Ley came to a point when she suddenly realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities. She decided to hold herself to a standard of grace rather than perfection. This mantra led to the creation of her bestselling Simplified Planner®, a favorite among busy women everywhere—from mamas to executives and everywhere in between.

 Grace, Not Perfection takes this message from a daily planner to an inspirational book that encourages women to simplify and prioritize. Designed with Emily Ley’s signature aesthetic, this book gives women tangible ways to simplify their lives to give space to what matters most. With a focus on faith, Emily reminds readers that God abundantly pours out grace on us—and that surely we can extend grace to ourselves.

Have you been told you can have it all, only to end up exhausted and occasionally out of sorts with the people you love? Are you ready for a new way of seeing your time? Learn to live a little more simply. Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard in Grace Not Perfection,and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart.

chasingslow

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off The Beaten Path

You’re here, but you want to be there.

So you spend your life narrowing this divide, and you call this your race, your journey, your path. You live your days tightening your boot straps, wiping the sweat from your brow, chasing undiscovered happiness just around the bend. Higher! Faster! Better! Stronger! And on and on you run.

Viral sensation and HGTV.com star Erin Loechner knows about the chase. Before turning 30, she’d built a fan base of one million women worldwide and earned the title “The Nicest Girl Online” as she was praised for her authentic voice and effortless style. The New York Times applauded her, her friends and church admired her, and her husband and baby adored her.

She had arrived at the ultimate destination. So why did she feel so lost?

In Chasing Slow, Erin turns away from fast and fame and frenzy. Follow along as she blazes the trail toward a new-fashioned lifestyle—one that will refresh your perspective, renew your priorities, and shift your focus to the journey that matters most. Through a series of steep climbs—her husband’s brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss, and public criticism—Erin learns just how much strength it takes to surrender it all, and to veer right into grace.

Life’s answers are not always hidden where they seem. It’s time to venture off the beaten path to see that we’ve already been given everything we need. We’ve already arrived.

You see?

You’ll see.

waitandsee

Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans

Every woman struggles with times of waiting—for a spouse, a child, a job. In Wait and See, Wendy Pope guides readers to focus on the Person of their faith rather than the object of their wait. Pope draws on the story of King David, who was anointed king nearly twenty years before he took his throne.

This hands-on guidebook invites readers to record their own waiting discoveries. With practical suggestions and real-life stories, Pope shows readers how they can be active in the present as they hope for the future.

sweeterthanhoney

Sweeter Than Honey – A Colouring Book to Nourish Your Soul

Nourishment is a funny word to find on a coloring book. But as Lindsay Sherbondy prayerfully thought about what the Lord was leading her to say through these lettered love notes, it was this: You are worthy of nourishment. All too often, we take the time to nourish others—with our words, with our time, with our energy—while neglecting to receive it for ourselves. But as we read scripture, we see the Lord desires more for us.

Sweeter Than Honey invites you to slow down, to take a moment for yourself, and to bask in the soul-nourishment that comes from being creative and letting God’s Word soak into your heart. This book includes never-before-seen prints from Lindsay Sherbondy, artist and owner of the online shop Lindsay Letters, as well as a few favorites, alongside devotionals and quotes that lead you to reflect upon reflect upon the sweet and beautiful nourishment God offers.” As a bonus, each perforated page becomes its own 8×10 art print! As you color and meditate on these words, let them feed your heart and mind, energize your life, and restore your soul.

youarefree

You are Free:  Be Who You Already Are

Have you bought the lie? Many of us do. We measure our worth by what others think of us. We compare and strive, existing mostly for the approval of others. Pressure rises, anxiety creeps in and we hustle to keep up.

Jesus whispers, I gave my life to set you free. I gave you purpose. I called you to live in freedom in that purpose. Yet we still hobble through life, afraid to confess all the ways we push against this truth, because we can’t even believe it. We continue to grasp for the approval of anyone that will offer it: whether strangers, friends, or community.

Christ doesn’t say you can be or may be or will be free. He says you are free.

Dare you believe it?

shereadstruth

She Reads Truth:  Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away

She wants faith, hope, and love.
She wants help and healing.
She wants to hear and be heard, to see and be seen.
She wants things set right.

She wants to know what is true—not partly true, or sometimes true, or almost true. She wants to see Truth itself, face-to-face. But here, now, these things are all cloudy. Hope is tinged with hurt. Faith is shaded by doubt. Lesser, broken things masquerade as love.

How does she find something permanent when the world around her is always changing, when not even she can stay the same? And if she finds it, how does she hold on?

She Reads Truth tells the stories of two women who discovered, through very different lives and circumstances, that only God and His Word remain unchanged as the world around them shifted and slipped away. Infused with biblical application and Scripture, this book is not just about two characters in two stories, but about one Hero and one Story. Every image points to the bigger picture—that God and His Word are true. Not because of anything we do, but because of who He is. Not once, not occasionally, but right now and all the time.

Sometimes it takes everything moving to notice the thing that doesn’t move. Sometimes it takes telling two very different stories to notice how the Truth was exactly the same in both of them.

For anyone searching for a solid foundation to cling to, She Reads Truth is a rich and honest Bible-filled journey to finally find permanent in a world that’s passing away.

longdays

Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline

Rich, soul-inspiring practices for moms who have neither quiet nor time.
Dirty laundry, crayon-smeared bills, and smashed crackers . . . And there’s your Bible—buried under a pile of diapers. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, without a moment of peace and quiet, you wonder if the spiritual life you crave is even possible. But God sees you. He designed this parenting journey, after all. He understands the chaos of motherhood. And he joins you in everything—whether you’re scrubbing the floor, nursing a fussy newborn, or driving to soccer practice. Catherine McNiel invites you to connect with God right here, in the sacred mundane of every mothering moment.

loveliveshere

Love Lives Here: Finding What you need in a world telling you what you want

This is a book about discovering what we really need.
There are a lot of second-best options, but we weren’t made to live a second-best life. Finding what we actually need is different than what we are often offered. There are many books full of opinions, steps and programs. This isn’t one of them. This is about craving the things that matter. Things that don’t just work, but last.
In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, author Maria Goff shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us.
Love Lives Here is a collection of stories that include the ways Maria and her husband, Bob, navigated family their way, without clear instructions or a road map. It’s about what they learned to make their lives meaningful and whimsical and how they created a space for their family to grow together while they reached outward.
melmichaels

Forget the Renovation—Just Add Inspiration

If you want to jump-start your style and refresh your home without needing power tools and a winning lottery ticket, make Simple Decorating your go-to resource for can-do decor. Spark your makeover momentum with 50 no-fuss tips and discover how to

  • get unstuck by embracing a style that is your very own
  • transform your spaces with simple color, window treatments, and furniture choices
  • layer in personality and warmth with texture and patterns
  • turn hard-to-love areas into favorite destinations with creative concealments
  • highlight your family’s story and lifestyle with accessories

Whether you start with one tip or take these on as a challenge for the month, it’s never been more fun (or possible) to create a home you can’t wait to come home to.

The Inspired Ideas collection is a series of books with easy tips and fun photos to inspire the areas of your life that matter most to you.

neverunfriended

Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships

In a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last? Maybe by first becoming those kinds of lasting friends ourselves.

As the community manager at the website incourage.me since 2010, Lisa-Jo Baker has had the chance to engage hundreds of conversations with women about friendship. She’s learned that no one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. And nothing can wound as deeply as unkind words from a friend. While we are all hungry for friendship, it’s the fear of feeling awkward and being rejected, left out, or hurt (again) that often keep us from connecting.

But what if we knew we could never be unfriended? Would we risk friendship then?

Starting with that guarantee from the most faithful friend who ever lived – Jesus – this book is a step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. It answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship – What are we afraid of? What can’t we change? What can we change? And where do we start? – with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, that lasts.

nothingtoprove

Nothing To Prove: Why we can stop trying so hard

No More Pretending. No More Performing. No More Fighting to Prove Yourself.

Are you trying your best to measure up—yet you still feel as if you’re losing ground?

You are not alone.

Jennie Allen understands the daily struggle so many of us face with the fear that we are not enough. And she invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls overflow with contentment and joy. In Nothing to Prove she calls us to…

* Find freedom from self-induced pressure by admitting we’re not enough—but Jesus is.
* Admit our greatest needs and watch them be filled by the only One who can meet them.
* Make it our goal to know and love Jesus, then watch what He does in and through us.

As you wade into the refreshing truth of the more-than-enough life Jesus offers, you’ll experience the joyous freedom that comes to those who are determined to discover what God can do through a soul completely in love with Him.

Discover the answer to your soul-deep thirst

Read Brave, Sister!

Meredith xo

A new thing

The season is turning from winter into spring.  My heart and head is following suit, stretching my heart and my mind to encompass new things.  Summer will be here with days filled with beach trips, end of school year concerts and Christmas preparations.  Before that merry-go-round starts I’m determined to use this time of spring wisely and well.

Diving deeper into scripture and learning more about the power of prayer and making strategic plans:

fervent

Learning more about the concept of hygge.  Despite it being a winter-centred concept of living, I would like to incorporate it into our evenings of spring and summer.  There are admirable ideas for the entire year.  Love the Danish.

hygge

Ordering these:

Interesting, huh?

I’m also determined to make my very first sourdough starter.  I have a recipe from here and even if it ends in disaster, I will have tried something new.  Which is refreshing and what spring is all about.  New blooming, beginnings, becomings with enthusiasm.  I may even call it the triumph of hope over experience, but that would be cynical 🙂

With the upheaval over the last few months my mind keeps drifting back to this verse:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it-I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland..jpg

Okay.  I get it.  My life is not actually all wrong and I haven’t completely wasted energy on the wrong things.  It’s just being made into a new thing.  A more mature, more God-centred, more grace-filled thing.  Stripping away all that is not needed to enable me to focus on what God has called me to do.

Live Brave, Sister,

Meredy xo

The Winter of My Disconnect

Welcome back!  Apologies for the delay in programming.  I’ve been on an unexpected sabbatical of sorts for the last few months.  Some significant health challenges for our family and some major upheavals in the social justice work I’m involved with resulted in me dropping some balls.  This, sadly,  being one of them.

Ironically, during this season I have become more convinced than ever about the importance of fellowship with sisters-in-Christ and places to find uplifting Christian resources.   Over time, I hope together we can establish this little corner of the interwebs as a positive resource for whoever needs it, reflecting generosity and compassion.

My spirit has taken some pretty heavy hits in the last few months both physically and emotionally and what I can tell you unequivocally  is “Our God is faithful”.
Even when the news is not welcome.
Even when things you have hoped and prayed would change haven’t.
Our God IS faithful.
I have never once felt alone.  Instead, He has lead me to look at my life through a new lens.  One where I am loved, even if I can’t be a work horse.  Who knew??

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If you’re interested, here are some things that I’ve found restorative and life-affirming during my healing break:

Books:

 

Podcasts:

 

Music:

Bible Verses:

 

All of the above has encouraged me to live gently, quietly, contentedly and hopefully showing myself and others more grace.

There is a difference, I have learned, between self-care and self-comfort.  Discerning the difference has been a life-changer.  Binge-watching Netflix is self-comforting but not particularly helpful.  Going for a walk in the fresh air and ignoring the laundry for a morning is mentally restorative and self-caring, especially knowing that the laundry will get done eventually anyway.

My prescription for living has been more family time, less outside commitments.  More prayer, less yelling.  More long bubble baths, less 5 minute rushed showers.  More healthy food, less take away.  More fresh air, less sitting inside.  More reading, less screens.  More worship music, less depressing radio news updates.  More grace, less expectation.  Less talking, more listening. More social justice, less politics.  More love, less judgement.

I have also made small changes like buying myself really nice face cleanser and moisturiser and beautiful pyjamas so that when I get into bed I feel ready to rest.  I hadn’t bothered to “spoil” myself like this in years.  Rearranging my bedroom furniture and putting crisp white linen on the bed with new fluffy pillows was also incredibly refreshing.  I needed a restful cocoon in which to retreat to at the end of the day which had been filled with confronting new realities.

Living brave in this season doesn’t necessarily mean living loud.  There are certainly seasons to be lived loud and bold and unconstrained.  Right now, for me,  living brave means living gently, connected to my people in meaningful ways and this takes time. Investing in them and receiving community in return. Living life around a table, breaking bread together, sharing plates, stories and memories.  This is living. And it takes bravery. Which is the spirit which our God has planted in each of us.

 

Go live your Brave, Sister. xo

I am a mother & so are you

by Cheryl Moses

For all my single girls, marrieds without kids and for your precious sisters whose wombs will forever be empty….

As Mother’s Day approaches I often find myself a bit nostalgic. Everyone is making plans for the day – celebrations, surprises, and family gathering, but not me, and I’m okay with that.

My mother passed away when I was 28. I’m almost a couple of decades past that now, but I still miss her. I don’t despise the plans others are making, nor do I wish the day away. Life and death are part of our experience and we shouldn’t let the latter overshadow the first.

 Yet this Mother’s Day I’ve been thinking about you – your hearts, your longings, your pain and disappointments. Mostly, I’ve been thinking how lonely many of you must feel on Mother’s Day. This is that day when the sting of words, glaring stares, confused looks and inconsiderate words come back to haunt you. You know the ones I’m talking about because they’re etched in your mind and some still prick your heart.

 “Why haven’t you had kids yet? Don’t you want them?” Or in my case, “You’ve NEVER had kids? Wow!”

Here are a few others that I especially abhor, “You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have kids,” and my least favorite, “Well that’s because you don’t have kids.”

cropped-crown5.jpg

No one sees the tears you cry in secret because of the pain in your heart to bear children. No one understands the choices you’ve made that have lead you to where you are. No one but you know what God has called you to, and sometimes even you wonder about that.

Whether you are single by choice or like me, still waiting, or whether you’re childless by choice or still praying, barren or awaiting the call that will fill your arms with a child, please hear me today. You are significant. Your life matters! THERE IS GREAT VALUE IN YOU TODAY.

 Embrace your own unique journey. You will never have the freedom and opportunities you do now. Enjoy them! Cherish them! Honor the Lord through them. 

Good moms are not born. They’re taught. Whether you were privileged to be raised by one or not, start mothering right where you are. Take a younger woman under your wing. Pour into her. Love on a few babies. Help a young mom out. Do for others what you’d want if you were in their shoes. Use your life to bless them while you wait for your own blessing to arrive. 

Do not lament what you don’t have. Rejoice in God’s goodness to you today! He gives in abundance where gratefulness abides. As you give thanks for what is good in your life, your desire may not fade but your spirit will find peace with you today. God is not punishing you with barrenness or singleness. You are not suffering the plight and stigma of empty arms. You are simply holding out for God’s goodness while your arms find their way around another daughter or son to love. 

 

Do what many busy moms cannot. Give yourself away, mothering the motherless, or whomever the Lord puts in your path. Oh, the power of your voice and the impact of your influence. You don’t have to bear children to be a mother.

Allow your current circumstance to groom you for the person you wish to become. Don’t allow the enemy’s lies to keep your heart filled with sorrow. Step into the innate desire within us all – every woman, to nurture and to care for someone. It’s embedded within you. So it has to spill out somewhere or else your heart will become sick.

 I received a gift this week from an anonymous giver. It was this beautiful purple rose, a real one that had been dipped in 24 kt gold. Whoever sent it knows I love purple, but it was the enclosed note that got me. I’ve reread it multiple times this week because it touched me so deeply.

It simply said, “Cheryl Moses, thank you for being a spiritual Mom to so many. You are loved, greatly!”

 Gold Dipped Rose

Your words can touch where a mother’s cannot, even though they’ve said the same thing over and over to their children. Your life makes a difference. Your words matter. You are not broken because you’re not a mom. Your life is a beautiful gift waiting to be poured out. Please share it today.

 Love Cheryl.

 

CHERYL MOSES. (1)

A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women

eandfmay2016

by Miriam Jessie

A reflection that is for all women as we approach Mother’s Day.

As a mother the idea of Mother’s Day delights me, but in a church context I both love and tremble at bringing this celebration through the doors and into the church.

In every ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, I am reminded of a time I sat with a friend who cried at another period announcing her hope for motherhood was dashed again.

I think of the single friend who has such a great capacity for love, who longs for motherhood and sees no answer to that longing.

I think of the women who fill pews and live silent about abortions they have had because they already feel condemnation and no space to be loved and grieve their loss.

I weep for the women who have been rejected and hurt by the adults they once rose to tend in the midnight hours.

I feel the silent crushing weight of the myriad of women who feel they are failing to mother ‘as they ought to’. Continue reading “A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women”

to love and to feed them

choccake

By EMMA CRAUFORD

It has occurred to me that when it comes to raising children, nothing can actually prepare you for each new season.

I don’t like this.

If at all possible, I would prefer 12 months notice on All Issues That Will Arise with each of my children. Then I could plan, research, study, hold focus groups and interrogate All Those Who Have Gone Before and demand their wisdom and insights. I could search for the people who have experienced the exact same thing that my kids will and ask them “What do I do?” Continue reading “to love and to feed them”