titles for 2017

One of my favorite pieces of gathering together my thoughts and plans for a new year is the compiling of my new year book list. I am sure that pile of new reads has to be one of the most delightful things the world has to offer.

"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book." ~ Jane Smiley

I haven't set a particular number of books to read this year, though I would like to. I have, however, set one goal: I shall not buy another book until I have made good progress through the stack that has come to collect on my desk and nightstand over the past 6 months. With a list of titles such as these I already have much goodness to savor. So hold me to it, friends. I must be strong.

So here is my list as it stands now (not necessarily in this order):

1. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

3. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

4. Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler

5. Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs

6. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

7, The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

8. Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch

9. Everyday Talk by John A. Younts

10. Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr

There are other titles that whirl around in my head as possibilities for the days ahead, but I'm sticking with these 10 as my beginning. And I'm quite happy with them.

Right now I am reading.......

The second book of the Wingfeather Saga: North! Or Be Eaten -- it reminds me of Harry Potter in its incredible creativity and imagery, yet told with such real emotion and wisdom. I've never seen my husband read a book series so quickly!

 Praying the Lord's Prayer by J.I. Packer for our January women's bible study at church. Here's a nugget from the first chapter: "Conversations with parents or wise friends whom we love and respect, and who are ready to help us by advice and action, feel neither pointless nor tedious, and we gladly give time to them -- indeed, schedule time for them -- because we value them, and gain from them. This is how we should think of times of communion with God in prayer......" Oh, what wisdom! Plus, he threw in the phrase higgledy-piggledy in the second chapter.....what could be more delightful?

 Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder as we are walking this new road with our sweet one. So grateful for those who study our minds and bodies and who are eager to use their knowledge to help.

And I am going to begin checking off my new list by picking Missional Motherhood back up. I had started it back several months ago, but had to set it down as life demands hit hard. I can't wait to read this gem. I've heard only lovely things about it.

Sometime in the next few weeks I'm going to share with you all what drives my decisions to read the books that I do, but for now I will leave it here. 

What books are you looking forward to reading this year? Do you have any suggestions of must-reads that need to go on my book list for later in the year?

"I cannot live without books." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Happy Reading, lovelies!

 

book review || seasons of waiting

"God's discipline through waiting is good for us and will lead to deeper peace and good fruit in our lives.

Waiting exposes our idols and throws a wrench into our coping mechanisms. It brings us to the end of what we can control and forces us to cry out to God. God doesn't waste our waiting. He uses it to conform us to the image of his Son.

But sanctification is not the only purpose God has in mind when he takes us into the school of waiting. When we wait, God gives us the opportunity to live out a story that portrays the gospel and serves as a kingdom parable."

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This book, you guys. This wonderful, rich, timely book. There's about 501 things I could say about what a gift it has been for my heart to read this book and be left in complete awe at the Lord's timing in it all. This theme of waiting has resounded heavily in our lives for several years now, but this past year the waiting has held particular significance for me. The significance has come, most especially, I think, because my heart roots are being shaken and stirred; shaken to get rid of those nasty awful sins that continue to rise up and stirred to gain a more deeply rooted trust in my Father. So picking up this book for me couldn't have come at a more timely moment, and I've no doubt the Lord knew that. 

My favorite thing about this book is how the author, Betsy Childs Howard, writes with the most beautiful thread of an eternal perspective woven throughout all the pages. She balances so well the truths of present suffering and eternal hope. She writes with understanding, reminding us that grief and longing are not sinful in and of themselves: "Contentment and grief are not incompatible states. Just as we weep over violence and death and sin, it is appropriate to weep over a womb that has not born a child. All is not as it should be. The pain of infertility should send us deep into the goodness of God for comfort. You can find contentment in the mercies of a tender Father as you grieve the barrenness of your womb. Grieving at the brokenness of this world points beyond to the life to come." (This is from the chapter on Waiting for a Child, but I believe it carries over to whatever form of "waiting" we are facing.) The grief, the longing, are real, heavy, overwhelming struggles (look at David in the Psalms), but they can drive us to our gentle Father for the comfort that we need (again, look at David) and point us to eternity where we will know perfect satisfaction in His presence, all our longings satisfied.

One of the lines that J and I have often repeated to each other throughout the past year, in particular, is, "I want to wait well." How I loved that when I opened up this book one of the first sentences I read was: "God wants me to learn how to wait so that I can wait well, even if my waiting continues for the rest of my life." He wants us to learn to wait well, by His power and grace, and with the knowledge that He isn't going to "waste our waiting", but has purposes beyond even what we can see right in front of us (1 Cor. 13:12).

I set this book down feeling as if a friend had come alongside, put her arm around me, and just spent a few hours speaking truth to me. Truths about the character of God, the seen and unseen purposes of God, the way He intimately knows me and loves me, and the opportunity for my story to be a canvas for His glory to be seen by the world around me. There is beauty to be found in these painful seasons, dear ones, because we have a God who loves us so well and remains steadfastly on His throne. 

This book is a wealth of help and encouragement. Truths of comfort and clarity spill out of the pages. Betsy Howard writes that way; a gentle voice of firm truth, and I love that. We need that. It's all I can do to not just buy boxes full from Amazon so that I can hand them out to everyone I come in contact with. It's a gem of a book, my friends. You must, must, must read it.

"I still struggle with wanting God's gifts more than I want him. But I'm grateful that God continues to withhold some of his gifts in order to satisfy me with himself. The presence of God in the darkness of our trials is a small foretaste of the presence of God that we will know in the eternal light of his glory. It is in the absence of God's gifts that I learn the Giver himself is the greatest gift of all."

Happy Monday, friends! I hope it's a sweet one for you.

*Seasons of Waiting on Amazon

book review | treasuring christ when your hands are full

"When your eyes are fixed on the horizon of eternity, it affects your vision for motherhood. We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood. In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are --- worship. In the daily (and nightly) work of mothering, we're given dozens of invitations to worship God as he reminds us of the hope we have because of his gospel."

When I read this paragraph in the introduction of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full I anticipated ending this book with close to half the book underlined. I wasn't wrong. This is the best book for a mothers heart that I have read. You must, must have this book on your shelf.

Gloria Furman comes alongside as a gentle, truth-filled, humorous friend, linking her arm through yours, reminding you of the greatest truth we know, the one that is our hope and help in every way. She focuses our hearts on the thing that is our foundation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and wisely and lovingly recalls to our minds that we must treat it as that foundation, constantly reminding ourselves that we are fully and wonderfully made to be dependent on Him. She is real and authentic, writing as a friend. So many times I found myself wishing I could sit at her kitchen table and just talk to her, sharing my heart and hearing hers. Her writing is a treasure.

I told a friend today how I set this book down and realized that I was walking away from it encouraged and refreshed not only as a mother, but as a woman. This book pounded on my heart, in the best and most needed ways, in regards to every part of my life. That is why I love it. It's about treasuring Christ, and that is something that should never be restricted to one area of our daily existence, but should be the theme that runs through every piece and aspect of our being. 

Read this book, my friends. I promise you will mark it up as much as I did.