What I Read This Month- 2017

January 30, 2017

– January –


None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

“10 Ways God is Different From Us and Why That is a Good Thing”

A better understanding of who God is builds our faith and helps guard against having bad theology. This book goes through 10 attributes which belong to God alone such as infinite, eternal, immutable, omniscient and sovereign. I appreciated Jen’s straightforward writing style and truth-packed chapters that included questions for reflection at the end of each section as well. She challenged me to see my rebellious desire to possesses (or feebly try to!) attributes that only belong to God, and how embracing my limits can be a way of glorifying God’s limitless power. He is God and I am not. There is freedom found in worshiping the One who is unlike any other. www.jenwilkin.blogspot.com



Falling Free by Shannan Martin 

“Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted”

I had never heard of Shannon Martin before or her previous blog as the “flower patch farm girl”, but this book began popping up on Instagram and other blogs I follow, so I thought I would give it a try. It tells the story of how her family had “the perfect life…yet followed God’s call to something radically different. From the self-focused wisdom of the world to the topsy-turvy life of God’s more being found in less.” While I certainly can’t argue with someones personal story of the journey God has them on, I did find her writing sort of pushy, like no one could really experience true freedom in Christ unless they had a tattooed former inmate at their table every night. As a whole, I enjoyed her story and it gave me things to think about, but I dislike it when growing up in a more traditional church or family is slammed just because the author felt it necessary to leave in order to finally encounter the Living God. www.ShannanMartinWrites.com 


– February –


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This was a book I would never have picked up on my own, but I was trying to challenge myself with something different. Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Literature, The Road follows a haggard father and his young son through the nightmarish residue of America after an unnamed catastrophic event as they flee the oncoming Appalachian winter and head towards the southern coast. It explores what causes the human will to want to survive or give up, and perhaps the evil lurking in meeting our basic survival needs. It causes you to ask “What would I be willing to do or not do to survive?” There is LOTS of walking and scavenging for food, but interestingly no chapter breaks or names for the title characters.  This is not a light read, or one I particularly enjoyed, but did give me somethings to think about.


Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth 

“Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together”

Reading this brand new book by Nancy was like a glass of cool water for my soul. There seems to be an explosion of books recently on the ins and outs of women desiring deeper relationships with each other, and it is no surprise that the Bible has already spoken to this need with refreshing clarity. Nancy unpacks Titus 2: 1-10, which focuses on “women of all ages and seasons being transformed by the Gospel, displaying its beauty, and making it believable to those around them.” My favorite chapters were on experiencing freedom from bondage and showing a deeper kind of kindness. If you are an older woman, read this book. If you are a younger woman, read this book. Better yet, read it together and start fleshing out what it means to do life together with God and other women. There are also MANY wonderful resources available such as books and daily podcasts at www.ReviveOurHearts.com.


– March –


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines 

If you are a fan of HGTV’s show “Fixer Upper,” then you have probably already read this book and don’t need my thoughts on it! Ha! I wasn’t sure what to expect reading an autobiography of sorts authored by non-authors, but I think the Gaines do a refreshingly fantastic job of just being authentic to who they are, which is one of the reasons I love the show too. It is written in the first person, with Chip and Joanna having separate fonts to discern between who is telling what part of the story, and it covers pretty much everything from their family histories, how they first met, the roller coaster of being married to a visionary go-getter like Chip, and how all the pieces eventually lined up to what we now know as “Fixer Upper.” They don’t leave God out of their story, and frequently give Him credit for His guidance, direction and blessings. They champion having a strong marriage, strong family, and strong faith while not being afraid to dream of possibilities, put in hard work and let God take the lead as you wait on His timing. www.MagnoliaMarket.com 


My Sister’s Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

I read the first book in this Cousins of the Dove trilogy last year, which follows a family of French Huguenots (Protestants) through several centuries while weaving historical suspense with modern-day mystery.  This part of the saga picks up in 1704 during colonial Williamsburg with two sisters immigrating the New World , and parallels with a contemporary descendant of that family dealing with her own challenges, her own faith, and her own sister- a recovering drug addict who has come back home to live with her. This is an excellent series! I found myself caring about what happens to every single character, and staying up late (even without meaning to!) because I was so engrossed in the story. The strong ties of personal faith, family relationships and even an unsolved murder mystery are all interwoven seamlessly in this exciting historical saga. Note: The third book does not come out until this summer, so be prepared to wait a little bit! www.MindyStarnsClark.com 

– April –


Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson 

“How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul”

I’ll confess: One of the reasons I was drawn to pick up this book was a result of it’s lovely cover color combinations (purple and green!) and NOT because I was eager to explore the need for humility in my life! Nevertheless, Hannah Anderson has done a masterful job intertwining the simple rhythms found in nature with the richly restful invitations of Jesus to cultivate a humble spirit. Wild blackberries, milkweed and forsythia are drawn on to understand how pride manifests itself in anxiety and restlessness; and how humility frees us from the cycle of stress, performance, and competition. Beautifully written, and saturated with Truth, this book was as truly refreshing as it was challenging. www.SometimesaLight.com 


A Barn In New England by Joseph Monninger 

“Making a Home on Three Acres”

A few months ago, I would have never searched for a book about living a a barn, but new adventures are possibly on the horizon for our family, prompting me to pick up this memoir detailing one family’s journey to renovate a rural New Hampshire barn into their new home. With a poet’s eye and a craftsman’s precision, the author expounds on the hands-on pleasure of building a fence, planting a garden and the many challenges of renovating a 6,000 square foot barn into something livable as well as meaningful. An interesting read despite the fact that the worldview of the author and myself differ in matters of theology and morality.


– May –


Craving Connection by the (in)Courage Community 

“30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement”

Written by a collection of authors from the (in)courage blog community, this book extends the invitation to pull up a chair to the table as the writers share their own stories of seeking out relationships, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges aimed at creatively motivating real-life interaction between women. The readings are divided into three parts with ten articles each: “Connecting with God More Deeply,” “Connecting with Friends More Purposefully,” and “Connecting with Community More Intentionally.” It was valuable to hear from so many different experiences, personalities and women in varying seasons of life, and I think anyone could relate with or be encouraged by many of the selections. In an age where looking one another in the eye can induce a cold sweat, this book will offer you a solid foundation in the Lord to be able to fight for the connection you crave. www.incourage.me


The Martyr’s Song by Ted Dekker 

 Probably my favorite living storyteller, Ted Dekker is just masterful at drawing you into a narrative that is much more than words on a page. This particular one is part of a group of four novels that interconnect while still standing alone as separate titles. At the close of World War II, a group of soldiers stumble upon a peaceful Bosnian village and suddenly thrust the question “What would you be willing to die for?” on a small band of women and children. Chaos, pain, love and beauty then collide in breathtaking reality on those who have eyes to see it. This is a relatively short novel in the series, which the publisher actually categorizes as “an expansion” of a story first touched upon in a previous book. I’ve got the other three finding their way to me through the library system, and I can’t wait. www.TedDekker.com 


Simple Decorating by Melissa Michaels 

“50 Ways to Inspire Your Home”

This adorable, full-color little book will give you more practical (and beautiful!) advice for your home than most magazine subscriptions put together. Melissa Michaels, of the popular The Inspired Room blog, makes accessible to us mortals the decorating lessons she has learned throughout the years, including simplified spaces, creative concealments, touchable textures and artful accessories. I love that her focus isn’t to make you want to just buy more stuff, but to “make the time to enjoy and fully live in the spaces you create, filling your home with not only material possessions, but with a sense of gratitude for what you already have.” www.TheInspiredRoom.net

So, what did YOU read this month??




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