Bookshelf


Currently Reading...

365 Devotions to Love God and Love Others Well (Zondervan)
In our culture, where social media "friends" trump real-life relationships, people have never been more isolated and lonely. 365 Devotions to Love God and Love Others Well helps us experience God's perfect love for us and enables us to love others in a meaningful, honest, and profound way.  Everyone wants to love and be loved, but we lack the time and the intentionality to forge lasting relationships. We go about our days feeling battered and broken, lonely and solitary, despite the fact that we’ve been relentlessly adored by our Creator. This devotional gently shares with us that God already calls us beloved, and He desires that we love others just as He loves us.  365 Devotions to Love God and Love Others Well reminds you daily that in God's eyes you’re priceless beyond measure, and your intrinsic value doesn't change one bit regardless of what kind of day, week, or even year you're having. God has called you irreplaceable. This is the love He has for you and the love He has called you to extend to those around you. Savor this yearlong journey into God’s limitless and far-reaching love.
These devotionals are some of my favorite books!  I choose a new one to personally go through each year, and also gift them to friends and family.  There is a short (paragraph or two) devotion for each day, as well as scripture and a prayer focus.  The devotions are seasonally appropriate as well, so they are tailored to your current needs.  It's a small book, about 5" long, and beautifully-hardbound with a ribbon bookmark.  For someone who needs an uplifting thought, it's a great gift.  Personally, I like to keep this book in a place where I'll reach for it and have a free moment everyday...
Who I Am With You (Robin Lee Hatcher)

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.
Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 
When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again. 
I didn't realize that this book is actually two stories woven together into one piece, but I really liked how that worked out.  There is the story we see in the synopsis, with Jessica and Ridley, but there is also the story of Jessica's grandparents, during the Great Depression, which works as a nice parallel.  All four main characters have their flaws, and are suffering through struggles and trials, but the book is about their journey through these hard times and emotions and into healing, together.  It is also about their journey back to God after feeling that he has foresaken them.  I look forward to the second book in this series, which will vacillate between modern day and World War II era.

The Wondering Years (Knox McCoy)
Podcaster Knox McCoy, co-host of The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, tells hilarious stories about how pop culture helped him answer life’s biggest questions in his debut book, The Wondering Years. Through books, television, music and movies, Knox found many of the answers he was searching for about God and why we’re all here.
When you hear the phrase pop culture, you likely think reality television, boy bands or Real Housewives of various cities. While these are elements of popular culture, they aren’t all it has to offer. Pop culture may not cure diseases or make scientific breakthroughs, but it does play a vital role in the story of humanity.
From the first time he was punched in the face to saving dog souls as a canine evangelist, Knox reflects on how pop culture has helped shape his life and carve out the foundation of his faith. While the three cultural tentpoles—the South, the Church, and Sports—defined many aspects of his East Tennessee upbringing, it was pop culture that influenced Knox and his sense of the world at large.

I loved every minute of this book!  As a child of the 80s and 90s, it was so easy to relate to all of the stories and side roads that make up the text.  Each chapter focuses on a piece of the author's faith, and does so through pop culture references.  Admittedly, I didn't get all of them (not much of a sports fan), but the entertainment ones were right on target.  It feels like having a road trip conversation with your wittiest, snarkiest friend, and I love how it challenged me to re-examine my beliefs.  One element that it touched on, which isn't often seen, is our need for closure.  The author challenges us to make faith a journey, rather than a destination.  (I may have borrowed that from Aerosmith...)  I've never heard of his podcast, but would be interested in finding more from his voice now.

Let's All Make the Day Count (Charlie Daniels) 
Beloved American icon and Grammy Award–winning musician Charlie Daniels shares wit, wisdom, and life lessons he has learned from traveling and playing across the country.  Let's All Make the Day Count imparts Charlie’s positive attitude, timeless insight, and powerful spirit, and it will encourage and inspire you to make your day count.  Learn how you can make your day count from the encouraging and inspiring Charlie Daniels. Charlie has written a song for Elvis, played on a Bob Dylan album, toured the country for decades, and delighted fans around the world with his fiddle playing and signature hit song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." More important, he’s dedicated his life to helping others, including children, troubled teens, and veterans.  Join Charlie as he shares many of the things he has learned over the years and be encouraged and empowered by his new book, Let's All Make the Day Count. The book includes 100 readings with Bible verses and clever and pithy "Let's All Make the Day Count" statements. Charlie will inspire you with his positive attitude, timeless wisdom, and powerful spirit.

I've been listening to Charlie Daniels' music for a long time, and really love how he brings that same grittiness to his books.  There's no blown smoke, no false pretenses...he is who he is, and we love him for it!  This small book brings us some of his wisdom, gleaned through years of life experience, in the form of a devotional.  There are one hundred two-page readings, typically relating to his life and career, that are perfect for bite-sized moments.  It is a nice hardcover book, with a built in ribbon bookmark to keep your place.  Each reading features a related scripture and inspirational quote.  I love how 'common sense' they are, and how he keeps it real.

The Teacher's Bride (Kathleen Fuller)
Christian Ropp moves to Birch Creek to accept a teaching position in the rapidly growing Amish community. He’s determined to put the rambunctious school in order as well as check another task off his list: finding a wife. Of course, that would be much easier if women were like textbooks, straightforward and logical.  When an accident puts Christian out of commission, a new community member named Ruby Glick takes over his classroom. But Ruby’s exuberant teaching style clashes with Christian's careful methods and he worries his students will never be the same.  With a track record of catastrophe, Ruby always feels too clumsy, too distracted, too . . . much. Desperate for a chance to prove that she can do more than make mistakes in her life, she throws herself into her new teaching position. But when Christian can’t seem to stay out of her way, she finds herself slipping into old, chaotic tendencies.  What she doesn’t anticipate is that Christian's heart is slowly catching up with his mind—and she, too, must decide whether to follow logic or love. 
While starting off a little bit rocky, this book fell into a nice cadence that followed Ruby and Christian through some difficult times as they find themselves and each other. There is a lot of focus on Selah and Martha, too, leading me to wonder whether there will be other books in a possibly new series that focuses on each of those two ladies. There are subjects covered that I haven't seen in Amish fiction, such as depression, anxiety, and the everyday struggles that an Amish teacher faces in the schoolroom...it was refreshing to see new topics addressed. Overall, I enjoyed the book and watching the main characters' journey together.

Unexpected Blessings (Sandra Peoples)
Unexpected Blessings helps special-needs families move past the pain and confusion of their circumstances and slowly, firmly face the future with hope. Speaking honestly about struggles that accompany a variety of disabilities, Sandra Peoples shows readers how to
· let go of false beliefs that hold them back
· work through the cycles of grief 
· focus on self-care and healthy routines
· understand disability based on what the Bible says
· rebuild a strong faith foundation
· create support systems for themselves and others 

Filled with real-life stories and hard-earned wisdom, this book shines a light on the possibilities and blessings that come when parents see their new purpose in life--which was God's purpose for them all along.


With the combined perspectives of pastor, parent, and sibling to special needs children, the author brings a comprehensive look at what it takes to walk through these trials of life.  The book compares having a special needs child to Paul's journey and subsequent shipwreck, with each chapter corresponding to another part of each story.  The first part focuses on letting go of your control over life and accepting that Plan B is your road; then it focuses on coping with your emotions as you work through various new situations that crop up on that road.  The final chapters focus on building relationships with others.  Each chapter is filled with personal stories as well as scripture, and there are questions for the reader at the end of the chapters.  The overall tone of the book is that no one is alone on this road; you have everything you need, even if you can't see it right now.