These books.

In 2015,  joy was found in the pages of these books.  Each one that I’m going to share had special meaning and shaped me during this current season.  This year, my favorite books are all in the ‘Christian Living’ genre.  This genre totally  encompasses me right now. If I can have some help and real life teaching and example on how to live a remarkable Christian life, I’m all in. If you find yourself there too, read on.  The authors are leaders, speakers & bloggers, that by the last page of the books, felt like my best friends.  Bob, ‘Boo Mama’ (aka Sophie), Melanie, Jen, & Lysa -all household names.  All talked about at the dinner table.  And then there’s Harriet Sulcer, who truly is my friend.  Really, in real life.  My friend.  Her true story in ‘Promise Point’ will bring you to your knees.  Each author’s wisdom, humor and genuine authenticity just speak to me.  I want to be like them.  All of them.  Is that possible?  Or maybe have coffee with each of them.  I mean, Bob Goff did put his cell phone number at the end of his book.  Maybe that will be on my list of goals for 2016.  Call Bob Goff & schedule a coffee date for the next time he’s in the ATL. If he can’t do it, I know my sweet Harriet will.

I really did love each book, but my favorite book of the year…  Y’all know it (well if you know me you do)… Drum Roll….  ‘LOVE DOES’ by Bob Goff.

The pages are worn, tattered and highlighted.  The truest sign of a good book.  Bob’s stories will transform you and your faith.  They will make you re-think the word ‘LOVE’.   PS.  My husband loved it too.

“I used to think I could shape the circumstances around me, but now I know Jesus uses circumstances to shape me.”

Next up, ‘The Best Yes’ by Lysa TerKeurst.  We’ve all been there.  The demands of motherhood along with the desire to just be everything to everyone at all times.  We don’t say NO enough and we end up unraveling.  Let Lysa speak her words into you.  Her wisdom is so deep.

“Never is a woman so fulfilled as when she chooses to underwhelm her schedule so she can let God overwhelm her soul.”

“Today’s choices become tomorrow’s circumstances.”

True that, Lysa.

I received the book ‘Nobody’s Cuter Than You’ by Melanie Shankle from my dear friend Christy, as a ‘thank you’ for a year of carpooling and taking care of each other’s kids.  So the subtitle, ‘A memoir about the beauty of friendship’ just fits. Christy is a beautiful and true friend.

This was the first book I have read by a blogger mama (which led to me reading others) and I have to say Melanie helped inspire me to start this blog.  To be real.  I just have a thing for REAL people who aren’t afraid of transparency.  It gets me.  After reading this, I also reached out to a friend that I felt an ache in my heart for.  Something happened that I couldn’t put my finger on and I did what most women would do, took the blame, concocted all sorts of stories in my head and created something much larger than was actually true.  After reading Melanie’s heart, I put myself out there, mended the brokenness, apologized for what had occurred and now my heart feels whole again.  Thank you, Melanie.

“A good friend will love you, support you and cheer you on.  A good friend doesn’t make you feel inadequate or like you’re not good enough. A good friend won’t dump you when someone better comes along or ask you to compromise who you are and what you believe.”

Preach on, sister!  May we all have these friends and be this friend.

And that leads me to BooMama’s book, ‘Home is Where My People Are’.  Is it cool that Sophie and Melanie are actually friends in real life and they even do podcasts together?  Well I totally think so. These women are just funny and true and real.  I love them.  This book made me laugh out loud and cry hard. Sophie tells about her journey from her home in Mississippi to the new homes- and people – she found along the way. Oh could I relate to Sophie’s experience. I always thought Pittsburgh would be my home, until God led us to this little slice of Southern heaven in Georgia. This is where I found ‘my people’.

“God doesn’t just give us a place. He gives us people. And those places and those people? They teach us, shape us, refine us. Those places and people change everything, y’all.”

Y’all, they really do.

Onto my dear friend and business mentor, Harriet Sulcer and her real life story of God restoring her family in ‘Promise Point’. As I said earlier, it will bring you to your knees.  I was amazed as I read about Harriet’s life, love and faith journey. This true woman of God is a shining example of ‘love does’. Oh how blessed I feel to have seen Jesus through you, Harriet.

And I’ll conclude with this gem of a book, ‘For the Love’, by Jen Hatmaker. Laugh out loud funny. Don’t we all need to give and receive more grace? I know I sure do.

Jen tackles the subject of fighting for grace with total humor mixed with some superior wisdom. She tells it like it is. On the subject of surviving school –

“We need to ratchet it down. Moms, I can barely speak of what Pinterest has done to us here. Between bento boxes with sandwiches cut into the shape of dolphins leaping into a sea of kale, and spraying our kids feet with lemon essential oils to soothe their troubles, I just can’t even…”

Take this and mix it with this….

“I pray for your kindness more than your success, because the latter without the former is a tragedy. God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong.”

And you have another book dropped down from the heavens.

So there you have it. My new BFF’s have impacted me greatly and helped lead me down new roads.  Take some time for you in 2016. Even if you pick up only one of these books, you will be blessed.