Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It's the first day of fall and summer is officially over. 

As someone who doesn't like pumpkin (don't hate), Halloween (don't hate), or boots that go past my ankles (again, don't hate), I already miss summer. Maybe I'm trashy, but I will gladly take jean shorts and slurpees every single day of the week over pumpkin spiced anything and a sweater. 

How hilarious is it that I married a man who would seriously love it if it snowed
 every day of his life, forever? 

Having said that and lost all my friends, this summer was a great one for me. 
I started drinking water regularly (nope, not joking), quit eating sugar (for real, how weird, right?) and read several really good books. 
And since a lot of people lately have asked me about books and suggested making a book list, 
this is me complying. 

But because the idea of writing up a big huge, top ten or whatever list is daunting and unrealistic during (hahahaha) "quiet time" for my kids. I'll stick to what I've loved lately- this summer.
You're welcome. 

Please know that I read these books as a mom. 
Not a theology student, not someone who has much (hahahaha) "free time," nanny or maid. 
My Bible reading in the morning is pretty much always interrupted and distracted, no matter what time I get up. (I have one of those kids who hears everything and gets up with me no matter the hour.) And I'm okay with that, because I've experienced God's grace as the Holy Spirit speaks over the din of my kids and the chaos of 6:00 am.  
I fervently and emphatically believe that the LORD is so gracious and tender to moms of littles. 
But on the mornings that I'm trying to trek through Ezekiel while kid after kid after kid after kid assaults me with questions about breakfast, weather, TV, homework, books, the dog, breakfast, the weather, TV, homework, books, the dog…. I am thankful for books like these. So I try to read a chapter of something good everyday. 

Much like drinking water, it's been good for me. 

Quick preface: I am sort of a book snob and do not like fluff.  I want something that's gonna provide some meat and at least a little challenge.

So, first up this summer was Jesus + Nothing = Everything, by Tullian Tchividjian. 
Everyone should read this book. I think I quoted just about the whole thing on Facebook as I read it (yeah, I'm one of those people), but as a church kid, as a perfectionist, as a mom, as a human being on planet earth, this book was tremendously powerful. The themes of identity, grace and freedom honestly brought joy and life to some long, hot and impatient summer days that just felt weary. 
I'm already excited to read it again. 

For the past several months, the Holy Spirit has been continually bringing Ricky and I back to the beautiful idea and reality of abiding and resting in Him. I feel like I've been living in John 15 for this season, and it's been incredibly fruitful (see what I did there?) and just plain good. One of our missionary friends suggested this book at just the right time and I am so glad she did. Aren't missionary friends the best? Everyone should listen to the missionaries and glean all the wisdom they possibly can, right? 
Anyhoo, I had never really thought much about Sabbath beyond Old Testament knowledge and the little bit of Hebrews 4. This book challenged so many of the ways that I consider time, duty and rest. As someone who prays for my kids and husband daily, it was incredibly valuable to stop and consider (and pray over) the season that we're in as a family. Practically, that's helped us in prioritizing some everyday decisions and some longterm goals and decisions as a family. And now I'm totally making this book sound so dry and so boring, when it's so not- Mark Buchanan is a great author and story-teller. Reading this book was like coming up for air, in a really good way.  

Some other oldies but goodies I hit up were The Ministry of Intercession, by Andrew Murray (one of my favorite books on prayer, ever); and Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders. These guys are like timeless old friends. 

For fun, and especially in light of so much that's happening in the Middle East right now I have loved this book so much I've bought several copies for friends: Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World, by Tom Doyle. This is a series of true stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions, and eventually them coming to Him for salvation. I love this book- it's exciting and it's been a huge encouragement to me as I pray for Muslims that we know here in America and Muslims that we don't know all over the world. (This was another suggestion from a missionary friend who serves in the Middle East.) 

So there it is.
And quiet time has turned into fight over the lego birthday cake time, so this is me peacing out. 
What are you reading?