A Holiday Book List and the winner is…

I am so thankful for all of your comments on my latest blog post! I’ve never had more than about three at one time so a baker’s dozen takes the cake.

I loved reading the vast array of responses and getting a sneak peek into the hearts of some super savvy female readers from around the country – and even the world! Russia and Switzerland in the house! Of course, I don’t want to neglect the lone male responder who may or may not be my husband. While his proposal to filter “bad writing” in an effort to avoid wasting time is intriguing, I fear my blogs may fall into that category. So for now, I am a staunch “no comment.” 😉

Your comments and book recommendations so captivated me I thought it would be fun to compile the whole list and pass it on to you.

Before I launch into my most recent holiday musings, however, I know the question on everyone’s mind is: Who on God’s green earth won the Starbucks gift card?! So without further ado….

Drum roll please. The winner is: Jill Beran! Congratulations, Jill! I’ll be sending you a ticket to receive holiday goodness in a cup. I hope you get to steal away for a few moments to enjoy your drink with a good read on the side.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the transition from October to November straight up hijacked me without so much as a “how do you do” and lead me directly into the land of DISTRACTION.

Seriously. I was kicking it in September. I looked my calendar square in the eye and stood my ground. I made some cut throat decisions about how to spend my time so I could buckle down and begin doing what I felt stirred to do between the hours of 8:00-3:00. I started to write. Despite being surrounded by mad lunch making frenzy each morning and a fury of soccer carpool texts each night, I somehow managed to carve out time in the middle of my day to sink deep into my thoughts and will those seemingly incoherent reflections into a coherent string of words on a page.

Processing our family’s story has been water to my weary soul. Shedding agony and replacing it with pure, unadulterated freedom and God sightings has been so fun!

Then November hit. Halloween decorations morphed into Christmas decorations with scarcely a nod to Thanksgiving. The holiday scent in the air pulled me right out of my God story and into the world’s. My words transitioned from those of deep reflection to ones of transactional emails. The time I spent wrapped in a world of words turned into crafting ways to decorate my house for the holidays. My mind wandered to thinking about what projects I need to get done before company arrives? What walls do I want painted? True distraction confessional — Exhibit A…


As patient as he is (most of the time), my husband flat-out called a spade a spade quicker than the paint could dry. Though his beef isn’t with me wanting to paint up the house (at least as long as it doesn’t require his help!), rather, his gentle hand reached out and asked me to consider the motive.

Is the painting a means to a holiday end?

Does the project distract from the God-given dream?

The answers to these convicting questions cut straight to the core. I realized, if I’m not mindful, a simple hobby has the potential to temporarily split the connection between my Father and me.

The hobby itself is not bad, it’s just not for now. Perhaps painting walls and surfing the net for the perfect Christmas gift actually hinders relationship rather than fosters it.

In some ironic twist, the attractive seasonal distraction is distracting me from the very reason for the season itself. Relationship. With my God and with His people. Like Martha I am distracted by many things when Jesus calls me to the One thing: Himself.

I do however have a patchwork of paint samples on the office wall. Kind of committed. Hoping to engage in finishing the project as an act of worship to my King rather than a way to impress guests…

What is it that distracts you in the holiday season? How can we link arms and say “no” more to do lists and “yes” to more of Him? (Come to think of it, I have another Starbucks card burning a hole in my pocket. I’ll send it on to another lucky commenter!)

Perhaps reading is one of those ways to turn our eyes inward and upward.

Here is the list of recommended reads from some of the very best women I know (and from those I hope to someday meet). These are in no particular order and the descriptive adjectives come straight from the reader. I have added links to Amazon if you want to read more!


Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands, by Gary Thomas. “Gut punch, Honest, Holy Rendering” http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Influence-Wives-Shape-Husbands-ebook/dp/B000SEOEGE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384612065&sr=1-1&keywords=sacred+influence+by+gary+Thomas

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would, by Pete Wilson. “There’s nothing like a book that just describes the current state of your life!” http://www.amazon.com/Plan-What-Doesnt-Thought-Would-ebook/dp/B003HO5VBE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384612271&sr=1-1&keywords=Plan+B

John Adams, by David McCullough. “Well written, moved my spirit, educational” http://www.amazon.com/John-Adams-David-McCullough-ebook/dp/B000FC0QHA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384612550&sr=1-1&keywords=John+Adams

A Million Little Ways: Uncovering the Art You Were Made to Live, by Emily Freeman. “Paradigm Altering, Healing, Epiphany Provoking” http://www.amazon.com/Million-Little-Ways-Uncover-Were-ebook/dp/B00CIUJXI0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384612655&sr=1-1&keywords=a+million+little+ways

The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: An All-Natural At Home Flush to Purify and Rejuvenate Your Body, by Andreas Moritz. “Life-Saving, Understandable, Applicable” http://www.amazon.com/Liver-Gallbladder-Miracle-Cleanse-All-Natural-ebook/dp/B003ODHONG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384612780&sr=1-1&keywords=the+liver+and+gallbladder+miracle+cleanse+by+andreas+moritz

Empires, Families and Nations: A New History of the North American West 1800-1860, by Anne Hyde. “Mind-Altering, Heart Swelling, Nuanced Characters” http://www.amazon.com/Empires-Nations-Families-American-1800-1860/dp/0062225154/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613011&sr=1-1&keywords=empires+families+and+nations

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, by Patrick Lencioni. “Foundational, Humbling, Necessary” http://www.amazon.com/Advantage-Organizational-Everything-Business-Lencioni-ebook/dp/B006ORWT3Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613403&sr=1-1&keywords=the+advantage+patrick+lencioni

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. “Refreshing, Challenging, Eye-Opening” http://www.amazon.com/One-Thousand-Gifts-Fully-Right-ebook/dp/B003U2TWQ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613528&sr=1-1&keywords=1000+gifts+ann+voskamp

Confidence of a Champion: Becoming Who You Were Created to Be By Letting Go of the Past, by Tim Marks. “Truth, Thought-Provoking, Deep, Live-Changing” http://www.amazon.com/Confidence-Champion-Tim-Marks-ebook/dp/B00DSRSJIC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613878&sr=1-1&keywords=confidence+of+a+champion+by+tim+marks

Unnamed Women: Come Step Into Their Shoes, by Anita Blough Smith. “Scripture Inspired, Engaging, Touching” http://www.amazon.com/Unnamed-Women-Come-Their-Shoes-ebook/dp/B00F1F8CAO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384614108&sr=1-1&keywords=unnamed+women


Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay. “Heart Wrenching, Compelling, Unique” http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Sarah’s%20Key

Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, by Randy Alcorn. “Attention Getting, Educational, Applicable” http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Foulgrins-Letters-Randy-Alcorn-ebook/dp/B006Q1SP6S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613329&sr=1-1&keywords=lord+foulgrin%27s+letters+by+randy+alcorn

Life of Pi, byYann Martel. “Fantastical, Lonely, Faith-Stretching” http://www.amazon.com/Life-Pi-Yann-Martel-ebook/dp/B0070Y46UY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613614&sr=1-1&keywords=life+of+pi

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman. “Entertaining, Life Truths, Fast Read” http://www.amazon.com/Saving-CeeCee-Honeycutt-Beth-Hoffman-ebook/dp/B0030CVQMG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613695&sr=1-1&keywords=saving+cc+honeycutt+by+beth+Hoffman

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. “Historical, Informative, Well Written” http://www.amazon.com/Good-Lord-Bird-Novel-ebook/dp/B00AEDDPU0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384613789&sr=1-1&keywords=the+good+lord+bird+by+james+McBride



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